Proper Storage of Guns and Ammo

Proper Storage of Guns and Ammo

So, you finally pulled the trigger and bought that new gun (pun intended). Now the question is: how do you store your new firearm and ammo properly and safely?

Generally, you want to keep your guns and ammunition clean, dry and away from humidity. This typically involves storing them in a setting where they are not exposed to environmental problems (such as temperature issues, humidity, or even caustic chemicals or fumes). Always store guns in a place where you have full control over the atmosphere. Even seemingly harmless things like cigarette or wood smoke residue can build up over time and degrade the finish of your firearms.

Anywhere that the temperature can rapidly fluctuate is also bad for storing firearms and ammunition. Rapid changes in temperature may lead to condensation forming on exposed metal surfaces, which may in turn, lead to rust. Likewise, when bringing firearms in from outside, leave them out to acclimate to the storage area temperature before putting them away in a case, cabinet, or safe. Also be sure to wipe down your firearm with a light coat of gun oil before putting it away; this can help prevent any rust build-up as well as help protect against any moisture in the air. Bonus points if you utilize a dehumidifier or some sort of desiccant to remove moisture from the air to help prevent rust and corrosion.

Another thing that is not recommended is storing your firearms long-term in fabric cases. Fabric cases will soak up moisture and hold it against the firearm, which will speed the process of corrosion.  Most cases are designed only for carrying your firearm to and from your shooting location, not for long-term storage.  Even those fancy egg crate foam and plastic cases will soak up moisture. Don't think that leaving it in that plastic case will prevent corrosion, as plastic breathes even less than fabric.

It is best to have some sort of rack system to store your guns, which gives space for air to flow around them. This also keeps the individual firearms from touching each other, which prevents moisture build-up and keeps them from getting nicked and dented by knocking into each other.

As to storing ammunition, it is more important to keep it clean and dry, so most of the recommendations we gave you for firearms are true here too. Perhaps the best solution for storing ammunition is the tried-and-true military ammo can. Being made of heavy gauge metal with a good rubber seal on them, they are designed to fit military requirements for long-term storage of ammunition. As long as they have a good seal and are kept in decent condition, they will protect the ammunition inside of them almost indefinitely. We have seen ammo cans that went through a flood and still managed to protect the ammo inside of them.

Because ammo cans are military supplies, they are also designed for easy stacking, so it is very simple to create a well-organized and protected storage for your ammunition. Another thing about military ammo cans is the sheer variety of them made to fit different sizes of ammunition. So, it is easier to find a size that will suit you for pretty much any type of ammunition you may need to store. Lastly and most importantly, for those of us on a budget, military ammo cans can be bought very affordably at most gun parts shops. This means you can get excellent storage for your ammunition at a reasonable price.

The other consideration for storing firearms and ammunition is secure storage. We aren’t just talking about keeping it safe from theft, but keeping it away from people who are not authorized to use it. This can range from keeping your kids from getting into it, or simply keeping your issued duty ammunition separate from your practice ammunition. Storage wise, options range from simple locking cabinets or a trigger lock, all the way up to a gun safe or a vault room. Your requirements will depend on your individual situation. If you live alone in a secluded area, you may just have a trigger lock for when the grandkids come over. But if you live in a major city, you may be required to have a security cabinet or safe of some sort. It is very important to keep your firearms out of the wrong hands. Your answer might be a basic stack security cabinet or building a special room into your house that is double locked and fireproof. It will depend on your situation and budget. More security is always better. If you can afford it, a good quality gun safe is ideal, as these are designed to stand up to more determined attacks and provide a level of fire protection to your firearms.  

For your ammunition, it’s easy to forget the fact that you often have as much value in your ammunition as you do in your firearms. Ensuring it’s stored just as securely as your firearms is key. Again, you want to keep unauthorized people from accessing it, but you also want to keep it just as clean and dry (if not more so) than your firearms. Guns will still work when they are wet, ammunition will not.

To recap, first and foremost, keep your firearms and ammunition stored somewhere they are clean and dry.  Second and perhaps more important than that is to keep them both stored somewhere that is secure. Your guns and ammunition are investments in your safety, your hobbies, and your future. Protect them.