How Should I Store My Guns?

By Richard Douglas
Posted in #Gear
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How Should I Store My Guns?

June 13th, 2020

7 minute read

Guns are a huge investment — both financially and physically. That’s why a lot of us dedicate large sums of money and time to firearms training. Equally important, however, is investing in a proper gun storage system to keep our guns safe and ready when needed. In this article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about firearm storages. So, let’s dive right in!

A good quality firearm, like this Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP, deserves quality protection — like this Vaultek LifePod case.

What is Firearm Storage?

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) site:

“…A safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box, or other device that is designed to be or can be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means.”

In layman’s terms:

It’s a device intended to keep your firearm safe.

Common Gun Storage Options

There are numerous ways of storing your firearm. For example, there are trigger locks, gun cases, gun safes, concealment safes, lock boxes and more. The question is:

Which safe gun-storage system is best for you? It depends on your budget, type of firearm you own, local gun safety laws, and accessibility of the firearm. For example, competitive shooters may desire portability for traveling. A collector would probably want a gun storage that can hold lots of guns. Gun users that use gun accessories like a Vortex Strike Eagle optic would want extra slots. Home defenders worry about speed of access.

While you might have a holster for your carry gun, do you have a means to safely store the firearm when it’s not in use?

You get the idea — the right gun storage system is different for everyone. That said, let’s break down the most common gun storage options, starting with…

Gun Cases

Gun cases are designed to protect one (or more) firearms from physical damage and provide portability. These cases can be affordable and easy to store. If you’re in the market looking to buy a gun case, you’ll notice there are two categories gun cases fall into:

  • Hard Cases
  • Soft Cases

The difference? Hard cases are more secure than soft cases. That also means they’re bulkier, heavier and more expensive. On the other hand, soft cases are lighter and quieter. So, which one should you choose?

A hard case like this one can offer safe and secure protection for your firearm.

If you’re looking for heavy-duty protection, opt-in for a hard case. However, if you want a lighter case and intend on bringing it with you in the woods, then go for a soft case. Whatever case you choose, keep in mind that gun cases are designed to transport firearms (or be used for short-term storage). You shouldn’t store firearms in gun cases long-term because moisture can enter, causing rust. If you’re looking for a long-term storage unit, then get a…

Gun Safe

Gun safes are the most secure gun storage option on this list. It’s designed to be burglar-proof. If a thief breaks into your house and encounters a gun safe, they’ll probably leave it alone. Think about it:

The complex locking mechanism (like biometrics and radio frequency identification), the heavy-gauge steel, weight, and the possibility of the safe bolted directly into concrete flags one message: You won’t have an easy time getting through me.

A gun safe, while expensive, ensures reliable protection of your guns and gear.

That’s why you should invest in a gun safe — to safely secure your firearm (especially if you have more than one). Gun safes do cost a pretty penny — ranging from $300 to over $4,000. But the investment is well worth it. If you’re looking into buying a safe, here are a few price-changing details to keep an eye out for:

Locking Mechanism: In my opinion, the quality of the lock is just as important as the safe’s thickness. That said, there are a couple of locking mechanisms you can get while choosing your gun safe, like: Electronic, mechanical, redundant and biometric locks. Which one should you choose? It’s completely up to you. Electronic locks are easier to access than spin dial locks, however, they can be more expensive.

Fire Rating: Anything could happen — including a fire erupting in your home or at your business. That’s why you should invest in a gun safe that is fire-resistant. The problem? Not all safes are fire-resistant. And not all of them have the same amount of fire rating.

A good, quality safe like this Cannon American Eagle series model will ensure safe storage of your valuables.

The question is: How much fire rating should you get? On average, it’ll take one hour for an American house to burn to the ground (without firefighters intervening). That said, it’d be best if you bought a safe that can survive an hour or more at 1,300 degrees. If you’re on a budget, then select a gun safe that has the longest fire rating you can afford.

Steel Thickness: If you want a secure safe that deters robbers with hammers or screwdrivers, then make sure to get a safe that is heavily constructed. Meaning, avoid thin metal frames that are constructed from 14 to 20 gauges. Instead, aim for a steel gauge of at least 10 (preferably 8 or 6). Also, do know that steel is gauged using the reverse scale. This means a 9-gauge steel is thicker than 12, 14 or 15 gauge.

How to Properly Store Your Firearm

You’ve just bought a gun storage system and installed it in your home. What’s next? Learning how to properly store your firearm(s) in the safe. Here’s how you do it, starting with…

Remove Gun Safe Moisture: A firearm’s worst enemy is rust. Rust will literally destroy bluing and corrode your gun over time. So…what causes rust and how can I fix it?

Moisture causes rust, hence why you should remove gun safe moisture. That said, here’s an effective way to removing moisture from a safe:

Invest in a dehumidifier. It’s an electric gadget that automatically removes moisture from the air. It works like a vacuum — it sucks in the air, removes the moisture (placing it into a collection tank), and blows the air back out. Pretty cool, right? Just remember to set a calendar reminder every month or so (depending on the product you purchase) to check the battery life and water tank.   

Use Gun Oil: Gun oil is the good stuff. It has some pretty neat properties that’ll increase the longevity of your firearm like:

  • Reducing adhesion of abrasives (like grit and sand)
  • Prevents formation of rust while protecting metal surfaces from moisture
  • Could uphold in extreme environments

Personally, I like using all-in-one CLP (clean, lubricate, protect) type cleaner. Whatever option you choose, make sure to avoid using WD-40. It oxidizes quite quickly and starts to turn yellow. Not good. 

Avoid Skin-to-Metal Contact: Your gun has a sensitive spot: anything that is metal. It doesn’t like being touched there before hibernating in the gun storage. Why? Because your hand is oily. And your body oils are very harmful to metal.

In fact, it’ll cause rusty fingerprint spots on the gun’s metal if stored for a period of time. The good news? The solution is super easy. Just wear a pair of gloves (lightly coated with oil) when moving your firearm into the gun storage.

Check-in: Two months has passed and the reminder you set to check your dehumidifier has been alerted. What’s next?

First, take out your dehumidifier and check the battery life along with the water storage to see if it needs maintenance. Then, pull out each gun from the safe and inspect them. The purpose is to double check your cleaning regimen to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Have extra time? Check your firearm’s accessories like night vision optics or red dot sight for additional cleaning. If everything pins out, then put back your guns into the safe (remember to wear gloves) and set the next calendar reminder.

While your gun might serve to protect you, you must protect it when it’s not in use.

Firearm Storage Tips

Here are a few extra tips to ensure your firearms are safely stored:

  • Don’t leave your firearm out in the open or in places where they can be accessed by unauthorized individuals (like children).
  • Instead, use a dedicated gun storage (like a gun safe, locking steel cabinet, gun case, etc.) that is secured with a lock.
  • Ensure gun is unloaded prior to storing it in the storage.
  • Keep firearm ammunition in a separate location and away from flammables.
  • Store ammunition in a dry environment to prevent corrosion.
  • If you have optics, make sure they’re covered to prevent dust falling on the lenses. That way, your riflescope stays clean.
  • As an extra safety precaution, use a trigger lock or cable lock when firearms are stored.
  • Store guns horizontally (or with muzzle pointing downward).
  • Gun storage area should be dry, clean and cool. 
However you store your gun, make sure it’s in a reliable and safe storage system — like this Vaultek handgun safe.


I’m a huge advocate of safe gun storage practice.

Just like how most gun owners buy a gun for protection, all gun owners should buy a quality safe to prevent (or at least lesson the possibility of) gun theft and keeping it away from unauthorized individuals. Whatever your storage requirements or budget may be, I’m sure you’ll find a secure gun storage method that’ll fit your need.

Editor’s Note: This article was shared with us by Richard Douglas and originally appeared here. Also, be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Richard Douglas

Richard Douglas

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in various large publications including The National Interest, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, SOFREP, and more. In his free time, he reviews various optics and guns on his Scopes Field blog.

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