How to Properly Store Your Firearms

Believe it or not:

There are nearly 400 million guns in the hands of Americans. That means, there are MORE guns than people in the United States. That’s crazy. But what’s even more crazy is how there are nearly 400,000 guns stolen from homeowners EVERY year.

And get this: Some of those stolen guns are turned over to criminals and later used in violent crimes. Would you want your gun stolen and given to a criminal to commit a crime? Of course not. That’s why you should properly store your firearms — to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your firearms.

The question is: How do you properly store your firearm?

Safe Storage Spots 

As we’ve already mentioned, gun theft is a big problem in this country due to firearm homeowners not practicing safe gun storage. For example, the most common places homeowners store their firearms are under the bed or in the drawer.

Unfortunately, those aren’t sufficiently safe spots. Think about it: if a child or thief can access your firearm without any form of resistance, then it’s not a safe place to store it. That’s why I recommend storing your firearms in one of the following gun-storage systems:

  • Locked cabinet or closet
  • Gun vault or safe
  • Dedicated storage case


A locked cabinet or closet can be easily fashioned at home with a quick trip to the local hardware store. They’re portable, fully lockable, and provide ample amount of storage capacity. In fact, I’m able to place all of my firearm accessories like my 6.5 Creedmoor scope and night vision optics in it with no problem. However, the simple locking mechanism and thinner gauge of steel (in comparison to gun safes) makes these units affordable (within the $150 – $500 range).

On the contrary, a gun vault or safe offers the most secure way to keep your firearms out of the wrong hands. They’re fireproof, boast thick steel, could be bolted directly into the floor, and come in a variety of locking mechanisms. In other words, they’re nearly burglar-proof.  However, like all things good, there are some downsides going this route. Gun safes cost quite a bit — ranging from $300 to over $2,000 easily. But the investment will pay itself off.

Lastly, a lockable storage case — whether hard or soft — may be the best compromise in price, safety, and accessibility for people that are always moving their gun (or want quick-access to their firearms). For example, I’m always moving my rifles around — whether I’m out hunting or target shooting at the range. Using a storage case keeps my firearm safe and allows me to easily carry it with me wherever I go.

Once you’ve selected your gun-storage system, it’s time to look at how to actually store your firearm.

Storing Your Firearm

Before we get into the details on how to store your firearm, we need to make sure your firearm is clean.

Even after a day of shooting at the range or a hunting trip, it’s best to clean your firearm as soon as possible. That way, you don’t forget. Here’s how you clean your gun:

First, invest in a quality firearm lubricant. Then, follow the instructions on the lubricant (involves wiping down your gun). Finally, swab and lubricate the bore of your rifle. (A full how-to on cleaning your gun is beyond the scope of this article, but YouTube is a good place for videos that walk you through the process.)

Now that your firearm is clean and ready-to-go, it’s time to store them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do not store your guns in holsters.
  2. Don’t store your firearms in the original box it came in. Cardboard will literally absorb moisture and as a result, your firearm will rust.
  3. Avoid storing your firearm in gun cases for a period of time. Gun cases are designed as short-term storages, not long-term. The reason? Water may seep in through the linings.
  4. Do not store your firearm with your ammunition.
  5. Make sure the gun is unloaded prior to storage.
  6. Store guns horizontally, or with the muzzle pointing downward.
  7. If you’re storing your rifle optics, make sure they’re covered. This ensures your riflescope remains clean.
  8. Gun storage area should be cool, dry and clean.

Long-Term Gun Storage

Do you plan on stashing away your handgun, rifle, or smart gun until next year? Perhaps you’re bugging out and need to leave some guns behind. Here are few tips that’ll help keep your firearm in tip-top shape:

1.   Say Goodbye to Gun Safe Moisture

A firearm’s worst enemy is rust. Just like how dementors suck the life of human happiness, rust too sucks the life (bluing and corroding) of your firearm over time. And guess what causes rust?


That said, one of the best ways to remove water from your gun-storage system is to use a dehumidifier. Look it up online, buy one that suits your budget, and place it into your safe. This will help keep firearm’s worst enemy (water) out.

2.   Ever Use Gun Oil?

If you haven’t, you’re missing out.

Gun oil — like CLP or Rem Oil — will help keep your gun in pristine condition in the long run. Why? Because it’s designed to do so. It helps prevent rust, cleans dirt and grime, reduces corrosion and so much more.

3.   Don’t Touch Your Gun’s Private Spot

What? You didn’t know your gun had a private spot?

Yessir, it actually does — the barrel. You see, your skin produces oil — oil that is harmful to metal. And when you touch the barrel of your firearm with your bare hands, it leaves a nasty oily residue that’ll cause rust spots.

In fact, I’ve personally seen guns that came out of the safe with rusty fingerprints in the metal all because the person grabbed it by the barrel with his bare hands. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, just wear a pair of gloves (that’s lightly coated with oil) when transporting your firearm into the safe.

4.   Check up

Check up on your firearms every two months or so to make sure everything is okay. I mean, you’re going to have to do it anyways if you’re using a dehumidifier. Either way, it’s always better safe than sorry.

Wrapping it Up

Put these steps on how to properly store your firearm into practice.

First, pick a gun-storage system based on your needs and requirements. Whether it’s a gun safe or a steel cabinet, I’m sure you’ll find one that’ll suit your desires.

Next, practice safe gun storage by following the tips outlined above. Lastly, if you intend on storing your firearm for a couple of months, use the steps I mentioned under the long-term gun storage section.

And that’s it! Now I’d like to hear from you:

How do you store you firearms? Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

Author Bio:

Richard Douglas is the founder of Scopes Field, a blog where he reviews various firearms and optics. He’s a strong 2nd amendment advocate and believes in science-backed gun solutions to our nation’s biggest problems.

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