As a gun owner, a large part of caring for your firearms is how you store them when you're not actively using them. Understanding how to store ammo correctly and secure your guns will allow you to keep them in good condition, extend their life span and ensure they don't fall into the hands of unsupervised children or family members.
Here are a few valuable gun and ammo storage tips from the Wing Tactical team to keep your investments in pristine condition.
What Can Affect Your Guns in Storage?
While you may think that putting your guns in cases is enough to protect them, there is much more to consider in terms of keeping them in good shape. Like any tool or machine, a firearm needs certain conditions for safe storage.
When you're storing rifles or handguns, there are several factors that could impact the health of your gun when you're ready to pick it back up:
- Temperature: Temperature variations can lead to severe firearm damage, including corrosion, wood cracking, and degradation to the pistol grip, handguards and more. The National Rifle Association (NRA) recommends storing your guns at a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the safest environment.
- Humidity: Humidity is the biggest danger to a firearm's appearance and function. Even mild condensation buildup may lead to your guns rusting and seizing up, leading to unwanted malfunctions and damage. Ideally, you want your gun storage to maintain a humidity level of no more than 55%.
- Sunlight: Excess sunlight will cause guns and ammunition to degrade, potentially ruining them in a matter of weeks if they remain exposed. UV rays are extremely dangerous to firearm components like plastic, wood, and anodized or painted finishes.
- Oxidation: Sustained exposure to the open air without a proper container or protective substance can cause metallic parts and brass cases to oxidize. This oxidation can lead to rust, tarnishing, and pitting of metal alloys and protective finishes.
What Should I Store My Guns In?
Properly storing your guns requires specific steps and precautions to ensure they are protected from environmental factors and secured against unauthorized access. No matter how you keep your firearms, they should be in a cool, dry location you can get to quickly and secured in a locked container requiring a key, fingerprints or an RFID frequency for access.
Before storing any of your guns, whether for the short or long term, it's essential to clean them thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, fingerprints or other contaminants. It's also helpful to regularly pull them out of storage from time to time to inspect them and perform any required maintenance, which will help them stay ready for a hunting trip or a visit to the range.
Without a doubt, a gun safe is the best way to store firearms. Storing long guns with the muzzle up will ensure you don't accidentally damage the crown, which can affect accuracy. Before storage, ensure there is no excess lubrication that could run down and stain or damage any nonmetallic components. For all guns, you can utilize moisture-resistant gun socks and storage bags to help prevent rust, dust and corrosion. You might also consider adding a desiccant pack to your safe to keep humidity to a minimum.
Here are some ideas on containers you can use to store your firearms safely:
- Short term: Holster, portable lock boxes, soft gun case, hard gun case
- Long term: Stationary lockbox, locking security cabinet, gun safe
Properly Storing Your Ammo
After safely storing your firearms, it's time to ensure that your ammo storage is secure. While ammunition doesn't expire, poor storage practices could lead to gun powder degradation, case corrosion and overall lower performance of your ammo. Generally, it's wise to keep rounds stored in the original boxes if you know you aren't going to be using them for a while. With proper storage, your ammunition can remain viable for decades.
Storing your ammo in lockable containers will extend its useful life while keeping cartridges out of reach of children or unwanted personnel, which has the potential for accidents and injuries. Even without being loaded in a firearm, ammunition can be dangerous if mishandled or tampered with.
If you're wondering how to store your ammo correctly, consider these tips:
- Store in an area out of the reach of children.
- Find a cool, dry place away from heat and ignition sources, including appliances, electrical components and gas lines.
- Keep ammo separate from your firearms.
- Keep ammunition containers organized and labeled.
- Use reliable locks for security.
Store Your Guns and Ammo Separately
If you use your guns for home protection, you may think it's strange to store your ammo separately from your firearms. However, doing so is the best move if you have kids or regularly have visitors over to your house. Owning a gun is all about being responsible and implementing safety measures to decrease the risk of any accidents. As such, it is best practice to lock your unloaded guns in a secure location away from your ammunition, ensuring only trusted adults are aware of either's presence.
For designated firearms you keep loaded for home defense purposes, it's best to invest in small, sturdy lockboxes you can quickly open with a fingerprint or a code. Place these small storage safes in strategic places around the home, focusing on the areas in which you spend the most time. Using smart home defense gun storage techniques ensures you have the tools you need to protect your family while keeping your firearms secured against unauthorized access.
Of course, it's also wise to ensure your kids have a healthy respect for firearms and are familiar with safe handling practices once they're old enough to understand the responsibility of gun ownership. Using smart gun and ammo storage techniques and talking to your children about gun safety are best used in combination to minimize the chance of accidents in the home.
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