Using the right storage techniques is one of the best ways to keep your possessions in good condition. But when it comes to guns, your storage choices can also have serious safety implications.

“The most important thing is to keep your firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” said Allen Forkner, spokesperson for Cannon Safe.

Prepare Your Firearms

Guns are major investments and they often carry sentimental value, so before you store your guns, thoroughly clean and treat them according to the recommendations in the owner’s manual, advised Forkner.

Don’t have the manual? Apply a very light coat of oil on all the gun’s surfaces, he suggested.

Unless you need to quickly bring your gun into action, you should always unload firearms before storage as an added safety measure.

 Photo Courtesy Cannon Safe
Photo Courtesy Cannon Safe

Avoid Cases and Sleeves

One of the biggest mistakes Forkner sees is when gun owners store firearms in padded sleeves and cases that are only intended for transport.

Often the material in these cases absorbs moisture from the air and puts it directly in contact with the guns, he explained. So avoid wrapping or covering your guns and instead give them exposure to sufficient air flow.

Choose a Stable Environment

Pay attention to the moisture levels in the area where you’re storing your gun. Too much moisture can cause rust to form, while too little can lead to cracking.

A 50% humidity level and 70 degree temperature setting provide the ideal storage conditions, said Forkner. If you aren’t able to maintain 70 degrees, simply keeping the temperature steady is your best bet.

“The fluctuation between hot and cold is what causes the materials to expand and contract, and it’s that constant expansion and contraction that leads to cracks and damage,” Forkner said.

Gun lock

Secure the Guns

Whether you’re worried about children, burglars or visitors gaining access to your gun collection, always prioritize safety when you’re choosing a storage method – especially in your home.

The National Crime Prevention Council recommends several safety options – including trigger locks that make it impossible to pull the trigger or cable locks that prevent loading and firing. You can also purchase a safe or lockbox that can only be opened with a key or combination.

Gun safes are the most secure options and have the added benefit of holding larger gun collections. They not only keep guns protected from unauthorized users, but top quality safes can also guard against fire for a certain period of time.

“If you can secure [the safes] to the floor or to the wall, that’s even better,” said Forkner.

Storing Guns Outside the Home

While some gun owners prefer to keep their guns outside of their home, the options for this type of storage are limited. Self-storage facilities largely prohibit firearms, but you can find a select few specialty self-storage facilities that have gun cabinets and safes on site.