In this guest post, Richard Douglas offers a guide to safely storing your firearms, specifically addressing:

  • Training your family about firearm safety.
  • Three different gun-storage systems.
  • Preparing your firearm for storage.

Let’s get started.

Training Your Family

Before I show you the three proven gun-storage systems, I’d like to start off with this: Train your family to follow basic gun safety rules. This is the most important tip I can give you. Practicing safe gun-storage is great and all, but let’s face it, you’re bound to make a mistake. One day you might forget to lock your safe… or maybe your child figures out the combination to your gun safe. There are many potential problems, and the best way to prevent storage-related tragedies is to ensure that your family understands these four rules of gun safety:

  1. Handle every firearm as if it were loaded.
  2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  3. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
  4. Be aware of your target and what is behind it.

Once every family member understands the fundamentals to gun safety, the next step is to invest in a safe storage. Choose a storage option big enough to comfortably contain all of your firearms, from your Glock 17 all the way up to your AR with the perfect scope for AR-10. You might need a gun safe — they come in many different shapes and sizes. Or, a gun case might better suit your needs. Some prefer to keep things simple, with a trigger lock.

The Gun Safe

If you own a lot of guns (like myself), you might want to invest in a gun safe.

Gun Safe

Gun safes are hands-down the most secure gun storage option there is. They’re (practically) theft-proof, (almost) fireproof and (mostly) childproof. Gun safes are available in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some even feature advanced tech like biometrics and radio frequency identification.

The downside is that gun safes are relatively expensive — ranging from $300 to over $3,000. But they’re totally worth the investment.

If you’re looking to purchase a safe, consider the following points:

  • Steel Thickness – Steel uses the reverse scale. Meaning, an 8 gauge steel is thicker than 9, 10, or 11 gauge. The thicker the safe, the more it’ll cost.
  • Fire Rating – No safe is truly fireproof, but if you want your safe to be fire resistant, then look for a safe with a high fire rating.
  • Warranty – Want to protect your investment? Then make sure to buy a safe that comes with a warranty. You could also extend the warranty if you’re willing to spend more money.
  • Shelfs & Racks – Some safes are basic, empty boxes, but some include neat shelves and racks that help protect the finish of your firearms (by allowing air to circulate) and offer a stable resting position for the firearm.
  • Locking Mechanism – There are gun safes that feature advanced tech like biometrics and RFI. If you want a safe with features like these, then be prepared to spend more.
  • Exterior – Color and exterior finish differ from safe to safe. Some are plain, while others have a custom finish.

In short: the fancier the tech, upholstery and paint job are, the higher the cost.

But what if you’re looking for something portable and cheaper? Then buy a…

Gun Case

John Wick knows what’s up:

John Wick's Gun Case

John Wick accessing Gun Case (Photo via John Wick Movie)

In comparison to gun safes, gun cases are more portable, cheaper, and available in just about any size or shape. You can get yourself a solid case for anywhere between $50 to over $400. Alternatively, if you want to cheap out and spend no more than $20, then get a…

Trigger Lock

A trigger locks is exactly what the name suggests — a lock placed on the trigger of a gun to prevent it from firing.

Trigger Lock

Trigger Lock (Photo via FJMsecurity)

You’ll find these locks on almost any new gun you purchase from a manufacturer. Trigger locks are simple (and affordable), but not ideal as a firearm storage solution. You should never install a trigger lock on a loaded firearm, because the device comes into direct contact with the trigger and this could which could lead to an unintentional discharge. Plus, trigger locks don’t offer much physical protection or deter theft. So keep that in mind when deciding which gun-storage system to choose.

How to Properly Store Your Firearm

Guns are an investment. And like any investment, you want make sure it’s secure. Here are a few tips that’ll keep your firearms in tip-top shape while in storage:

  • Humidity Control
    To put it simply, moisture ruins guns. It causes firearms to rust, creating cosmetic damage (at the least) and making your gun unusable (at worst). To prevent moisture from building up in your safe, use a dehumidifier. These machines do a great job keeping your safe dry. And here’s the best part: they aren’t expensive at all. Make sure to invest in a dehumidifier for your safe.
  • Use Gun Oil
    Gun oil also protects your gun from rust. It cleans the firearm and protects the metal. I personally use high-quality CLPs and they work really good for me. However, if you’re unsure of using a CLP, then use Rem Oil (a solid metal protectant). Whatever oil you choose, don’t use WD-40. It oxidizes quickly and turns yellow. Instead, use a long-term gun oil like Rem oil.
  • Avoid Skin Oils
    One of the worst things you can do to your firearm is grab it by the barrel (with your bare hands) before storing in your safe. If you do that, be prepared to see your gun suffer from rusty fingerprints on the metal. The reason? Because your hand is oily. And that oil is harmful for the firearm’s metal. Instead, I’d recommend wearing a pair of gloves (with a light coat of oil) to move your firearm into the safe.

Now that you know how to properly store your firearm, here are a few additional…

Firearm Storage Tips

Safety is a priority, especially if you have children at home. To maximize firearm safety, here are a few tips to ensure your firearms are safely stored:

  • Store your firearms and ammunition separately.
  • Use a storage location that children can’t reach and that is secured with a lock.
  • Guns and magazines should be unloaded (when placed in the storage).
  • Hide the gun storage’s keys or combinations in a secure (or well-hidden) location.
  • Use a cable lock (or any gun-locking devices) as an extra step of security.
  • Before placing a firearm in the storage, double check the firearm to confirm it’s unloaded.

Now Its Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my article on how to safely store your firearm. Now I’d like to hear from you: How are you going to store your firearm?

Author Bio:
Richard Douglas, a gun and scope expert that runs his blog Scopes Field, shares 3 ways to safely store your firearm. Richard has been featured on various publications like NEWSREP, Burris Optics, ODU Magazine, The Loadout Room, Boyds Gun Stocks and more.