Storing Guns and Firearms: Everything You Need to Know

September 01, 2022 7 min read

Guns stored on Spartan Mounts

Whether we’re talking about an antique that belonged to your grandfather or your favorite firearm to take to the range every week, appropriate storage is paramount. You want to comply with any laws where you live while preventing damage, theft, and most importantly, accidental discharge or heightened danger in the event of a break-in.

Beyond those basic principles, the ideal storage looks for each gun in your collection may look different depending on an array of other factors.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this particular firearm?
  • How often will I transport it?
  • How long will it be in storage?
  • What balance of accessibility vs. security is best for my household?

Then, use this as a guide to narrow down the best gun storage options for you.


The Benefits of Proper Firearm Storage

Adequate storage of guns isn’t just about having a place to put away firearms the same way you’d organize other equipment in the kitchen, shed, or garage. Aside from being valuable, firearms can pose a lethal hazard in the wrong hands.

Here are all the reasons gun owners need to carefully consider the perfect storage. 

Protects your guns from rusting

Humid climates and other conditions can put your property at risk for damage like rust. Maybe you want to prevent damage from a house fire. It’s also wise to have protective storage for guns that you transport regularly.

Keeps your firearms safe

Since guns are often valuable and are illegal for certain high-risk individuals to obtain, improperly stored guns can be a target for theft. If someone broke in trying to steal unsecured firearms, they would pose an extra threat. So you should always store firearms so they’re virtually impossible to steal. 

Makes your guns easily accessible 

If you have any guns for home defense, know the tricks of keeping your guns and ammo secure, yet easy for you to get to in an emergency, when every second counts.

Spartan Blog: How to Store a Gun for Quick Access

Gun maintenance

Keeping firearms in sealed containers that keep out dust and moisture may slightly reduce how often you need to clean them. On the other hand, displaying firearms means more frequent cleaning but makes it easier to remember routine maintenance.

Easily display your gun collection

Safe display lets you appreciate your collection every day, keeping it accessible to you but not to anyone who shouldn’t have access to firearms.

Spartan Blog: Gun Display Ideas

Spartan Blog: Gun Wall Ideas

Keeps you and your household safe

Storing firearms and ammo correctly rules out the chances of accidental discharge. It’s a necessary layer of protection that keeps you, your family (particularly kids), and visitors safe.

Keeps you legal in areas with Child Access Prevention laws

In some states, Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws mandate cautious gun storage practices, for instance, locking containers. Know what the laws are where you live, so you can choose storage that complies and protects you from criminal liability in the worst case scenario.

Spartan Blog: How to Store a Gun for Home Defense


Short-Term Gun Storage Ideas

Short-term storage is for your daily carry or for transporting guns somewhere like a hunting trip or the shooting range. While you’re still prioritizing safety, you might favor portability in this case.

Soft Gun Case

This isn’t ideal, especially for household storage, since it’s not very secure. A soft gun case also offers little protection from damage. But a soft gun case is the most lightweight and compact option when traveling, especially if you’re bringing multiple firearms.

Portable Lock Box

A portable lock box is fine for putting away your daily carry at the end of the day or securely taking a handgun in your car. Ideally, you’ll want padding inside. That way, you get a combination of security, quick household access, portability, and damage prevention.

Hard Gun Case

Compared to soft cases, hard gun cases are a safer way to store long guns short-term. They’re secure, and your firearm won’t sustain damage in transit. Plus, hard gun cases are usually lighter than lock boxes large enough to store rifles and shotguns.  


Long-Term Gun Storage Ideas

For long-term storage, you need to think about different factors. Instead of portability or easy access, look for higher security and protection from moisture, temperature changes, and fire.

Lock Box or Small Safe

A lock box or general-purpose safe will work for long-term storage, especially if you can find something fireproof and bolt it to the floor to avoid theft. 

Gun Cabinet

For long guns and larger collections, a gun cabinet secured to the floor will do. It’s not as strong as a safe, but it may be more affordable and less bulky. 

Gun Safe

Gun safes are the gold standard for long-term gun storage. Many are fireproof, protect against humidity and temperature changes, and are nearly impossible to break into. 

Gun Room

With climate control and extensive security measures, a gun room lets you keep your guns safe from theft and damage without stashing them away. You can mount your collection on walls or racks to enjoy them for convenient periodic cleaning and maintenance. 

Spartan Blog: Small Gun Room Ideas

Spartan Blog: DIY Gun Storage Ideas


Gun Storage Dos and Don'ts

Here are some additional tips for short- and long-term gun storage:


  • Throw in a couple of silica gel packets
  • Clean and maintain guns every 2-4 months and after shooting
  • Before storing a gun, carefully wipe it down after handling
  • Keep long guns barrel-down for long-term storage to prevent oil seeping
  • Organize cabinets, safes, and gun rooms using racks and mounts
  • Store ammunition separately, away from possible sources of heat/ignition (appliances and electrical components including outlets)
  • Add cable/trigger locks for good measure
  • Take extra care storing guns around children


  • Leave guns out in the open, unsecured
  • Store guns loaded, chambered, or in the same place as ammunition
  • Store guns in humid climates with rapid/extreme temperature changes
  • Use cardboard or flimsy plastic boxes
  • Rely only on soft gun cases/pistol rugs, sheepskin or foam lined cases for long-term storage (moisture)
  • Forget regular cleaning and maintenance


So, Where Is the Best Place to Store a Gun?

Ultimately, when deciding how to safely store a firearm, there are a few crucial best practices, and some things that come down to preference.

As much as possible, you should keep all guns away from ammunition, somewhere that protects from unauthorized access to firearms (especially by kids) or theft, temperature changes, dust, moisture, heat, and potential sources of fire.


What to Consider When Choosing Where to Store Your Guns

Let’s go over some more variables that might come into play when choosing where to store your guns.


Are you storing your daily carry, home defense gun, your favorite one to bring to the range for practice, hunting firearms, or antiques? In some cases, you may want to display your collection, sometimes portable storage is appropriate, or you may prefer crafty but accessible ways to store home defense firearms and ammo.

Security of the premises

If you have a very secure gun room, you have more options, and it may be safe to store guns outside of a storage container. In any case, think hard about the likelihood of a criminal getting into your home and any specific storage location you’re considering.

For instance, some of the first places burglars go after breaking into a home are the garage, living room, dining room, office, and master bedroom.

Spartan Blog: Hidden Gun Storage Ideas

Type and design

Obviously, it’s easier to store smaller handguns as opposed to long guns. The best way to store rifles that are large or irregularly-shaped may be an even larger or custom-shaped case. 

Consider each firearm’s materials, particularly wooden stocks, which are extra susceptible to damage from moisture and temperature fluctuations and may do better in an airtight/moisture-resistant case.


Some gun owners feel fine having their guns out of sight and relatively out of mind. On the other hand, if you keep a gun to protect your house, there’s a science to balancing accessibility to your firearm storage, where you know where it is can get to it quickly, but unauthorized persons cannot.


Budget is a factor for most people. But if you can afford one or more guns, you can afford reasonably safe storage methods. Some cable/trigger locks are available for as little as $10, many lock boxes and gun cabinets are affordable, and you can easily put a lock on a closet door.

Available space

Before investing in a larger storage solution like a cabinet or safe, make sure it’ll fit in the space you’re planning on keeping it. Also, make sure firearms are neatly organized and mounted inside gun rooms, cabinets, and safes to maximize space.

Quality of materials

If you skimp and get a storage container with cheap materials, your firearms may be more vulnerable to theft or damage. Likewise, you don’t want to risk your guns falling down due to iffy racks or mounts.


FAQs About Storing Guns

How long will bullets last in storage?

Most ammunition manufacturers guarantee a shelf life of at least a decade, but actually intend ammo to last much longer than that. Ammo shelf life can vary based on materials and storage conditions.

Is it safe to store loose ammo?

No. Use an ammunition container or something similar.

How big of a gun storage do I need?

This depends on the size of your firearms and how many you have or expect to have in the future.

Can I store my guns and ammo together?

No. Store all ammo separately from guns unless they are both locked in a gun room or safe.

Where can I store my guns without safe?

General purpose safes, lock boxes, gun cabinets, hidden compartments, gun rooms, gun cases, locked closets, and tactical furniture can all be somewhat safe gun storage practices.

Spartan Blog: Best Ways to Store Guns Without a Safe

How to store guns so they do not rust without a safe

To prevent rust, keep your guns in a dry place with a stable temperature, ideally in a moisture-resistant case. Clean and maintain your guns every 2-4 weeks.


Does your state have any safe storage laws?

Although many states don’t have safe gun storage laws or CAPs, safe storage is always imperative. Keep yourself and your household safe while minimizing the possibility of theft, because it’s the right thing to do. Plus, your collection is an investment, so you should do your best to rule out any kind of damage.

Has considering your firearms’ purpose and frequency of use gotten you thinking about the best long and short-term storage for you? If your storage preference works best with racks and/or mounts, shop firearm wall mounts online with Spartan Mounts.