How to Properly Clean and Store Your Guns

Guns can be used not only for ensuring personal and family security but also for a fun hobby. But for anyone who owns a gun, safe storage and cleaning as well as proper handling are vital.
Michael Crites


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How to Properly Clean and Store Your Guns

Guns can be used not only for ensuring personal and family security but also for a fun hobby, with America’s rifle, the AR-15 often referred to as “legos for adults“. But for anyone who owns a gun, safe storage and cleaning, as well as proper handling, are vital.

By taking steps to make sure that guns are stored and cleaned correctly, gun owners can guarantee years of accident-free use with guns that hold their value, quality, and accuracy.

cleaning and caring for a a firearm

How to Safely Store Guns


Gun owners will want to ensure that their guns are easily accessible when they need them, but it’s even more important that they are stored safely away from children and other family members who might misuse them.

Lock Box

A lock box is one of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to safely store a gun. Lock boxes can be bought in a wide variety of sizes and styles and can be fitted with a padlock or a built-in combination lock. Children should never be given the combination or have access to the key.

Gun Cabinet

gun cabinet is a great option for those with one or more long guns. These cabinets can also serve as a decorative piece of furniture within a home, and they come with locks so that easy access is not an issue. However, if your gun cabinet has a glass front, keep in mind that it may not deter a determined thief.

Gun Storage Bag

For those who want to store their guns tucked away under a bed or mattress or on a closet shelf, these bags are a great option. They are often made of leather or heavy canvas and can be locked closed with a small padlock. These bags come in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors to suit any needs.

Gun Storage Case

Gun storage cases are made specifically for guns and often have a protective, padded insert that fits a specific type or style of gun. There are storage cases made specifically for vehicles as well as for mounting to a bedside table. Biometric locks are a common option on these cases.

Tips to Follow for Safe Gun Storage at Home

When keeping any guns at home, especially if children are ever present in the home, it is the responsibility of the gun owner to ensure that the guns are stored safely away.

  • Safe Storage: Read all about safe gun storage and why it’s important to stow weapons safely when they’re not in use.
  • Gun Safety for Kids: Kids can use this resource to learn about guns and how to be safe around them.
  • Firearm Safety: Adults and kids can learn a lot from this article on firearm safety.

Keep Your Firearms Unloaded

Guns should always be stored unloaded, and ideally, the ammunition should be kept in a separate place. Keeping the guns and ammunition in separate places means that if someone somehow did get access to the guns, they wouldn’t be able to use them, which lessens the risk of an accidental discharge resulting in injury or death.

Handle Your Firearms Safely at Home

Learn good gun safety practices, and follow them at all times. First, a gun should never be pointed at anyone or anything that you don’t intend to shoot. Second, a gun should always be treated as if it is loaded, even when it isn’t. Third, if a gun is new to its owner, the owner is responsible for learning about its proper use and storage before handling the gun. Finally, alcohol and guns should never be mixed, and if someone has been drinking, they should avoid handling any firearm.

Store Weapons Safely in a Locked Cabinet or Gun Safe

Keep guns under lock and key to prevent access by children. When a child has unsupervised access to a gun, the situation can quickly turn deadly, and the owner may also be legally liable for the consequences.

Invest in a Dehumidifier to Prevent Them From Rusting

If a gun is stored in a humid location, it may rust over time. Not only does this weaken the gun’s accuracy and decrease its value, but it can also make it dangerous to handle. The best way to guard against this is to invest in a gun safe dehumidifier, but there are inexpensive options as well, like using silica gel packets.

Clean Your Guns and Use Protective Sleeves for Long-Term Storage

It’s important to clean your guns before storing them, and you should also place them in protective sleeves that can help to keep away rust and dust.

Tips for Long-Term Gun Storage

  • Take guns apart for storage, and store them as broken down as possible.
  • Thoroughly clean guns of any dirt, debris, oil, and fingerprints before storing them.
  • Cleaning should include cleaning the bore of the gun.
  • Treat all wood stocks with wax before storage.
  • One way to protect a gun in storage is to keep it in a silicon-treated gun sock.
  • Store long guns barrel-down so no oil can seep into parts it shouldn’t be in.
  • Keep guns stored away from humidity: Not only can humidity exposure result in rust, but it can also cause the stock to crack if this exposure happens for a long time.
  • Do not store a gun in a sheepskin-lined case; sheepskin attracts moisture.
  • Do not store guns in their original box; boxes can attract moisture and also weaken over time.

A Beginner’s Guide to How to Clean a Gun

cleaning a gun

Consult the Manual

When buying other large-ticket items, it may be no big deal to not know what the manual says, but when you’re buying a gun, it’s imperative to read the entire manual. These manuals provide not only basic information on how to operate the firearm but also detailed instructions for disassembling, cleaning, and storing the gun.

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get to Work

Before a gun can be properly cleaned, you’ll need to assemble your tools and supplies. These include a cleaning rod, a caliber-specific bore brush, jags, swabs, mops, brushes, patches, cloths, a bore snake, and the appropriate cleaning chemicals. You might also need a drip pan to catch residue. Safety gloves and goggles are also recommended when cleaning a gun.

How to Clean a Gun in a Few Basic Steps

Clean the Barrel and Chamber

  • Use a dry brush to clean metal and carbon from the bore.
  • Use a cleaning patch to saturate the chamber and bore surface with solvent, and let this sit for 15 minutes.
  • Alternate using a bore brush and cleaning patch until all residue is gone
  • Lubricate the gun, taking care not to use gun oil on the bore.
  • Clean the outside of the gun.

Clean and Lubricate the Action

  • This step will vary some between different guns, but you’ll typically need a nylon brush, dry cloth, and cleaning solvent.
  • Once the action is clean, be sure to lubricate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Don’t Forget the Magazines

  • It’s just as important to keep the magazine clean as it is the gun itself.
  • Use caution, as magazines are spring-loaded.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not use petroleum-based products.

Reassemble the Firearm and Perform a Function Check

Anytime a gun has been cleaned or disassembled in any way, you’ll want to do a function check. The procedure for this should be in your gun’s manual.

Wipe Down the Outside of the Gun

A gun cloth that is pre-treated with silicone lubricant is the perfect tool to wipe down the outside of a gun.

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