gun and ammunition with targets

Why Store Ammo and Guns Separately

Estimates vary, but a 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that about 30% of American adults own a gun. This translates to roughly 72 million adults. With so many people owning guns, accidents are inevitable. According to the CDC, in recent years, there have been around 500 to 600 unintentional firearm deaths per year. The causes vary, but proper storage of guns and ammo can significantly reduce these numbers. Most experts recommend storing ammo and guns separately. In this post, we'll dive into why and how you need to store your guns and ammo separately.

Why Is It Important To Safely Store Ammunition Separately From Guns?


gun and ammunition on wooden table
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For gun safety and to reduce the risk of accidental discharge. If guns and ammo are stored together, someone might load the gun and fire it by mistake, which can be dangerous. It also prevents kids and unauthorized people from easily accessing a loaded gun.

How Should You Store Your Guns?


man entering number into safe keypad
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The best place to store your guns is in a gun safe. Look for safes made of heavy-duty steel with strong locks, like combination, biometric, or digital keypad locks. Also, opt for fireproof and waterproof safes. If a safe isn’t an option, you can use a gun cabinet. These are usually less secure than safes but still provide a locked storage space. Always lock the cabinet when not in use. Place the safe or cabinet in a dry and cool area to prevent rust and damage to your firearms. Avoid damp basements or hot attics. If you live in a humid area, you can use a dehumidifier.

Before storing your guns in a safe or cabinet, make sure it's unloaded and double-check that there is no ammunition in the chamber, magazine, or cylinder. Also, use a trigger lock or cable lock on your gun. These go over the trigger mechanism and prevent the gun from being fired.

How Should You Store Your Ammunition Properly?


ammunition in ammo box
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To keep ammo safe, most people use metal ammo cans or ammo boxes. These storage devices are typically made from metal, like steel, or plastic, and have sealing mechanisms, like rubber gaskets, to prevent external factors from rusting the ammo. If you don't have ammo cans, you can use a lockable plastic container or a regular lock box. Use silica gel packs inside these containers to keep moisture levels low.

Just like with your guns, store these boxes in a cool, dry place and avoid basements, attics, or garages. Also, keep it away from sunlight, chemicals, or cleaning supplies.

How Long Can You Store Ammo?


pointed bullets displayed
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For 70+ years. However, for peak performance, most people consider its practical shelf life to be around 10 to 15 years. Beyond this time frame, the reliability and effectiveness of the ammunition might decrease, but it can still be usable if safely stored.

How Much Ammo Should You Store?


bullets in bullet case
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For general home defense, experts recommend having at least 100 to 200 rounds per home defense gun. If you use your guns for regular practice at the range, you might want to store 500 to 1,000 rounds per caliber.

Signs Your Ammo Is No Longer Usable


rusted bullets corroded
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Here are some key signs that your ammunition might no longer be safe to use:

  • There's rust or discoloration on the casing or bullets.
  • There are visible signs of damage, like dents, cracks, or dings on the cartridge.
  • There's a strong chemical odor.
  • There's bulging or swelling in the cartridge.
  • The ammo frequently misfires or does not ignite when firing.


Can I use the same safe for both guns and ammunition?

It's recommended to use separate safes or compartments within a safe so you don't loose ammunition.

Are there legal reasons to store guns and ammunition separately?

Yes, in many jurisdictions, laws mandate separate storage of firearms and ammunition to prevent unauthorized use and enhance public safety.


In conclusion, storing ammunition and guns separately is essential for firearm safety and responsible ownership. By following these guidelines, gun owners can create a safer environment for themselves and their communities.

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