Best Way to Store Guns Without a Safe

As a gun owner, it is paramount that you to learn how to ensure that the gun is safe and ready for use when needed.

How you store the guns is the first determinant of how safe the firearms and everyone around them will be.

Ideally, the best place to store them is in a gun safe. However, even if don’t have a gun safe, the gun should not be stored randomly like any other tool. Storing guns haphazardly exposes the lives of everyone around to risk. Luckily, it is possible to have guns stored safely even without a gun safe.

Below are simple but effective ways on how to safely store your guns when you do not have a safe and ensure that they are safe from kids and others.

Gun Locks

 Trigger lock

Usually a two-piece, inexpensive lock that clamps on either side of the trigger and locks in such a way that, if properly installed, it prevents anyone (child or adult) from being able to pull the trigger back far enough to fire the gun.

  • Be sure the trigger lock is the right one for your weapon! Some trigger locks may not be compatible with your gun because the mechanism will not fit properly behind the trigger to prevent it from being pulled and firing the gun.
  • Be sure the lock is sturdy. Some trigger locks can easily be smashed and removed from the gun without the lock being opened.
  • Remember: The lock is only as secure as the precautions you take to protect the key or combination.

 Barrel lock

This device typically works by looping a high-strength steel cable and a blocking piece of metal through the barrel of the gun.

  • The device locks, sometimes through the trigger guard, with either a combination or a key lock. However, a hacksaw or a cable and bolt cutter can be used to sever the cable and disable the lock.
  • As with the trigger lock, poor security with respect to key or combination can render the lock useless.
  • Barrel locks are somewhat more expensive than a trigger lock.
  • The Safe Storage MEDIA Campaign has recently partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to support “Project HomeSafe” which is giving out 3 million cable locks to help gun owners securely store their weapons. Cable locks will be distributed through local law enforcement in participating states. See Project HomeSafe site for participating cities.

Trigger locks are some of the most affordable and simple options for storing guns and keep them away from unauthorized users. In fact, most of the guns that you will currently buy come along with a trigger lock right in the box. They are also available in many places at a low price. Some community programs even offer trigger locks for free.

Ideally, the trigger lock locks the trigger of the gun to prevent the gun from loading. However, the locks take different forms, each of whom has various functions. For instance, there is a trigger shoe clamp. This trigger lock clamps down around the triggering house or the trigger to prevent it from being manipulated.

Considering these triggers come into direct contact with the gun trigger, always ensure that you unload the gun before installing them.

Lockboxes and Security Cases

Lockboxes are safe boxes that are available in the market and are used for various purposes. More often than not, they keep essential documents and money safe. However, they are also big enough to accommodate guns, especially the smaller ones.

Additionally, lock boxes can also be used to store some gun components such as extended mags or ammo. Ideally, the lockboxes have two types of locks. There is the everyday lock, and the other is the pin lock. The pin lock is considered the safest among the two though it is rarely used.

On the other hand, there are security cases, which are an effort by the manufacturers to provide you with gun-finish and anti-theft gun cabinet. The cases also ensure portability of long-gun and handgun carrying cases.

The cost of security cases varies depending on the level of technology used to construct them. However, they are the best choice for you if you want to have storage that will guarantee quick access to firearms.

This is generally a sturdy, high-grade steel box, often reinforced with some other metal. It may be opened either with a key or a combination.

  • Some gun boxes have button combinations recessed into a handgrip built into the box itself. This recessed button-operated panel makes it difficult, if not impossible, for an observer to figure out the combination by watching the user open or close the box.
  • A gun stored in a gun box (like guns locked with a trigger lock or barrel lock) can still be moved from the location where the owner has stored it, unless the box is bolted to the floor to eliminate that mobility.
  • Most well-made boxes have hinges on the inside to make tampering and forcing the box open more difficult.
  • Gun boxes are generally more expensive than barrel and trigger locks.

Gun Cases

Gun cases are special kind of cases that are specifically designed for storage of guns. They are readily available in many local sporting goods and come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. This allows you to purchase the best for your gun in accordance to its shape.

Prices of gun cases vary depending on the type of construction used on the case. The soft and hard-side cases are legally used for the transportations of guns.

Gun cases are the most preferred method of gun storage by most people as they are portable, affordable, compact not to mention easy to store.

The cases can withstand all kind of external damage and keep the gun safe. However, some of the materials used to construct gun cases can be easily destroyed by edged tools. For this reason, when purchasing gun cases, ensure that you are careful with the kind of material that you choose. Picking a cheap material in the interest of saving money could end up causing more harm than good.

Locking Steel Gun Cabinets

Gun cabinets have an increased level of internal configuration options and storage capacity as compared to other gun storage options. However, it still differs from a gun safe in various ways.

A gun cabinet is a good option if you wish to show off your gun collection. This is because it is designed with an opening which allows you to see through.

Most gun cabinets come in different types and designs for you to select the one that that you’ll find best based on different factors.

For instance, you could consider the number of guns that you intend to store in the cabinet. On the other hand, in case you want to have an attractive way to display the guns, then you can opt for a gun cabinet with beautiful patterns. Otherwise, a robust and straightforward cabinet will be a wise choice.

The size of the cabinet that you will buy will also be determined by several factors. For instance, you could consider the space that you have for the gun cabinet in your house. In case your house is big enough, then you are not limited to the size of the cabinet that you can buy.

Additionally, considering that guns are sensitive to moisture and other external temperatures, ensure that the cabinet that you purchase will protect your gun from such factors. The interior of the cabinet should also be constructed in the right way. That is, the interiors should be well lined to prevent any physical damage to the guns through external force.

Inside A Hollow Space

Though storing your gun in a hollow space is not always advisable, it can be effective at times. One of the greatest advantages of this kind of storage is that it will cost you only a little amount if any. You can opt for space under a bed mattress or a sofa to store the gun. Ensure that you unlock the gun before storing it in the hollow space that you find best. The gun should also be out of sight and reach of kids and other unauthorized users.

You can also opt for the aeration system of your house to serve as the hollow space for hiding the gun. The aeration system is out of reach of intruders and kids. Additionally, in case of a vulgar attack, it is unlikely for anyone to consider it as a hiding place for guns.

Smart guns

Research is proceeding to develop weapons that will reliably respond only to a programmed owner’s identity through a thumbprint, palm print, specially encoded ring, or similar owner-recognition mechanisms. 

The theory is that these weapons will be inoperable by anyone except their legitimate owners and will, therefore, be unusable by criminals or by children and youth who might find them or seek them out. These weapons should still be stored unloaded and locked. There are no widely accepted smart gun technologies on the market today, but several models are undergoing testing.

 How To Decide Which Storage is Right for You

Talk with your local police department or an experienced law enforcement personnel who is trained in firearms use and handling and can help you decide which storage device is right for your situation.

What to Consider When Securing Your Firearms

While there are several ways through which you can store your guns when you do not have a safe, picking the best among them is easier said than done. For this reason, before choosing the best, there are some safety factors that you need to consider to help you ensure that you make the most informed decision. Such factors that will help you make the best decision on how to store your guns when you do not have a safe area such as:


If you are a parent, your children’s welfare is always your first concern and greatest responsibilities. When you have firearms that you intend to store around, remember that kids are inquisitive and will find the gun and want to try it out how it works. For this reason, ensure that you chose a storage location where they cannot reach them. If possible, do not let them know that you own a gun until they are older.

  • If you do choose to keep a gun in your home, follow the basics of gun storage safety.
  • Make sure your children know what to do if they ever find a firearm or something they think might be one — stop, don’t touch, get away, tell a trusted adult right away.
  • Take simple, low-cost measures to secure your home such as well-made deadbolt locks on all exterior doors, sturdy doors and good lighting at all entrances, trimmed shrubbery, and involvement in Neighborhood Watch.
  • Teach children ways to handle conflict without violence and discourage name-calling and teasing.
  • Teach children good crime prevention strategies to increase their personal safety and reduce the chances that they’ll be targets of violence.
  • Help them learn and practice good manners. “Please,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry” help ease tensions that can lead to violence.
  • Emphasize the importance of not using alcohol or other drugs. Research clearly demonstrates the link between drugs and violence, including use of weapons.
  • Encourage children to stick with friends who steer clear of violence and drugs. Make your home a welcoming place for your children and their friends. 


The neighborhood where you live will also guide you on some of the best places to store your firearms. For instance, if you are living in an area where theft is a problem, ensure that you store your guns at a place where it is not possible for thugs to find them in case they came in. Nevertheless, though you are storing the firearms out of reach of thugs, they should be strategically positioned to make them accessible in case of an emergency, and you need to use your rifle or pistol.

  • Get to know your neighbors. You can’t create a safe neighborhood alone. Do not be reluctant to ask whether the parents’ of your children’s friends have guns and if they are properly secured.
  • Start, join, or revive your Neighborhood Watch. Make sure everyone — adults and children — get training on how to report suspicious situations and on ways to take basic personal and home security precautions to reduce opportunities for crime. Include discussions of ways neighbors can watch out for situations that might involve children in or threaten them with violence.
  • Talk with other adults in the neighborhood about how to handle fights among children and youth. Who should step in? How? Under what conditions?
  • Make sure that children and youth know that adults are prepared to stop violence.
  • Agree on what a “trusted adult” will do to help children in troubling situations.
  • Get to know and encourage kids in your neighborhood. Many kids report that they carry guns and other weapons to give themselves a sense of power — a sense you can help them get in far more positive ways.
  • Start a discussion of neighbors’ views on weapons — weapons in the home, safe storage of weapons, use of toy weapons in play, viewing of violent entertainment by kids. You may disagree, but disagreement doesn’t mean you disrespect each other.


When deciding the best place where you can store your firearms, have it in mind that criminals could be way smarter than you and are also thinking of some of the ideal places where you could store them. Therefore, think outside the box and get some of the unusual places where you could store the firearms.

In case your house lacks such a space, you may opt for a temporary structure that works as a safe where you can store your guns. A kitchen pantry will also be an ideal place to store the firearm as burglars are rarely interested in the kitchen. Placing the firearm close to the front door will also be a good idea.


As mentioned above, a wrongly placed firearm can lead to injury or death. Additionally, when the gun is improperly placed, it may not help you in case of any need. Safes are the most advisable ways to store guns. However, in case you lack this resource in your house, there are also other means through which you can ensure that your firearms are safe. Above are tips to help you be a responsible gun holder by safely storing your guns even without a safe.


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