What Condition Do You Store Your Guns?

When the Balloon Goes Up has an interesting discussion topic. Do you store your guns all loaded, nothing loaded, or a mix? I’m in the mix category. The carry arms (only two, a Ruger LCP and a Glock 19) are loaded and stay loaded unless I’m cleaning. The Glock and LCP also never leave their holsters except for cleaning and shooting as well.

Anything that goes into storage (the safe) is unloaded. The gun gets checked going in, and checked going out.  The only exception I make to unloaded guns in the safe is if we have to leave the house for an extended amount of time (for instance, to go to New Jersey, New York, or DC) and can’t take the guns, in which case they go in the safe, in the holsters, on the free part of the shelf (which doesn’t have a rack). The lower part of the safe is always unloaded. I have to juggle a lot of guns around if I want to get to something in the back of the safe, and I’m just not going to risk bumping a bang switch while jostling stuff around, and some of the guns in there have fine triggers that wouldn’t take much. I’m a big believer that if you’re going to keep loaded guns off-person, they should remain, always, in a holster, so that the trigger is protected.

28 thoughts on “What Condition Do You Store Your Guns?”

  1. Carry guns (Sig P226 BWT, Glock 26, Walther PPK/S and AMT Backup II) are always loaded and stored in holsters normally locked in my desk unless I am carrying one of them.

    Thre are three loaded shotguns in the house. One in the basement, one on the first floor and last on the second floor.

    Everythng else is unloaded and stored in the safe.

  2. Carry guns, sig p229 and LCP are both loaded and neither leave the holster and are never more than a few feet away. The rifle is loaded with a round in the chamber and safety on in the safe. I’m the only one with access to the safe but my girlfriend who lives with me knows its loaded. All other guns are stored unloaded. Eventually I’ll get her a nightstand gun which she will keep loaded and in either a small handgun safe or a holster.

  3. 1911 on hip in Condition One.
    1911 in bedside drawer in Condition One.
    870 in closet loaded, needs to be racked.
    AR in safe empty but loaded mag in stock pouch.

  4. Same. Carey gun (1911) in Condition One. Similar for house pistols (Bersa .380, Ruger GP100). Shotgun in closet also Condition One. Everything else kept unloaded though, like Stretch, mags are loaded.

    1. That’s “carry,” not “Carey” gun. The “Carey” gun goes nuts when blood gets on it . . . .

  5. Handgun in safe unloaded, loaded magazine in safe as well. Bolt to rifle in safe, as it’s a .22lr with wretched sights and I have no expectation of using off the range. Note to self, need more magazines.

    When NJ is forced shall-issue, I plan to follow Sebastian’s example for carry weapons, with the exception that if they are not on person, they will be in safe in-holster, separate from non-carry arms. But, I have a slightly larger concern with unattended weapons than he does :)

  6. “I’m a big believer that if you’re going to keep loaded guns off-person, they should remain, always, in a holster, so that the trigger is protected.”

    Tell you what – you invent a convenient holster for a Type 38 Arisaka battle rifle (you know – the one that in fighting trim was taller than most of the folks using it), and I’ll do that.

    1. I should have probably said pistols instead of guns. Obviously if you keep a rifle loaded for self-defense, that’s a different story. I’m not familiar with the Arisaka, but there are a lot of rifles I have I wouldn’t keep a round chambered on.

  7. My carry guns stay loaded and holstered in their designated drawers (bedroom and study) when not being worn. The Mk III, Savage 110, and Mauser are kept unloaded, but once I pick some up there will be a couple of full clips readily available for the Mauser.

    I may adjust this a little once I can pick up an actual gun cabinet (hopefully soon), but with my current assortment of guns there really isn’t much need.

  8. Any gun that is not in the safe is loaded or in “cruiser ready”. Unloaded guns are _never_ holstered. All magazines are always loaded.

    1. I keep a few loaded magazines, but not all. Considering my club’s restrictions, I’d have to constantly unload them before I’d want to shoot them.

      1. What are you club’s restrictions and why do you continue to be a member if they require unloading to shoot them?

        1. Because it’s 10 miles away and a nice place to shoot. I’m also doing what I can to try to change things, which right now ain’t much because a) I don’t have time and b) have few other allies on the board who’d be willing to implement the kind of changes I’d like to see. Part of the reason for that is if you want change, you better work for it, and then we get back to a).

          1. My reply came off pretty flippant- sorry but it annoys me when us gun owners restrict ourselves stupidly.

            My club doesn’t allow human targets. You didn’t say but sounds like your club’s are equally dumb.

            I can’t comment on your time- but I feel like opposing dumb rules at clubs are just as important as fighting dumb laws. I don’t fault you for lack of time, still it won’t change unless we raise our voice.

            I’m finally, after 10 years, getting involved in my club so I can change our dumb rules.

            1. The main rule I don’t like is the limitation of no more than 5 rounds in a magazine. I’ve heard a dozen different stories for why it exists, but I think the actual reason may be to keep the wrong kind of people from joining. There a few other rules I would like to change, but they are relatively minor compared to this one.

              We also do not allow drawing from holster, don’t allow open carry, or machine guns. You can carry, but it has to be concealed, and you can’t shoot with the gun you’re carrying concealed.

              Obviously, I’d like to be able to draw from holster, but the fact is in a club with 1200 people, it’s only going to a matter of time before someone finger fucks the trigger on the draw and NDs, hopefully not into someone else or themselves. There is a very real fear that some moron with poor gun handling skills decides to practice draw on an empty, indoor range and then some poor bastard comes in to shoot the next morning to find another member bled out dead on the floor because he blew a hole in his femoral artery on a bad draw from appendix carry. I used to rank this rule up with the 5 round limit in annoyance, but after seeing a lot of atrocious gun handling as a board member… I’m more cautious about this one, but I’d still try to accommodate it in some manner.

              As for MGs, I’d like to have organized MG shoots for members to be able to bring em if they got em… but again, you don’t propose that unless you’re prepared to organize it, and I don’t have time. I think if it’s a supervised activity by RSOs, it can be safe. Most people who have the money for that kind of thing tend not to be idiots with guns.

              The open carry restriction is silly, and I’d get rid of it. It’s a damned gun club. If I want to take my jacket off my gun shouldn’t put anyone off.

              I can’t comment on your time- but I feel like opposing dumb rules at clubs are just as important as fighting dumb laws. I don’t fault you for lack of time, still it won’t change unless we raise our voice.

              I agree it’s important, but to change a club, you have to be willing to participate and help with the work of running the club. Club rules get set by those who are willing to put in time. Very few other people, at least in my experience, who are hungry for change can or will do that. I originally signed up as secretary, because a few other people who wanted to see changes encouraged me to do so after the previous secretary (and sometimes a commenter here) resigned the position. Ironically, they all got busy with real life, and are now off the board, and I ended up out of a job and having to start a new one, so I have time to fill my role and not much else. So I can’t exactly go in to Board meetings and start demanding change.

              If you wanted to have rules that are made for serious and safe shooters, you have to make sure those are the people you’re brining into your club. That is likely going to mean more headaches for the Membership Chair, because people are going to fail qualifications, perhaps learn a bit, then try to get back in. If you’re going to cause those kinds of headaches, you need to be willing to help out. So that’s the kind of thing that’s really required if you want to change things, and not just be the guy who gets up at meetings and bitches about everything, who everyone has learned to ignore (though, not enough people bitch at meetings to be honest, and I think more folks should do it).

              1. Just FYi- none of the following is a knock on you, but I can’t help express my frustrations at the first line of gun ownership- the range.

                No more than 5 rounds a magazine? That’s a rule I’d violate just to prove a point- even if I was ejected as a member. I have a feeling I know why that rule was put in place. But that places a restriction on all members to keep out a certain element, instead of being proactive of keeping out that element by obvious means (most likely gun safety rules).

                Drawing by holster can be unsafe- but again it punishes all because of fear. That’s not how our hobbies should operate. We should cut out the unsafe but allow at least qualified people to do so.

                Not allowing open carry is a giant box of cans, but still dumb not to allow. The difference between concealed and open is all about perception- not safety.

                MGs are different- the amount of lead they can put down range can overwhelm traditional backstops and targets. I have no problem with restrictions about when that can happen- in fact I think it can be very educational for the club in general.

                I hear you about time- I know my club is very hunter focused. No guests allowed in October and November- despite the fact that the outdoor range is not all that busy those mouths. Yet we cater to to those that just want to site in and ignore everything else.

                I have a lot of thoughts on gun clubs and ranges- about how it makes new members uncomfortable and how better policies can help grow the community. I’d actually be very interested in writing up a guest post if you’d be up for it.

            2. I’d also say that as a Board member, I kind of feel like I should represent the interest of members, rather than just what I would personally like. If we had a cadre of members who showed up to Board meetings to complain about the same rules I don’t like, I’d be their allies if we got to vote on it as a Board. But members don’t come to meetings to ask for reconsideration of rules. It’s never happened in the 3 or so years I’ve been on the Board.

              If you like Gun Culture 2.0 attitudes, I think the best way to promote change at a club is to try to run a match, and use the people who show up to the match as a voting block. If your club won’t allow such a thing, keep organizing people in the club who want the match. If enough members want it, it’ll be seriously considered by any club where the Board members want to keep their seats. My club elections are in a few weeks. This is the second year no seats have been challenged. It often takes less than 40 votes to get someone on the Board, and once someone is on there, they are hard to get off.

              If you had 50 shooters who wanted to start a match, and were willing to vote, and willing to put in the work required to actually run a club, my club is 1200 people, but a voting block of 50 people willing to also be board members would likely be able to take complete control. In smaller clubs you could do it with less, probably. Hell, if someone has challenged my seat, I would have given it up to them. The people I was doing a favor for are long gone, and I stay because I do think it’s a good club with great potential… and it’s not much work to serve normally. I could care less about the being on the Board as an end in itself.

              1. That makes sense, but I think with such a limited turn out you have no idea what the member’s interest is. We have 300 plus member but less than 30 people at a meeting- and half are new members. Can you really say what the member’s interest is?

                I would bet that the rule against no human targets at my club was agreed on by about 5% of the membership- and the other 95% had no idea it happened.

                I know that the way it goes with small groups- and I don’t think it will change. Who wants to go to a meeting for an hour and listen to some old fogey bore on about some dumb meeting? People just want to shoot and be done with it. They don’t care about boards and rules and whatever. Just shoot.

                Its a hard problem to solve.

                1. I tend to agree. It’s really the same problem you get when it comes to governments, and whether legislative bodies really represent any kind of will of the people, or whether it’s just a nice story we like to tell ourselves.

                  I’m not convinced it’s the right model for the newer generation of shooters, who don’t really want to be bothered. But the civic aspects of clubs are good for the shooting community, and we’re not at the point yet we can stop worrying about that stuff. Not to mention, once those clubs are gone, they’ll be lost forever as places to shoot.

                  1. This is my problem. Except for the County range, which is open on Sunday afternoons 3 seasons and is somewhat sparse in amenities, every range is an hour+ away.

  9. Ready handguns (M1911s) in Condition 1, long guns in safe in Condition 3 (magazine loaded, no round in chamber). Spare magazines and/or ammo handy for each.

    The long guns are all for or potentially for self-defense, e.g. if I had any .22 LRs for target practice or the like I’d keep them unloaded in the safe.

  10. Condition 1 1911 in gun vault in the bedside table. M1 Carbine with loaded magazine and Browning BPS 20 ga with trap loads (no rounds chambered) locked in bedroom closet. S&W Model 60 in concealed storage in home office. Other firearms in locked storage.

  11. All my guns are loaded and ready to be fired. Even guns in the safe. They are worthless unloaded.

    1. Not every gun I own is kept, and indeed some are quite unsuitable for self-defense. The ones I do keep for self-defense are either loaded or kept next to a loaded magazine (rifles).

      1. That makes sense. All of mine are kept very well, and while not all are suitable for self defense (a .22 pistol for example) its better than nothing.

    2. Patrick, Agreed that unloaded guns are worthless. There are a couple of dozen unloaded guns in my safe and no ammo. In the event of a fire cook off of ammo is a real possibility. It would be a shame if guns that would have otherwise survived a fire were destroyed because their ammo cooked off inside the safe. I have a sufficient number of guns of the proper type and utility immediately at hand to handle unexpected problems that may occur.

  12. (to paraphrase William S Burroughs) they’re all loaded, that way I don’t have to worry which ones are loaded or not. or to paraphrase him further, you can never be too well armed in any situation.

  13. Any holstered are loaded. Any in the safe are unloaded with a loaded magazine behind them on the shelf for ready access.

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