Are Gun Safes Bad For Guns? Ways To Avoid Corrosion

Corrosion is the fear of every firearms owner when using safes. So, are gun safes bad for guns? This article will provide useful info about this topic. Let’s see!

Gun cabinets help protect your shotgun from many mishaps. On the other hand, safes raise concerns regarding firearm corrosion after a period of storage.

So, do gun safes cause corrosion for guns? Or, are gun safes bad for guns?

Yes, guns erode and rust in safes. The process of gun corrosion inside gun safes takes place faster than in the outside environment.

This article provides you with useful information to answer this question!

1 Firearm cabinets help protect your firearms

Firearm cabinets help protect your firearms

Are Gun Safes Bad For Guns?

Gun cabinets are the main cause of the rapid corrosion and rusting of guns. So, there must be a good reason when the market is flooded with products that slow down or stop corrosion in safes.

If you do not understand this problem’s mechanism and leading cause, all solutions will be meaningless. You will need research on materials to craft shotgun safes and knowledge of chemistry to get the answer.

The main material of modern safes consists of a thin steel shell lined with plaster and carpeted. In an enclosed space, these chemicals and by-products quickly react with corrosion.

Let’s take a look at the four reasons here.


Formaldehyde is an indispensable ingredient for the production of drywall. It also contributes to the carpet glue for drywall. This chemical appears a lot in the interior of gun cabinets.

Over time, these agents have strong volatilization and create a potentially corrosive environment to metals, leather, and wood. The corrosion rate of formaldehyde is up to one millimeter per year.

With the side effects of this chemical, some museums have banned its use in artifact storage areas.


2 Sulfur can cause firearm corrosion

Sulfur can cause firearm corrosion

Depending on the provenance of your shotgun, the drywall may or may not contain sulfur. This chemical is usually only found in guns from China.

Sulfur reacts with water and air in gun safes to form sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide. Both of these chemical reactions will corrode your firearm.


Pyrite, as known as iron sulfide, is a common mineral and often occurs in drywalls. Similar to sulfur, guns made in China have a higher pyrite content in gypsum.

This chemical reacts with moisture and oxygen to produce sulfuric acid and rust. Not only will rust corrode your firearm over time, but rust also seriously affects the device’s accuracy.


Ferrooxidans is a metal-eating bacterium that lives on pyrite. It is the culprit that breaks down this chemical into sulfur-based acids and iron hydroxide. Things are not that simple. This bacterium also corrodes many other metals.

How To Prevent Corrosion When Using Gun Safes

One of the telltale signs of corrosion inside shotgun cabinets is the smell of sulfur or a slight earthy smell. The answer is almost certain if the scent becomes stronger after you close the safe for a while.

It’s time that you take some measures to prevent guns and safes from rusting. We recommend the following actions.

3 Check your shotgun frequently to avoid rust

Check your shotgun frequently to avoid rust

Moisture And Temperature Tracking

This stage is more like a prevention than a cure. It requires patience as you need to perform daily checks to ensure a consistent environment.

This process makes it easy to spot the minor changes to your gun safe. Cases worth noting are when the air becomes too hot or too humid.

Using Wax To Cover Your Firearm

Coating a fine layer of wax on the gun is also an excellent measure to prevent corrosion and rust from taking place. You need to keep in mind the only thing is to disassemble and clean the parts before coating.

Mind The Wall Placement

The location of the shotgun cabinet will significantly affect the environment inside it.

If you place them on the walls of the outer part of the building, the change in outside temperature will directly affect the safe. Choose an enclosed space. It will help stabilize temperature as well as humidity to prevent corrosion.


If you need a thorough and easy method, choose a dehumidifier.

This type of device will prevent moisture from building up in the safe and keep the environment stable. Without moisture, chemicals would not be able to produce chemical reactions and rust.

To learn more about the best dehumidifiers for gun cabinets on the market, watch this video.

Deep Cleaning

The final method is to clean and disinfect your gun. We don’t recommend it because it does not prevent corrosion.

No matter how clean your gun is, it won’t be able to restore the accuracy it was when you just bought it.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will help you answer questions related to gun safes.

4 You should consider your firearm safe placement.

You should consider your firearm safe placement.

Where Should You Place Your Gun Safe?

The garage is the worst area to put and store gun safes. We recommend that you find locations indoors and not be exposed to the outside environment much. The basement is a perfect location.

However, if you have no other choice, fix it to the floor and build a cabinet around it.

Can You Keep Your Shotgun Cabinet Too Dry?

You need to store all weapons inside the safe at optimal humidity levels. A firearm that is too dry will not work correctly and affects accuracy. The stock also becomes unusable or, worse, cracks if it gets too dry.

What Is The Optimal Humidity In A Gun Safe?

The ideal humidity for gun storage ranges from 50-55%.

If you stay in a hot environment, such as a tropical one, with humidity higher than 50%, be careful as your firearm may show corrosion and rust. Moisture can seep inside even if you store the firearm in a gun safe. The best defense is to use a dehumidifier to dry it out and help circulate the air.

If the humidity is lower than 20%, you will see some cracks in the gun stocks.

Maintaining humidity is an important issue when it comes to keeping your firearms well. Please check carefully every day. The following video will show you more about the steps of moisture testing in safes or cabinets.

Can You Store Ammo In A Shotgun Safe?

Yes, you can store the ammo in a safe for several days uncovered to remove excess moisture.

Excessive moisture can react with copper paint and shell casings causing corrosion of your ammo. It affects your safety when using it.

Final Thoughts

When owning firearms, each person needs to be responsible for keeping and maintaining them. It affects not only your safety but also those around you.

Gun safes are excellent equipment for storing guns in case you know how to use them properly. Do your research carefully first to make the right decision. With the proper care, the guns are sure to stay with you for a long time.

Thank you for reading!


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