I have helped seize hundreds of weapons from violent felons, and nearly half showed significant damage from neglect and many of them  were no longer safe to shoot. But simple maintenance will keep quality  weapons working for generations.

Many guns for survival situations  are stored for long periods of time without ever being picked up. With proper preparations, weapons can be stored for long periods without regular  maintenance.

A number of companies today produce high-quality gun-cleaning and lubrication products. Some, like Ballistol, have proven effective for 100 years, and others like Rand and Wolf Premium Oils employ the latest in modern technology.

Keep It Clean

Cleaning areas range from specialized platforms like the ones produced by Present Arms to a simple newspaper laid out on the kitchen table. Whatever you use or wherever you do it, the end result needs to be a weapon that is rust free and protected from corrosion.

Any surface rust needs to be removed from the weapon before it sets in and causes serious damage. At the same time, corrosive chemicals or steel brushes can do more damage than good if they are used improperly. Use a cleaning lubricating product (CLP) or make sure all of the solvent is off the weapon when you are done. Parts that can rust, inside and out, need to be coated with oil or grease, which prevent rust and corrosion. Weapons with hard coatings like chrome or Tenifer, however, require virtually no preventive maintenance. Those with softer finishes need more care. Finally, be aware that oil will go wherever it wants. Be careful that it does not soak into wood stocks and forends because it can eventually ruin them.

Safe From Harm

After your guns are protected from the elements, they need a place to be stored, sometimes indefinitely. A quality gun safe is the ideal spot in the home. Weapons that will be hidden or cached require special attention. They might not be seen again for years and a little bit of rust on it today could easily ruin the weapon before it is retrieved. An airtight container like a Mono Vault or sealing them into a special-purpose bag like a Loksak along with sufficient desiccant can protect them whether they bake in the desert or are buried in a swamp.

Proper preparation, cleaning and storage can guarantee that a gun works as reliably as the day it was purchased. Take the necessary steps to ensure your emergency weapons are ready when you need them the most.

Prepper Firepower Checklist

Five simple steps to ensure you have the most dependable emergency weapon:

  1. Pick a quality, dependable weapon that fits into your budget.
  2. Keep any weapons system simple so multiple users can operate them easily.
  3. Make sure your firearms are clean and free from moisture when placed into storage.
  4. Keep your ammo cache in similar conditions as your firearms.
  5. If possible, periodically check your stored weapon to make sure it is still functional and clean.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Fall 2015 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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