One of the first things I did when I bought my first pistol was to buy a safe to store it in. I got a good deal on a 8 gun rifle safe, and I stored my pistol there when I wasn’t carrying it. Soon I bought a Gun Vault pistol safe, which is where I keep my carry guns.
One of my rules of thumb with anything I store is to give as much thought to the next use as I do about how it is stored. In other words, how much trouble will it be to get to and use? This is doubly so when it comes to gun storage.
My pistol safe is used to hold my carry pistols, so the pistols are stored there in Condition 1, that is, with chamber loaded, and full magazines topped off, in a holster. When I or my family are home, the door to the pistol safe is open. This gives us the quickest access if we need it.
In the picture above, you can see Liberty, my Glock 19, in the bottom of the safe, along with some papers. On the top shelf is a leather IWB holster I use to house The Duke, my G21SF, when it’s in storage. At the time of this photo, The Duke was on my hip in a leather belt holster.
In my rifle safe I keep all my long guns, and my pistols that are not being used for carry. Since these pistols are not in the normal rotation, they are not stored ready to deploy, although there are loaded magazines in my ammunition storage that can be loaded quickly. The pistols are stored either in holsters or gun socks or zip-up pistol carriers, with no magazines, and with a orange flagged safety shell in the chamber.
Rifles and shotguns, on the other hand, are stored in a semi-ready state, with loaded magazines in place or with tubes loaded, but with the bolts open and yellow chamber flags installed. (I would never store a long gun in Condition 1, because the trigger is exposed.) When needed, a user would retrieve the gun, pull out the flag, drop the bolt, and be ready to go. On the other hand, when I’m transporting them to the range, I just remove the gun, drop the loaded magazine free, and put the rifle in the car with the chamber flag intact.
Sometimes I store my guns totally inert, unloaded. In that case, they are put into treated gun socks. Right now, only Vassily my Mosin Nagant is stored that way.
However you choose to store your guns, it is essential that you do it consistently, and that everyone who might be called on to use them knows how they are stored. This is part of what we discuss in our family when we talk about our guns, and everyone knows it.