Best Ammo Storage Ideas: How and Where to Store for SHTF

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By Dennis Howard •  12 min read

If you are like most gun owners, you care almost obsessive about how your store your guns.  More than likely, you have a humidity-controlled gun safe that keeps them protected. Guns are a major investment, and, like any investment, you pay attention to the details.

Ammo storage ideas

If you stop and consider your ammunition stockpile, you may have almost as much invested in ammunition as you do in guns.  Do you take as much care with the storage of that investment as you do your guns?  If not, why not?  Doesn’t your ammo stockpile deserve the same care as your guns?

There are a few things you can do to protect your ammunition.  Many people don’t realize that ammunition is subject to the same sorts of deteriorating and damaging effects as anything else.

Here are the things that I think are the most important when you are considering ammo storage for the long and short term.

Safety Always Comes First

Before any other consideration, safety must be on the top of your list.  Face it, ammunition, by its very design, is destructive.  Past the destructive part, there are some dangers that shooters fail to recognize.

Children and Pets

Children are naturally curious.  Some pets are the same way.  Easily accessible ammunition is a hazard in many ways for both.  If there is only one argument for storing your ammunition properly, it is to safeguard those who have access to ammunition could innocently cause harm.  Think about these situations.

Keeping Ammo Organized – Knowing What is Where

Organizing your ammunition stockpile for storage is as important as how it is stored. In an emergency, being able to locate the right ammo is a critical issue.  When it comes time to organize your ammunition supply, consider some of these strategies.

Keep it Simple! (KISS Principle)

Your organization method doesn’t have to be complicated or involved.  Decide on how you want to store your ammo and then make sure you can find it easily.  Some ideas for organizing your ammunition inventory include

A Word About Labeling

When you begin to label your ammo storage containers, I have some recommendations about what should be on the label.

That last item is important.  It would be best if you instituted a rotation plan for your ammunition.  You always want to shoot the oldest ammunition in your inventory first.  Ammunition, even if safely stored, has a shelf life. 

Location, Location, Location – Where is the Best Place to for Ammo Storage?

Finding suitable places to store your ammunition can be a problem for some people.  Considering that safety in storing ammunition is so important, there are several other considerations to take when making choices of storage locations.

Security – Not just for You

The security of the location you choose for your ammunition storage should be a priority issue.  Ideally, your ammunition storage includes locks.  There are several reasons for this.

Remember, you may live in a state where it is required to keep ammunition in locked storage, separate from your firearms.

Temperature – Finding a Happy Home for Your Ammunition

In general, if you are comfortable where you are storing your ammunition, your ammunition will be comfortable as well.  Just like you, ammunition doesn’t appreciate extremes in heat or cold.  Wherever you decide to store your ammo, it should not be subject to wide variations in temperature during the year. 

Humidity – The Quickest Way to A Bad Situation

Humidity in your ammo storage is a sure way to finding yourself with corroded and unusable ammo.  Even fluctuation in temperature can cause problems with humidity in your stored ammo.  If you live in an area where humidity levels are naturally high such as coastal regions, there are some ideas to help mitigate the humidity problem.

How Much Ammo Do I Need to Store?

Deciding how much ammo you need to keep on hand is very much a personal decision.  Perhaps the most important factor is your purpose.  There are some questions to ask.

Personal Use vs Professional Use

If you are the training officer or armorer for a law enforcement agency, your storage needs are considerably different from those of the run of the mill amateur shooter.  As a professional, you should have a much better understanding of the amount of ammunition to keep on hand to allow adequate stockpiles for training and qualification

For those who just like to shoot, it can be a little harder to figure out how much ammunition to keep on hand. Looking back at your usage for the past few months should give you a better understanding.  I like to keep enough ammunition on hand so that I could make four trips to the range without having to purchase ammunition. 

Preparing for Any Eventuality

You may be someone who has a longer view than just going to the range.  Many people see ammunition as a necessary item to have on hand as a preparedness issue.  If you are considering stockpiling ammunition for the long term should things go bad financially or socially, some recommended guidelines include:

3 Dont’s about Long Term Ammo Storage

Some people have some misconceptions about long term storage of ammunition.  You should avoid these at all costs.

Some other Considerations – What else are you Stockpiling?

Building a stockpile of ammunition is just the first step.  One thing many preppers forget is to stockpile other items that may be necessary for a survival situation.

Keep it Safe and Keeping you Safe

There are many things to consider when planning your ammo storage.  Location, environment, and safety are the three most critical. 

I hope that the suggestions in this article help you plan and organize your ammunition storage.  If you have any suggestions, comments, or experiences, please post them below in the comment section.  As always, be safe and be well.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.