How to Safely Unload and Store Your Firearm

by National Crime Prevention Council

The best way to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe is to unload your firearm and store it in a secure container. Here's how.

Supplies

  • Trigger lock
  • Cable lock
  • Lock box
  • Vault
  • Safe
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    When you pick up a firearm, you should always assume that it is loaded. Keep your finger OFF the trigger, and while disarming, never point it at yourself or others.

    Step 2

    With the safety on, remove the magazine from your pistol. Keep the pistol pointed away from you and away from any other people.

    Step 3

    With your finger off the trigger, pull the slide to the rear at least three times to clear chamber.

    Step 4

    Lock slide to the rear.

    Step 5

    Visually inspect the pistol chamber to make sure that it is empty and safe. Do this by looking through the chamber on the top of the firearm. Do not look into the barrel.

    Step 6

    Use your finger to physically check that the chamber is empty.

    Step 7

    Ensure the magazine is removed and empty as well.

    Step 8

    Lock your firearm with either a trigger lock or a cable lock.

    Step 9

    Remember to store the key safely after securing the lock.

    Step 10

    If using a cable lock, carefully insert the cable through the ejection port and down the magazine tube. Then lock the cable.

    Step 11

    Store your locked firearm in either a safe...

    Step 12

    ...or a lock box.

    Step 13

    Safely unloading and storing a shotgun is a similar process.

    Step 14

    First, make sure safety is on. And as with all firearms, always assume that it is loaded. Keep your finger OFF the trigger, and while disarming, never point it at yourself or others.

    Step 15

    Check that the safety is on by ensuring the red ring is NOT visible and the safety button is fully depressed.

    Step 16

    When no red is visible, the safety is ON.

    Step 17

    Depress the action bar lock...

    Step 18

    ...and pull fore end to the rear.

    Step 19

    Visually and physically make sure the weapon is clear.

    Step 20

    Make sure the magazine tube is empty by locating the orange or black tab.

    Step 21

    Lock your shotgun with a trigger lock...

    Step 22

    ...or with a cable lock.

    Step 23

    Then carefully place your shotgun in a gun vault or lock box.

    Step 24

    Close the vault and lock the door shut.

    Step 25

    For more information on firearms storage safety, visit ncpc.org.