From home intruders to dangerous wildlife and natural disasters, there are plenty of reasons to keep your shotgun ready to go. Searching for your gun during an emergency costs precious seconds, and attempting to load it too quickly can result in deadly malfunctions. Whether you’re defending your livestock from coyotes or preparing for the apocalypse, here’s how to keep your shotgun ready at a moment’s notice.
Clean Your Gun
A clean gun is a safe and reliable gun. Guns collect lots of gunk through use or just sitting around. When dust, dirt and rust build up in your shotgun, it can cause your weapon to jam. Take your gun apart and thoroughly clean it with a brush, damp rag and gun oil after every use. Store your gun in a dry place to prevent rust and clean it at least once a week when you’re not using it.
Use Cruiser Safe Mode
The best readiness condition is called cruiser safe mode, named for the method that law enforcement officers employ for transporting pump-action shotguns in their police cruisers. First, unload your gun and pull the trigger on an empty chamber to de-cock it. Then fully load the magazine while keeping the chamber empty. Your shotgun is now ready when you pump the action with no need to find the action-release button.
Keep Ammunition Handy
A shotgun is useless without ammunition, so it’s important to keep a good supply of bullets on hand. Keep an extra supply near your shotgun in a bullet pouch that you can grab and take with you if needed. Store your stockpile of bullets in a cool, dry area. Consider using a desiccant like clay or silica to absorb moisture and help your ammo last longer. Remember to rotate bullets so you use up the oldest ones first.
Put Safety First
While keeping your shotgun at the ready is important, you should never compromise safety. If you have children in the home, keep all firearms out of their reach and teach them age-appropriate gun safety lessons. Never store loaded guns near your bed while sleeping and keep them away from doors and windows so intruders can’t grab them easily.
Although a shotgun is an effective all-purpose weapon, it’s not the only tool you should have in your arsenal. Consider other choices like pistols and automatic rifles or non-firearm weapons like knives, tasers and batons to keep around for emergencies in addition to your old trusty shotgun.