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Gun Safe Humidity - Should You Be Concerned?

A LITTLE LESSON IN SCIENCE

Humidity is a measurement of water vapor that is in the air. When there is a good bit of water vapor in the air, the air is literally wet. High humidity = wet, low humidity = dry.

Y'all if I messed that definition up, I apologize, I teach firearms, not climatology, but I tried. However, if you live in the South, you may not know the scientific formula for humidity, but you know exactly what it feels like.

IT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE

While humidity is great for many things in nature, it can be downright destructive for almost anything manmade that is not somehow protected.

Organic and some manufactured items constantly exposed to humidity levels over 60%-70% will start to show visible changes, such as mold and mildew. If you are thinking that your steel firearms are safe from damage in your gun safe, don't be so sure. Mold and mildew can build up inside of your gun safe if the humidity is not monitored and regulated. While your firearm frame may not be a victim of mold or mildew, what about your wooden stocks or electronic or optical accessories that you may also store in the safe? 

Not worried about mold and mildew in your gun safe? How about corrosion? 

Hornady Canister Dehumidfier

HUMIDITY AND CORROSION

Most metals, and specifically firearms, usually have a protective coating. While that helps, there is no guarantee that all parts and components are coated and protected. 

There are electrons on the surface of metals that react with the oxygen in moisture saturated air that actually corrodes metal at a greater rate given constant exposure to humidity. The longer the metal is exposed to humidity, the faster it can corrode. The constant exposure to humidity in a gun safe is usually a result of the air in the safe being so saturated with water that there isn't room for anything else, including evaporation, so it is a continual cycle of complacent moisture. Critical humidity levels that cause the inability of the water to evaporate usually occur around 80% relative humidity. 

SnapSafe Gun Safe Dehumidifier

CONDENSATION

Humidity is not the only boogie-man in your gun safe. Condensation is humidity's equally evil twin when it comes to corrosion.

Condensation occurs when a couple of things happen; humidity is present and there is a fluctuation in temperature. Condensation is formed when a surface cools faster than the air surrounding it. This causes the moisture from the air to "lay" on the cooler surface. Every 10 degree C increase in temperature can double the corrosion activity.

The higher the humidity, the smaller the temperature difference has to be to create condensation which sets the corrosion effect into motion.

Browning Flexible Everyday Dehumidifier

WHAT'S IN YOUR SAFE?

If you have ever had a fine cigar that you wanted to save for a special occasion, you put it in a humidity-controlled container to preserve it. If you would do that for a cigar, you should certainly control humidity to protect the contents of your gun safes.

In addition to expensive or sentimental guns that you want to protect for obvious reasons, you also have to consider that you need to protect the reliability and functionality of the same guns to assure your personal and home defenses are ready when you need them.

As well as your firearms, consider all of the other surfaces or components that humidity could affect inside of your safe. The delicate electronics of shooting tools like rangefinders and scopes, as well as flashlights and lasers are certainly at risk for damage due to humidity.

Ammunition also falls easily as prey to humidity. Ammo is particularly susceptible because of all of the naturally corrosive components and varying materials used to make it up. Wouldn't you think twice about firing ammo that had sat out in the rain for a day? There isn't much difference in ammo sitting in higher humidity for an extended period of time.

Since our firearms safes contain such important and valuable items, many of us also store important papers there as well. Paper is organic, and then we are right back to the subject of mold.

Hornady Dehumidifier Bag

COMING IN FOR A LANDING

The question was; Gun Safe Humidity - Should You Be Concerned? Since the answer is obvious, I will only add, which dehumidifier is right for your needs? The NRA recommends gun-safe humidity at 30%-50%.

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