With so much equipment clogging shooters' safes, the gun sock has become a largely overlooked firearm accessory. Maybe you've seen your grandfather's old bolt gun tucked away in one of those OD green wool tubes and wondered why. This quick guide covers gun socks and why you might want a few for your guns.
What is a Gun Sock?
A gun sock isn't a literal sock. At least, now it isn't. At one point, it was. When battle rifles were made from carbon steel and hardwoods, they could rust and rot. Winter wars, rain, and damp foxholes could take a rifle out of the fight in a hurry. Soldiers began using spare wool socks as drapes over their barrels and buttstocks and the practice became canon militaria. By World War II, the U.S Army was issuing a long, open-ended rolled wool tube sock as a do-it-all scarf, hand warmer, and official gun sock. It's still issued in the modern soldier's TA-50 today.
Gun Socks and Rust
Contrary to what some believe, gun socks do not cause rust to form on your weapons, even when left sleeved in storage. A gun sock will not trap moisture inside, and it will not corrosion or damage. Gun socks are moisture-wicking and resistant to water. A gun sock isn't going to be a magic trick that stops rust, either. You should always take steps to insulate your guns against moisture and rust with a combination of physical and chemical protection. Desiccant packs should be used in your safe to absorb moisture in the air that is always naturally present.
What are gun socks made of?
Gun socks are made from thick knit synthetic fabrics that are padded and purposefully hydrophobic thanks to chemical treatment. Gun socks' fibers are usually impregnated with silicone, a hydrophobic polymer that keeps moisture from penetrating the fabric and rusting your weapons. Silicone will not react with wood or metal, and is completely safe for all firearm finishes and materials.
Can I store my rifle in a gun sock long-term?
Of course. Storing your rifle and other guns in gun socks long-term will help protect them from rust and damage. You must also be responsible, lest you wind up with a rifle that rusted even still. You should remove your weapons every 3 to 6 months from storage and inspect them. Each should be wiped down with a soft cloth and oil patch. The bore and rifling should also be oiled at least twice yearly when stored. Always store your guns with the muzzle facing up to prevent moisture from condensing inside the barrel or receiver.
Can I "re-silicone" a gun sock?
Certainly. There are plenty of silicone-based hydrophobic aerosol sprays available for treating fabrics. You should always remove your weapons from a sock before spraying the fabric with silicone. Let the sock dry for at least two hours after spraying, and don't re-sleeve your weapon until the silicone is completely dry.
Our Top Gun Socks
We wouldn't leave you without recommending at least one or two gun socks for your rifles and pistols. These are our top picks based on price, features, and material:
Allen Tactical Sock (Rifle)
Allen Tactical's gun socks closely match the military-issue gun sock/scarf/generic wool tube given to infantry. It's made from a thick knitted synthetic wool/nylon fabric with silicone applied for moisture. It's a soft, plush sock with plenty of stretch and volume that adds extra padding. Unlike many "cheap" socks (Allen's only run between $12 and $15), this sock is large enough for a semiautomatic rifle with an optic.
Bulldog Cases Sock (Rifle & Pistol)
Bulldog Cases' gun socks are also a great choice for storage. Like Allen's socks, Bulldog socks have a lot of stretch and fabric, adding capacity. Their over-sized (52" x 6") rifle sock can fit large-bore rifles and long-range optics easily. Where the market is lacking, Bulldog also made a great over-sized pistol sock. Their socks are silicone-treated for moisture and use heavy synthetic fabrics for padding.
Gun socks provide an extra layer of affordable protection for your rifles and pistols when traveling or in storage. Gun socks, when used properly, do not cause any weapon to rust or corrode:
- Never store your weapons upside down
- Always used a silicone-treated gun sock
- Wipe and oil your guns at least twice a year
- Always use a desiccant pack in your gun safe
- You can re-silicone a gun sock with aerosol spray
Need more gun storage? Check out our review of the top AR-15 cases.