Moisture is perhaps the biggest threat to your guns and how they function.
Depending on where you store your guns, moisture can creep in even when you don’t expect it.
On top of that, you need to keep your guns safe from scratches, dust build-up (which can jam or mess with the operation), and other potential threats.
Pistol socks, gun socks, even scope socks—whatever your gun needs, you have to grab.
Getting that gun wasn’t a cheap purchase, and it certainly isn’t something you want falling into disrepair.
You’re relying on it for a good hunt and self-defense protection from predatory animals while you’re hunting, so give it some TLC with some of these gun socks to keep everything under wraps.
Best Gun Socks
Carolina Ultimate Silicone Treated Gun Sock
If you want good rifle socks, you need a silicone coating on the outside, or to have it injected throughout the fabric.
On top of that, it needs to retain its flexibility, otherwise, you end up with this stretchy piece of rubber that just doesn’t do the trick.
Carolina Ultimate crafted the perfect go-between blend, made up of cotton, acrylic, and 4% spandex to keep it nice and stretchy.
When you choose from either the 60” or 42” max length, you get different colors, but the same level of durability and versatility.
When I wrote this review, the black ones were available through Amazon, though they come and go.
Silicone keeps moisture off of your gun, and out of the barrel.
However, the main benefit of getting Carolina Ultimate over other gun socks is that it’s stretchy enough to pull over your mounted rifle scope as well.
You don’t have to remove it and then recalibrate it later when you attach it; it makes the whole process of storing your guns a lot faster.
So what’s the downside?
They won’t last forever.
The material blend is excellent and soft, so you won’t scratch up your scope lenses, but it’s prone to tearing after about five years of use after it’s been in and out of the wash a couple of times (to remove collected dust).
Luckily, they come in a pack of six that mitigates the cost of each individual gun sock.
If you have three rifles that you’re regularly using or transporting to the hunting grounds, that’s a decade of protection on each.
|Dimensions:||Up to 60” on black, 42” on green|
|Best For:||Rifles, shotguns|
|Material:||Cotton, acrylic, spandex, silicone|
Guide Gear X-Wide Gun Sock
It’s a waterproof gun sock that doesn’t feel stiff or rigid, which is what immediately stands out to you after you take it out of the package.
The soft polyester blend is perfect to cradle your gun barrel without scratching it up.
However, it would have been nice if the sock stretched over your lens as well.
For this, you will have to remove any scopes, though it will fit over aftermarket iron sights pretty well.
Polyester is easy enough to clean as well, so you can toss this in the wash once in a while and it will come out like brand new.
One important distinction of the Guide Gear sock is that it’s not coated with silicone, it’s injected with silicone, which sends it rippling throughout the fabric to protect your gun.
Polyester is known to be a moisture-wicking fabric (just look at the tag in any workout shirts or shorts), so even if you’re in a humid climate, this sock will protect your gun barrel from harm.
While it’s not an issue that’s often raised, did you know that the drawstring on your gun sock can actually break the law?
If it’s too tight or completely conceals the gun, it can be seen as illegal concealment.
That’s why many of the sales photos that a lot of gun sock brands use always show the back end of the gun poking out.
Thankfully, Guide Gear had the foresight to ensure it met all necessary regulations.
|Best For:||Rifles, shotguns|
MidwayUSA Silicone-Treated Large Scoped Rifle Gun Sock
There are tons of gun socks for rifles, but not many that can do what MidwayUSA does.
This six-pack of silicone-treated rifle socks comes with a velcro strip to allow you to completely encase your guns if you’re in a high humidity environment.
As a heads up, this isn’t the best way to travel with them because it can be seen as total concealment for larger guns.
You can leave the end open if you’re traveling through.
The silicone coating helps protect the gun barrel from moisture, but it’s not designed to last forever.
The polyester fabric is very durable, but I would say that once a year, you should hit these with a waterproofing spray (usually marketed for shoes and boots).
You’ll be able to pull this up over most scopes, but if you have an enlarged scope for long-distance sharpshooting, you might encounter some difficulties.
While testing this on my own rifle, it barely fit over the scope, but still covered most of the barrel without the need to remove the scope.
It will fit over iron sights pretty well, as it shows in the photos on the sales page.
Last but not least, MidwayUSA has a pretty fair price.
You pay a bit more than you would on other rifles and shotgun stocks, but it gets the job done extremely well.
If you recoat it from time to time, I don’t see any reason why these won’t last you for more than a decade each.
|Best For:||Scoped rifles, shotguns|
|Material:||Silicone treated polyester|
DecoyPro Gun Socks for Handguns
Not every gun sock has to cover an entire shotgun barrel or rifle scope.
For a much smaller price than those socks, you can protect your handguns from corrosion and moisture damage with these simple gun ID socks.
Slip in your handgun of choice, pull the drawstring, and utilize the identification tags on the bottom of the sock to mark which gun is in which sock.
That way, you don’t have to open it up, let moisture get in (a big deal in humid areas like Florida), and risk damaging your gun when you’re supposed to be protecting it.
Whether they’re just for show or for eventual self-defense, your handguns are more likely to jam up than your rifles.
There’s less barrel distance for moisture to travel in a handgun, meaning they arguably need more protection than any other type of gun in your stockade.
Thanks to the synthetic material blend, you get all the benefits of sweat-wicking technology to absorb any amount of moisture that’s already present on the outside of your handgun.
Dropping your pistol into one of these is basically going to lift pre-existing moisture, and protect it from future damage.
|Dimensions:||8” x 5” x 2”|
MidwayUSA Silicone-Treated Pistol Gun Sock
Silicone is the best possible material to add to any gun sock.
It acts as a barrier, protecting everything by preventing new moisture from coming in.
When you coat your gun socks, it works out well, but when you imbue the silicone into the fabric, it gets a whole lot better.
These pistol gun socks by MidwayUSA eliminate moisture by utilizing a wicking fabric on the interior of the gun sock, removing all existing moisture and possible condensation from the outside of your pistol.
Humid environments, during the summertime, can seriously damage your gun in the matter of a few short weeks—don’t let that happen.
The silicone fabric doesn’t need to be treated again, but it does need to be kept out of the light.
Silicone can partially dissolve in direct UV light, so if you’re keeping this in the garage, make sure it’s away from the windows.
These particular pistol socks will hold up for a while unless you’re just leaving them indirect light on a camping trip, at which point the whole thing becomes pretty useless at keeping moisture out.
MidwayUSA does a great job of keeping costs low.
You get a six-pack of these without spending a ton of money, allowing you to protect gunsmithing tools, spare parts, or your arsenal of guns without moisture being a problem.
|Dimensions:||Up to 13.5” barrel length|
Gun Sock Buying Guide and FAQ
Why do You Need a Gun Sock?
The number one reason is to avoid moisture from getting inside the barrels of your gun.
Whether it’s a double-barrel shotgun or a hunting rifle, moisture will creep down the barrel and cause long-term damage and issues for your guns.
You can do a quick search and find dozens of user-submitted information from forums.
They all say the same thing, in different words. “I don’t use one, and I’ve never had a problem.”
Well, that’s good for you, random user, but I’m willing to bet that if you took my guns apart and put them next to your guns, you’re going to see a difference. Hindsight is 20/20.
If you’re putting the best rifle socks over your guns, you’re protecting it from moisture, which will eventually turn into corrosion or rust in the barrel of your gun.
If you only hunt during certain seasons, you could leave your gun to rust for 4-5 months before picking it up again just because you didn’t put a gun sock on it.
A little bit of rust isn’t going to ruin your gun, but if the problem is left untreated, it will eventually cause major issues that cost you money, or irreparable damage.
Gun socks aren’t miracle items that people want them to be; they’re preventative measures.
It’s easy to say “I don’t need this” when you’re not currently facing the problem.
Gun socks are also excellent to protect your guns.
Dust, scratches, scrapes, and dings are bound to happen, whether it’s in storage or transit, but a gun sock can absorb most of that shock and prevent unsightly scuffs in the metal of your gun barrels.
Last but not least, if you prefer a wooden stock on your rifle or shotgun as I do, a full cover gun sock will protect the wood from swelling.
When wood is used for construction, furniture, or consumer goods, it needs to have a 9-11% humidity rating, otherwise, it’s no good.
This varies depending on the type of wood, of course, but it’s in that ballpark.
Gun socks can either help or hurt your wooden stocks.
To be fully transparent, if they’re bone dry, they could crack and split, but if there’s too much humidity, it can swell and loosen the screws holding it in place.
You have to gauge it depending on the season and where you live.
Gun Sock vs Other Types of Gun Concealment and Transport Items
What do some cheap gun socks have that a metal hard case doesn’t?
For one, the foam in a hard case doesn’t protect your gun from moisture.
Foam is just preventing it from getting scuffed along the edges.
You could actually put a rifle in a gun sock, then lock it in your case, and transport it. You can get the best of both worlds.
Gun socks should not be used in place of an acceptable transportation case.
For instance, you couldn’t put an unloaded rifle in a gun sock, then just walk into TSA with it.
They have different standards for transporting unloaded firearms.
If you’re transporting your guns across state lines via automobile, that’s another can of worms entirely.
You can’t just put your rifle in a gun sock, or your handgun in a full cover gun sock, and expect that to be okay.
According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, you must carry your unloaded firearms in a locked case if you are to travel across state lines by automobile.
Gun socks with drawstrings aren’t accepted.
I would use a gun sock on my gun before putting it in a soft shell case or a hard case, though, strictly for moisture protection.
If you’re going to put your unloaded gun in the trunk and drive for six hours, you’re going to want to ensure it’s protected the entire time.
Gun socks shouldn’t be used with open carry or concealed carry holsters, either.
If you’re at home and you want to store your gun, then you can put it in a gun sock to wick away moisture from your time out with it and protect it through the night, but it’s an unnecessary hazard for open and concealed carry holsters.
Not only would it not fit well, but it would drastically limit your mobility.
So what are gun socks good for?
They’re excellent for protecting your gun barrels while hunting, for protecting your guns at home, in storage, and they should be used with locked cases to ensure no trapped moisture damage occurs while in storage or transit.
Gun socks are also excellent if you’re storing your firearms in a gun safe.
They’re storage accessories, not replacements for proper gun storage.
What is the Best Material for a Gun Sock?
Polyester is arguably the best material for gun socks.
I say these even though our list awards a cotton and acrylic gun sock as the number one pick, but I’ll get into that in a second.
Polyester is cheap, and it’s difficult to tear. It’s not puncture-proof, but a little snag on some branches here and there while backpacking isn’t going to slice right through it.
You can get a ton of polyester gun socks without paying a hefty amount.
It’s basically the most economical way to cover your guns with nice, durable material.
Now, as for Carolina Ultimate/s cotton gun sock, it’s a unique blend of materials that’s unlike anything else out there.
The acrylic helps keep it durable and resist moisture, as well as the silicone treatment, but the 4% spandex makes all the difference when you’re trying to stretch it over a scope.
My verdict would be this: polyester is cheap, 100% cotton would be weak, and silicone is a must-have material to be included in the fabric.
You’re better off sticking to synthetic materials since they don’t degrade with time.
Why Are Gun Socks Great for Hunting?
They’re not just for storage—you should be taking them with you on the road when you hunt.
Let’s say you’ve got a pistol with you for self-defense and as a backup in case your rifle jams, and you have your rifle.
The pistol is by your side, and the rifle is strapped to your backpack.
If you’re traveling down a trail or to a campsite/hunting ground, you don’t need the rifle handy.
You can cover it. If you’re setting up your spot in a tree stand or you’ve encountered prey, you can cover the pistol (as it won’t be in use) and uncover the rifle.
But why should you?
Because there’s no harsher environment for your gun than the great outdoors.
When it’s in your garage, you might have humidity control, temperature control, and safe storage with little to no moisture. It’s an ideal environment for your gun to be in.
But out on the trail, humidity can seep into the gun barrel and start jamming things up.
The worst possible thing that could happen to your gun, environmentally, is when snow begins to melt off the trees.
All it takes is a bit of wet snow to fall down your gun barrel while you’re walking to really freeze up your gun.
If it’s covered, that’s not even in the realm of possibility, even for an older gun sock.
You don’t have to have your rifle 100% covered: cover it, sling it over your shoulder so the stock is on the bottom, and you’re good to go.
In short, they protect your guns from threats that you can’t always be vigilant of.
If you’re tracking pheasant, you’re not worried about that evergreen with bits of snow falling down.
You’re in the middle of a hunt. Gun socks just help to protect you from the unknown so you don’t get surprised by a jammed trigger.
Better Protection Every Single Time
Protecting your guns should be a top priority.
It’s easy to put them to the wayside when we’re finished with a hunt (especially when you think of all the other gear you’re tending to), but a quick five seconds to slip a gun sock over your rifle or pistol can make the world of difference.
If you live in highly humid environments—and I know I’ve stressed this point a lot during this article—you run a higher risk of moisture damage being the culprit behind jammed or damaged guns.
Being proactive about it doesn’t cost much, and doesn’t take much time at all.