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Published Jul 25, 2023 3:00 PM
It used to be that people associated ammo cans with the military and doomsday preppers. While it’s certainly true that both of those parties use ammo cans, the truth of the matter is that they’re more widely used by average people who are looking for new or better ways to store their ammunition. Wherever you fall in that range of people mentioned above, there’s an ammo can or two out there that will fit your needs and your budget—and keep your ammo safe.
Below are the best ammo cans you can buy from top brands like Pelican, Plano, and MTM.
How We Picked the Best Ammo Cans
Like gun safes, not all ammo cans are built the same, both literally and figuratively. There’s a wide variety of options available, all with different target markets. Undoubtedly there are times where you need the absolute best-of-the-best. In other scenarios, less is more. No matter the price point or the available features, one thing almost always holds true: You get what you pay for at both ends of the spectrum, but that doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker.
When it comes down to picking the ammo cans on this list, we used the following criteria:
- Build Quality: What materials went into making the ammo can and how does that translate into the finished product? Is it built like a tank or does it have potential for failure? Build quality can be the difference between safe storage and peace of mind or disappointment when it really counts.
- Intended Use: Will you be using the ammo can for serious, long-term storage? Maybe you just want to bring some order to bags of bulk ammo or perhaps you need a lightweight way to move ammo from place to place. How you’ll use the ammo can will help determine what factors you should focus on when making a final selection.
- Cost: Does this ammo can provide a good value for the money? Are you getting what you would expect, or more, at a given price point?
Best Ammo Cans: Reviews and Recommendations
- Available in 3, 4, or 5-can units
- Uses mini, .30-caliber, or .50-caliber size cans depending on configuration
- Crate has built-in tie-down locations
- Designed to be easily stackable with no movement
- Crate makes it easy to move multiple crates at a time
- Great value for cans and crate
- Fully loaded crates are going to be very heavy to move
There’s no easier way to store and even transport your ammo than with the MTM Ammo Crates. You can choose from one of three can configurations to best suit your needs, and moving multiple cans at once is easy since they all fit snugly into the crate. The cans are also designed to stack easily with no movement, so you can really save space by piling up multiples of these ammo crates. With O-ring seals, the cases are water-resistant, so you can even strap the crate into the bed of a truck for moving purposes and not have to worry about the weather. Be careful, though, as the crates will definitely be heavy if all of the cans are full.
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Available in .30-cal and .50-cal sizes
- Made from high quality steel
- Comes with desiccant packs for extra moisture control
- Easily stackable
- Airtight and waterproof
- Metal cans are heavy even when empty
For decades, people have trusted genuine military surplus metal ammo cans for their storage needs. Solid Tactical ammo cans provide the durability of milsurp with the benefit of being brand new. They’re made of solid steel and have a rubber seal for a solid closure that’s airtight and waterproof. If you want extra protection in your musty basement, they even include desiccant packs for added moisture protection. The hinged lid is removable if you need complete easy access, and Solid Tactical protects their product with a 100% money-back guarantee (although we doubt you’ll be disappointed).
Best for Loaded Mags: MTM Mag Can
- Made for handgun, rimfire, centerfire, and popular platforms
- Comes with pre-cut foam padding
- Available for handgun and rifle mags
- Lockable and stackable
- Wide variety of configuration options available
- Holds mags securely in place for easy transport
- You can only fit but so many mags in a fitted case
If you’re the kind of person who likes to store their magazines fully loaded and ready to go at a moment’s notice, the MTM Mag Cans are what you’re looking for. Designed for all popular platforms including handguns of multiple calibers and even rimfire rotary magazines, the MTM Mag Cans come with pre-cut foam padding that lets you quickly and easily store and retrieve your mags without having to worry about them getting jostled or damaged during storage or transit. Whether you need to bug out or just want a more quick and convenient trip to the range, the MTM Mag Can has got you covered.
- Built from crushproof high-impact polymer
- Reliable temp range from 0-140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Ergonomic handle
- Built like an absolute tank
- Can easily be converted into a gun case
- Polymer is lighter weight, but no less durable
- Cost can be prohibitive if you need a bunch of them
From a company that many know and trust for protecting their guns—they make some of the best rifle cases and shotgun cases—comes the Pelican V250 Vault Ammo Case. Overbuilt and overengineered, this ammo can will protect your ammunition from water, dust, dirt, and other debris with its crushproof high-impact polymer construction. Unlike milsurp ammo cans that have one latch that can be hard to manipulate, the V250 uses a single push button that offers both easy closing and opening. Simply put, if you need to protect your ammo from water and other weather elements, the Pelican V250 is the way to go.
- Holds 6 to 8 boxes of ammo
- Water-resistant seal
- .30-caliber size ammo can
- Handle is large and comfortable for carrying ease
- Very budget friendly, whether you’re buying one or a bunch
- Has a sturdy latch and spots for padlocks
- While the plastic may be durable, it’s still plastic
When you just need to grab an ammo can and go, the Plano Field Box is a great choice. Built from durable plastics, the can itself weighs less so that you can really weigh it down with ammo instead of the can’s own weight. This .30-caliber size can is perfect for stashing up to eight boxes of ammo so you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice for a quick range trip. Even more importantly, your ammo will be safe, secured with a brass latch and spots for padlocks for extra security.
What to Consider When Choosing an Ammo Can
Obviously, the final decision is up to you, but if you decide that your next purchase is going to be an ammo can (or two or twenty), here are some of the things you should think about before parting with your hard-earned money.
If you’re looking for heavy-duty long-term ammo storage, your needs in an ammo can are going to be different than someone who just wants a tidy way to store a small amount of bulk ammo. Be realistic about what you need and how you intend to use the ammo can before deciding what you’re going to buy.
Whether you want to admit it or not, price is always a deciding factor. You’ve got to figure out how much you’re willing and/or able to spend, and then let that help determine what you’re going to buy.
Q: Are metal or plastic ammo cans better?
Making a blanket statement about whether metal or plastic ammo cans are better is not advisable. It all depends on the specific uses and needs for the can. Many people own both for different purposes.
Q: Are ammo cans watertight?
Some ammo cans are watertight and others are not. This all depends on the build quality and the materials used in them. Good rubber seals designed to keep water out can be found on some ammo cans designed for more serious kinds of storage needs, while other cans built more for pedestrian storage needs may not have those watertight seals.
Q: How many rounds of ammunition should you store?
Determining how many rounds of ammunition you should store is an incredibly personal decision that only you can answer. However, in my opinion, you should store as many rounds of ammunition as you can afford and have space in which to put it.
Best Ammo Cans: Final Thoughts
It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to safeguard the only two boxes of ammo you have for your home defense firearm or you’ve got more ammo than Burt Gummer of Tremors, the goal of keeping your ammo safe and secure is still the same. When you’re ready to get serious about ammunition storage, check out one of these best ammo cans.
Why Trust Us
For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.