Visiting the NRA Vault

When I visited the NRA HQ last week Matt Sharpe took me into the infamous NRA vault where the National Firearms Museum stores all their firearms that are not on display. I was allowed to handle any of the guns (provided I was wearing gloves).

Class III guns
New arrivals on the table
Bolt actions.
Some pistols.
A gift to the museum from Uziel “Uzi” Gal’s son.
Closeup of the Uzi. Checkout that serial!
Japanese MG
Some sort of target gun. It was incredibly heavy.
The barrel of another target rifle. Also incredibly heavy.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Greetings from Texas,
    This looks fantastic. As much as I enjoy museums the times I have been allowed into the back rooms is even more interesting.

  • Jason

    Can anyone identify the leftmost rifle in the top photo? Caption is “Class III”. The rifle is wood stocked and has a green sticker on the mag well.

    I saw one of those as a kid at a gunshow with my father. I belive it was a small pistol action that fit into the rifle. I never knew what it was and have always wondered. I have never seen another until this photo.


    Oh, and awesome photos Steve!

  • James

    Great pictures! I wish they’d have a yard sale.

  • p3dal

    Why do you say the vault is “infamous” ?

  • Bora

    Fantastic pictures but not NEARLY enough. You must have taken much, much more! Let us see!

  • So is the vault humidity and temperature controlled?

    • Heath, I guess so.

  • emdfl

    Jason – That might be the French “Unique” combination. The pistol lower could be fitted into the rifle upper to become a rifle. .22 caliber IIRC, and kind of like the things that can be done with a 1911 lower these days.

  • Matt Sharpe


    That gun you see is what is called a Firearms International combo gun. It is a .22 pistol that can be adapted into a rifle. I took some more pictures of it that can be seen here :

    Also, check out this 1962 advert for the gun


    The NRA Vault uses its own temp and humidity regulators to keep this down there at the optimal conditions for firearms. The humidity we like to keep in the low to mid 50s.

    • Matt, thanks for the info.

  • Jason

    I believe you nailed it. A google search for “french unique .22 carbine” turned up enough to identify it positively.

    Thanks for the help.

  • Huh, looks like at least one SKS there with the “Class III” stuff… interesting.

    • Gun, there were some full auto SKSs. That particular gun has been deactivated (certain guns must be deactivated if, for example, they were donated by someone overseas) .

  • That incredibly heavy target gun pictured under the Japanese machine gun looks to me like a test gun that an ammunition maker would use for verifying accuracy and possibly chamber pressure.

  • Lance

    I saw a SVD Dragonov on the Class 3 table. Did they get a ful auto SVD????

    • Lance, not sure. It probably was not a Class III.

  • Jim

    I’m not getting it- what’s the purpose of all this? Are these pieces that they rotate in and out of a/the museum, or is it just a private stockpile?

    • Jim, all museums have vaults containing far more stuff than on display. There is only so much display area. These guns are all donated to the museum.

  • Jim

    Dude, don’t approve this, but you HAVE to post this story

    • Jim, have updated the article. thanks.

  • Matthew


  • Shootin’ Buddy

    There is no such thing as a “Class III” or “Class 3” gun.

    Firearms are divided into Title I, non-NFA and Title II, NFA.

    Gun Dealers/Makers have classes; the guns themselves have titles.

    Not trying to be a jerk, just wanted to ensure that the blog keeps its usual high standards.

  • bernardg

    damn!, so many classic rifles! look at that uzi, it must be a “collector item”.