Buy A Gun Cabinet or Gun Safe?


Gun Cabinet VS Gun Safe

You’ve made the decision to look into securely storing your guns inside your home, garage, etc. By this time you’ve probably discovered there are a large number of options available. While you can probably narrow it down based on which options will hold all of your guns and have room for future purchases, it most likely still leaves many options on the table. Looking at more traditional options, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a “gun cabinet” and a “gun safe”.


Most gun cabinets will offer a large capacity, ranging from 5-32 gun storage. If you need to store more than 32 guns, your only option will be a gun safe. By the time you’re storing that many guns, they assume you’re willing to pay a tidy sum to protect your investments. If you’re only wanting to lock up a handgun near the nightstand when not in use, many manufacturers make single-handgun lock boxes.


The biggest difference between a gun cabinet and a gun safe is pricing. Gun cabinets will typically be considerably cheaper compared to a traditional safe. Introductory prices on gun cabinets are around $200-300, whereas introductory safe prices start around $400-500.


Both a gun cabinet and gun safe will be childproof, to an extent. If you have a determined teenager wielding a crowbar, the gun cabinet isn’t going to ward them off. A gun safe, however, would most likely still prevent access.


A gun cabinet will not be fireproof whatsoever. A gun safe will. The reason for this is the inclusion of fireboard lining the interior walls of the safe. You could add your own fireboard to a gun cabinet, but it’s still not going to be as protective as a gun safe. Even with fireboard, a gun safe isn’t completely fireproof. Most safes start out with a minimum 30-minute protection rating. If you want longer protection times from fire, you’ll need to buy a large safe, which is going to cost quite a bit of money.


No secured storage is completely theft-proof, but a gun cabinet will not be theft-proof. An adult male, with average strength and a crowbar, will eventually be able to break into any gun cabinet. A gun safe, however, typically prevents theft due to its more robust design and materials.


Gun cabinets are typically made of sheet metal that will withstand everyday bumps, knocks, etc. Wall thickness is usually around 1/8″, and will not be able to withstand excessive force. A gun safe, however, is typically 1/2″ or thicker of heavy-duty steel, which can handle excessive abuse and force used against it.


Gun cabinets are a great, inexpensive method to secure guns when children are in the home. It doesn’t need to be built like a tank. If you’re wanting protection from theft or fire, a gun safe will provide the necessary protection. Regardless of which one you choose, remember it isn’t a substitute for insurance. Make sure your firearms and other valuables inside are covered, just in case the gun cabinet or gun safe fails.

Lastly, remember that a gun cabinet and gun safe are only a deterrent. To better prevent your children from finding a loaded gun and hurting themselves or others, teach them about gun safety. Allowing them to handle the gun unloaded, while explaining what it does and why it can be dangerous, will help eliminate curiosity in the future. Not sure whereto start? Here is a great children’s book on gun safety.


The author

Tyler Capobres has years of experience torture testing guns, knives and gear to their limit. If he's not writing about gun projects, reviewing products or mocking anti-gun zealots on Twitter, you'll find him at the range. Owner of, a website dedicated to all gun and knife enthusiasts. Author of "Punching Holes", a book showing how anyone can save 15-40% on guns, ammo, knives and more, by purchasing them at wholesale prices.

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