The Difference Between a Gun Safe and a Gun Cabinet

Difference Between a Gun Safe and a Gun Cabinet

Where should you store your guns? Do you have to protect them from children, your wife, burglars or someone else (like the government)? Is a safe or cabinet the best way to go?

A gun cabinet is usually made of either wood or metal. Some cabinets are built for displaying your gun collection while others just provide a quick place to lock your guns & ammo away from those who shouldn’t be able to access it. Gun safes are more sturdy, heavier and offer more protection for your firearms. You have to decide which one is best for you.

When I first got into guns (as an adult) I needed a place to store them. I had small children and needed something that locked. I also wanted something that was easy to move since I was a newlywed and I knew we’d be moving a lot.

On top of that, I was broke. It had to be cheap. So I bought a cheap gun cabinet and figured that would be good enough.

Now that I’m older, and have a much more expensive collection (I mean, I HAD a more expensive collection before the accident…), I figured it was time to upgrade to a full-blown safe.

Would any safe work? Or did I need to get a specific “gun safe”?

After checking the prices of the various options, I began to wonder if the gun cabinet wasn’t good enough. Was it?

I had to find out. So, let’s explore; what’s the difference between a gun safe and a gun cabinet.

But first…

What’s the difference between a gun safe and a regular safe?

A regular safe will do a great job protecting your precious belongings, like jewelry, documents, and money. It can work as a safe for your gun too, but it won’t provide you with the benefits the gun safe grants.

Gun safes are designed to be more secured and heavier and to give you quick one-handed access to open.

Unlike regular safes, which usually requires both hands for entering the numbers, and unlocking the door. And they are usually light to carry, making it easier to be stolen.

What Is a Gun Safe? 

A gun safe is responsible for preserving the gun from falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, there are many popular stories, about children and teenagers dying from accidental gunshots.

The story always begins with a gun in the house that wasn’t securely locked away. To prevent the guns from falling in anyone’s hands, the gun should be locked so no one would have access to it.

There are many types of gun safes. They vary in features but have some things in common. All gun safes are heavy and aren’t easy to unlock. They’re also made of drill resistant steel, to prevent theft.

Types of Gun Safes

The Handgun safe is small and portable, and it can hold only one gun. It’s the ultimate option for people who carry their guns almost everywhere.

There are some larger handgun safes, which can hold several guns at a time. And they’re great for storing the guns on high shelves or in the car console.

On the other hand, bigger and taller guns, like shotguns, need a larger safe. The Long safe gun is designed for this specific purpose. As it’s around 150 cm tall and wide enough to carry several long guns.

Multi-use gun safes have a wide variety of designs and specifications.

It allows you to store multiple guns and other valuable belongings such as jewelry and documents. Some of them have multiple levels allowing you to keep your belongings organized.

Gun Safe Features

Some gun safes can hold other items besides the gun, like jewelry and important documents. While other types have high-security electronic locks, like the fingerprint unlock option. 

Some types provide a dial access lock, which some people prefer because it increases the durability of the gun safe. Unlike the electronic lock, which can grant much faster access, but won’t last long.  

All gun safes are made of steel, but they vary in thickness, according to the safe model. But of course, the thicker the steel, the harder it is to drill the safe. 

Where Should I Put a Gun Safe?

The best place to keep the gun safe is inside your closet or inside a drawer in your bedroom.

If you don’t want to keep it in your bedroom, you can keep it in any secure place, even in your basement or garage.

Just make sure the place where you store your gun safe has no moisture or humidity, so it won’t damage the gun inside.

It’s also essential that you avoid places where children have unmonitored access to prevent any accidents, in case you forget to lock the safe.

What is a Gun Cabinet?

A gun cabinet is designed to safely display your weapons, rather than securely protect them in a closed safe. Its door is always made of glass, or strong plastic, in order to be able to see what is inside.

It can be handmade with a simple lock. It’s convenient if you’re certain no one will open it without your presence.

Gun Cabinet Features

Gun cabinets have different features and usage. The majority of gun cabinets are made of wood or other materials like glass, metal, or acrylic.

The doors of the cabinets are usually made of glass, to display the gun collection inside it. It’s lightweight and can be moved easily around or outside the house.

Gun cabinets are affordable, and you can simply build it yourself. But they don’t provide much security for the guns, as they can be stolen easily, and the materials won’t tolerate fire or heavy water.

Where Should I Put a Gun Cabinet?

Since Gun Cabinets are insecure and can be easily moved, it’s better if you place the gun cabinet in a highly secured place inside your house.

Besides that, the gun cabinet won’t be able to protect the guns inside it from extreme conditions, such as strong wind, heavy rain, or fire.

Therefore, you have to make sure that it’s placed in an isolated area inside your house, or a room that nobody else uses.

Should I Get a Gun Safe or a Gun Cabinet?

Deciding whether to buy a gun safe or a gun cabinet depends on the main purpose you’re getting it for.

A gun safe is very practical in keeping the weapons away from the children in the house, and also from being stolen.

They have high security, and never grant access unless with the combination code, or the digital code.

It’s also made of steel, and it’s fireproof and waterproof, so it’s ideal for protecting the guns inside.

In case you want to admire your precious collection or love to show it off to your guests, then a gun cabinet will be a great option.

But make sure it is placed in a safe zone in the house, as it has almost zero security, and the door can be opened by a simple lock.


Regular safes can work just fine for keeping your weapon in it. It is still an unwise option, as many people can have access to the gun, including children who can cause serious damage by playing with it.

If you want to protect your gun, there’s a diversity of gun safes that have special features to suit your needs (like biometric locking gun safes).

You can find a small and portable single handgun safe, so that you can carry your gun safely anywhere.

If you want to display your weapon collection, you can get a gun cabinet that presents them as a piece of art.

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