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Gun Cabinet vs. Gun Safe

Gun cabinets and gun safes have many differences; however, their locking difference is the main difference. The thickness of steel is also different in both of the items. In the gun safes, the thicker steel is used with a designated lock like the safes in the banks. The gun cabinets look more like traditional garage cabinets and have thinner steel.

Keeping the firearms safe means you are not allowing any visitors or minors to approach the guns. There are great ways of doing it,  like keeping the ammunition in a safe or a cabinet. Many variants of gun safes are available that can be used per need, like pistols, rifles, or large-sized guns. Below we will elaborate on the difference between a gun cabinet and a gun safe.

What is Gun Cabinet?

The primary function of gun cabinets is to display firearms. A Gun cabinet is also a version of a gun safe, but they are not very secure. Moreover, they restrict access to firearms; they do not provide any barrier for criminals.

The outlook of the gun cabinet resembles that of a kitchen. Or it can be used as a living room cabinet but for the storage of guns, and the gun cabinet doors are generally made with glass for better visibility. You can buy the gun cabinets in ready-made form. Moreover, you can make a customized version of a gun cabinet according to your requirement and budget.

What is Gun Safe?

Mostly the preferred choice of people for storing their valuable firearms is a gun safe. The gun safes are made with superior quality steel, keeping in view the robustness feature. Therefore, the gun cabinets provide highly satisfactory results. A gun safe is the preferred choice of professional gun keepers due to the added level of security. In addition, the construction of gun safes follows the requirement of keeping the guns.

In addition, gun safes are also helpful in storing many other valuable items. They include robust locks such as combination locks, biometrics, or conventional key locks. The material used in gun safes is generally non-vulnerable. Therefore, the burglars cannot misuse it.

What is the Difference Between a Gun Cabinet and a Gun Safe?

Following are the main difference between a gun safe and a gun cabinet.



The locking mechanism

The locking mechanism of gun cabinets is straightforward as compared to gun safes. There is a sliding lock for the top and bottom door frame in the gun cabinet, and the bolts for locking are not present. Due to the simple and exposed locking mechanism, the gun cabinets’ locks can be quickly tempered even with a screwdriver.

The Traditional Key Lock

Locks are of two types in the gun cabinet: the traditional key lock and the barrel key lock. In contrast to the gun safe, the locks found in gun cabinets are usually cheaper. Thus, they do not provide appropriate security.

Steel Thickness

Generally, the 18 gauge steel is used in the manufacture of garage cabinets. The steel cabinets are not very thick in the case of gun cabinets. Due to their lower thickness as they can easily be cut down or smashed with a hammer to open a hole.

Fire Rating

These gun cabinets are designed with a perspective of cost-effectiveness. The gun cabinets do not provide a fire rating. If a fire rating is added, the cost will increase. Thus, the gun cabinet will lose its market competition.


In the gun cabinets, the locks are simple, and they do not contain any combination or specific keying arrangement. The absence of this feature is the biggest security threat that possesses at the gun cabinets.

You can access the guns easily without matching any locking patterns, but on the other hand, the security is compromised. The gun cabinets are usually made with wood or metallic sheets. These materials are not robust enough to hold any attack from the burglars. The guns can be stolen by a person carrying a metallic bar who smashes at the gun cabinet doors.


In terms of price, the gun cabinets are the cheaper options. You can buy the gun cabinets at a low price as they are generally made with low-grade steel or wood for aesthetic looks. Gun cabinets’ introductory price range starts from $200-$300.



Style and Looks

The outlook of the gun safe is not very attractive and appealing as they look more like a vault. However, some modern hybrid-styled gun safes are excellent in their outlooks. Some of the gun safes are now built, keeping in view the vintage-styled wooden architecture. They are specially crafted to be placed in areas with other furniture.

Locking bolts

The interior doors of guns safe are pretty strong, and they are fitted with locking bolts. These bolts change their position in the opening and closing of the gun safe. Similar bolts can be seen in bank lockers and safes in supermarkets.

Locking mechanism

In the gun safes, there is a must-lock on the outside. The lock can be cheaper and can be of very high quality. The biometric lock is used in high-standard gun safes, which alerts in case of any intrusion activity. In addition, nowadays, there are also plenty of different types of locks that are popular in gun safes.

Thickness of steel

The difference between the cabinet and the safe is determined by the thickness and quality of the steel used. Contrary to the steel cabinets, the steel used in gun safes is high gauge. It is common to use 14 gauge steel in gun safes, and in some cases, it is even higher than 14 gauge.

The steel gun safes are generally designed to withstand burglary and unlawful activity. Therefore, to provide optimum security conditions, 12 gauge steel is used. This type of steel is complicated to cut or breakthrough. 14 gauge steel is used, which is a standard industrial steel gauge. If the steel is thicker, it is difficult to cut down and takes more time, thus helping the owner to respond timely.


Gun safes are designed to provide 100% security to the owner, and they are built to discourage unlawful access and theft. This high-level security is achieved using modern and high-tech locking systems due to their robust and heavy structure.

Child laws

Multiple child laws exist that bar the children from taking possession of firearms. The most common one is the child access prevention law. According to this law, gun owners must take care of their weapons and place them safely and securely.

If you are using gun safes in your homes, you are making it possible that the children cannot access the weaponry and the visiting kids from neighbors. However, you must ensure that the kids may not sneak when you open the safe gun doors. It is also advised always to keep the doors shut.


Gun safes are also recommended as some of the laws regarding safe handling and keeping weapons at home. Suppose any mishandling occurs on the owner’s part or due to theft. The lawsuit is likely to be filed against the owner. Thus gun safe keeps you in a secured position, and you will not face any such incidents.

Due to robust construction and properly designed mechanism, it is nearly impossible for thieves to intrude and loot the items.

Fire Rating

Another distinguishing feature of a gun safe is its fire rating. This rating helps the gun safe to keep it secure in case of any broken-out fire. This fire rating is not available in gun cabinets. In most cases, the fire rating is available, but it is not true that every gun safe must have a fire rating.

According to the quality of gun safes, they provide a fire rating of different duration. The average or under average gun safes usually have a fire rating of 30 minutes, while some high standard fire gun safes provide fire resistance of about 200 minutes. In the case of some hybrid safes, the fire ratings are not present, and some brands like Pendleton Safe also do not possess the fire ratings.


Here in the case of gun safes, the prices are on the higher side. The high price is due to the added security feature of fire rating and flood protection, and also, the steel used is of heavy grade. Moreover, the advanced and robust locking system also adds to the price. The initial prices of the gun safes range from $400-$500.

Which is Better, a Gun Cabinet or a Gun Safe?

Both of the subject arms holders came in many varieties. Which one is better, a gun cabinet or a gun safe? The gun cabinets and gun safes come in different sizes, materials, and prices, which you can choose accordingly. However, the gun cabinets are generally designed for showcase purposes. Thus, they are unable to provide proper security. In addition, if you want to hide the firearms from kids and other family members, it is advisable not to display these in showcases as it can lead to unauthorized access.

If you are expecting some intrusion, it is better to have a gun safe to provide premium security to your firearms. Many locks are available in gun safes specially designed to keep the gun safe and secure from attacks from thieves and burglars. If you intend to display the firearms, the best option is a gun cabinet. You can choose a suitable size gun cabinet to exhibit them. Finally, the budget also matters when selecting a gun cabinet vs. a gun safe.

Are There Safes and Cabinets That Are a Hybrid of the Two?

hybrid of gun safes and gun cabinets

Yes, some manufacturers provide a hybrid of gun safes and gun cabinets. They make several good quality products relevant to gun keeping, and they are outstanding in terms of their build and quality. It is often required that the gun safes possess the aesthetic gun looks of gun cabinets.

Keeping because of the idea, two entrepreneurs named Lane Joanis and Brandon Muscott designed a hybrid-style gun holder based on the gun cabinets’ best features and gun safes.

These manufacturers have selected the beauty aspect of the gun cabinet and combined it with the security feature of a gun safe. Mainly their idea was to provide security to a gun cabinet. So they have taken a gun safe and crafted some wood panels on it, which gave an extra cool look. At first, this does not seem to be a viable idea, but in the end, they have produced a best good looking product. This hybrid gun holder can be placed anywhere in your home since decorative enough to provide you with the best furniture outlooks.

Gun Safes Pros And Cons

Gun safes have many up and downsides, as shown below.


  • The gun safes provide the best security as they come up with high-standard steel that may range up to 16 gauges. This type of steel provides adequate safety against any theft or cutting attempt.
  • The gun safes are designed with waterproofing in case of any floods. In case of any floods, you should not be worried anymore.
  • Another significant advantage of this safe is its protection against fire. The time limit of fire protection varies from a few minutes to several hours. Thus you will not be worried anymore in case of fire breaks out at your home.
  • The gun safes come in many sizes to hold the pistols, rifles, shotguns, and numerous magazines. In addition, some precious goods can be placed.
  • Due to their heavier gauge, they cannot be cut easily. Also, the robbers cannot carry them.


  • When looking for an excellent standard gun safe, it always comes with a heavy gauge. The heavy size is beneficial to keep the gun safe and secure from thieves and burglars. However, it also makes it difficult for alone guy members to carry a gun safely.
  • Price-wise the guns safe are higher than the gun cabinets, and also, the suitable quality gun safes are pricy compared to the normal ones.
  • Although the gun safes are built as fire-resistant, they can still catch fire after some time due to their material and quality.

Gun Cabinets Pros And Cons

The gun cabinets also have positive and negative sides.


  • The gun cabinets are usually suitable for decorative purposes. These can be placed at prominent locations in homes and offices. If the weapons need to be displayed for the people, mostly gun cabinets can be chosen as the best option.
  • Mostly the gun cabinets are made with wooden structures, so their movement from place to place is effortless.
  • The gun cabinet serves its dual purpose, the guns are displayed, yet they are secure from children and other family members.
  • In terms of price, the gun cabinets are usually low-budget items, but they can provide you the opportunity to store guns, rifles, handguns, etc.
  • The gun cabinets are made for display purposes, so they have glass doors that allow people to look at different types of firearms without touching them.


  • Firearms are not safe as their safety is compromised in the case of gun cabinets. The glass door is vulnerable and can be broken without any trouble.
  • The gun cabinets cannot withstand any floods or fire as they provide zero-level protection.
  • An intruder can quickly attack and access the weapons in no time.


Consequent to the discussion, a gun safe delivers better security and safety features. Its construction and design are robust and heavy; thus not possible to move quickly. Some safes look vulnerable, and a claw hammer can open them; avoid buying such gun safes. However, always buy the trusted item.

High quality should be your priority when you buy a gun safe as it provides proper security; however, you can still buy some good stuff if you have a moderate budget. In addition, a gun cabinet is another cost-effective option.

Primarily gun cabinets are designed for showcase purposes rather than giving you ample security. Thus consider buying a gun cabinet only if you want to display your firearms and there is no high-security risk in your area.

Gun safes can be selected when you expect some intrusion in your home; in such cases, the thieves cannot remove your weapons, so you will not become a victim of false lawsuits.


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