Many Types of Gun Safes for Home

All safes can be described in two ways. Big and small. Even if that is true it is very misleading when talking about an enclosure that can also be called a gun rack. In this article we will look at the many types that are available for the storage of guns. What their uses are, what characteristics each has and what some good and bad points might be. Gun Safes for Home use are very popular and are bought for many purposes. But first we must break them down so definitions are clear.

Difference in Gun Safes and Gun Cabinets

Gun Cabinets are storage compartments that can be made from metal, wood or most any other material that will restrict access to some extent. They typically will lock, but may have glass fronts in the door, open metal mesh screen in the door or be fully enclosed. They will be lighter than a safe and much easier to break into even though locked.

Gun Safes are also storage compartments but have much different characteristics. They will typically be made from metal of varying thickness on the body itself, but the doors will be much thicker and heavier. In most cases the heavier the better to prevent theft of the whole safe.

As part of the locking mechanism they will have multiple bars going from door into the wall of the safe. When the lock is released and handle is turned the bars retract into the door.

Fire Proof Gun Safes for Home use

The typical gun cabinet will protect contents from fire for only a few minutes at best.

Gun Safes on the other hand will be fire rated by the time they will protect the contents within. This will usually be listed in hours. From 1/2 hour up to 2 hours is typical for home safes. The longer the rating the thicker the wall and door will be on the safe. This may mean thicker metal or thicker insulation in between the inner wall and outer wall or both most likely.

Size of gun safes

As far as sizes of safes go big and small is accurate, but more realistic is what is it going to be used for. Two different categories exist, a safe for Rifles and Shotguns or a safe for Pistols.

The difference here is rather obvious, the inside dimension for pistols could be 12 inches wide by 12 inches high whereas the inside dimensions for rifle and shotgun could be 12 inches wide by 48 inches tall as a minimum.

An obvious item that affects size is, how many guns are going to be stored in this cabinet or safe. Pistols seem to run between one and fifteen. Rifles and Shotguns range from two to twenty on a regular basis. Though It is not unusual to see safes for rifles and shotguns go up to 50 or 100.

Whether it is rifles and shotguns or pistols the bigger volume safes will be used by gun collectors. Whether it is simply because they use a lot of different guns in their work or recreation it will be a valuable asset. A collection of antique or rare guns gets very valuable and this calls for high ratings on fire protection and theft protection.

It is important to remember that a 36-inch wide safe or cabinet will not fit into a space that is 30 inches wide. So planning can go a long way toward a pleasant outcome when purchasing an item like this.

The Types of Gun Safes and Gun Cabinets

Here we will consider the safes and cabinets together because they can be used as either or both in these situations. The most obvious of course is the freestanding gun cabinets and safes.

These are the most popular because they can be placed anywhere and provide a finished appearance on the outside surfaces. The disadvantage is everybody that is ever in the house can probably see it. A large percentage of the people will not know it is a gun safe but just a safe sets an alarm off in some peoples mind.

Wall safes are popular for securing firearms in homes as well as offices. Most are smaller type safes that pistols can be placed in as well as private papers, money and other valuables. One advantage of the smaller ones is if built in properly a picture can be hung over it. The result is nobody suspects it is there.

Rifles and shotguns will require a bigger safe so another problem exists but if a bookshelf or similar rack is in front of the wall safe there is no indication it is there. Some ingenious person could even build a gun rack in front of the safe and put low value guns or even none working guns in the rack. Let them steal those and leave the others.

Floor safes can be a very interesting subject. Imagine if you were building a new house or remodeling one. Would you put in a floor safe for pistols that was not to big, one for rifles and shotguns that laid horizontally or one that that rifles and shotguns stood upright in? Where would you put the safe, in the garage, storage room or in your bedroom?

These safes are typically built of steel plate with a locking door and then a lip at floor level with a plate laid in the lip or a hinged door to be lifted up. This leaves a level surface to be covered by a rug, table, chair, cabinet or anything your imagination can invent.

Another interesting safe is bed safes. Sleeping with a gun under the mattress or pillow is not that uncommon in a lot of ways but replacing the bottom part of a bed with a safe is unusual but is a unique idea.

Gun Safe Accessories

Gun Racks will be a necessity in most all gun safes. Whether it is pistols or long guns a way to hold them in an organized manner is necessary. Some safes will have racks built in from the factory but capacity can usually be increased if long guns and pistols are stored together through hangers under shelves or on doors.

Something not considered with safes usually is the problem of moisture or humidity and its result on metal. Dehumidifiers or bags to absorb moisture should be put in as a precaution. It is not fun to open a cabinet or safe and find a bunch of rusted guns.

Kinds of locks used on cabinets and safes

A common padlock can be used on cabinets and safes but usually a built in lock is provided. These can be unlocked with a key on some. More common is a combination lock. There are some using push button locks. Digital locks are common but the newest style is the Biometric locks. These will read fingerprints.


Even if there are other styles, materials and ways to build cabinets and safes these are the most basic. It depends on what you are looking for be it beauty, protection, fire or safety it is all out there.

Just keep in mind the difference in cabinets and safes, size you need, fire protection, the different types, accessories and the lock types available.


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