The 12-gauge steel construction resists 1875°F for 60 minutes. 20 x 1.5” steel bolts secure the door. Backlit keypad offers easy access. Flexible storage including handgun holsters on door liner. Offers internal power outlets and USB ports.
Very little. Cannot be delivered to all areas, so check before ordering.
Good basic unit, well made, with substantial deadbolts. Rapid digital keypad access with emergency override. Easy to mount with fitting kit supplied. Compact enough for discreet installation. Shelf for handguns, ammo, or other small valuables.
Check size carefully. Will not accept some long guns.
Easy to assemble. A nice piece of furniture for your home. Has a lock on the display case. Includes locked storage underneath the gun display case. Nice wood finish.
Very little wood is solid. Inconsistent quality can lead to a finished item that doesn’t look as good as pictured.
Safe is heavy but manageable. Good inside storage. Made to withstand fire for 30 minutes. Easy electronic lock that comes with a backup key. Has a lockout function for incorrect attempts at the lock. Good interior storage shelves. Adjustable shelving.
This safe is not waterproof rated.
The biometric locking system on this pistol case creates a tight control on who can access the gun. 3 means of entry make it accessible when needed. Small enough to fit in a drawer. Quick access when needed. Can store and recognize fingerprints for 2 people.
Has a loud click when opening.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A good gun cabinet has two jobs. The first is to keep your firearms out of the hands of unauthorized users, whether that’s kids who might come to harm accidentally or burglars who could use them for criminal acts. The second is to protect and organize your guns, reducing the risk of damage, and making them easy to access if you need to do so in a hurry.
There are hundreds of different models available. There are gun cabinets that can house 2 or 3 guns or those that can hold 30 or 40, but size is just one consideration. Some cabinets are largely for decorative and display purposes (yet with good locks). Others are built almost as strong as a bank vault. There are various access methods, as well as differing levels of protection from external factors like fire and water.
Choosing the right gun cabinet for your firearms isn’t as straightforward as it first seems, so at BestReviews we’ve been investigating the features of all the latest models. We’ve focused on several that showcase the wide variety on offer, and in the following buying guide we look at specifications in more detail.
Wood: There are a number of traditionally styled wooden gun cabinets, usually featuring doors with glass panels so you can see the contents. An unglazed portion below holds such items as ammunition, handguns, and holsters. While these cabinets offer little protection against a determined thief, they do prevent opportunistic access and accidental discharge.
Steel: The next step up includes simple steel cabinets, much like you see in offices and factories for general storage. Access is by a simple lock, and the number of gun racks and shelves may be limited, but these cabinets are more resistant to attack than wooden models.
More robust gun cabinets are made from thicker steel, with door gaps too narrow to fit a pry bar. Many four- and five-gun models are compact enough to be concealed inside a closet, which adds another level of security.
The toughest have carcasses made from double-walled steel 1/8 inch thick or more and heavy-duty hinges. Top models feature drill-resistant steel plate.
Gun cabinets usually quote the number of rifles they’re designed to hold. Bear in mind that figures usually assume there isn’t a scope or other accessory fitted to the barrel. Additional shelving (sometimes adjustable) can hold pistols and ammunition. Some models have hanging space inside the door for handguns and magazines.
Depending on the level of physical protection offered, there can be a notable difference between the interior and exterior dimensions. The position of shelving can also have an impact. If you collect traditional long-barrel muzzleloaders, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the interior height.
Keyed: The cheapest gun cabinets have simple tumbler locks. They’re fine for basic security, and there’s nothing to go wrong unless you lose the key!
Keypad: Numeric keypads are common on gun cabinets. They offer more advanced security and shareable access that doesn’t rely on you duplicating the key (and the danger of the keys getting lost). These are usually battery powered and may also be backlit. A key override is provided in case the battery goes flat (some offer low-power warnings). It’s important to note that many models will lose the key code if the power goes out and will need to be reset. Some can be set to lock out after a predetermined number of incorrect attempts.
Biometric: Fingerprint locks are increasingly popular. There’s no code to remember (or to potentially get into the wrong hands if written down), and because every fingerprint is unique, access can be tightly controlled. Biometric locks are capable of holding the details of 100 or more individuals, so there’s no restriction on the number of people who can be given access. A master-user has the ability to add or delete people. As with keypads, these are battery operated and usually have a key for backup.
Most gun cabinets come with some means of fixing them to the floor or ceiling, which is important for lighter models that are relatively easy to move. It’s something that’s less of a factor on cabinets that weigh several hundred pounds, but this feature is often still provided. (Note that heavier gun safes may have special delivery instructions. Some of the biggest arrive on tractor trailers and need to be moved by forklift.)
In addition to the access method, there is also the question of physical security. This ranges from simple latches to multipoint hardened steel bolts, which, on the most secure gun cabinets, lock into all four sides of the door.
Gun cabinets may be waterproof or fireproof, but they are not necessarily both, so don’t make any assumptions. The amount of protection varies (see the FAQ section below).
Barrel rests: These are usually carpeted or padded. Some are height adjustable, thus accommodating a variety of rifle and shotgun lengths.
Light: Internal lighting may be provided with high-end gun cabinets (a mains power source is required). Some offer internal power sockets and USB ports.
Dehumidifier: Lockdown GunSaver
Available in 12- or 18-inch versions, this compact, slender tube is easy to find space for. It extracts moisture from your cabinet, thus protecting your valuable firearms from mildew or rust. The detachable plug makes it simple to thread the cable through the back of your cabinet to a suitable outlet.
Handgun storage: Benchmaster Pistol Rack
Many rifle cabinets have an extra shelf or two for handguns but lack real organization. A pistol rack is the solution, and while this one holds 4 guns, there are 6-, 8-, and 12-gun models available. Cheap, simple, and convenient.
Door panel organizer: Spika Gun Cabinet Adjustable Storage
Large, expensive cabinets frequently offer hanging storage inside the door, something rarely found on cheaper models. The Spika organizer lets you maximize the available space with a variety of pockets and pouches, flexible sizing, and three different attachment methods to suit just about any door type.
Inexpensive: The cheapest gun cabinets are simple steel constructions with an ordinary key and cost from $100 to $200. Functional but certainly not fancy.
Mid-range: Gun cabinets with keypad or biometric locks start at about $230 for a four- or five-gun model, up to about $300 for an eight-gun capacity. However, these are seldom fireproof or waterproof. If you want that added protection, you’ll pay upwards of $350.
Expensive: Large-capacity gun cabinets (16 or more rifles) that are both waterproof and fireproof cost from around $850; 30- and 40-rifle models can cost over $2,000.
Perhaps you don’t see what you need in our matrix. We found a few other options for you. The Barska Biometric Rifle Safe comes from a company that’s well known for secure but affordable cabinets. This compact model holds 4 rifles, with a shelf for ammunition and/or handguns. The fingerprint scanner is DOJ approved.
The 5-gun FCH Rifle Cabinet is small enough to be mounted inside a closet. It’s keypad operated with an additional hidden keyhole in case the battery goes flat. We particularly like the additional lockbox rather than a simple open shelf.
The 39-gun Steelwater Gun Safes Cabinet is at the other end of the spectrum. In addition to rifle storage, there are 11 handgun pockets plus lots of extra shelving. It’s fireproof for 60 minutes at 1,875°F, and it has a high-quality gear-driven door lock with bolts on all four sides. Pick a spot for it in advance, though. It weighs almost 700 pounds!
Q. What is the law regarding locking gun cabinets?
A. There is no federal law requiring guns to be secured, but local laws vary from state to state, so you need to check. At the time of writing, Massachusetts was the only state requiring all firearms to be locked away, but other states may have partial restrictions. Regardless of the law, locking up your guns just makes good sense for your safety and that of your family. Unlocked guns are a major contributor to accidental shootings in the home and to suicide among minors.
Q. How can I tell if a gun cabinet is fireproof or waterproof?
A. You need to check details carefully. Many are not, even if they’re made of steel. The manufacturer should give precise ratings; for example, fireproof for 30 minutes at 1,400°F or waterproof for 72 hours in 2 feet of water. There may be further conditions, like having the safe bolted down. Gun cabinets that offer this level of protection are invariably expensive.
Q. What’s the difference between a live bolt and a dead bolt?
A. A dead bolt is either permanently fixed or has to be operated with a specific key, so the locking mechanism is an integral part. Live bolts slide in and out as a handle or lever is operated, They can be locked, but the locking mechanism is separate. Gun cabinets may use one type or both.