5 Ways a Gun Safe is Different From a Regular Safe

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Gun safes are one of the primary versions of a safe on the market; however, a standard safe counterpart is a close second. So what is the difference between a gun safe and a regular safe? That is what we are going to be discussing in this article.

Why should you listen to me? I have years of experience in the gun safe and security industry. I have been writing on this site about them since 2017 and have worked in the industry for years before that. I aim to help answer any questions I can and help people find the right safe for them.

Quick Note: A regular safe can also be called an executive or a home safe. These are all essentially the same thing and can be used interchangeably in this article.

Before understanding the differences between the two styles, let’s discuss how gun and standard safes are identical to set a baseline.

How are gun safes and regular safes the same?

Gun and home safes are built to protect various items from being stolen via locking mechanisms, varying amounts of steel gauges, re-lockers bolt work, and more. 

The goal is ultimately to buy you enough time to get the authorities to your home during a break-in. No safe is genuinely impenetrable; however, the more money you spend, the more time you have to get the police to your home.

These two styles of safes are so similar that regular safes and gun safes are almost identical in price and outside appearance. A great example of this is Mesa Safes MBF6032, where they have the standard safe version and the same safe as a gun safe version. Can you spot the differences?

How does a gun safe differ from an ordinary safe?

While standard safes are primarily built for paperwork and to keep valuables safe with ordinary shelves, gun safes take a different approach. Here are the four differences between a gun safe and a regular safe.

1. Interior storage for long guns

[Image courtesy of SecureIt Gun Storage]

A gun safes interior is by far the main difference between the two styles of safes. Gun safes offer various styles of shelving to house longer firearms. The most common is the U-Shaped rack, which allows you to turn either half or the entire safe into a place to lean your rifle without bumping up against other firearms. 

Another excellent example is SecureIt Gun Storage, where they have a purpose-built safe to allow for rapid access. Instead of u-shaped racks, they keep the depth of their safes at a minimum and then line the rifles along the back of the safe so that every gun is as accessible as the next.

2. Door panels and storage

While many regular safes have some form of storage on the doors for items, gun safes offer specific storage for firearm-related gear. This ranges from pistol pockets to molle strap systems, mesh pockets, to even storage for long guns on the door (this safe is an excellent example of this).

3. Gun safes are generally taller.

Regular safes range heavily in height, all the way from 10″ in size to well over 6 feet. However, gun safes have to generally be tall enough to house long guns, meaning they have to be over 40″ for shorter rifles or over 52″ for a standard long gun. 

Because of this, you won’t find safes marketed for firearms any shorter than 40″. Most gun safes sit at 59″ or more just to be “safe.”

4. Specific storage for firearm-related gear

[Image courtesy of Browning]

Gun safe manufacturers continue beyond just storage on the safe’s interior; some gun safe brands will even add storage to the outside of the safes. This safe offers a rack on the top, making great storage for tactical gear and bags. While most safes do not have this, it is provided if you hunt for the right safe.

5. Hunting themes

The final thing that gun safe brands offer to gun safes is a hunting theme. Most people that need a gun safe need it for their hunting rifles, and because of this, a hunting theme for the safe is quite popular. Because of that, you will commonly see deer, turkey, and other animals on the face of the safe.

Frequently Asked Questions


Gun safes and regular safes are surprisingly similar. However, with modifications to the interior, the door panel, and the aesthetics of the safe, a gun safe does a fantastic job of keeping firearms safe. If you are looking for a home safe, you have a much larger pool of safes to choose from; however, there are plenty of great options (right here) for high-quality gun safes as well.

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