A gun cabinet is a secure and protective storage container for one or more firearms, and, or ammunition for those guns. Gun safes are primarily used to prevent access to unauthorized or unqualified persons, for burglary protection, and, in more capable safes, to protect the contents from damage during a flood, fire, or natural disaster. Access prevention is required by law in many places, necessitating a gun lock, metal gun cabinet, or gun safe. Gun safes have largely replaced the gun cabinets made of fine stained wood with etched glass fronts used for display that were commonly used decades ago, although some gun safes are made to resemble such gun cabinets.
Gun safes may include additional security features such as fire or water protection, combination lock, digital lock, and fingerprint identification.
Electronic locks as well as mechanical locks are available on many models of safes. The highest reliability exists for mechanical locks, although they are often more time consuming to open than electronic locks. Some mechanical combination locks have key locks, too, that lock the combination lock dial from turning, thereby precluding casual attempts by anyone with physical access to the safe from trying multiple combinations in the hopes of unlocking the safe.
Some safes use live locking bolt technology and pry resistant metal to ensure the secure protection of its contents. Some safes provide only protection against burglary and unwanted access from young family members, while other safes provide additional protection against fire and flood and other natural disasters.