If you’re an armed citizen and do any sort of driving, sooner or later you’ll need to consider a vehicle gun safe.

What are the advantages of vehicle gun safes:

  • They are necessary given most cars’ poor security.
  • They should be hidden so they do not draw a thief’s attention.
  • They should attach to the superstructure of the vehicle.
  • Compared to gun vaults they are lightly built.
  • This is acceptable, given they are meant for short-term storage.
  • Most are not fireproof, given the rarity of it in vehicles.
  • Many handgun safes are acceptable vehicle safes.

The common refrain about “gun-free zones” is “I simply won’t go.” It’s a noble sentiment, steeped in the righteous intentions and completely incompatible with real life. It stings like salt in a wound, but a visit to these less-then-enlightened venues end up on a to-do list more often then you’d figure — be it jury duty, parent-teacher conferences or even work.

ConsoleVault-Car-Gun-Safe
Console Vaults are designed to turn the center console into a secure gun safe.

The obvious solution to this unpalatable situation, given our highly mobile society, is to simply stow your gun in your car. Of course, doing so is easier said than done. It’s impracticable to downright loony to think you can just toss you 9mm or .45 somewhere sight-unseen and call it secure. Always a consideration, firearms’ security is especially imperative on the road. Tempered glass and anemic locks hardly inspire the confidence you should have when not personally accounting for your firearm.

Like the home variety, a vehicle gun safe thwarts crime and keeps your firearms where it needs to be — in your possession. And should be among the top accessories for anyone who carries on a regular basis. Quite possibly, it’s the gun owner’s best travel companion.

The Necessity Of A Vehicle Gun Safe

Similar to handgun safes, the vehicle variety only offer a moderate amount of protection in most cases, compared to a full-out gun vault. Still, they are more than adequate for short-term storage if they have two important features.

First and foremost, they must easily be hidden away from the general public’s prying eyes. Criminals case cars, peering through window searching for valuables. If there’s nothing to offer, they’ll move to the next vehicle. A car gun safe in clear view is like a flashing neon sign screaming “rob me” to the felonious meathead.

Fort-Knox-Auto-Gun-Box
Like nearly all of Fort Knox’s products, the Auto Box provides the utmost security.

Almost equally important, the gun safe must attach to a structural component of the car. The floor is acceptable, the frame (or something bolted to it) is better. Otherwise, you might as well gift wrap the gun safe, it’s become little more than a present a thief can pry or cut open at his leisure in the comfort of his own den.

Aside from theft, a gun safe in a vehicle makes sense as simply a way to secure a firearm on longer drives, say a family road trip and the like. Rolling 300 miles between stops, someplace safe to stow your pistol out of reach of children is wise and will give your side a rest from your gun digging into it.

Vehicle Gun Safe Limitations

Car-Gun-Safe
While not as hidden as some options, the Titan Gun Safe Pistol Vault allows for rapid-access on the road.

While not a hard-and-fast rule, vehicle gun safes aren’t typically built to the specs of other firearms security devices. It makes some sense. Ideally, vehicle gun safes guard their contents over a much narrower window of time — hours, compared to days, weeks and months. Your hackles shouldn’t raise too much, car thieves are also under the gun and won’t have as much time to pry and break in, given their much more public area of operations. Furthermore, they aren’t armed with the same robust tools of the home thief, so you typically don’t need an absolute excess of armor. They work with screwdrivers instead of pry bars, claw hammers opposed to grinders.

Since automobile fires are rarer than house fires, vehicle gun safe don’t generally offer this line of protection. All in all, they’re simple lined metal boxes, meant purely as theft-prevention devices. Besides, if your car is on fire you might have larger problems than firearms security.

With these factors in mind, gun owners do well to remember a gun safe in their vehicle is for temporary storage. Treating it otherwise temps fate.

Unacceptable Vehicle Gun Safe Alternatives

“Well, I can simply toss my handgun in the center console or glove compartment box,” are infamous last words of a gun-theft victim. While each certainly keeps a firearm out of sight, they offer the same level of security as wrapping a gun in old newspaper and hoping for the best. Something as simple as a butter knife can defeat their locks. Additionally, you can bet any criminal worth his crowbar will check both for valuables once inside the car. If either is your only option you’re better off leaving your gun at home.

Some Of The Best Vehicle Gun Safes

SnapeSafe-Car-Gun-Safe-in-trunk
Need more storage? SnapeSafe’s Trunk Safe fits the bill with room enough for most long guns.

What is the best gun safe for the road? There are plenty of solid examples of gun safes specifically designed for vehicles that incorporate directly into existing aspects of a car or truck. Some of the cleverest examples are Lock’er Down and Console Vault safes, which are mounted in a center console turning the entire unit into a gun safe. For larger firearms, there are systems such as SnapSafe’s Trunk Safe, which bolts in the boot, essentially converting the better part of one into a gun vault.

However, there are simpler, more straightforward systems. The Bulldog Case Car Safe, for instance, is a relatively inexpensive option that is highly flexible; simply mount the bracket in a car and the safe slides in an out when unlocked. And it’s difficult to do better than Fort Knox’s Auto Box line. Constructed with 10-gauge steel, the hand and long gun safes boast among the best rapid-access mechanical locks around and true security when installed porperly.

However, don’t pigeonhole yourself to gun safes with “car” “truck” or “vehicle” in their names. A quality built handgun safe will do equally as well as long as they meet the hidden and secure stipulations. A GunVault NanoVault will more than take care of the job, firmly attached to a seat assembly. Or one of Vaultek’s rapid-access models would also fit the bill. There are no points against being creative, as long as your solution holds fast and is hard to find. 

Parting Shot

Gun storage on the road isn’t the simplest nut to crack, yet it’s a reality. There’s simply no way to call yourself a responsible gun owner if you leave car door locks to guard your firearms. In turn, part of your self-defense plan must include how to secure your gun when you’re away from home. This ultimately means getting a vehicle gun safe. The peace of mind it provides is worth the investment and ultimately will keep you and your firearms safer.


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