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car gun safe

Features You Need In A Car Gun Safe

If you're going to leave your gun in your car, you need a car gun safe. Don't kid yourself about it, either.

You need a safe in your home, and you need one in your car if you're going to store a gun there, especially a loaded one such as a concealed carry pistol. It's one thing to have a car holster mount for when you're driving, but you don't want to leave it after you park. And don't use the glove box.

Yes, You Need A Car Gun Safe

car ccw

If you stash your carry gun in your car while you're at the office or anything along those lines, you need a car gun safe.

This isn't one of those "you probably should things" like certain aspects of range etiquette and so on. We all know there are things that people say you need, but don't REALLY need in the strictest sense of the word, but a car safe for a pistol is not one of them. This is definitive. Yes, you need one.

Most gun crime in the United States is committed by people that cannot legally own or possess firearms. How they get them is via the black market, from family or friends that really ought to know better, or - and with increasing frequency - by theft.

Take a good guess as to one of the most common place that criminals steal guns from.

Cars. And, yes, the Glock sticker on your car is a dead giveaway. Homes are also common.

The Trace surveyed 92 police departments nationwide in 2015. They reported 10,500 guns stolen from cars. According to NPR, 1,021 guns were stolen from cars in Atlanta, Ga. alone in 2018; in Tennessee, 4,064 guns were stolen from cars in 2017 statewide.

If you regularly store your gun in your car, YOU NEED A CAR GUN SAFE. Period. Otherwise, you're liable to end up arming a criminal.

Required Features Of A Car Safe

So, what do you need in a car safe?

Bear in mind I'm talking about SAFES. I am not talking about concealment furniture, which is a horse of a different color and often doesn't have the same locking mechanism.

You're looking for a few key attributes. At minimum, you need the following:

  • Concealability
  • Anchoring
  • Solid Construction

That's really it. Now, there are a few different ways in which you can go about getting it.

Concealment comes from being able to hide the safe. You can either get one that slides under a car seat, or you can get a trunk safe. Which is hidden...by being in the trunk.

The standard car gun safe is basically a top-opening lockbox that you slide under your car seat. Some have a combination lock, some have a key-operated barrel lock, some even include an RFID or biometric lock mechanism.

The other is literally a miniature safe, which you have to mount to the body. Typically, you'd put it in the trunk.

As far as which locking mechanism to look for...you can end up missing the forest for the trees.

Each has benefits and drawbacks. Barrel locks are fine, until you lose the key. Manual combination locks are very good unless the gears wear out. Any electronic lock is only as good as the electronics are - and you need to stay on top of the batteries - but the good news is that most have a barrel lock and key as a backup. Therefore, choose the one you prefer the most.

Top Tip: put a backup key in your wallet. If you lose the other one, you have it on you.

Next, we come to anchoring. There has to be something that attaches the safe to your car. HOW that happens is up to you.

Most safes for the car come in two flavors. Most common is a simple steel cable. You secure it to the pillar of your car seat, which keeps it in place.

Or, you can go the trunk safe route.

A trunk safe is pretty much what it sounds like: a small safe that you mount in the trunk. It's hidden (it's in the trunk, after all!) and they usually made much stronger than under-seat lockboxes. However, mounting the safe usually involves some construction.

To mount a car safe, you have to peel up the carpet in the trunk, and drill holes in the sheet metal. Then, you have to install mounting bolts to anchor the safe in place. Granted, it's hardly complicated but not everyone wants to go to those lengths.

Car Gun Safes And Theft


So, someone will probably have the idea that "gee, an under-seat car gun safe probably could be stolen easier than a trunk safe." You'd be right! That IS, after all true; a steel cable can be defeated with a stout cable cutter.

IF, that is, a thief has them and has the time to use them.

People stealing things out of cars tend to work fast; it's usually an instance of a crime of opportunity. The car is there, it isn't locked, what can I get out of it really fast? Typically, these thefts occur in residential areas as opposed to commercial parking structures and more commonly happens at night.

What people who steal things out of cars look for is signs of a good opportunity. Cell phone and GPS mounts on the dash? Probably a Garmin or Tom-Tom in the console or the glove box. Maybe even a laptop in the back.

Glock or NRA sticker on the bumper? Gun in the car. There's also the issue of what the heck you're thinking putting bumper stickers on your car anyway; you're 47, Greg, so grow up already!

The car is far from view of the people who live in the home? Even better.

A trunk safe, of course, is more secure...but an under-seat car gun safe is still effective concealment and security for the most part.

The best practice? Keep your gun on you at all possible times. That's why there's a whole industry of concealed carry holsters for the purpose. If your employer forbids it, only keep the gun in the car while at work. Other than that, put it in a holster and keep it on your person.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober