Road Trip! How to Carry Your Gun in Your Car
Ahh it’s time to hit the open road for that American pastime: the road trip. Where are we going? Who cares? But even if your drive is just getting from point A to B, how do you carry your firearms while you’re on the road? The most obvious answer is that your pistol is in its holster, but that can be uncomfortable for a long drive. For temporary storage, I like to use one of the vehicle car magnets.
Yes, magnets. A quick trip to the Amazon store yields more results than I can count. There are many gun magnets that have thousands of 4.5 star ratings and most are between $15-$30. What a deal to have the extra level of comfort! Most will attach to the facia of the vehicle and I seen plenty of examples where they are mounted right next to the user. In fact the pistol can be even faster to retrieve from the gun magnet than having to fiddle with your shirt, seatbelt and holster to draw your pistol. (The drawback to the magnet system is that you will have to holster and unholster each time you enter or leave the vehicle.
We just did an article a couple weeks ago about the Headrest Safe Co. Unlike the magnet, the headrest safe is actually secure so it has a big advantage there. The other advantage is that, since it is hidden in plain sight, you can leave the pistol in the vehicle. With the magnet you just have the pistol dangling attached to the console.
The drawbacks with the headrest-safe system are the cost and current limited options. These safes are premium and can cost more than a standard, duty-grade pistol. The next drawback is the time required to get into the safe to recover your pistol. It does take seconds to enter the PIN into the keypad. Seconds in an emergency can seem like hours.
Alright so let’s say your last name is not Trump and money IS a factor in your purchasing decisions. You want to be responsible and have your weapons secured but want something slightly more affordable. Again on Amazon I was able to find tons of “handgun safes” with options starting at 49.99 all the way up to four hundred dollars for some the name brand biometric safes. If name brands are not important to you, I was able to find a couple non name brand biometric safes with quick access doors for less than two Benjamins and they had pretty good reviews.
With the cheaper handgun lockers, you will want to make sure that you have some kind of security chain. I have seen plenty of people secure these handheld lockers underneath the seats, chained to the seat rails.
The con for these cheaper options is that, if you need to access the firearm, you will have to reach under the seat and unlock them … taking precious time. Those mid-range auto opening safes are a great option being quicker to access. But the drawback for this is that you need to mount them right next to you.
Console vaults are great in that you do not lose any leg room, leaving you plenty of space for driving activities. Almost all of these types of safes are specific to a series of vehicle model, like for example Ford F150 2020-22 year models. Because they are made to fit exactly into your center console, depending on your vehicle it could be very easy or difficult to find one. (My 2002 Daewoo Lanos gets no respect!)
So what about storing long guns? Yes, people do carry long guns and I do have a truck gun. Decked truck bed storage is one of my favorite things in the world for a truck. Yes, these are heavy “plastic” beds and drawers. But that does not give them credit, these are bolted and secured into the truck beds. If your tailgate locks, it would take quite a bit of effort to break into one of these systems. In fact, it would definitely take longer to break into than some of the lockbox options. There are even added locks that you can add to each drawer for multiple layers of security. These are built tough and can handle a lifetime of tools being tossed into the drawers. Plus Decked has a great organizing system including internal rifle racks.
Truckvault is the “standard” for secure drawer systems for law enforcement cruisers. Oh man when I say these are well built that is an understatement! The fit and finish down to the internal carpet is top notch. When it comes to security the TruckVault is one of the best mobile safes.
The drawback is the weight added to the vehicle if you are using a whole truck bed system. They do offer smaller trunk sized safes as well that fit into sedans or replace a back seat. Before you ask, quality comes with a price, and they are expensive. I have seen some used and abused units still sell for over three thousand dollars. Here’s the thing, if security is your number one concern they are the go to company.
Let’s say that you do not want to use your truck bed or SUV’s rear cargo space. In my Jeep Gladiator I have a dead space under my rear seat. Normally Jeep offers a couple plastic storage boxes. You can remove the factory storage bins and replace them with something like a car rifle locker. These can be screwed down to the floor and can be a wallet-friendly solution.
Hornady makes a RAPiD (Rapid ID) AR gun locker that uses RFID to automatically open up once the RFID tag is activated. Or you can also use the backup keypad. The weight of this type of safe is negligible, and they kind of fill in that dead space that’s not really used unless you have a bunch of subwoofers. The hardest part of this type of safe is finding one that will fit in the space between the floorboard and the bottom of the seats.
So this leaves us to our last resort of carrying your firearms unsecured and out in the open. This is not cool. Don’t be one of those people that gets a gun stolen because they left it on the passenger seat. R. Lee Ermey put it best in Full Metal Jacket:
“Private Pyle, if there is one thing in this world that I hate, it is an unlocked footlocker! You know that, don’t you? If it wasn’t for dickheads like you, there wouldn’t be any thievery in this world, would there?”
—James The “XDMAN” Mr UnPewFessional Himself!
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April 5, 2023 at 11:26 am
I have seen these safes where the taillight pulls out and the whole thing is a drawer with a rifle on it. Are these just custom mades?
April 5, 2023 at 1:28 pm
I am going to have to look that up, sounds custom
April 5, 2023 at 1:17 pm
great info, but you didn’t touch on any of the many laws regarding transporting firearms across state lines.
A personal example would be that I live in Maine. NH the bordering state has similar laws, so I can carry concealed there like I do in my own state without concern.
But unlike Maine and NH, Mass and VT are socialist states with very strict and ridiculous laws regarding firearms.
I don’t travel in those states unless I have to due to the laws and not knowing how to legally carry.
I was really hoping this article would touch on this subject some.
April 5, 2023 at 1:34 pm
We would need 50 different articles to cover each state, instead just visit
April 6, 2023 at 10:46 am
Not really…I think there are 28 constitutional carry states, so all of those can be consolidated into 1 article, and its a short article!
April 5, 2023 at 1:20 pm
This mentions nothing about legality of carrying inside a vehicle, or links to any examples of these products, its like the a long version of the first paragraph of a well written article. i hope these guys don’t get paid to write this interesting article bait.
April 5, 2023 at 1:32 pm
Well, I my state I am allowed to legally have a firearm, I don’t know where you live so….who knows? You would have to have 50 separate articles for each state to cover that. Instead of that head over to https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/al-gun-laws/?amp