Most savvy people know not to leave any item of value inside an unattended vehicle. But what is the best way to stow away a firearm on the road? When headed out for an afternoon of gun-related activities such as shooting at the range or on a hunting trip, a stop along the way can create a bit of a conundrum.
A friend learned the hard way that thieves will seize any opportunity to steal valuables, including firearms. On the way to hunt elk he stopped at the sporting goods store for a quick, last-minute item. The venture took less than 15 minutes. Upon returning to his pickup he found a broken door lock and his valuables, including his hunting rifle, gone.
There are proper ways to carry firearms to prevent damaging them or harming others. And there are smart ways to stow guns in a vehicle when the owner is out of sight. These methods also double as practical and safe ways to travel with firearms.
Keep them out of sight
Toyota, Ram and Nissan built interior storage into some of their pickups that would safely hide a firearm. For example, the Nissan Titan XD crew cab has a compartment under the rear seat that — depending on the size of the gun or its case — can be a viable storage option. If limited to a single cab with folding seats, try the space behind the backrests near the rear of the cab.
Lock them inside
There are aftermarket lock box makers such that design mobile safes that bolt inside the truck cabin. For example, Safety and Security manufactures a product called the TruckBunker that accommodates firearms of all sizes, including rifles. The TruckBunker is constructed of aluminum and steel hardware and weighs about 250 pounds. The safe is easily installed and has two doors for access on either side of the vehicle. The TrunkBunker costs about $1,000 and can be made to fit all Ford, Chevrolet and GMC crew cab pickups.
Lock them in the bed
If there is not enough room inside the cab, there are factory and aftermarket options available for the exterior. They come in all shapes and sizes, and there are even budget-friendly options. But be sure to get a system that provides adequate security even if it costs more.
Accessories such as tonneau covers and bed toolboxes keep valuables out of sight. However, they also take up space in the bed, limiting the ability to haul ATVs and other large recreational equipment.
Truck and van storage system maker Decked makes a more versatile system for full-sized pickups, the Toyota Tacoma midsize truck as well as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Its truck bed organizer attaches flat to the bottom of the bed and has lockable storage compartments beneath that slide in and out like drawers. The storage space is not only secure, it’s ideal for keeping gear organized. And because the storage drawers are tucked beneath a flat surface that sits atop the bed, there is still space to load a four-wheeler or other gear on top. The Decked system costs between $1,100 and $1,300.
Bed storage compartments also are useful. RamBox, which is exclusive to the Ram Trucks brand, offers plenty of airtight storage in the bed rail of the truck. The small, trunk-like door pops open with a push button and is lighted for better visibility and safe stowing of a shotgun or rifle. RamBoxes lock tight — also with the push of a button — and have sensors attached to the truck’s security system that will sound if tampered with.
Leave someone behind
Assuredly the most effective method to keep your guns from being ripped off is to leave someone in the car. No, not a four-legged pal. Leave a hunting buddy in the truck, but leave the keys so they can turn on the heating or A/C.