Vehicle Firearm Storage and Secure Transportation

Why Would You Need To Secure Your Firearm In The Car?

You need a good way to secure the firearm in the vehicle simply because you will go places where you can either NOT have your firearm with you or you will be required to transport it in a secure way. Examples include:

  • The Post Office and any other Federal Building or Secure Area
  • Schools (Local Law Depending Of Course)
  • Other Gun Free Zones
  • When transporting through states that do not honor your permit(s)

Gun free zones, legally imposed or otherwise, are common places where you may need to disarm before entering a building or property. Perhaps your employer doesn't allow firearms, you have to serve on a jury at the local courthouse, or you need to enter your kid's school to talk to a teacher. In each of these situations (local law depending) you will likely have to disarm and leave your firearm in the vehicle.

In addition, as you likely are aware, despite any local laws Article 926A of FOPA grants you the right nationwide to transport a firearm through any state so long as it is properly secured and/or not readily accessible. (More information about 926A here) When you travel through a state that doesn't honor your permit you need to secure your firearm to be in compliance with 926A.

How Not to Secure the Firearm In the Car


  • Shove your gun under the seat
  • Stick it in the Glove Box (locked or otherwise)
  • Put it in the console
  • Leave it visible
  • Secure it in the trunk

I know gun owners who exit their vehicle, open the trunk of the car, and then disarm as discretely as possible into the trunk of the car. While secure, this is a bad practice. You are less likely to remember to rearm when you return to the car, and bystanders are more likely to discern or see your firearm.

Why Not the Console or Glove Box?

A few years ago I wrote an entire article solely focused on the reasons you should NEVER store your firearm in the glove box or console. The short version? Criminals are most likely to look there first for valuables if they break into the car, even when locked the glove box is really easy to force open, and Article 926A specifically mentions the glove compartment and console as NOT qualifying as secure storage.

You need something much better!

What Are The Best Practices and Considerations?

You need a gun safe. Something specifically designed to protect your firearm from unauthorized users. Further down in this article I will get more detailed about the safe itself but first some other best practices…

Secure The Safe To The Vehicle

In this image, you can see my safe secured via a security cable to the seat of my truck

One of the greatest challenges of firearm security in the vehicle is the issue of securing the safe to the vehicle. The safe doesn't do you much good if any intruder to the vehicle can simply grab the safe and haul it off to be forced open later with the right tools.

The easiest way to solve this problem is with a security cable as shown in the above picture. A lot of smaller gun safes have a small hole on the side specifically designed for being tethered to a simple security cable.

You can secure it to the frame of the vehicle in some places but I've found most vehicles have a place in the seat where you can wrap the cable around. Seats are often extremely difficult or even impossible to remove without specialized tools and knowledge so they make for great anchors for your safe's cable.

Whatever you do to secure your safe, be sure it is effective and practical.

Balance Accessibility

For daily use, you ideally want your secure firearm to be easily accessible. Putting the safe in the trunk or anywhere you cannot reach from the driver's seat is going to create some challenges. First, you won't be able to secure and retrieve the firearm as discretely. Second, when you first return to your vehicle there will be a greater delay in the time before you are armed once again.

Keep it Hidden From Plain View

Ideally, you don't want to use a firearm safe that is kept in the vehicle such that any passerby who even glances into the vehicle will notice the safe there. This will act as a temptation to criminals and identify you as a gun owner to anyone who takes a ride in your car.

Shown here a safe under the seat of my SUV

Look for places (and safes) that can be discretely stored out of sight. I have found one of the best solutions is to put the safe under a seat.

The Best Gun Safes For Firearm Vehicle Storage

Now after reading all my ramblings above you know that some key characteristics of a functional gun safe for the vehicle include:

  • Slim Enough To Fit Under A Car Seat
  • Able to Tether to a Security Cable
  • Strong and Secure From Criminals and Unauthorized People

Most “Clamshell” style safes fit the bill and my favorites are the SnapSafe 4-Button Keypad Safe and the Gun Vault MicroVault. They both will get the job done and they both have some advantages over the other.

Ok, I'm ready to hear your comments. For those of you who already have a good setup in the car please share with us in the comments below what you are doing and what safe you are using that works best for you.

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. cepowers on July 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    I also have a clam shell safe in my vehicle. It is tethered to the frame of the front passenger seat, and the safe is discreetly dropped into the seatback pocket. The safe is not visible (other than a small portion of the tethered cable), and easily accessible to me from the driver’s seat.

    • Richard Bathurst on December 14, 2018 at 7:30 am

      I have a 14 King Ranch F3500, I prefer to use my standard handgun safe, which locks after weapon is put inside. Additionally, my weapons safe fits in a lockable area, divided into two sections under the rear seats, both areas are lockable, and in two separate containers of their own, which is lockable after seats are put back in down positions. And these safes are NEVER viewable outside the vehiicle !! Exceedingly SAFE !!

  2. William Mendel on July 31, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Have you considered Gun Vault which installs in the console of larger cars/trucks and locks? This is more secure than a little vault that connects by a (cutable) cable.

    • Jacob Paulsen on July 31, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      William, thanks for bringing it up. I should have mentioned that option in the above article. I think those are very viable options but obviously less flexible and more expensive. Here is a company I recommend

      • Bill Kaminsky on August 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm


        The site you recommend doesn’t help me out. I have a 04 Dodge Dakota. Any help?

        • Jacob Paulsen on August 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm

          Hmmm. I checked several different manufacturers and I see a lot of stuff for Ram and Durango but NOTHING for Dakotas. There are some generic options you can find but nothing really built for a Dakota of any year.

          • Rick on August 3, 2018 at 10:09 am

            Nothing for a 2011 Camaro either

          • Walter Littleton, Jr. on December 4, 2018 at 3:34 pm

            Or a 2012 Impala

      • Douglas on August 6, 2019 at 12:10 pm

        Trouble with the console vault and very puzzling to me is that I simply can not find one to fit a Lexus GX460. Lexus puts a huge deep well in the center console that IMO is virtually useless unless your wife wants to put a massive purse in it. The GX is basically the “luxury” version of the 4Runner but is different in everything from chasis to engine to drive train, etc and including the center console-so what can I do? As a master craftsman I’m actually trying to come up with a plan to make one for myself although securing it in the hole will be the challenge. I’ve made a awesome rear cargo trek box with an opening lid and 2 drawers, one that locks, but my wife doesn’t like it as it raises the floor about 6″ making it harder to load, especially an ice chest. Short point is, I wish someone would consider that Lexus driver do carry concealed as much as anyone else. Guess I’m stuck with the clamshell idea until a better option pops up.

      • FLF on July 22, 2020 at 5:52 pm

        I have used Consolevault for over 10 years in many different trucks and SUV’s. Could not ask for a better secure yet easy to access vehicle storage. Could a thief break into it – Yes. Would they risk the time and noise in a parking lot – No. If they steal the vehicle all bets are off.

      • Jim on February 16, 2022 at 4:43 pm

        I have small a gun safe I keep in my car that is TSA approved. It fastens under the seat, or most anywhere, with a plastic-coated steel cable that would take considerable effort to defeat, but you have to make sure it is attached to something that is bolted down. You also want to locate your safe such that it would be difficult for the bad guy to see or get to it.

    • Matt on December 9, 2019 at 3:23 pm

      I have one made by “Lock er Down” in my 2013 Ram 3500 center console. I like it BUT the screws to mount it only screw into plastic. I am considering other ways to make it even more secure. I do like the easy access and quality of the product.

  3. David Tullos on August 1, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    This is a very comprehensive writing. Thanks.
    My son living near Las Vegas recently experienced being the victim of an ‘vehicle burglary’. And yes, his Glock 9mm is now owned by a criminal.

    Beyond the pathetic gut wrenching agony of “being violated” by the truck break-in, he also has the crappy load to bare knowing his gun could be used to harm someone.

    It’s impossible for me, as Dad, to criticize him as I had my S&W 9mm stolen from me in Phoenix years ago. I also got 13 staples to close the head wound from being struck by my own gun.

    You can lecture all you want, but people are just not willing to take personal responsibility for their weapon’s security UNTIL they find out it CAN happen to THEM.

    My prayer would be that folks who still have their ‘virginity’ from crime victimization take the proactive actions written into this fine advice. You DON’t HAVE TO BE one of us that DID learn the HARD WAY.

  4. Jody Wynnemer on August 1, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Wouldn’t it just be easier if you know beforehand you will have to go to a place where your firearm isn’t allowed to just leave it at home? Seems to me a lot safer way to ensure your weapon won’t get stolen. And yes, for anyone wondering, I do have a CCW permit but don’t feel the need to carry all the time! 🙂

    • Jacob Paulsen on August 1, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      As to it being easier, I’m not sure. If you always know exactly where you are going to be and know in advance if you can have a firearm there then I suppose it might be easier. I’m inclined to say you may sometimes end up at a gun-free zone without having previously planned it. Further, if you are doing a trip across state lines then leaving it home means being without a firearm for days or even weeks depending on the length of the trip. For me, and for many CCWers, I think we prefer to have the firearm as often as possible and so having a secure place/method to secure the firearm in the vehicle is a necessity.

    • Roy Tiffner on August 2, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Can you give me the name of the website or other source that you are using? I too would like to know when and where I might be assaulted.

    • Normal Joe on August 15, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      Sometimes i have to go to the post office or chiropractor in the middle of my day. Leaving my firearm home for the whole day because of just one stop leaves me unarmed too long. You never if, or when you’re going to need it.

      • Howard Scheff on December 3, 2018 at 8:19 pm

        Problem with Post Office is you cant even carry on parking lot, like most schools in many states. So you have to park across the street. Better to lock it then loose it

    • D Wright Downs on May 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      You are probably correct. However, I lived with a weapon for many years and after my discharge I have lived with a firearm and have carried as a defensive measure. It is part of my clothing as much as a uniform would be. It is second nature to me. I carry more than my husband does. I have been in situations in both the military and civilian worlds where I needed it and didn’t have it and was hurt. I also travel with a Czech German Shepherd dog when I am traveling alone.
      I would rather have it and not need it. I have experienced needing it and not having it. I have experienced having my dog and needing him, too, and not having to use my firearm…so far. As the saying goes, there is a fool born every minute and at my age (I am told I am a senior citizen), someone will try to get the upper hand sooner or later. I can still use my walking stick like a Ninja, shoot like a practiced shooter, and control my dog off lead. I will carry. I keep my firearm handy.

  5. JKL on August 1, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    I have a vault installed in my trailer for traveling in states that don’t honor my CCW. It merely requires I pull over to store it just before, or just after entering the forbidden territory. Although I like the small vault you talk about, I find my solution just as easy to deal with and less likely to attract someone who has broken into the truck. For temporary locked storage for those relatively few times that I am unarmed, there is a lockable storage unit under the back seat of my truck – not so handy if I need it “right now”, but handy enough AND, the lock is pretty darned difficult to break into – I’ve tried. 🙂

  6. L.. on August 1, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    States that don’t “honor” other States’ permission slip CCW …translated means > they don’t Honor our 2nd A. and THAT part of our National Constitutional Freedom…….And, shouldn’t THAT lack of 2nd A. recognition be illegal?

    • tom on July 20, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      Sorry but I am a proponent of the 2nd amendment, We can argue all day long, the 2dA does not state that you can posses what ever firearm you want where ever you want.

  7. Andie on August 1, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I have been looking for a pistol vault for securing in a car. Everyone I find is electronic, battery operated. Are there any options that are mechanical and don’t rely on electronics and batteries?

  8. Tom on August 1, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Hook up the cable and try to yank it out of the safe all in all good video

    Ps I own the gun vault


  9. Bob on August 2, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I use a.50 inch thick bicycle cable, wrapped around the seat anchor and then attached to the gun safe. Heaven forbid if I lose the key.

  10. Kevin Williams on August 15, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I have a simple tethered clam shell type in every vehicle, BUT be aware of your local and state laws concerning transportation of a firearm. In many states you CAN NOT place a loaded firearm, even in a safe, to transport. It may have to be unloaded. Although some states allow ammunition in the safe with the firearm.
    So don’t just pull your CCW out of your belt and place it in the vault and think your to good.
    Everyone who carries needs a up to date carry travel guide and obey each states laws.
    Know your laws and transport correctly.

  11. Tim Umina on December 7, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I use a console vault in my Tacoma from Console Vault. It was made to drop in to the console with no modification. No I would not say it is as fast as the push button but those safes would not be as easily accessible as the console safe. It has a four dials. I keep them where I can easily hit my four numbers by one digit each in a mix of up or down. I do have a four button safe next to my bed for easy access at night.

    The console vault is good for many things of value.

  12. Steve on April 3, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Post office parking lot is still considered post office property and thus off limits

  13. Brian P on August 1, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Im looking for a custom gun safe for a 2019 Honda Insight….no one seems to have anything available….I had Console Vault for both my Tacomas but they offer nothing for the Honda makes…..

    • Rob on May 28, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      I have a frontier and use a clamshell type safe with the tether cable under the front passenger seat. The cable is pretty long so I used cable ties to keep the cable under the seat. If I was in a hurry to pull the safe the ties would brake.
      I like the idea of the beefier cable of Bobs.

  14. Leslie pickard on April 3, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I have a grand caravan. only bottom draw of console comes out, Seats fold down into floor. How and where do I put a safe?

    • Jacob Paulsen on April 9, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      Perhaps under a front seat? I would use a smaller “clam-shell” style safe and tether it to a front seat using a security cable. The gunvault safes we sell come with the security cable.

    • Don on May 26, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      When I had such a van, there was room for a relatively large pushbutton clamshell safe under the driver’s seat. The floor contours were such that it stayed in place, but I was able to reach down and bring it into my lap while parked and sitting in the driver’s seat.

  15. Mark Paolino on July 21, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    As of now, bio-metric locks are too temper-mental &unreliable.

  16. Dwain on May 28, 2021 at 5:03 am

    What about storing the ammo, the clip. I have ‘heard’ that in new York if your ammo is next to your pistol, it is considered loaded. Do I need two safes?

  17. Elzu on October 21, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I have a soft top jeep wrangler. I don’t have room under the seats due to modifications. what would you recommend that permanently mount to back door or rear sides when I need to secure and leave my hand gun.

    • Matthew Maruster on October 22, 2021 at 8:10 am

      Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a simple solution in your case. I don’t own a jeep, so I can’t speak to exact locations, but I imagine your solution would involve a custom fabrication of a compartment that looks inconspicuous. Can you mount a safe to the engine compartment bulkhead under the dash in a way that is not easily seen? Additionally, you could try looking up some online Jeep forums and ask for some ideas. I’m sure you will find folks with way more ideas than I have.

  18. Clark Kent on June 10, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    DO NOT for ANY REASON ever leave a firearm unattended in a vehicle. So called ‘gun safes’ or ‘strong boxes’ can be easily defeated by prybars, hammers or screwdrivers. And don’t get me started as to how easy it is to cut a cable. In a 33+ year career in a major Pacific Northwest PD I took dozens and dozens of car prowl reports where a firearm was stolen. DO NOT be the gun owner who has his firearm stolen by a criminal.

  19. Xavier Piedom on June 10, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    On a related matter, I’m interested in storing my CCW in a vault under the front seat. But how do you access it? The steering wheel is in the way. You pretty much have to get out of the car to stow or access it.

  20. John Turrentine on June 11, 2022 at 9:17 am

    I have a console vault in my 2017 GMC Sierra. Very easy to install with ready access. It is big enough to hold a couple of pistols and other valuables that I may need to secure.

Leave a Comment