Concealed Carry Handgun Storage in Your Vehicle

Proper concealed carry handgun storage can be a difficult sticking point for many people.  We choose to carry a gun so that we can increase our personal security. When we aren’t carrying our handgun  the gun itself can become an additional risk to our safety unless we secure it properly from unauthorized users.  Concealed carry handgun storage has been a challenge in the past but with an increase in products available on the market storing you concealed carry handgun is more secure and easier than ever.

Concealed Carry Handgun Storage in Your Vehicle When You Can’t Carry

Many people in the defensive firearm world believe that you need to carry a gun every waking moment of your life. All day, every day. Individuals who are critical thinkers know that this isn’t possible or even desirable. The simple fact is there are some places where it is illegal to carry a handgun concealed. In other situations it may be against policy. I might suggest that sometimes it might be that you just don’t want to carry our handgun. Some people may find themselves in this type of situation on a regular basis. Just because you need or want to go to one of those places doesn’t mean you should relinquish your concealed carry piece on the trip to or from your destination. You could leave you gun at home. In some situations that might be the correct solution. Other times leaving your gun at home won’t be the right choice. So, what do I do with my handgun when I arrive at my destination? That is the question we are working to answer today as we take a look at concealed carry handgun storage in your vehicle.

Common Problems for Real People

There are many situations where you won’t be carrying your gun. To fully evaluate this challenge we first need to understand why you might not carry and instead need to properly store your handgun. Understanding why will help you to deal with realistic concealed carry handgun storage when you find yourself in one of these common circumstances.

You might not carry concealed because: It’s Illegal

Right or wrong, there are many locations that you might go where it is illegal to carry a concealed handgun. Any person that leads any kind of a normal life will go to these places too. You might stop at the post office to mail a package. Or, you could drop off or pick up your child from school. Visit a family member in the hospital. Have dinner with a friend at a local pub. You might even shop at a store that is posted as a gun free zone. You probably frequent some places where it is against the law to carry. We all do. In these situations, the consequences can be quite severe if you ignore the law. It is your responsibility to know the law (really, you need to know your local laws.) As a law abiding armed citizen it would be expected that you would follow those laws. To follow the law, you would need to either leave your handgun at home, or make sure it is properly stored in our vehicle.  Appropriate concealed carry handgun storage can certainly help to deal with this issue.

You might not carry concealed because: It’s Against the Rules

Another situation that is common for many CCW holders like you is to frequent places where it might be legal to carry, but it is against the rules. Workplace policies that prohibit concealed carry aren’t a threat to your freedom if broken. Most people probably need their job. You might even like yours. When you engage in legal activities that break your employers rules you still face risk. Disciplinary action up to and including firing can result when you ignore the rules at work.
I’m lucky. I am self-employed and that means I write my own policy. I carry at work. You may not be in the same kind of position. You might work for an employer that doesn’t understand the truth about carrying concealed weapons. As a result you face a tough choice. It is easy for someone in my position to say something snarky like, “Find a new job,” or, “The risk of not having a gun when you need it is worse than losing your job.” Frankly, the only person that can make those kinds of judgments is you. Where it is legal, storing your handgun securely in your vehicle while you are at work might be a more palatable option than re-entering the job market.

You might not carry concealed when: It Doesn’t Make Sense to Carry

The final situation that real people like you and me run into is times when our own choices make it unpleasant, difficult, or even impossible to carry a handgun. Let me give you an example. I’m a SCUBA diver and although it would be “super 007” cool if I did, I don’t carry a gun when I dive. When I jump on a great lakes charter boat I face threats to my safety. I’m more concerned with hypothermia, bad weather or getting bent than piracy or boat jacking… as a result, my gun stays in the truck.
I’m sure you can think of some situation where you can’t or don’t want to carry your gun. You might be hitting the ski slopes. Jumping on the treadmill at the gym. Better yet you could be going for a swim with the kids. It may be safer, easier and more reasonable to secure your handgun properly in your vehicle. Why try to figure out how you can safely and securely carry a handgun in these particularly awkward situations?

It is pretty clear that there are some very reasonable situations where we might want to carry our handgun to and from where we are going but then choose to secure it when we arrive. So let’s take a look at how you can do that safely.

Concealed carry handgun storage: The Concept

When you are prohibited or choose not to carry your concealed handgun, proper concealed carry handgun storage in your vehicle can prevent access from unauthorized users and doesn’t pose unnecessary risk to yourself or others.

It is important to understand that I’m not exploring this topic from a quick access stand point. We are not talking about how you carry a gun in the car so that you can access it if you need to defend yourself. Instead, we are looking at the scenario where you are going to make your handgun relatively inaccessible and secure because you are NOT going to use it for a period of time.

Responsible gun owners understand that with our rights come responsibilities. An important responsibility that accompanies your right to carry a concealed handgun is its proper storage. Most people who carry concealed do so because they are interested in increasing their personal safety. Something that I dread (you probably do too,) is the idea of my handgun falling into the wrong hands. It doesn’t matter who that wrong person is. Maybe someone that is ignorant of firearm safety rules who could accidentally injure themselves or someone else. It could be someone that has deliberate, evil intentions of hurting other people. It is your responsibility to take the necessary steps to make sure your handgun is secured from unauthorized users when it is not in your direct control.

Important Considerations

When we need to or choose to leave our defensive handgun in a vehicle there are some important principles that we should consider to make sure that our firearm is and remains relatively secure. Understand, other than not having a handgun in your vehicle at all there is no way to guarantee its security. Leaving it at home isn’t a guarantee either. Regardless, you need to take reasonable measures to keep your gun out of unauthorized hands. You may find the following suggestions helpful. Don’t hesitate to take additional precautions if they increase the security of your handgun and don’t increase risk to yourself or others. Also, make sure you understand and follow all laws about the safe storage of your defensive handgun.

Secure Your Vehicle

One of the most important steps you can take to secure your valuables inside of a vehicle is to make sure the vehicle itself is secure. The saying,”Locks keep honest people honest” might be a bit trite but has some truth to it. It is sound advice. You see, honest people don’t steal. At all. Some crooks don’t quite have the determination, the knowledge or the tools to access a locked vehicle. Reaching through an open window or opening an unlocked door is a different ball game than smashing a window or using tools to open a lock. It is easy to protect your valuables and more importantly your handgun. Simply close the windows and lock the doors. Less dedicated thieves, and others who shouldn’t be interacting with our concealed carry handgun are unlikely to gain access to your handgun if you take this simple step.

Lock Car CCW handgun

Take simple to keep your handgun secure from the curious or the opportunity thief. Lock your doors and close your windows.

Take some simple steps to make sure you secure your vehicle before you leave it. Visually inspect the locks. Are they in the locked position? Activate the door handle. Is the door secure? Double check to make sure that all the windows are in the fully up position. A locked door is useless if a dirt bag can easily defeat the lock by reaching through an open window. Securing your car is the first step.

Use a Locked Container Designed for Handgun Storage
Securing your vehicle can certainly help to deter unauthorized access to your concealed carry handgun. Alone, it may not do the trick. Secure your handgun in a container designed for handgun storage. These containers are relatively inexpensive. When we compare them to the monetary cost of your concealed carry handgun the cost is nothing. When we consider the additional consequences that could accompany the theft or unauthorized access of your pistol – A bargain. Do you need me to elaborate here? Probably not. I’m sure your imagination is doing a great job of helping you to understand the importance of this issue.

Since quick access is not one of our goals, a key or rotating combination lock is just fine for this application. Remember, we are not staging our handgun for defensive use and quick access. Keeping the gun out of the wrong hands is our purpose. Avoid the use of you glove box or center counsel. They may be one of the first places criminals look for valuables. Also the locks associated with compartments in a vehicle are easily defeated. These locks are only mildly secure and the thief expects to encounter them. Crooks expect to find the good stuff in the glove box or the center console. Don’t make it so easy.

A lock box has other advantages as well. Having a dedicated lock box gives you a dedicated place for storing your handgun and ammunition. Maybe you are more orderly than most. My glove box and center counsel are fairly full of items that are completely unrelated to my handgun. You are much better off having a dedicated location for your concealed carry handgun so there is room for it when you need it.

Secure the Container to the Vehicle

CCW handgun cable

A lock box with a cable can be easily installed and removed from a vehicle by using a simple girth hitch. The cable also provides flexibility when storing or retrieving your handgun.

Another advantage of a dedicated pistol box is that you can easily physically attach the box to your vehicle. This makes theft of the box with your firearm in it much more difficult. You can achieve attachment in one of two ways depending on the lock box you select. The easiest method usually entails the use of a cable system. First, you secure the cable around the seat frame or another part of the vehicle with a simple knot called a girth hitch. Then you lock the free end of the cable inside the box so that the girth hitch cannot be undone. This method is secure so that a typical crook isn’t going to remove the box without special tools and extra time. It also allows for you to remove the box and relocate it in another vehicle easily when needed. The length of cable can also come in handy when it comes time to place your handgun into the box. It provides some mobility to the case so you can bring the case to the gun instead of the gun to the case.

Most lock boxes also allow for a more permanent installation option. With some simple tools you mark the hole pattern from the box or template on a solid surface and then drill. Then, drive screws through the box and into the surface. Once you close and lock the box the screws are inaccessible. This method has the advantage of being more secure. It may be more challenging to access the box when you need to use it if you install it in an area such as under a seat. This method may be better suited to mounting a storage box in an area like the trunk where it is easily concealed by closing the trunk itself.

Whichever method you choose, you decrease the chances of your handgun being taken from your vehicle by attaching the box to the vehicle. We have to understand that neither method is perfect. All it takes is time and tools and the dedicated thief will have your case and your gun. Remember, every bit of time and effort required makes your handgun less attractive to steal.

Keep Your Locked Secure Container Out of Sight


Under seat concealed carry handgun storage

The thin profile and cable make under seat storage a great option for your lock box.

We have established that you need to keep your vehicle secure. You agree that you should select a handgun specific lock box and attach it to your vehicle. Even these steps aren’t fool proof. We have to accept that a dedicated professional or curious child can gain access to your handgun with time and tools. The good news is, you can increase your security further by not letting folks know there is a gun in the car in the first place. If you keep a locked box in sight, it indicates that there is something worth locking up. Something that you lock up is something worth stealing. At least to the criminal mind. This isn’t a reason to avoid a lock box. Instead it is motivation for you to keep the lock box out of sight. Under a seat, in the trunk or secured inside your center counsel (you can see how this is different than just leaving the gun alone in the center counsel, right?) are all possible locations for your lock box.

 No single measure will ensure the security of your concealed carry piece from unauthorized users. However, taking multiple steps to secure your handgun increases the security far more than the individual measures themselves.

Minimize Administrative Gun Handling

When you consider storing your handgun in your vehicle you need to consider multiple issues. We have taken a good look at dealing with unauthorized access. Now we need to take a look at our own safety when storing our concealed handgun. Handling a firearm inside your vehicle can pose multiple challenges. The inside of your vehicle, combined with your method of carry and location of your lock box, can restrict your movement. This makes generally safe procedures more risky.

Concealed carry handgun storage safety

Manipulating your loaded handgun can be a challenge in a vehicle and should be avoided.

You should make sure you receive the training you need to be able to safely handle your defensive handgun inside your car. Understand that even with the proper training you can’t eliminate all risk. Reserve gun handling skills inside a vehicle for when you NEED them, in a defensive situation. There is no reason to manipulate your handgun in your car. You can minimize the amount of administrative gun handling by taking two simple steps. First, leave your defensive handgun in the holster when securing it and retrieving it from your lock box. Your holster is an important safety device. If properly designed and selected, your holster will completely cover the trigger guard.
The trigger is the mechanism that fires you gun. If you or something else cannot activate the trigger it is very unlikely that your gun will fire. Keep your gun in the holster and you will prevent your finger, clothing and just about anything else from accidentally entering the trigger guard, activating the trigger and firing your gun.

Common Problems with Simple Solutions

As with many things in life, carrying a concealed handgun can present its challenges. At the same time there is a reason why we chose to carry. We carry a gun so that we have the tools we need to respond appropriately to a violent, lethal threat. Having strategies to secure our handgun safely and securely in our vehicle helps to make us safer. It increases the number of circumstances in which we are able to carry a concealed handgun responsibly. In addition, it fulfills our responsibility to store our firearms properly. Please use the above strategies to make sure that you secure your firearm in a manner that prevents access from unauthorized users and at the same time doesn’t endanger yourself or others.

concealed carry handgun storage holster

With the trigger guard completely covered by a properly designed holster it is relatively safe to secure and retrieve your handgun from your lock box.


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