Sergeant James Post
Along with the rise in police assaults and terror threats, the theft of law enforcement weaponry has also risen.
This article comes at a unique period in American history. Federal, state and local agencies are seemingly always at varied levels of heightened alert due to terrorist activities at home and abroad, while attacks on American Law Enforcement (LE) are simultaneously at an unprecedented high. Because of worldwide threats and the attacks on officers in our own homeland, American LE have found it necessary to arm themselves with more lethal firepower than ever before. During my 25 year career, I carried a .38 caliber revolver and six extra rounds. My squad car carried a 12-gauge shotgun with six rounds of .00 buck. Other than my baton and a can of Mace®, that was it. My field sergeant carried another 100 rounds of .38 and a box of .00. I felt a little safer when I was promoted to Field Sergeant because I now had the extra rounds!
In the years since then, American police have been involved in incidents which have made our streets look like combat zones – from shoot-outs with the SLA and the Black Panthers to the West LA bank robbery firefight to the recent cowardly assaults on officers in New York, Dallas, Kansas City – and we have been forced to arm our peacekeepers with better and more powerful firepower. The six-shot revolvers gave way to autoloaders of larger calibers and the shotguns were joined by military-style patrol rifles.
With the increase in the number and styles of LE firepower was born the need to adequately secure them. Many years ago, John Dillinger actually robbed police departments (at gunpoint) for their firearms and Clyde Barrow frequently broke into National Guard Armories for a constant supply of military arms and ammunition. Today’s crooks have it a lot easier – all they have to do is break into a parked police car. We’ve seen thefts of weapons and other critical equipment from vehicles driven by police, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, and even the U.S. Secret Service.
It has become crucial that we properly secure weapons in LE vehicles. Of course, weapons should never be left in take-home vehicles parked at private residences, or even at agency facilities, for extended periods of time. But, it is also important to secure weapons in on duty vehicles anytime the vehicle is unoccupied. This article will provide you with the latest solutions for secure weapon storage.
Lock ’Em Up, Danno
No longer will Barney’s single bullet in his pocket be considered adequate storage. Following, you will find the newest styles of both weapon racks and storage units, presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer.
American Aluminum Accessories, Inc.
From American Aluminum comes their CamLocker Vault Systems which can be customized based on the customers’ needs. Available features include thick aluminum construction, 400 lb. weight tested drawer slides, carpet lined drawers, Simplex locks, top baskets, slide out work tables, and a matte black powder coating.
Big Sky Racks, Inc.
Big Sky Racks built their first ELS Series Gun Rack back in the early 1990s. Since then, their Electronic Locking System (ELS) has been used in all levels of law enforcement, and features a component design which provides users with concealment, ease of use and transferability from older vehicles to new. The unit features quality, durable steel construction which provides a variety of solid mounting options in all vehicles and protective components like anti-activation and pin guards on the rifle racks and trigger guards on the shotgun racks which offer protection from accidental discharge and deter theft.
Estes’ Rapid Access Weapon Lockers open electronically, with no combination to remember, and the drawer slides open automatically which allows officers to retrieve their weapons quickly in a critical situation. Estes has weapon lockers for sedans (trunk mounted), SUVs and pickup trucks.
Go Industries, Inc.
Safe Box for the Ford® Interceptor Utility allows access to the vehicle’s spare tire while still providing ample storage. The Safe Box is a single level drawer with Accuride slides which can securely hold up to 350 lbs. of gear and weapons. It is constructed of 16-gauge steel and is made in the USA.
Jotto Desk has new products designed specifically for secure weapon storage which address the existing problem of firearms being stolen out of vehicles, even though they were mounted in a gun rack. Their Wide Body AR/ZRT Console was designed for agencies which utilize LE package pickup trucks, such as county sheriffs and fish and game agencies. The console is constructed of 12-gauge steel and offers 20 inches of equipment mounting space, as well as concealed, secure storage for shotguns and AR rifles. The console looks like a typical equipment console with the weapon access via two barrel locks and the ZRT electronic lock head. The console is available for Ford, Chevrolet® and RAM pickups.
The new ZRT Gun Rack with Smartlock Technology was designed for both shotguns and AR-style rifles and was engineered to eliminate hot-wiring with 12-volt batteries. After months of extensive testing, the ZRT also features an exclusive zinc lock head design which deforms instead of breaking, even after repeated attacks. The mount secures either single or double weapons and features both adjustable locks and base mounts. Silicone inserts in the lock heads protect weapons from both scratches and damage. This new security device can be mounted vertically, horizontally or in any location imaginable.
Jotto also has a solution for securing your officers’ backup or off duty weapons. The NRA Handgun Holster can be mounted almost anywhere in a vehicle and is designed to fit most semiautomatic handguns with a “Locking Bale” design. It is made of steel and is lined with a silicone insert. It can also be used to secure a weapon at home.
Jotto’s new Storage System for the 2016 and up Ford PI Utility can also be configured to include secure weapon storage and allows access to the vehicle spare tire. It can be customized to meet the customers’ needs.
Lund Industries, Inc.
The patent pending LOFT is a multipurpose storage solution for the PI Utility and Chevy Tahoe. The LOFT fits in the unused space above the window line and up to the headliner in the rear area, up and out of the line of sight of the rearview mirror. A real plus is that the storage area it occupies does not take away from space generally used for gear and equipment. The LOFT also provides easy installation of side and rear facing emergency LEDs with an optional mounting kit. The LOFT-GV is designed for AR-15/M4 rifles equipped with standard collapsible stocks.
OPS Public Safety has introduced the new Pursuit Series cargo drawer for the Chevy Tahoe and Ford PI Utility, a new budget conscious, weapons and gear storage solution. It is built with lightweight aluminum and designed for easy installation with elevated mounts which allow quick access to the spare tire. It features 250 pound slides and industrial key locks and rubber matting are standard.
Setina Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Setina’s VaultLock Mounting System provides maximum security with the fully enclosed, one-piece shroud and lock design of their vehicle weapon mount. The mount is available with dual or single T-Rail Firearm Mounts; is made of aircraft-grade aluminum; and is designed to make a firearm’s take-down pins, magazine and trigger inaccessible. It is also compatible with firearms accessories and is available with a universal lock.
Setina’s Strongbox is a SUV rear cargo area storage system and weapons locker. Constructed of heavy aircraft aluminum, it will accommodate two weapons and ammunition in a sliding firearms drawer, along with two equipment storage drawers. The dual lock styles allow for additional weapons flexibility and the universal locking system allows maximum adjustability. It boasts an easy, no holes installation.
TruckVault has introduced Strike Guard Technology for their vehicle storage units. It has been added to reinforce the Push Button Key Override Kaba Lock. When locking the new system, the strike plate works in unison with the backer plate and primary structure of the unit to firmly lock the bolt and prevent bolt tampering and movement. Strike Guard is included with all Kaba locking modules.
Tuffy Security Products
Tuffy’s Security Drawer is a high security storage solution for handguns. It is a 16-gauge steel drawer which mounts under the driver’s (or passenger’s) seat in the Ford PI Sedans and Utilities. The formfitting design features over 200 cubic inches of lockable storage with an exclusive ten tumbler, double bitted lock with built-in weather seals. The Pry-Guard Locking System features 1/8″ thick welded steel components. Tuffy’s exclusive bolt-blocker bracket is included for additional security and it is sealed to protect against weather and dust. In addition, the stealth, no drill installation is nearly invisible to bad guys looking in.
Tufloc has two weapon solutions worthy looking at. Their TufBox Security Drawers provide a safe way to secure weapons and other equipment. The drawers are available for all LE SUVs and cruisers, and are constructed of solid, welded steel with a powder coated finish. There are three lock options available – T-Handle, Premium T-Handle or a Combination Lock with a Key Override.
Coming soon is Tufloc’s new Gun Lock, an innovative design which features locking arms that automatically adjust for a secure, custom weapon fit when the gun is pressed into the lock. The design allows a quick, one-handed removal of the weapon via the electronic delay timer or the use of a key, and the locks are padded for both scratch/scuff protection and a rattle-free performance. It will accommodate most makes and models.
The Bottom Line
These weapon security options provide you with a variety of solutions in all price ranges. Weapons security and accessibility should be your primary concern when outfitting new vehicle purchases. Your officers’ lives depend on it!
Sergeant James Post appreciates your comments and suggestions for future articles. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.