By Doug Gilmer
Writer Doug Gilmer reminds us of the importance of Vehicle Security for hunters or shooters and their gear.
USA -(AmmoLand.com)- Many of us who spend a great deal of time in the outdoors or as avid shooters keep things in our vehicles we’d rather not have end up in the hands of other people, particularly people to whom we have not given permission.
Firearms, ammunition, fishing gear, optics, bows, electronics, assorted hunting and shooting gear are all inviting targets for the dredges of society. There are simple and inexpensive steps you can take to improve vehicle security, however, to keep your vehicle and belongings safe and mitigate the risk of theft and the related issues of police reports and insurance claims.
The most basic thing you can do to protect your vehicle’s contents is to lock your doors. This is self-explanatory and doesn’t need more detail; its common sense vehicle security.
All too often we telegraph the potential presence of gear thieves would love to have and make ourselves targets. I understand one’s enthusiasm for hunting, shooting, fishing and the NRA but when we paste associated decals all over our vehicles, run vanity plates like “Glock19” or “ILUVHK” not only are you drawing attention from other motorists, you are drawing the attention of the criminal element. When your vehicle is left alone in a parking lot or overnight in your driveway and criminal see these things, they are not deterred by your machismo. It is an advertisement screaming, “Good stuff inside”! I know a number of outdoor inclined men and women I know who have had their highly decorated vehicles broken into and have lost thousands of dollars’ worth of gear.
In each case, their vehicles were obvious targets. Don’t make it easier for the criminals to target you.
Keep your gear covered and out of sight. Do you have a set of binoculars, a GPS, box of ammo, or other gear on your seat? Stash it out of sight or at least throw a shirt or jacket over it. This does nothing to secure the gear if a thief targets your vehicle anyway but once again, why invite someone to steal your stuff? If you have a pick-up, invest in a LUND Tonneau Cover for the bed of the truck.
You don’t have to spend thousands on a hard top model unless you want to and can afford it. About $300 will get you a soft top model, unable to be opened unless the tailgate is opened.
Tail Gate Locks
This reminds me, lock your tailgate as well. If people can’t see what is in the bed of your truck and extra effort must be taken to access the area, it’s a less inviting target. There are two types of Tailgate Locks on the market, ones that lock your unlocked tail gate, itself, to the truck to prevent tailgate theft and OEM style Upgrade Tail Gate Locks that lock you tail gate from being opened. Just as locking your doors is a good start to securing your vehicle and contents, so is keeping your items out of sight of prying eyes. It’s not enough, however.
Securing items inside your vehicle is another logical next step in the vehicle security equation. A number of companies make small lockboxes to fit under the seats of cars and trucks and are designed to hold smaller gear or handguns. Typically, these come with a cable you can use to secure the box to seat frame or other structure in the vehicle to prevent it from being removed.
To be clear, I am not suggesting you permanently store a handgun in your vehicle but you might have to leave your handgun in the vehicle if you are about to enter a prohibited location.
Another option is to use a cable lock and a combination padlock or a locking cable with a built in combination lock to secure gear. I suggest combination locks because you don’t want to run the risk of losing your keys, having to fumble for keys, or worse, having to turn your vehicle off and remove your keyring at an inconvenient time to find the right key to unlock your firearm or other necessary gear. Set a combination you can remember.
More trucks today are being constructed with storage options under the rear back seat or in the center console. Some of these storage locations include built in locks but are best utilized in combination with a locking cable or additional security mechanism as the built in locks are not immune to breaching with only a limited amount of prying.
For added vehicle security, companies such as:
and others make specialized storage solutions designed to it in existing storage areas such as vehicle consoles and under bench seats or to reinforce them. They are not overly expensive and offer an added measure of security for your sensitive or expensive items.
When considering the hassle and expense of dealing with the theft from a vehicle and related damage, not to mention the potentially tragic results if a gun stolen from your vehicle is used to harm another person, a small investment is worth it.
Remember, vehicle security begins with you; it’s common sense. Harden your mobile fortress.
About Doug Gilmer:
Doug Gilmer is a law enforcement and military veteran with over 25 years of experience and assignments operating throughout the United States and around the world in a variety of investigative, protective, tactical and direct action roles. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fly-fishing, hunting with a handgun, backcountry adventures, and volunteering with various outdoor themed wounded warrior events. He has been a frequent contributor to outdoor media for for several years with numerous articles and photos published in a number of media channels. He is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association as well as a former board member and executive officer.