Mobile carry demands secure storage, and this easy-installation option delivers for most vehicle platforms
by Steve Statham
Safe storage for firearms is one of those fundamental necessities for gun owners, ranking up there with range time and proper cleaning of your weapon. It’s especially important when carrying a gun in your vehicle. Even those who carry on their person regularly will occasionally find themselves pulling up to an establishment where firearms are not permitted, and just leaving a weapon in an unsecured console or glove box is asking for trouble.
There are a lot of different options available for vehicle storage, so we wanted to narrow it down and give one a hands-on appraisal. One solution that caught our eye was Hornady’s RAPiD Vehicle Safe, which, among other features, is designed for a universal fit in vehicles with bucket seats and a console.
We weren’t the only ones in search of more secure storage during these turbulent times.
“Responsible storage of firearms is an inarguable thing to do. You can’t argue against safely storing something that has potential to be used for damage,” Hornady’s Seth Swerczek told us. “And with the amount of new gun owners we’ve seen in the industry in the last year—the last NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) estimates were eight and a half million or something—we’ve seen a dramatic surge in demand for security products.”
The RAPiD Vehicle Safe is designed for touch-free opening using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) readers, and Hornady provides lots of options for getting into your safe. It comes with an RFID wristband, an RFID key fob, two RFID decals, and a pair of barrel keys. You can also program the safe with a 4- to 6-digit entry code. The safe is powered by either four AAA batteries or by using the 12V car adapter cable included in the kit.
One nice feature of this setup is that it is compatible with the entire line of Hornady RAPiD safes.
“We include a sticker. A lot of people will put the RFID sticker on the back of their cell phone,” Swerczek said. “If you’ve got a safe by your bedside table, and a safe in your entryway, a safe in your car, one in your garage, you can program that one reader to open all of those safes. Or one of those safes. There are infinite possibilities. Once you invest in the RAPiD safe system, you can put them anywhere, everywhere.”
For installation, the Vehicle Safe is bolted to a mounting plate designed to wedge between the seat and center console. The plate can be repositioned for installation on either the driver or passenger side of the console. The plate is wrapped in an inflatable bladder that can be pumped up to ensure a tight fit. To keep the safe from being stolen during a break-in, a security cable is included. It bolts to the safe and can be looped around the seat frame or other fixed anchor point.
To give the Hornady RAPiD Vehicle Safe a proper test, we assembled three very different vehicles and did test-fitting in each—a Ford F-150 with a decade’s worth of service on it, a Dodge Magnum passenger car, and a Jeep JL-series Wrangler 2-door.
First up was the F-150, which turned out to be an odd fit. This XLT model has a console between the bucket seats, but one that doesn’t extend all the way to the dash. This leaves the RAPiD safe kind of stuck out in space once installed. That didn’t hinder functionality, but it wasn’t an integrated look, and made the safe stick out more. Obviously, other models with full consoles won’t have this issue and should fit snug and be easier on the eye.
If we were to keep it installed in the F-150, we liked it better on the driver’s side. There is plenty of room for the door of the safe to open without interfering with the driver’s leg. Additionally, modern full-size trucks are large enough that mounting the safe on the passenger side makes for a long reach across the expansive consoles.
That wasn’t an issue for the Dodge Magnum (and by extension, the Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300…its corporate siblings under the skin). The passenger side is the way to go. Being a large car, the RAPiD safe didn’t crowd the Magnum’s passenger legroom, and it’s an easy reach across the console for the driver to retrieve the gun. We were pleased with the fit and more integrated appearance in this application. This car was in need of more secure storage, but there’s not much in the way of custom-fit options available for a Dodge Magnum, so Hornady’s solution was a welcome discovery.
We had high hopes for the Wrangler, as 2-door Jeeps are notorious for their lack of storage space; however, the Hornady RAPiD Vehicle Safe wasn’t really suitable for this application. It was a bulky presence on the passenger’s side, but the main obstacle was that a 2-door Jeep requires the front seats to slide forward for anyone to get into the backseat. That really didn’t work with the safe installed. The search continues for the Wrangler.
In operation, the RAPiD Vehicle safe worked as advertised. Programming the RFID tags was an easy procedure. If the safe is running solely on battery power, you tap the touch screen to awaken it, then hold one of the tags an inch or less over the RFID reader. Using the wristband or sticker, our safe opened every time with a satisfying thunk. Inside, a split foam holder keeps the gun securely in place.
As with any universal fit product, determining if the RAPiD Vehicle Safe is right for your application may take a little study and preliminary work with a tape measure. But as a safe, it definitely works well and ups your security game considerably. The ability to program the RFID tags for a variety of Hornady RAPiD safes, and swap it between vehicles, will make it a smart purchase for many people. And hey, anything that foils a would-be gun thief is a win for our side.