Car Carry Solutions, Part 2


In the August 2023 print version of Gun Tests, our staff covered three simple ways to secure firearms inside car cabins, solutions that provided both security and accessibility while driving.

Those products were the Crossbreed Magna-Arm Gun Magnet, $20; the Steering Wheel Column Holster Mount, $40; and the Sticky Holster Travel Mount, $35, and accompanying Sticky Holster, $30. All three earned Grade A rankings, depending on what your travel needs might be.

However, those solutions don’t provide security for your travel sidearm or long arm if you plan to exit the vehicle at any point. So we also reviewed car vaults and safes and holsters for on-body accessibility and security — the latter for taking your carry gun with you instead of leaving it in the car.

For car carry while you’re in the vehicle, the bottom line is to keep the gun on your body when possible. Having a pistol in a car holster and ready for action while driving is fraught with peril, we believe. Far better to have the pistol strapped to the body in a secure holster while driving. Also, there are legal issues to consider. Many states prohibit a handgun in the passenger compartment. Period. If you have a concealed-carry permit, you may drive with the pistol holstered, but a concealed-carry permit in your state may not allow you to drive with a pistol on the seat or under the seat or dash. Conversely, other states specify the handgun must be in plain view on the seat, and still others specify the handgun must be in the dash or console. So right off the bat, many of these devices can’t be used because they are illegal in your state. Know your local and state laws.

With those caveats, here’s what we thought about items that provide some sort of storage solution for firearms.


We recommend any type of safe kept in the vehicle be secured to the vehicle. Drilling and placing a cable in the vehicle floor or trunk is an obvious answer. The cable may be attached to the floorboard or to the seat track.

It isn’t easy to bend over and access the gun, especially for our over-50-plus-year-old raters, and it isn’t easy to install the vaults. But get it done correctly! The usual smash-and-grab thief would have a difficult go of it removing the vault. It could be done, but not easily, and time isn’t on their side.
One of our raters was a municipal cop, while another works church security. According to observations both in real time and by video, most break ins occur because something like a purse or laptop or wallet is left on the seat. Sometimes the vehicle is unlocked! Nothing we can do if you are that thoughtless. Simple concealment does a long way. The average thief walks through a parking lot tugging doors until he finds one unlocked — and he always will find a certain number of doors unlocked. Don’t make it easy.
Let’s look at a purpose designed car vault.

Hornady RAPID Vehicle Safe, $199-$249

  • Features: Keypad, Inflatable Mounting System

  • Exterior Dimensions: 12 in. x 6.4 in. x 2.2 in.
  • Interior Dimensions: 7.5 in. x 5.6 in. x 1.7 in.

Shop around for this item because some outlets were asking $300 for this safe. The RAPID safe line is designed to open with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The safe is supplied with an RFID key fob and wristband. There is also a set of keys supplied with the safe. The safe is programmable with digital codes. Power comes from four AAA batteries. There is also a car-plug adaptor for in-motion charging included with the safe. Two stickers are supplied with the RFID opening code embedded. These may be deployed with the cell phone or from a wallet. There are many options with this versatile set up.

The RAPID safe is fast and operates as designed. We checked operation extensively and found the Rapid safe to be both fast and secure. Now to the application.

The vehicle safe is attached to a mounting plate. This plate may be butted in the space between the seat and center console. The vault may be used on the driver or passenger side. A security cable is attached to the seat track. An inflatable component makes for a good secure fit inside the box. The inflatable bladder works well. The safe was tested in a variety of vehicles for fit, but was only bolted into one — a mix of Nissan and Toyota trucks, a Lexus SUV, Ford Escape, and Jeep Patriot were tested. We actually mounted it in the Jeep.

The RAPID safe is a good fit in most, but not all. Some of the shorter consoles result in the safe extending from the console/seat interface in a more obvious manner. Look for integration of the fit and outline of the vault to make it difficult to pick out. Most vehicles were a good fit. In larger vehicles, such as trucks, driver side carry is needed because it’s too great a strain reaching over the console. With smaller vehicles, such as the Jeep Patriot, passenger-side carry was more appropriate.

The Rapid safe worked as designed, and the inflatable bladder added to a snug fit of the gun inside the box. All vehicles tested were four-door types. We feel that a two-door vehicle application would be more problematic simply because back-seat passengers would have to slide the seats forward to get in and out, and the Rapid safe may interfere with this operation. It rides between the seat and console tightly in most applications.

Now to operating procedure. Tap the screen quickly and run the RFID tag over the Hornady Rapid Safe reader. About an inch is as close as you need to get. The stickers mounted on a cellphone or wallet worked great. The safe never failed to operate as designed. The interior of the Rapid Safe features a foam holder. After a day’s driving in the Jeep, the various handguns tested never shifted out of place.
The RFID card may be programmed for a variety of Hornady safes.

Our Team Said: We feel this is a great gun vault if you must have a gun vault. We would never attempt to secure the pistol or deploy the pistol while moving. If you must disarm while disembarking the vehicle and going into prohibited areas, then this is an excellent option. It adds time to the day to remove the pistol from a holster, lock it away, and then redeploy the pistol, and while it is better to keep the pistol on body and holstered, we know this isn’t always possible.


The Headrest Safe, $489

  • Dimensions: 10.75 x 11.75 x 4.25 inches
  • Profile Dimensions: 8.25 x 4.25 x 6.375 inches
  • SILS system biometric lock
  • 18-gauge steel compartment with 16-gauge steel, plus steel lock
  • Colors: Black, dark gray, light gray, tan
  • Material: Leatherette or cloth

This device is a car safe integrated into a headrest. The intent is to keep the firearm safe from prying hands by both heavy construction and stealth. We did not have a unit to destroy, but it would be difficult indeed to break this safe open. The safe is inside the headrest and is made of sturdy material. The safe is inte

nded to replace the passenger-side head rest. The driver then has access to the safe. While we are concerned with gun storage, valuables may also be stored in the vehicle as well. (Some companies require employees to leave cell phones in the vehicle during the work day as one example. This is the case in certain secure facilities are where industrial spying is problem.) One rater enjoys his watches and rings, but doesn’t wear them on the beach or while swimming. Another rater laughed at those folks who do wear jewelry during outdoors pursuits. He combs beaches with a metal detector often, successfully locating valuable jewelry all the time.

The safe has many uses beyond gun storage. The safe is sturdy enough with 18-gauge steel construction. The padded foam-rubber lining is a half-inch thick, on average, to just a little thicker. It is as comfortable as any headrest, no drawback there.

The Headrest Safe arrives with the mount for the seat disassembled. Assembly takes a few minutes at best after reading the instructions. The safe is provided with a biometric lock. We had no problem programming the safe to open with a finger or in using a four- to six-digit code we set up after using the default code to open the Headrest Safe. The safe is easily set up. With ten readings of the finger programming, the safe to open with a touch.
We feel that the primary advantage of the safe is that it is discreet. One of the raters is a long-time cop who has searched many vehicles. Few hiding places are unknown to him. We also drafted one of the rater’s bright young grandsons. Having kept them in the dark to a point, we turned them loose on the Jeep Patriot. The only hint we gave them was that a gun safe was installed, and it wasn’t hidden in the kickpads or under the spare tire. No one found the Headrest Safe. There are a number of alternate colors and covers available.

Our Team Said: There are several advantages. We feel that few bad guys would be able to quickly find the Headrest Safe. The lock is secure. However, the advantageous location of the Headrest Safe is also a drawback. In a parking lot with moderate traffic, you have to be careful no one observes you stashing the pistol. The same for retrieving your pistol. No matter if the action is legal, we must be discreet in handling firearms. That’s also true if a passerby looks into your vehicle as you secure the piece in a floor-mounted vault. The price is a drawback, but then the headrest safe delivers exactly what it promises.


We feel the best solution for vehicle carry is to wear a properly adjusted top-quality holster. We realize that sometimes a combination of a blocky handgun and setting against a seat backing are uncomfortable. A good quality inside-the-waistband holster with proper adjustment and good belt loops for attachment is one answer. Among the best types of IWB holster is the hybrid type with a leather backing and rigid kydex holster component. DeSantis recently introduced a modern type named the Infiltrator Air. This holster is adjustable for height and cant or draw angle.

DeSantis Infiltrator Air, $86

The Infiltrator Air was tested with a full size 9mm Bul Axe, a Glock 17 clone gun larger than most concealed carry handguns. The holster is Kydex. This is important for use as a holster to be used as a driving holster, even if used in conjunction with a gun vault. The handgun is easily drawn and re-holstered. The holster does not collapse after the handgun is drawn. The belt clips are well designed, taking a good bite on the holster belt.

Our Team Said: This is a rigid holster that is comfortable because it doesn’t shift during movement. A huge difference between this holster and others is that the holster features a breathable padding backing. This makes for a comfortable holster. We found the holster comfortable during extended driving.


Galco Hornet, $72


Galco’s Hornet and the Glock 43 make for a compact set up that proved comfortable on long drives.

Another solution is simply to move the holster around the front of the body. Appendix holsters are plentiful and work well. Perhaps the ideal driving holster is the crossdraw holster, such as the Galco Hornet.

We have tested the Hornet previously. This time around, we tested the Hornet with a Glock 43, a more compact handgun. The Hornet features a well-designed belt loop that carries the pistol at a perfect angle. We like the ease of the draw. The Glock 43 9mm sets lightly on the hip and is comfortable.

Our Team Said: This set up is as comfortable as a strong-side holster but not as concealable as an inside the waistband holster. For what it is designed to do, this is a great choice.


DeSantis SkyCop, $76


The DeSantis Skycop is a first-class crossdraw holster that makes use inside a car easier for the right-hand user.

We tested this crossdraw with the Glock 19X. The Skycop features good fit and a strong reinforced holstering welt. The draw angle is excellent.

Our Team Said: This holster will serve well on long trips and for daily carry. It was designed for air marshals and has quite a bit of T&E behind the design.


Crossbreed Rogue, $80

This is among the best-designed AIWB holsters we have tested. The Rogue features nicely adjustable metal belt attachments with plenty of adjustment. However, a well-designed anti-rollout device called a “foot” helps prevent movement of the holster when moving or driving.

If used as an appendix-style holster, the Crossbreed Rogue features a foot for stabilization and to prevent rollout.

Our Team Said: This is a good option for appendix carry that will help when driving.


Bottom Line

After much thought, our testers believe the best course of action is to choose a well-designed holster more comfortable than average. Don’t use a car holster. Then, if you must leave the handgun in the vehicle, choose a vehicle safe.

We found the car vaults very interesting. The Headrest Safe is an innovation and looks good on many counts. The Hornady RFID technology is excellent and proven and is available on many different sizes of Hornady safes for both long guns and hand guns.


  1. Did y’all consider Tuffy safes? They have one that fits beneath a rear pickup truck seat, as well as one concealed inside a console, secured to the vehicle floor.

  2. Great review as usual. Absent though is the safe I’ve found very good, a Console Vault. Tuffy and Mopar and another brand I can’t think of now also make similar versions. Truck consoles are their niche, but I would venture to guess a large percentage of your readers drive trucks, so reviewing those would be helpful to many of us also.

  3. I looked into the headrest vaults. They are well made but there is a limited number of coverings available. I have a Ford F-350 with the King Ranch package which is unfinished top grain saddle leather. They don’t offer a covering that will match and the number of colors are very limited. You will need to buy one for each side of the front seats to keep them from standing out. If you are lucky enough to have a vehicle that they will fit it’s an option, but probably not a huge selection.

  4. I’ve bought two of the Gum Creek steering column rigs from They are not for everyone but both mine disappear under the column and the reach is completely natural and could not be easier.


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