Lloyd Pattison looks at the options for keeping your gun safe and legal when you’re on the road
Driving with your gun to a shoot is part and parcel of the sport, but not something to be taken lightly. Not only do you want to prevent the loss of your valuable gun, it’s also a legal requirement that you take ‘reasonable precautions’ to avoid it being stolen.
That phrase is open to interpretation, but the Home Office Firearms Security Handbook sets out what the police are likely to consider sufficient. It also provides guidance for competition shooters who may be travelling to a shoot over a weekend and staying in a hotel.
Nothing can provide 100% protection, but complying with those guidelines will give you added peace of mind, knowing that you have taken the precautions that the law requires. Find the guide online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/firearms-handbook-2005.
With that in mind, here is a round-up of products for securing your pride and joy in your vehicle. There are also various trigger locks and other devices to render your gun inoperable if it was stolen, and you could use those in addition to the products listed here, but we’ll look at those another time.
The Transafe is a lockable drawer unit suitable for the back of an estate car, SUV or pick-up. Lintran are perhaps best known for their vehicle dog boxes, but can supply their Transafe with or without a dog box on top.
The company make these units bespoke, and can offer you everything from a basic box or drawer with no lining, right up to cabinetry finished drawers for your Purdey. A range of locks are available, so you can have BS7558 if you want it.
Their latest product is a clever collapsing drawer that takes advantage of 60/40 seating so you can temporarily keep guns in a drawer without having to break them down; the drawer retracts back down to boot size when you are done shooting and need the space for the school run. Prices start at £400.
Locks and cables
For those of us who don’t have the space or the money to fit a full time safe or gun drawer in the vehicle, these simple cables and locks offer security on a budget. Jack Pyke, for instance, offer a dead simple padlock with an extended plastic-coated woven steel hasp, allowing you to lock a gun or gun case to a suitable spot in the boot of any car. Price is £6.95.
Napier offer a well thought out system comprising three parts: a gun slip which will take a gun either broken down or complete; a soft coated steel hasp to pass through the trigger guard and protrude from the gunslip; and a security cord so you can attach it to a suitable location in your boot, such as a load point or the mounting bracket for the rear seats. Prices from £121.20, plus £22.43 for the cable.
TransK9 Car Gun Boxes are designed for specific vehicles popular with the country set, including Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover models, and the Mitsubishi Shogun.
This is a drawer unit with a choice of pre cut foam liners, dividers, and trays with different configurations to accommodate a pair of guns, ammo, or hospitality units holding champagne bottles and glasses – to celebrate that big championship win perhaps!
The drawer units look very well made with powder coat finish on the drawer, twin seven-lever locks, and chequer plate top surface as standard. Prices start at £675.
Brattonsound Auto Sentinel
The Auto Sentinel is a compact gun safe designed to be mounted flat on its back, as it were. Most likely to appeal in the VS1 size, designed to take two guns broken.
The VS2 and VS3 safes will take guns assembled, but at 1,200 and 1,310mm long respectively, you will have to have a pretty cavernous boot or a pick-up to take one.
The safes are manufactured to the same BS7558 standard as all their other units, and are fitted with a pair of seven-lever deadlocks. You will need to consider what you are mounting the cabinet to in your vehicle; Brattonsound recommend contacting your local dealer for advice on mounting any in-car cabinet. Prices from around £240, but check price of delivery as these are bulky, heavy items.
The instructor’s advice
Mark Heath, head instructor at West London Shooting School, says: “In the nightmare scenario that your gun is stolen, you need to be able to demonstrate to the police that you have acted reasonably to ensure the security of the gun in all the circumstances. I always use a hard case when travelling, both for security and to prevent damage – especially to the stock. In the car, I keep the fore-end separate and secure the locked case with a security cable, so it can’t be easily removed if the car is broken into. I also ensure that it’s out of sight in the vehicle. When staying overnight, first choice is secure gun storage if it’s available. If not, I use the security cable to secure the gun in its case in my room, and leave the fore-end in the car.”
More advice and tips from Clay Shooting Magazine
- A brief guide to chokes with Becky McKenzie
- The basics of foot positioning
- Pre-shoot routines with Georgina Roberts
- A guide to protective equipment
- Nutrition plans for clay shooters