Imagine walking out to your vehicle in the morning, only to notice the window has been smashed in and the door is wide open. You do a quick inventory and find your spare cash has been cleaned out, your sunglasses are gone, and worst of all, the handgun you keep in the center console has been swiped. How could this happen? What can you do to safeguard your valuables next time? It’s wise to protect yourself against smash-and-grab theft before this hypothetical scenario someday becomes your reality.

Photo: Flickr.com/dumbonyc

Theft of firearms from vehicles is a substantial problem — it gives criminals access to weapons and creates major headaches for the victims, many of whom never see their property again. If your weapon is stolen and used during the commission of a crime, it can also lead to legal issues. Installing a safe in your car or truck makes it possible to protect your gun, money, and other valuables from these opportunistic crimes. Vehicle-specific safes are especially easy to install without cutting or drilling.

Before the Console Vault, the non-locking center console wasn’t ideal for storage of valuables.

The Console Vault

Console Vault is an ingenious lock box designed to fit inside the center console of various cars, trucks, and SUVs. Made from 12 gauge steel and featuring three different lock options, these safes are sturdy and concealable. Currently the company offers vaults for over 40 different vehicle applications with no modifications necessary. This makes Console Vault a good option for leased cars or work vehicles that will eventually have to be returned to their original configuration.

Thanks to the precise fit, it feels like the Console Vault came with the truck from the factory.

I often carry a Ruger SP101 .38 Special revolver in the center console of my 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500. However, the console lid doesn’t have a lock. That meant if the doors were unlocked or someone forcibly entered the cab, then that gun would be totally accessible. This was unnerving, especially when I had passengers in the truck. In order to solve this problem, I recently picked up a Console Vault to securely store my gun and other every-day carry items.

For this 2018 Silverado application, MSRP is $269 — that includes your choice of the keyed lock or 3-digit option. The 4-digit combination lock pictured here adds $35 to the price, bringing total cost to $304.

Installation

Once the Console Vault arrived, I was eager to get it installed. Opening the package revealed a handful of contents. Besides the safe itself, there was only a pair of machine screws and the instructions. The instructions were straightforward, and I was relieved to find out all I needed was a 10mm socket and a Phillips screwdriver.

I removed the rubber mat, 10mm bolts, and file hangers before securing the Console Vault.

Installation took less than 5 minutes. The first step was to remove the rubber mat at the bottom of the console. Next, I was instructed to remove the two 10mm bolts from inside the console. The last part of disassembly was to remove the factory file folder hangers from the sides of the console. I set these aside as they were to be reinstalled later.

The Console Vault slid perfectly into the console and was secured in position with the two provided machine screws. A foam mat covers the bottom of the vault to reduce noise and avoid damage to items inside the vault as the truck moves. After the file folder hangers were reinstalled, a casual observer might think the truck came with a safe in the center console from the factory.

Locking Mechanism

Console Vault offers three different lock options to choose from.

As we explained above, there are three lock options: a keyed lock, a 3-digit combo, and a 4-digit combo. Both combo locks can be reprogrammed as many times as you want. Simply hold the reset plunger down on the side of the lock mechanism while inputting a new code. I ordered the Console Vault with the 4-digit combo option for added security.

With the Console Vault installed, little hands can’t easily access your firearms.

However, it’s important to note that a thief isn’t going to take out a stethoscope and spend time trying to crack the combination. That brings me to the only real flaw I found with the Console Vault — the latch mechanism is susceptible to being cut with either a hacksaw or a cutoff wheel. As the saying goes, where there’s a will there’s a way. Even if the lock was reinforced, someone could rip out the whole console or steal the truck itself, given enough time and determination.

Console Vault’s latch securely locks the lid, but can be cut fairly easily.

Overall, I really appreciate how much thought went into this product. In this application, there’s still enough room on top of the safe to store items, and the truck retains the factory center console pocket with both 12V outlets. After the vault was installed, I lost very little room inside the console. It’s a practical modification that adds peace of mind, since I know my gun and valuables are locked up.

Closing Thoughts

Along with center console safes, Console Vault makes other in-vehicle safes, as well as universal and in-home safes. To see everything they make and check applications for your vehicle, visit ConsoleVault.com.

Pros:

  • Fully concealed inside the center console
  • Easy install with no modifications to the vehicle
  • Offers protection for a gun and other small valuables

Cons:

  • Latch mechanism could be cut with handheld tools

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