Prepared for Wednesday, December 16, 2015
If We're At War...Hide Them In Plain Sight
With the New York Times editorial board's' attack on the firearms industry for "war profiteering" it's safe to say the gloves are officially off as the mainstream turns on the heat to restrict (minimally) or outlaw (optimally) the average citizen's right to own firearms.

The anti-gun forces have abandoned the "certain gun" strategy and headed straight to their ultimate goal: complete removal of guns from everyone they'd classify as "average." "Exceptionals" (like themselves) would, of course, be excluded from the prohibition.

2016 will offer precious little peace for all gun owners, be they recreational shooters, hunters or homeowners interested in self-protection. According to political strategists I've spoken with, the next 12 months will be characterized by "outright hostility toward the firearms industry and all gun owners" unless we succeed in changing the discussion to a real issue: our failed mental health system.

And it's despite recent polls- including anti-gun groups' polling- showing more than eighty-five percent of all Americans have NO problem with guns. In fact, it seems average American have realized "a good guy with a gun" beats "only bad guys with guns" regardless of political leaning.

But the demonization efforts are going to step up. And gun owners need to recognize that and realize this fact: owning a gun makes them likely targets for two groups: those who want to demonize gun owners, and criminals.

If you own a gun, learn how to use it.

Now.

And not to fend off a door-kicking, jackbooted thug who's hell-bent on confiscation.

Learn so you can speak-intelligently- about guns to anyone still neutral in their opinion and to defend your home from crooks who aren't bothered by Form 4473s if/when they're told who has guns.

Firearms ownership has never been about a lack of responsibility. Unfortunately, today's world means having it where you have ready access- without announcing its presence- in an emergency.

Climbing off the soapbox, here are three suggestions to help you safely (and surreptitiously) transport your guns - or keep one close at hand in case of emergency.

If you're a recreational shooter, you're likely going to be transporting either a shotgun or rifle- or both. And the simple reality is that gun cases are difficult conceal. Without an expensive gun locker built into your vehicle.

Not an option for rental cars.

Sounds like a contradiction, but "crushable vault" describes a gun case cover that disguises what's inside while it secures it from all but the most dedicated thief.
Enter the Crushable Vault.

It looks contradictory, but this smart gun case protector combines a soft protective cover with a series of hardened cables that secures the vault and its contents. It can be moved and securely fastened to a hotel room bed or an exposed pipe at your hunting camp.

Invented by a hunter and shooter, the Crushable Vault was designed to protect guns in what are actually the most popular - and vulnerable -- rides used by sportsmen: pickups and SUVs. Neither have locking trunks.

The Crushable Vault's protective system uses a "flexible cage" - an integrated cable locking system that cinches down tightly around your gun cases and secures to tie down points in your truck/SUV. Two cables go around the cases; a third goes lengthwise and each is secured by a 10mm cable lock. That's covered with an internal security cover and the outside cover- available in one of two "looks."

A would-be thief quickly realizes this case isn't coming out of the vehicle. If they cut the case open to access to the contents, they see there's not getting to what's inside without serious tools. Tools mean time - not something the usual smash and grab specialist wants to waste.

It's a reassuring feeling to be able to take a break while traveling without trying to keep one eye on your vehicle. And it's equally reassuring to know that a Crushable Vault is also backed by a $10,000 firearms insurance policy. Together, they make the $698 (ballistic nylon) to $798 (Crushable Vault #1) a purchase worth considering. I use mine and know it works.

Learn more or order one at www.crushablevault.com.

If you're more into transport with quick access to a firearms, a product we announced in last week's wires (http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/story/1449554646vgzbh09sy85) has also earned a place in my car.

Hanging in the car (top) the Skinner HTF Garment Bag is a garment bag. Zipped open (bottom), it's also a short-term transport locker for one long gun, a couple of handguns and a lot of accessories.



The Tactical Lamp is just another table lamp (above) until you pull the panel in an emergency. At that point (below) you can quickly access a full-sized revolver or pistol.

The Skinner HTF Garment Bag from Skinner SIghts (www.skinnersights.com) is my pick for the "head slapper" product I've been looking for. As the company says in their announcement of the product "When it comes to guns, who steals clothes?"

Yep, it's a combination bug-out and garment bag.

This past weekend, I used it for a quick trip between Birmingham and Knoxville. In this simple-looking garment bag were two changes of clothes, a pistol, three spare magazines, a light, knife and other "extras". It wasn't the lightest garment bag I've used, but it served both purposes without feeling flimsy -or dumping my clothes in a wad on the bottom.

After I decided to head over to the local range for a bit of shooting, I removed the clothes and the (included) heavy duty hangar, slipped in an AR-rifle, folded the bag in half and had an easy-transport range bag.

They're available in either two colors (olive or black) with an MSRP of $249. Skinner's not guaranteeing Christmas delivery, but they are offering them at a special introductory price of $179.

Finally, hiding weapons for easy access in the home has been an industry since the broadsword. Today, biometric safes and in-wall lockers are options for hiding guns in set locations.

But wall lockers don't move and biometric safes don't make great accent pieces. Hiding the safe adds steps -and time- to access. In an emergency, split seconds count.

Last year, I first learned saw products from Tactical Walls at Mark's Outdoor Sports in Birmingham. I was impressed with the idea of building wall and shelf units that easily concealed firearms, but didn't really have the needed blank wall to add a shelf -and their furniture didn't "go" with the decor.

Last week, I got one of their newest products: the "Tactical Lamp." It's a lamp with a base that has a removable panel that gives quick access to a handgun secured inside by a very strong magnet.

It's a solution to keeping a firearm close at hand, but it's not for everyone- the lamp doesn't lock. In a home with children old enough to "explore," that's a huge issue. For empty nesters like us, it's not such a concern.

Testing the lamp I was surprised how powerful the magnet inside really was. I tipped the lamp over -repeatedly- and neither a SIG P220 or a Ruger GP100 tipped out. I used them because they're two of the heaviest handguns I use for home defense. Smaller guns are no challenge for the magnet.

When simulating an emergency, however, I flipped the lamp off the table whenever I yanked either out. The lamp wasn't hurt (I pulled the shade), but in a real emergency the lamp wouldn't be a concern.

The Tactical Lamp is available in four finishes (Early American, Walnut, Black, or Cherry) for $129. There's also a significant discount ($29.50 each) for multiple purchases on their website at: www.tacticalwalls.com/shop/lamp.

Preparedness means being ready in a variety of situations. But preparedness should never trump responsibility when it comes to firearms.

--Jim Shepherd