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TruckVault and Overland Safety Systems GunLock

The goal at Overland Safety is to bring product innovation to a market that has largely been stagnant. This includes evolving firearms and accessory requirements of law enforcement officers. Even today, many locking products use a similar approach and share a strong resemblance to the original Smith & Wesson shotgun locks.    

Along the way, many companies have manufactured locks with a similar appearance and design approach, including Overland Safety’s PSL-1 shotgun clamshell lock. These mechanisms work quite well for traditional sporting style rifles and shotguns, but not so much the AR-15 and M4.


A Partnership Begins 

TruckVault has been in business for 20 years, and is one of the most recognized names for vehicle equipment storage solutions in the sports, law enforcement, and public safety markets. They design and manufacture the premier product in this product space. Once you have seen a TruckVault secure storage system, you will want one.

Many of TruckVault’s customers use them to store firearms and associated ammunition and accessories. These products provide a strong layer of protection from theft. Would-be thieves don’t know firearms are present, and even if they do know, breaking into a TruckVault container is a formidable challenge. 

Recently, some of TruckVault’s Federal law enforcement customers communicated a change in firearms storage policy, mandating secondary locking requirements on firearms. At the same time, customers also began asking about secure firearms storage for the top of their TruckVault, when faster access is required. 

John Barger, Overland’s Founder and Chief Product Architect reached out to Don Fenton, TruckVault’s Director of Sales & Marketing, regarding Overland Safety’s products. There was a solid fit between their products and company visions. TruckVault is a Master Distributor for Overland Safety Systems products both nationally and internationally.


Initial Design Process 

After design efforts on their first shotgun lock were complete in 2013, John Barger had a moment of insight and inspiration. Instead of trying to surround a lock with increasingly larger rifles and attached accessories, and larger locking mechanisms that intrude farther into the passenger cabin, why not build something that attaches to a long gun via the prevalent Picatinny rail. He not only had an idea, he had a vision on how to build this device. 

He built a prototype out of wood. Although Overland does the detailed prototyping work with CAD software, 3D printers, and CNC machines in the shop, John used what he had at the moment when home on a weekend. And the lock worked even when made from some pine scraps sitting around the garage. The proof of concept passed the test. The end result is the TL-1 GunLock.


Manufacturing and Assembly

Today the TL-1 is manufactured in New Hampshire via CNC machining. The company Overland works with has 50 years experience in military and aircraft grade engineering and machining. They have been very helpful partners providing feedback on tight tolerances and modifications and improvements. 

Locks are assembled in New Hampshire, too. Although the process is not technically difficult, it does require focus and care. Locks also go through both an assembly process, and an independent testing operation where Overland confirms each lock’s mechanical and electrical systems work properly. 


Mounting Options 

Vehicular gunlocks are typically mounted either inside a vehicle’s passenger compartment, or perhaps in the trunk, that require mounting brackets and more. Many of these mounting brackets need customization for the vehicle size and shape, complicating the process of providing the right solution for each vehicle type and mounting location. 

They tend to push the firearm out farther toward the driver and passenger, potentially getting in their way. Turns out the brackets may or may not be needed, and they researched attaching their locks directly on the 80/20 materials. This saves valuable cargo space inside the vehicle and requires no customization for each vehicle. This way, the firearm is positioned farther away from the officers, and also more out of view from those passing by a law enforcement vehicle. 


What’s Next? 

Overland Safety and TruckVault have forged a tight relationship, with each party doing what they do best for their mutual customers. Both companies are looking closely at different solutions for law enforcement, sporting enthusiasts and homeowners alike. In a field that has not had any substantial innovation in years, they’re of a mind to change that. 

Improved locks, improved locking and unlocking mechanisms and more. They are researching integration with intelligent police consoles and computer systems, as well as automatic notifications sent to police headquarters when a firearm is unlocked during duty. Their customers have requested these features and they are listening.


Sergeant Brad Brewer is a 26-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He was an eight-year member of the Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle ergonomics. He can be reached at

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Sep/Oct 2015

Rating : 8.8

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