SnapSafe drawer open in back of FJ Cruiser

Securing valuables and especially firearms is something I have not given much thought to. While I don’t leave firearms in my vehicle overnight, there are times I am driving to or from the range and have to stop to get food or gas. Or like back on Dec 27th, my FJ Cruiser was broken into at a local gun range. I was one of two victims who had items stolen from our vehicles. Luckily for me, the suspect did not steal any guns. So I have been looking for a security drawer for my FJ Cruiser so I can lock up valuable items. While there are a number of options, I went with a SnapSafe under bed safe for my FJ Cruiser.

Safes For FJ Cruiser

There are plenty of other options out there for security boxes and drawers for your personal vehicle. However, if you have an FJ Cruiser like me, then your options are somewhat limited. My good friend Kythe has the same year and model of FJ Cruiser that I do. He went with Boss StrongBox.

I think he got their 7126-7611 drawer system. It retails for almost $1,100. This one is 40″x22″x10″.

Someone recommended TruckVault but those drawer systems are over $2,000.

Photo by ArrowFJ on FJCruiser forums

Another option for the FJ Cruiser is by Tuffy Products. While it only retails for $749, it takes up a lot of the rear cargo area. Also, the drawer is actually not that wide but it is deeper than the Boss StrongBox and SnapSafe. For my purposes, it does not seem great for firearm storage.

Photo by Tuffy Products

Photo by Tuffy Products

For some reason, they made the drawer narrow and added non-secured storage on either side.

Photo by Tuffy Products

Photo by Tuffy Products

SnapSafe Works For The FJ!

I saw someone post the SnapSafe under bed safe in an FJ Cruiser forum and it is a near-perfect fit. Best part? It is around $500 but you can find it for less online. It locks and is made of steel. Its design is pry-resistant.  This is what I am looking for. It has similar dimensions to my friend’s Boss StrongBox. The SnapSafe under bed safe measures 40″x22″x6″. So it is shorter than the Boss StrongBox which is 10″ tall. The SnapSafe weighs 105 lbs.

SnapSafe came shipped with an outer cardboard sleeve.

Open the second layer of cardboard and there is a layer of styrofoam surrounding another cardboard box.

Open this third cardboard box and you reveal another layer of styrofoam.

With the SnapSafe large under bed safe sitting in the rear cargo area of my FJ Cruiser, there is still an adequate amount of rear cargo space.

I put the factory rubber rear cargo floor mat on top of the SnapSafe so in case anyone looking through the windows will only see the mat and not the safe.

This is what the rear cargo area looks like if you look in from the cabin.

Anchoring The SnapSafe For Safety

The SnapSafe comes with a metal cable that you can bolt to the right side of the under bed safe. However, there is no room for it in the FJ Cruiser rear cargo area. I wanted to mount the SnapSafe to the factory tie-downs. The rear cargo area of the FJ Cruiser has four D-Ring cable tie-downs. I removed the two closest to the rear door. Each factory tie-down was held in place with an M6 sized screw.

Driver side front and rear tie-down locations.

Passenger side front and rear tie-down locations.

I measured the distance between the two rear tie-downs, the side closest to the rear hatch. That way I can bolt the SnapSafe directly to the floor of my FJ Cruiser. Since the SnapSafe is only 22″ long, it has to reach the two tie-downs closer to the front of the FJ. In the photo above you can see a front tie-down recessed into the slope in the floor.

The SnapeSafe has factory drilled holes in the bottom of the safe. However, they are not the correct position for the rear tie down points in my FJ. So it was a simple matter of drilling new holes through the bottom of the SnapSafe.

Factory holes. The shiny silver dots are rivets that hold the drawer sliders in the box.

Here is the new longer M6 bolt that holds the SnapSafe onto the FJ rear cargo floor.

In order to take the drawer out, there are tabs on either side of the drawer. They are the same so you have to lift one up and push the other one down. This will allow you to pull the drawer out of the box completely.

As mentioned earlier, the safe is a little too short plus the forward tie-downs are recessed into a slope. So to anchor the safe, I used wire rope clips and turnbuckles. Just drill two holes into the back and bolt the wire rope clips in place with the turnbuckles hooked onto them.

In order to tighten the nuts on the wire rope clips, I used an extension on my power drill to reach the nuts from the inside of the safe.

The wire rope clip protrudes a little too far into the safe thus hitting the back of the drawer causing the drawer to not close all the way. So I had to drill holes into the drawer itself so it can close and lock properly. I drilled those two holes, you see below, so the wire rope clip won’t interfere with the drawer closing. The large hole is for getting access to the inside of the box to install the included steel cable. But there is no room in the FJ for it.

Turnbuckles installed and hooked to the front tie-downs.

SnapSafe Further Modifications

There were a couple more things I wanted to do with the SnapSafe. Since the safe does not reach all the way to the back of the rear seats, I could store objects between the safe and seat backs. Or if the seats are down I can store things between the safe and front seats. If that happens, the objects I store might hit the turnbuckles. So I wrapped them in pipe insulation.

Another minor modification was to repurpose the factory tie-downs that I had removed to bolt the safe to the floor. I drilled holes into the top of the safe and bolted the factory tie-downs. This helps to hold the factory cargo mat in place.

Another idea I had was to camouflage the drawer. The handles and keypad are rather obvious when I open the rear door. So I thought of covering the drawer with a piece of felt. I was going to use magnets but then realized I could just bolt the fabric with the factory tie-downs and drape it down over the drawer.

Now when I open the rear door, any passerby will not be able to see the safe. Unless I lift the curtain.

To access the safe, I just lift the flap.

The final piece for my FJ is a flat extension cord so I can still use the factory inverter. I found this one as a three-pack off Amazon. More importantly, the plug can rotate so the extension cord can change its orientation. I have it coming out up and over the safe.

Drawer Dimensions And Setting Up The Safe

The drawer measures 36.75″ wide.

It is 21″ long.

The lock mechanism intrudes into the drawer and the two steel rods block some of the drawer. So it is only 19″ long.

Even though the SnapSafe says it is 6″ tall, that is the outer box. The drawer only measures about 4.25″ tall.

To set up the safe, you need to open the back of the lock mechanism and install 4x AA batteries.

On the side of the lock mechanism is a reset button. Press it and the safe will beep twice. You have ten seconds to enter a passcode 3-8 digits long. Then press the A or B button. You can program two codes associated with the A button and B button. So for example, 12345678A and 87654321B. If you program those two numbers, either one will unlock the safe. I am not sure why you need two codes since it does not log the individual codes. So there is no record of which code was used.

In case the battery dies or if you want to manually open the safe, the SnapSafe under bed safe comes with two override keys. There is a hidden keyhole behind a plastic plate. Lift up and pull the plate out to reveal the keyhole.

When you enter the correct key code or use the override key, you need to turn the knob on the left to actually unlock the safe. When you want to lock the safe, you just turn the knob clockwise and the lock will engage.

Storing Guns In the Car Safe

Due to the size of the drawer, relatively long guns will have to be placed diagonally. I can barely fit my Ruger Precision Rimfire inside. If I remove the muzzle device it would be easier to get in or I could shorten LOP with the stock. Right now it is a really tight fit and it is slightly wedged in the drawer.

My 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle fits just fine since the stock can fold. And a 16″ barreled AR with adjustable stock fits comfortably in the SnapSafe under bed safe.

Depending on the size of the gun you can fit more. Like two pistol caliber carbines and two pistol sub guns.

FYI, an AT4 simulator does not fit in the SnapSafe.

Of course, the SnapSafe does not have to only fit firearms. You can use it to store other items you want to keep protected from theft.

Something to consider with security drawers in your car or SUV is illumination. I used Olight Obulbs since they are magnetic and simple to activate. Below I have them set to a red LED for night time use. They help illuminate the darker corners that the main white LED cannot reach.

While the OLight OBulb can produce white light, it is projected horizontally. It does not illuminate the contents of the security drawer all that well. Taller objects will block the light and cast shadows. For the main over the head white light, I used a goose necked Streamlight Stylus Pro Reach. It has a magnetic clip and the adjustable gooseneck allows me to aim the light into the drawer. Below you can see it is attached to the inside window frame of the rear door.

Then I just simply turn the Stylus Pro Reach on and the light shines down into the drawer.

In order to keep smaller items from sliding around, I bought some organizing trays. I will add adhesive hook velcro to the bottom of them so the trays themselves will not be sliding around. I am debating covering the inside walls of the drawer with felt or possibly loop velcro. This will help protect the walls from being scratched but also act as a slight cushion in case anything slides and hits the walls of the drawer.

Final Thoughts On The SnapSafe

SnapSafe is owned by Hornady. So there is a solid company behind it.  I like the safe for my FJ Cruiser. The size is decent. I wish it was a bit taller but then I would sacrifice rear cargo capacity. So far it does what I need it to do. Safely secure guns and small expensive items in my FJ Cruiser. I like that it has a digital keypad but at the same time, I dislike that it makes beeping sounds. It is very obnoxious hearing the beeping every time I enter a number. I wish there was a way to mute the beeping. Of course, I can always use the override key which makes no noise other than the subtle movement of the key cylinder. The price is hard to beat. I googled it and found it listed on Amazon for only $399.99 and eligible for PRIME shipping. That is really hard to beat compared to other security drawers. My friend’s Boss StrongBox costs more than double and can only be opened with a key.  I would have liked the SnapSafe large under bed safe to be a bit longer. instead of 40x22x6, it could be 40x26x6. There is enough room in my FJ Cruiser that it could be at least four inches longer. For more information go to SnapSafe’s website.

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