As a avid shooter I’m often traveling with a collection of sensitive items that I need to safeguard. In addition to firearms, I may travel with computers, photography equipment and other supplies. In the past I had equipped my pickup truck with a locking fiberglass cap and CargoGlide sliding bed system but found them wanting- someone could simply smash a window and take my stuff. When I bought my last truck, I researched a steel, truck-bed drawer system and finally settled on one made by Tuffy Security Products.
The Tuffy Security Products Heavy Duty Truck Bed Drawer System is a powder coated steel security system that is attached to the bed of the truck. Here are some of its features:
- Patented Pry-Guard II locking system with a 1/4” thick steel latch which enables the drawer to be latched closed without locking for convenient access. (Side by side feature one latch per drawer)
- Patented Anti-twist push button lock system with a 10 tumbler double bitted security key containing built in weather seals
- Optional Combination push-button lock can be added to the Pry-Guard locking system (See below)
- Designed for outdoor use, extremely weather resistant
- Tab-loc welded steel construction
- Durable Powder Coat Finish
- Heavy duty, space saving, bottom mount roller bearing slides feature (8) Precision ground stainless steel sealed roller bearings per drawer mounted in an innovative 1/8″ thick steel slide system. Pulls out 75% and rated to 400# evenly distributed on standard drawer
- Heavy duty reinforced 1/8″ and 16 gauge thick welded top cross supports. Top is rated to 2000# evenly distributed
- Heavy duty drawer cross brace
- Large comfortable handle
- Grade 8 mounting hardware included
- Drawer is pre-punched on 2″ centers for dividers in a variety of configurations (Sold separately)
- Includes one support divider per drawer
With a system like this you are buying piece of mind. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, prior to this I had a CargoGlide installed in the back of a pickup truck with a fiberglass cap. While it provided a lot of weather protected storage space, anytime I needed to stop on the road for a meal, or park the truck for even a brief period of time, I had to actively watch it. The Tuffy Truck Bed Drawer System mitigates that fear. Like most systems for a pickup truck, there is a trade off between the system you adopt and versatility.
In this post, let’s take a look at my 3 years with the Tuffy system.
This is a large and heavy system that shipped to me via a freight line. I don’t have a forklift so I sent it to my friend’s shop. He unloaded the box and placed it on the back of my pickup truck. If you aren’t a car or truck guy who does your own work, it is probably easier to pay someone to install it. I decided to give it a go on my own. Tuffy provides hardware that bolts the system down to four points in the truck bed. Each one of these connection points require a hole to be drilled.
The first obstacle is the tailgate. On GMC and Chevy pickup trucks the tailgate does not open flat to the bed. It sits up a few degrees, meaning if the drawer is open, it won’t clear the tailgate. I called Tuffy and they suggested using hockey pucks as spacers, which raised the system high enough for the drawers to clear. This also gave some space between the bed and any trapped water. You’ll also notice the heavy duty key locks on each one of these drawers. Originally I considered a push button system, but the key is fantastic.
Once I figured out the spacing, I removed the drawers, drilled four holes in the bed of my truck and installed the box as shown.
You’ll notice there is a slight gap between the end of the drawer system and the tailgate. I could have left this space on the front end of the bed, but I decided it was more useful on the back (more of this in a bit). The tailgate on my truck locks with the remote, so it provides an extra layer of protection against break-ins attempts since it is difficult to access the drawer front and locking mechanism with the tailgate closed.
Carrying firearms in the Tuffy
Tuffy offers a series of options to divide each of the drawers. I ended up leaving the left drawer clear for larger items, drag bags and large cases and dividing the right drawer across the width in a few areas for optics and ammunition.
You’ll notice my blue shooting mat in both of the last photos. I store it out of the way on the drawer bottom, and since I already would have taken the guns out to use it, it’s never hard to get to.
I’ve also noticed the Tuffy makes an excellent backdrop for images like this one; an added benefit if you blog about guns!
The drawers carry heavy weight and do it well. In this case, the drawers are fully loaded with cases of ammunition and were easy to open and close.
Does the Tuffy affect the utility of the pickup truck?
This was probably my biggest concern. I use my pickup truck as a daily driver. How would it work for the more mundane tasks in life? Would it completely take away from the utility of having a truck bed? Let’s go take a look.
Carrying large loads, like this heavy 120 gallon compressor tank are still possible. Yes, the loading height is increased, but the steel deck is robust and carries a tough load. In this case I simply loaded this heavy tank on top of the Tuffy and strapped it down to the tie downs points on the pickup truck bed.
Longer loads like these ladders can be strapped on over the bed.
Here is a long and heavy load. A few sheets of steel plate and some eleven foot lengths of steel tubing. Again, the Tuffy held it all with no problems.
Some bulky and heavy items take a little creativity to move, like this arbor press. I simply placed it against the doors and strapped it down.
Steel targets are transported in a similar way. While I don’t have the space for an expansive set of targets, simply throwing the ones I do have between the tailgate and the Tuffy works pretty well.
This disassembled blast cabinet was fairly easy to move on top of the Tuffy.
One surprising feature of the Tuffy is that it makes trips to the supermarket easier. This image was taken back in the day before I gave up Diet Coke (if you drink it, throw it all away; its not good for you!).
All in all, I really like the Tuffy Heavy Duty Truck Bed Security Drawers. They work well and don’t have too much of an adverse effect on the utility of the pickup bed. Comparing it to the last system I had, a CargoGlide sliding bed and cap, I’d say the Tuffy unit provides better protection and retains more flexibility in what you can and can’t transport with you.