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September 24th, 2011

Texas Firm Builds Custom In-Vehicle Storage Systems

Plastix Plus, a Cypress, Texas-based business founded by a volunteer fireman, is a leading builder of custom storage systems for Fire Departments, Police Agencies, Emergency Response teams, and Federal Agencies such as the U.S. Marshals and the FBI. Using CNC design and thermal plastic welding technology, Plastix Plus can create an infinite variety of in-vehicle storage systems with trays, bins, boxes, shelves, and lockable secure storage. Below is a Plastix Plus storage system fitted in the back of an SUV. Note the AR-type rifles stored in a sliding compartment with fast-access locks.

Modern Plastics Are Superior to Wood or Metal for Vehicle Storage
While other companies offer storage systems for SUVs and trucks, these are usually fabricated from wood and metal. Plastix Plus President Mike Snow says that the Vycom Hitec HDPE ½ inch-thick plastic used by his company is a superior material. In an interview with Tactical-Life.com, Snow explained: “When you have a $7,000 item like a Jaws of Life tool, metal on metal is not a good combination when you are carrying it in the truck and deploying it. The tool gets destroyed by the metal bracket designed to hold it. Plus, you have high moisture situations with fire fighting, so you need to worry about rust. The Hitec material is moisture-resistant and very forgiving for emergency tool transport.”

Likewise the Hitec plastic is easier on fine gun finishes than metal boxes, and it won’t warp or absorb moisture like wood can. Snow says that his plastic storage systems will last for decades. By contrast, Snow says some fire departments that opted for wood storage systems have been forced to replace or rebuild their storage units after just a couple seasons.

Plastix Plus hopes to expand to the general consumer market, providing custom in-vehicle storage solutions for trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Plastix Plus can match the exact dimensions of your vehicle, providing your choice of drawers, bins, and locking compartments, including gun storage lockers. A custom Plastix Plus storage system is not cheap. But it may be a smart purchase — when you consider the value of the guns and gear you haul around. Your investment in multiple match rifles (with scopes), along with fancy rests, electronics, and accessories, could easily top $15,000.

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June 26th, 2009

Ride-Sharing Makes Sense for Shooters

Sad to say, gas prices have topped $3.00 a gallon again. Many match directors have told us that, in the past 6 months, match attendance is down, particularly at regional and national events which require long drives. The main reason is fuel cost (although shortages of reloading components are to blame as well). With the price of gasoline soaring above $3.00/gallon, many shooters have decided to cut costs by attending fewer matches, or sticking to competitions closer to home.

While not traveling to a distant match will certainly save on gas (not to mention hotel bills etc.), we’d think there’s a compromise solution. We’ve observed that 95% of competitors at matches arrive solo — one to a vehicle. And, typically, most shooters drive big pick-up trucks or SUVs that may get less than 20 mpg on the freeway.

PROPOSAL: Car Pool to your next shooting match, and/or drive a vehicle with better mileage.

Whenever possible, this editor tries to “share my ride” with other shooters attending a match. I also drive an 9-year-old station wagon that gets an honest 29 mpg on the highway. Though it’s cheap to run, my vehicle has plenty of space for all the guns and gear 2 or 3 shooters would ever need.

Here is a chart showing how much you can save by carpooling and by driving a vehicle with better mileage. If you drive 5000 miles a year to shooting matches, a car getting 27 mpg will burn $349 less fuel than a vehicle getting 17 mpg. And even if you stick with your 17 mpg truck or SUV, ride-sharing with one other shooter can save you over $470 per year (if you drive 5000 miles to matches).

MPG Miles Driven Fuel Cost
@ $3.20/gallon
Ride-Share Savings
27 mpg 3000 $355.56 $177.79
22 mpg 3000 $436.36 $218.18
17 mpg 3000 $564.70 $282.35
27 mpg 5000 $592.59 $296.30
22 mpg 5000 $727.27 $363.64
17 mpg 5000 $941.18 $470.59

Toyota Venza Wagon — 29 MPG on Highway
If you want to replace an older, gas-guzzling vehicle, check out the new Toyota Venza. It’s roomy on the inside, but smaller on the outside than the typical SUV. And, with a rating of 29 mpg on the highway, it gets much better mileage than nearly any SUV or full-size truck. When we first saw the Venza TV ad we were skeptical, thinking “Yawn, just another noisy cross-over that gets 22 mpg on the highway”. However, having driven one we think Toyota has a winner. There’s tons of room in the back for gun cases and outdoor gear, and the Venza has decent ground clearance. It is much smoother and quieter than most SUVs.

Toyota Venza

Basically think of it as a lighter, more streamlined SUV that delivers a better ride and way better mileage. Front seats are very comfortable for a “full-size” American male and the back seats have lots of legroom. The Venza also looks better (sleeker) in reality than it does in photos. Base models start at about $26,000 MSRP. Engine options are a 2.7 liter, 182 hp, DOHC 16-valve four, or a 3.5-liter, 268 hp , DOHC 24-valve V6. Power is delivered through a 6-speed automatic with “intelligent shifting” and overdrive. Importantly, you can get HID (High-intensity Gas Discharge) headlights. Far superior to Halogen lights, HIDs are an important safety feature for any driver over 50. (Compared to 30-year-olds, older drivers need much more light to see well at night. That’s a scientifically-proven fact.)

Check out this Venza video review from Cars.com:

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