Big Sky Racks does one thing and it does it better than just about anyone else – designs and manufactures reliable weapon racks specifically for law enforcement. Big Sky has been doing just that for more than 30 years, out of Bozeman, Montana (hence the name, Big Sky). Although Big Sky services law enforcement above all else, its best-known products are the result of providing weapon mounting systems to sportsmen. The idea was to improve weapon access and transportation security to sportsmen while traveling in the field. That approach led to the creation of the company’s vaunted ELS line of weapon racks, which are now found in law enforcement fleets around the country.
In addition to its extremely successful ELS weapon rack system, Big Sky has developed a number of mounting options for its ELS system. The ELS can also be mounted on motorcycles, and if fleet managers just need some extra locks for their racks, Big Sky can furnish them as well. In the end, though, everything comes back to the ELS rack, so let’s take a deeper look.
Big Sky’s Gun Racks For Law Enforcement
Big Sky trades heavily on its flagship product, the ELS rack. It’s certainly a product that a company can lean on, as it provides the optimal combination of durability, ease of installation, and versatility. Here’s a closer look at the gun rack and the features it comes with.
The ELS Rack – Most manufacturers that service law enforcement and first responders have an extensive catalog of products to their name, but Big Sky isn’t concerned with developing a lot of products. It only needs the ELS Rack to set itself apart from its competitors.
The ELS Rack is a high-security weapon mounting system that is engineered with law enforcement personnel in mind. Some of its standout features include:
1. Steel construction – Every ELS Rack is made from extremely tough and resilient steel. Further, the ELS is built using a one-piece construction approach, so there are no welds or weak spots to take advantage of. The entire rack is built to take a lot of punishment.
2. Trigger and anti-activation guards – Both standard and high-security guards are available, and both prevent the firearm from being discharged, even when driving through rough terrain or handling the weapon.
3. Electronic locking system – The ELS Rack is built with electronically-released locks that come with both timer delay and push button access. The timer delay is on a 10-second count, so law enforcement personnel have enough time to gather their weapon before exiting the vehicle. The release button is there when quicker access is required.
4. Key overrides – In the event of power failure, the ELS Rack can be overridden with handcuff keys, barrel keys, or standard keys, depending on preference.
5. Padded weapon brackets – With padded weapon brackets, the ELS Rack will not sustain wear, nor will it wear out surrounding materials. The added padding also ensures the ELS will not rattle during vehicle operation, keeping distraction noise to a minimum.
6. Adjustable rack components – With adjustable rack components, law enforcement personnel can lock up their weapons with precision, no matter the firearm’s exact size and shape.
7. Easy, clean installation – The ELS Rack comes with mounting hardware that is designed for quick and simple use. This approach to installation means the ELS can be removed from the vehicle and transferred to another with little effort required. With transferability, the ELS is an investment that can continue offering returns, even after the vehicle it was originally mounted in is decommissioned.
An interesting and standout design choice is intended for ceiling mounting inside the vehicle. There are significant benefits to opting for an ELS ceiling mount, including:
1. Faster weapon removal – Ceiling-mounting makes for an extremely efficient means of removing or replacing the firearm. Law enforcement personnel, in the driver or passenger seat, do not have to contort or twist their bodies to reach the firearm. This means the weapon can be accessed rapidly, ensuring police are always at the maximum emergency readiness with their firearm. That’s the kind of advantage that can save lives.
2. Concealment – Big Sky’s ceiling mounts naturally make the weapon impossible to see for anyone standing outside the vehicle unless they are right up against the window. As such, a ceiling mount means that anyone looking to steal a firearm won’t know where to look, likely dissuading them from the attempt. And because the firearm cannot be seen, it’s much easier for police to engage in critical processes. There’s no fear of unintentional intimidation, which can lead to confrontation.
3. Additional interior safety – Although most gun rack systems are designed to stay out of the way and out of the officer’s vision, the ELS ceiling mount option takes this design approach to its zenith. With the ceiling mount, there is no fear of the rack intruding on the officer’s vision or ability to operate the vehicle. The result is much safer vehicle operation.
In addition to its vertical mount option, Big Sky can also provide a floor mount bracket, a vertical mount, a roll bar mount, a trunk lid bracket, or a cage mount. Some of these can be adapted for motorcycles or other police vehicles, like boats or helicopters.
Some manufacturers succeed with a huge portfolio of products, while others perfect a handful. In Big Sky’s case, all it took was a world-class weapon rack and plenty of ways to install and operate it.