Firearms for your Vehicle

First off, this post is inspired by a discussion I’ve had with Eric Shelton of the Handgun Podcast. First off, if you haven’t listened to Eric’s show, I highly encourage you do so.

Eric had mentioned an upcoming show regarding firearms in vehicles. When the show arrived, he pretty much expressed that there were so many variances, that he really couldn’t give much advice on the matter. I teased him lightheartedly about the show being weak.

I actually agree with his viewpoint. The variances are so great that I would never tell anyone “this is how you do it”. But I do not think that precludes a discussion of vehicles and firearms. In fact, I think the same is very true with regards to holsters. Everyone’s body is so different, that there is no one way that will work for everyone. But there is some universal advice with regards to holsters.

1) Make sure your equipment works and performs. This is extremely important. The first time I shot competitively with a nylon holster (a.k.a. Uncle Mike’s clone) I discovered just how poor of a setup I had going.

2) Do no use cheap equipment, especially in a task in which your life could depend on it. Please note, I said cheap – not inexpensive. Quality is what I am referring to. You can have a good holster that is inexpensive. You can even have an expensive product that is “cheap”. A Glock is much more affordable than a Kimber, and in the past 2 yrs I have heard a lot more people complain about failures on Kimber’s than probably any other firearm. The cost, doesn’t equate to “cheap”, the quality does. [Please note, I am not saying Kimber’s are necessarily cheap firearms.]

3) Realize that a holster might not work in all situation. An easily accessible and functional holster can become a challenge to operate when say “restricted by a seatbelt”. Be aware of the limitations of your equipment.


This brings me to the main topic of discussion…”Firearms in vehicles”. What are some things I think one should consider.

1) Accessibility – the first and foremost importance aspect of a firearm is having to means to access it when you need it. But does this mean that firearm must be immmediately accessible? Not necessarily. Especially if we’re talking about a rifle. You’re not going to leave one slung across the passenger seat. No need to startle your passengers. So what does accessibility mean?

It means that the firearm should be in a place so as to prevent car clutter (and yes, I know some bachelor’s keep their cars prestine for the ladies – but for any family guy with small children it’s just about impossible to do).

For a pistol. This means that you should be able to reach for and access the firearm. Be it in a lockbox under the dash, a center console, under the chair or on one’s person. What it should not be, is under a box of tissues, a pile of clothes, covered in french fries.

I believe if you are to keep a pistol in the vehicle it needs to be holstered or containered. Something should be protecting the trigger from an accidental trigger pull. One doesn’t want flying debris from a car accident or something accidentally catching on the firearm to cause a discharge of a firearm.

For a rifle, this likely has to be in the trunk or perhaps slung in the back of a truck cab. It should be secured so that it does not move around. Preferbly in a way that allows you to utilize said space but still be able to reach in and draw the firearm out with little impediment.

This first point is one of the most important, because if you can’t access your firearm, it is useless.

2) Understanding the law. Realize that different states have different laws. Going across a state border can dramatically affect what’s legal. One does not want to find themselves a victim of the law. Be aware of the local laws. But it’s probably a good ideam to keep some sort of locking case for your firearm in the trunk. This way if you are going to cross into another state which does not allow your possession of an accessible firearm. You can lock it up, and have some limited protection via Federal Laws. And in many cases, you have no legal obligation open the cases unless suspected in a criminal activity.

3) Cars are stolen! This is a very important fact to remember. Any firearm left in a vehicle is far more likely to get stolen than one in your home. A firearm should be hidden and not visible. But they might not be breaking into your car for your firearm; but for the iPhone you forgot on the passenger seat.

The last thing we gun owners want to do, is provide firearms to the criminal element. So one should be mindful of this fact. One should also consider the economic loss. Maybe you don’t want to keep your limited edition 1911 in the car. A reliable mass produced firearm like a Glock or old Ruger semi-auto might be a prudent choice. In fact, maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree. Maybe we shouldn’t be keeping a firearm in the car at all. Maybe what we really need during those times of vehicular transit is another holster or a mount for our holster. Many attest to the safest place for a firearm is upon one’s person.

If you’re going to keep a rifle in your trunk. Maybe you should consider if you really want to leave your AR15 there. Man it’d suck if it got stolen from your trunk. Worse, you don’t even want to think of criminals being armed with your rifle. Maybe an old double-barreled or pump-action shotgun would a better choice. Or even a surplus Mosin-Nagant which can be had for $100. I’m not saying you’d be wrong for keeping an AR15 in your trunk. Heck, if I lived right on the U.S.-Mexican border, I’d probably want to keep an M4 and an RPG in my trunk. Rather, I am just pointing out things to consider.

4) Remember that your vehicle itself is a tool. And in many situations it might be more prudent to hit a goblin with 2,000 lb vehicle than a mere 158 grain bullet.

5) Lastly, remember it’s just a car. It’s one thing if a car-jacker jumps inside your car and threatens your life. It’s one thing if you’ve got your kids in the back and they’re trying to steal the car from you. It’s a whole ‘nother thing if they merely want your vehicle. It might be prudent to let them have it and not risk your life.

Just some thoughts and considerations on firearms in vehicles. Eric is right, there are not universally answers to this dilemma. But I do think discussion of it is beneficial.

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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