Truck Gun

What’s a truck gun?  Well a truck gun, sometimes known as a trunk gun, is a firearm that’s kept in a vehicle for threats a little bigger than your everyday concealed carry firearm can handle. It doesn’t replace your CCW, but allows you to supplement it. The trunk or truck gun is used for situations where your pistol just isn’t enough to deal with the threat at hand. For me a truck gun has always been a normal part of my life.


I keep some pretty basic gear in my vehicle no matter what, this includes,

  • Spare tire, jack, and tools
  • A good Flashlight
  • Jumper Cables
  • A gun
  • A Tire pressure gauge

You know the basics. This was something I always grew up with. I live in a rural area and it’s considered neighborly to dispatch the venomous snakes, coyotes, and feral hogs should the opportunity arise. Come hunting season you never know when you might spot a buck coming home from work, and on a good stretch of private property you weren’t breaking the law.

That is what I thought of when the words truck and trunk gun were mentioned. These are still valid reasons, but in a world where we are seeing more and more monsters armed with rifles it seems wise to have a long gun at hand. A long gun is potentially more powerful weapon that’s often easier to shoot and offers a longer effective range.

In an active shooter situation, you want the ability to fight back on as even ground as possible. A handgun versus a rifle is hardly a fight I want to find myself in. The adage of “A handgun is for fighting your way back to a rifle.” is impossible if you don’t have a rifle to fight your way too.

How to Truck or Trunk Gun
We’ll go over your gun selection soon, but first we need to cover the how to. The first step is knowing your state’s laws. Some states may be peculiar and specific with how you have to carry a gun inside a vehicle. You need to research your state laws and determine if you need to carry it unloaded, carry it locked in a case, locked in a trunk, with the ammo separate, etc.

My personal recommendation is store the gun in some kind of case. A simple large gun case made of nylon works, but polymer and metal work too. I also like a case I can lock into my vehicle, but locking the case may not be necessary, and it kind of defeats the purpose of the gun if you can’t access it. I like the Blackhawk Diversion gym bag because it’s discrete and well made.

Lastly, the most important rule of a trunk gun is to never leave the gun in the trunk for long periods of time. It shouldn’t sit the vehicle overnight for one. It’s like a dog, if you’re cold, it’s cold, bring them inside.

Trunk Gun Choices
Here’s a few of the most common and dependable choices for a truck gun.

The Shotgun
The cheapo pump action shotgun is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s an affordable force. A Mossberg Maverick comes in at around only $200 and is extremely powerful, common, and easy to use. Pump shotguns are a dime a dozen, and while they aren’t a rifle they are still a long gun, and much better suited for combat than a pistol. Plus, the shotgun is superbly versatile and if you live in a rural community like me it may pull double duty for pest removal.

Pistol Caliber Carbines
The pistol round still utilized by these guns can match your actual CCW carry round. In some cases, the rifle can even take the same mag as your gun. If you carry a revolver weapons like the lever action Rossi 92 can function with 38 special and 357 magnum. Guns like the Kel Tec Sub 2k make excellent trunk guns, especially with matching mags and calibers. The downsides are of course the relatively weak pistol round. However, in a carbine platform longer range shots are easy, up to 75 to 100 yards with a pistol caliber. They also tend to be lighter, have lower recoil, and are all around easier to handle.

Brace Equipped AR and AK ‘pistols’
I wouldn’t suggest an AR or AK pistol normally, but the ability to mount a brace changes this completely. It’s legal to brace the gun to your shoulder, use it as a cheek rest, or brace it to your arm. This increases the overall stability of the weapon and makes it easier to aim. It’s also a rifle cartridge, and a compact and lightweight platform. It’s common, affordable and has one big bonus. It’s legally a pistol. This means it falls under pistol laws, which is often a benefit to those with concealed handgun permits. This allows laxer carry of the weapon, including the ability to keep it loaded and in the actual car in some states. The downside is massive concussion, being extremely loud, and they can create some nasty muzzle flash in darker environments.

Standard Rifles
Without a doubt the AR 15 and AK series are capable rifles. Any semi auto rifle with a folding or under folding stock is also compact and easy to store. These allow you to have a good shoulder stock, good cheek weld, enhanced accuracy, and of course it’s a rifle round. A standard rifle is a large, but capable weapon. If you use a common platform you’ll have no issues finding accessories, magazines, and more. These will often even the odds between you and any potential attacker. On top of that there are versatile weapons that’s good for dispatching vermin, be it on four legs or two.

Non-Trunk Guns
Here’s a few guns I stay away from when it comes to trunk guns.

Bolt Actions – Slow to use with a low capacity isn’t optimum for a trunk gun. You aren’t taking shots at 300 yards so leave the bolt gun at home.

Mil Surps – Milsurps like the Mosin Nagant are cheap and powerful but aren’t suited for trunk guns. Even semi-autos like the M1 Garand is big, bulky, and fires a round a lot more powerful than you need. The only exception I make is the M1 carbine, as it does make an excellent trunk gun.

Rimfires – I love my 22 LRs, but they don’t make good trunk guns. They are great for cheap ammo, being lightweight, and even fun to shoot. As trunk guns they lack power, range, and reliability.

Pistol Grip Only Shotguns – I love the Mossberg Shockwave but the amount of people advocating it as a trunk gun blows my mind. It’s got tons of recoil, nearly useless sights, and it’s easier to shoot a pistol accurately at longer ranges than these cannons. Get a shotgun with a stock.

The Final Word on Trunk Guns
A few requirements I have for trunk guns are that they have to have iron sights. You can toss an optic on, but always have irons too. Next, a sling, believe it or not this could be a lifesaver if you need to transition to your CCW. Lastly, make sure it’s a reliable and dependable gun you are willing to bet your life on…cause you just might.

By | 2018-02-20T18:41:37+00:00 February 20th, 2018|Commentary, Useful Stuff|0 Comments

About the Author:

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.

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