“Truck Guns” have been around as long as there have been trucks. In fact, the term “Truck Gun” is a misnomer since transporting firearms in any type of vehicle (a mobile machine that transports passengers or cargo. Most often, vehicles are manufactured, such as wagons, bicycles, Motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, trains), watercraft (ships, boats), spacecraft and aircraft) since the inception of vehicles.Growing up in Northern Michigan, it was common to see hunting firearms in the back window of pickup trucks and mounted on snowmobiles and the like. These firearms usually went back into a lockable gun cabinet when not used (it was rare back then to have a gun safe) or hung over the back door of the farmhouse. Many of the local farmers; however, continued to have a dedicated “truck gun” in the off-season; usually a revolver, rifle, and/or shotgun filled the bill just because they just might need one. My cousin carried a .38 special revolver in the glove box and my uncle had an old sears double-barreled 12-gauge behind the seat in his pickup truck.
The utilitarian class of guns known as “truck guns” is not pretty and they do not have to be. They do have to be; however, fully functional and reliable. Well-worn bluing and beat up furniture is normal for a truck gun. Some folks would call these “beaters”; I call them “utility personalized.”You do not have to own a truck to have a “truck gun.” In fact, even a sports car or motorcycle will do – even an SUV or (gasp!) minivan.
A truck gun, in my opinion, should be lightweight, portable and able to serve various purposes in a pinch. It must be reliable, use common ammunition and be capable of keeping multiple threats well beyond arm’s length.I decided on a shotgun. If I were on the road, or at work, and suddenly had to deal with any threat preventing me from getting home, I would want a shotgun in my hands. For my purposes, my truck gun turned out to be a Mossberg 500 Special Purpose 20-gauge shotgun with an 18.5″ Stand-off/Breacher barrel. I will point out the reasons for my choice as I move along with the article. This shotgun replaced a previously-selected shotgun.
I drive an S-10 Blazer (Muley) on most days, so a place to keep a shotgun of any size is easy. However, when the Toyota MR2 (Taz), a two-seater with a matchbox-sized trunk, is my mode of transportation, compactness is the order of the day. A Bore-Store and outer case houses the shotgun and my traveling companion fits snugly behind the passenger seat in the upright position. I could also place it in the trunk, but I consider that a little too far out of my reach in an emergency.
Of the several considerations, that I needed to address when I decided to carry a long gun in my vehicles vehicle, foremost was safety. This is a gun is not be on my body nor in my immediate control; it is unloaded. The muzzle is oriented sideways in the Blazer and pointed upward in the MR2. I also must also ensure that I do not violate any federal, state or local laws by having a firearm in certain locations. Places like schools and some government property either prohibit outright or heavily restrict the transportation and possession of firearms.
In extremely hot environments, like that here in Georgia, temperature and humidity swings affect any parts that are likely to rust—especially the Parkerized surfaces. The Mossberg is well oiled and stored inside a rust-inhibiting storage container (Bore Store). I normally check it once a month and when transferring it to another vehicle, to ensure it remains functional.Finally, I had to consider the best means to carry ammunition and how much of it to carry in addition to what type. Ammunition for a 20-gauge shotgun is bulky. For my purposes, I found that the Allen Company Shotgun Belt Ammo Carrier Pouch is ideal for having 10 rounds of my favorite defensive load available to me. I have two of these pouches: one for slugs and one for #3 Buck. I simply store them in my small backpack or briefcase, as necessary. I do not believe in leaving ammunition in a hot vehicle for a prolonged period and, in most cases, I can carry the ammunition with me. A backpack is common these days and does not raise red flags. If taking it with me is not possible, the backpack tucks away behind or under the front seat out of direct sunlight and is protected for the short term. I always separate ammunition from firearm unless I deem it necessary to combine the two. An advantage of the Allen Company Shotgun Belt Ammo Carrier Pouch is that I can quickly attach it to a belt, if need be. Although the majority of this write-up has been dedicated to my decision to use a 20-gauge shotgun as my truck gun, I mentally fondled other considerations as well. A rifle/carbine did come to mind. An AR15, a .30-30 and SKS was among my thoughts as was a lever-action Rossi .357 magnum carbine. My vehicular travels primarily are in suburban or small city areas, which I felt, would preclude my carrying a medium-to-long range firearm that would be capable of over-penetrating should the need arise to actually have to use a long gun for self-defense or other emergencies. The 20-gauge pump shotgun was simply a personal choice for me. It is a reliable firearm, has low recoil as compared to a 12-gauge, and is a lot lighter than a 12-gauge to pack and operate. Although I could have purchased a more reasonably-priced shotgun, this particular shotgun has a few features that I thought positive – a synthetic stock, a breacher barrel (more for protecting the muzzle than for anything else) and the more familiar (to me) top-mounted safety. Moreover, I worry less about over-penetration with the ammunition that I feed it. The #3 Buck provides adequate defense at close range; whereas, slugs are effective out to 50 yards and are, for the most part, frangible. Another plus is that the shotgun can be separated into two parts, which makes an even smaller package to conceal in a vehicle.
Another thought about truck guns brought me around to a handgun that, obviously, is easier to conceal in a vehicle, or on the person, than a long gun. In 99.9% of my travels, I am carrying concealed; I really did not ponder too much on the necessity of securing a handgun in my vehicle. I will just go to the extent to say that there is always a handgun in the vehicle with me, that is in addition to my EDC – or not, and is of the same caliber – just in case. Like the shotgun, it is unloaded, unless it needs not to be.One last thought. If you decide to have a truck gun, please do not advertise the fact. To a criminal (and to the average citizen and police), having your favorite gun rights organization(s) sticker on any part of the vehicle says, “I have a firearm!” The only person(s) that needs to know that you are armed is you – until the time that you need to inform another party that you are armed. I am proud to be a member of several gun organizations and I have a drawer full of stickers, t-shirts, and hats to prove it. I also have fire extinguishers in all of my vehicles. I do not advertise that I have fire extinguishers, firearms, or a cell phone. Sometimes, it pays not to advertise. However, what you do is up to you.
Not everyone needs a special firearm in their vehicle, and those who do may not carry one all the time. Your personal selection of “truck guns” is just that, personal, and may be reliant on many factors: budget, vehicle type, location, familiarity, etc.. For some, the necessity of a rifle, carbine, shotgun, handgun, or a combination of any of the four may well suit the need for personal protection or other emergencies.