5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Truck Gun

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Truck Gun

A sure way to start a roiling argument is to talk about why one gun is better than another. Every firearm has a best place, best use and best time to have it.

The same holds true for truck guns. So what does make a good truck gun? Here’s a look at this article on trunk guns.

The best truck gun is going to be different for everyone. Here are some basics that should be universal. This article concentrates on long guns, not handguns.

Trunk Guns Must Fit For You

No matter what gun you carry as your truck gun, it has to fit who you are and what you do. By that I mean:

  • You have to be comfortable shooting it. Having a weapon that makes you wince every time you pull the trigger is a bad idea all the way around. Also, make sure you can manipulate the safety without trouble.
  • It has to fit you comfortably. Can you shoulder it quickly, even when wearing a winter coat? The gun needs to drop onto your shoulder with little to no effort if it is a shoulder-fired version. It needs to feel like a natural extension of who you are. Before you settle on the long gun for your ride, draw it wearing all kinds of clothes, including a suit. You never know when you will need that gun or what the circumstances may be.
  • You should stick to a caliber or gauge you know. If you like the .270, get something in .270. If you shoot a 20 gauge most of the time, get a 20. This item also hinges on points I raise below.

Why Do You Have a Truck Gun

As important as the fit is why you have a truck gun.

What do you want to do with a truck gun? How will you use it? When and where will you use it?

If you spend most of your time in an urban environment, your primary focus is on self-defense. In that case, you need something with a shorter range. Shotguns are ideal. Short range, easy to handle and for a truck gun, no need to worry about optics. You do not need a .338 Lapua as a truck gun if you spend most of your time in a city.

If you live in a suburb, more range can be a good thing. However, you must think about exactly how far that round is going to go. You have to consider collateral damage from over-penetration and shooting past the target. A 300 WinMag is good to 1,000 yards. A 9mm carbine will shoot to 1,000 yards, but that is not realistic. In the suburbs, the 9mm is likely a better choice.

If you live out in the country, like me, more range is a good thing. I never know when I am going to see a yote or a wild hog that needs to be whacked. A gun good at point-blank range to 200 yards gets the job done for me. You may need more range.

Where to Store Your Truck Gun

Does it ride well in your vehicle? Can you hide it easily and still get to it in an emergency? Carbines are usually a good choice because they are small and easier to hide than a 10 gauge with a 36-inch goose barrel.

Look at your vehicle. Where will you store the gun? This will tell you exactly how long of a gun you can carry. I have put shotguns and carbines between the door and driver’s seat, on the right side of the driver’s seat and on the back seat. I drive an extended cab these days, but I have carried a truck gun in vans, passenger cars, and even a tractor.

I’m looking at a roof-mount rack. I like the idea of a roof mount because criminals may not look up when casing my truck. They will most likely look at the seats and floorboards. They look to see if I’m hiding something by putting a coat or something else in the seat. The under-seat storage for extended-cab trucks is also appealing.

Regardless of where you store it, you must be able to get to it quickly.

Editor’s Note: I prefer to store my truck gun in a lockable under-the-seat lockbox like the one shown in the image above which is made by Tuffy Security Products.

What Caliber Should Your Truck Gun Be

Ammo has to be a consideration. A 20-round box of .223 takes a lot less room than a 25-round box of 12 gauge. The .223 box will fit in the console or glove compartment. A box of 16 gauge weighs a more than a box of 7.62×39.

An often overlooked item is ammo availability. Get something in a common caliber or gauge. If you are miles from home and suddenly need a box of ammo, popularity matters. A good hardware store should carry at least a box or two of the most popular ammo calibers. If you need .308 Winchester, the chances of a store having that are far greater than the place stocking .35 Whelen. You are also more likely to bum a box of .243 from someone v. a box of 6.5 Grendel.

The ammo you get in a pinch may not be the particular brand or grain you usually shoot, but in an emergency, you need something you can shoot.

What Sights To Use for a Truck Gun

Either get durable optics or stick to iron sights. Inexpensive scopes, bouncing around in your truck, are going to be knocked out of zero. You do not need to find out that you are three feet off at 50 yards after you pull the trigger.

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  • Bowtie41

    When it comes to optics,are lasers or red dots less susceptible to being knocked out of alignment than scopes?

    • It depends on how much you spend and how the laser attaches, but generally lasers are very easy to come off of zero and be inaccurate. Cheap lasers can move after a few shots, and even expensive ones I’ve had need to be adjusted. Lasers should be used more for a quick sight instead of the accuracy a scope provides.

      As for red dots, the problem there is that it needs a battery (which is also true for lasers). If you store something with batteries in your truck, the temperature can cause problems.

      The most sure-fire sight for a truck gun is probably iron sights, followed by a scope if you really need the distance.

  • Gloomsinger

    I carry a handgun at all times unless I’m on a long drive into the wilderness (Mini-14 or AR-15 with folding or collapsible stock) or an unknown population center (12ga).However, I won’t carry it in the vehicle all of the time because It’s not necessary, and no matter what I keep it in, there are still moisture and other environmental concerns. I also keep a medical kit, and another emergency bag with the right items to keep me for a few days. The further I go, the more I take.

  • rustyknight17

    I find it ironic that Baker’s favorite long guns are ones for which he’d most likely wouldn’t be able to find ammo for in an emergency… Just saying..

  • Gloomsinger

    I carry a handgun at all times unless I’m on a long drive into the wilderness (Mini-14 or AR-15 with folding or collapsible stock) or an unknown population center (12ga).However, I won’t carry it in the vehicle all of the time because It’s not necessary, and no matter what I keep it in, there are still moisture and other environmental concerns. I also keep a medical kit, and another emergency bag with the right items to keep me for a few days. The further I go the more I take.

  • Joseph D. Saxon

    I would respectfully submit, that a truck gun should also be disposable and inexpensive if possible. The replacement cost if stolen. Is a factor as well. Imho.

  • Darkman

    My truck/van/car gun is ever evolving as the need changes. I carry a pistol everywhere I go. I switch from an AR carbine to a shotgun depending on the area I will be in. Sometimes I like to carry a 9mm rifle. Most importantly if you do have a truck gun. Practice with it under different mental/physical scenarios. Don’t have it just to have it. Like any specialized tool. If you don’t use it regularly you will loose the skill needed to use it well. Keep Your Head UP and Your Powder Dry…

  • Jim L

    First question should be, do I have a truck? no. Next…Skeeter Skelton had a 1886 in 45-70. I imagine that could be pretty effective.

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