Truck Guns

For me a underfolding AK-47 would make an excellent truck gun

Many of us have various firearms that fulfill a specific role that we have in mind. Pistols, in compact or subcompact sizes are perfect for everyday carry, and many carry full-sized handguns as well. Rifles, shotguns, and full-sized handguns are perfect for a home defense firearm. However there is a “middle” ground between the everyday carry and the home defense firearm that often gets overlooked. The truck gun.

Why You Should Have A Truck Gun

Much like you have a handgun for self-defense when you are out and about, you probably have a long gun or two (or three or four) for home defense. While laws vary from state to state, your car is essentially a mobile home for you. Think about it. How many hours do you spend in your car? Having a solid firearm ready to go in your vehicle gives you an extra line of defense should something happen. While I doubt I have to tell many rural people that they have an even bigger need for a truck gun than us city slickers, if you are out in the sticks and could be facing something a bit meaner than a stray dog, a truck gun that goes above and beyond your compact handgun will come in handy. Finally the way I look at pistols is this, they get you to your rifle or shotgun. A pistol is a great defensive tool, but pales in comparison to a rifle or a shotgun. If I can get to a long gun with my pistol I will. Even a pistol caliber carbine with a higher magazine capacity than a handgun would give you a decided edge in a confrontation. I’m not trying to suggest that everyone should be a high-speed low drag operator, but having the mindset that a defensive long gun is better than a pistol is something that can benefit everyone.

What Makes A Good Truck Gun?

I am not a proponent of a one size fits all solution to firearms there are a number of things to consider when picking out a truck gun. So instead of recommending specific firearms I’ll start with some general characteristics that you should be looking for.

Size

First and foremost is size.

While a long rifle might give you the most “stopping power” a more compact solution will give you more flexibility. A rifle caliber pistol, such as an AK or AR pattern gun might be a good option for you. Additionally having a folding stock will allow you to trim down the size of a full-sized rifle down to a more manageable size. There is a reason why folding and collapsible stocks are popular with tank crews and security details handling VIP’s going in and out of vehicles.

Caliber and Ammunition

bakelite magazines

Caliber is another important consideration to look at. While rifle calibers will offer you more power, pistol caliber carbines may be a handier option in a more compact package. Furthermore there are many options out there that will accept magazines from popular handgun manufacturers such as Glock and Beretta. Furthermore you should consider what kind of ammo you are going to be loading in your truck gun. For a pistol caliber carbine or pistol any proven hollow point that can pass the FBI ballistics gel test should be just fine. For rifle caliber truck guns select something other than your standard full metal jacket range ammo. While it may be tempting to load up with the cheap stuff, it’s not something that you should be trusting your self-defense plan to.

Reliability

First and foremost a truck gun is going to be a defensive firearm. As such it should be extremely reliable and able to handle not being cleaned or maintained. Additionally you should think about the temperature fluctuations that the firearm with be dealing with. Heat, cold, and humidity will all probably be an issue for your truck gun during various parts of the year, keep this in mind when making a selection. Look at the history of what you are selecting and be sure that it will function reliably in adverse conditions.

Cosmetics

While this ultimately is a matter of taste most truck guns are not custom firearms and should be something that you don’t mind getting beat up a little. A truck gun is going to be in your truck and it’s likely to see far more abuse than something that gets to hangout in your safe a home.

Set Up In Your Car

Much like you should be selecting your everyday concealed carry gun as a package with a good holster, solid magazines, a good belt, and proven ammo. You should approach selecting a truck gun in much the same way. As mentioned previously you should select a particular cartridge with a proven track record of testing, you should consider what, if any accessories you are going to be adding. Finally you should think about how it is going to be stored in the vehicle. Do you need to comply with any particular state laws in its storage? Can you access it quickly? Is the firearm’s trigger protected from being accidentally hit. What kind of optic, if any, do you have on your firearm? Can you reasonably maneuver the firearm into a ready position to defend your vehicle from attackers? Do you have ear protection handy? Trust me, you do not want to fire off a round from within your vehicle, even with ear protection on. If worst comes to worse and you do find yourself in a defensive situation in your vehicle, try to get the muzzle outside of the vehicle. The bottom line is you can’t just think about the gun, you have to think about all of the equipment and accessories that are going to be working with it. This is true for every firearm that you buy. You are not just purchasing a gun, you are buying a system. Once you start thinking those terms you will be better able to equip yourself with what you need.

Some Recommendations To Start

Again, I don’t like saying that there is one gun to rule them all, however I will give you some recommendations. Eric over at IV8888 has some recommendations of his own in the video below that I’ll show you first then I’ll give my own recommendations for truck guns.

My personal recommendations for a truck gun would fall into three basic categories, dirt cheap, affordable and reliable, and dream truck gun. In this list I will not be considering any pistols as I tend to carry a full-sized pistol on me all the time, when legal of course. The point of a truck gun to me is to increase your firepower not swap for something equivalent.

Dirt Cheap

My recommendations for a dirt cheap truck gun are based on something cheap and affordable but still of sufficient quality that I’d be comfortable.

Savage Stevens 320 Pistol Grip With Ghost Ring Sights

The Steven 320 can often be found for just over $250 and is offered with a pistol grip and ghost ring sights. While not the most maneuverable option that I’ll put on this list, I own one of these simple pump actions and the quality of this shotgun has surprised me. Loaded with defensive shells it would make an excellent option for someone on a budget.

Hi-Point Carbine In Any Caliber

Okay, I can hear all the Hi-Point haters sharpening their pitchforks as I type this but hear me out for a moment. If you are looking for something that will not break the bank, will deliver performance above and beyond a pistol, and with a decent capacity if you get aftermarket magazines a Hi-Point carbine is a good option. They may be butt ugly and feature some of the worst triggers I have ever pulled but for the shooter on a budget the value is undeniable. A $300 Hi-Point carbine is better than strong language.

Affordable And Reliable

A few more options show up on this list, as this section allows for a bit more spending so these options will be a bit more ideal for a truck gun, however these may get into the price range that some may feel would be too much to have banging around a car.

Any AK or AR Style Pistol

The CZ Scorpion is a good option for a truck gun, image via CZ-USA.com
The CZ Scorpion is a good option for a truck gun, image via CZ-USA.com

Given the proven reliability of both the AK and the AR platform a pistol version would make sense as a handy truck gun. Thirty or more rounds of a proven caliber and with many hunting and defensive loadings for both you’d be hard pressed not to make an AR or AK pistol work for as your truck gun. If you make an AR pistol at home as many do, be sure to check that it is functioning reliably before pressing it into service as a defensive firearm.

Underfolding or Sidefolding AK

A underfolding stock on an AK will dramatically reduce the size of the rifle and make it more maneuverable inside a vehicle. I specifically don’t recommend a side folding stock on an AR for one reason, you can’t fire it from the folded position. While a side folding stock is great for storage, a truck gun should, ideally, be ready to go. A folding stock on an AR is just one more thing to mess with before it’s ready to go. Of course be mindful of any and all laws pertaining to firearms in vehicles in your state.

CZ Scorpion

The CZ Scorpion is an excellent pistol that has a high-capacity and would make an excellent truck gun. Small, handy, and able to be loaded up with proven hollow points I see few knocks against this particular option for many with a few more bucks to spend. One thing you might want to watch out for are reports of magazines made in 2015 having issues with cracked feed lips when stored loaded.

Dream Truck Gun

Money is no concern here, these are the “dream” guns that I’d love to have for a truck gun.

Black Aces Tactical DT

Black Aces DT Shotgun, image via TheFirearmsBlog.com
Black Aces DT Shotgun, my dream “truck gun”, image via TheFirearmsBlog.com

This absurdly short shotgun is does not require a stamp or any additional waiting time. Suppressor ready and sporting an 8.5″ barrel what’s not to love about a shotgun that can be fed from five and ten round box magazines and can have an arm brace added?

AR or AK SBR

Much like the AR and AK pistols that we previously talked about an SBR gives you all of the advantages with none of the drawbacks of a pistol. Small package, a real stock and while you’re at it you might as well stick a suppressor on it.

Kriss Vector

Another small and handy “pistol” with the same benefits as the CZ Scorpion. Kriss Vectors event take Glock magazines, so for those of you who favor a Glock for your EDC, a Kriss Vector just might make sense.

Closing Thoughts

Of course these are just suggestions to get you started and since everyone is different, no one single solution for a truck gun will work for them. Think about what you need from your truck gun, what your budget is, and how you are going to set it up in your vehicle. Do you plan on reaching for your truck gun first if you are in the car, or your EDC? Think about how you will handle various situations and where you need things to be located so they can be accessed quickly.

Now that I’ve gone through my suggestions for a truck gun what are yours? Sound off in the comments below and tell us what your ideal truck gun is.