How To Choose A Truck Gun

How To Choose A Truck Gun (11+ Tips)

A ‘truck gun’ is simply any firearm that you elect to keep in your truck (or car) in your everyday life. There’s no such thing as an official ‘truck gun’ so to say, because a truck gun can be literally whatever you want it to be. 

The concept of a truck gun is nothing new. People have regularly kept rifles, shotguns, or handguns in their vehicles for, well, as long as vehicles have been around. 

In years past, it was common to see someone’s truck with a gun rack latched to the rear window and rifles or shotguns housed to that rack.

In today’s times, it’s far more common for people to conceal and secure their guns in their cars due to the threat of vehicle break-ins. 

This then leads to the next question: what type of gun should you choose to use as your truck gun? 

That’s what we’re going to discuss today.

Do You Really Need A Truck Gun?

Do You Really Need A Truck Gun?

Only you can answer this question for yourself. Carrying a firearm in your vehicle on a regular basis is an additional responsibility and not something to take lightly. Even if you take action to ensure your truck gun is hidden and secured in a safe in your truck, there’s still always the chance of it becoming lost after a vehicle break-in.

But here’s something to think about: You may already conceal carry a pistol on your person on a regular basis. If so, you can view a truck gun as an additional way to carry. A truck gun simply allows you to have another firearm at your disposal with greater firepower and range than your handgun. 

There are a variety of scenarios where having a truck gun may come in handy, including the following:

  • Self-Defense: if you find yourself in a serious life-or-death defensive situation, a truck gun could prove its worth as an alternative or a backup to your concealed carry weapon.
  • Hunting: if you decide on a whim to go out for a quick hunt in the woods and don’t have time to go back home and load up, you can use a rifle or shotgun you keep in your truck instead.
  • Casual Target Shooting: If you likewise decide on a whim to go to the range or shooting out in the woods but don’t have time to go load up at home, you can take your truck gun to the range instead.
  • Pest/Varmint Control: If you live out on a ranch with lots of acreage and regularly take your truck out to survey the property, you can use your truck gun to take care of any pests or varmints you encounter along the way. 

Those are four of the primary reasons why people elect to keep a gun in their vehicles. It additionally gives people a good sense of security as well.

If you’re still thinking that keeping a gun in your truck or car is the right move for you, keep reading. 

Considerations For A Truck Gun 

Considerations For A Truck Gun 

So what kind of a gun should you keep in your truck? We’ll get into that in a minute, but first, let’s outline some of they key considerations you’ll want to keep in mind for your truck gun first:

1. Versatility 

The ideal truck gun can be used for a variety of different tasks, including self-defense, hunting, and casual target shooting.

Remember that a truck gun can serve as a backup or additional weapon to your concealed carry pistol. This is why many people elect to go with a firearm that offers greater capacity, accuracy, and firepower than their concealment handgun. 

2. Short 

The ideal truck gun should be of a short and compact size so it can be easily stashed away in your truck without taking up too much space. Many people elect to keep their truck guns underneath the back seat where they may be keeping a variety of other items as well. 

You want to make sure that your truck gun will fit in nicely with your other items without hoarding up space or being too much of a hassle to keep in the vehicle. 

3. Accessible

Finally, your truck gun needs to be accessible. This largely comes down to the manner in which you elect to store it, but it also comes down to the type of truck gun you’re keeping as well.

For example, a long and heavy rifle will intrinsically be less easily accessible than a handgun. A semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine sticking out of it (which could get caught on other items while you attempt to take it out of the vehicle) might be less accessible than a lever action rifle as well. 

In summary, the gun you keep in your truck should fulfill a variety of uses, capable of being comfortably stashed away in your vehicle without taking up too much space, and be easily accessible by you as well.

Now let’s dive into some different options that could fulfill the above criteria. 

Options For A Truck Gun 

The gun you choose to serve as your truck gun should come down to two primary factors: your environment, and your personal preferences.

If you’re mainly going to be around in a city, then you’re going to want to go with a truck gun that would be ideal for self-defensive scenarios within shorter ranges. A handgun or a shotgun would be the ideal truck gun in this case. 

If you’re going to be primarily out in a rural environment, you’re likely going to want something that could be used to tap targets at longer ranges while still being ideal for self-defense. A semi-automatic or lever action rifle might be ideal for this scenario. 

When reading through the following option for a truck gun, think carefully about what kind of scenarios you’re in each day. 

1. Handgun

A handgun is the smallest and most accessible option for a truck gun. You can carry a handgun within easy reach of the driver’s seat, so you can use it as a self-defensive weapon against an attempted carjacking. 

Many companies offer handgun car safes that are designed to be bolted or latched onto the interior of a car within reach of the drivers. Others offer safes that are designed to fit into the central storage compartment of the car in between the two front seats. 

The negative to a handgun is that it offers limited range, and if you already carry a pistol as part of your everyday carry, it may be a bit redundant to just carry an additional pistol in your car. That being said, many people elect to carry both a handgun and a long gun in their vehicles, so that’s something to consider for yourself as well. 

2. Lever-Action Carbine

A traditional .30-30 lever action carbine is a good choice for a truck gun for many reasons. Lever action carbines are usually lightweight, short, and very narrow. They don’t have any detachable box magazines sticking out of them, which means they won’t take up much space. All in all, lever action rifles make for a nimble and practical choice for a truck gun, and especially for rural regions. 

3. Folding or Takedown Guns

Another option is to go with a rifle or carbine that can be broken or folded down to make it more compact.  

For example, Ruger makes a variant of their famous 10/22 .22 rifle called the “Takedown” model where the entire rifle can be quickly and easily broken down into two parts for easier storage. Likewise, the Kel-Tec Sub2000 can be folded up to make it more compact for storage as well. 

If you go this route, make sure that you practice taking the gun out of the car and reassembling it quickly to bring it into action until it becomes muscle memory for you. 

4. Shotgun

A shotgun is a highly versatile choice for a truck gun. While lacking the range of a rifle, a shotgun is a good choice for close range self-defense and would be an ideal truck gun for an urban scenario. If you live out in the rural regions but regularly use a shotgun for bird hunting, it may be wise to keep a shotgun in your car as well. 

5. AR Pistols and Pistol Caliber Carbines 

Pistol caliber carbines and AR pistols are also popular choices for truck guns, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re good self-defense weapons that offer much greater capacity and range than a pistol, and because of their small size they won’t take up too much space being kept in your car either. 

6. Surplus Carbines

Finally, surplus rifles and carbines are also popular choices for truck guns. Something to consider with a truck gun is the risk of the gun being lost after a break-in or suffering many scratches and finish wear from just being tossed around in your truck regularly. 

Surplus rifles can usually be purchased very inexpensively and can often already be in rough shape, so you won’t feel as bad if it’s taken or sustains further damage in the vehicle. 

Storing A Truck Gun 

Storing A Truck Gun 

How you store your truck gun will come down in large part to the type of truck gun you have selected in the first place. 

Handguns can be usually kept in a safe or holster within reach of the driver’s seat, while carbines and shotguns will likely need to be stored somewhere in the back, such as in a safe under or behind the rear seats. 

Regardless of where or how you choose to store your truck gun, make sure that the following criteria are met:

  • The gun is stored in such a manner that it will not move around while you are driving 
  • The trigger guard of the gun is completely protected at all times 
  • The gun must be easily accessible by you at all times 
  • The gun must be kept concealed from anyone who could take a cursory look through the window 

Additionally, you’ll need to adhere to any state and local laws that pertain to how guns can be kept and transported in a vehicle. Some states and jurisdictions have very tight regulations, and it’s your responsibility to research them depending on where you live. 



Truck guns can be very handy tools to keep in your vehicle. It’s just important to make sure that your truck gun is secured properly and that the gun you have selected is a practical choice to keep in your vehicle. 

One final piece of advice is to make sure that you don’t keep a gun that you have a lot of sentimental value for in your vehicle. Your truck gun will most likely naturally sustain more wear and tear than most of your other firearms, and there’s always the risk of a vehicular break-in as well. You don’t want to keep the heirloom rifle that your grandfather passed down to you in your truck for that reason. 

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