HAVING GUNS AND GEAR IN YOUR CAR CAN ENHANCE YOUR DEFENSIVE CAPABILITIES WHEN ON THE MOVE
Having guns and gear in your car can enhance your defensive capabilities when on the move. By Leroy Thompson
For most of us, automobiles are an integral part of our everyday lives. So, it only makes sense that we integrate our vehicles into our defense planning. A car or truck can be used as a mobile armory, providing more serious armament beyond that of a concealed-carry handgun.
ARMORY ON WHEELS
Many who live and work in urban or suburban areas, even when open carry is legal, choose to carry a compact concealable handgun in a side pocket, belt holster, shoulder holster, ankle holster, purse, briefcase or elsewhere about their person. However, business attire limits the size of the weapon, the accessories and the number of magazines.
As a result, the vehicle can serve as the “armory” to augment the effectiveness of the handgun carried about the person. Note that if weapons are kept in the vehicle, an alarm system and weapons safe are highly advised.
For example, I often carry an HK P30SK with one spare magazine. That gives me 21 rounds of Cor-Bon 125-grain
JHP ammo available, enough to handle most emergencies. However, I have also carried an additional full-sized HK P30 with three magazines in my truck.
Those same magazines will work in my compact pistol but also give me a larger backup should I need it while in my vehicle. In fact, I keep it readily accessible so I don’t have to fumble to draw my pocket pistol while seated with the seat belt fastened. Some of the time, I keep a weapons light mounted on the full-sized P30, increasing its usefulness even more.
There are other approaches to keeping a more typical combat handgun in the vehicle. I have at times stowed my SIG P226 Blackwater Tactical Pistol in a Blackhawk Serpa holster with a spare magazine and a flashlight. As the magazines for this pistol are 18+2, that gives me 41 rounds available. Given a scenario when my vehicle is
“A CAR OR TRUCK CAN BE USED AS A MOBILE ARMORY, PROVIDING MORE SERIOUS ARMAMENT BEYOND THAT OF A CONCEALED-CARRY HANDGUN.”
disabled and trouble is around, I can just slip the Serpa onto my belt if I have to leave the area.
Weapons kept in the vehicle should also offer enhanced range and stopping power over the handgun normally carried on the person. This would seem to apply, particularly, to someone who carries a compact .380 or snub revolver.
I have a couple of friends who normally stick a J-frame S&W revolver in their pocket for everyday carry but keep a 1911 of some type in their vehicle. For handguns kept in the vehicle permanently, one made of stainless steel—or maybe Scandium—seems to be a good choice.
One retired LE buddy of mine carries a LW S&W J-frame with him but has a much-used S&W M66 .357 Magnum in his car. I also have a couple of acquaintances who have long drives home from work through some rough parts of the city. They keep their vehicle pistol in a crossdraw holster and strap it on for the drive home to allow easy access while seated.
LONG GUN OPTION
In venues where it is legal to carry loaded long guns or “pistol” versions of long guns in the vehicle, there are some excellent choices, either to deploy from within the vehicle if facing carjacking or for removing from the vehicle when facing an enhanced threat.
Definitely, if facing active shooters, carjackers, rioters, gangbangers looking for an initiation victim or other lowlifes, having a shotgun in the car is a game changer. In the past, to have a shotgun that could easily be deployed, operated and loaded in a vehicle, it was advantageous to have a registered short-barreled shotgun (SBS).
However, the advent of the Mossberg 590 Shockwave, Remington TAC-14 or Mossberg Maverick Thunder Ranch O/U offers legal shotguns that deploy well in a vehicle. Overall lengths of the three—26.4 inches for Mossberg Shockwave, 26.3 inches for the Remington 870 TAC-14 and 35.25 inches for the Maverick—make them handy in vehicles. The recent introduction of the 20-gauge Shockwave and TAC-14 makes them even easier to handle within a vehicle, as recoil is noticeably less.
The Shockwave offers the largest magazine capacity: 5+1, compared
to 4+1 for the TAC-14 and 2 for the Maverick. Note that the Shockwave and TAC-14 should be carried with a full magazine but without a round chambered.
Typical scenarios for deploying shotguns from within the vehicle will not normally require firing a lot of rounds. In fact, the shotgun’s intimidation factor should discourage most attackers. But, if rounds are fired, both the Shockwave and the TAC-14 are handy enough to be loaded easily while seated in the vehicle.
The Maverick only holds two rounds, but that second round may be delivered without having to operate a pump action, and two 12-bore holes look even more intimidating than one!
I’ve done quite a bit of shooting with the Shockwave and have found that it works very well, either when used from the driver’s-side window or by switching to my left hand and leaning across through the passenger’s-side window. I found for engaging from the driver’s-side window, it works best to rest the hand grasping the forearm on the windowsill.
Then, to chamber a round, all that is necessary is to push forward with the shooting hand, leaving the hand grasping the forearm in place. With practice, I was readily keeping buckshot patterns in the chest cavity of attacker targets at 5 and 7 yards. The 870 TAC-14 may be operated in a similar fashion. I see an advantage of the Maverick for those living in areas where the 14-inch barreled “firearms” might not be legal.
Another category of firearm that lends itself well to vehicle use is the rifle-caliber pistol with an arm brace. Some pistol-caliber weapons fall within this category as well. SIG Sauer makes especially useful compact weapons with arm braces.
The SIG MPX K PSB offers a 9mm pistol with a 30-round magazine and a telescoping arm brace. Using the arm brace, accurate shooting is possible to 50 yards or more. With a red dot sight mounted, the MPX may be used quickly to counter multiple targets from a vehicle or if forced to leave the immobilized vehicle.
An even more effective weapon that may be deployed from within a vehicle or retrieved if facing an attacker or attackers armed with rifle caliber weapons is the SIG P516 5.56 NATO 7.5-inch pistol with SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace.
The P516 7.5-inch handles well in close quarters but fires the 5.56x45mm NATO round and takes M4/M16 magazines. For handiness, carry it in the vehicle with 20-round magazine in place but have 30-round mags for reloads. It is compact enough to store with a red dot sight mounted in a vehicle safe along with multiple loaded magazines. I have tested the P516 in various vehicle counter-ambush scenarios and found that it performs as well as a semi-auto M4 carbine yet is more compact.
Two other pistols with arm braces that perform very well in counter-am-
bush usage are Inland Manufacturing’s M30-P with a 12.5-inch barrel and the M30-IMP with a 7.5-inch barrel. These are pistols based on the traditional M1 carbine. I have carried an M1 carbine for my vehicle carbine in the past and always considered its .30 M1 carbine round a good compromise between a rifle and pistol cartridge for urban usage.
Either of the Inland pistols is available with or without an arm brace. Even when used without the arm brace, the M30-P or M30-IMP handles easily from within a vehicle. Using a small red dot sight, I engaged targets arranged to simulate multiple carjackers/ambushers and found I could engage quickly and accurately with them between 5 and 15 yards.
Other manufacturers offer rifle-caliber pistols such as the M30-P or SIG P556, or pistol-caliber ones such as SIG’s MPX with an arm brace. These offer advantages in magazine capacity as well as quick engagement capability when mounting an optical sight. Plus, in the rifle caliber versions, they also offer greater stopping power.
Standard AR-15 carbines will perform the same mission as well or better, but they are also longer and will be far less handy if used from within the vehicle. If carried in the vehicle for use after leaving the vehicle, they are an excellent choice.
JUST IN CASE
I’ve discussed an array of options for adjunct concealed carry weapons. For many, just a handgun kept in the vehicle, preferably in a lock box, will be the extent of their vehicle guns. Others, however, may perceive a greater threat or just prefer to have a shotgun, carbine or rifle-caliber pistol along as a JIC (Just in Case) gun.
Because we don’t have crystal balls, though, we can’t always anticipate the threats we face. Some years ago, a friend of mine who is a judge in rural county was driving along when a shot hit his Mercedes. He wasn’t injured and drove away. Had the car been immobilized and he had to evacuate, it would certainly have been comforting to have something with greater range and striking power than the handgun he always carries.
“...IF FACING CARJACKERS, RIOTERS, GANGBANGERS LOOKING FOR AN INITIATION VICTIM OR OTHER LOWLIFES, HAVING A SHOTGUN IN THE CAR IS A GAME CHANGER.”
Above: A wide variety of vehicle vaults/safes are available to fit varied needs and many types of vehicle. Most common are the ones to contain a handgun such as this Gunvault MV500.
Below: Some who like revolvers carry a compact S&W J-frame revolver in their pocket but keep a more powerful revolver in their vehicle. In this case, it's a police trade-in stainless steel Model 66 .357 Magnum.
Top Left: Engaging a “jacker” target at 7 yards from the driver's seat with the Inland M30-P. Top Right: The Inland M30-P without arm brace, which is very handy when deployed from within a vehicle.
Bottom Left: The Mossberg Shockwave is especially well suited for handling within a vehicle. In 20-gauge it will be much more controllable. Mossberg photo
Top: The Shockwave may also be reloaded within the vehicle without having to perform gymnastics.
Bottom: Mossberg's Shockwave offers a handy shotgun that can be deployed from within a vehicle if threatened by serious attackers
Top: Another option to store a handgun in the vehicle is the Gun Casket.
Bottom: This vault contains an AK rifle and a S&W autoloader, plus spare magazines. Note that the owner of the vehicle has the weapon positioned so he can grab them from his position in the driver's seat. Note also that they are loaded and so noted. SIG MPX K PSB offers a 9mm pistol with large magazine capacity and arm brace that may be fired from within the vehicle or is handy enough to grab if necessary to evacuate the vehicle. SIG Sauer photo
Top: The Titan Gun Safe shown with the hardware to install it. Bottom: To carry rifles or shotguns as well as handguns, specialized truck vaults are available for pickup trucks and SUVs. Shown is the Truck Bunker.