Throwback Thursday: All About Truck Guns

classic pickup truck gun

It is funny how we sometimes let fashion take the place of utility. I am glad I have reached a certain age where comfort is more important than ego. Oh, I have a well-developed sense of self, and pride of ownership in a number of things, but I do not let it rule the day.

My 20-year-old truck, for example, exhibits perhaps a square-inch without a ding or scratch and the odometer is rapidly reaching 300,000 miles. However, it has been well maintained and is as comfortable as an old shoe. The 4WD Ranger is saved for weekends and pretty girl’s use.

When it comes to firearms, I enjoy a good 1911 and a Winchester ’95, although they are not often found behind the seat of the old truck. When I mention “truck gun,” I think we all know what I mean. It may be useful and it will get the job done, but it isn’t pretty.

Why have truck guns?

A lot of interesting conversation may revolve around truck guns. It seems some base their choice upon an apocalyptic nightmare that never comes. (I fear some seem to hope for such an occurrence.) Having traveled a bit, and lived through harrowing times, I pray for peace and quiet. Just the same, I like something to fill my hand if need be. I have always kept some type of truck gun.

As a cop, it was the “trunk gun,” and for many of you, it will be a trunk gun as well. However, today I am seeing folks engage in the practice who were not once “gun folks.” Events such as Katrina and other natural disasters, mixed with a bit of mob rule, have convinced these good folks that a spare tire and a gun are a good combination. I agree.

Not long ago, I took my daughter and her cousin on a pleasant trip. As we loaded the truck, my daughter thought nothing of the Remington 870 I placed behind the seat. The magazine and shell carrier included a mix of buckshot and Fiocchi Aereo slugs. Her cousin gave me an inquiring look. I told her, “I like to stay at the top of the food chain.”

Remington 870
A Remington 870 pump-action shotgun makes a great truck gun.

Prepare for Wear and Tear

Truck guns once hung on a rifle rack in the rear window of a truck. Those days are gone as we may as well hang a sign on the gun saying, “steal me.” If the truck is dedicated to the farm or ranch, fine, but otherwise the firearm should be deployed in a low-key manner.

Personal defense wasn’t the issue for the most part. These firearms were used to take out pests, varmints, and occasionally a predator that would take the chickens or calves; or to dispatch livestock had to be put down.

A good .22, a shotgun, or a .30-30 were common options for truck guns. There are firearms that remain more useful to most of us than an AR-15 rifle or a pistol caliber carbine. I really do not care to leave my $2,000 rifle in the trunk of a vehicle and you probably won’t either. But a handy .30-30 lever gun will solve a lot of problems and take game efficiently. And never discount a .410 shotgun. If you have used a .410 slug on coyote, you know exactly what I mean. A thinking person today may just deploy the SKS rifle instead of a .30-30. Load it with Hornady’s accurate JSP loading and you will have a fine combination.

Another reason we do not wish to keep a nicer example of the gunmaker’s art stashed in the trunk is wear and tear. These things tend to get beat up, dinged on the vehicle door as they are deployed and generally mistreated. The trunk gun needs to be a model of reliability and low maintenance. This leaves out a number of the modern self-loaders. Optical sights do not survive well bouncing in the trunk of the highlander.

Remington pump-action rifle
A Remington pump-action rifle is another solid truck gun option, in the right caliber.

Resistance to corrosion is another factor. It gets damp and humid over the course of our four-season climate. An occasional wipe down shows respect for a reliable friend, but the trunk gun isn’t going to get a lot of attention.

The trunk gun, like my short barrel Remington, should be short and fast handling. A carbine (rather than a rifle) is indicated if you deploy a cartridge gun. A shotgun should also be short and light if that is your pick.

A good .22 rifle such as the Ruger 10/22 is a versatile and viable choice useful in many situations. The caliber of the centerfire would depend more upon available ammunition than anything else. Any good centerfire beginning with the .223 Remington is viable, given a good marksman. The .30-30 is useful and, while I shy away from pistol caliber carbines, the .357 Magnum Rossi carbine has much to recommend. The Remington pump-action rifles in .223 and .308 Winchester are wonderfully accurate, but perhaps a little more expensive than the concept allows. They sure are good guns, however.

Recommended Truck Guns

When we look at truck guns, we realize that we do not need match-grade accuracy — we simply need something that will get the job done. Fast handling and quick into action, the lever-action carbine has much to recommend. So does the pump-action shotgun. Personal defense becomes more important in times of crisis. Human predators and animals seem to thrive on natural disruptions. If you are armed with a handgun, you have thought ahead, but the long gun will be a better choice if you face multiple assailants (especially if they are heavily armed). If something is standing in my way of getting home, I want a reliable and powerful firearm capable of tilting the odds in my favor.

ruger 10/22 truck gun
A Ruger 10/22 is a classic option.

When traveling, I usually take the more modern four-door truck. It isn’t a problem to store away a long gun and a bandolier of ammunition. My area, and my predilection, means the shotgun is the first choice. My example is a rifle sighted Remington that is useful to 100 yards with the Fiocchi slug. I have sometimes deployed a Ruger 10/22 with Ruger’s ultra-reliable 25-round magazine. This is a true precision rifle in good hands that will take game and drop a bad actor with an eye socket hit.

I like a slim and lightweight rig, although I am not planning on hiking with the gun.

Other Truck Gun Options

There are many different choices and many are as good or better than mine. As long the firearm doesn’t have extraneous and fragile gear hanging off of it, and it may be deployed quickly, it is a good choice. As an example, I have recently finished a test and evaluation of the Rock Island Armory 12-gauge shotgun. With a durable finish, heat shield, synthetic speed feedstock, and modest price tag, this is a best buy in a truck gun. I like my old Remingtons, but recently broke a trigger pin during a hard tactical course. The arsenal is aging and the RIA 12-gauge just may take up residence in the Ranger.

Utilitarian is good, but I really would prefer something more than a single-shot shotgun or rifle. Among the reasons, is that I will never keep a long gun in the truck with the chamber loaded. However, the Rossi single shot features a transfer bar firing mechanism and it is safe to do so with this firearm. Never keep the chamber loaded in old-style single-shot shotguns! While OK for field use, I simply prefer more than one shot at the ready.

Daniel Defense AR-15 truck gun
If you’re going to go with an AR-15 for a truck gun, go with a good one like this Daniel Defense DDM4V7 Pro.

Safety is important. It only takes a moment to make a bolt gun, lever-action rifle, or a pump-action shotgun ready. It is quickly done as you bring the piece to the shoulder. I keep my long guns behind the seat in a padded Uncle Mike’s bag in the appropriate size. With the end unzipped, the deployment is slowed, but little.

If I had a real need for an AR-15 rifle in the truck — and anything is possible — then I would want a good one. This means the Daniel Defense rifle for me. Absolutely reliable, accurate, and fast handling, I have not found another AR-15 that suits me as well as this one. Loaded with my favorite all-around load, the 60-grain JSP, this rifle could solve a lot of problems, including getting me home. I keep it loaded with military test-proven magazines. However, I have not seen the need for such a deployment yet. And, while I have a bias for any type of glass on a truck gun, I have used the simple and reliable Bushnell First Strike on both the Daniel Defense rifle and the Raptor shotgun. I like it, particularly in dim light.

What about handguns?

Handguns as truck guns often have a different meaning. These are often a less-expensive or less-valued handgun that may be left stored in the vehicle, as when one is at work or traveling. They are not so expensive that their loss would be an economic hardship. The handgun as a truck gun is a fertile field for discussion. Canvassing my friends, I was surprised to find two Tokarev TT-33 clones in the group.

One friend runs a pawnshop and occasionally shoots the more interesting pistols that come through. He enjoyed the 7.62mm Tokarev a lot. He reasoned that if he needed a gun on the road, it might be best to have a piece with good sheet metal penetration. I cannot fault his choice.

Ruger GP100 revolver
The Ruger GP100 is among the most rugged revolvers ever designed.

Another acquaintance has dropped numerous coyote with the same type and caliber. Another friend keeps a Zastava 9mm version of the Tokarev as a truck gun. This is a pistol with a longer grip and greater magazine capacity than the original. I have tested an example and found it accurate and reliable. The slide-mounted safety is among the few of the type that is handy and works well. At less than $300 new, this is a great truck gun.

Others mentioned an eclectic assortment of handguns ranging from a ragged old .32 Smith and Wesson to a Polish Radom 9mm. My personal choices include a couple of capable but inexpensive handguns. It depends upon what chores I have planned for the day and where the day may lead.

One of the finest truck guns I have ever owned is inexpensive, but I would hate to part with it. It is a modern, fixed-sight, four-inch barrel Ruger GP100. This is a tank of a revolver. Some things I like about it:

  • It is more accurate than I can hold and snag-proof like no other revolver.
  • There are no adjustable sights and there is no hammer.
  • The hand-filling Hogue grips diminish recoil.
  • The 125-grain JHP breaks at about 1350 fps from this revolver. If the pretty girl and I were in bear territory, I might go heavier in weight, but this load is pretty darned powerful.

I like the Ruger a great deal. I keep it in a rug behind the truck seat. It’s legal in my state and, it goes without saying, check legalities, in your home state and city!

45 ACP Truck Guns
For handguns, .45 ACP short-barrel pistols are a good way to go.

The truck gun is sometimes left in the truck and at times carried. Among my favorite styles in a carry gun is a short barrel .45 ACP. Testing and evaluating handguns with an open mind has indeed broadened my mind and tastes past the 1911.

Among the most useful, ergonomic and generally friendly defense guns in the battery is a humble Taurus PT 145 Millennium. This beast holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP in a comfortable grip. The pistol has never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. I was lucky enough to find an example with night sights. This model is now discontinued, and I would be lucky to be allowed $200 on a trade-in. However, the Taurus .45 carries light, hits hard and is one of the most useful light guns I own.


I could go on, but these few firearms illustrate the spirit of truck guns. My choice is good for my needs, and hopefully, yours will fit your needs just as well. Humble, little appreciated, and vital, truck guns are an important part of Americana.

What’s your favorite truck (or trunk) gun? Why? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January of 2014. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (55)

  1. My reliable 1911 handgun with 2 spae mags, and I used to carry an old Enfield Number 5, also with two spare mags. That has been replaced by an M4 in 223, mainly because ammo for the Enfield is getting too hard to find.

  2. I always have my H&K P7 under my arm with extra mags on my hip. In or out of the truck, ranch or city. It just goes with me. I keep an AR-15 in my truck on the ranch for coyotes when its calving season and my 870 12ga when its not. Any weapon is better than no weapon and there is absolutely no reason to leave any firearm in a vehicle, period. If you can’t remember to put your firearm in the vehicle when you get in, and take it out when get out, you should consider your commitment to responsible gun ownership.

  3. Colt .45 and a Marlin chambered in .45 are my truck guns, shame Marlin doesn’t make that blowback carbine anymore so I’ll never let it.

  4. I picked up a ATI single shot 12 Guage for under a hundred dollars. It goes everywhere I do truck or trunk. A load of buckshot will cut you in half or so say the folks on the westerns. If the threat is out at 100 yards I’d just drive away.

  5. Between NW Iowa and SW Colorado I am very familiar with Truck Guns.
    My Question is, Why not a Pistol Caliber Carbine? I love my KelTec Sub2000 in 40sw for both home defense and truck gun. I keep it in my Camp Lite trailer, it fits in my MC saddle bags. 22rds of 40sw it’s fast reliable and accurate for food at 100yds+. I want no other.

  6. I do not drive a truck. However, the truck gun concept works for me. In California carrying a loaded weapon in a vehicle is illegal. CCW holders are exempted. I carry every where I go. If it is a prohibited location it goes in the trunk after I rejoin the legal carry area, it comes back out. My EDC of choice is a Glock 30 in .45 ACP (10+1). It depends where I am going I will take a Glock 21 ACP (10+1) as a backup. I started shooting with a Colt 1911when I was 12 in 1952. J.M. Browning got it right. The only reasons I went to Glock: Higher capacity and easier to clean. Their pistols are super reliable as well.

  7. Wow, there are a lot of comments on this post! So, I might as well add my two cents as well.
    I prefer my trusty SD40VE or my XDS in 45 ACP. If I’m expecting trouble, then I’d go for my XD-m, as it packs 16 rounds of 40 S&W. As far as a rifle goes, I would have to go with my SKS with the hard-hitting 7.62×39. Well, that’s my two cents.

  8. As recent as the early 1970’s, having a gun rack and a rifle in your truck was common in many rural areas. Back then, carrying a “Truck Gun” was done to control four-legged varmints. Now the need is to keep the two-legged varmints at bay, and a visible firearm is an invitation to be attacked. A magazine fed firearm that can be easily concealed is now the preferred option. In 2024, the current generation of “folding PCC” rifles seem to be that option for many folks. (Note that back in 1944, that option would have been the “Paratrooper” folding stock M-1 Carbine.) Two factors that must be considered are: 1.) Can your preferred firearm be concealed in your vehicle, and 2.) Can you reach it quickly in an emergency. As to caliber, while many folks consider the 9mm as “enough gun”, the 30 Carbine or 223 rounds are superior. Too bad the “Enforcer” 30 Carbine pistol is basically no longer available. But – Shooting a 223 pistol can lead to quickly going deaf!

  9. My truck gun is my 7.62×39 Hellpup, YEP I love over kill!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤪 kidding my go to is mossberg maverick cruiser 12G with top folding stock light and tight!!! I love all you gunners we are going to need all of you soon 👹💀🇺🇸

  10. For me my truck gun is either one of my 1911’s, USP45 or Sig with extra magazines. But they never stay in the truck, for when I get home they come into the house and either into the safe or on the night stand

  11. I have to say, why not a PSA .223 or 7.62×39 7.5” pistol. Daniel Defense for a bang around truck gun?! Go to YouTube and watch the PSA 5000 round torture test, the guy rubs mud and dirt in the gun an everything, and doesn’t clean it for those 5000 rounds. That’s what I want cheap and reliable to sit under the back seat of my F150, leave a few 30 round polymer mags maybe loaded with 25 rounds or so to let that spring breath. Take it out and shoot it maybe a few times a year and keep it oiled up.

  12. My truck gun is a Smith & Wesson SDve .40 S&W. Under 3 Benjamin’s. Reliable and ammo is available most anywhere in southern Michigan. I don’t feel naked while driving or taking a hike if I run into a meth head or rabid animal as well as any evil doers in the local Walmart parking lot. I shoot it alot, but also reload, so it’s not hard on the budget. It goes along great with my other .40 S&W a Glock 23 for when I pack both. Every now and then my H&R single shot in 22 Hornet goes behind the seat for those pesky coy dogs that chase deer on State Hunting lands. Not afraid to get it dinged up and always goes bang!

  13. I have an Astra A-100 .45 in each of my vehicles. 9+1 capacity, Sig clone lockworks, stone reliable, shoots any ammo, cost $200 new. Center console gun. For a rifle I have an SKS or a Mini-30 with 20 round mags.

  14. Hi guys / gals. As far as a dependable reasonable price firearms, I’ve owned several- WAIT FOR IT – WAIT FOR IT————. HI POINT- C9 Pistol and the matching .9mm carbine, using same AMMO just makes sense, there pistols are definitely not easy to conceal for anybody small framed or short statured, and I am both, but reasonably priced , accurate and easy to sight for shots , and the carbine is as reliable as carbines that are twice the money, three times the money in some cases. And not so painful if stolen, as mentioned momentarily. Let the snide remarks start coming ? BUT GUYS / GALS, how about some of you coming outta the proverbial closet and join the outted HI POINT NATION !!!!

  15. Greetings.
    I have an off topic comment which I think is worth considering.
    If you have to make a long range rifle shot against a human in the name of self defense, you most likely will be going to prison, or worse.
    Few shots over 50 to 75 yards maximum, would ever hold up as self defense.
    It’s not impossible to conjure up some unlikely scenario, but I contend it would be extremely rare.

  16. I have two truck guns, First S&W 59, old series 1982 version. bought as soon as I could. 15+1 JHP. Second Taurus Judge with 000 buck for when things get serious. As for a rifle when in the countryside Winchester 45LC with a Ruger 45LC back-up.

  17. I keep a Taurus Judge Public Defender with .410 Hornady solid slugs loaded. It is a GREAT TRUCK GUN. It hits HARD and is accurate to 50 yards center mass… so I think it is the best of both worlds…

  18. My truck guns are a 6906 S&W in 9mm. It’s a tank. Shoots any brand or type as long as it is 9mm. Truck rifle is an AR-15 in 5.56. ARs are cheap these days. They can take a beating (which is why the military still uses them). I even use an AR pistol in 9mm for home defense. Really no financial excuse for not equipping one’s self with one. Afterall, you may be betting your life on your firearm. My philosophy is that the pistol is used to get to your rifle, and your rifle is used to get to more ammo. I find the AR carbine is as handy as anything else when it comes to taking out a critter on the ranch. Also, rather poor form to look for any truck gun you can basically ignore and let bounce around in the back floorboard. Most people don’t do that with their other equipment. Why do it with a firearm you may need some day? At least clean it when you get an oil change in the truck. 😉

  19. If I ever get back ti owning a truck again I would carry a new Henry .410 lever gun with mixed loads of shot and slugs. I wish they would have had this gun when I was a kid hunting squirrels. As a backup, I would carry my Taurus 24/7 in .40 SW with 15 round mags. The .410 gives adequate range with slugs, and the Taurus has enough firepower to make a bad guy think twice. The smart thing is to stay out of bad situations to start with.

  20. I think I was a junior in HS when the school banned firearms in the truck/on campus. Up until then guys and gals had them because most of us would run to the woods to hunt before and after school during season.
    The marlin lever action in 44 mag was my go to then. Great brush gun. Just fine for southern deer or the occasional feral dog.

  21. You briefly mentioned check your locals regarding handguns. Here in PA, as well as other states I’m sure, when transporting a long gun it needs to be unloaded and inaccessible to the driver or occupants.

  22. As a youth darn near every type of rifle or shotgun was a multi-purpose, utility the Indians were mostly dead and gone and no one feared Blacks and Hispanics or hordes of starving city folk would try to steal our crops, rape our hounds and kick our women folk, so we shot to eat or defend our domestic animals.
    We never faced stampeding cattle, pigs, goats and sheep, a mad moose maybe, so 5 rifle rounds or maybe 6 for shotgunning quail, rabbits and waterfowl was enough and plinking was target practice, and accuracy meant just good enough for quick kill.
    Our utilitarian weapons, look used, most were well used, with maybe no glow on metal a pit here and there, and the wood was dinved and dimpled linseed oil brown, but barrels and innards were as clean as when first made.
    Soon many bought surplus Garands and M1 Carbines at most 25 bucks, Enfields and Sprinfields that hung on pickup gun racks or on top of gas tanks behind the seats when in town. An old Police positive in 3i Mith and Wesson or 32 caliber under the seat, no door on glovebox of truck.
    My Truck shotgun on farm clear into 2000 was a Winchester Model 97 12 guage full chok.
    My rifle was a M1 carbine at home for yotes, cats and bears in farm truck, and or Savage 300’s and Winchester 97.
    Retired them as soon as Horndy made the LeveRution 30-30 ino a reliable 300 yard reach, and bought an older Marlin lever gun.
    Don’t get me wrong as I have had many a newer pretty gun, damn near too pretty to hunt with, but todays ammo extended range and knock down power over older ammosynthetic stocks has made any short barreled lever, semi or bolt and shotgun all perfect truck or trunk guns.
    SIDE NOTE: IN Washington State for many years now there has been a law against displaying a rifle or shotgun, even black powder, on your rear window truck gun rack.
    That through gun owners outrage while law is still on books it is only lightly enforced in rural counties or during hunting seasons.
    Yup populace voted it in years ago at same time they voted that hunting fees could be used for bird watching and hiking trails.
    At rate Staters are passing gun laws we will need concealed weapon permits in order to get back and forth from ranges and hunting areas with our guns.

  23. A GP-100 with 4 inch barrel and a speedloader for reloads in the center console
    A Stevens 320 tactical shotgun behind the seat.

  24. Catamount Fury with pistol grip upgrade and collapsible stock with 2 (yes I actually found 2) 10 rnd mags.00 buck 9 pellet. Mean mean weapon of mass destruction. Really enjoy this gun and contrary to popular consensus I have yet to have any hiccups with this weapon.

  25. I never take a gun out of my safe unless I can keep it to hand and under my personal security. Most of the time that means a holstered pistol and many extra magazines full of defensive ammunition. If I take a long gun of any type, it stays in VERY easy reach. Am NEVER willingly going to arm a thief / criminal. Close ‘work’ gets the pistol, medium to short range, means, to me, a shotgun. Longer range means a carbine and long range means a bolt action in a suitable caliber (.308 / .30-06 / 7.62 X 54mmR or better… No single weapon is optimal for all types of danger.

    My preference is to engage ‘pests’ at the longest ‘sure’ range and end things at the greatest distance practical from me and mine. If a shout will end a ‘situation’ all the better; shout for all you’re worth. Distracting the problem ends the confrontation just as well as a shooting. A shooting will involve a cop and an attorney. That will also put the threat on notice that you’re aware of them and witnesses will pay attention to what is about to transpire. That could keep you safe and avoid legal fees.

    Identify bear, coyote, skunk, armed and armed threatening criminals all as soon as the pest can be ascertained, determined to be a concern and engaged at the longest range practical. All said, the ‘average’ range of gunfights remains under 10 feet. That means a holstered handgun, rapidly employed, I like the baby Glocks in either .40 S&W or .45 ACP or my Colt Combat Commander in .45 ACP. My opinion only is that 9mm is too little and 10mm is too much. Under 10 feet means you must respond 100% of the time to an ACTUAL and provable threat FAST, shoot FAST, and shoot ACCURATELY. Shoot until there is no more threat and end the engagement ONLY after ‘checking six’ to make sure that there is no additional danger before securing. your choice of weapon. DO NOT ENGAGE ANYTHING WHICH IS NOT AN IMMEDIATE DANGER. CALL THE AUTHORITIES even if someone else already has. Describe yourself and the situation and request the proper help, remain vigilant and control the scene as untouched as possible and ask witnesses for their information and to remain until their statements have been taken. If you discharge a weapon in any city, of which I am aware, you will have the full attention of the police. They may disarm and handcuff you while investigating the situation.

    Heel or hero, your choice of truck / trunk gun is highly personal and SHOULD change with the problem it is to help terminate. Given the short range of HUMAN danger, I always have a handgun at the ready. PERSONALLY, I seldom NEED anything more than a handgun. Long arms, in the city, can be a liability unless very well secured. Then, they are NOT immediate action tools. They would be ONLY used in a deliberate situation which is ever so unlikely to transpire. Out in the wide open spaces I’d have my handgun, my 12 gauge with hollow point slugs and buck shot of #4, 00, or 000, a carbine secures my 360 degree zone of awareness. Beyond, for me, 75 meters I go to a carbine, beyond 500 meters, my bolt gun. All of this might only be reasonable for me and the environments in which I have found myself.

    Think through your daily life before committing to a Truck / Trunk gun. Do I need that kind of a tool in my daily life? Does my need outweigh the liability? Choose well my friends.

  26. Simple and to point…PX4 and CX4…handgun and carbine both easy to use from inside a vehicle, car or truck. Same ammo, same magazines.
    Both accurate and dependable. 4 magazines of 17 rounds each. Laser on PX4 and red dot on CX4. If that don’t get it done then its time to run.

  27. I pocket carry a small .380 or 9mm (G42, Nano, Solo, PM9) and an extra magazine. I also keep a PX4 Storm 9mm and an extra magazine in my console. In addition, if I am traveling in unfamiliar areas, I usually put my Sig 556 pistol with four 30 round magazines in a padded case under the rear seat of my truck or trunk of the car.

  28. Although I no longer carry a long gun in my truck, I used to carry a 30cal Plainfield carbine. I put a folding stock on it and it took very little space. I fit behind the seat and with 30 round magazines was capable of doing any job and do it well. It was not terribly expensive and handled quite reliably. And it was ok if it got banged up a bit.

  29. I looked at the link you had for your gun Richard, and that’s an interesting gun alright. I have an AK, but couldn’t imagine using mine with the stock removed. And, at $400, I couldn’t afford to leave one in a vehicle, or lose it.
    To me, truck gun means one that no matter if you fired it three years ago or you use it amost daily, lives in the truck when not in actual use. It means having one that if survives being stolen, will certainly show scrapes scratches and rust, and still function reliably with dust and lint when needed. Even the Marlin 30.30s I once had were too nice for that, and now I only have a couple of pre ’64 Winchesters. I suppose if you could find an old Marlin or something similar, all dinged up and cheap in a pawn shop…….. Maybe. Hell, I’m too cheap to subject even a newer 870 to that task. That’s why I suggested the 870 or Ithica 37 clones. I gave $200 each for mine, and have since seen them listed for $150. I still stand by that recomendation, especially if it’s your second one purchased. You’ll already be comfortable and familiar with shooting and dis-assembling one, and having multiple types of loads will give you versatility. You can even carry one in an inexpensive shotgun scabbord, with a machete included, as another useful tool, and it will be protected, yet at the ready.
    I still like the concept of a paratrooper, or carbine bbl SKS, and some day plan to have one, but at the current price for one, I don’t think I could leave one in the truck, although it would make a great truck gun, in my opinion, and that’s all this is anyway…… Just opinions.

    P.S. The Savage 24 of any kind is probably the best of both worlds actually, and best suited as a truck gun. They’re actually not legal in many areas to hunt with, because they’re both a rifle and a shotgun, so you might have some explaining to do. They used to be reasonable, but I’m sure they cost what that AK pistol does nowadays, and that would make them prohibitive for me.
    I guess I’d wander into the pawn shop, and look for something nobody would want, but was still safe to shoot, and that you could find ammo readily for, if I didn’t already have a good candidate in mind from my collection already. Again, just an opinion.

  30. I really like this topic and I have many comments tonight.
    First of all, to the guy who wants to carry the Hi-Point…bad idea…come on you can do better than that.
    Also, a .380 is not good enough to depend on when traveling. I’m sorry I even brought one up in my first post.
    Shotguns have a drawback of downtime to re-load, and a serious range problem.
    Lever Actions are really versatile and easy to maneuver (I owned a Marlin 30-30), yet they also have re-loading downtime.
    Yesterday, on CheaperThanDirt, I bought a gun that I think will make an excellent trunk gun. It’s a Century Arms Zastava PAP M92 Semi Auto Handgun 7.62×39 10″ Barrel 30 Rounds. This little baby has everything I need: portability, manueverability, ease of use, power, lots of rounds, and of course it will have accuracy once I practice with it with 100’s of rounds.
    Plus I still believe in my Ruger Super Redhawk 44 Magnum, even though I’ve seen people whining on the net about the 7.5″ barrel being hard to carry. But let me tell you, this sucker is ACCURATE. I’ve been thinking about placing it, holstered, in a backpack in my car. Not some backpack that looks like I just got out of the Army, but rather a small sized hiking backpack that can blend in almost anywhere, in case I need to leave my car or SUV with it. In case I actually want to go hiking with it. Of course in bear country, like Sedona, it would be on my hip.
    OK that’s my 2 cents.

  31. The Bersa Thunder Combat .380 is a decent “truck firearm” for personal protection. As a “truck gun”, to defer “bandits” and other nuisance “critters”, I would prefer a lever action .30-30 rifle.

  32. Thanks Bob, for another interesting post. It certanly has spawned many opinions. I have, and have sad to say, gotten rid of many fine guns, but if I ever could afford an AR, it certainly would not reside in my truck. I’m with you on the 870 or SKS. I missed a $150 SKS last year from a friend, because someone beat me to it.
    My 870s are way too nice, and vintage, so last year I bought a Savage 350 Security, a short tactical pump. (Think Ithica model 37) Next, I bought a Norinco, or Hawk 982 (870 clone). Both are parkerized, synthetic stocked, and havemilitary apperture sights, and less than 40″ long. The price was less than $200 new for each, and besides being reliable, they will digest quite a variety of ammo. Then, Stormy hit on it, when he said Savage 24, any model. I’d forgotten all about them. Probably way more than $200 now, but a tank of a gun, and if you pick the right model, you could add a smaller caliber insert tube to expand the utility of the gun. If you somehow venture off too far, and end up way away from home………say………to town where bandits may not look like racoons, then my pump idea might withstand.

  33. My Beretta 92FS with 15+1 mag sits in an easy to reach spot to the right of my seat, fully ready to fire. I have a Ruger LCP 380 or Glock 29 10mm in the glove box, depending on where I’m driving. I’m trying to think of ways to incorporate my Ruger Super Redhawk 44 magnum, which is my favorite gun. But the 7.5″ barrel makes it hard to hide. Again, it depends on where I’m driving.

    As far as carbines go, I believe my 2 AR’s have too much furniture to make them truck guns. I’m thinking about buying a 16 to 18 inch AK-47 in the future.

    Trading in my car for a full size SUV in the next 2 months could change some strategies.

  34. While a truck gun was originally of country origins, it has now migrated to common usage for city/suburban folks. I addition, it is now also known as a trunk gun, for those who don’t have trucks.

    I grew up in the country & tractor guns were (and still are) common. Safe carry is more difficult for long guns. I knew a man that lost his life when the shotgun slipped & discharged. One of my uncles had his hand severely damaged the same way – lost control of the shotgun.

    As far as I am concerned, it is nothing but semantics; what you carry should depend on your expected usage. Where you carry it is not important. It is just another tool to let you get rid of pests – large or small.


    1. I have kept a gun in my truck for the last 36 yrs. I understand that many of you live in areas where you don’t need to leave a gun of anykind in your truck. I live in rual south AL and have never had a problem with anyone breaking into my truck. I have had several different ones over the yrs from 22’s to shotguns. For the last several years I have kept a New England Handi Rifle in 223 behind the seat, It does great from taking deer, to crows. I also always keep my CCW on me at all times also

  35. 40 years ago when I first started farming, I bought a Savage 24V combination gun in .222 over 20 gauge and had the barrel cut down to sweet and legal 18 inches. A half a dozen pickups later, it now looks like crap, but it has never failed me. It will come out from behind the seat like a mares leg and you can “spray em” or “zing em.” Take your pick. Not very sexy, but easy to clean and very dependable. About 5 years ago, I added a Judge to the pickup arsenal for the up close and personal stuff. Great pair to have handy!

  36. yeah, you must be in a different league than i am..i got the glock 45 sub compact w/ the short stack as my best weapon man does that thing rock!!!

  37. A country man learns from time of being a man child what a truck gun is and thank you michael j for presenting a good a definition as one could ask for.
    I come from a time when a man had a truck it was his work truck and I still remember a day when Gramps and I went to Manchester to get his new truck.
    An early 1950’s Chevy long box, green, he paid extra for a tailgate bumper and a spare tire side mount but no radio hell no truck had rugs back then but it had a cigar lighter and heater.
    He h ad me clean the old rig and hosed it down doors open but careful to keep seat dry.Gramps had an old bolt action Remington 22 . Kind ya had to pull thr firing pin back and we just kept 22 cal shorts but they were kept overhead because the gas tank was behind the seat.
    WE DROVE TO CITY WITH RIFLE IN TRUCK which even back east was frowned upon , Gramps paid cash for the truck and the 22 had to ride on dash going home; yup gas tank behind seat..
    we find, t even stop to show Grammar just drove by house streight into field cuz gramps seen a hedge hog back by the woods.
    He shot it, I got it and we sat out there in middle of field plunking at crows while sitting on that tail gate.Later gramps built a wooden padded box over gas tank and had a spot for his double twelve and the Rem. And shells as well.
    My truck guns have been many but I would trade all my guns for that old Remington 22 And that old Chevy truck.

  38. I would have to disagree with the Highpoint suggestion, that gun acts terrible when dirty, I also don’t think that u can even remove the slide to clean/lubricate. That fact alone would be a no go (not 100% sure on that one) That is if we are talking car jacking/city situation. I would definitely go more on the reliable side than the cheaper side. If u can’t find it in ur best interest to spend $500 on a gun/weapon/tool that u can trust, good luck. I understand one of the main things being; is it economical? Get a Glock, change the factory sights (plastic) and be done with it. Oh it doesn’t have to be new there’s where u can save ur $$ I would rock a 5yr old Glock before a new Highpoint. I’m a bit partial to Glock, if it wasn’t obvious. Happy hunting if u still have a spot in that pickup, or trunk!!

  39. I think everyone is on different pages. Robert P. is the only one who gets what a truck gun actually is, everyone else is a city slicker who thinks its a anit car jacking gun, when it truth your truck gun is the one you take in the country or to the field while cruising, doing work, cutting wood, farming, ect. The “ranch” gun so to speak. Its more likely going to get used more than a self defense weapon, as there are many jackrabbits, coyotes, pigs, racoons, skunks, that actually do get shot and are run into quite frequently.

    The truck gun is well understood by those who live out in the country. The old 30-30 for poaching, the old shotgun kept to hit the animals you come across, the 22lr next tot he shifting gear to shoot jackrabbits when waiting for the combine to finish. Nice guns have no real place in a truck, as they rust terribly, degrading a beautiful weapon quickly. Its the place for cheap shotguns, 22lr bolts, and perhaps the occasional 22 or 6mm centerfire for long range shots. These are the guns that get knocked around, rusted, and used a lot, are some of the most appreciated, yet are sometimes the lower quality cheapos that you don’t mind seeing get the beating.

    Guns carried for self defense, and for possible car jacking scenarios, are a different situation entirely.

  40. what you are calling a truck gun, many of us in the delivery buisness call a floor gun. if you deliver for a living it means you usually have cash on your person or in your truck..and more of it than a regular guy walking down the street is likely to be carrying. almost all the guys i know that have a floor gun use the absolute cheapest thing they can find. many have 2 of these floor guns. if one is broke, they send it back to hipoint to get it fixed for free for the lifetime of the gun,not the life of the purchaser. i use a .45 cal. it is plenty accurate enough at close range, they never ftf or fte or jam . i had one of these guns for ten or more years..i used to take it out and burn a lot of ammo through it just to see if i could get it to mess up. never happened. i would trust my life to that gun. never had to use it. finally, i sold it to a friend of mine for 50 bucks. after that, i felt naked in my car and truck…i went out and bought 2 more of them. i have yet to experience any problems with them. i read some literature once that claimed it was the most dependable pistol according to repair reports. you can buy a hipoint in 380…9mm…40…or 45 cals. the 45 cal. is now a little over 200 bucks new…a lot better than taking your 1500.00 colt out and throwing it on the floor of you truck or car!

  41. Thank God, I live in a state that allows both conceal & open carry, so I almost always have a high capacity Glock 23 .40 cal w/ Crimson Trace laser and a extra mag on my person. For church carry, its a pocket carry Ruger LCP w/ CT laser… soon to be a new Glock 42.

    As to the subject of the article, for my 2 cents….when it comes to a truck, trunk, locking truck bed tool box or tackle box gun.. you want a ‘cheap’ gun that will remain reliably functional even if it gets pretty dirty & dinged-up… similar to the floor mats of your vehicle.

    So use any gun make, model or caliber that you will be comfortable with its reliability under those conditions and don’t mind cosmetically dinging up. Some kind of gun is better than no gun at all. For example, a Hi-Point 9mm / .40 / .45 for well under $200 new at most dealers would fit that bill. I know that a Hi-Point is a plain Jane / bare bones type of a gun, but they have a lifetime warranty and will go bang even when pretty dirty. If your vehicle is ever broken into and a Hi-Point is stolen, well you haven’t lost a huge investment.

    If you keep a shotgun, rifle or pistol in the vehicle long term and don’t plan on a regular cleaning, you might want to consider slipping a small baby’s tube sock over the end of the barrel to keep the inside clean. You can get a 6 pack for about $5. And in a emergency grab it and fire situation, you could safely shoot the weapon with the sock in place.

    Some guys suggest using a condom… but the latex dries out & deteriorates within weeks. You want a leave it and forget it until needed weapon. Also, don’t over-oil your vehicle gun.. it attracts lint & dirt. Instead of oil, you might consider using a silicon spray. Locksmiths use silicon or graphite instead of oils / WD-40 because of the dirt & lint issue.

  42. my truck is a farm truck, just wanted to say that. it hasnt been in the big city in over a year but i carry my Xd-40 for getting into the tractors with me and very quick firearm to go to. the 2nd one is my marlin 795 with a good scope(i use this gun 75% of the time), I call it my 100yard or less gun and then way back in the back is the “everything else” gun which is a 243. Ruger American with scope that hangs in the back glass. none of which i have over $450 total . the 03 dodge has an awesome console in the dash the holds the mags for the XD 40..4 of them and the one that is gun.. unchambered gun!

  43. I like your post and agree with you,I carry
    a 45 concealed but I always like having my
    pistol grip mossberg 500 12ga. in the truck
    just incase it’s needed. There is nothing wrong
    with being prepared for what may come your way.

  44. I know very few will agree but a Bersa 380 with an extra clip fits just right in the “sun glasses holder”{ up top in my Ford 150. It is handy to clip on my belt as I get out of the truck, and IT IS CLOSE to your hand. I know a 380 is not what I would chose if things got bad, but close at hand and loud sometimes is what is needed.

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