As some of you may know, I was an executive chef in NYC for more than a decade. When I lived in NYC, a truck gun was not really on my radar.
For one thing, I didn’t have a truck and I am pretty sure the subway conductor would not have allowed me to store my blaster in his tiny cubical.
When I moved back to free America, I bought a truck and in the process of rediscovering my 2A rights, the concept of a truck gun arose.
Here’s my story of truck guns throughout the years and what led to my preferred choice of truck gun today.
My First Choice
My first truck gun was what I had. I took the folding bayonet off a Carbine Mosin Nagant (M-44) and slid it behind the bench seat. It was a gun, it lived in my truck and I paid $99 for it.
There wasn’t much worry about a little rust or a few scratches from bouncing around.
After some consideration, it occurred to me that something with the flame-producing capacity of an M-44 and the steel-core ammo might not be the best thing if I ever had to use it.
This concern got me to purchase soft-point ammunition. Testing the soft-point ammo indicated it was slightly less over-penetrating.
It also showed me that with “hunting” ammo, the rifle wasn’t that much more accurate than my carry pistol. My groups at 50 yards looked a lot like my pistol groups at 30 yards. I needed a different choice.
This began a long process of figuring out my budget versus my goals and what a truck gun really should be for me. This process is very different for each person.
I will share some of my choices and where I am today.
The fact that I currently use a certain thing, does not mean it should be your choice, and that is part of the reason I will discuss the ‘why’ of each choice I made.
Not all of them were as poor as my M-44 decision.
Making an Upgrade
My next choice was to replace the Mosin with something a bit more versatile and a bit more DA-friendly. My Remington 870 entered truck duty.
It was something I already owned and was an easy replacement. At the time, I mounted an elastic side saddle so I had projectile options. My load in the gun was five rounds of OO buck.
In the side saddle, I had three 1 oz slugs and two #4 buck shells. This is a very workable option with a fair amount of flexibility, but I was never really happy with it.
It was much better and more useful than the Mosin, but I evolved away quickly.
Back in the day, I carried a GLOCK 22 as my EDC.
I have since reformed from .40 S&W, but at that time, it seemed like a great idea to have a truck gun that shared the same caliber (and magazines), while opening up the accurate range to at least 75 yards.
This thought process led me to the purchase of a Kel-Tec Sub-2000 in .40 S&W.
The gun is a bit crude, but the price is right and once I got used to (and improved) the ergonomics, my practical range jumped from 25 yards to the desired 75 yards.
The rifle also acted as a backpack gun, so life was good. At the time I rode a motorcycle frequently, so the backpack consideration was not without merit.
My ergonomic improvement was to take a strip of hot-water insulation and wrap the metal shaft of the stock.
It took a little fiddling to get the material where it protected my cheek for a better face position without compromising the folding ability, but in less than half an hour of test fitting, I had a solution.
I chose to discontinue the Sub-2000 as my truck gun for two reasons. The first and most important was that my (late) wife could not shoot it accurately no matter what she did.
I was able to coax six-inch groups at 75 yards with relative ease. She was unable to consistently shoot three-foot groups at 75 yards, and she was not a poor shot.
Even with the padding I added, she would not create a cheek weld because the recoil impulse bruised her cheek. I also switched to 9mm Luger for carry duty, so the ammunition and magazine compatibility went away.
Other Truck Gun Selections
She really liked my Marlin 336 lever gun. It was her preferred deep-brush hunting gun, so she was very familiar with it and shot it well.
Five rounds of .30-30 Winchester are pretty effective in saying “leave me the hell alone,” and certainly have enough punch for anything from a coyote to a (Florida) wild hog, or even punching through most parts of a goblin-driven vehicle.
Her off-hand groups at 75 yards were in the four to six-inch range depending on the day. I considered getting her a lever gun in .38/.357 for lower recoil and higher capacity.
At the time, they were in short supply and before I could find what I wanted, she decided on a different route.
After a weekend of shooting AR’s, she’d found what she wanted. That Monday, she took her lunch break and surprised me at the gun store I worked at by bringing me lunch.
She bought herself a Smith and Wesson M&P Sport. That became her truck (trunk actually) gun. She really liked that gun.
With the stock iron sights she was quite proficient, are with the addition of a red dot, she was deadly accurate. Her only real complaint was the lack of a giggle setting.
We rigged a quick-release harness in her trunk and a black curtain to hang between it and curious eyes. For her job, she was in and out of her trunk constantly.
This often happened at job sights and having a client see an AR-15 might not have been the best idea. No one ever noticed. She did have one instance where the client was an Air Force Officer.
They met off-base for lunch but had to go back to the base for a reason I don’t remember. Before they left, she pulled him aside and had a quiet discussion about not being able to drive her car on base.
It turned out he was a serious gun guy. He asked a few questions. She figured it was easier to just show him why.
His face turned pink, then he asked, “Would you please share this with my wife? And why don’t we park your car outside the main gate and take my car. I really don’t want to have to check all that into the armory. But good for you… and yes, thank you for inviting my wife and I to go shooting with you two.”
That rifle now sports a dedicated 5.56 NATO suppressor, so I don’t use it as a truck gun. I don’t want to have to deal with interstate transport issues and I live two miles from a state line.
As you might imagine, I cross the state line frequently.
Where I Landed
In my other vehicle, I adopted her thought process. As I became much more familiar with the AR platform, it just made more and more sense.
Sure the 5.56 NATO is not exactly the hardest-hitting round, but 30 (I download to 28) rounds is quite a bit handier than the five of the Marlin or the Mosin, and about triple that of a .357 lever gun.
It is also very simple to have several magazines handy. I store a quad mag holster next to the gun. I load half with 77-grain Berger OTM bullets.
Those have performed well in deer hunting and retain some ability to punch through light obstacles. I also have 62-grain green tips should that be a need.
With 28 rounds in the rifle and another 112 within quick reach, I doubt I am under-gunned, despite it only being 5.56 NATO.
My quick-fire, off-hand groups are in the three to four-inch range at 100 yards. My gun has a low-power variable scope set at 1.5 power.
This allows me to run it with both eyes open if needed. I also have an offset back-up set of iron sights for quick close shots.
The rifle is my backup 3-Gun rig, which is why it has the double-sight setup, but they are convenient on a truck (trunk) gun as well.
For my truck, I still work with my magazine/ammo compatibility desire. I bought a 9mm Luger chambered braced AR pistol.
This is probably one of the best 9mm pistols to use as a truck gun because you have the benefits of a rifle in a compact and easy-to-shoot package.
At the time, I was running a GLOCK 17 as my EDC, so having a few 17 and 33-round mags in the truck made sense, and the AR running a shake-activated Holosun red dot made offhand three-inch groups at 75 yards a simple task.
Despite switching to a Faxon-modified Smith and Wesson M&P9, I still run this setup in my truck.
Since my magazines are not interchangeable, I am debating switching to an AR in 5.56 NATO, but inertia has kept me from changing so far.
Do you have a truck gun? What is it and why did you choose it? Let us know in the comments below.