Trunk Guns

2 black Kel-Tec Sub-2000 guns, one on top of the other, barrels pointing to the right on a white background

There is much debate over what makes the best trunk gun so to understand where the concept of a trunk gun came from, let’s go back a few years. Traditionally, farmers and ranchers had a ranch rifle hanging in the back of the pickup truck. The role of the rifle was to enable the easy elimination of varmints or to put down injured horses or livestock. Nowadays, many farmers and ranchers still keep a durable rifle hung in the window or stashed behind the seat for the same reason.

Black Kel-Tec Carbine facing left on a white background.
The Kel-Tec is a modern minimalist design that gets the job done.

In addition to the traditional reasons for toting along a truck or trunk gun, many people in urban and suburban environments see the usefulness of having a rifle somewhat readily available in the trunk of a car for self-defense and general preparedness. For preparedness-minded individuals, the trunk gun is often paired up with a BOB (Bug Out Bag).

Without getting into the specifics or whether you need a trunk gun, let’s discuss the types of rifles that are commonly used as trunks guns. A good trunk gun should be:

  • Supremely reliable
  • Durable
  • Capable of operating in dirty and dusty environments
  • Not particularly susceptible to rust.

Cost is another issue, as a trunk gun may be subject to more wear and tear, and it’d be a shame to have a thousand-dollar rifle beat up from riding behind the seat of your pickup.


Carbines are one obvious option, as the shorter barrel lengths make them easier to transport. The next question is, do you go with a pistol-caliber carbine or a rifle-caliber carbine? We’ve discussed the advantages of having a pistol caliber carbine in the past.

A number of rifles fit this bill ranging from the various lever-action Marlins available in .357 and .44 Magnum to autoloading carbines that share pistol magazines like the Ruger PC9, the Hi Point carbine and the Kel-Tec Sub-2000. The Sub-2000 also has the distinct advantage of folding in half for an overall length of just 16 inches. Both the Hi Point and the Kel-Tec have synthetic stocks which adds to durability.

The Hi Point 995 Carbine is probably the least expensive carbine of this group, although it only uses 10-round Hi Point magazines and does not fold like the Sub-2000. The Sub-2000 can be bought in configurations able to use Glock, SIG, Smith & Wesson or Beretta magazines, including high-capacity 30-round mags. A lever-action in .357 or .44 Magnum has significantly more power than the Hi Point however and without a detachable magazine it is slower to reload.

Stepping up a bit to rifles chambered in larger calibers such as 7.62×39 and .30-30, we have the ever-popular (and generally very inexpensive) SKS and the venerable .30-30.

The SKS is generally fed by stripper clips into a fixed magazine, though some conversions are available to convert them to use detachable AK-47 magazines. Like their pistol caliber shooting brethren, the Winchester 94 and Marlin lever-action .30-30 rifles also have a fixed magazine tube, making reloading more difficult and time-consuming. Because ammunition for the lever-action rifle is generally kept in a bandoleer or sling, we’d have to give the nod to the SKS in this comparison.

While it too has a fixed magazine, high-capacity 20-round magazines and ability to quickly reload using stripper clips give it a slight advantage. While the .30-30 is slightly more powerful than the 7.62×39, we feel the power difference is offset by the ability to quickly reload the SKS.

Detachable Box Magazine-Fed Rifles

Magpul PMAG with dust cover
Magpul PMAG with dust cover

Another option is the detachable box magazine fed rifle. Basically, this group is divided into intermediate and full-size rifle cartridge firing long guns.

AK-47s, AR-15s, Mini-14s and Mini-30s are all fine examples of intermediate caliber rifles. The Mini-14 and Mini-30 are very similar rifles apart from caliber, and Ruger markets both as Ranch Rifles; a clear indication of their intended roles as truck guns. The primary drawback of the Mini-14 and Mini-30 is that they use proprietary Ruger magazines, instead of the more readily available AR or AK magazines.

In the AR vs. AK comparison, we feel that the AK wins out when equipped with a folding stock. The fact that it can easily be bought or outfitted with a folding stock means that the AK style rifle can more easily be stashed in a small trunk or even a duffel bag. The AK is also slightly more reliable and can be abused and neglected in ways that the AR cannot.

If you choose to go the AR route, we recommend getting magazine covers or using Magpul PMags with dust covers, as well as using a muzzle cover to keep dust and dirt out of your rifle and magazines. In fact, the shoo-off muzzle cover is a valuable accessory for any trunk gun.

Full Size Rifles

In the full-size rifle category, your options for a “cheap” box-fed semiautomatic rifle are fairly limited. For example, the CETME, FAL, Saiga and AR-10/LR 308. I’m limiting discussion to these rifles as they are relatively inexpensive, while at the same time very durable.

Century built CETMEs, as well as Saigas in .308, can be found for around $500 and FALs are available for around $650, making these three decently priced rifles. The AR-10 and LR-308 are more expensive, usually just under $1,000, making them fairly expensive for a trunk gun.

Among the other three, the AK-based Saiga is generally the most reliable. While the FAL and CETME are both fine rifles, the FAL has been known to a bit finicky about the gas adjustment and the quality of CETMEs built by Century is questioned by some. All three of these rifles shoot about a 2-3 MOA group, so accuracy is decent enough. AR-10s and LR 308s are more accurate; both are capable of shooting 1 MOA or less at 100 yards. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck in a durable truck gun, we have to give the nod to the Saiga in .308.

Bolt-Action Rifles

It’s hard to argue against buying a $90 bolt-action rifle. Look around a bit and you’re sure to find Mosin Nagants with an affordable price tag. While they may not be the prettiest rifles, it’s pretty easy to justify spending a small amount of cash on a rifle you can toss behind a pickup seat or in the trunk of your car. Toss in a couple of stripper clips of cheap mil-surp 7.62x54R and you’ve got a really inexpensive trunk gun and more than 400 rounds of ammunition for a good price.

Mosin Nagant M1891/30
Mosin Nagant M1891/30

It may not be the fastest to reload, and if you’re just hauling it around as a “just in case” rifle, it fits the bill just fine. An alternative would be Lee Enfield rifles. The Jungle Carbine model is a short-barreled version firing the British .303 round and is short enough to fit in even the smallest trunks.


Some people prefer shotguns as a trunk gun, especially in areas where it may not be legal to transport a loaded rifle. With their ability to fire a variety of rounds, shotguns can be effective from point-blank range all the way out to 100 yards, or more, with a good slug.

Pump action shotguns are generally the most popular, with the Remington 870, Mossberg 500/590A1 and the Winchester 1300 rounding out the top choices. There are many accessories for these three shotguns, including folding stocks, tactical rails and so on, so you can customize your shotty however you like. Most of these models are also easy to find for less than $300.

Not all jurisdictions allow transporting loaded firearms, and some frown on transporting firearms at all unless traveling directly to or from a range. As always, make sure to observe local laws when considering whether to get a trunk gun.

What model do you use as a trunk gun? What made you choose that one? Share in the comment section.

This article originally published on January 4, 2011.

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 (82)

  1. I do not disagree with anyone’s choice but share my comments. In the early 1970s, I was a police officer and carried a mini 14 in the car and later as a state park ranger. IT HAS NEVER, EVER, FAILED. Now, on active duty, I never had an M16 fail, never. But, my commercial AR 15s fail when dirty, probably the much tighter chamber, and I see them fail often at my range. Nothing wrong with a pump shotgun either. Now, we travel out of state a lot in an RV…I never carry an AR out of state unless I have a very specific reason. What I do carry is either a Marlin or Rossi 357 or a Win 94, in 30-30. If you shoot anything with an AR out of state, there is an automatic stigma attached. If you are camping, and shoot a bear or a psycho raiding the camp at night, you will have less suspicion. Must my old law enforcement mentality I suppose. FWIW

  2. After much consideration, I went with the Kel-Tec SU-16. I chose the non-folding stock version because it still fits easily in my trunk and can store 2 10-round mags. This along with two 30-round mags clamped together gives me 80 rounds RIGHT ON THE RIFLE! [BTW, does anybody know of a combat-style sling for the K-T? I can’t find any with a way to attach to the barrel or forend.] Just the ticket for grab-and-go. I had considered a .45 ACP carbine but couldn’t find one that shared magazine compatibility with my 1911. Odd, as the 1911 is so popular. Plus, my environment is the Arizona desert where the ability to reach out beyond 75-100 yards might be a good thing.

  3. Shocked no one mentioned the mini 14…..with 30 rounds of .223 it is a formindable and very reliable weapon….one of the best for eating any cheap ammo out there…I never had a jam….even with russian ammo..tullu..silver bear ect.

  4. Yeah, I have some of the 60gr Aquila subsonic. Oddly, I’ve been able to buy Aquila when no other was available.. Mexican origin I suppose. I hadn’t thought about it but my little Nylon 66 is a pistol caliber carbine and with 14 rounds of hot Aquila not a bad choice for a trunk gun. It has a reputation of being very reliable. Come to think of it the Ruger 10/22 is another good choice with an extended mag.

  5. Ron, You’re on the right track. Try the 60gr Aquila subsonic. Its only purpose is for the sniper. Think about it in an AR with a conversion kit. The 1:7 or 9 twist is perfect for stabilizing this round in a short barrel. The sound and recoil are also great for the female side as well at the light weight and compact frame. Remember the 5.56×45 is typically a 55 or 62 grain bullet. But when your shooting subsonic the extra powder capacity is not relevant, so the 22LR 60 gr is an affordable substitute.

  6. Richard from AZ, Your last post was about as fair and balance a response anyone could expect. Thanks. The round as you read was developed for both CQB with subsonic ammo and equal utility for other M4 missions. Its the middle ground between the 5.56 and the 458 SOCOM. This blogging trail has taught me something important about the use of 300 BLK. The rounds must be fully crimped or you could have the 223 miss load and blow up problem because of the commonality between weapons. Crimping adds a small measure of increased safety. I am also going to label my charging handles to clearly show caliber in addition.. And add other markings to the upper receivers.

  7. No they are necked down 5.56×45 casings, that is why all of the other AR-15 components work with the new caliber. Only changes are barrel, and flash hider. . If you reload you can cut down the 5.56×45 casing and you turn them into 7.62×35 with your press. Or just buy them

  8. Richard from AZ / Big Bur The 300 AAC Blackout (7.62x35mm) reference for Wikipedia has a table that show the comparative performance. Like I said BLK wins.
    As for 22LR I use the Aquilas 60gr 22LR. This subsonic round is quiet and lethal. Again no ear protection required. The CMMG 22LR conversion kit in my Olympic 223 pistol is an effective truck gun.

    1. Phantom30 your Wikipedia reference was very informative and now I understand there was good reason for inventing the 300 AAC Blackout, which is basically to get something similar to the 7.62×39 onto an AR platform, thereby obtaining accuracy advantages, and some slightly improved ballistics over AK’s, especially for long range. I appreciate this caliber for the reasons outlined in Wiki.

      However, a well made AK is still more reliable in the field, as everyone has heard the reputation and stories.

      And according to my research, Blackout ammo is at a minimum 2.4 times more expensive than steel cased 7.62×39. It actually looks comparable to .308 brass ammo in price.

      Here is my AK Pistol that I bought from CheaperThanDirt. I don’t have the 75 round drum yet (I just now discovered it in the video), and I have an American made aluminum quad rail, a Manticore Arms muzzle brake, with an ultra powerful partial-daytime laser being shipped to me right now, that will make shooting from the hip pretty sweet.

  9. I imagine there will be a lot of responses to your comment regarding 22LRs and this is one of them. You make some good points but I have no problem with carrying a reliable .22 from time to time. My “truck guns” are a Mossberg 500 and an M-1 carbine, but for personal carry I use a .380 or a .40 S&W. From time to time, I will carry a 9 shot .22 revolver, loaded with LR hollow points. Sure, bigger is often better but shot placement is what really counts and “nobody likes to leak”, no matter what caliber the hole is. My premise is carry what you like and what you can shoot accurately and any gun with you is better than the one you left at home. A bunch of worn out saying but still true.

  10. The most important item is a replacement supply of ammo. You can carry 1000 rounds of .22LR and how many .308? This isn’t about a video game where you can pick up rounds anywhere on the grounds. How about those of you who have done a 20 mile hump. What rounds can you obtain incase you have to raid a home? Most common round out there is 12 gauge. And not to mention replacement parts and cleaning. Time to start thinking smart and definitely everyone in your circle should have the same weapon. How about “I’m out, toss me a mag” Go out there and put down a few hundred rounds a day and then decide.

    1. Big Jer, your “1000 rounds” comment really made me think. Maybe that’s why everyone seems to hoard 22LR at my local Cabelas. Your video game comment made me think as well. I’m not sure about your “raid a home” comment….LOL

      Many of us here have different expectations of what we’re preparing for. All I’m preparing for is if I’m confronted by a carload of bad guys, whether it’s driving late at night, or while exploring in the desert. I don’t want to be like the retired couple camping in NM a few years ago who were murdered for their RV by a trio of escaped AZ convicts.

      I’m not sure if 22LR can get the job done with bad guys. I believe strongly in AK’s for this whole trunk gun concept. I have many pre-loaded mags, stored in different places, but still I admit that I go out of the house without the AK at times, and I only have my Glock 20. I’ve ordered a very handy and compact carrying case for 8 10mm 15 round mags, that I will religiously have with me in the car. That can help me get out of most scrapes.

      If you’d like to comment more on advantages of 22LR, I’d like to hear what you have to say.

    2. About hoarding 22 ammo at Cabela’s, there’s several reasons for the shortage of 22 LR everywhere. First of all everyone just about has a 22. For example, I have eight 22’s of one type or another. I’ve just bought them from individuals for years and years. I’ve sold some, too. Then there’s the guys who buy the ammo everywhere and sell them on Gunbroker for a few dollars more. And there’s those who believe that all guns will be banned or ammo will be taxed 300% or some such for political reasons. It will be much harder to disarm Americans in order to eliminate any Conservative opposition if there’s a sniper behind every tree. Even if it’s a 22 lr. My favorite 22 is a Remington nylon 66 from about 1965 0r so. It was the world’s first plastic stock rifle and is really collectible today if in fine condition. Mine is in pretty nice condition, real compact, holds 14 rounds in a tubular mag, weighs less than 4 pounds and is easy to shoot with one hand. Goes bang accurately every time. If I were facing a bad guy at 30 yards or so I’m confident I could put ten rounds in his face in six seconds. Especially with those hot 1700 feet per second Aguila loads. Ouch that would take the fight out of you. I couldn’t do the same with any handgun.

      I would let my wife use that one. We’re not bugging out anywhere, I think that’s foolish. Leave all my prep stuff behind? I don’t think so. We’ll hunker down in Ron’s fortress. I really do expect to have to defend my property in coming years. There will be disasters, accidental or inevitable or contrived by the government. Molon Labe

  11. Richard from AZ, I am in FL, I have AK-74s, 101s, AMD-65 kits, but I leave the 7.62×39 to the SKS. The only CA approved semi-auto. Go to Hornady or Hodgdon ballistic calculator websites and run the comparison. 7.62×35 runs faster and harder. Plus Blackout bullets can range from the 110gr Barnes TTSX to the Remington 220gr subsonic.. Personally I use the PNW or Freedom munitions 208gr Hornady A-MAX for subsonic. But the normal 147gr FMJ range ammo has a muzzle over 2000 fps in a 10.5″ barrel. Run that against your Wolf AK ammo (0.311″ dia. V0 2396fps, energy 1.555 ft ftlbs, G1 BC ,274) and see what you get.

    1. Phantom30,

      Just to make sure we’re on the same page, we’re talking about the .300 BLK cartridge, correct?

      I went to Google Images and typed in 300 blackout vs 7.62×39. I found cartridge images and a ballistics chart image. 7.62×39 beats .300 BLK in both FPS and energy. Speed and power is governed by the size and volume of the shell. .300 BLK shells are quite small, therefore they cannot magically beat the 7.62×39. Yes I agree they seem to offer a wide array of bullet weights, and I’m sure fans of this caliber like that, but I’m not a fan. I have a thing for AK’s (they make sense to me), I sold my AR-15, and I own an AR-10 which I wish wasn’t so expensive to shoot.

    2. are the 300 blk out necked down 7.62×39 case’s?. For a truck rifle I carry a Rossi with 3 bbl.’s .22lr, 20g shot gun and a .243 they come in a bag about 24 inch’s long they are only single shot but for $265 for everything its a good buy.

  12. AR-15 with a collapsible stock or a Marlin lever action in .357. I’ve also been known to carry my Remington 788 carbine in 308.

  13. I agree with the Ruger LCR. The 357 model with 38+p Hp is easy for anyone to handle, and absolutely reliable.

    1. I carry an LCR and a Springfield XDM but isn’t the topic truck gun not personal carry???

  14. I have the model 24, probably from the 1930’s, the original one with the button selector on the right side and the barrels together. It’s in 410/22lr and that limits it to a youth gun, but a very good one. It’s short and handy but heavy. I would rather have a 22 mag-20 gauge for a trunk gun but still I would want more rounds available. I would opt for a Hi-Point 45 carbine instead or ideally an M1-carbine. I love that gun.

  15. I like the Savage Model 42. You get a 22nd and a .410. Pair that with a Ruger LCR chambered in .357 as well as .38 Special. That’s 4 calibers in two guns.

  16. Well nobody picked up on it but the AR-300 pistol, which you can make yourself, is basically a legal short barrel rifle. It has more range, accuracy and punch than a standard AK. The system also support the use of a Beta C-MAG or Surefire 100 as a reload magazines. With a short muffler (only adds 4” to the length) and a tax stamp you save your hearing while firing all those rounds. I have yet to find a situation where the bad guy allows you to stop and put on ear protection before you engage. You also have a wide range of optics, I use a Burris 3X both eyes open red dot scope with a small laser mounted on one of its side rails. You can’t do any of this with a bolt action M44, or a lever action or a shotgun. All this is beyond your personal carry, i.e. it is a truck gun. By the way 300 BLK is legal for deer and pig hunting, typically within 350 yards.

    1. Phantom30 I own 2 AK’s, including a Zastava AK pistol which fits in a backpack along with many mags, and makes a perfect trunk gun. If you’re talking about a 300 Blackout, I don’t think they have more “punch” than an AK, because the cartridge is shorter. If I was interested in better range and accuracy, I would stick with an AR-15.

  17. I prefer the AK for role of a “trunk” gun. I usually have my Draco pistol with SB47 brace and a few 20 and 30-round mags. With a 12-barrel, it makes a very compact 30-cal SBR-type gun. Or, I will have my Saiga 12 witb side-folding stock and a couple 5 and 10 round mags!

  18. I carry a glock 19 9mm also 2 spare magazines, (who knows how many bullets you are going to need) also i have a Just Right 9 mm carbine,it takes all glock magazines including the 50 and 100 round mags ,i also have a remington 870 12ga with bullpup conversion (love this conversion) takes it down to 32 inches

  19. The phrase “‘Trunk Guns” reminds me of an occurrence just north of San Antonio on I-10 25 years or so ago. A rancher heading into the city in his pickup had his ranch rifle in the rack behind his head, as they all did then, and many do today. He passed a Highway Patrol Officer on the ground beside his car with a bad guy pumping bullets into him as he lay there. The rancher stopped about 200 yards down the freeway, got out, laid his rifle across his fender and dropped the bad guy with one shot. He didn’t save the officer but he solved the taxpayers a ton of money. Just one example of the use of a “trunk gun” You never know.

  20. When traveling. I carry a 380 in my pocket, and a 357 revolver in a shoulder holster. This way I can have a weapon in hand at a moments notice.

  21. I have a Ruger mini 14 with a Hogue rubber over molded stock in
    camo. With 5 – 20 round magazines. I use green tip 5.56 military

  22. I have two, one in my car and another in my truck. The first is a Plainfield M-1 carbine with folding stock. The second is a Mossberg 500 with pistol grip in 20 gauge so my wife is comfortable with it. Both are carried in skateboard bags.

  23. I have several M1 carbines with two 30 round mags in the action and two 15 round mags in a stock pouch. That is 90 rounds by just picking up the weapon. It is reliable and reasonably accurate. Recoil is minimal and it has enough power for close range engagements.

  24. I would happily buy a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 in 9MM made for a Glock 17 magazine if I could ever find one for sale that has not had the price Jacked-Up on an Auction sight.

  25. I keep a Benelli Nova 12 gauge shotgun in a scabbard behind the drivers seat of my pickup. It has an extended magazine and is loaded with double ought buck shot shells. I also have a quick release shell holder nearby which holds 25 shells loaded with slugs. The shotgun is out of sight, but is easy to remove from the scabbard. At times a second scabbard holds either a Marlin 1894 in 44 mag caliber, or a Winchester 94 in 30 caliber. I’m building a holder that will hold an AR right ahead of the front seat cushions, which will place it under your legs while you are in the drivers seat. A holster for a 1911 has been mounted beside the steering wheel for a couple years, and it has worked well.

  26. I wouldn’t recommend the hi point carbine. My brother had one a few years back and just sitting in his closet for a year it rusted to the point that it wouldn’t chamber a round because the charging handle had completely seized. Seriously, it was a large gun-shaped block of rust. It was oiled, he just didn’t think a cheap $350 carbine needed that high of maintainence sitting untouched in a closet. This was one of their older carbines from like 6 years ago.

  27. mec-tech pistol conversion is another thought that I didn’t see on the board a 1911 frame in a carbine. if the pistol or the rifle goes to hell why not use spares from the other and they do have excellent accuracy of 100 yds + the hi-point I had was a P O S and gave it to some idiot who wanted it at the range.the heat warped the stock it had multiple fail to fie rnds and had NO accuracy what so ever. when choosing a gun that your or our family’s life may depend on why worry about cheap…….you life isn’t cheap do the work and find what will work for your situation and DON”T scrimp on your saftey

  28. You are selling the lever actions rifles short. The disability to reload quickly in bulk is offset by the ability to top off the magazine quickly. This can be managed without putting the rifle out of action anytime there is a lull in the shooting. With a little practice this becomes second nature. Although you will find yourself walking around with your pockets full of ammo at times.

  29. I have two options that I use and both fit into my RedRock duffel bag easily so no one knows I have either or both of them. One is a Winchester Model 12 takedown with a 21 inch barrel, fiber optic front sight, and a High Viz recoil pad. Hard to go wrong in a survival situation with a 12 gauge. The other is an AK-74 (those little 5.45×39 rounds) with a 16.25 inch barrel fitted with a Tapco folding stock.

  30. The KRISS in 45 ACP should not be left out of this discussion. It too has a stock that can be folded making the carbine quite short. In addition, the Glock 21 mags fit this mag. Finally 25+ rnd mags are readily available for the KRISS. So, with a Glock 21 on your hip and a folded KRISS in your bag, you would be well set for a car/truck combo.

  31. The Moisin-Nagants are fine weapons. I would point towards a M-38 which is a 91-30, but in shorter carbine format. Much handier than the 91-30 which is a pike’s length.

    Another option is to take the M-38 MN and set it up as a scout rifle. Cheap, but still very accurate with scout scope. I put a Timney trigger in mine and it fires at 2 lb trigger pull, not the 5+ lb of the military trigger.

  32. The gun needs to fit the trip. I used to keep a Keltec Su16 in the back of my Jeep or SUV. But then I re evaluated the dangers in my area and realized I needed a bullet that wouldn’t shoot through my neighbors homes. Did a little experimenting and settled on a Marlin 94 in .44 Cal. Main problem is Coyote’s and the occasional Black Bear. Still love my Keltec and may take both sometimes. When it comes to bugging out in an emergency my children and I are unanimous. For ease of use, reliability and durability we all go for the Mini 14 and Mini 30.

  33. I have been carrying a Kel-Tec for several years. Excellent pick-up truck rifle. No matter about cleaning it has always functioned properly.

  34. I keep a Mosin-Nagant M44 behind the seat of my truck. Simple gun, solid, easy to maintain, and cheap to shoot. Makes a mess out or coyotes with the ammo i load for it. If needed in a defense situation, it has more than enough power for any conflict I might need it for, tho only holding 5 rounds in the mag I have learned how to use the stripper clips very efficiently over the 20 years I have used these rifles.

    1. The M44 makes an excellent car gun. Having the pig sticker on the end is great for dealing with dead/wounded animals.

      Another great choice is one of the several iterations of the Enfield SMLE. I prefer these, due to the detachable box magazine and the ability to unscrew the butt stock. I learned that the stock screw is a standard 7/16″ thread and it is a simple matter to adapt an “ATI Universal Six Position StrikeForce Tactical Shotgun Stock Black Synthetic TSG-0200” to fit on the rifle, or any other stock that will fit a Mossberg 500, using a little 2 part, moldable epoxy. Add a scout scope over the barrel and you are all set.

  35. Mossberg ;20 gauge autoloader. 8+1. The slug is equal to .54 caliber, which is as big or bigger than the pioneers used for deer, bear and buffalo out of black powder rifles. The 8 shots are very handy, without a ton of kick. It’s a great gun!!!!

    1. You found a .20 GA autoloader with 8+1 capacity! That’s great! I looked at the Mossberg SA-20 series, Remington 11-87 and 1100 models, but never saw a storage capacity better than 5+1in .20 gauge. I keep a Mossberg 930 SPX auto .12 GA in the house, but I don’t use it as a truck gun. Since my EDC is a S&W Governor, I bought a Rossi Circuit Judge for the vehicle to have some ammo compatibility. I also keep a Ruger 10/22 Takedown in my SUV.

  36. My best truck gun solution, in my opinion, is a 10.5″ Stoner 5R SS barrel AR-300 pistol. The pistol buffer tube makes for an adequate stock. The 300 Blackout (BLK) ammo is robust and the 22″ overall length is convenient to store. The platform produces full range carbine performance. Those PMAGs with the dust covers work well with 300 BLK. There is a large list of ammunition manufacturers who make a wide variety of good ammo loads available through CTD. You get better than AK punch in an American made weapon. In fact you can easily make one yourself with an 80% lower, which yields a whole other set of benefits for a truck gun.

  37. The Keltec looks like it’ll really fit the bill, slim and looks nice to handle. Never thought I’d needed to put a gun in my car until my wife got held up a few years ago. Now we never leave without one.

  38. I tried the sub 2000 but the hang made it too fragile (broke 2) But I liked the idea, I also like my AR platform, so I built a 7 inch AR pistol witha sig cuff.
    That’s all I need for a trunk piece.

  39. I’ve been experimenting with duty/defense/hunting weapons over the last decade and have narrowed it down to 2 absolute must haves for anyone serious about their firearms and they won’t break the bank. I work rural patrol and have been through the .357magnums, 9mm, 40s&w, 45acp, 357sig and finally settled in comfortably with the 10mm. It kicks too much and the ammunition is too expensive…. I’ve heard it all a hundred times and it only takes 2 shots on the range to change their opinion of it. I chose the 3rd Generation G20 (our department gets them for $450) and I put a $120 Lone Wolf match barrel and $20 stainless guide rod in mine (also added a Pyramid comp trigger but that’s solely for the range not for making it 99.9% indestructible). For under $600 you have a 15+1 (unless you add the Pearce Grips +2’s to your mags, which work fantastic btw) of magnum firepower that’s accurate out to 100yds (sub 8″ groups on sights). The ammunition runs about $30 a box of 50 (I use HPR 180gr TMJs or XTP Hollowpoints with excellent results). I’ve dropped big bucks and some pretty heavy hogs with a single shot from ranges of 30m to 85m. With more than 12k rounds through it in the last 4 years, it’s earned my total confidence for duty, defense and hunting.
    Then there’s my intermediate, the Kel-Tec PLR-16 in .223rem. It takes standard AR mags (5,10,20,30,60 and 100rd) and is as accurate as any AR carbine out to 250yds (that’s the furthest I’ve tested it but sure it would perform well out to 400yds as well). The ONLY drawback is the volume it produces as it’s much louder than a carbine and sounds almost like my .270win, but with a 9.5″ barrel and an overall length of 18″ it’s hands down the easiest rifle caliber weapon to corner, conceal and shoot with. The recoil is next to zero making one-handed firing an absolute breeze. I added an aluminum handguard, tac light, sling, angled foregrip and a 4x lit reticle scope with a red laser pointer (set at 60yds for firing around or over barricades without exposing your vitals). I have 4 mags loaded with Winchester Silvertips for home defense and 4 mags loaded with 62gr SS109 penetrators for “everything else”. We put 1420 rds through it in one afternoon with only one issue (the volume). Again, it fit all my needs for duty, defense and hunting. Both weapons have handled rain, cold, dirt, mud and cheap ammo like it was nobody’s business. As long as you’re not planning on going up against a Kodiak or anything over a level IIIA vest, you’re set with this combo as they’re rough, rugged and reliable.

  40. Another option, which I have purchased, is a side-by-side 12 gauge “coach gun” (short barreled) shotgun, with a set of gauge adapters, that allow you to fire a variety of shotgun, rifle, and pistol ammunition in a very compact setup. The coach gun breaks down easily, and can be stored in a very small backpack. The Stoeger model I chose has a weaver rail for a light or laser mount under the barrels.

  41. Sub2000, 9mm. Before I leave the house I fold it up and place it in a backpack with extra mags and jump in the truck. When I arrive I put my backpack on and also carry my glock 17 concealed. The mags are interchangeable between the glock and sub2000. I am ready to protect myself by a active shooter. JD-Arizona

  42. Very good article.I have most of the ones listed. The keltec fits nicely in a day pack, which makes it discrete for moving in and out of a vehicle. Nessisary in an urban environment that borders states that are not so gun friendly.

    Most states do not allow a loaded rifle or shotgun. I think in todays climate the old lever action is a solid choice. ( bad guys don’t use them)

  43. Think a bit!
    Does your auto even have a trunk and what where and how much room is available if it does.
    A trunk weapon is one to put, remembrr it is there, and not a pain in the ass or need to be removed to go grocery shopping.
    In many a SUV the spare tire is under rear panel snd a bear to get at along with fact it fills the well along with jack and tire wrench; maybe can fit pistol in glove with mags and box ammo.
    Many SUV’s have a panel in back that hides jackand wrench and pg thode I looked at you can easily fit a shorty shotgun, even an non decked out AR and mags, many a shory carbine and ammo lights etc.
    If not a war wagon but hatchback ya gotta get creative, as on Ford exloders and larger you can carry breakdows under rear folding seats.
    Size of wrapon is up to individual.
    A whole paddel of weapons can be bought cheap that you csn put but not forget.
    A single or even a double shotgun can be broke down and bagged for carry along the width of rear seat in vehicle with trunk30/30 shorty lots.

  44. I carry a Mosberg 500 12ga. Flex in scabbard with both barrels, backup my mini 14 and on the hip browing s&w 40 , 90 days of food/water. If I can’t bug out in vehicle, I’ll use my game hauler,big wheels and can be pulled anywhere. Of course the miss’s she packs .22 and her 45, safe to go.

  45. When that stuff hits the fan, you better have more than a trunk gun. As you disable the federal agents that come up against you (or the juvenile gang-bangers), take their weapons, explosives, grenades, everything.

    If you want to know more about the coming chaos, google the Cambodian Killing Fields, Hitler’s gas chambers and ovens (more than 20 million dead and not all were Jews), Stalin’s 20 million dead, Idi Amin’s travesty, Sgt. Taylor’s debacle in Liberia, those killed in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, etc. There are plenty of historical lessons to learn from.

  46. Something to think about is the Rossi 3 in 1 youth model it comes with its own case less than 24 inch’s long has 3 bbl.’s .22 lr, 20 g shoot gun and a .243 rifle bbl. for under $300. It is only a single shoot but for taking game it is a great set up.

  47. My choice was a High Point in 40 S&W. I’m not bothered by the ten round mag, but if I really thought the SHTF was imminent I’d add my mini 14 to the mix.


    1. Yes, Merle I really like the Mini 14 with about 10 of the 30 round mags. Also consider the AK – MK 90 and the factory sporterized SKS which uses the AK magazines.

  48. It was an interesting read- – – trunk guns and the aspect of same calibers for pistol and rifle. That concept goes way–way back to our western heritage. It was common for the individual on horseback to have the same calibre for both. Made so much more sense.
    Until the last 20 years, I always carried a 30*30 located in my pickup. Same reason as many, varmints and the occasional dirtbag. However, with the current thought process of individuals who know nothing about weapons and why we carry them aside from their thinking that all who carry weapons are terrorists. Discretion is called for. Yup – – the 30*30 is still in the truck but I also carry a Sig .45. Years of being a police officer, especially out in the boonies, sort of dictates what I carry. Have a great day- – –

  49. My current trunk gun is a Mossberg 500 with a pistol grip and a BSA Red Dot. I plan on adding a foregrip, better optic and side saddle to it.
    I’d also like to back it up with a Sig 556P or Bushmaster’s version of the AR-15 pistol.

  50. I recently did some thinking on this and found that the Kel-Tec SU16 in .223, SKS/AK, or a solid pump 12g shotgun make the most sense. In second place would be those nifty trapper length lever guns. I second the recommendation for bags (CTD has nice Aloksak bags) and desiccant. Just don’t think you’re going to charge in and save the day with one, running around with a long gun with the cops on the way is a bad deal.

  51. I would utilize a Winchester 94AE Trapper in 30-30 winchester. I have a couple of these one for hunting wild hogs and one that is set up as an urban/ house rifle. You can get a synthetic stock. With the addition of a Williams style peep sight (with the peep insert removed) and either a high vis or brass front sight. You really do have a very nice self defense/ Practical rifle!
    I also like the Beretta Storm in .45 ACP for a personal protection rifle, almost all synthetic light weight and easy to utilize in an emergency!

  52. A trunk or behind the seat of a truck is often a less than ideal environment for storing a fire arm. Make sure you consider how you store your firearm; it is an important thing to consider. You may want to seal it in a plastic air and waterproof case along with some desiccant.

  53. I go back and forth between my SKS and my 870. Both are modified to suite me… SKS has a Tapco T6 stock and uses their removable 20 round magazines, also has a fixed 4x scope on a really nice Choates scope mount (only mount I would recommend for a SKS). I would leave the scope off for a strict trunk gun, but I hunt with mine as well. My 870 has a Blackhawk collapsible recoil-reduction stock, barrel shortened to 20 inches, Choates extended magazine tube, and a side-saddle that holds six shells. Since I can’t keep it loaded when I’m driving, the side-saddle gives me a good place to keep six slugs for easy access, and when it is at home with me I keep eight #4 buckshots in the gun. It does double duty for home defense and truck gun, while the SKS doubles for hunting and truck gun. Really depends on where I am traveling to as to which gets put in bag to go in the truck.

  54. the only other thing that i am goiong to do to it is have the guys at “” weatherproof it..

  55. i got it dirt cheap and then just tinkered…. but yeah… hard to find and should have been pretty expencive

  56. The M17 is an interesting choice for an intermediate rifle. Short overall length, long barrel, somewhat AR compatible… I kinda like it. Not something that’s easy to find, and it’s a bit towards the top end of what I’d consider a good price for a trunk gun, but yeah… I could see it working well.

  57. While obviously the factory configuration of the bushmaster M17S is somewhat less than desireable for…. well…. anything other than looking pretty darned cool, I’ve made some modifications to the one that I purchased (for practically nothing) from a friend that removed every single complaint that I had about it to begin with.

    I mean the overall legnth is shorter than pretty much any regular AR but since it is a true bullpup design you sacrifice NO barrel length (I believe its a 21.5″ barrel or there abouts). Its short enough to be maneuverable yet heavy enough that it is no challenge at all to keep on target while pulling the trigger pretty mush as fast as you can/ want/ need. I am considering this for my trunk gun =)

    1. Styer AUG
      Now made in the US
      Barrel pulls out, making it small enough to fit in a normal backpack, takes two seconds to insert it and chamber a round.
      Older model 12’s make great riot guns for cramped cars, the take-down model. Assemblies in seconds, and is a full size that takes five rounds, plus you can pump and hold the trigger down!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.