Kirsten-Joy-Weiss-at-Best-of-the-West-courtesy-The-Truth-About-Guns

Now that I’m living in Texas, I’ve been giving serious consideration to stashing a “trunk gun” in the CLS. A lot of gun folk recommend a pistol-caliber carbine for the job. According to Captain John Raguso’s review the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 is the best thing since God fashioned a female from Adam’s rib. But I carry a pistol (or two) for a primary and I’m so into shotguns. When I shoulder Big Ben all my troubles seem so far away—even when they’re up close and personal. But really, I need something I can walk to town/shelter with. I guess. I dunno. Your thoughts?

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136 Responses to Question of the Day: Got Trunk Gun?

  1. trunk gun? no, I absolutely refuse to leave guns in my vehicle.

    even your fancy-pants MB is not secure enough to leave a gun, unless you are storing it in a locked and bolted-down box, and then what’s even the point of leaving it in the car?

    FWIW though, if we’re not talking about pistols, the closest thing I have to a real trunk gun is my Yugo M92. just crossing my fingers and waiting for the day when I can SBR it here in WA state, at which point it will easily fit folded up with four mags into a laptop bag or small satchel.

  2. Depends on why you want a trunk gun. I’m a shotgun fan for a number of reasons. My thoughts on a trunk gun would be to increase your chance of surviving a major event like an earthquake or the aftermath of some other truly large scale disaster.

    With a shotgun you can protect yourself, and gather small and large game if needed to feed yourself.

    If somehow you found yourself in the middle of a large scale civil unrest moment I can think of few things that would bring me more comfort than a shotgun.

    • +1

      And further, decent pump shotguns of the Mossburg/Remington variety can be obtained pretty cheaply and are very reliable. A gun left in the trunk is going to be somewhat abused both from jarring and temperature extremes.

    • @ jwm
      Unless you’re a Korean store owner in South Central LA trying to protect yourself and your livelihood during the Rodney King riots.

      Circumstances may differ, but I absolutely agree; depends on what kind of encounter you expect to be defending against.

      In most self defense situations a shotgun with a full length magazine (as shown) would doubtless be most practical for deterrence and impact should it be necessary for added firepower and there is time to break it out.

      For standoff defense, a carbine or rifle.

      • Roscoe. I don’t see the trunk gun as being a self defense tool. By the time you get it out and ready your need is over or you could have used the time to escape. I see it as a survival tool in the event of a major event that leaves you stranded without organised assistence from big brother.

        In spite of it’s limited round count and heavy ammo a shotgun is the most versatile tool in that scenario. I’ve very recently walked along an isolated country road here in CA and on that walk spotted quail, deer, dove,squirrel and rabbit. I wasn’t even trying.

        Birdshot and slugs would have kept me fed and throw in a few buckshot loads and you’re prepared for just about anything.

        I’m not going to be in a firefight every day. But I need to feed myself every day.

        • In that scenario- hunting for food, I agree. There was a show on NatGeo a couple years ago, forget the name- group of people had to hike from place to place in late fall, using what they found and hunted along the way, and what saved them was the 410/22 that noobs could shoot well enough to get grouse and porkypine.

  3. Don’t get too wrapped up in it. That’s just a quirky, over priced taxi.

    Getting back on topic, an AR. That’s my go to answer for most things…

    • I agree. After going many years without one I purchased an AR last year (wife actually suggested it a few weeks after Sandy Hook), and I’m in love with the gun (wife too, I guess).

      Now, I don’t keep a gun in the trunk but if I did it would only be for purposes of a total SHTF event. I can’t see me breaking down in any area where walking to town with a long gun is an improvement over walking to town with a concealed Glock 19.

  4. Ruger Gunsite Scout or a wood-stocked M1A Scout Squad. Wooden-stocked guns scare people less and have a more acceptable image. If you truly want to walk into town with it from a vehicle breakdown then that is the way to go. I would have thought ARs are fine but after the Temple PD incident I am concerned…

    • I’m thinking my new Lee-Enfield Jungle Carbine. It’s still probably still not legal for me to have it in NYC, but it’s not a scary semi-auto and it’s no problem in the rest of NY state, in case I happen to cross the state line. Sure it’s a bolt action but it’s bretheren have probably taken more lives than all the ARs ever created. Must remember to put in ear pro too.

      The Sub-2000 was suppoed to fulfill this role, but now it’s a very scary assault rifle of instant death.

      • Would Lee Enfield be legal in New York. It has one of those modern High capacity1o round Magazines?
        303 British has probably taken more game and evil men than any other round in history.

  5. I distrust humidity too much to leave anything in my trunk for an extended period. If’n I lived in a dry climate, I would seriously consider keeping my Maverick 88 in the trunk.

    • Yeah, I was a fan of the ‘Trunk Gun’ up until I went to go shooting and found out everything had rust spots on it.

    • I had this same problem as I trunked a Smith 686+ for a half a year (not wise but it was my second gun and I was unlearned). After finding the hammer and trigger an unhappy color I bought a Mossberg 590 Mariner. It’s been a few years now and no corrosion. As advertised. It’s silver and showy but basic plastic stock with a limb saver pad for like $15.

  6. New Micro Ak from century with Stabilizing Brace…Although the idea of leaving a gun in a car isn’t too appealing.

    • How exactly do you put the “stabilizing brace” on it (I assume you mean the one that SIG makes for ARs)? Given that it doesn’t have a buffer tube…

      • They make those braces for AK pistols too now, and one For HK style guns is coming soon. As for how the AK pistol brace attaches, my understanding is that the brace itself has a little metal tang that you secure by sandwiching it between the bottom of the receiver and the pistol grip.

    • Used to be my carbine of choice. The disadvantage is that in my state you can’t have a loaded rifle in a vehicle (even if you have a CCW), so the Marlin .30-.30 was replaced by an AR that I build pre-Sandy Hook for under $500.

  7. Take a look at the Kel-Tec 16C [I know, hard to find – got mine from Gunbroker]. The “16 Charlie” is a 5.56mm gas piston carbine, 16″ threaded bbl [1 in 9″ twist], takes AR mags, folds with mag in place, can be fired from the folded position, has a short Picatinny rail, pretty good backup iron sights, and seems to be pretty accurate [69 gr Fiocchi – 10 shots in 1″ at 50 yds] with a 1.5 – 4x Leupold scope [MarkAR Mod1 Green FireDot]. Total length folded [with a flash hider installed], 27″ – it fits in a Wilson tennis racket bag with a 20-rnd magazine installed. The down side is the disassembly for detailed cleaning seems to be a bit complex. As in, RTFM twice before starting.

    As an added benefit, they run around $650-700 when you find one. Not cheap, but not in the tricked-out AR price range. And they do fold up into a fairly compact package – hey, what’s more innocent than a tennis racquet?

    • The 16C — great gun! The new ones have chrome-lined barrels and chambers and AR-style post sights instead of the plastic fluorescent ones. It’s ugly as sin with the stock collapsed, but you can fire it that way like an AK underfolder. Surprisingly accurate unless you’re shooting nonstop through multiple mags.

      Got mine in 2010 for $465. Sadly I sold it — another casualty of the gun owner roulette.

    • I’m looking for a SU-16C for this very purpose. My new career will have me on the road quite a bit, and if the worst happens, I want something heavier than a 9mm.

      Funny enough, my best friend decided on the same gun, for the same purpose, without us discussing it at all.

      • As another option for carrying this neat little toy, take a look at WalMart’s $30 “sports bag” – it is a rolling red/black gym bag with a separate zippered/locking lower compartment to stash your sweaty gym clothes. Interestingly enough, the 16C in it’s tennis racquet bag fits into this lower compartment. I added some rigid Styrofoam and some soft foam padding around the steel brace tubes, with space for a few extra loaded mags in there. This is very handy for bringing your rifle into a motel room without anyone having any idea of what is in there, so you don’t have to leave it in your car overnight.

  8. H&R single shot 12 Gauge. Cut to 18.5 inches. Equipped with Choate Survivor stock and foregrip. Bandoleer of Various loads, including a sling with various rounds, and a mag dump bag to carry extra rounds as well. Can be housed in a tennis racket bag for discretion. Costs a little more than $100 so if car/truck is in fact broken into and by chance they take your tennis racket, your not out a whole hell of a lot.

  9. Excepting specific needs like farm work and ranch related stuff, I don’t see the practical point behind a vehicle equipped long arm.

    We carry pistols, because at any time we may need to fight for our lives,and carrying a 12 gauge under your coat is bad for your back.What sort of emergency will let the armed citizen unlock a case/trunk , load a long arm, and address the problem? Few felons will be so honorable as to cease shooting at you while you fumble with your car remote to pop the trunk.

    If someone takes a shot at you from 50 yds plus with a long arm and they’re a decent shot, your first warning will be a painful hole materializing on your person.If they’re not, phone the Sheriff to bring his MRAP and take cover.

    Speaking of police, it’s more likely well be pulled over for some minor traffic problem or, worse, be mistaken for fleeing criminals .In the event your car matches the description of ,say, fleeing cop killers two miles away, I would NOT want to be the guy with a loaded long arm in his trunk while several scared and armed cops illegally search his car with their fingers on the trigger and all.Sure , you won’t be charged in the end, but you have to be alive to beat the rap.

    Lets us assume the police aren’t a problem in your area.The combination of high G forces from a car accident combined with a loaded rifle= ND risk.Then there is the concern for what to do with the gun if your car unexpectedly breaks down. Do you call a cab holding the case of a $1500 rifle in your hand?Is it even legal in your state to transport a weapon like that (for your NJ,NY,and Illinois TTAGer’s).If some lowlife breaks into your car , he’ll get your Daniel Defense M4 as a bonus prize.May God ,Jesus, Buddha, and Moses help you if it gets used in a crime after that.

    It’s a lot of risk, for very dubious reward. Especially when we can cite cases of proficient pistol shooters neutralizing threats at 50+ yards with their handheld duty guns.

    • This is pretty much where I’m at. A long gun in the trunk (or behind the seats) is likely to cause more trouble than it’s worth.

      If you have to get out of your broken-down car and walk down the road a ways to find help, at best it’s useless weight — and at worst, it brings negative attention. The 9mm CCW will do just fine in an emergency without attracting unwanted attention. Plus which, I don’t have the luxury of owning any guns I’d want to treat that badly.

      On the other hand, if you’re frequently driving through empty country and want to take shots at varmints on the spur of the moment, a trunk/truck gun could be handy. Especially for farmers/ranchers when they’re way out in the north forty.

      Other than that very limited range of circumstances, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to routinely haul around a long arm in their car. More trouble than it’s worth, for you and the unfortunate firearm.

      • “On the other hand, if you’re frequently driving through empty country and want to take shots at varmints on the spur of the moment, a trunk/truck gun could be handy. Especially for farmers/ranchers when they’re way out in the north forty.”

        That’s why there’s usually a rifle or two in the back window of almost all pickups on the prairie.

    • You hit pretty much the same reasons I don’t have a trunk gun, but before I reached that conclusion, I was thinking really hard about an AR pistol in 300 blk. Then I built it anyway, for a house gun. Sig brace arrives on Wednesday.

      I can’t think of a better gun for close quarters. Shorter than a rifle, more powerful than a pistol caliber carbine, cheap standard mags, and way less velocity loss than a .223 version.

    • I agree with all of your points, except for the ND risk. There isn’t one. A rifle will not go off all by itself from the G forces of being in a car, even if you were dumb enough to leave it chamber loaded, safety off.

      Even a free floating firing pin like an SKS won’t get enough force from high speed turns or slamming on the brakes to set it off.

    • It doesn’t have to be loaded, you know? In fact, a loaded rifle in the trunk is outright illegal in many states. But there’s nothing precluding you from keeping a loaded magazine right next to it, where it can be inserted in matter of seconds.

      If it’s an AR or similar, then Mako makes a very nice thingy that goes into the mag well and holds a magazine right next to it. So you keep the rifle with the bolt locked back, and to activate, pull the holder out, shift it right and pull the mag in, then release the bold hold.

  10. Valid points made by other posters regarding humidity and temperature shifts. I would say a Pawn shop special Remingtion 870 or a Mossberg 500. The finish doesn’t have to be that great so you don’t have to worry about looks. Ugly but shoots is what a trunk gun should be. I have a tractor shotgun, its a H&R Pardner single shot. It rides in a makeshift fender holster. For 110 bucks new, not too shabby.

  11. I keep a cheap 38 snubbie in a holster i affixed inside the center console along with 2 speedloaders. I’m too leery to leave anything of real value beyond that in my truck.

  12. I like the idea of a truck gun but you have to ask, what purpose would it serve? If you’re a prepper, versatility is good. If you are tactically minded, a tactical firearm would be the preferred course of action. With that rationale in mind, I would go for a Remington 870 which is about as versatile as it gets or an AR/AK depending on preference. I remain unconvinced that a pistol caliber carbine brings enough greater capability to the fight to make it a serious course of action. Sure you can have something that shoots 9mm with optics, lights and freakin lazers, but why not go for a 5.56?

    • Logistics. If your carry gun and trunk gun utilize the same ammo and magazines, you’re less screwed if either gun fails.

      • Yeah, the logistics argument is a common one. I am not convinced that being able to interchange ammunition between a pistol and a long gun is so advantageous that I am going to go and buy a pistol caliber carbine. Further, that argument has left every military and police force on earth unconvinced as the military has not gone to a common caliber.

        Yes, I am interested in PCCs. I wouldn’t rule out buying one. If I were in a real situation where I would need a long gun, the same situation would require a rifle caliber. Probably my choice would be an AR. You can knock a lot of stuff down with one, ammo is plentiful (compared to others) and there will always be parts commonality with armed citizens, LEOs.

  13. Mosin M44, you could have the gun and 440 rounds of ammo get stolen and only be out $300! Plus has an attached folding bayonet for the zombies.

  14. Here in the Great White North, a truck gun (or two) is pretty standard. Personally, I keep an old beater Winchester ’94 lever gun in the back seat, a .357 revolver in the console, and whatever I happen to be carrying (generally either a M&P45c or Glock 20).

    That being said, it’s interesting to me that lots of the commenters are trying to brainstorm these scenarios in which they must defend their lives. I mean maybe things are different up here but they serve plenty of practical purpose…

    For example, if you hit a moose or bear on the road, and injure it, common courtesy dictates you kill the poor bastard, move it to the side of the road, and call the Troopers so they can notify a charity. With a one ton animal, you don’t want to do that with an LCP, you want something bigger. Or if you’re going to go hiking where you know there are bears. Or if you just happen to see a coyote on the side of the road you want to shoot and throw in the bed.

    Lots of purposes.

  15. The good ol’ lever action 30/30, that’s my vote.

    Light weight, thin, potent round, reliable, not overly expensive (brands vary), and you can use a cable lock through the closed loop of the lever action to secure it to something sturdy in the vehicle.

    If you’re already concealed carrying when you’re out and about, like you should be. This gives you the option of a rifle, to accompany you’re pistol.

    Not a fan of pistol caliber carbines, we should be figuring how to put rifle rounds in semi auto pistols, not pistol rounsd in semi auto rifles.

  16. All I have to add to this discussion is to note how jealous I am over the phrase “Now that I live in Texas”. Dang, that must be nice and feel great to say.

      • No, I mean it like “I live so far behind enemy lines that saying now that I live in Texas must sound so f*ckin good it hurts.” Compared to NY, Texas sure seems like paradise to me.

      • More like, “Now that I live in Texas, and can afford to get a CHL since there’s good-paying jobs, no income tax, and a lower cost of living”..

        (Speaking of cash, turns out I maxed out my social security cap last month, so I should have about $700 extra “bonus” to spend on a new toy.. Maybe a Canik CZ-97b clone?)

        • If CFL costs so much that one has to talk about “affording” it, then it’s way too expensive to begin with.

  17. You have a pistol is for self defense. If you have the time and ability to make it to your car, you should be getting the hell out of there.

  18. I have a Sub2K and I love it. It’s very concealment friendly fitting easily in a laptop bag or a backpack. If you’re in the habit of keeping some form of emergency bag in the trunk it’s a perfect companion. It helps solve the varying temperature/humidity problem others have brought up in that (depending where you’re going), you can bring it with you discreetly. You’ll also be more likely to take it in at night and store it properly if it’s in a backpack/laptop bag.

    For one range trip I put my Sub2K, a Henry survival rifle, 2 full sized Glocks w/5 mags, Ruger SR22 w/3 mags, 200 rounds of .40 and a brick of .22 in a Targus laptop backpack, my Glock 27 in an IWB holster, and my Bodyguard .380 in a pocket holster. No one would have known or even suspected I had any firearms, never mind a rifle.

    The only downside is actually finding one for sale at a reasonable price.

    • I have to second the Sub-2000. I also use it for a trunk gun, and here’s why.

      It folds like nothing else on the market. Photos are one thing, but realize that it folds literally from the breech to the end of the barrel… so the folded gun is exactly as long as the barrel, i.e. 16 inches (by 8 or so height-wise). These proportions make it possible to stick it into something really inconspicuous, such as a laptop bag – which is a valuable trait if you don’t want to draw undesired attention (say, if a cop were to glance into your trunk – depending on where you live, a perfectly legal rifle might still be considered as a ‘reasonable cause’ for giving you more attention and wasting your time).

      And sure, you can do something similar with AR by splitting it into upper and lower. But, first, those are still going to be shorter, because they overlap vertically, and so an upper is still way longer than just the barrel. But furthermore, assembling the AR requires aligning the holes and pushing the pins in, while with Sub2K you literally just flip it close, and the lock engages automatically.

      Another aspect is that it is super-light for a long gun: 4 lbs unloaded! It’s probably not so important in a trunk gun, but if you ever need to actually take it for a walk, you’ll appreciate it. It’s also trivial to mod it for a single-point sling attachment (many AR attachment plates fit onto the tube), and because it’s so light, it’s actually pretty convenient to carry it like that.

      I like the simplicity, as well. It’s a straight blowback design, so moving parts and fancy automatics are at the minimum: there’s the heavy-ass bolt, and there’s the recoil spring, and that’s that. It’s also very convenient to clean when folded, because you basically just have two tubes with clear access to both ends: the barrel, and the stock tube/receiver. Just push patches through both till clear (patches for 10 ga shotguns work great on the receiver). Bolt just wipes clean.

      In terms of ammo choice, I would, somewhat counter-intuitively, recommend looking at lighter bullets – specifically, for 9mm, it would be 90 grain Cor-Bon and Grizzly JHP loads. The reason is that this ammo seems to get more of a velocity gain from a carbine length barrel – you’re looking at 1750 FPS with Cor-Bon, and 1850 FPS with Grizzly out of 16″! This provides for some very impressive kinetic energy at the muzzle, with correspondingly good expansion, but no less important, it makes for a flatter shooting cartridge, to the point where you can aim point blank out to 150 yards or so if you zero at 25.

      (As a side note, it would be really nice if someone made a dedicated carbine load in 9mm, with slower burning powder etc to maximize the effect of the longer barrel. I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement there.)

  19. Sub-guns do no not address the issue of over penetration any better than pistols do if that was why you were going with a shotgun. A sub-gun over a pistol just offers greater accuracy at the cost of lesser maneuverability – if those are your concerns. It is hard to match the firepower of a shotgun if that is what you want. If you want, firepower, accuracy and greater maneuverability, it sounds like you might want to look into a bullpup rifle [as much as I dislike them] they do offer those things at the price of aesthetics [personal], poor triggers [usually], and having to learn a whole different animal of a weapon system.

  20. What ever your choice of firearm paint it Pink, no one steals a pink ghat
    PS tell your photog to pay more attention to the background; that range looks like a landfill

    • Looks like Best of the West shooting range. They dig out three sided “bays”. You back your truck up and shoot what/how you want all to yourself or group of buddies. Actually a nice place with many more options than your average range.

  21. A shotgun or AR/AK would fit the bill pretty easily. If you prefer something else, I think I’d go with an M1 carbine or a lever gun in 30/30 or .44 mag before I’d go with a pistol caliber carbine.

  22. I usually have a PTR-91 in my trunk with 9 magazines in a go bag. My trunk cannot be accessed from the inside of the vehicle so breaking windows and pulling levers or attempting to pull the rear seats forward won’t work as everything is locked.

  23. Bad idea in general id say, but if you had to, go with a KSG with slugs, bird, and/or buck.
    Polymer fares a bit better in rust inducing weather, and its small. Shells are cheap as hell right now. Slugs for armor, even if it doesn’t break, it’ll knock them on their ass. Buck for game and soft targets, bird if you get stuck in the woods and don’t have deer near you. Cook a squirrel right its mighty tasty.

  24. ” … I need something I can walk to town/shelter with. …”

    This establishes the parameters for the use case. Robert finds himself in a scenario where he must abandon his car and walk some distance to safety or a close approximation thereof.

    The equipment choice with the best combination of weight/conceal-ability/performance is arguably a 9mm pistol. It may even be the very gun that someone would carry daily, adding a component of immediacy to the mix. All that would be needed is a few more magazines or a “happy stick” to engage bigger problems.

    If that’s not enough, and money is not an issue, then the addition of an FN PS90 PDW is the way to go. It’s lightweight, concealable and very capable. Having 50 rounds on-board is a bonus.

    For those of us on less 1%-er budgets, An AR15 pistol ups the ante without much fuss.

    A shotgun has advantages, but the greater weight, low round count, and lack of conceal-ability take it out of the running for a long walk.

  25. I’ve considered rigging up some kind of lockable, concealed hideaway in the trunk of my car to hold a rifle, but then I’d need a rifle for it…

    The other option would be my Ithaca 12 gauge DSPS. But in either case, my car is on its last legs so any modifications would be wasted effort. When I upgrade to my next used vehicle I’ll revisit the question.

    • I’ve been trying to figure out a way to somehow disguise a gun safe in my suv without paying custom truck safe prices. Something like a heavy duty trunk could work but if I bolt it down behind the 2nd row I lose a ton of cargo room not just from the trunk but from the stow flat seats not being reachable. Maybe a false floor, I dunno.

  26. I’m considering an extra Ruger 10/22 takedown with a small SHTF kit and about 500 rounds. An AR or 12 gauge would also be excellent. I’m not a fan of the Kel Tecs since the prices on ARs has dropped considerably. I’ve currently got a 12 gauge Benelli Super Sport in mine, but that’s because I have to reorganize to fit everything back in my safes.

    And I’m more than a little jealous that you got KJW to pose in front of your ride. That’s some big pimpin’ spendin’ G’s right there.

  27. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see what good a trunk gun is going to do for you.
    Me: Just hang on a second while I go open my trunk.
    Carjacker: BAM

    It looks just as effective as calling 911…

  28. I currently keep an extra concealable handgun in a lockbox in each vehicle. No, they don’t have the punch or intimidation of a shotgun but I figure keeping a low profile will get me farther in most situations than raw firepower. I do include a holster and extra ammo with the gun.

    That said, if my world was looking a bit spookier I’ve got a 20″ Mossberg 12ga that could easily be shifted to a trunk for a time increase available firepower. Since I’ve got other long gun options at home that one would make the most sense to me.

  29. How long are some of you guys expecting to be stuck in the wilderness, that you’ll be hunting squirrels and shit? Jeez, skip the rifle and keep a couple granola bars in your trunk…

    If you lived somewhere really remote, I could see the value of keeping a shotgun or rifle in your vehicle, but someone who lives a mostly urban/suburban lifestyle who does so is way more likely to end up filing a stolen gun report than using it for self-defense.

  30. If I was going to have a stowaway gun, it would be a 12 gauge pump because of its power and versatility. But just locking the gun in the trunk is out of the question. The security is inadequate. A teenager with a pry bar can pop a trunk in a Jerry Miculek minute.

    Then again, if the gun is properly secured, it’s slow to get to, which kinda defeats the purpose of a stowaway gun.

    • I don’t think of a trunk gun as a “need it RFN” thing. That’s what I’m carrying on my person for. As such, I see nothing wrong with a trunk gun being well secured.

      As someone who is rarely more than five miles from the nearest McDonald’s, I don’t find a trunk gun necessary in my life.

    • A Miculek minute is like 300 shots of .50BMG. I saw somewhere a guy bolted a shotgun to the bottom of his trunk lid. May have used The Club or similar lock type thing.

  31. First off, I would not trust my life to a Kel-Tec carbine. Nuf said there.

    The concept of a trunk gun is good, however, security is an issue. Cars get broken into often.

    If you can get to your car and get out, thats the best option.

    The point of a trunk gun is to gain more stopping power, range, accuracy and capacity than is available in a handgun. A pistol-caliber carbine eliminates much of those benefits. Pistol ammo is designed for short barrels. Putting them in carbines only offers marginal increases in velocity.

    The only thing a shotgun does better than a rifle is breaching. Rifles have higher capacity, longer range, better accuracy and lower recoil than shotguns. I suggest and AR with a red-dot scope and flashlight.

    If you want compact, go with a pistol lower and short-barrel upper with Sigtac pistol stabilization brace. I have an 11-inch in 6.8 in that set up and love it. You could also go with a registered SBR lower, or a proven bullpup design like the Tavor.

    • “A pistol-caliber carbine eliminates much of those benefits. Pistol ammo is designed for short barrels. Putting them in carbines only offers marginal increases in velocity.”

      This is true for semi-auto calibers, but revolver calibers (specifically .357 and .44 mag) gain an incredible amount of velocity when fired from a 16″+ barrel. This makes lever action carbines look particularly attractive for the role of trunk gun, or even for home defense, IMO. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options out there. I wouldn’t trust my life to a modern production Marlin, and I wouldn’t want to leave a beautiful (and expensive) Henry/Uberti in my trunk, which leaves Rossi. Personally, I prefer my self defense guns to be made in America by a company with a good track record and good customer service.

      • I will test out my 357 and see what the diff is. Either way, an AR is my weapon of choice- faster and higher capacity than a lever

      • It really does depend which handgun caliber you have in mind. “Ballistics by the Inch” provides good tables of velocity gains from each common cartridge for various barrel lengths.

        I’ve fallen into keeping a MechTech .45ACP upper as a house and occasional car item. It proved reliable, which is the first test. It takes my G30S’s spare magazine (a G21 mag). It uses my G20 lower for its lower. I never leave it loaded or near ammo because I’ll have the spare pistol mag with me.

        Why a .45ACP PCC? It stays subsonic in the PCC with standard 230 grain loads, which is a big plus indoors. I won’t run out of cartridges, and I’ll still, perhaps, be able to hear. Standard .45ACP is fairly quiet out of a 16″ barrel. 165 grain +P rounds, on the other hand, gain a good bit of velocity in the longer barrel.

      • With .357, this is especially true if you go for the hottest ammo, like Buffalo Bore loads. 125 grain bullet at 2300 ft/s – how about that? This is more energy than even the heaviest 5.56 ammo has at the muzzle (though of course BC is crap so it quickly falls with distance).

      • Also, 9mm does actually gain enough to be of notice out of carbine barrels, especially with lighter (like 90 or 115 gr) bullets. Again, BBTI is your help there, but you’re looking at about 20-25% velocity gain from 4″ to 16″ barrel in real world guns. That’s nothing to sneeze at, seeing how energy is velocity squared – so 20% more velocity translates to 40% more energy.

  32. I’m thinking the kel-tec actually. I ain’t rolling in dough, so if I carry some kind of glock handgun that’d give me a system with one kind of ammo and one kind of magazine, which I like. Keep it simple.

  33. Following your question of vehicle shotgun, if you can tolerate the $5 AOW look into a Serbu Super Shorty.

    Its a Mossberg 500 rebuilt to be a 2+1 with sturdy folding grip giving it a 16.5″ overall length. Bombproof and small enough for backpacks.

  34. Currently just a 10/22 is my “trunk gun”. Formerly I had a 30/30, but I figured that while I see deer all the time, being in Los Angeles County, not likely going to need it. Also have at least one handgun in the car at any one time. For the record, perfectly legal in California. The law only requires that handguns be unloaded and locked up, and that longguns be unloaded (but you can have loaded magazines just not in the gun). Even the California gun free safety law applies only to handguns (Federal law applies to both sadly). So in the trunk. That works.

    I generally have a revolver, 38spl or 357 magnum, in the trunk.

  35. Only time I ever needed a trunk gun was when I ran over a deer, was able to lock the brakes after abs and all but stop but it got sucked under my lifted truck.

    Mini 14 is now my truck gun.

    • My truck gun combo is a S&W 66 in the console and a Ruger 77/357 behind the seat. Everything stainless and can shoot 38/357 in a ton of combos from mild to hot. And many different handloads and bullets including cast lead (no gas tube to clog). Plenty of power and a real boost from the rifle. The Ruger looks like a regular old deer rifle and still won’t scare most folks when walking with it. Deer/coyotes/pigs no problem. Zombies/bad guys done. Couple of speedloaders and extra mags for the Ruger and you’re good to go.

      If you need to scavenge ammo at your local Wallyworld or hardware store they will probably have 38/357 (I know not in the last round if crazy but who thought everything would go). Not to mention scavenging ammunition in a real SHTF scenario a 38/357 looks pretty good as compared to say 5.7 or 45 gap.

      Downside is capacity but I’m a nice shot and I won’t burn thru ammo like a movie star. Costs are pretty reasonable especially since a lot of folks already own a 357 wheel gun. And both are available used a plenty. I bought a second S&W 66 for $300 around 1 November 2013. The pistol functioned flawlessly but the finish was rough. Someone let it bounce around in a tool box. Easy deal I just blasted it to a nice matte finish and it looks great again. The Ruger 77/357 is more but can be had for 6-700.

      My 2 cents.

      • It’s a nice combo, but I’d probably go with a lever instead of a bolt in 357… larger mag capacity, and you can shoot faster if need be, while all the other advantages (low maintenance, not “scary”) still apply. Also, those levers are light – my 16″ Rossi is a featherweight.

  36. No trunk gun, but my wife and I each take our .357s (in addition to our normal carry 9mms) on road trips, plus a pump action Stevens if we’re camping.

  37. First of all, if you drove a car that can be fixed on the side of the road, maybe you wouldn’t be walking. A Benz might be nice in town, but it would be very high on the list of cars you could not pay me to drive for hours between towns here in the west. Recent German cars are notorious for their electrical failures – and remember, I’m a retired EE, so I’m not scared of wiring or electronics. Ich kann Deutsche, can read all their silly anal-retentive service manuals – and you still can’t pay me to take on the Teutonic Hot Electronic Mess that Benz, BMW and others have become in the past decade. A classic Benz with a mechanical fuel rack diesel? Sure, no problem. I’ve got a box full of metric tooling, and I’ll take that era of Benz/BMW – from the mid-80’s and back in time.

    Modern German cars? No thanks.

    When you’re out in Real America, away from the dazzling urban sophisticate’s idea of civilization, (a Starschmucks on every block) it pays you real dividends to learn something about fixing cars, and then to own cars you can fix.

    A few tools in the trunk, some well-chosen supplies (duct tape & electrical tape, some electrical wire, maybe a few components or sensors that are known to cause side-of-road failures, a set of screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, metric and SAE wrenches) and you’re not walking in the first place. Get a vehicle where parts are highly common and available at every generic (read “NAPA”) auto parts store in every small town in the midwest and west. Right there, you’ve eliminated most European stuff.

    Towards that end, what you want is a GM, Dodge or Ford half-ton pickup. There’s a reason why the Ford F150 has been the most popular vehicle in the US auto fleet for so long.

    I’ve carried long guns in my cab for a long time, but most of the time they never get used. A real sidearm in a major caliber is more than sufficient for everything I’ve run into, including wounded animals on the side of the road. You should also be aware that many states have regulations concerning loaded long guns in vehicles. . Every western state in which I’ve hunted has regs about loaded long guns in cars, and not just during hunting season. Have all the loaded handguns you want in a car. The moment you have a “loaded” (and the definition of “loaded” WRT long guns varies from state to state and sometimes gun to gun) long gun in the car, you have a potential issue with anti-poaching laws if you’re stopped.

    As to your specific question: I like Browning BLR’s because they’re a nice-looking levergun, no cop is going to soil his panties when they see one, they have a box detachable mag (so it can be legally “unloaded” easily – and reloaded quickly) and they’re pretty darn accurate in .243 or .308. As for shotguns, I’d get a marine type shotgun, one with lots of chrome plating on it. It’d be cheap and easily replaceable, and I’d wire it up under the front rim of the trunk.

    • Makes a lot of sense.

      IMHO your Benelli or pump 12 ga is going to get real tiresome hiking any distance, Robert. And is going to attract predators of the two legged type.

      Better to go Gray Man-
      Keltec SU-16 : 5.56 with a red-dot if you want fancy, yet still folds up to fit in a medium backpack of the beat-up REI variety in anything but camo…

  38. “Now that I’m living in Texas, I’ve been giving serious consideration to stashing a ‘trunk gun'”

    This is just crazy talk. You LIVE in Texas! You’re supposed to be driving something that doesn’t have a trunk Can you say F-150? Silverado? Ram? Puh-leeze!

    I guess it’s true what they say: You can take the man out of Rhode Island but you can’t take the Rhode Island out of the man.

    BTW, belated welcome to the Lone Star State.

  39. I carried a mare’s leg in .44Mag in my trunk for a while until I realized A) I might as well keep my Super Redhawk under my seat, B) I didn’t want to have to leave the inside of the car to get to it, and C) I wanted some sort of theft prevention. I’m thinking more along the lines of a AK pistol stuck under the passenger seat and rear floor mat in a biometric safe (which apparently doesn’t exist in that size yet). Since I drive a Camaro, there’s not much space to stow stuff unless you can find a way to make the space, so I’m still working on it….

  40. i would go silently with a suppressed .300 SBR. Anything that makes a noise will attract too much attention when SHTF.

    • This is an outstanding point. If you choose not to acquire a suppressor, then a .22 LR or pistol caliber carbine is the way to go since they are a LOT quieter than other firearms.

  41. Whatever you choose I recommend you get it powder coated to thwart the rust issue. You can remove the coating from any parts that get coated by accident. I would also recommend a weapon that can be broken down quickly and placed in a shoulder bag so that you can carry it away from a disabled vehicle without drawing attention to yourself. If you want to go rock bottom cheap you can paint the gun with a rust inhibiting paint instead of powder coating, though I would always go with the latter. What gun to choose is strongly dictated by the area in which you live. A gun in Wyoming will be far different from one in St. Louis. In the former I would pick an AR platform. In the latter it would be a 12 gauge pump loaded with deer slugs and triple aught buckshot. I think the idea of a trunk gun has merit but the accelerator is your first weapon of choice.Sheet metal can be replace but you cant’. Get the hell out of the kill zone even if you destroy your vehicle and others.

  42. Q: “Got trunk gun?”

    A: “Nope.”

    Why? I quite literally can’t to replace a stolen gun at the moment. If I was going to get one, though, I’d have a ConsoleVault for a handgun or even a ConsoleBunker installed for a rifle and/or shotgun.

  43. A 16 inch AR15 is compact enough for a trunk. Law tactical makes a folding AR stock that was made for this very purpose.

  44. I am going to assume that RF wants a trunk gun in case some sudden and unexpected catastrophic event happens and he has to make his way back home under potentially dangerous conditions of civil unrest — either on foot or still in his vehicle.

    I have three options in mind:
    (1) Kel-Tec SUB-2000 carbine in .40 S&W caliber. It folds in half and fits in a padded notebook computer case. The case protects it from bumps, vibration, and humidity in the trunk of your car. It also enables you to walk without anyone realizing that you have a carbine — which could be extremely important since you don’t want to appear to have anything of value when walking around after a catastrophe. Finally, it is lightweight and maneuverable. Oh, and if you have a Glock handgun you can get a SUB-2000 that uses standard Glock magazines. Ballistically speaking, the carbine is equivalent to a revolver in .357 Magnum with a four inch barrel shooting full power loads and is accurate enough to reliably hit a human-sized target at 100 yards.
    (2) I like the earlier commenter’s idea of an inexpensive break-action (single shot) shotgun. And I would choose 20 gauge. It will be lighter than a 12 gauge and you can carry more ammunition or the same amount of ammunition at a lighter weight. And you still have the options of choosing bird shot, buckshot, and slugs. While this choice provides more “stopping power” and intimidation factor than a carbine, it will not be anywhere near as accurate as the carbine between 50 and 125 yards.
    (3) Revolver in .44 Magnum with a long (7.5 inches minimum) barrel. The long barrel increases muzzle velocity to amazing levels and greatly improves accuracy. (My first time shooting such a revolver, I shot a 2.5 inch group at 25 yards.) You can strap it to your hip if open carry is an option. Or you could carry it in a backpack or even a relatively small notebook computer case without anyone giving it a second thought. Of course the ballistic effectiveness of .44 Magnum is excellent. You could shoot light-for-caliber 180 grain bullets with a muzzle velocity of something like 1800 fps or the standard 240 grain bullets with a muzzle velocity of something like 1400 fps. (Keep in mind that skilled hunters take deer out to 100 yards with .44 Magnum revolvers.) Or if you are concerned about excessive recoil or ever penetration, you could shoot .44 Special ammunition such as a 200 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1000 fps or so. You could even load your own .44 Magnum ammunition with minimum powder (for muzzle velocities in the 700 fps range) and ball rounds for shooting rabbits in a survival situation.

  45. I keep one right next to the fire extinguisher I keep in the car, but I don’t call it a trunk gun, but i call it a crime extinguisher. You just never know when some crime is gonna flare up that you’ll be forced to put out.

  46. Thought to beat a Benelli. Thought I’m curious why an m-4 instead of an m-1. My older m-1 holds 9 rounds.
    Plus you have the versatility of all sorts of different ammo. From light bird shot to flechettes, to dragons breath.
    #4 tactical buck to slugs. A very nice variety.

    • I’ve always wondered if anyone’s used a Dragon’s Breath first, on a BG. I’d love to hear an account of it.
      When I was mugged, decades ago, I started thinking of finding plans to build a mini-flamethrower. It would have salved my injuries (a busted head and a messed-up cartilage in one ear that left it deformed) to see those bums running down Second Street on fire. Screaming.

  47. I have guns I could use as trunk guns, but I don’t have that need. If I am walking back to town or something like that, a revolver or other pistol works just fine, even in a rural area.

    But I don’t want some jackass getting away with any of my guns, and it’s too easy to get in a car\trunk.

  48. A friend made the suggestion I place a handgun in my wife’s trunk a while back – some women were being abducted by lowlife(s) shoving them in their own trunks while loading/unloading; driving them to secluded areas; then rape/ murder.
    If that happens to my wife, when he opens the trunk to get her, he will get 3″-410 Winchester 000
    buckshot (5-pellets) from s/s Tauras Judge

  49. I would suggest any full power rifle cartridge in a semi-auto platform.

    If worried about corrosion lightly grease, wrap in plastic, shove in box. Then take out once every other month to go over it if you are really concerned. Keep a sealed can of ammo with the oxygen and moisture absorbers near. Also some rig to carry it in the situation (SHTF).

    For all of those that complain of weight, if you choose to live by the sword you must bear its burdens.

  50. Pistol up front, shotgun in back seat, covered, never leave the vehicle for long, and never leave firearms in it overnight. 170 HP 3.8 V6 under hood, peppy lil booger. Use it first if at all possible. I clean and check firearms at least once a month, whether they have been fired or not. But,that’s just me.

  51. I agree a handgun would be nice for carry and conceal if need be, but I haven’t ever seen a reliable handgun for the price of a Maverick 88. Which is currently about what I could afford for a extra gun. I think a Ruger 10/22 is a decent option too.

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