I’m not much of a survivalist, I guess. I don’t keep a flare gun in my car. Nor do I have a rifle on board (or attendant bandolier of bullets). I do schlep a hand-held GPS though. It’s called an iPhone. I’ve got a Surefire flashlight in the glovebox that’s so bright it’s got a MacArthur grant. As a recent resident of Texas hill country, I keep a hat with me at all times (a Panama that’s about as sturdy as piggy number one’s straw domicile). There’s a first aid kit in the bubba Benz’s boot. Wait. Did Iraqveteran8888 say five things? If you count two flashlights as one item, he’s showcasing seven. And that’s without counting all the stuff in his three-day pack as individual items. In the interests of brevity, I offer the following alternative, condensed version for gun guys on the move . . .
1. A handgun
The odds of running out of gas or breaking down in the wrong place may be slim. The odds of being attacked are a fraction of that. To paraphrase our friend FPS, in violent world wrong place find you. Two words for that: Ennis Cosby.
If you don’t have a concealed carry permit—and even if you do—make sure you have a lock box or similar to store your firearm. If you have to leave your handgun in the car, take extra care with vehicle security. Pay for the damn parking lot. If you don’t think your car will be safe whilst unattended, ask yourself if it’s a good idea to be where you are in the first place.
2. A holster
The ideal solution for firearms-friendly motoring: a holstered gun. That said, no matter how a driver tools-up—hip, leg or Don Johnson-style—carrying while driving creates almost as many tactical compromises as the Arab – Israeli peace accord.
A lot of people can’t be bothered. Pampered pistol packers that they are, they don’t live by the old adage that a gun should be comforting not comfortable. So they keep a handgun in the glovebox “just in case.”
Yes, well, there are two basic self-defense scenarios where a gun might come into play: an immediate attack and a developing or potential deadly challenge. A gun in the glove box is not ideal for either.
In the first instance, no matter how much you practice, it takes time, coordination and at least momentary eye contact to get to a gat from a glovebox. Time and attention that would probably have been better spent driving away from (or at) the problem. Remember: the only gunfight you’re guaranteed to win is the one you don’t have.
It’s far more likely that an armed automobilist will need a gun to respond to something that’s happening—or could happen—while they’re outside the car. [See: Cosby killing above.] While carrying your gun into the danger zone in as public a manner as possible could have a disinhibiting effect on bad guys, a brandishing charge is no picnic.
The simplest and most versatile option for glovebox (or center console) quick-as-you-can out-of-car carry: a pocket holster. You can slip your gun into your pants (if you’re a guy), exit the vehicle and flag down traffic, go to the aid of an injured motorist, head off for gas, whatever. Our female readers (both of them) want to think that through and stash a gun in a clothing-appropriate holster.
3. Spare ammo
I carry a spare mag with me at all times. Not because I think I’ll find myself in a firefight requiring 31 cartridges. Because Mr. Murphy is alway out there, somewhere (probably playing cards with chaos); the magazine is the bit of the gun that’s most likely to fail. And firearms failure sucks.
OK, yes, it’s true: no one ever ended a gunfight wishing they’d brought less ammo. And if you’re really paranoid, you want the rounds to trade for food and cigarettes as you fight your way back to your loved ones, marooned at home by the TEOTWAWKI.
In short: gas, phone, credit card, gun, holster, ammo. That’s six, but who’s counting?