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In my post Three Stupid Things Westerns Taught Me About Gunfighting I recommended carrying a trunk gun. There ain’t no junk in my trunk; I port a Benelli SuperNova ever-so-tactical pump-action 12-gauge shotgun.

I chose Big Ben because scatterguns are the ultimate conversation stopper. In terms of reaching out and touching someone out there, somewhere, a scoped rifle would be a better choice. But those slugs sitting on the shotgun’s sleeve aren’t exactly chopped liver. Before posting your choice below, check out the TTAG editorial team’s pick for best trunk gun . . .

Tyler Kee – writer

My ideal truck/trunk gun is a bare bones DI [Direct Impingement] AR-15 chambered in 5.56 NATO. Trunk/truck guns are supposed to be cheap, forgotten, and dependable. As such, I’d use fairly cheap components like PSA blem uppers and lowers, but I would spring for a nice trigger like that 2 stage Geissele that I tested. I’d probably pony-up the money for a full length hand guard like that Odin Works or BCM KMR and I’d pair it with set of iron sights. I’d match it up with a Magpul CTR stock, and some variation of a Streamlight TLR-1 mounted to the forend. Slap a cheap nylon sling on it and give it two loaded PMAGs of 55 gr FMJ and I’d be set.

Jeremy S. – Writer

My ideal trunk gun would have to be an integrally-suppressed .300 BLK AR-15 with a magazine or two loaded with subsonics and a handful of other mags loaded with supersonic ammo. This would give me the more-likely-to-be-used capability of putting down a wounded animal or otherwise firing a few rounds quietly, while still retaining the capability of a rifle for real defensive work. Alternatively, if I carried a GLOCK as my EDC I might go with a suppressed GLOCK-magazine carbine/SBR. Of course, if Kel-Tec’s CMR-30 runs well and shoots straight, I’d consider keeping my PMR-30 and a CMR-30 in the trunk with like 10 loaded magazines and the AAC Element 2 on the muzzle of the CMR. I think any “trunk gun” needs to be part of (and fit into) the “go bag” or “bug out bag” that anyone who actually has a “trunk gun” almost certainly has as well.

Dan Zimmerman – Managing Editor

I don’t have a trunk, but if I did, I’d want to fill it with something compact and easily maneuverable that packs a punch. And while I’m not much of a rifle guy, one of the of the best things I’ve shot recently is a friend’s AR pistol equipped with a SIG Brace. So if I’m equipping my hypothetical trunk with a hypothetical gun, I reckon it’s going to be with a Primary Weapons AR pistol tricked out with an SB Tactical brace and 30 rounds of whoop-ass. Yes, there are less expensive options (especially for a trunk), but I was impressed by Tyler’s favorable opinion of the PWS pistol. It may even be worth SBR’ing it, too, just to stay, you know, legal.

Foghorn – Testing & Reviews Editor

The problem with most trunk gun suggestions you see is that they are (A) too big and (B) too much gun. While the side-of-the-road shootout is a possibility, a more reasonable scenario is being stranded in the middle of nowhere for a long while after your car broke down — like Joe Grine did on the way to Las Vegas for SHOT Show this year. Far be it from me to dissuade someone from a suppressed 300 BLK SBR, but in my opinion a Ruger 10/22 Takedown is perfect. The small form factor means that it doesn’t take up half your trunk, and you’ll be able to live off the land should you find yourself stranded for a bit. And as for self defense? .22lr ammo has a higher first round kill percentage than anything else besides a shotgun.

Jon Wayne Taylor – Writer

The nice thing about driving a big ol’ truck with lots of storage space: I don’t have to settle on one gun. If I were so tragically cursed, though, the one gun in my truck would be a Mossberg 500A1. It’s not very likely that I will need any kind of defensive weapon while in my truck. It’s possible, but unlikely. (In an encounter where I need to defend myself or others, 00 buckshot has a spectacular terminal effect.) What happens quite often: I see pigs, deer, or turkey while driving off the beaten path. The shotgun and its myriad loads make it extremely versatile against lots of different game. Pond jumping ducks is hard enough with a cylinder bore shotgun, but darn near impossible with a center fire rifle.

Tom in Oregon – Writer

Personally, I think the best trunk gun is going to be the pump shotgun with an 18″ barrel. With an extended tube, speed feed stock and a side saddle, you have ammo availability. Different sources of ammo also means ammo versatility. Bird shot, buckshot, slugs, door breachers, flechettes, bean bag. The shotgun can play defense or offense. Threat too far away for a smoothbore? That’s great! Distance equals time equals options. Need to seem non-threatening? Throw on a hunter orange vest and sling that bad boy. Is 12 gauge kick too much? Drop to a 20 gauge. What’s not to like about a good, reliable pump shotgun as the ideal trunk gun?

Ralph – Writer

Any “best” is subjective, but the criteria for selecting a best might be more objective. Here are my criteria. It’s often illegal to transport loaded guns and it can also be unsafe to do so, so a trunk gun needs to use external magazines for fast loading. It also needs plenty of firepower. Those criteria rule out pumps, break-opens, bolt and lever guns. It’s a semi-automatic or nothing. A trunk gun has to be powerful enough to shoot two- or four-legged vermin, zombies and dinner, which rules out rimfires. It should be a handy size and fairly moderate cost, which rules out the M1As and similar fan favorites since they are either too big, too spendy or both. It needs to be robustly built, affordable and accurate with just iron sights. An entry-level AR-15 in 5.56/.223 such as Smith & Wesson’s M&P Sport would be fine. A Ruger Ranch Rifle in like caliber may be the definitive trunk gun.

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    • Not legal in CA, MD, NJ, or NY

      Living in TX I was able to obtain one with a permit. The maintenance is high but it’s a good product. Two thumbs up.

      Bonus, if you move your trunk monkey to the front seat while in transit you can use the HOV lanes.

      • I prefer to open carry the monkey rather than keep it in the trunk. A nice large holstered monkey on your hip serves as great deterrence to the criminal element. It can also be used in a pinch for foraging fruit when you get hungry.

        • Cannot open carry one at work and carrying concealed is not feasible with Texas weather.

          Though, yes, that would be in fact a banana in my pocket.

        • “No honest man should need to conceal his monkey. ”

          Not sure if we’re still talking about trunk monkeys or something else, but either way the HR department disagrees.

          I’m not having another talk with them!

  1. I might be strange, but I have VZ2008 folder. The folder lets it fit better in the place I store it. It is cheap, the ammo is cheap, and it just runs.

    • That’s a great trunk gun. Light, folds up small with the paratrooper stock and you can use mags or stripper clips. Get the bayonet and you have a winner. I wouldn’t mind buying a second one. I modified my first one with FAB defense furniture and a CSA side rail.

    • I am seriously wondering what’s up with all the writers here when they chose an AR over an AK (or a variant like the VZ58) for a truck gun, even after stating that it needs to be cheap and forgotten. An AR is much less cheap than an AK and you can’t really just forget about them. You have to constantly clean them to keep them running. An AK can be thrown in a trunk/under a seat/strapped to the back of my passenger seat and forgotten about until I need it. Many can also be folded in half to take up less space.

      As far as the rounds go, 7.62 > 5.56 in a truck gun’s most likely use every time. If I’m in my truck, I’m most likely shooting at someone who is either getting out of theirs, or still in it. That means I may be shooting through glass or doors. The 5.56 just does not do this well enough for me to carry it as a truck gun. The AK does.

      AK wins. Short of that, I’d pick a shotgun with slugs or a large revolver like the Tarus Judge. That would be more for use against car jackers, but it’s still a gun in my truck.

      • The writers of TTAG are undeniable AR fanboys, but that’s beyond the point. I own both and while I generally prefer AKs, the AR market is totally saturated right now, and you can easily build a “throaway” M4gery for close to $400.

        The AK market cannot compete right now, at all. About the lowest you’ll get is into the $500s with a PAP or WASR.

        • Yeah I wouldn’t exactly call me an AR fanboi. My “go to” semi-auto rifle has been a Tavor since it hit the US market and I prefer it in nearly every way. That said, I like shooting ARs (regardless of caliber) over AKs. I just like the feel, balance, controls, and aesthetic of them better. While I said a .300 BLK AR, for normal use I’d rather have a 7.62×39 AR with subsonic, 220-grain projectiles in a couple mags and supersonic, standard ammo stuff in other mags. At least in a gun I used a lot. In a trunk gun it doesn’t much matter and may as well go with .300 BLK to make it simpler.

          The truth of the matter was too long to put in a single paragraph. I don’t really like the idea of a trunk gun for the same reasons I don’t really like the idea of off-body carry. No real issue with a trunk gun when you’re in the car, but I take issue with leaving a gun in the car when you aren’t there with it. And I very much want my trunk gun to be suppressed and/or an SBR, but have serious reservations about NFA items for this purpose (again, only in the case of leaving it in the car when you aren’t there. Or obviously it would be a massive no-no — a 10-year felony no-no — to loan your car to somebody else if you have an NFA item in there with them and they aren’t a named party on the trust that owns your NFA item). So… no… I don’t like “trunk guns” really so it’s all hypothetical here anyway.

      • Here, you forgot these: submerged in a rice patty, hidden in the wall of a dilapidated shack, the frozen wastes of Siberia. Hell, strap the thing to the BOTTOM of the car.

  2. I’m a big fan of a 7.62×39 Suchka. It collapses to under 24″ and will work even if you leave it in there for a few years with no maintenance. Combine that with properly lacquered and sealed mil-spec soviet ammo and a T1 micro red dot and you have a gun that will run regardless of the situation you get yourself in.

  3. I usually only carry a trunk gun on long road trips, more than 3 hours from home. A Maverick 88 12ga with 24″ barrel and rifle sights suits me just fine. Cheap enough to not worry if something happens to it, and I’ve used it enough at the range and hunting to know I can put slugs on target out to 75 yards fairly easy. Plus, versatility.

  4. I agree with Nick. My truck has a get home bag and included is a 10/22 takedown, stainless, with a Nikon 2-7 rimfire. I changed the bag though because the Ruger bag won’t close with the scope mounted. Two boxes of 555 count Remington 40gr is a lot of firepower. My carry gun is sufficient at close range but in either the SHTF or simple survival away from home scenario, the 10/22 takedown is a fine tool out to 150 yards and quiet enough not to attract zombies.

      • Petey – Yes. But, in my humble opinion, one who does not own a 10/22 is a fool. They are ubiquitous, versatile, and cheap. Not to mention reliable, easy to clean, fix, operate, maintain, and customize. Can you tell I really like 10/22’s? My truck (trunk) takedown with the Nikon has been doped for 50, 75, 150, 125, & 150 yards and the settings card laminated to the stock. I can and have taken squirrels at 75 yards with pinpoint accuracy. On the lighter side, I think the 22LR is the PERFECT zombie ammo. Just enough energy to get inside the brain pan and then rattle all around like a bb in a tin can. I know that if TEOTWAWKI happened while I was on a road trip, my 10/22 and I would be just fine until we got back to the homestead. And with 1100 rounds in hand at about 2 pounds, I challenge other trunk guns to match that kind of firepower in something you can carry in a back pack and not sacrifice water for the ammo.

        • Agree – bought my first 10/22 in 1967, mail order in 1967, delivered to my dorm room in college (ah, for the pre-’68 gun laws). Never failed to function, still works fine. I now have 3 of them, including a takedown. Magazines are easy to find, they seem to feed pretty much any ammo, and you can mount a real scope to the receiver.

        • I have to kindly disagree with you on that. My 10/22 is a jam-o-matic with a crap trigger. my Savage 22 auto loader and old Remington Nylon blow it out of the water any day of the week.

        • I have to kindly disagree with you on that. My 10/22 is a jam-o-matic with a crap trigger…
          Mags. Mags are the number one issue with jammy 10/22s. Crappy trigger… nothin you can do about that besides change it out.

      • LA – You bring up an interesting point and that being caliber compatibility. One could make the argument that when considering the combination of carry gun and trunk gun, that matching caliber could be advantageous. So, for us wheel gun lovers, perhaps a lever gun in .38/.357 is a good mate.

    • I agree with Nick, I always keep a stainless 10/22 TD (with wood stock and match trigger) in my trunk, along with a 550 box of Federal 22lr . Also have a falcata back there as well, keeping with the anti zombie theme.

    • Honestly, I think this is what I would take out of the collection I own right now. If you REALLY REALLY need something bigger than a handgun, you might as well go with something that could crack the engine block on a car. That and frankly I feel like a trunk gun’s main use, at least for me, would be for those times I find myself near a range during/after road travel for work. There is nothing I own more fun to shoot than the M1.

      That having been said, I’m anxiously awaiting to see if Kalashnikov USA gets up and running here in the States. If so, the Garand might have to make room.

    • Tavor was my first thought as well, but then I remembered the nearly $4k I have “invested” in mine and thought, “Yeah, I’ll toss the Kushnapup Saiga 7.62×39 back there instead.”

  5. I use a Henry Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle for the jeep gun.

    Along the lines of Nick’s thinking. But I live in CT. Once I get out of here, some AR Pistol, and a 22lr handgun will fill the role instead.

  6. I like the Remington 870 Marine. It’s corrosion resistant (good feature in a gun that will be forgotten for long periods of time), it’s versatile and it’s legal in New York state (other than NYC) and most other places without a permit, which is useful since I live about 8 minutes from Westchester County and pretty close to NJ. Also, its shiny stainless appearance means that no LEO can claim to have mistaken it for an eeeviiiil black a-salt weapon.

    • Anon…While I totally agree with your choice, DO NOT…I repeat DO NOT come to NJ with ANY firearm. No NJFID card and proof that you are driving directly to or from a range, will buy you BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE NJ.
      Ask Gordon VanGilder, who is facing 10 years hard time for driving around with a non-working 300 year old flintlock pistol in his car. FYI…HE consented to a search after being pulled over on a routine traffic stop.

  7. Kel-Tec 16C with folding stock, short barrel, 1.5-4x scope and a 20-rnd mag – fits in a Wilson tennis racquet case.

    Alternative, a Kel-Tec Su-2000, 9mm with Glock mags, fits in a locking metal briefcase.

    AND a .22LR pistol with adjustable sights for small game.

    • Kel-Tec SUB-2000 carbine all the way!!!

      … but in .40 S&W using Glock magazines. The added mass and velocity of .40 S&W is significant: you can expect something like 1,700 fps shooting 135 grain bullets and something like 1,400 fps shooting 155 grain bullets and even 1,100 fps shooting 180 grain bullets. Plus 22 round and even 29 round magazines are available.

      And remember, it folds in half and fits in a notebook computer case so that you can keep it out of the way in your trunk.

      • Have to agree with you on the better ballistics of the .40, but I owned a 9mm Glock 17 when I bought the SUB2000 – the common magazines were a big sales point for me. I load mine with the CorBon +P 9mms, so they snap out there pretty fast. Not up to a .40, but a lot better than praying.

  8. I don’t haul around a trunk gun/truck gun, though maybe I should. If I did, my Marlin Model 60 .22 would be my choice.

    It’s durable, reliable, fairly compact for a rifle, doesn’t care much whether it’s dirty or clean, cheap enough that replacing it wouldn’t be too financially burdensome, and it’s accurate as anything. .22 LR gets no respect, but a well-placed hit from a CCI Velocitor is nothing to sniff at.

    The only drawback is that tubular magazine; considering that it’s illegal (everywhere I’ve heard of, at least) to drive with a loaded rifle, getting it into action at a moment’s notice could be a problem. Then again, there are speed-loaders for these things (I made one myself). Not as quick or fumble-proof as inserting a magazine, but better than one at a time.

  9. Self-built Polish AKM47 with Polish underfolder stock. Eotech on top. Fits nicely with several mags and bayonet in a tennis racket case. Very unobtrusive.

  10. “…you’ll be able to live off the land should you find yourself stranded for a bit.”

    This scenario, so commonly discussed among preppers and the like, cracks me up. How many folks have been stranded in their car long enough to need to turn it into an impromptu hunting trip? It would probably be easier to just put a couple cans of beans and some beef jerky or granola bars in your trunk, rather than shooting, cleaning, and cooking squirrels and rabbits…

    Yeah, people sometimes get stuck overnight in their car, and should be prepared for such an eventuality. But having to “live off the land” for a week because your fan belt broke? Where the heck are you driving?

    • What about a major event like Katrina? Or a big earthquake? What if youre, like I was this weekend, 140 miles from home and a major event happens and you’re stranded indefinately or on foot trying to reach loved ones?

      If you’re thinking about a trunk gun, then you’re thinking about a major event. Shotgun for me.

      • Whenever I go on a long trip, out of state, I bring my Rem. 1100 skeet gun and 6″ S&W 686 with me. If time permits, I’ll shoot a couple of rounds of skeet and/or put a couple of hundred rounds of wadcutter through the Smith….but I always carry extra 12ga. slugs/buckshot and .357 JHPs just in case. It’s a lot easier to explain to a LEO, than a tricked out AR/AK etc. Fly under the radar, and you won’t have unwanted trouble.

    • Other than another meltdown at TMI, there’s not much else that would be cause for my immediate evacuation. Even in that case, I’ll risk a few mR to get with my family and gather supplies, weapons, etc before heading out. For everything else, I’ve got a AAA card.

    • Semper Paratus my friend. How many times do you ever really NEED a gun. Not many, but it does happen to someone, everyday.

      • I’m not saying don’t have a trunk gun. I’m saying, the likelihood of it being deployed to gather food because your car broke down is essentially 0.000000000%. There are plenty of scenarios where having a gun in the car would be very useful. “Living off the land” on the side of of the road ain’t one of them. And like I said, in the unlikely event you have to fend for yourself for three or four days in your car, it would be a hell of a lot easier to just eat food you packed for that eventuality, rather than skinning rabbits on your trunk lid.

    • Stinkeye – my thoughts exactly. Foghorn must have watched one too many Mad Max movies. He probably sees himself wrapping a bandanna around his head, cutting his pants legs off for extra cooling (you can make a bandanna from one pants leg), and drinking the water out of his radiator. With his thirst quenched, it’s off to the highest peak to get a better lay of the land. Is that a lake over there or just a mirage? Two day later, while trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, his would be rescuers have found his truck and are wondering where the hell he wandered off to.

  11. I carry a Mossberg 590 Marine. My old K Car made contact with a PA black bear when I was a teenager, and I have insisted since then on a gun in the car suitable for handling a wounded bruin.

    The Marine model shotgun is made to be neglected; which is exactly what it gets in my trunk.

    The very decent Mossberg ghost ring sights give me a real slug-shooting capability (while not exactly making it a rifle…)

    I store it unloaded because bad things can happen to plastic shotshells under compression in hot weather. I keep one of those silly 50roumd shoulder bandoleers loaded with a variety of ammunition (heavy and light buckshot and slugs for short and medium range social or game encounters) that I can easily grab with the gun. I also keel a box of game loads in the trunk–because what’s the sense in toting around the most flexible long gun available if I don’t have all my options open?m

    I do not use a sidesaddle because I drive through some states which prohibit attaching ammunition to the gun (ie. Consider it “loaded”) and I’d just rather not have that conversion.

    It does wear a good Forend light and a sling.

    • I posted mine and then came across yours. I guess I could have just said “hear, hear”. I guess it’s an Indiana thing.

    • Ever consider a detachable mag shotgun vice a pump? Wouldn’t have the issue with lengthwise compression of the shotgun cartridges in the heat. Downside is I don’t know if anyone made/makes them in stainless.

    • That’s my fav choice mentioned in this thread.

      As for the philosophy of use (I can’t believe I just said that) large, wild animals and spontaneous riots in the streets would be my primary considerations. A .22 for rabbit roadside hunting made me laugh (looking at you, Stinkeye)

  12. I carry a HI-point 9mm carbine w/ reflex sight. 10 magazines equals 100 rds. CCW a PMR-30 with 3 mags equals 90+1 rds. Works for me.

  13. I’m cheap and my choices in trunk guns reflect that. I like an inexpensive, but functional 18″ pump shotgun (like the Stevens 320 that I recently picked up new for $148). Include a nice mix of buckshot, slugs, and birdshot, and you have a lot of versatility and firepower. You also don’t cry too much if the gun gets a little rust.

    I also like an inexpensive .22 semi-auto rifle (like Marlin 60 or 795). The 795 with a polymer stock is a little lighter than the 60 with a wood stock. Again cheap, but fun, reliable, accurate, versatile, practical firearms. The 795 that I recently picked up new was $129.

    I have carried both the shotgun and the .22 rifle, but not usually at the same time. They also (esp. the .22) give you the option of quitting work early and stopping in the desert for a little shooting on the way home from work on a Friday afternoon.

    I am also a 7.62X39 fan, and think an underfolder AK, a VZ-58/2008, or an AK pistol with the stabilizer brace would make great trunk guns. A Sub-2000 that gives mag compatibility with my G19 would also be great. I don’t have any of these. These are a little more expensive as well, and I would worry more about rust, theft, and political incorrectness with them.

    • Just bought a VZ.58 with a folding stock for this purpose. It’s relatively lightweight for a piston gun, it folds into a tiny package, and fires a superior round to the AR-15 inside of 200m.

  14. Not really a best answer, but I shuffle through these: lever action 30-30, maverick 88 12 ga, folding stock mini 14, single six, and 45 vaquero. Not every trip in the truck is for the same mission, and I never just leave a gun in the cab 24/7.

  15. My 9″ 300BLK SBR with a law tactical folding stock adapter easily fits in my get home emergency backpack. It’s not much larger than a 10/22 takedown and much more powerful with 29 rounds of Barnes 110 grain TAC-TX.

    • ^ THIS ^

      …minus the folding stock adapter part. Really gotta take look at those again. Like the gen2.

      Or – a Sub2k, with a ‘mag-matching’ Glock on my hip. BUT, would have to keep the Sub2k unloaded when transporting in PA. Hence, the SBR.

  16. I have a scruffy Winchester 1300 20g my grandpa gave me over 15 years ago he hunted with that he told me to go to town on. I sawed and sanded the stock into a semi-birdshead looking grip and hacked the barrel off at 18.000001″. Not much to talk about but it goes boom nicely as long as I keep the dirt and gravel out of it.

  17. Easy to answer, as I can just look in my trunk. It’s a Kel-Tec SU-16C, the model with the skeletonized stock that can be folded over an inserted mag and fired while folded. I’ve got a cheap-ish but robust TruGlo Red dot sight on it. I keep it folded, and it slips perfectly inside a very light and slim tennis racket bag/case (like this: I can take it out and carry it anywhere without looking remotely suspicious/alarming, and have access to it in about 3 seconds after popping the trunk.

    I can fire it folded like a pistol/sbr, unfolded and mounted on the shoulder like a rifle, or pop out the moderately-useful built-in tripod for more stable longer shots. I know many will trash Kel-Tec reliability, but I bought it new and this gun has never failed to chamber, fire, and eject a round, regardless of what brand/style of ammo and brand of standard metal magazine (and I’ve used dirt cheap ammo/magazines). I’ve put probably over 1100 rounds through it (one of my favorite guns to shoot) and cleaned it maybe 3 times. I spent quite a bit less on it than even a basic AR, don’t mind if it gets knocked around, its very robust and reliable in my experience, versatile, and hoot to shoot. Also, its light and very concealable. All in all, i couldn’t be happier.

  18. Rossi Ranch Hand loaded with .44Spl. Planning on putting a CZ Scorpion Evo3 back there with it as soon as I find one. A Ruger Charger is another option I’m considering.

    • That CZ Scorpion Evo3 does look like a great option, especially with the stabilizer brace. The new Charger .22 pistols look like great options as well, and give you added plinking/low price ammo/fun capacity.

    • .30-.30 Marlin any day. I guess I have a problem dropping $2000+ on a .300BLK suppressed SBR when it’s most likely never to be needed, will go through countless free/thaw/bake cycles and will really sting when your car (and trunk) gets broken into and the gun disappears. A .30-.30 (with Hornady LeverEvolution ammo) is good to 250 yards, is light and maneuverable, can withstand any weather you throw at it and runs $250 used at a gun show. But, YMMV. Apparently some of you have more disposable income than I have…

  19. My trunk gun is almost exactly as Tyler described. bought everything from PSA. A blemished AR receiver, a Blackhawk Rifle Kit with PSA upper assembly, and a flip up Magpul rear sight. Accompanied by 3 pmags loaded with Hornady SPBT and an el cheapo sling. Bought everything on sale and spent under $350 (including transfer fees, shipping, etc).

    Shoots great, no reliability concerns, and it disappears in my mid size sedan. Hidden in plain sight.

  20. “… .22lr ammo has a higher first round kill percentage than anything else besides a shotgun”

    This guy is your testing and reviews editor, and has no idea how to contextualize the results of a test.


  21. Best or most practical?

    I go for practical which is a 12 ga shotgun. Low cost, extremely reliable, cheap, less likely to create legal issues or raise too many eyebrows. Your vehicle is subject to search, being stolen, towed, in an accident and is out of your control fairly often. These risk all mitigate the values of the more powerful weapons.

  22. Rarely have a “trunk gun” other than a pistol. If it’s a long gun, I tend to bring my old WASR with E. German folder wrapped in paracord, 20rd mag loaded with 8M3 HP in the rifle, and 3×30 mags of FMJ in the exterior pouches of my SBR carry bag. The bag itself is barely larger than the famed tennis racket case, and is pretty hard to see in the back of the Jeep or truck. If I’m bringing it on a trip where I might go plinking, all I have to do is add a .30cal can full of ammo.

    That being said I’m not a fan of “trunk guns” that live in the car. I never leave a firearm unattended in the vehicle.

  23. While I do agree with Taylor on this (have a big enough rig that you don’t have to carry just one) the gun that holds a permanent residence in the cargo area is a 12 gauge shotgun because of versatility and legality.

    First, versatility, it has been used for decades to take down anything from squirrels to bears. It doesn’t matter if they have 2 legs, 4 legs, or wings. Grab a handful of shells from each box and it will make the ultimate survival weapon against man or beast-urban or wilderness.

    Second, legality. I am not the only one who drives my vehicle from time to time. While I don’t have a problem with taking a AR pistol or surpressed SBR (they sometimes ride along too) by just keeping the shotgun in the car I don’t have to worry about what happens if a family member gets pulled over. I don’t have to be concerned with kids age because of a pistol. I don’t have to worry about class 3 items being “possessed” if I forgot to take them out before my brother-in-law needs to borrow it. And then there is also perception from those in the law enforcement if I do have to use the gun in defense of myself. It would be hard to convince those who do not appreciate guns as much as we do that we were not out looking for trouble when we had to use the surpressed SBR in self defense (same reason I don’t carry a crowbar and black ski mask, just in case). But yet if you have to revert to an old shotgun with a little rust on the barrel they could look at you like you are just some good old boy that had to do what it took to get home.

  24. Sometimes I’m really argumentative but the AR, 12 gauge, 10/22 takedown, etc. all sound like great choices. I’ve carried them all, but don’t have a full – time trunk gun.

  25. 10/22 it is; small, compact and versatile wins for trunk lodging.

    That said, I like this format where each of the writers post a quickie. Keep it up.

  26. I am too worried about my vehicle being stolen to keep a gun in the trunk. I am 10 miles from Mexico and cars/trucks get stolen ALL the time here.

    • Get yourself a “Mexican trunk monkey” complete with sombrero and sandals! Teach him to tell any intruder that he’s a drug king pin, and if he doesn’t split, he will sick the Mexican Mafia on him.

  27. Until recently I had a sem-auto 308 in one trunk. I was thiniing “post Fergusun riot” and only took it back out a week or so ago.

  28. 1. Pump Shotgun in 12ga. Simple, reliable and isn’t maintenance intensive. It’s also legal just about everywhere. Ammo is common and comes in a large variety.

    2. Semi-auto carbine. I like AK style rifles myself. I shoot them better than a AR-15 style rifles. My for all the same reasons as above. Keep it in 7.62×39 or 5.56×45. A 10/22 or similar would also work.

    3. Mosin Nagant. Dirt cheap rifle and ammo. Built to be stored in the dark for years at a time.

    • +1 on the Nagant, is gun, is shoot. cheap, also useful as a club or cricket bat in a pinch, no love lost if the popo confiscate, err, secure for evidentiary purposes.

  29. Either my M1 carbine w/folding stock(.30carbine caliber with 110gr HP’s) or my Springfield Savage youth model .410 pump w/PDX1’s.

    • Any of you guys back up the trunk gun with some sort of “trunk blades”? I usually keep a Cold Steel Kukri machete in the trunk as well. It just seems like such a versatile tool/zombie apocalypse weapon. I used it to chop kindling when I went camping. I’ve used it to whack off chicken heads. It could be used for light shovel tasks. It could be used for cutting watermelons at snack time. I also like to keep a multitool like a Leatherman in the trunk.

  30. Ruger speed six with three reloads, Mini 14 with four twenty round mags. Of course I have no reason to cross the Mississippi river to the east.

  31. I’m with Jeremy – 300 BLK SBR (only way I can keep it loaded in PA)

    Dan’s high and wants to do 10 years in the clink (dude, didn’t get the news?)

    Nick is trying to do his best James Yeager and wants to take a 10/22 to a carbine class lol

    and I wouldn’t object to Tom’s 12 boomer. That generally has the desired effect in any such incident.

  32. A “trunk gun” would have to fit the following criteria for me.
    1. Small and inconspicuous in the case
    2. Versatile for defense and survival
    3. Uses commonly available ammo
    4. Cheap, but reliable

    That says an 18″ 12 gauge pump shotgun or a takedown .22lr. YMMV

  33. I like the idea of the foldable kel-tec carbine, but don’t own one.

    I rotate between a 10-22 takedown and an sks. Only because I’m not settled on my final choice.

  34. 12 gauge SxS coach gun no optics,bayonets,sig braces, 100 round drums, electronic gizmos,flashlights,lasers or any other BS candy. Cut-shells,#4 buck, slugs,double bubble, whatever. This is also my Turkey hunting and motorcycle “travel gun” fits in my Harley king trunk when broken down. It’s the Mike Tyson 1 – 2 punch your not going to get up from.

    “Hail to the King, Baby!”

    • Also in two quick shots you put 30 shots down range w/ #4 buck. That takes care of the “you only have two shots” question…..High Cap double barrel? Sort of like having an UZI in your trunk without all the paperwork and legal issues.

    • I like the cut of your jib. What make/model? Also, how’s it do with slugs? I like the *idea* of using a SxS in this role but would worry about the varying POI…I’ve heard Louis Awerbuck often kept a coach gun handy while traveling, and he used slugs exclusively in his shotguns. So it must be doable.

  35. I like the alien death ray in the Malibu’s trunk in the movie Repo Man. Vaporized the punk with only his smoking boots left. awesome

  36. Hellpup. Normal M14x1LH threads. 7.62×39. 30rd or drum. Hot sex.

    Oh, you said trunk. What good is it in the trunk? Mine sits next to me and wears a seat belt even when I don’t… :-p

  37. A shotgun still seems like the best all around defensive long gun, for both inside the trunk and the home. If you’re trying to shoot someone beyond one’s effective range it is almost certainly murder anyway – legally, at least.

    I don’t understand the obsession with rifle caliber “pistols” on this site…at all. Seems like a lot of additional noise, flash and bulk compared to an actual handgun while also neutering the effectiveness of whatever round it’s chambered in with those stubby barrels. And for what?

  38. Gotta go with a 30/30 lever gun like half the trucks have in rural areas where my family’ is from. Strong enough to take down game and fast enough for maneuver in case of trouble if you need it. Plus the old round hits hard and the guns (especially the marlin) are tough as nails and keep shooting.

  39. Depends on the vehicle and where I’m going. The little M1 Carbine takes up almost no space and is lighter than my AR carbine. Loaded with softpoints it will ruin a bad guy’s day. Doesn’t have real long distance capability, but how often are you really going to need that?

  40. Pardner pump in 12gauge. The sound of racking it would scare the s##t out of most lowlifes. And if you lost it you’d only be out $200 or less. I had a Keltec sub2000 too. Folds up into an ordinary laptop case. If you need over 100yards range you’re in a world of trouble no matter what you got…

  41. My wife and I are traveling sales people with a high dollar inventory that is easily stolen. Besides a pair of handguns, an 870 12ga 21″ is available in immediately behind the front seat. If I have to exit the auto quickly due to someone forcing us off the road, it is quickly accessible. Plus, this is my old reliable deer gun. Nothing speaks confidence in the hand more than a weapon platform that I have been shooting for the last 43 years. If you are a hunter, think about your favorite rifle/shotgun that you handle in an out of blinds, stands, across fields, thru the woods, in the dark, the rain etc. My wife likes the shoulder artelliry too.
    Mossberg, Stevens, Bennelli, Remington, Browning….whatever your flavor, stick with what you are best with. A friend always has a beat up 30-30 that he has owned and shot for over 40 years in his trunk. Plus, keeping a simple hunting weapon around does not alarm LEO’s. I went thru a road block with the 870 on the floorboard and the Trooper saw it and did not even ask.

  42. I personally run a maverick 88 with a top folding stock. Very compact but can still be shouldered. Registered as a pistol in MI so I can keep her loaded in a vehicle. Plated #3 buckshot in her and then on the side saddle is brenneke black magic slugs(most devastating thing for a 12ga a civilian can get) and then on the saddle on the folding stock there is a few more buckshot.
    Barrel is 18.5″ cut from a vent rib and I have some fiber optics on the rib, a front and rear. I believe they are fire sights, also wears a flashlight, paracord cheek rest with a 5″ fixed blade knife weaved in, fishing kit and waterproof matches in the pistol grip and then the pump has a strap on it which I added 40ft more of paracord to. The sling also holds 5 rounds, these are varying birdshot loads. Also have a bandolier next to it full of ammo.

    Is it perfect? No. But it literally is a lead spewing survival kit.

    Plus top folders look bad ass, even if they are limited in practicality.

  43. No trunk gun for me. My Miata has a trunk, but anyone with a knife would have no difficulty in cutting the roof and accessing the remote release. My SUV does not have a trunk; a locked case to comply with legalities is too conspicuous. And car thefts are the second most popular crimes in town. Further, because I do live in town and travel rarely, the odds of running into a deer, cow, bear, yote etc that needs to be put down after a collision that can’t be accomplished with an EDC are remote. (God I hope I never hit a cow. I’d need the EDC to finish off me!)

  44. M1 Carbine. Light, accurate enough with iron sights or with a red dot. .30 carbine is versatile enough to put a hurt on a variety of problems, and the ammo is light enough to carry a bunch.

  45. Did anyone else thing “Ruger Black Hawk .357 (with 9mm compatible cylinder on the side) with a 6.5 inch barrel” as a good all around car gun? Or am I alone on this?

  46. I am just too broke to even put my AK in my truck. Instead, I put my old, reliable Hi-Point 995 Carbine in there. I carry 9mm, so the ammo stash that’s with it could come in handy. Plus it was less than $250.

    Sometimes, I think everyone on gun sites is a millionaire.

  47. Two thoughts/questions:

    1. How are you securing your weapon (s) in the trunk?

    2. How is this substantially different than off-body carry that was previously lambasted on this site?

  48. Chinese paratrooper SKS with the 2 reliable mags I have. I won’t worry what happens with that old thing.

    I wouldn’t choose my Sub2K because even though I love it the build quality does NOT inspire confidence. My 870 is already the home D gun, and I’ve got too much money in optics on my AR to leave the thing in my trunk. Not going the .22 route because the scenario where you’re using your trunk gun to subsist on small animals is beyond ridiculous.

    • PW – SKS paratroop is a great weapon. The most reliable magazine is the original 10 round box mag. But if you experience feeding issues with the Tapco magazines, there is a simple fix for that. Put the Tapco against the original and note that the top curved lips are longer than the original. Mark the excess with a sharpie and use a Dremel 1/2 in coarse sanding disk to remove the excess. Then take the disk and put it in from the front under the lips at about a 20 degree angle and remove some plastic under the lips. This will allow the rounds to point upward for better feeding. Takes about 2 minutes per mag and job done.

  49. My old trunk gun was Kel-Tec Sub-2000, largely because of its compact size allowing it to be stashed away in inconspicuously looking bags.

    Right now, it’s Extar EXP-556, which is an ultra-lightweight (all polymer receiver) 5.56 AR with a 8″ barrel. I’d prefer the same setup in .300 BLK if they made it, but it should be decent enough with Barnes ammo, even beyond to 100 yards. I’m not particularly married to Extar, but of all the AR “pistols”, it’s the cheapest.

    • Considered an Extar for the longest time. Only seen good things about it. But 5.56 loses a lot in that short of a barrel; to the point where you can’t rely on cativation witchcraft. Maybe consider an AK pistol? Granted, it’s heavier, but you get a better round out of it and it doesn’t lose so much out of the short barrel. A Drako, PAP M92, or something would fit the bill if you could get past the heft.

  50. I used to have trunk guns. I found out that they all liked to rust. Rapidly. If I were to have one again, that would have to be aggressively dealt with.

  51. (1) Zavasta PAP M92PV Pistol AK w/ red dot + several 30 round mags of 7.62 alternating FMJ and HP.

    If I am ever in need of a truck gun, I want a potent caliber that can penetrate people and barriers out to a modestly effective range. And at current prices, I can do that for $450 with cheap ammunition to feed it.

    –5.56 AR is a fair choice, but barrier and glass penetration is meh. Last i checked, neither Mini14s nor ARs are cheap enough to lose.
    –A shotgun has a very limited payload. I know you can top up as you shoot, but i hope they give you time to reload.
    –300blk is a potent caliber nearly equal to the 7.62, but the price of such a setup causes me to wince for a truck gun. I’d cry if i lost this one. Supressed would be sm3xy tho.

    But then, it’s not my truck gun. Your mission may vary (YMMV).

  52. Currently don’t have one (surprisingly truck guns are legal in Canada) but I used to have a 12ga coach gun in there. But the weather here is hard on guns. I ended up with a bit of surface rust but nothing serious. Took it out after that. I would think one of the marine coat shotguns would be good for this kind of job.

  53. Maybe I just have a easier commute? But where are you all driving that requires this much firepower daily? Outside of Alaska, where do drive that require you to fight off anybody or thing with a trunk gun? Not to mention the idea of a car thief driving off with a thousand dollars worth of gun in the trunk. Then there is to whole matter of state lines and regs. What is ok in PA, is not ok over the line in DE,NJ, MD or NY. I need a good spare & serpentine belt more than a shotgun in the trunk.

  54. I didn’t really have a trunk gun, but I did take all my guns with me as “hull guns.” You know, on my boat. Never know when pirates will attack my local reservoir. If it wan’t for that darn accident…


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