The "truck gun"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Balrog, May 5, 2019.

  1. Balrog

    Balrog Member

    Nov 28, 2008
    In another thread, the question was asked "what is a truck gun?". I am not sure I have ever seen a definition of the niche that would be occupied by a truck gun, and thought I would open this as a topic for discussion. I will start by describing what I use a truck gun for, and some of the things I think a truck gun should do.

    Here would be me thoughts on what a "truck gun" is:

    1. A weapon primarily stored in a vehicle for use in wooded/rural areas.
    2. My primary use is to dispatch vermin, such as poisonous snakes, varmints, and other pests.
    3. It is not primarily designed for self defense against humans, nor is it a hunting weapon.
    4. Range for me would be relatively short.
    5. Short enough that it could stored easily out of sight in the vehicle.
    6. Short and light enough that walking through the woods with it isn't a concern.
    7. Needs to function with minimal maintenance.
    8. Cheap enough that its not the end of the world if it takes wear from use, or in worse case scenario, stolen.
    9. Rugged enough that it can take some abuse and still function.
    10. When used, most of the time it would be offhand and unrested.
    11. It is not a weapon you would ever pick for a specific mission, but is more of a jack of all trades, master of none. It is a compromise weapon.
    12. Generally it would be used when you are on some outdoor activity, for example, riding fence rows, or cruising timber, and an unexpected need arises

    Presently, my truck gun is a Ruger Vaquero in 45 Colt, with the first 2 rounds being CCI shotshells, and the rest being a run of the mill 250g lead round nose. I think it does what I need it to do.

    What are others thoughts on a what a truck gun is, and what it should be able to do.
    Olon and NIGHTLORD40K like this.

    LRDGCO Member

    Jul 11, 2018
    Good list.

    Points 1 - 4 would, I think, vary. Certainly there are some folks who have a long gun in the truck intended for defense in urban situations. If you are out West, a truck gun might be used for coyotes of opportunity, which also may mean long range. I use 12 ga Benelli pump as a truck gun when wheeling overnight. Buck and slug on hand around the campfire offers a degree of comfort. I might use a HiPoint carbine in 45acp. Looks alone should scare off anyone with any taste. If I'm just out on trail during the day, a 45 Colt R92 or Savage 340 in 30-30.

    My walking in the woods sidearm is gernally a Blackhawk 45 Colt with the first up a CCI Snake shot, the rest are 300 grs cast penetrators. If I go "light" its a 1911 Commander with Berrys plated flat nose.
    NIGHTLORD40K likes this.

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

    Mar 17, 2015
    Nostramo (in absentia), Segmentum Ultima
    Since my trunk gun is mainly a last ditch weapon for a massive civil unrest scenario, my requirements are-

    1)More powerful and accurate than my CC and/or glove box pistol.
    2)Better effective range than a pistol, but not neccesarily long ranged- 200 yards is fine.
    3)Large magazine capacity and commonly available ammo.

    Im packing a 16" AR at the moment, with a 10" 9mm upper and conversion kit in my kit as well. Its probably overkill, but you only have enough gun until you dont......
    ontarget and adcoch1 like this.
  4. paulsj

    paulsj Member

    Jan 12, 2017
    I do not believe guns should be stored in vehicles. Quintessential truck gun is Somonov commonly known as SKS. Chinese once made shortened commercial version.
  5. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    Middle Tn
    Truck/Trunk gun is a pretty personal thing. It depends on what the individual does that may create or invite the need for a weapon. A person in the city may need a firearm for a very different purpose than a person in a rural area. Similarly, a desert dweller may have different needs than a person living in a forested area. So realistically, there is no definition of what this type of gun is beyond the very basic description of “cheap gun that will do most of what you might need”.

    I just bought an old 16ga single to serve that role for me. At $100 I don’t think I did anything wrong. I will do a little leather work for it and make it into what will serve my needs which are minimal. I need something to eliminate a copperhead or rattler should that threat become real. I need something to put a little protein over the fire if that ever becomes a need. I don’t realistically see any other needs, but there’s not much that a shotgun can’t do. Being a 16 and a single it’s less desirable in 2 ways so I don’t worry as much about it growing legs and escaping from the trunk of my Honda Accord. If I find that my 16 is ever “not enough” then I probably brought that upon myself. An ounce of lead at 1200fps is generally “plenty” unless you have large predators in the area in which case it’s still probably plenty but I would opt for a 12 instead just for a little bit “more plenty”
  6. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Western NY State
    I'm another who never stores guns in my truck. So if a gun goes along with me the choice is made by factors such as where I"m going and what I plan on doing or possibly expecting when I'm there.
  7. dirtman

    dirtman Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    I have spent a lot of time in vary rural areas.. I always have a gun with me, mostly a 22 mag rugar american but depending on the area i could have anything up to a 45-70. I dont leave any guns in the truck over night, no need to check the honesty of others. The little maggie has been a great help in dispatching several rapid vermin...
  8. rskent

    rskent Member

    May 28, 2006
    The land of blue sky and sunshine
    In your scenario I would think a solid 12-gauge pump shotgun would be perfect.
    Duster340 likes this.
  9. jstert

    jstert Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    ne and sw
    some concerns about a trunk gun: reluctance to have firearms away from my immediate control. worry about being in a traffic accident and what to do with it as my car is towed away. forgetting it’s there when i enter a military base or cross into an unfree state. i’m probably not rural enough to comfortably have one regularly.

    that said, i’ve settled on a marlin papoose 22lr semiauto rifle when having a trunk gun fits my travels. small and portable when carried broken-down in an unobtrusive gym bag. rimfire is ok in unfree states, but unloaded of course. light enough even with a 500 round brick if i must hoof it. i generally have a ccw handgun too when it’s lawful. a trunk handgun would be a ruger single six with both 22lr/wmr cylinders, for the same reasons as the papoose.
    sparkyv and RedlegRick like this.
  10. Balrog

    Balrog Member

    Nov 28, 2008
    I agree, except that it is hard to put a shotgun with a full stock out of sight in a truck. 18.5 inch barrel with a folding stock might be good though.
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    For those storing weapons and more importantly, ammunition, in vehicles, be aware heat deteriorates gunpowder. The rate of gunpowder deterioration is exponential in relation to temperature. If you don't know what that means, it means the higher the temperature, the faster gunpowder breaks down.


    Militaries who have test equipment generally discard gunpowder when the percent of stabilizer left in gunpowder reaches 20% (0.20). This gives them about a seven year safe period before all stabilizer is consumed and the gunpowder auto combusts. As nitrocellulose breaks down, it releases NOx. Stabilizer soaks up NOx but is consumed in the process.


    I don't remember how many weeks this test was run, but another thing bad about gunpowder, is that pressures rise as it deteriorates.


    I recommend all vehicle stored ammunition be shot up within a couple of years. Actual Service men can testify that ammunition does not do well when subjected to a environment of constant heat and vibration.

    I do not expect to survive an actual apocalypse. If electrical transmission stops, utilities end, and civilian authority breaks down, only the young and the lucky will survive the hunger, diseases, and chaos that will ensue. Old geezers like me can't handle deprivation and hard physical stress for long. And neither will huge swathes of the population who are only alive because of pharmacies. I am primarily worried about the sort of lawless behavior I remember in the LA riots, (I was there, and scared) and when the residents of Liberty City boiled across I-95, and after pulling nice, harmless drivers out of their vehicles, proceeded to kill them: Miami Riots. Luckily on that day I was about an hour north of the actual killing locations, but it made an impression on me. I think a small frame pistol will be sufficient for me to make it through such nastiness, and so a 38 Special snubbie is carried in one vehicle:


    and this in another:

  12. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    SouthEastern FL
    My budget doesn't have the Vaquero meeting criteria eight in the OP.

    Though I don't keep a "truck gun" currently (in either of my trucks), the ones I have considered are a .22LR rifle (Mossberg 702), H&R Pardner Protector in 12 gauge, an old Rossi 68 revolver, a Hi-Point C9, and a Kahr CW45. These are all guns I currently own, so no new purchase would be required.
  13. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

    Sep 18, 2005
    North Central Ohio
    Everybody has their own reason(s) for having a firearm stowed in their vehicle(s). Because my wife and I frequently make long trips on the road, our main purpose is to be armed while staying in motels or to be prepared in the event of being stranded for weather-related conditions or temporal civil unrest/societal breakdown situations.

    In the Ram, "crew-cab" configured pickup truck is a hidden, locked safe carrying a double-action Smith&Wesson Model 686+ revolver, chambered in .357 Magnum, a Smith & Wesson Model 6906 semi-auto, chambered in 9mm and a single-action Ruger Super Single Six .22 rf/.22 rf Magnum revolver. Inside the locked "Ram Box", mounted on racks, are a Ruger Mini-14, semi-auto carbine, chambered in .223/5.56 NATO and a Winchester Model 1300, 12 gauge, pump shotgun. Holsters, ammunition and cleaning kits for all are stored separately.

    In the Jeep Grand Cherokee, is a hidden, locked safe carrying a double-action Colt King Cobra revolver, chambered in .357 Magnum and a double-action Charter Arms revolver, chambered in .22rf. Holsters, ammunition and a cleaning kit for both are likewise stored separately.

    Both safes in the aforementioned vehicles are cabled to parts of the vehicles' "infrastructures". All firearms except the shotgun are made from s/s and all are kept lubricated on a regular basis. Also, in each vehicle, a compact and modest "survival" kit (containing a single-unit cook stove, propane bottle, fire-starting material, knife, some soup and sardine containers, blanket, etc.) is kept.

    Finally, we carry guns only when traveling through "free" states having ccw reciprocity agreements and are careful to abide by their carry regulations. I wouldn't travel with a dull knitting needle through states having draconian firearm laws (i.e., New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, to name a few). I try to avoid these states altogether.
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
    sparkyv and NIGHTLORD40K like this.
  14. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

    May 1, 2013
    I am of the mindset that a firearm should not be stored in a vehicle for an extended period of time, even overnight. Closest I get to having a truck gun is throwing the AR15 in the trunk with a couple of loaded magazines on the long road trip to the in laws. Usually end up against the idea for one reason or another.
    Anchorite and P5 Guy like this.
  15. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    To me a truck gun should be able to dispatch coyotes across a field. This is usually 400 yards or less.
    I don't feel the need for a truck gun other than that.
    Farmers, ranchers, and loggers could agree to that.
    I don't get into the whole downfall of society thing so I don't need an armored vehicle and an arsenal to drive to work.
    Keith G, Armored farmer and P5 Guy like this.
  16. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

    Nov 6, 2017
    If for some reason I find myself in the condition posited by the OP, it would either be a 12 gauge pump with a riot barrel or a second-hand .22 auto.

    Nothing much over 200 bucks would keep me happy leaving it in there, and I've made my feelings known on that, but am willing to bend a little depending on the situation.
  17. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

    Aug 25, 2016
    Truck gun, hunting rifle, all the same to me. My truck gun is my go to 30-06 hunting rifle. I know it is applicable in every scenario.
    Bfh_auto likes this.
  18. Good Ol' Boy

    Good Ol' Boy Member

    Apr 26, 2016
    Mechanicsville, VA
    I dont trust my truck with a gun. She can be a bit finicky.

    However if I were to be traveling with my truck I'd probably be inclined to throw a 12g in.

    My cars get nothing but extra mags for my EDC.
    sparkyv likes this.
  19. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

    Nov 7, 2016
    Green Mountains Vermont
    I think a ruger 10/22 side folder would be an excellent choice. Possibly single shot 20ga or AR carbine. So many that could fit the bill. .357 with 4" or 6" bbl.
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  20. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

    May 24, 2015
    Truck gun to me is something to shoot chucks or yotes, and something not afraid to scratch up.
    Ride on the floorboard kinda thing.
    My choice?
    Frankengun AR15.
    Actually I call mine the "ex wife" because I don't care about it.
  21. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    There are lots of guns that fit just about any situation.

    My Grandfather kept the Rem 721 in .257 Roberts in the gun rack for coyote, feral dogs in his pasture, etc.

    I keep a Mini 14 with two 20- rounders in a welded gun rack in the rear of my duty vehicle. We issue them, we have 50-odd Minis in the field with similar racks.

    As was pointed out earlier, the ammo does take a beating rattling around in the summer heat. Every three years we exchange the ammo by having the folks shoot their duty ammo up and issuing out new stuff. So far we haven’t had a misfire or other ammo related issue (knock on wood!).

    For others maybe a takedown carbine or a folder may do the trick. Securing the gun is important, so always take precautions to keep it from getting boosted.

    Stay safe!
  22. Labguy47

    Labguy47 Member

    May 13, 2018
    We had 2 growing up, one was a no name .22lr bought from sears catalog in the 30s and an SKS out of the barrel for $59. Both where used exclusively for farm work. The .22 was a snake gun and the rifle was for yote or wild dogs that went after calves. Occasionally it would scare off a big cat.
  23. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    South Eastern Illinois
    The truck gun came into being before Illinois adopted CC laws. It was (and is) legal to carry in a console of a vehicle.
    Now that we have CCL, the point is kinda moot.
    For me the 'truck gun' was a real thing. It got used often for varmints around the farm. It felt good to have on a few occasions when the hair raises.
    A revolver worked best for me. Either .22 or .357. I carried a carbine in the back some, but it wasn't as handy as a handgun in the console.
    This was my truck gun kit.
    Taurus 669 and holster
  24. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    The Land that Time Forgot
    The list more or less describes what my view on a concealed carry gun should be, with the exception of number 8.

    So I tend to just conceal carry rather than leave a gun in my truck.

    It’s a good list though.
    ontarget likes this.
  25. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

    Nov 4, 2018
    Having lived in the western part of the country for many years a "truck gun" depended on location. In the city it was usually a plain pump action shotgun, hung on a rack at the back window of the truck. In rural areas it tended to be more a CF rifle than a shotgun & varied from lever actions to scoped BA rifles. Either way they were stored in plain sight & obviously meant to let everyone know that you were a "bad ass". Of course that's not to say that there couldn't be a handgun in the glove box or under the seat.
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