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Posted on January 13, 2020 by in Training

Understanding the Truck Gun Concept

Understanding the Truck Gun Concept

The truck gun concept – also known as the good, the bad, and the ugly – entails carrying a long gun in a vehicle as a supplementary backup weapon for a concealed handgun, or for situations in which a long gun could be brought into play. This weapon, referred to as a “trunk gun” if carried in a coupe or sedan, comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Historically, truck guns chosen by concealed carriers were typically pump-action shotguns, or a lever-action .30-30, AR-15, AK-47 or SKS. Recently, concealed carriers seem to be purchasing AR-15 pistols chambered in .223/5.56mm, .300 Blackout, as well as pistol calibers like the 9mm.

If you enjoy Spaghetti Westerns, like the Sergio Leone-directed Clinton Eastwood classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, you should appreciate our truck gun classification system below:

The Good

A truck gun might be the tool of choice in encounters in which a concealed carrier is forced to use or threaten the use of lethal force against others. Truck guns are easier to shoot accurately and are more ballistically effective than handguns.

I grew up in rural Western Oklahoma where my family farmed and ran cattle. I often kept a rifle in our truck for running off feral dogs that would chase cattle, as well as for dispatching barn skunks. Unfortunately, I was too young to be trusted with a rifle when coyotes wiped out our free-range chickens. Ranchers that ran cow-calf operations shot coyotes on sight, as they wreaked havoc on new-born calves.

Police officers also need to have a long gun available to them due to the variety of problems they face. It’s only in the last few decades we’ve seen the patrol rifle become widely available for LE use.

The Bad

Keeping a truck gun inside the cabin or the trunk exposes it to theft. Many violent crimes in which firearms were used involve stolen weapons. A large percentage of those stolen guns were taken from vehicles.

The safest way to store a truck gun is in a locked vault bolted to the bed of an SUV or truck (with a shell or cover over it), or in the trunk of a car. The downside is that it might take several minutes to gain access to a truck gun in a situation where seconds might count. When looking at active shooter scenarios and responses, every minute that intervention by an armed “good guy” is delayed gives the shooter another minute to fire on innocent victims.

In other words, if a concealed carrier needs to react immediately, it usually makes more sense to default to the concealed handgun, rather than a truck gun stowed away to prevent theft.

The Ugly

Police academy firearms instructor and Texas police officer Hany Mahmoud explained that law enforcement officers responding to shootings are trained to tag people at an ongoing or recent violent crime scene as victims, offenders or bystanders/witnesses.

If that’s the case, how does an armed civilian defender fit in? The unfortunate truth is that there’s a significant chance that a concealed carrier whose intentions are good might mistakenly be engaged by law enforcement, or even another concealed carrier who misreads the situation.

The chances of these dangerous mishaps occurring increase further if the armed “Good Samaritan” is downrange from an incident using a long gun. He or she, while having the best of intentions, could be misidentified as the active shooter, or accidentally target the wrong person (due to the distances involved).

Final Thoughts

While I may seem vehemently opposed to truck guns, that’s not the case. I believe there are concealed carriers who have a legitimate reason for having a truck gun in their vehicle. Some examples of these reasons include people living in isolated rural areas, and in locations where crime is high or dangerous animals run wild.

(Fun fact: The moose cow is one of the most dangerous animals in North America.)

Concealed carriers should put some serious thought into whether or not they ought to keep a truck gun (or trunk gun) in their vehicle. They should weigh the pros and cons of a truck gun, then make an informed decision.

Steve Moses

Steve is a long-time defensive weapons instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (