If your local laws allow it, having a dedicated weapon stashed in your trunk or behind the back seat of your vehicle can grant peace of mind if you have to bug-out or simply give you an added level of firepower if you’re on the road during an unexpected deadly situation.
The ideal truck gun is a relatively compact long gun or rifle caliber pistol. Why? Because daily life dictates there still needs to be room in your vehicle’s cargo space for things such as groceries and the kid’s sports gear. It also needs to be inexpensive, as it doesn’t make much sense to sink thousands of dollars into a gun that’s likely going to sit idle for most of its life. That being said, poor reliability isn’t an option: Your truck gun simply has to work when it counts.
We didn’t include any pistol caliber handguns on our list, as you should be carrying one concealed on a daily basis anyway (state and local laws permitting, of course). As a general rule of thumb, if your pants are on, your gun needs to be on. Your truck gun is simply a firearm with additional capabilities over your carry gun, and since you don’t have to worry about concealing it on your person, compact long guns simply make sense from a practical standpoint.
Here are our top 10 choices for “at-the-ready” vehicle weapons, in no particular order.
1. PAP M92
The PAP M92 just might be the quintessential modern truck gun. Its 10-inch barrel and familiar set of controls (think AK-47) give users a fully featured, compact blaster chambered in the ever-popular 7.62×39 cartridge. Leave it like it comes, or send off $200 and a stack of paperwork to the federal government to convert it to a legal short-barreled rifle. Either way, the fact that it readily accepts standard AK magazines will make it a favorite choice for many daily drivers.
There are few problems that a solid 12-gauge shotgun can’t immediately rectify, and the Maverick 88 definitely matches that description. It’s a little longer than most of the guns on our list, but the slim overall profile makes up for it. Dual extractors and action bars to match also mean that reliability is built in from the ground up. If you’re the kind of gun owner that can get more done with less, the Maverick 88 needs to be behind your truck’s back seat. Click here to read more about the Maverick 88.
No list of truck guns is complete without at least mentioning the Kel-Tec SU-16. This little guy actually folds completely in half, and fits in the smallest of spaces. Even though you could (almost) put it in your back pocket, the SU-16 features a very clever integral bipod—perfect for picking off varmints on the ranch from the hood of your truck. The best parts? It accepts any AR-15 magazine, and features a hardy chrome-lined bore and chamber. Click here or here to read more about the Kel-Tec SU-16 rifle.
Scoff if you will at the homely appearance and unpolished features of the Hi-Point 995TS, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more rugged little carbine to keep behind the spare tire. With the ability to accept all types of 9mm Luger ammo, up to +P pressures, the 995TS has the versatility needed to get you home when the chips are down. Plus, it’s made right here in the US of A. Click here to read more about the Hi-Point Carbine.
Slap open the under-folding stock on the Century Arms M70, and you’ll be wielding a full-sized carbine that brings everything positive about the AK-47 to your local gunfight. The M70 can go from a svelte car companion to a ready-for-business long gun in about the same amount of time it takes to say it. Stock up on a handful of 30-round magazines, and say hello to peace of mind. Click here to read about the AK-47.
Ok, we know that this doesn’t exactly meet the “inexpensive” goal of our ideal truck gun, but who can resist sixteen rounds of 12-gauge shotgun shells in a package that isn’t even 30 inches long? We’d advise keeping some spare shells handy, but if you need more than 16 shots you’d better hope your buddy brought his truck (complete with truck gun) along as well. Click here to read more about the DP-12.
Simple is good. And the Rossi Model 92 is about as simple as it gets! Guns such as these have been riding along with their owners since before the motorized vehicle was invented, and they can still get the job done today. As a major plus, the Rossi Model 92 is compatible with all .357 Magnum and .38 Special loads, which means you’re in luck if your EDC handgun is also chambered in one of these calibers.
.22 Long Rifle is by no means an ideal choice for self-defense, but it’s a great selection for small game and survival situations. The Henry U.S. survival rifle is so compact once you slip the barreled action into the buttstock, it would serve well as a backup under-the-seat gun to your regular trunk gun. It also floats, when stashed in the stock… boat gun, anybody?
Nearly as slim as a svelte lever action carbine, the Savage Hog Hunter is a nearly perfect truck gun right out of the box. In a move that’s sadly becoming rarer and rarer these days, Savage chose to equip the Hog Hunter with a rugged set of big-game style iron sights. Just add a sling (and maybe an inexpensive micro red dot) and you’ll be ready for anything.
Price: $487.59 for .223 and $489.14 for .308
It can be hard to get away from the AR-15 platform these days, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Having a truck gun with the same sight picture and controls as your primary defensive rifle can greatly simplify things like training, parts compatibility and user familiarity. The lightweight profile barrel keeps the weight down, which is ideal for firing schedules that don’t call for regular magazine dumps.
Part of a Complete Preparedness Mindset
Stashed with a spare magazine or two, or bandolier of shells, the above guns can get you out of pretty much any sticky situation without breaking the bank (for the most part). Add a first-aid kit, water filtration system and a few days’ worth of pre-packaged food, and you’ll be set for the beginning of the apocalypse and most of whatever may come afterwards.
We know you’ve got a shotgun or rifle-caliber blaster stashed someplace handy in your vehicle. What’s your favorite “get out of dodge” gun? Let us know in the comment section.