Trunk Guns

One of the biggest ongoing phenomena is the firearms space is the concept of a trunk gun.  Whether it is a handgun, shotgun, or a rifle, firearms are simply tools. When it comes to any tool, you first must ask what is your objective?

Let’s begin by considering the history or evolution of this phenomenon. The precursor to trunk guns were probably truck guns. These were often rifles placed in the back of pickup trucks, which allowed ranchers and farmers who were working the land or tending to herds to deal with verments, predators, or other threats to their crops and livestock. And occasionally, to put down injured livestock. It historically also had the ability to be used for hunting or defense, if required. Truck guns gave their owners additional firepower or reach when their handguns may not have been sufficient.

Trunk Guns by Mark “Six” James CPO, EPS, CAS

Meanwhile, for decades police officers often carried trunks guns in their patrol cars for when they needed enhanced firepower. The most frequently carried trunk gun for police officers was the shotgun. The shotgun is a very formidable adversary and is used by many departments, private security firms, and civilians who need simplicity and enhanced firepower as cost-effective option. Better funded departments, agencies, and civilians have moved from shotguns in favor of carbines for the ease of firing, reach, penetration, capacity and the need to keep up with the firepower being carried by today’s professional predators.

Trunk Guns are LuxuriesFirst, in my humble opinion, a trunk gun is a luxury because the speed of violence often does not afford us the convenience of time or place to pick the engagement or the tempo of the event. In reality, more often than not, you may have to fight with what you have at hand.  Whether that is your handgun, blade, or vehicle, because unless you are doing armed security in high risk areas or working high profile government sites, rarely do people carry long guns on their person. Also, if I could predict the time and place of a potential encounter I would just choose to not be there as opposed to getting into a firefight.

Scenarios Which May Call For A Trunk GunIf I am thinking about transitioning to a trunk gun either the situation has significantly deteriorated to where a tactical escape or the ability to move to hard cover is not available. Or it could be that I am in a scenario where I am significantly overpowered and outgunned. Other considerations could be where I may need to proactively prepare for the trouble I see ahead, with the consideration that I might be forced to engagement as I move through an environment. Or it could be that I am responding to a call for assistance where I may not momentarily be the focus of the threat, which would allow me to proactively transition to the additional firepower in a low risk environment.

Speed of Violence and Vehicle Gun FightingWhen time is life, what is the most efficient way to problem solve the issue? If this is an immediate close proximity threat, is the threat best resolved with the operator attempting to access their firearm or should we let the vehicle do the fighting? For years, drivers have been transitioning from the brake to the gas pedal and can do that in a nanosecond. What is most likely to change the bad guy’s channel, seeing a 5,600 lb. projectile (a Ford F150) coming at him or a 55-grain hollow point bullet? When it comes to a deadly force situation, and particularly the concept of vehicle gun fighting or fighting in and around the vehicle, typically the only way I am doing that is if my vehicle is disabled. If not, I am driving into, around, or over the threat.

Level upIf you have decided a trunk gun has a place in your self-defense arsenal, then you may want to consider leveling up to give you increased reach, accuracy, capacity, penetration or stopping power over your handgun. Rarely would I look to transition to another pistol caliber weapon.  Long guns with their three points of contact offer enhanced stability and also aide in increased accuracy and ability to manage recoil on initial shots and subsequent follow up shots.  Transitioning to a rifle caliber ammunition often allows you enhanced reach. And AR style weapons, whether rifle or pistol, offer you enhanced capacity. If your trunk gun is a shotgun, shotguns are devastating, particularly when loaded with 00 Buck or slugs. They have a proven reliability and many states allow private security officers to carry shotguns as patrol options, but rarely authorize carbines.

Don’t Step on the Wrong Side of the LawOne significant advantage of an AR Pistol if you have a CCW is it may be more beneficial if you will be crossing state lines because it is a pistol and covered by your CCW in states that reciprocate with your home state.

An example of law, under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 states:

“Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.

Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons’ carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.

Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.

Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun who is eligible for a weapons carry license may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle.”

All states are not as firearm friendly as Georgia, so consult an attorney in your home state or pending states of travel to stay up to date with current laws as you don’t want to carry a felony.

Responsibility Starts with Securing your WeaponEvery year law enforcement departments pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace firearms stolen from the trunks of officer’s vehicles. Whether you are a law enforcement officer, private security operator, or a civilian, as a responsible gun owner you must take steps to ensure our firearms are secure. There are a number of great security devices on the market today including weapons clamps, storage boxes, firearms safes and console, rear seat, trunk, or bed vaults. All of these may be accessed through a variety of methods from keys, codes, dials to biometric options.

Trunk Guns by Mark “Six” James CPO, EPS, CAS
Trunk Guns by Mark “Six” James CPO, EPS, CAS

Another consideration for your trunk gun is to carry it in bag. The benefits of carrying it in a bag is that it provides you the element of concealability, lets you to grab and go, and gives you the assurance of knowing you are carrying both the secondary weapon and spare ammunition in the event of a protracted engagement. If I am carrying it in a bag, I like low-profile messenger style bags or backpacks without molle straps so that the bag does not scream “shooter.”  Also, the other benefit of the bags is you can get them with bulletproof inserts and carry an individual first aid kit (IFAK).

Trunk Guns by Mark “Six” James CPO, EPS, CAS

Six’s – Six Sense onTrunk Guns

  1. Learn to be proficient with your EDC, the best gun you have is the one you have on you at the moment of the initial encounter. Trunk guns are luxuries. Remember the bad guys often dictate the time, place and cadance of the encounter.  Rarely will it be convenient.

  2. Level up from your EDC. Don’t trade one handgun caliber round for another handgun caliber round.

  3. Trunk guns must be stored securely, but be easily accessible. Remember time is life.

  4. The AR pistol platform fitted with some type of stabilization brace offers you the greatest options for accuracy, reach, penetration, capacity and transportability, particularly if you have a CCW.

  5. Know the laws in your state and states of travel so you don’t carry a felony.

  6. Never leave your trunk gun in your vehicle overnight. Stay safe and whatever trunk gun you decide on, take time to master accessing it as much as operating it.

Trunk GunsMark “Six” James CPO, EPS, CAS

Mark “Six” James is Founder and Executive Director of Panther Protection Services, LLC. He is an internationally published author, keynote speaker, security consultant to educational institutions and a frequent contributor to several print, broadcast, and online media. Panther Protection Services is a full-service protection agency focusing on Risk and Crisis Mitigation, Protective Services, Self-Defense Training, and Firearm Instruction.

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