Top 5 Best Truck Guns
It would be an understatement to admit that I am a great admirer of a carbine. But the fact is that I am, and carry one daily in my vehicle. Having said that, remember it is your responsibility to know the gun laws of your state and how those laws relate to carrying a firearm in your vehicle. One excellent resource for you to refer to is: www.handgunlaw.us. Although the site is named for handguns, it has information about carrying guns in vehicles in all 50 states. If in doubt, do your research!
For the purposes of this article I define a carbine as a short rifle with an 18” or shorter barrel. The stock may be fixed, collapsible, or of folding design. I do not limit this discussion only to semi-auto actions as you will soon discover. Additionally, I do not exclude pistol caliber carbines from my discussion here.
So why carry a carbine in your vehicle? Because anything I can do with a handgun I can do better with a short rifle. In a vehicle, there’s limited space in which to move around. If I must fight or defend myself from within or around my mode of transportation, the ability to move with ease can become challenging with all but a pistol or carbine. I give myself a huge advantage with the extended barrel length, stock weld to my shoulder, and sight radius the carbine offers.
Plus, in most cases, greater distance and accuracy capability is gained in part due to the high velocity rifle cartridges of most carbines. That’s not to negate most of the same advantages of a pistol caliber in a carbine as well.
There are countless applications for a carbine when it comes to a survival or bug out situation. So in my estimation the carbine has a place in every single vehicle I own. Understand I have carried a carbine for decades while traveling roadways in this country. Also understand I currently reside in a western state that has no law prohibiting any gun, loaded and accessible, inside my truck.
With all the above in mind, let’s take a look at some possible choices for carbine carry in a vehicle. By no means is this short list to be considered the only list. Just my top 5 best truck guns.
1. AR platform pistol
Here I’m speaking of platforms like the Sig P516 with the legal-off-the-shelf, SB Tactical arm brace. In the 10-inch barrel, chambered in 5.56, this platform provides wonderful in-vehicle access and mobility while still allowing the shooter to have a point of contact to the shoulder if the need arises. There are also some excellent choices in the 7.62 x 39 caliber such as the Krebs PD-18 Pistol with an 11-inch barrel. While there have been some discussions as to the legality of either pistol being fired from the shoulder like a carbine, in an immediate threat environment I will opt to do what needs to be done.
These “pistols” do come with an ATF compliant letter stating the arm brace is for arm support to the pistol, thereby not requiring an NFA permit due to the short barrel length. There are numerous platforms available that allow for this shortened barrel in conjunction with a non-traditional stock or “pistol brace.” The ability to use a standard 20-, 30-, or even 40-round magazine, make these systems are ideal for vehicle carry. My condolences to citizens of those states that are under such extreme government control that you are not allowed standard magazines for your own defense!
2. Trapper model lever action
Between various manufacturers (Winchester, Henry, and Rossi, to mention a few) there are many caliber choices here including the 357 and 44 magnum. My choice has always been the ole 30-30. In the short Trapper (16-inch barrel) model, this little lever gun is ideal for carry inside a vehicle. It’s also very flat-sided and easy to position between the seats for quick access. I carried this carbine many miles in this manner, and still do on occasion. In 30-30, it’s an effective cartridge out to around 200-300 yards. Even the best truck guns can have a downside, for this package, it’s the tubular magazine capacity of five rounds in the 30-30 cartridge.
3. Kel Tec Sub2000
Moving into a pistol only cartridge in a short carbine (16.25-inch barrel) it would be hard to argue with of the maneuverability and ease of access this little package offers. Standard offering is 9mm and 40 S&W. The Sub2000 uses Glock magazines and consequently will accept the extended 33-round 9mm and the 22-round 40 S&W versions. Another handy feature is the ability to fold it in half for extreme covert carry. It’s very easily carried between the seat and console right next to you while driving. Kel Tec has updated the original Sub2000 and I very much enjoy my “Gen 2” chambered in 9mm.
4. M1 30 carbine
This carbine platform has been around since World War II. With an 18-inch barrel and magazine capacity of 15 or 30 rounds, this 30 caliber semi-auto has a muzzle velocity of about 1,990 feet per second. It has seen military and police service around the world. While perhaps not the most ideal cartridge, it certainly fits the bill for a quick access carbine inside a vehicle and is quite enjoyable to shoot.
5. Kel Tec CMR-30
Another innovative offering from Kel Tec is the CMR-30 in 22 Magnum, with a 16-inch barrel. This hot little rim fire cartridge has been used over the years for everything from bringing in the camp meat to self-defense. I like the CMR-30 because the stock telescopes all way flush with the back of the receiver. It comes with a 30-round box magazine. Aside from a great vehicle carry gun, if you are thinking survival, couple this with the Kel Tec PMR-30, the accompanying pistol that takes the same mag, and you have an excellent bugout package.
As I previously stated, this is a short list of the best truck gun carbine options available. I do have personal experience with each of the above listed platforms and know they carry well inside a vehicle and will likewise easily be deployed outside the vehicle with ease if the need arises. Bottom line, carbine carry in my everyday transportation is the rule, not the exception.