Trunk Guns: Gun Preparedness Means Having a Gun

Trunk Guns: Gun Preparedness Means Having a Gun

by Ben Branam


Ben with a Steyr Aug

The first time I heard the term “trunk Gun” was from a cop in California that kept his MP5 there and it was the gun he had for “when things go to shit,” his words. Since then I’ve kept my own gun in my trunk for when things go sideways. The first time I remember having a dedicated, thought-out trunk gun was Y2K. I lived in Southern California and had to work at Disneyland for the turn of the century. In the trunk went my folding stock Winchester 1200 Defender, a trench coat to cover it, and an assortment of ammo in a couple different carriers. I called it my “get home gun” at the time. I planned routes to drive and walk if needed.

More and more I find myself putting a gun in the trunk. Should you carry one? Three cases make me say yes. The Florida School Board shooting where a crazy gunman came in to kill members of the Panama School Board. A police security guard was in attendance. The guard went to his car for more ammo and body armor. I bet he would have given a lot for a long gun at that moment.

After 9/11 a well-known firearms trainer ended up driving half way across the country with nothing but a 5-shot Smith and Wesson J-Frame revolver in his pocket because he didn’t pack anything else.

The Kenyan Mall Attack where terrorist took over the mall for days. A couple contractors teamed up and went in with the police to fight. I would love to have a rifle in that case.

Now that you are thinking of getting a trunk gun you need a rifle that will fit your mission. Define the things you might want or need a long gun for and in what terrain you might use the rifle. What long gun are you good with? If it were for the worst wouldn’t you want something that you are good with? Now look at your limitations. They might include limited space, how you must store the gun, the security of the weapon (yes you are responsible for it), and social acceptance (are people that normally around you going to freak out if they see it?).

I carry a WASR 10/AK-47 in my truck a lot of the time because it fits my needs. I have trained on it a lot and used one overseas as a contractor. When I got back I competed in Carbine matches with it a bunch; so I’m good with the rifle. I added a folding stock to so when it sits behind the seat of my truck it doesn’t look like a gun in a case. This is for the gun’s security in the vehicle and for when I take it back and forth from the truck to my house. The gun isn’t secure in my truck at night. It’s also socially unacceptable for me to have a rifle in a lot of places so again the rifle hides well.

I travel in south and west Texas a lot and need something with some range in the wide-open oil fields that I drive through. The AK is an honest 300-yard gun, but I can still use it in the urban centers of San Antonio where I live. And with 30-round magazines I can carry a couple and have a good amount of ammo.

With the good comes some bad, the rifle has crappy sights, the ammo is heavy to carry, it’s not the greatest urban weapon, and not everyone knows how to use it.

So what gun is right for you? I don’t know. Find the one that meets your possible missions and that you know how to use. Here are some trunk guns that you might not have thought of:

  • Kel-Tec Sub 2000; It folds in half to make it smaller, has a $400 price tag, and can be ordered to take common pistol mags from Glock, Beretta or Sig. The downside is that it’s a pistol caliber and is hard to mount optics and accessories to.
  • AR Pistol; It’s small and compact, really light, ammo is available and most people have a basic understanding of how the AR works. Downside is that they are really loud to shoot, you give up a lot of the terminal ballistic effects of the round, and they can be hard to shoot
  • Lever Action Rifle; Great hunting rifles, socially acceptable and legal almost everywhere, run any kind of ammo that you can find, normally you can find used ones for cheap. The downside is the limited ammo capacity and limited rate of fire.
  • 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun; Ammo is everywhere, they can be cheap and legal everywhere, the different types of ammo can help you in different situations. Downside is the limited ammo capacity, limited range, and not all ammo is suitable for all things.
  • IWI Tavor or Steyr Aug; short and easy to hide, mounts anything (optics or accessories), good in urban areas, takes .223/5.56 ammo and just a cool gun. Downsides are that they look like scary assault rifles to people that don’t shoot, really expensive, the Steyr takes proprietary magazines, and no one seems to know how to use them.

I hope I’ve convinced you that you should have a trunk gun. I don’t carry mine all the time, but do when I go to crowded places and on long trips. The next time you go someplace that might be more dangerous or on a long trip, consider putting your trunk gun in the trunk.

Thanks for reading, I’m Ben Branam from Modern Self Protection and do a blog and a podcast at If you like this article you would love many of the things on my site. Go check it out.

Stay Safe,

1 Comment

  1. Zach Adkins's Gravatar Zach Adkins
    January 15, 2014    

    Thanks Ben,

    I have always been a fan of trunk guns. My first rifle was a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 that was purchased as, and still is a trunk gun for me. I have an AR lower I plan on building into a pistol in the near future.My favorite feature of the Sub 2000 is its folding ability. I keep it in a backpack and you would never guess there is a rifle in there.


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