In this post, I’m going to expand on a concept mentioned by Robert in his post on AR pistols. Specifically, I’m going to discuss the use of an AR pistol as a truck gun. An important tangent of this discussion is identifying the purpose of a truck (or car) gun. Critical thought on the subject dictates that a truck gun is not really meant for reactive situations. Rather, the niche of the truck gun is proactive situations that occur outside of the home where you want or need more firepower than is offered by your concealed carry handgun. In reactive situations that demand immediate gunfire while in or around your vehicle, the gun that is immediately available on your person is the correct and inevitable choice. A further corollary to consider is that while some may equate “truck gun” with “beater gun,” rather than throwing a “beater” rifle in the trunk of your car, perhaps you should arm yourself with the best weapon that you can afford when you risk facing adverse odds in an unforgiving environment.
With the above premise in mind, we can therefore consider a truck gun to be a more powerful firearm that is kept in the vehicle for unexpected yet proactive situations where a handgun would be outclassed. The above definition would suggest some sort of long gun, either a rifle or perhaps a shotgun. Law enforcement offers a model of this scenario with officers frequently carrying an AR-15 carbine or less frequently, a shotgun, in their police cruisers. As a civilian, you can approach the concept of a truck gun either from the perspective of keeping a long gun in the vehicle permanently, or alternatively, as an additional weapon that is carried in your car in some sort of bag or case when you leave your home. The latter option also opens up the possibility of bringing that bag or case with you when you leave your vehicle.
In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to have a loaded rifle in your vehicle. However, a magazine fed weapon such as an AR-15 can quickly and easily be brought into a state of readiness in a matter of seconds if the user is practiced, yet remain otherwise legal to possess and carry outside of the home. If one is willing to consider an AR-15 for the purposes of a truck gun, then it is almost impossible to ignore the potential advantages of an AR pistol for the task.
While AR pistols have existed for a long time, they now enjoy increased popularity and awareness. For those that may not be familiar, an AR pistol is an AR-15 receiver that does not have provision for a stock to be attached to the buffer tube, is classified as a pistol by the ATF, and is topped off with a short barreled upper receiver similar or even identical to that of a short barreled rifle (SBR). There are people who feel that you can reap many of the benefits of a short barreled rifle without the expense and hassle of an NFA tax stamp by simply building an AR pistol. (I’m obviously one of them…) The AR pistol can be outfitted with the optic of your choice (I like a red dot sight for this application), can use the same magazines and ammunition as its full size brethren, and may even be legal to carry around loaded in jurisdictions where you are legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun. The last point notwithstanding, I suggest storing the AR pistol either unloaded without a magazine inserted or in “cruiser ready” with a magazine in place but with no round chambered. As the firing pin is not captive in an AR-15, this is simply a suggestion predicated on safety.
If we return to the idea of a portable weapon that can be carried both in the car as well as on your person when away from home, then the AR pistol concept really shines. The separated upper and lower of an AR pistol and a few magazines can be covertly carried in any number of bags that are either specifically designed for such purpose or repurposed for the need. Or, with the introduction of the Law Tactical AR Folding Stock Adapter, it is now even more practical to carry a fully assembled AR pistol in a discreet bag. The bag can be carried from the home and put on a backseat, in a cargo area, or in the trunk without arousing undue suspicion. Depending on where you’re going, fear of theft can be alleviated by simply taking the bag with you. Yet in this very portable and discreet package, you have a rifle caliber weapon that offers increased range, capacity, and lethality with very little limitation within a couple of hundred yards. It is easily brought into action with a few simple steps. With the proper sling, it can be carried as you would a rifle, allowing for hands free carry or transition to a pistol.
For all of the above reasons, I have settled on an AR pistol with a 10.5″ barrel for my truck/car gun needs. With the appropriate magazines, it is legal for me to carry unloaded and locked in my car where I live. The fact that it is easily disguised in a nondescript backpack is ideal for me since none of my vehicles actually have a trunk! By keeping some medical supplies in the bag as well, I am well equipped to handle a variety of potentially dangerous situations. Your mileage may vary, but I feel that the AR pistol is an eminently viable choice to consider for a truck gun.