What’s your ideal truck gun?



by Lee Williams

When I was growing up in Minnesota, the Winchester Model 94 was the ultimate truck gun, for car-hit deer, varmints, impromptu plinking sessions or two-legged predators.

Nowadays, however, I’m not putting my 94 in anything but a safe.

The theory behind a truck gun — or trunk as some call it — is simple: It’s something that offers more range than a handgun, is cheap enough that theft or abuse won’t break the bank, and it has enough firepower to function in a defensive situation.

Here are some truck gun tips:

The weapon should not have electronic sights, lights or other do0-dads. Batteries need replacing and can be effected by heat and cold. Iron sights never go bad.

It should be cased. I suggest a rigid plastic or metal case, as these can be lockable and keep out the dust and fluctuating humidity better.

Remember, you’re putting your firearm “under glass.” It’s only one shattered window away from the bad guys, so you should be able to secure the firearm to the truck with a lock. Bike locks work great for this.

You should store ammo on the weapon or in a g0-bag.

Check your zero at least two or three times a year, to make sure you haven’t knocked the sights out of alignment on a bumpy gravel road.

Avoid the classic gun racks in the rear window of a pickup. They’re an invitation to thieves.

A good truck gun should be compact, as by its nature you’ll be pulling it out of an enclosed space. Folding stocks are great for this.

While nearly every jurisdiction allows for a cased firearm in the trunk, if you want to carry one behind the seat, make sure your jurisdiction allows a cased firearm in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. Florida does, of course.

While opinions differ, for me Com-Bloc surplus weapons make great truck guns.

I rotate out either a Mosin-Nagant M-44 carbine or a Russian SKS. Both were built for conscript soldiers, so they’re durable, simple to operate and take stripper clips for easy reloading.

The M-44 is chambered for the venerable 7.62x54R round, which is not too difficult to find. The SKS takes AK kibble, which is plentiful and can be purchased in sealed tins or bags.

Both rifles also have folding bayonets, which are good for… well, they’ve got folding bayonets.

What’s your ideal truck gun?


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


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  2. Kel Tec Sub 2000 in 9mm.

    Folds down to 16 inches. 4 lbs. unloaded. Not a long-range shooter, but decent accuracy out to 75 yards.

  3. Hi point C9 Carbine. Cheap under $300 so if they do a smash and grab you are not out a fortune. Pistol carbines are great for using the same ammo as your EDC. Plastic stock can take a beat’n. Holds one 10 round mag in the gun and two on the stock.

  4. I carry a Noveske Skinny Moe 5.56mm. It’s an AR with light weight pencil profile 14.5″ polygonal bored barrel with a permanently attached flash hider making it exactly 16.1″. I dropped a light weight G…. brand single stage trigger. I keep a magpul 40rd magazine in cruiser ready carry condition with 62gr TSX ammo. The only thing attached is a 2 point sling.

  5. The SKS fitted behind the seat in the corner of the cab of my old ’76 Toyota pickup and was not noticeable even without a case. I had a 10-pocket Chinese chest bandoleer which held 20 stripper clips, more than I ever shot through it at any one time. The rifle was the Chinese version with a blade bayonet which was used for … whatever you might need a bayonet for. The only regrets I had was that I didn’t find one that accepted an AK magazine, and didn’t get one of the 20-round mags of the same design as the standard 10-round. I think the SKS was a sadly underappreciated rifle.

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  8. I usually keep my h & r handi rifle chambered in 300 blackout in my truck on the weekends. Isn’t much of a long rang shooter, cost me 224 total (from buds guns to local ffl plus transfer). Although single shot, it is a whopping 29.5 inches in length with a 16 inch barrel. This is also my camping gun. Takes down to a perfect carry size and fits nicely in any backpack.

  9. I have a newish marlin 336 youth model 30-30 (with that stupid crossbolt safety) in the truck that I put a ghost ring and fiber optics on. 5+1 of lever evolution good out to 175-190 yds

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