The Vehicle Carry Dilemma

posted on February 23, 2015

For those of us who carry a self-defense handgun on a regular basis, there is one dilemma that we have all had to face. It is trying to determine how best to carry our handguns while driving a vehicle. It is no secret that human predators, like the animal sort, look to attack when their intended prey is most vulnerable. We are undoubtedly vulnerable in the passenger compartment of vehicles because of restrictions on line of sight and mobility, along with the fact that we are necessarily distracted by the act of safely navigating roadways.

Some of us think about this firearm access problem from time to time but don’t do much about it. Others take some modest action like ensuring there is no clothing obstructing a draw from a holster after we get into the seat. Some carriers I know take the gun out of the holster and place it in some location in the car such as the center console where it is arguably more accessible. Finally, some go all-out and either have a separate crossdraw holster they wear in the vehicle or hard mount a holster to the vehicle somewhere.

There are risks and benefits associated with every option of carry in a vehicle. For instance, keeping a gun holstered strong side on the belt will certainly slow access, but you will always know precisely where it is at all times. A gun that is placed between the driver’s seat and center console could allow for lightning-quick access, but it could also allow the firearm to migrate to another position during actions such as hard braking. If an attacker acts explosively and begins to pull you out of your vehicle before you have time to reach your gun that is being kept off-of-body, you might be left fighting for your life on the street unarmed.

It may not be practical, but the “best of all worlds” scenario would be to keep your everyday carry gun holstered where you usually carry it on the street, and then have a second gun mounted somewhere within reach in the vehicle. This gives you an answer in almost any imaginable situation. One of the most significant problems with this setup is securing the second firearm that is kept in the vehicle while you are away. Unless you are able to mount a good safe somewhere inside, it’s not really possible. (Of course, with all of the carry restrictions in place, the government and irrational businesses often force responsible gun owners to keep firearms in their unattended vehicles, but this is another matter.)

There is no doubt that this is a subjective realm, but I’m moving toward the idea of hard mounting a holster somewhere above or to the right of my legs on the driver’s side. Trying to take as many situations into account as possible, this seems like the answer that provides the most benefits with the fewest costs. Again, no answer is perfect here unless you have the second gun available.

It looks like I’ll be drilling mounting holes in my truck at some point in the next month or so. The system that appears most promising for my particular situation is the RAM Mount from Crossbreed Holsters.

My friend Rob Pincus from the Personal Defense Network has a great video featuring this product  that is worth watching. Rob was on Episode 19 of NOIR, and he took time to show Colion some vehicle tactics. He is definitely one of the more thoughtful and skilled defensive firearm instructors around, so his advice carries a lot of weight in my world.

Regardless of which approach you ultimately take, the important thing is to really think about this subject and find the answer that is best for your circumstances. The bad guys know that we are vulnerable in our vehicles. Make sure you are not making their pitiful lives easier by being unprepared.

LaSorte has been shooting regularly since he was four years old and has grown into a competitive shooter, adventure hunter and NRA Certified Instructor. There is nothing he enjoys more than acquiring and sharing knowledge associated with shooting and self-defense. Empowering others, especially women, through an introduction to what he calls the “beautiful world” of shooting is his passion.


Frank Miniter
Frank Miniter

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