DRIVING ARMED – Safely Stowing Your Firearm

Carrying a gun creates all sorts of obstacles, and part of the fun is learning how to overcome them.  One of the obstacles that we often forget to learn how to work around,  and practice overcoming is carrying in a vehicle.

I know, I know … we’d all love to just forget about this  issue and have Red Jacket build us each our own armored vehicles. I wonder what kind of magic they could work on a pink Humvee?

For those of you who don’t have the option of destroying the enemy with the push of a button from inside your vehicle, I submit to you this article – the first in the “Driving Armed” series that I will be publishing. Please stay tuned for more about the tactics and techniques of shooting from a vehicle. Of course, first things first – and the first thing is having your weapon in the vehicle with you to begin with. So naturally, we start with stowing your firearm safely.

On a side note: Throughout this series, I will be using the term weapon. This is because this series focuses on carrying and using your firearm as a weapon.  If you find this offensive, this might not be the website for you.

Driving with your sidearm off of your person

Many people take their guns off their belts when entering a vehicle because is more comfortable than carrying on one’s person while driving. It can also prevent some injuries should there be a wreck. While comfort is a high priority, you have already come to terms with a little bit of discomfort by agreeing to carry a gun to begin with. That being said, please weigh the importance of comfort carefully when up against practical as well as tactical aspects.

Pro Tech Vehicle Holster

The key is  consistency when placing the weapon and finding a safe way to stow it.  When you take off your gun and put in your vehicle, place it in the same spot every time.  One of the worst things that can happen is to need your firearm, reach for it, and it not be where you thought it was.As far as choosing a place for your firearm,  I would like to suggest that you refrain from keeping your handgun in the same compartment in which you keep your registration and proof of insurance (such as your glove box). There is just about no quicker way to get a service weapon screwed into your ear then to reach into a compartment containing a firearm during a traffic stop.

Another reason I’m not fond of keeping a sidearm in the glove box is because of how much of a hassle it is to get to. Reaching across the passenger side takes time, and when one does get a grip on the gun it’s stretched out from their body putting the individual in a bad position for retention right off the bat.  Another downside to reaching so far across is that you will more than likely have to take your eyes off the threat to retrieve it.

Be sure to keep the firearm in some sort of  holster or case, especially if you plan on wedging it in tight places. This is extremely important for guns with-out thumb safeties as thumb safeties must be very deliberately deactivated. Grip safeties are deactivated by simply gripping the gun in a natural manner and a safe action trigger is still very capable of getting caught on something.  A negligent discharge would be all too easy while shoving your “piece” between the seats.

Gum Creek Steering Wheel Mounted Holster

Have you ever driven down the road while trying to fish something out of your purse? It can be a juggling act; heck, I’d consider even dangerous at times. It is for this reason that I recommend that women do not throw their gun in their purse while traveling.

The best option for driving with your gun off your person is to invest in a holster mount for inside your vehicle.  What is neat about these rigs is that they keep everything sturdy and in place while you’re practicing your batman moves during rush hour. Also, when you go to draw the weapon the holster stays put: making for a smoother, easier draw then if it was sitting on the seat next to you in a regular holster.

As with everything, there are some disadvantages to these vehicle rigs. For instance: this steering wheel mount would be a problem when trying to draw the weapon. The wheel would get in the way, and a very specific technique would need to be used. It doesn’t make this holster a bad product, just something one would need to work at and get comfortable with.

Driving with your sidearm on your person

As I mentioned before, some people leave their guns on their person when driving. This is the my personal preference because I like knowing that I am in complete positive control over that firearm at all times and that it’s right at my fingertips should I need it. I have trained and practice drawing from concealment behind my hip, so I like the consistency of keeping me gun there. Because of my muscle memory, it has become the natural place I reach to when I need a weapon.

I also like the fact that I can draw from my body without taking my eyes off the threat.  Depending on where you decide to stow your firearm, this could potentially be a problem when reaching for one that is not on your person. Just something to think about when choosing your sidearm’s assigned seating.

The most important reason I am a fan of carrying on my belt while driving is actually pretty simple:  if, heaven forbid, someone should enter my vehicle, the threat will have no idea that there is a weapon in the car as it is concealed on my person. This gives me the element of surprise – a tactical advantage that I’m not willing to give up for a bit more comfort on the road. Besides, a good concealed carry holster can minimize, if not eliminate any discomfort of driving with a gun on your belt.

With training and routine practice, drawing your sidearm from concealment on your person while seated in a car becomes very doable.  While there are some obstacles that you need to be aware of, such as the steering wheel, the mechanics are basically the same as drawing from standing up. More on this subject in future articles in this series.

I pointed out earlier that there can be some concerns about injuries when driving with a gun on your person. In the instance that someone should get into a car wreck with a gun behind their hip, it could cause some bruising and other injuries to their back and kidneys.  This is a valid concern, and it should be weighed as such.

Final Words

There is no end-all, be-all solution for how to travel with your firearm. There are pros and cons to every method, as well as hindrances that will need to be recognized and overcome. The most important point is that you are armed to begin with. No matter how you choose to travel, practicing accessing and firing your gun from that configuration is crucial.

 

© Packing Pretty, Grace McKee 2012