Top Five Truck Guns

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Truck guns!  Sad to say the POF 5 isn't on the list.

Truck guns! Sad to say the POF 5 isn’t on the list.  It’s a bit too pricey.

When I think of the ideal truck gun several words come to mind: inexpensive, rugged, portable, versatile.

Makes sense, right?

The ideal truck gun does not have the price tag you’d see on a safe queen, it can take some abuse, it’s easy to tote around and it is suited for a wide range of applications.

So, I thought about it and I came up with my list of perfect truck guns. Now, in full disclosure, I don’t own a truck (I currently don’t own an automobile, I share a vehicle with my GF, her Volkswagen Tiguan.  I used to own a Ford Ranger, loved it!  Should’ve never sold it, but that’s a conversation for a different day.) nor do I own every gun on the list, however, when I do get my truck at some point in the not too distant future I will certainly have at least one of these fine firearms in it.

Stevens 320 Field/Security Combo

Talk about an ideal truck gun, the Stevens 320 Field and Security Combo is it! A 12-gauge scatter gun that comes with two interchangeable barrels, an 18 1/2 inch and a 28 inch, it can be quickly converted from a tactical, self-defense shotgun to a hunting, skeet shooting shotgun.

With a price point that comes in south of $250, what more can you ask for? It’s an all-in-one package that is affordable, durable and versatile.

Tactical and hunting, all in one package.

Tactical and hunting, all in one package.

A look at a disassembled Takedown, read more about this instant classic.

A look at a disassembled Takedown, read more about this instant classic.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown

Chambered in .22LR, the classic portable plinkster needs no introduction. And given that part of the Takedown’s core functionality is to be a travel-friendly firearm, one can argue it was made for the truck.

The Takedown comes with a cool “rugged, ballistic nylon case” or backpack and along with some 25-round mags you can throw the entire package in your truck and have it there just in case… you go camping, you need to exterminate a varmint, you want to go plinking, etc.

Though the base stainless steel model has suggested retail of $409, you can find one under $400.

Springfield XD(M)

If I’m going to pick a polymer pistol to carry in my truck, a Springfield XD(M) is it. To clarify, I’m thinking of the full size 4.5” XD(M) chambered in 9mm — the notion of having 19+1 of 9mm is hard to resist.

It’s a little more pricey than the other truck guns I’ve listed, and it’s not the cheapest polymer pistol on the market.

That said, it’s a great gun. And since it’s often overlooked as an all-around duty gun, you can typically score one for a very reasonable price, around $550.

Like the other XD pistols, the XD(M) is made in Croatia.

Like the other XD pistols, the XD(M) is made in Croatia.

    The Cobray. You won't baby this one. An important feature in a truck gun.

The Cobray. You won’t baby this one. An important feature in a truck gun.

Charter Arms Undercover Lite

Of course, I need to have a wheel gun on the list. Revolvers are quintessentially durable and reliable. So, it makes sense to have one in your truck.

The Charter Arms Undercover Lite totally fits the bill. A five-shot revolver chambered in .38 Special +P, a solid self-defense round, the UL is perfect as a backup or even primary concealed carry gun (there is a hammerless option). Plus, as the name implies, it’s lightweight (12 oz.)

Depending on the specific Undercover Lite you choose, you can typically pick one up between $300-$400.

Mossberg 464 Lever Action

“Cowboy guns” and trucks go hand in hand, so it’s only fitting that we include a cowboy gun on the list. The Mossberg 464 .30-30 Winchester 94 Angle Eject is a great choice. With a 20” barrel and a 6+1 tubular magazine the 464 is a relatively portable rifle that carries with it enough firepower to handle a range of applications, e.g. hunting, self-defense.

Priced around $350, it’s a great truck gun.

Check out our review of the Model 464 Lever Action Rifle.

Check out our review of the Model 464 Lever Action Rifle.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. My list of the top five truck guns. Yes, I know I’ve made more than a few notable omissions (e.g. I’m sure Glock and S&W fanboys will have something to say) but that’s where you come in as this is more of a conversation starter than a definitive list.  What am I missing? What are your ideal truck guns?

{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Adam November 27, 2016, 8:45 pm

    Usually when I leave the house my KSG-12 is in the trunk, Glock 19 on my hip, Glock 43 on the ankle. Why a KSG? Its about $700 so its on the pricier side, but its just over 2ft long (smaller than any long gun listed above) and its 13 rounds of 12 gauge. Why not? I can access my trunk from the cabin, so it is never out of reach. Will it be the first thing I reach for? Definitely not, but if a situation looks like its getting out of hand, it can make an appearance quickly and handle whatever animal is present. 2 legs or 4, it won’t matter.

  • Samantha July 25, 2016, 1:46 am

    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.

  • Doug Uhlmann April 26, 2016, 8:28 pm

    Living here in Virginia. My combo of choice is a..243 and my 9. There isn’t anything that I can’t put down where I hunt or.work with that.

  • BinNY April 1, 2016, 12:00 pm

    My truck gun is a 20ga 870 (18.5 inch tube) with a Choate side folding stock. I keep it in a discreet bag with a few boxes of slugs and some buckshot. I store it in the bag with the the barrel off (take down style). I put the barrel on when I get in the truck. It’s compact, handy and files under the radar. I have cable locks set up to deter smash and grab (it’s out of sight) but I don’t leave it in the truck overnight. The bag is about 20 inches. I always have a pistol on me so the truck gun is more of a just in case. It’s reassuring when traveling in meth head country.

  • Jason T August 9, 2015, 7:45 pm

    Cheap Bersa 380 w/ 2 mags of HPs in the console, easy to reach for self defense of my truck and family. Henry survival rifle under the back seat in case we’re ever stranded in the middle of nowhere and McDonalds isn’t close for dinner. SW 9mm w/ 2 high capacity mags in the hiking backpack under the back seat to fend off the Bears, wolves, and banjo players while hiking state parks.
    Maybe overkill but not unprepared.

  • Tom Horn July 29, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Agree with folks that chose SKS as semi-auto. Truck rifle should be cheap, and cheap to shoot. I would have said Ruger Ranch Rifle, but since 2013, even a used mini-14 is pricey, and .223 has gone up as well.

    Thing is, with a pick-up truck, no need to carry pistol grip shotguns, a full stocked shotgun will fit behind the seat. And, with a truck gun the point is it is utilitarian, like the truck. You can stop and shoot the coyotes that have been harassing the livestock, on the way to bust clays with your buddy. I think a Mossberg 500 combo is a little better quality than the Stevens, at around the same price point.

    Instead of the Mossberg lever action, go with a used Marlin 336. Look for one made in New Haven. You can pick them up for a song sometimes, and the quality is much better than the Mossberg, and probably better than the Marlins Remington is putting out today. Nothing more fun and relaxing than blasting water jugs with a .30-.30 on a Sunday afternoon.

    Again, you have the room in the pick-up. Don’t go with the Charter Arms UC Lite. Pick up a used S&W 686, or Ruger Security Six. Much less punishing to shoot, you can still find them for about $300, longer barrel is more accurate. Go compact with your semi-auto pistol. Ruger 10/22 is a No-brainer.

  • Dadof4 July 28, 2015, 9:40 pm

    Always a 10mm hand gun in my truck. Two mags – one in the gun with 135gr hollow points at 1500 fps, and another with 200gr flat nose hard cast at 1200 fps, for penetration. Yeah, they’re hunting guns doing double duty. I don’t carry in public because I’m only in public in my truck and on other people’s property.

    As for the rifle it’s the KelTec SU16c – 25 1/2 inches long with 30 rounds of 5.56 is nice to have. I keep the 100 round mag in the truck too. In Texas it has to be visible in the truck, so behind the seat and loaded is more than questionable – it’ll get you in trouble. Hence why gun racks in the window have a long Texas history. You can make a rack for your ceiling or standing up from the floor, if you wish.

    Open carry of long arms is legal in Texas – but OPEN means visible, can’t hide your loaded rifle/shotgun under your trench coat or the behind your truck seat.

    All the long guns mentioned in the article are too long for my liking and too limited in capacity. Quickly retrieved, wielded and lots of shots are qualities I demand. I wouldn’t get any of the recommendations in this article.

    • AJ October 16, 2016, 11:35 pm

      “In Texas it has to be visible in the truck, so behind the seat and loaded is more than questionable – it’ll get you in trouble. ”

      That is completely wrong. Texas has NO laws regarding transport of a long gun in a vehicle.

  • tim mcdonald July 28, 2015, 2:35 pm

    Best truck gun is cheap, easy to conceal and scary to anybody messing with you. Best truck gun is a shotgun with pistol grips fore and aft, 12 or 20 gauge slugs or buckshot.

  • Mick Dodge July 28, 2015, 11:00 am

    Mag Daggit
    You can’t take down a truck with a pea shooter …Oh yeah… maybe one of those little ole varmint Mitsobitches or nikons.
    But a real rip snortin Dually wheeled Truck ain’t gonna stop fer anything less than a BMG fifty right between the water pump and the alternator.
    Or maybe a five hundred magnum .

    • Adam Hand November 27, 2016, 8:22 pm

      I have to dispute this. I have stopped cars, trucks as well as two semis using nothing more than an M-4. If a truck is heading straight at you, you don’t have to worry about stopping the truck as much as you do the driver. Pop the radiator and the driver and the truck will stop fairly quickly.

  • Chaz July 28, 2015, 10:40 am

    Kel-tek Sub 2000 and corresponding handgun to interchange mags with. That to me is the perfect truck gun(s).

  • Doc Ingalls July 27, 2015, 7:02 pm

    Now someone else beat me to it , But I see a truck gun as a rifle , ot less so a shotgun. I happen to be a fan of the tried and true 38/.357 mag family of cartridges . From low power of a target round for small game up to a . 357 with a 200 gr bullet for medium size game. one of the many reproductions of a model 1892 Winchester rifles or carbines is a very nice choice . Match that with a nice double or single action revolver with a four inch or plus barrel and you have a nice little combination that uses one ammunition. Yes I know the that old hundred plus isn’t as sexy as the newer simiauto rounds or the WOW look at the size of that bullet ! cartridges . but it’s still accurate and a couple hundred rounds takes up ver little space . I have had rifles shotguns , and handguns in an assortment of calibers Many of them obsolete . I have to say , after I reloaded and fired some of those obsolet calibers , I wondered why they went to the wayside
    A good .22 long rifle combonations seems like a good choice as well. Then there are all the fine short rifles on the used firearms market. A bolt action in .308 (7.62) or even in 7.62X39 would make some fine truck gones . As would the older 30-06 sixes such as the Enfield or the Springfield , both fine and accurate rifles . I guess the are just so many choices .
    One thing I saw on the list , was a snubby . Why ? It’s in a truck. Get something with some barrel length for a good sight radius . Keep the Short barreled ligh weights in your pocket or waistband around town.. That is their function concealment .
    that’s about it for me . I do know if I am just going to go out in the desert here in Arizona for a day trip, or a few days
    one of my .38/.357 mag combinations will be going with me . out her it can do anything I need them to . from killing a can . to self protection or taking up to a deer or javalina . and I can do it all by just picking the right .38 cartridge .

  • shootbrownelk July 27, 2015, 4:37 pm

    Just because they’re calling it a “Truck Gun” doesn’t mean it has to stay in your truck, but to be in the truck when you’re in it.
    I always have my carry gun on me, always. So I guess a Springfield Armory EMP in 9mm. is my truck gun year-round. Of course during hunting season it has company. Rear window gun racks and hunting related stickers plastered all over your truck are for idiots. You may as well ad a “Guns on Board” sticker for all the destitute junkies out there.

  • Anthony July 27, 2015, 3:01 pm

    Here in Colo. where the bears are trained to break into vehicles, a short action BLR in .308 is a nice truck firearm.

  • Fred July 27, 2015, 2:02 pm

    What level of Idiot leaves a Gun in a Truck these days? Maybe the Feds should include this question on the application form? To help weed out the idiots?

    • Joe July 28, 2015, 5:59 am

      Fifteen years ago when there were only three houses within a quarter mile of mine I was one of those idiots you speak of.
      People living on farms and ranches as well might be some of those idiots as well.
      Not every gun owner lives in close proximity to others.

    • AJ October 16, 2016, 11:29 pm

      An idiot lives in an area where he might expect his vehicle to get broken into.

  • JTO July 27, 2015, 10:55 am

    For my purposes I usually always have a handgun that stays in my pickup. I chose a Taurus PT 111 Gen 2. It’s realatively compact, offers above average mag capacity, is reliable, and at the price of $200.00, I can afford it’s loss which to me is a consideration when it comes to “Truck Guns”. As to long guns, probably my 10/22 stainless with the Butler Creek folder. Shotgun wise, my 1925 A5 Browning with a 20″ barrel and a 8 shot tube.

    • Joe July 27, 2015, 11:54 am

      I used to leave a nickle plated makarov in my truck till it was spotted by a mechanic and soon after disappeared from it right in my driveway .
      That was 15 years ago and I never leave any weapon in my truck now.

      • Seabee July 27, 2015, 1:11 pm

        Yea Joe, I’m with you on that. Had a nice dbl barrel 20gauge stolen out of truck years ago and I won’t leave a gun in truck again. I always CC but rarely keep anything else in the truck unless I’m traveling but I live in a suburban area now so too many people to trust to leave anything valuable in truck..

  • Gary T July 27, 2015, 10:21 am

    It seems like everyone is thinking thugs, muggers and terrorists with their wide array of choices. Maybe that’s because the pickup truck has become as common in town as in the country.

    I’m just an East Texas good ol’ boy that happens to live in the country. It’s one mile from my front door to the mailbox out on the county road and 10 miles to the closest store when I need milk and bread. When I think pickup truck I think of utility, hay bales, miscellaneous tools and rusty barbed wire and maybe a sun bleached cowboy cold Budweiser. And when I think of truck guns I’m thinking of things on four legs or things that slither. When I think of two leggeds that might hurt me I think of the pistol on my hip.

    For my needs I choose two long guns, one that shoots way out there and one that scatters. That’s the consensus of most everyone around here. When it comes to choice it’s different strokes for different folks. Mine is a forty year old Remington 1100 and a just as old Remington 788 in triple deuce (.222 Remington). I’m lucky to have one of the early 788’s with a nice walnut stock, not sassafras. I keep these handy in a gun rack mounted behind the seat (not in the window).

    All in all, nothing fancy, nothing to go to war with, just something to fit everyday needs.

    • Austx7124 July 27, 2015, 9:42 pm

      Well said Gary; that’s classic “truck gun” defined where I live too (Texas Hill Country).

  • Larry J July 27, 2015, 10:08 am

    My exception to the pistol and take-down are the Taurus Millennium Pro II, 9mm, and the Henry Survival Rifle. The Taurus is found at Academy on sale for $299.99 all the time, and the Henry costs about at least $175 cheaper than the Ruger. You can take the difference and buy a Mossberg 500 12 gauge, and have money left over for ammo. I don’t have a pickup anymore, but the Henry fits in my toolbox in the back. If broke own in another state, I can put it together quickly, and I have 5 magazines total of 22 stingers for use. Takes little space, but can help you survive for a long time. Taurus holds 12 + 1, and has second strike capability, and is a very realable weapon.

  • jstert July 27, 2015, 9:25 am

    sadly, not everyone lives in a free state but everyone should roll with some portable defensive capability. if a handgun isnt allowed if one crosses unfree state lines frequently, then how about:
    1. a single shot h&r/nef break action 20 or 410 gauge shotgun. cheap at $100 used but reliable. see youtube: with practice and a buttstock shell holder one can put 5 rounds downrange fast. 12 gauge is a bit too stout here. while they can be broken down with one screw, better to cut down the barrel to legal minimum to keep it ready. i suggest not get the survivor stock, it is more awkward to quickly reload.
    2. marlin 70 papoose. 22lr, good and bad well discussed. unscrews completely, making it more portable and unobtrusive, but less ready.
    3. turkish or italian folding shotgun. hard to find but the turkish khan 410 is a real gem.

  • David July 27, 2015, 8:49 am

    Still live at your parents too?

  • Greg Webb July 27, 2015, 8:41 am

    My “Truck” gun is actually a “Trunk” gun. It is an Ishapore Lee Enfield in .303 caliber with a 10 shot magazine along with a box of cartridges. It originally cost me $100.00 plus the cost of an ejector to repair it. It is powerful and much more effective than a handgun if I need to leave the confines of my vehicle. It is fast to operate and it can be recharged with stripper clips. Best of all, if it is lost, stolen or destroyed I am not out much money!

  • Joe July 27, 2015, 8:21 am

    My SKS with the folding Monte Carlo stock and Mag conversion installed is perfect for truck gun status, as is my old Armalite AR7 take down rifle.
    Both easy on the pocket book.
    One good for little critters and one good for larger ones and both deadly in their missions.

  • Mike Jones July 27, 2015, 7:32 am

    The PMR 30 by Kel-tec is 30 rounds of 22 Mag that weighs almost nothing even when fully loaded.

  • Johnny B Goode July 27, 2015, 6:59 am

    Much like others who commented my idea of a truck gun is a gun you would put on a gun rack in the window. I don’t want to spend much but I want a gun to take care of business. I would go with a Hi Point carbine or a Maverick 88.

  • Charles Fisher July 27, 2015, 6:21 am

    My personal favorite truck gun is a 12 gauge Mossberg 500 tactical , black on black. I converted both for end grip and the butt stock to pistol grips. I use slugs and double 0 buck shot. With my concealed carry weapon which is a S&W mod 642 air weight, I feel as though I’m pretty well covered.

  • Ben Barneveld July 27, 2015, 3:54 am

    Although not as popular, don’t overlook military surplus and oddball calibers. I love and constantly carry an M57 pistol in 7.62x25mm. The round is hard hitting and flat shooting. The firearm is all steel construction and the easiest semi-auto to clean that I have come across. With the Zastava factory still churning them out, the M57 is the best firearm you can buy (in my humble opinion) for under $300.

    • guido July 27, 2015, 5:25 pm

      What he said. A pistol round that will penetrate both sides of a vehicle body is my kind of a truck gun, with cheap platform and ammo to boot.
      May need to wear shades, though, those Tok’s spit some fire, at night a follow-up shot might be difficult without tinted eyewear.

  • Mark N. July 25, 2015, 12:33 am

    To me, a “truck gun” is something that in the old days you would put in the rifle rack in the back window of your pick up. Which means a shotgun or a rifle, or both. Pistols are EDC, car or truck, and therefore don’t meet my personal definition. A lever action is perfect, or an M1 Carbine or Ruger Mini14, something for close up, within 100 yards, for coyotes and hogs, or an occasional deer. 30-30 is a bit much; .357 or .44 mag would do, but it seems Mossberg doesn’t make the 464 in any caliber but .30-30. Or you could opt for an inexpensive bolt gun in .223 or .243 for such tasks, many of which run between $400 and $500, e.g. a Savage or Stevens.

  • Will Drider July 22, 2015, 4:27 pm

    May we agree to disagree? Truck gun (TG) has two basic distinct categories AND may be very limited by State/Local Laws.
    a. If you don’t have cwp or open carry status, you may want a handgun in your vehicle instead of a long gun.
    b. If you have CWP or open carry and do carry a handgun, a long gun in your vehicle augments and enhances your capabilities.
    A TG needs to be reliable above all other factors. Price is what it is to achieve this with the firearm type you chose.
    Any firearm carried in a break down configuration is useless in an emergency.
    TG is not just what you chose to carry in your vehicle but what you can use from the inside the confines of that vehicle.

    The TEST. When seated in the vehicle the TG as carried: how long to get it locked and loaded?
    With what ease or difficulty can you transition your point of aim from left to right, front to back.
    This IMHO eliminates all takedown stored guns and all long guns that do not have folding stocks (also excludes collapsible stocks). As always, any gun is better then no gun. But why would you limit your firepower to a revolver or a lever action? Why limit a TG to a handgun caliber on a long gun?

    • S.H. Blannelberry July 23, 2015, 8:31 am

      Good points Will!

  • Jake Z July 22, 2015, 3:27 pm

    I like this article but there are 3 guns that are more suitable than these in my opinion and even though I’m a glock fanboy I’m not going to add any pistols, I generally think of a “truck gun” as something in the long gun category, but that’s just me
    .
    1. SKS, a good norinco or yugo will only run you about $300-400 has better accuracy and stopping power than the .30-30, (in most cases) and ammo is way cheaper, plus none of us feel bad about dinging up an old surplus rifle, and to top it off a couple stripper clips loaded up gives you fast reloads with 10 rds at the ready, pretty substantial.
    2. KelTec Sub 2000, pick your favorite common pistol caliber and pistol maker and you’ve got a pistol carbine that in most cases (glock, Beretta, sig, maybe more idk) will work with your carry or duty gun! Plus the small boost you get from a 16 in barrel is nice, and recoil is lower, pretty solid and one of these bad boys is only about 400-500, plus you should already have mags if you have a full size handgun!
    3. Last but not least the Ruger American Ranch Rifle, available in .223 and .300 BlkOut this little bolt action rifle sports a youth sized stock and a 16 inch barrel, plus an already installed aluminum optics rail, this gives you storage capability, fire power, accuracy, and range potential beyond everything else that you or I listed! (Maybe less power than the 12 iron but still) and considering the polymer body and rugers rugged steel innards this rife paired with even just a red dot gives you amazing versatility and all under 500! Minus the optic of course!
    That’s just my 2cents, hope you guys agree/enjoy

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