Ever carry in your vehicle? Of course you do! But what is truly the best way to conceal carry in a vehicle?
Choosing the Right Gun
You may just throw your gun in a bag, all-in-all, there’s no one perfect way to concealed carry a firearm in your vehicle, it depends on you, your gun, and your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to purchase a gun you find a good discount or coupon code for, specifically for carrying in your vehicle.
That’s not to say you ever skimp on reliability or function in your EDC but take into account what could go wrong on the road and if you want to part ways with that thousand-dollar pistol you love.
For those of us who concealed carry a firearm for self-defense, carrying in a vehicle presents some unique challenges. In this article, we’re going to talk about those challenges, as well as a few methods of concealed carrying in a vehicle that we recommend.
Check the Law About Concealed Carry Inside A Vehicle
Before we get to any of that, though, we should put a disclaimer here at the front. We are not lawyers. We are especially not your lawyers.
Thus, anything we say here is not, and should not be, considered legal advice. Everything we recommend here is with the major caveat that it’s within the bounds of the laws where you live.
Obviously, we do not condone the breaking of any firearms or traffic laws, and we highly encourage you to both do your own research, as well as consult with a licensed attorney if you have any legal questions.
Conceal Carry on Your Person
The most obvious way we could think of to concealed carry a firearm in a vehicle is the way we typically carry larger handguns: in an outside the waistband holster on our right-side hip. This offers the advantage of getting the gun away from you so it can’t dig into you too much on long drives but does come with a pretty substantial drawback.
Generally, carrying like this means that the seatbelt mechanism will be over your gun: this makes it a lot harder to draw your firearm should you need to use it while you’re in your vehicle.
We would recommend carrying like this if the gun you want to conceal is a full-size handgun, or if state law somehow prevents you from off-body carrying (which we’ll get to in just a bit).
This is how most police officers carry their duty guns since they expect to have to use them upon exiting the car. If, on the other hand, you think you might need a gun while still in your vehicle, then one of the other options may work out a little bit better for you.
For smaller handguns, and people who favor a robust EDC set-up that they can have with them at all times, then appendix carrying your firearm with an inside the waistband holster is another good option.
The big plus here is twofold. First and foremost, it keeps your handgun within easy reach since it’ll be effectively in your lap. If you need to get to your gun, it’ll be where you can reach it more or less instantly, especially since your hands will have likely been on the wheel and close by.
Second, this method keeps the firearm very well under your control. Since the gun will be in your lap, it’ll also be within your direct control at all times.
There are two downsides to inside the waistband carry in a car.
The first is comfort. Even for the slimmest of people and most compact of handguns, this method of concealment can uncomfortably jam the firearm in your stomach.
For a short trip to the store or a fast commute, this isn’t that much of an issue for most people, but on long trips, it can become seriously uncomfortable, to the point of leaving red marks later.
The second connected downside is that this will not work well for people on the larger side: if there’s not a lot of room on your waistband to begin with, adding a firearm will just mean that there are more sharp angles digging uncomfortably into you.
Holsters Designed for Vehicles
A good option is to install a holster inside of your vehicle. This can take a few different tracks, depending on the vehicle and the person.
If you’re comfortable with doing so, it might be possible to wedge a pocket holster between the seat and center console of your vehicle. This would give you easy, right-handed access to the firearm, without making permanent modifications to your ride.
You could also permanently affix a holster to an interior panel with screws.
This is more secure than a wedged pocket holster to be sure but would mean making some modifications to the vehicle, which might be more than you want to get into.
If, on the other hand, I was a person who spent a lot of time in the car for a living, this kind of thing might be a good mix of comfort, concealability, and accessibility.
Be cautious, however, as this might run afoul of state laws depending on where you are.
The simplest method would be to put your handgun in an accessible center console, covered on the seat, or in a glove box.
While this is easy and might be the thing to do in a pinch, we’re a little cautious about this one for a few reasons. Some states specifically state these options do not count as concealed and also is not considered secure: this might make it illegal to leave a loaded handgun in your car or truck.
Another point is, if there are any other objects in the box, there might well be the hazard of something getting in the trigger guard and discharging the weapon.
Assuming it’s legal, we would only consider this if we had a pocket holster or some other way to make the weapon safer, and usually in the context of having to unexpectedly go into a place where we can’t bring a firearm.
This is why our last option is the best option.
Gun Cases Designed for Vehicles
The final and most safe method is by far to get a gun case or vault for storing your concealed carry weapon in your vehicle.
Besides being secure, this in fact, maybe the only legal option in your state to travel in your car or truck with a concealed carry firearm. It may not be the quickest way to access your gun, but it can be with practice and the right product.
Quick access gun vaults are great in any event: they will cut down on situations where negligent discharge can occur and protect your firearm from theft if you need to leave it in your vehicle for any reason.
Many gun case manufacturers cater particularly to people who conceal carry inside a vehicle, by making storage options that not only provide security but ready access to your weapon when you need it.
All in all, there are a lot of ways to carry a firearm in a vehicle, and we don’t think that there’s any one best way. For the best concealment and accessibility, inside the waistband, appendix carry is likely the best.
For more comfort, something like an off-body carry, whether in a glove box or an attached holster, might be a good way to go. If you think through it beforehand, you’ll likely find a method of concealed carry in an automobile that works well for you.