Do you need a car gun?
I think my first exposure to the idea of a car gun was the spy-film satire “The President’s Analyst.” James Coburn plays the role of the president’s wig picker, who becomes the target of several organizations wanting to know the president’s secrets. Go see the movie for yourself.
Coburn finds temporary refuge with a middle class family who keep a gun in the shower as well as the car.
Do you need a gun, either pistol or long gun, permanently installed in your vehicle? There are some advantages. A back up weapon makes sense. It can be given to a responsible individual during a crisis. A long gun like an AR or AK drastically increases your fire power, range and potential stopping power. Mounted with a light and 1.5 to 4x scope, a long gun gives you quite a leg up in many dire circumstances. Twenty rounds of 7.6x39mm in the rifle can be quite an equalizer for the man or woman on their own.
The downside is you got to be able to get to your gun. The civilian might find it difficult to extricate themselves, recover the gun, pistol or long, and get back into the fight fast enough to help stabilize the problem until the professionals arrive. Trying to reenter and reengage could get you shot. There is no good guy halo visible to the police or other armed citizen.
Police and security agents have a similar problem. If they know the encounter they are about to engage requires additional firepower, they should take the time to access it. But suddenly taking fire from a paranoid drug dealer who suddenly opens up with a high power, high capacity weapon may not give them the time to retrieve a better weapon. Still, there are some strategies like vertical gun mounts. These racks, like any other tool of the trade, require constant training and skill maintenance. As an outsider looking into the profession, I would find it comforting to know if I bail out of my car after taking rounds, I automatically took my rifle.
Both police and civilians have similar problems of theft. Police are always suspected of having additional firearms in the trunk. They even promote the awareness.
Depending on how much your lips flap and how you’ve secured a gun in your car, this information will become known as well. Even the knowledge that you are a shooter will target your vehicle to anyone who fantasizes about stealing a gun from your parked car.
A gun secured in a locked box in the vehicle or a long gun mounted in the vehicle becomes an attractive target to anyone who spots it. You can increase the level of containment to a point where the gun is locked in a half inch thick steel cocoon welded to the car frame and requiring both a special key and a 27 digit alpha-numeric code to be entered to unlock the weapon, but that kind of defeats the purpose of ready access.
If you should have an accident, or suffer the misfortune of a vehicle fire would this be a problem to the bystanders and rescue crews?
While ammunition in a magazine or storage box doesn’t pose a hazard, the round in the chamber can cook off in a fire and endanger anyone up range of the muzzle. A recent article by another blogger suggests that the powder in modern cartridges does not cook off at temperatures under 500F. So high summer temperatures are not a problem, maybe. While I believe the stability of the round is valid, the question asked was at what temperature does the powder auto ignite, not how does the propellant degrade over time at elevated temperatures? Like rotating tires, I’d switch out and use up ammo at the beginning, middle and end of the hot weather season.
So the car gun answer depends on your circumstances.
I’d recommend that police carry a backup long gun, one for each officer, carried in condition three (loaded magazine in place, empty chamber, decocked). The gun comes out at the end of the shift and is placed into storage at the end of each shift. Yeah, I know it means more equipment and training as well as constant supervision. Negligent discharges will occur and facilities must be in place to deal with this. (Not that I’d be asked for a recommendation.)
What about the armed or should I say unarmed citizen? The safest place to carry is on your person where you have control over the weapon. No boxes need to be opened, unlocked, rear seat accessed or trunks opened. Most of us aren’t going to find ourselves in a drug cartel shootout or jumped by escaped and well armed prisoners who need our car and have terminal plans for us. But if you decide to squirrel away a gun, hand or long, I suggest you make it semi-permanent and take steps to protect it.
But having said all this, I have a friend whose brother once owned a boat in southern Florida. The brother claimed narco-criminals would pirate a boat off the coast, dump your bodies and drive the soon-to-be-abandoned boat on shore with a drug delivery. The response by boat owners was to store an illegally converted a full auto AK and high capacity magazines on board. This may just be a great beer story or insight to the war on drugs.