Is an AR pistol the ideal trunk gun?
What Does a “Trunk Gun” Mean to You?
As we advise all AR builders, step one of any build is determining what your needs are for the firearm you are building. Choosing a trunk gun is no different.
For example, if your primary need is a long rifle that can help you stop a coyotes killing your livestock at long distance, then yes, an accurate, moderately inexpensive bolt action rifle makes a lot of sense, as would a 20” 224 Valkyrie build with a
A short-barreled semi-automatic rifle or pistol makes sense in an environment where threats are likely to two-legged.
A Trunk Gun Definition That Works for Me
Defining a “trunk gun” then is a somewhat vaporous thing. For the purpose of this article,
In and Out of the Trunk
It’s also important to note that my approach is the firearm does NOT permanently live in my trunk. Mine stays in the vehicle a good amount of the day but comes inside with me at night.
Some who have trunk guns take a different approach, leaving the firearm in the vehicle 24/7. If I were going that route, I’d probably just conceal and properly lock down one of my proven police trade-in Benelli Super 90. That’s I choose to
Again, depending on your approach and/or lifestyle or environment, your trunk gun could be a
Years ago, my father had his own rather unique ideas that, in retrospect, were rather comical. Certainly, more lap guns than trunk guns. See if you can pick out two above that I am referring to. (hint: its the two on the bottom) Clearly, better options exist.
Compact is King
So, then, for my needs, I want my trunk gun compact enough that I can move it in and out of the house or my hotel room without alarming neighbors or other hotel guests. It needs to be robust, not adorned with fragile optics that bang, bump and lose zero.
If you do choose to have an optic on the firearm, this is one area on the gun where I would not go too cheap. I’d track down something like an Aimpoint T1 that can take a bit of a beating without impacting function. Frankly, though, irons are likely enough. On my first trunk gun (pictured below), I simply tossed on an old pair of LWRC flip-up irons. Any decent set of irons would be fine.
Cost Considerations – Cheaper, Within Reason (no junk in the trunk)
What is in my trunk should not cost me an extended period of mourning should it be somehow destroyed in a rear-end collision, a car fire, or even theft. At the same time, it is worthwhile to remember this could be your last-ditch tool in a time of need. It had better work. I would not recommend tossing a budget-first build a or broken down range toy in the trunk.
AR Pistols as Trunk Guns
For a long time, my perfect trunk gun was an old 10″ Sig 556 Swat pistol in 5.56 with a pair of
So, what do I choose now? My trunk gun in 2018 is an 8” 300 Blackout AR pistol. Pictured here is an SBR version that would be ideal. As a trunk gun, I’d have it loaded with Barnes 110-grain. I’d load it in and out of the trunk as needed in a discreet case, and pair with an everyday concealed pistol.
Should 300BLK not work for you, I’d opt for a proven reliable folding stock AK in 7.62 x 39. I like the idea of a 300BLK or a 7.62 x 39 when I don’t know exactly what I’m coming up against. You may feel differently. In that case, I‘d consider selecting 10.5” AR Pistol in 5.56 or .223 Wylde, making sure I had chosen ammo that performed well in a short barrel, probably Black Hills 77-grain.
Don’t Disregard the Idea of a Folder
I mentioned a folding stock AK above. That said, if you like the idea of a full-sized AR, the Law Tactical Folding Stock adapter makes sense. You’ll be saving length, just on the other end of the firearm.
With an AR pistol as a trunk gun, you have an effective high-capacity firearm that can reach out. Yet, you can conceal should you need to exit the immediate area around your vehicle. If what I’ve described here makes some sense for your situation, I’d advise finding a matched upper and lower receiver set, a short quality barrel, a reputable but inexpensive pistol brace, and a decent set of iron sights.
Alternatively, track down a complete upper from a reputable manufacturer and toss it on the pistol lower of your choice. Then, put a set of good irons on it, practice with it and be done.
Then get yourself a nice semi-discreet bag, a few mags of good ammo you’ve function tested. Now, be confident if things go south, what awaits you in your trunk is more than up to the challenge.
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