We all have our patterns of life. Wake up, get dressed, holster your EDC for the day, and get in the car.
At this point, you have a few choices to make in order to prepare yourself to defend your life and others’ while in a vehicle. Making car CCW a part of your routine is the best way to do that.
Car CCW | Finding the Right Storage for You
Frankly, a car is a terrible place defend from. In the military, this vulnerability prompted the proliferation of armored vehicles we see today. While you as a law-abiding, concealed-carrying citizen will never have to address that type of threat, your vulnerability remains the same.
In our world however, this vulnerability is more often taken advantage of by opportunistic criminals. With the right mindset and decision making guidelines presented here, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy every drive you take. But now you’ll know that your EDC is secure and quickly accessible.
First, we will explore methods of car CCW. This will include their strengths, shortcomings, and an overall recommendation for each platform or option.
Most of the information here is meant to assist you in making a decision that best adapts to your lifestyle. Implementing radical changes to your routine requires a high degree of commitment, and, more often than not, you’ll end up sliding back to what was comfortable in the first place. Instead, use this information to better hone in and fine tune what is natural and comfortable to you. This is what we refer to in the instructor community as ‘shooter preference.’ The shooter always knows what feels best for them, but it’s up to us to perfect the details of those choices.
The Glove Box
We’re always fighting the path of least resistance. However, people that leave a firearm in their glove box are the type that always take that path.
It doesn’t take any thought to throw your .357 magnum revolver in the glove box, because you saw John McClean do it one time in Die Hard. Unfortunately, storing your handgun in a glove box comes with too many safety caveats to list.
However, for your sake, we’ll touch on the biggest risks here.
It’s predictable. Even if your glove box locks, anyone who has had their car broken into will tell you that the glove box is the first target for car thieves.
What happens if you are being followed to your car or an opportunistic criminal begins accosting you while you’re in you car? The extra time it takes to access your firearm stored in a glove box could be those critical seconds that determine who survives that incident.
We’re human. Humans get distracted easily, and it’s reasonable to predict that leaving your handgun in a glove box will lead to forgetting it’s there altogether. If you know yourself well enough that you can see this happening, don’t even put yourself in that situation.
Overall, the cons far outweigh any positives of using the glove box. In some states, a locking glove box legally counts as securely storing your handgun. Taking that into consideration, utilizing the glove box is recommended for short term or emergency purposes only.
The Mounted System
While we’re making fun of people planning their personal defense strategies around movies, we may as well point out the uselessness of mounted holsters like you would expect to see in The Expendables. Now here is a group of men that could benefit from car CCW tips. Despite how tacti-cool these mounted holsters and car accessories may look, their functionality is limited by some dangerous shortcomings.
Most mounted holsters end up on the steering column or somewhere on the driver’s side on the center console. Properly mounted, it will give you quick access to your handgun. However, the system itself is very easy to spot from the outside of the car. This is the equivalent of open carry – but in your car. Anyone (including police) that approaches your car can see that you have a handgun accessible. During a traffic stop, once he sees you have a handgun, the police officer is already calculating his risk before you even have a chance to interact with them.
Cable Locks and Gun Safes
Despite the shortcomings of the mounted holster, there are a few pieces of other gear that increase your effectiveness. Any good gun owner has a responsible and safe way to store their handgun in their vehicle. This is usually limited to either a locked glove box or a cable lock securing the handgun to the driver’s seat frame bolted to the floorboards.
Depending on circumstances, the cable lock can be an acceptable way to secure your firearm in the car. However, your best alternative to a low-security cable lock is a dedicated gun safe bolted onto or custom made into your vehicle.
The gun safe’s low profile is less likely to be detected and is much more difficult to breach, depending on quality. For that reason, we encourage exploring a mounted safe option for your vehicle – as long as it’s only used to secure a gun when you are leaving it in the car and not driving.
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Running a quick search for quick access gun safes will get you started in the right direction of researching the solution that works for you.
If none of these seemed practical to you, then you’re probably thinking, “I’m just going to keep the gun in my holster and that’ll solve all my problems.”
Partially true. There are a few aspects of carrying in your belt that could be improved.
First of all, if you carry at the 4 o’clock position or further back, accessing your handgun is going to be an awkward reach back and down. Rotate your holster slightly forward to the 3 or 2 o’clock position when sitting in the car.
Now that the gun is ergonomically positioned and still secure in the holster, we want to make sure it’s readily accessible. After all, what use is car CCW, if you’re struggling to access your weapon as your car gets surrounded by carjackers or thieves?
For that reason, we want to tuck the shirt and even run the seat belt behind the handgun. This way there is no obstruction to the handgun, and it’s still securely in place on your belt. If you appendix carry, just make sure the gun is made accessible with the same aforementioned steps.
Keeping your handgun holstered, but accessible, is going to be the top recommendation we can provide for carrying a handgun in your vehicle. Even as a passenger or left hand dominant shooter, be sure to make similar adjustments.
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Practice What You Preach
No matter what method you decide to use to car CCW, these best laid plans are useless without training and preparation. Understandably, it’s difficult to find a local range that will let you practice live fire from your car.
However, you may be able to find a dedicated class. Before signing up for the first class you can find, spend some time getting dry fire practice in. You can do this in your own garage or secluded lot if you don’t have a garage.
Practice drawing from concealment, dry firing from your seat and passenger seats, and evacuation drills. Breaking contact is just as important as meeting the threat with reasonable and proportional force.
We’re always growing from your input. Share with us what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past regarding car CCW with a comment below!
For more from Marc Holley, Owner and Executive Instructor at Atlas Defense, click here!
I’ve been CCW for more then 45 years including 31 years as a law enforcement officer. The majority of this time I’ve carried in a horizontal shoulder holster. There is no quicker method to deploy a weapon from a vehicle. Summer time, no problem. A light cover shirt keeps the weapon perfectly concealed. A high quality holster is a must and unfortunately quite expensive but well worth the cost.
See my comment above. I’ve been in your camp for 40 years
I CCW in waistband at 4oclock position. But when in my vehicle I either leave it where it usually is or I leave it holstered and place it under my right thigh. It must be holstered as it is a Glock. Only thing is I would have to use both hands to pull it from the holster ( Galco leather ).
What tips do you have for a black man to CCW in his car to avoid being shot by police?
Carry your wallet in a different area than your weapon!And do exactly what the officer tells you to do only when he tells you to.for Gods sake keep your hands away from the weapon!
Exactly what a white man should do. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and advise the officer you are CCW. Remember. there are more white folks shot by police then there are black folks.
Keep Your FireArm The OPPOSITE SIDE OF YOUR BODY AS YOUR WALLET & BIGGEST THING!: KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE STRING WEEK @AllTimes! THE FIRST THING YOU TELL THE OFFICER IS YOU HAVE A CONCEALED WEAPON & DO EXACTLY A AS HE TELLS YOU TO #AFTER YOU’VE TOLD HIMHER THAT! LOSE & DONOT EVER, 1: GET AM ATTITUDE OR BE CRAPPY2THEM! JUST LIKE YOU; THEY HAVE A JOB & CHANCES ARE IT’S A LOT RISKIER WHEN IT OMES2SAFETY & 2: DONOT PULL THE “,BLACK-CARD” & START MAKING THEN THINK THEY’VE GOT A PROBLEM WITH YOU BCUZ YOU’RE BLACK & CHANCES ARE THEY’LL BE A #WHITE PERSON OF THE LAW!!!!!!! With AS BAD AS ThisOUR COUNTRY IS BECOMING WITH @BLM (BLACK KKK THAT TWEETS SAYING; “KILL ALL #WHITE POLICE OFFICERS”) YES THERE IS “BAD-SEEDS” AMONG WHITE POLICE, JUST LIKE THERE IS BAD-SEEDS AMONG AFRICAN-AMERRICAN MEN THAT GIVE Y’ALL A BAD-WRAP
1) Do not act like a stereotypical American African Black man; all aggrieved that the evil White Man be hasslin’ you juss kawz you be BLAK, an awl.
2) Keep BOTH of your hands on top of the steering wheel in plain view, after you lower the window.
3) When CCWing in yo Hoopty; it’s a good idea to keep your wallet-with-permit out on the passenger seat or on top of the console.
4) Acknowledge the cop’s greeting and do what he tells you to do. Do not backtalk the cop or give him any shit. The cop will appreciate that and the anxiety level of the encounter will be reduced. Because you are being Cool and reasonable, the cop may only give you a warning…in a Black Privilege sort of way.
5) If you get written up for whatever the cop stopped you for, take it and SHUT UP.
Court is the place for defense arguments, as long as you don’t get a crooked judge.
6) Be calm and go on your way in a Good Driver manner, if not arrested for other reasons.
Have a nice day.
DO NOT SAY “I have a gun”.
Say, after the cop asks for license/registration/insurance, ” I also have a concealed carry permit.” The cop will then…believe me…ask “Do you have a gun ?”
You then answer “Yes, what would you like me to do ?”
Then, DO WHAT THE COP TELLS YOU TO DO.
Be Cool, and continue to live through the experience.
Remember, Philando Castile (sp?) had a gun in his lap, the cop commanded him NOT to go for it, Philandotarious went for it, and stupidly got da DEFF, yo.
Don’t be like Philando.
be respectful, use manners, yes sir, no sir, you are unfortunately battling a perception that has been created by poor behavior by OTHERS, dress appropriately, keep hands in plain sight, on the steering wheel at say 11 and 1, move slowly, roll down your windows if they are tinted or at night time, turn on your dome light, these are the best ways to communicate to the police that you are NOT a threat. now this advice I give to all my students regardless of color, gender, age or IQ. and remember, dont speed, come to full stops, and most blinkers dont wear out with use, so feel free to use them. above all, NO LIQUOR IN THE CAR, no liquor smells, same goes with pot, you be polite, cops will be professional. expect to run into a jerk every now and then, like the Canton ohio police stop, its on youtube, google what I wrote, but remember he was a jerk with a white guy. that ccw license you have proves you are a law abiding citizen. above all, DONT REACH FOR IT< DONT TOUCH IT. keep your license and insurance and registration clipped to your visor. and dont mind read, and smiling helps too. good luck!,
Horizontal shoulder holster has always been my choice for in or out of car
@Jimmy – if you are the cop, how would you want the person with the ccw, regardless of skin color, dealing with you? That’s how YOU should interact with the cop. Would you want someone acting conspicuously or edgy or would you want someone to remain still and calm, hands in plain sight, speaking clearly and articulately? I think you already know the answer because if I were a cop, and im not, but nothing but respect for all they’ve had to endure during the last presidency, id want to approach someone who listens and doesn’t give me the SLIGHTEST idea that my life might be in danger. There are tons of examples of potentially law-abiding citizens who became criminals in an instant; I just saw the bodycam video of a cop who followed a young black man, both on foot. The cop asked the guy to stop moving, take his hands out of his pockets, or he’d hit him with a teaser him. The cop gave him multiple verbal queues amd opportunities to follow direction. Guess what happened…the guy finally pulled his hand out if his pocket and shot at the cop several times. Don’t be that guy and you won’t end up with murder charges. When you have a gun, legally or illegally, it’s Simon says and the cop is Simon. You do what he says, when he says and EXACTLY how he says it. That’s how YOU live another day.
I carry every day, all the time. And I drive a lot, so I carry in the car. Where I carry while there, depends partly on things like weather (I might need to be wearing a thick coat, despite being in a heated car) & partly on what I’ wearing for clothes & thus how it’s holstered. I am short, & that includes being short-waisted. When I sit in a car, no matter how tall I try to be & how straight I try to sit, fact is my CC tool is going to ride up on me (unless I am ankle-carrying, which isn’t always an option). if it’s a long drive, that will really affect the comfort of my over-50 spinal column; so the tool might get placed firmly in between the driver’s seat & the passenger seat (in a holster, mind you). But that means I need to keep my ID (just in case) in another spot, NOT in its usual place in the purse which lies on the seat to my right….Of course then I have to keep that in mind when I arrive at my destination & need to discretely place the tool back on my person. Planning ahead helps. Practice helps even more. …in the states where I usually drive, LE wants a weapon to be stored in a locked hard-shell container which is cabled to the frame of the car somehow AND is not easily accessible by someone in the driver’s seat. This means that as I come close to my destination I need to find a rest stop, where I can safely rummage around in the back seat of my vehicle while removing the small pile of coffee cups that camoflage my travel safe….