View Full Version : Carrying/drawing/using handgun in vehicle

10-09-2003, 05:28 PM
My question is rather board but essential involves how you have handgun accessible for use in vehicle and if you practice drawing and have developed practice drills. Frankly, I think I am weak in this area. I generally carry glock IWB and have practiced a bit taking off seat belt and drawing. Nice to have private garage. My thinking is carrying second gun that you would take and move to some secure, but accessible place in car is best way to go. I say second gun, because if only carry single gun and move it to "holster" whatever in car if you have to exit quickly you may have no gun. Of course gun in ankle holster has potential and can be left in place. I doubt if many of us have discipline to move second gun from on body holster to "holster" in vehicle for 5 minute ride to grocery or video store. Anyhow, broad question of how you keep gun accessible in vehicle, practice drawing, etc.

Pablo Thunderglock
10-09-2003, 07:00 PM
My car have a Glove compartment below the wheel and I use it a lot. Because I use to carry a Glock 21 Its hard to my back if I left the gun IWB when Im in the car, so I put the Big Glock there the very moment Im in the car.
I try to practice some draws from there a few times a week, but my feeling is Im weak in that role (I need more smoothness).

10-09-2003, 11:02 PM
I keep my carry gun in it'd IWB holster but have to admit it would take some time to get to it in an emergency.I'm thinking about making some kind of mounted car holster out of a Fobus or some other cheap holster.

Michael w/1911
10-10-2003, 07:48 AM
Money may become an issue for some, be that the holster or the console of the vehicle but Ive had success with this method. Locate a spot on the console, under the dash will also work to mount a holster. For me, the left handed models work the best considering the mounting locations. Depending on the holster, drill a hole (or two) in the console or under the dash to mount. I drive trucks, pick-ups and SUVs, so I mount mine between the seat and the bucket on the console, drilling into the lower portions of the storage unit and adjusting the angle for my seated position. If you mount it under the dash, consider where your feet will be. Think, measure and check before you buy, vehicle interiors can get tricky. This is only a suggestion; it may not work for your needs.


Vig Creed
10-10-2003, 09:22 AM
When driving through questionable areas, I remove my gun from its normal carry position, and place it under my right thigh on the seat. That way it is hidden from view from both the driver and passenger side windows, but instantly accessable.

Other than that, cross-draw is the only on-body holster style that works well seated in a vehicle, but cross-draw holsters don't conceal well when out of the vehicle.


10-10-2003, 02:37 PM
Ditto VC's under leg position. I put it under my left thigh. The gun's purpose is defense if I am ever forced out of my vehicle (think kidnapping). As I'm getting out of the car I can put it into play much more readily when it is on the car seat (Learned this from a Texas LEO).

If I have it under my right thigh the steering wheel gets in the way if I'm putting it into action.

10-10-2003, 03:59 PM
My solution to this problem has been to wear a second revolver on my ankle. I have found the ankle holster to be a very workable solution. What I like about this arrangement is that the revolver remains concealed. From the house to the car, during the ride, and upon arrival at my destination, I never have to worry about the firearm being exposed inadvertently. This also works well when I am riding in someone else's car. I find that I can execute a draw and presentation of a snub revolver pretty efficiently from behind the wheel of my Suburban, which by the way has a great lockable storage compartment between the seats, large enough to accomodate a pair of full-sized handguns. Sometimes I use this to keep a weapon in the truck. I can leave the compartment closed and unlocked, but open it as I drive to allow access to the firearm. I might do this if I found myself in a situation that made me uncomfortable, but didn't yet warrant the display of a firearm. Sometimes when my wife and kids will be with me, and I should need to leave them in the car, I want my wife, who has a ccw to have access to a handgun. This glove box carry works well then, because the kids don't notice the transfer.

Fobus does make a holster that can be readily adapted to mounting in your vehicle. I think they call it the roto-holster. I know that they have a "universal mounting device", so that you can mount a holster under a desk, or in a vehicle, etc. I saw it presented in SWAT magazine a while back. This wouldn't work for me, because in order for it to be accessible, it would have to be visible. Not an option.

Keep looking at holster designs, you may be able to locate one that fits your lifestyle, and allows you to draw even before you unbuckle.

10-11-2003, 06:35 AM
I agree with NTS6GUNNER, I like the FOBUS car mount, but it's too visible for my liking and I do tend to put my carry gun under my right thigh, but what if I'm invovled in an accident? My luck would send my precious Glock under the pedals or banging around my ankles.
For now, it stays in a IWB on my left hip. (another Lefty, in a Righty world). I find that when I practice drawing, (on and off duty). I have to lean waaaaay over towards the center console to access the gun due to the door and seatback being so close.
So far, my own practice has only come in handy on the EVOC driving course when we used Simunitions, but at least I know what works for now.

10-16-2003, 12:21 PM
Hello everyone. Im new here but I would like to make a comment and ask what everyone else does.

When sitting at a vehicle or at a table in a restaurant, I find a strongside belt holster akward. It would be very difficult to draw while buckled in a vehicle. To get around this I use a homemade cross draw holster carried inside the waistband. I usually have a S&W Model 13, .357 with a 3 inch barrel. I can conceal this just by wearing the tail on my tee shirt out. When standing in a line or something in public, I can cross my arms low and in front of me and my right forearm is touching the grip of my revolver so I always know where it is.

Once while standing in a line at the local steak house, I was wearing a 45 in a pancake holster with my shirttail out. The guy behind me kept standing close and bumping me while in line. That made me very paranoid about his possible intentions. So I stood, slightly rotated to move my weapon a little farther from him, and kept my right arm at my side, forearm pressed against the pistol grip so I was always touching it.

Any advice on how to handle a situation like that? I dont think Im paranoid, but I do like to be aware of my surroundings and always ready.


10-16-2003, 06:11 PM
I need to put in my two cents here, particularly with regard to those of you who take your guns out and put them in gloveboxes, consoles, etc.

I spent a good number of years flying for the Marine Corps. One of the things we were always taught, and many of us experienced and learned the hard way, is that if it wasn't on your body it didn't leave the aircraft with you in an emergency. I have always believed the same is true with an automobile. Following an accident or other emergency, if you have to exit the car in a hurry, perhaps in a fire, you aren't going to get the gun out of the glove box or console and you aren't going to find it wherever it went after it slides out from under your thigh.

Find a way to keep it attached to you. Mitch Rosen makes a Counter carjacking holster and I think I've seen it reproduced by someone else. It is sort of a horizontal crossdraw. I'm sure there are other solutions, but keep the gun attached to you.

10-19-2003, 10:14 AM
I chose the option of carrying OWB in a Galco concealable rig, and most times Im wearing a simple T shirt, sometimes with an over shirt. That being said, when in the car, I despise seat belts when going at low speeds (in traffic, on surface streets etc), this provides easy access to the holster ... merely pull the t shirt up, and tuck it behind the holster instead of over it. Yes, the grip of my Glock may be slightly visible to those in higher vehicles next to you, say trucks or vans, but I believe the risk of being seen worth the sacrafice. At higher speeds, where I sometimes wear a seat belt, I make sure that it doesnt interfere with anything such as the draw, the holster or any movement associated with having to deploy a firearm while in a vehicle.

10-29-2003, 07:45 PM
For long trips the belt gun goes in the console of the truck and I wear an ankle rig with an Airweight Smith in it. Handy to draw and it goes everywhere with me and if somthing bad happens the bug gun is right there beside me.


Gabriel Suarez
10-29-2003, 10:00 PM
OK, now that we have all the gear chosen, let's draw a nice picture for you.

You're stuck in traffic and out of the corner of your eye you see a steroided out urban hood with his pants hanging halfway down and gold rings on every finger coming up to your car as he reaches under his skin tight tank top for a big revolver.

You can't drive away and its happening too fast to exit the car. Your ONLY option is to shoot hinm from where you sit.

How many of you think you'll sweep your legs on the way out to the car? (Not that this is bad). Seriously how will you REALLY draw. IDPA rules don't apply here.

10-30-2003, 06:15 AM
How many of you think you'll sweep your legs on the way out to the car? (Not that this is bad). Seriously how will you REALLY draw. IDPA rules don't apply here.

Sometimes it's good to be a leftie...

10-30-2003, 06:26 AM
Looks like I personally have 2 choices.

1. I can reach in the console and grab the Glock that is always there. Since my normal draw stroke is to come up very high to the pec muscle and then extend the pistol from there I will probably no cross myself. If I do so what? This guy needs shooting HOW. Finget is already outsid ethe trigger guard so it is a minimal risk.

2. Reach down and take the snubbie from the ankle rig. I will pretty much have to cross myself to get it into action. It's a revolver. about a 12-15 pound trigger pull. Finger is outside the guard. I guess if I drew it up to the pec muscle and then punched it out there would not be a crossing problem. But as I said above, So What? I saw acceptable rick. The risk of getting killed by this guy is much greater.


10-30-2003, 07:29 AM
How many of you think you'll sweep your legs on the way out to the car? (Not that this is bad). Seriously how will you REALLY draw. IDPA rules don't apply here.

I'll probably sweep both legs as I draw quickly from my strong side belt holster. That's the LEAST of my concerns at this point. If I can't drive across a median, sidewalk, parking lot, etc. it is my only choice. Doom on the BG:D.

Brass Balls
10-30-2003, 07:41 AM
If I'm wearing a shoulder rig it will be easier/quicker to draw and I won't sweep myself either. Since I don't wear it all the time though I practice drawing from IWB while in the car from time to time. This is a lot easier to do while driving my pickup truck than it is while driving my sports car and unfortunately the sports car is the vehicle that would be more attractive to thiefs.

The draw from IWB would never be described as smooth or covert but it is effective. The reason that I describe it this way is that I kinda lunge forward with my butt on the seat while leaning forward to gain unfettered access to my handgun. I can draw this way with or without my seatbelt on. Preferably I'll have time to unbuckle but I know that may not be possible due to the need for speed.

Another thing that I practice a little bit during each range visit is left handed shooting. This gives me confidence to make hits if I have to transition to my left hand.

Gabriel Suarez
10-30-2003, 08:02 AM
Guys, my whole point was that it is not a big deal IF to respond quickly enough you do have to sweep your leg.

Here is an article I wrote earlier for Tactical Operator. Once published a world-reknowed trainer said I was a psycho
:D :D

The Muzzle

"Don't Let the Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy".

Let's keep an open mind boys and girls. Is this a ALWAYS viable tactical safety principle? Now before you raise your voices and fists and get the heretic-burning-kit open, hear me out.

First of all, I am not in the business of teaching lowest common denominator shooters, police academy conscripts, or low dedication folks. I have nothing against training them and think they should be taught sound basics. But I also believe that limiting high end shooters to white-belt techniques because that is all a particular trainer has the knowledge to teach is not only a disservice to everyone, but holds the art back in the dark ages.

Thus the focus of Suarez International courses is to teach everyone to their level. Advanced shooters (such as those who attend our Close Range Gunfighting and Interactive Gunfight Tactics) need more than what the grandma with the S&W Ladysmith gets.

Now about the muzzle. Do innocent people get covered with gun muzzles in gunfights? Certainly they do. Its a fact of life and those who say "no" haven't been in too many gunfights. Gunfights are not safe clinical events like we see in a "shoot house" drill. Rather, they are loud, dangerous, confused affairs where you may not be able to tell good guy from bad guy.

Who is the most important player in the gunfight? If you answered anything but "ME"!! , you need to revisit the mind set lecture. Unless there are rules of engagement that mitigate pointing in with the muzzle (in which case - adapt, overcome, and do what you must) point at the perceived source of the threat, not at the floor.

If a man has caused you enough stress that you grabbed your gun to begin with, you are probably justified in shooting him. If you are not justified in shooting, leave the gun in the holster. But if you do go to guns, make sure you are sending the right message. Point in!!

I'm told by students that in some agencies there are policies mitigating this. If so, well, adapt and overcome.

Now there are other situations relating to muzzles. Specifically covering yourself with the muzzle. Certainly to be avoided, but let's not go to extremes. I'll bet most of us cover ourselves withe our muzzles every single time we draw! Right now. Stand up with your holstered pistol, take your special school-approved stance and draw. Notice how your muzzle covers part of your leg on an angle as you draw??

Now go sit in your car and pretend an adversary was coming to kill you and you had to do a surprise "stress draw" right toward him. How would you do it??? You would draw right to the threat as is human nature to do. Do you think you would do some roundabout draw "over-the-steering-wheel" draw? Be honest, you'd "skin that smokewagon" and point right in, giving no thought to the fact you just swept your legs on the way out. Again, covering yourself with the muzzle.

Look, the bottom line is that I'm not trying to sink anyone's row boat. However, reality is reality and we must take it into consideration when we train. Its probably going to happen so instead of getting "goosy" about muzzles, educate your trigger finger to rest on the Index Point until you make a conscious decission to shoot.

So -

Control Your Muzzle And Do Not Allow It To Cover Anything or Anyone UNINTENTIONALLY.

10-30-2003, 08:32 AM
Interesting video here WRT to this thread.

The video is a news piece talking about the training going to Airline pilots. The training model being used would seem to be adaptable to car type training.


10-30-2003, 10:52 PM
Gabe, how come you let your bumper get so close to the car in front that you can't swing out ;) OK, maybe you're in the center of a 3 lane jam.

How about letting your foot off the brake so you tap the car in front? That should get you a witness, and maybe even cause the perp to abort his mission.

WRT seat belt use-- the chances of injury from an unbelted car accident are far greater than the chance of a carjacking. And at low speed, you become a hazard to _others_. If you get sideswiped, you will be using the steering wheel for leverage to hang on. If you are belted in, you can steer to avoid that pedestrian you have been catapulted towards.

Charles Rives
11-22-2003, 02:09 AM
A snubnose in a windbreaker pocket can be a great way to carry while seated in the car. You can access it well while seated. You can have gun-in-hand readiness and even sort of point it without having to draw or reveal its presence.

In the Miami FBI shootout, agents Hanlon and Manuzzi both lost handgun and were not able to use them because they placed them in their laps or on the seats. When the gunfight began as a car crash, their revolvers flew throughout the interior of their vehicles and they were not able to retrieve them for the duration of the fight. (Hanlon was able to use his second gun.)

For one road trip, I did try this. I put that lanyard attachment point at the base of my SIG to use. I attached a small paracord thong there (about 3-4 inches long.) Then I would place the pistol next to my right thigh and pass my seatbelt buckle through the loop of paracord as I snapped it. Then, if I unbuckle the seatbelt, the gun is accessable. If I don't unbuckle the seatbelt then the gun and I are locked into the seat together. This really did seam like a quick method of draw. The right hand took a firing grip while the left hand operated the seatbelt buckle and then the door. In order to make this more covert, I kept a small handtowel in the front seat and could drape it accross my hip and thigh if I was going to do be someplace where someone could see into the car (e.g. a tollbooth).

- Chuck

11-30-2003, 01:48 PM
I learned early after getting into L/E work that seatbelts, duty jackets, duty holsters and vests can affect my peace of mind when seated behind the wheel of my patrol car, and suddenly discovering the need to have my weapon in my hand RIGHT NOW. Off duty situations involve some different equipment issues, but the need may be the same ...

I learned to always position the holstered weapon so my jacket isn't belted over the holstered weapon, but draped loosely and easily able to be drawn aside during any required draw & presentation. I learned which holsters were best able to be adjusted while seated & belted, to allow clear access to the holstered weapon, including easy, proper manipulation of any holster retention devices. This may not be required with some "open top" plainclothes & off duty holsters, but it's a good habit to retain for wearing service leather gear, especially if your gear is Level 2 or 3.

I've known of cops that became involved in pursuits of armed felons, and who were unable to draw and present their holstered service weapons when a minor collision occurred ... and in one instance, while being fired upon by the suspect. The seat belt was hooked over the weapon's grip in that instance, and the cop later discovered he'd injured his shoulder unsuccessfully trying to draw his weapon.

I attended some POST training a couple of years ago where one of the subjects was drawing and shooting while seated in a patrol car ... while being both the driver AND the passenger. It was amazing how few cops seemed to have actually developed a plan for these potential situations. Most other folks I've ever worked with always worked out plans regarding strategies involving shooting situations, especially when in the car. Heck, I've even taken the opportunity to bring my current partner (of the last several years) to our range, where he and I worked out some close quarters shooting and movement drills, and gave him some opportunities to fine tune some of his "aging" shooting techniques and skills. He and I find ourselves in some strange and dangerous places, from time to time ...

I agree that if your weapon isn't attached to your person in some manner, Mr Murphy WILL likely find a way to deploy it to the farthest end of the vehicle at the most inopportune moment ... or you might forget to D/A the vehicle with the weapon, especially if you're under stress ... or under fire.

Some carry methods are better suited to some folk's anatomy and physical needs, especially while seated, than other methods ...

Wearing a lawfully concealed weapon upon your person in public requires you to ALWAYS be aware of your immediate environment, and for many reasons. Notwithstanding the actual perceived need to be armed for personal defense, or defense of a third person ... this includes whether there's a potential threat to your continued retention and control of your holstered weapon. "OOPS!" doesn't cut it ... for anybody.

If you're a cop, your Admin doesn't want to get complaints of cops that drop their weapons in crowded restaurants.

If you're a civilian carrying on a CCW, the issuing authority doesn't want the same calls ... or to get calls about a man-with-a-gun, especially from the soccer mom in the tall SUV next to you in stop & go traffic who simply sees a man with a gun next to him on the seat. I know there may be some states and jurisdictions where this might not raise an eyebrow, but for everyone else, you get my meaning.

Just as you should take reasonable, courteous precautions to prevent sticking the fellow in line behind you in the groin with your briefcase, you should take reasonable precautions from either alarming him because he bumps into your concealed weapon ... or simply being rude by allowing him to whack his funny bone on your weapon's grip. Secondly, your concealed weapon is just that ... a weapon. You must develop your sense of body presence and awareness to reasonably safeguard it from unauthorized persons ... at all times it's on your person. Common sense. It takes time and thinking about it, though, as most rookie cops realize ... sometimes to their embarrassment ... and lawfully armed civilians, too.

Ankle holsters do work fairly well for many folks for vehicle carry and "easy" weapon deployment, if it's applicable to their particular situation, that is ...

It's easy to reach a J-frame on your ankle while seated & belted in a car, and do so unobtrusively. Remember to wear pants suitable for an ankle holster, though, or you're liable to announce your armed condition for the world to see.

I was in a local coffee shop recently, meeting a friend who works a different plainclothes assignment ... (okay, and I wanted an excuse to have some coffee and smoke a cigar) ... and we saw a young fellow sitting at one of the tables wearing an ankle holster. My friend recognized him as a fed assigned to a local office, and it was both amusing and embarrassing how obviously unaware he was to the fact that his ankle holster, and most of his lower leg, were exposed by his raised pant leg as he sat there chatting with a young lady. It might've been better if he hadn't been seated at a table out in the middle of the floor, and in the line of foot traffic inside the coffee shop ... but that's how things go.

Cross draw holsters designed for people driving vehicles are a fine idea ... for comfort ... but don't really conceal all that well, depending on the circumstances. This is exacerbated once the driver exits the vehicle ... and then there's that weapon-security issue involved with what's essentially a cross-draw holster once you're outside the vehicle. Some paddle holsters designed for this task might be a better idea, but will still require transferring the weapon from the "driving" holster to a "carry" holster for outside the vehicle. Then, there's the "consistency of training" consideration involved if you have to remember which holster you're wearing ... under STRESS.

Shoulder holsters deserve their own subject thread ... lots of pro's & con's ...

Gabe, as usual, brings up another interesting point to consider when talking vehicles and drawing weapons. It was downright scary to see how many folks swept themselves with their muzzles when trying to draw while seated in either side front seat of a patrol car. This was involving folks that are visibly armed every day, and don't have to consider concealing their weapons from view, too. Imagine how this might be even more of a potential problem for folks that must conceal their weapons from public view, and don't have either the training, or the ability to SAFELY practice such things.

These issues deserve careful consideration, and every effort to minimize, or eliminate, a potential risk must be made ... and the real world can be a very scary place.

Safety begins in the mind ... think.

Good thread. Enjoyed it so far.