SG’s Top Six Truck Guns in the World (But Not Sure Which World)

When it comes to truck guns, experts advise that a shotgun or a rifle works the best, a sentiment with which I would agree. I’d further expound that we carry handguns because they are convenient and if we were to walk into a coffee shop or grocery store with a long gun in our hands, we would cause quite a disturbance in most communities. Simply put, handgun rounds suck at stopping bad guys who are trying to kill us.

Survival Gear recently did a video addressing what the narrator believes are some solid choices for “truck guns.” He asserts that keeping only a handgun for home defense is “sub-optimal at best,” and in the video, the narrator asks why should you treat your vehicle any differently than your home? He advocates keeping a long gun in one’s vehicle as well as the home. Personally, in some areas, I might be reticent of leaving a long gun in a vehicle because of the possibility of theft (this is one of the cons of leaving any valuables in a vehicle).

A truck gun should be small enough to store underneath or behind the seat, or be stashed inconspicuously somewhere in the vehicle out of sight. It should also be powerful
enough to do whatever job you need to get done. With these requirements in mind, let’s take a look at the narrator’s picks for “truck guns.”

A truck gun should be small enough to store underneath or behind the seat, or be stashed inconspicuously somewhere in the vehicle out of sight. It should also be powerful
enough to do whatever job you need to get done. With these requirements in mind, let’s take a look at the narrator’s picks for “truck guns.”

1. Mossberg 590A1 Tactical 12 gauge shotgun.

It’s just over 36 inches long, holds nine rounds, and has an adjustable stock. This is the shotgun that the military went with, and it is extremely durable.

The Mossberg 590A1 Tacticql was the military's choice and offers durability and reliability.
The Mossberg 590A1 Tactical was the military’s choice and offers durability and reliability.

2. Mossberg Shockwave.

It’s a 12-gauge shotgun with an overall length of 26 inches and a barrel length of 14 inches. It holds six shots. The narrator notes that the 12-gauge version is fairly punishing to shoot, but that the 20 gauge version is more comfortable to fire. The Shockwave has no buttstock, so its applications are going to be somewhat limited, and obviously, an extremely close-range proposition.

Mossberg Shockwave truck gun
The Mossberg Shockwave is short and has no buttstock. The barrel is 14 inches and it holds six rounds of 12-gauge.
Mossberg Shockwave
Firing the Shockwave in 12-gauge can be “punishing.” It can also be had in 20 gauge.

3. Nighthawk Custom Agent 2 is a 9mm 1911 pistol.

The slide is from Agency Arms and everything is match grade and perfectly fitted. The capacity is 10+1, with the pistol being very slim; the frame is 1.29 inches wide and the slide is .92 inches wide.

Nighthawk Custom Agent 2
The Nighthawk Custom Agent 2 is a 9mm 1911 platform that is match-grade all the way with a 10+1 capacity.
Nighthawk Custom Agent 2
The Custom Agent 2 in action!

4. IWI Tavor TS12.

This 12-gauge, semi-auto shotgun from Israeli Weapons Industries has a rotating, 3-tube magazine. It has a Polymer chassis and is in the bullpup configuration. The capacity is a massive 16 rounds and it’s gas-operated. There is a full-length Picatinny rail that runs the full length of the receiver for mounting all manner of optics, lasers, etc. This is a huge, bulky shotgun. When it’s fired, the recoil goes straight back, and the muzzle stays perfectly level and on target. Did I mention it’s huge?

IWI Tavor TS 12
IWI Tavor TS12 is 12 gauge, semi-auto, and holds a whopping 16 rounds! Note the full-length rail for mounting optics.
IWI Tavor TS 12
The TS12 stays level on target when firing because of the straight-line, bullpen design. Recoil appeared to be quite manageable.

5. ZEV OZ9C Elite.

This is a pistol that’s similar in size to the Glock 19 with a black frame and a DLC-coated slide. The overall length is 7.3 inches and it holds 15 rounds of 9mm. There is a match-grade barrel and a flat-faced trigger. The front sight is a red fiber optic and the rear sights are of the combat type. There is an RMR cut in the slide and it comes complete with an RMR adapter plate. The retail for this pistol is $1,700. In my mind, though, I’m asking the question…why not just buy a Glock 19? Or, for $1,700, you could buy three Glock 19s for the price of this one pistol.

ZEV OZ9C Elite
The ZEV OZ9C Elite has a match-grade barrel and holds 15 rounds. It’s cut for an RMR sight and is the same size as a Glock 19 overall.
ZEV OZ9C Elite
The ZEV pistol in action. With brass in the air, it’s apparent that recoil is not extreme.

6. Mossberg Maverick 88.

This is Mossberg’s “economy” 12-gauge shotgun, and the narrator states that they’re not as durable as the 500 series. It can be had in two configurations: An 18-inch barrel that holds six shots, or a 20-inch barrel that holds eight shots.

Mossberg Maverick - truck guns
The Mossberg Maverick is their economy shotgun. It can be had in a 6-shot version or an 8-shot.

Other Options

According to the narrator, “Every bullet you fire in self-defense will have a lawyer attached to it.” I tend to agree with that statement, which is why I’m a bit reticent to recommend shotguns for general use out in the public. In the home, it’s one thing because the home is going to contain all those pellets, but out in the world, pellets can definitely spread beyond your target. Aside from that, shotguns have a very short, limited range. For a rural setting, the shotgun shouldn’t present a huge problem with stray pellets, though.

Yes, shotguns offer massive stopping power, and that is their claim to fame, I won’t dispute that. That said, for the reasons mentioned above, I’m not a fan of using shotguns where there might be groups of people.

Personally, I prefer a long gun that fires one round because I can put it precisely where I want it to go, minimizing the dangers to bystanders. One must always be mindful of the backstop.

I found it curious that the narrator advised against pistols for defensive purposes, but then went on to suggest that they’d make good truck guns. To be honest, that aspect of this video left me slightly confused.

I carry a pistol every day. Not as a truck gun, but as a body gun that I always have as part of my Every Day Carry. To me, a truck gun would be a long gun that would go above and beyond my handgun. It’s very rare that I carry a truck gun, but I would if I were venturing into a remote area where I might plan to do some hiking. Or possibly if I expected to be attacked in a very bad area. But honestly, these are rare events for me that I don’t normally have to be concerned with.

I believe there are some other choices not mentioned in this video that might make good sense as truck guns.

One that comes to mind is the venerable, proven lever action. They can be found in a plethora of calibers, including .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .30-30, and others. The lever gun offers decent capacity and can be operated quickly. They can be had for a reasonable price in most cases, and their carbine length ensures that they don’t take up a lot of space. They can reach out over 100 yards accurately, as well. An added bonus of the lever action is that it is typically not viewed as an “assault rifle”, ie., people are far less likely to become upset if they see a “cowboy gun.” Sadly, these days, we have to be cognizant of how appearances will be perceived. And if we have to use a firearm in self-defense (God forbid), the lever action is going to look a lot less “evil” in court.

Henry Lever Action 38 257 - truck guns
Sadly, these days, we have to be cognizant of how appearances will be perceived. And if we have to use a firearm in self-defense (God forbid), the lever action is going to look a lot less “evil” in court.

There are also some .22 caliber rifles that make sense as well, including the Ruger 10/22. With their 25-round magazines, the 10/22 semi-auto is a contender for defensive purposes. They offer comparatively low muzzle blast, recoil, and noise, as well, which is a plus. Additionally, a large cache of ammo (say, 500 rounds) can be carried along and it doesn’t weigh much, nor does it take up much space.

Ruger 10/22 truck gun
The Ruger 10/22 tucks into the back of any vehicle, even the most compact ones, easily. A few spare magazines and a brick of .22LR ammo round out the package, giving security and peace of mind.

Another little rifle in the semi-auto class in .22 LR that might work well is the Henry Arms AR-7, which fits into its own buttstock (that happens to float in water). They pack away into an amazingly small package.

Of course, we have a huge selection of AR-15s, specifically carbines, that stow away easily in vehicles. As mentioned, we might have to be careful which environment we use such a carbine in. Currently, good guys who are defending themselves are often painted as bad guys.

The Ruger Mini-14 is a decent semi-auto that comes standard with a wood stock, which is usually viewed as being a bit “tamer” by the public than the AR or AK series. The Mini-14 is reliable with good magazines and offers sufficient firepower to get us out of most situations.

Beyond that, there are a host of other long guns that would fill the bill as a truck gun, ranging from one end of the price spectrum to the other. It seems that part of the fun is doing the research and chasing down our choices.

What do you think is the best truck gun? Sound off in the comments below.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

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