Driving a car on a daily basis is an integral part of American life, and so is being aware of safety. According to a recent survey, around one-third of American citizens own a gun, and close to eight percent out of them carry handguns on a regular basis. Putting this car and gun ownership into perspective, it turns out that a large number of Americans carry a gun inside their car almost every day. 

Now since that adds up to be a very big number, it is important to understand the proper method of carrying a gun inside a car and the pros and cons of it. 

Common Methods of Carrying a Gun inside a Car

Gun in glove compartment

There are two methods of carrying a gun inside your car, and each of them has its upsides and downsides.

Improvising the Right Spot

The first method is to improvise a perfect spot inside your car where you think accessing the weapon will be quick and easy. Many people like to carry their guns inside the glove compartment since it offers concealment and also keeps the gun safe. However, quick accessibility is largely compromised when carrying like this.

Some people also make use of magnetic metal strips that allow the handgun to firmly stick to them. These strips can be positioned almost anywhere inside the car and are secured using screws or strong double-sided adhesive tape. 

Using a Holster

Perhaps the most common method of carrying a handgun inside a car for a gun owner is using a holster. There are car holsters that come specifically designed for such purposes and can be mounted at some specific positions, making the gun readily accessible. Then there is the option of carrying a holster (IWB/OWB/Shoulder/Ankle/Chest/Belly Band) on your body, whereas waistband holsters are mostly carried at the ‘appendix carry’ position. 

Issues with Carrying a Gun inside a Car

Whether it is for the sole purpose of firearm transport to the gun range, or carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense. There are a few considerations for gun owners to keep an eye out for when carrying inside a car. 


Firearms getting stolen from vehicles is a major contributor to the overall share of guns stolen in the United States each year. For example, 60% of all guns reported stolen in Nashville in 2021 were taken from vehicles. When a burglar breaks inside your car and is searching around for valuables, do not think that your gun inside a simple car holster will be spared from theft. 

So always make sure that your car is locked and the firearm is properly concealed if you have to leave it inside. This is extremely important for people who do not have a concealed carry permit and have to leave their handguns inside the car. 

Man holding up car at gun point


Most people prefer a car holster that is positioned on the driver or passenger seat (side or center position), right under the steering wheel, or atop the glove box. Whenever you try to position a gun inside your vehicle, always be wary about the presence of airbags. In the unfortunate event of an accidental collision, a quickly inflating airbag can launch a wrongly positioned holster and cause it to hurt. 

Additionally, positioning firearms on weak spots like the center console, or the door bottle compartment can make them dislodge and fly off, causing physical damage or loss. 

Unauthorized Access by Kids

The most readily accessible positions can sometimes be the most inappropriate spots for firearms with kids inside the vehicle. Even a concealed firearm is sometimes not opaque to the inquisitive eyes of children. So make sure to either carry firearms in a locked and closed box or wear it on your body like with an IWB or belt holster. However, in my opinion, properly educating your kids to respect and handle firearms is also a very good solution to avoid mishaps.

Window of Error

At times you will find yourself walking out of the car to fetch the gas hose at the gas station, or just to walk across the street for a quick visit to the department store. Either way, you will not have the firearm with you and it can end up being a horrific co-incidence if a self-defense situation arises. In fact, carjackers use such tricks to prey upon their targets. Additionally, if your local laws allow open carry, I think it is best to use an OWB holster or otherwise just carry the concealed firearm on your body with any holster you like. 

Snagging Issues and Delayed Access

Imagine you have your car holster positioned in the center of the passenger seat or the driver seat. Maybe the car holster is positioned under the glove box or on the inside of the door. In any of these situations, the holster is prone to snagging and causing the user to falter. 

Offensive to Passengers

While this does not seem to be a very major issue, conspicuously carrying a firearm inside your car can seem rude or offensive to fellow passengers. It may even cause them to feel unsafe or anxious, especially if they do not know you much. 

How Should You Really Carry a Gun Inside Your Car

After looking at all those issues, it is now important to understand the right solution to carrying a weapon inside a car. 

Choose the Right Spot

Carrying a firearm inside your car or truck is not only limited to handguns. Some people prefer carrying a semi-auto rifle or even a shotgun for more firepower when the need arises. Choosing the right spot which offers quick accessibility, safety, and a concealed weapon is essential. There are many options for car holster designs available on the market, but it eventually boils down to the type of firearm, type of vehicle, and personal preference. 

Use the Right Method 

Like I already said, having a firearm in the right spot inside your car is essential for many factors. A rifle or shotgun may rest inside a gun case in your car’s trunk, whereas a handgun can be put inside a small gun vault with a locking mechanism. 

Get Proper Training

Carrying a gun and knowing how to use it in certain circumstances are two different things. Self-defense engagements are not always relaxed point-and-shoot events like at the shooting range. That is because, in those situations, the target will most probably be shooting back at you. 

There have been numerous instances when people trying to grab their guns from inside their cars have faltered. So no matter what holster, vehicle, carry position, or firearm you use, it is essential to get proper training. 

Comply with Local Laws

Some states have their own unique laws regarding the transportation of firearms. While some states strictly require a gun case for transportation, some states will require you to carry the weapon and ammunition separately. It is always better to get proper legal advice and comply with respective firearm laws rather than defend yourself in court later. 

Interacting with LE

Having a concealed firearm inside your car and abruptly revealing it to an asking police officer can cause him/her to panic and maybe even consider you a threat. So whenever you get pulled over by a police officer while carrying a firearm, rest both your hands on the steering wheel and inform them that you have a weapon inside your car and are legally allowed to carry it.

It varies from state to state regarding your duty to inform a cop when pulled over. However, if you have an unconcealed weapon (like one in a center console holster) or are being asked to get out of the car, it is always better to inform. 


A myriad of reasons like theft, accessibility, kids, and co-incidences support the point that using car holsters can be a bad idea. However, sometimes you just have to use car holsters in certain circumstances, and in those cases, it is essential that you use them properly and with attention. Always put safety, concealability, and quick access as the most prominent factors for choosing a car holster. 

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November 17, 2022