I keep a handgun in the glove compartment of my car, and recently got to wondering if, in this age of CCW, how many people still do the same. Am I in the minority on this? Don’t get me wrong, I have a CCW (in Michigan they are CPLs, Concealed Pistol Licenses) and carry on a daily basis, but getting to a strong-side hip holster while seat-belted in behind the wheel can be problematic. I can get to the pistol in my glove box at least as quick as I can the one on my hip, and it's always there.
Keeping a pistol in your glove compartment, however, isn’t a “throw it in there and forget about it until you need it” proposition, no matter how much you’d like it to be. There are a number of things to consider...let's take a look…
Do other people drive your car? Do they have a CCW? Do they even know there’s a gun in the glove box? Check your local laws, but in Michigan, unless you have a CCW, you can’t keep a loaded handgun anywhere in the car. If your wife, significant other, or teenage son gets pulled over driving your car, it doesn’t matter if they didn’t know there was a pistol in the car, they’re going to jail. I have a very funny story about this involving my car, a fender-bender, an irate driver, and my wife….well, she didn’t think it was funny at the time, but the other driver suddenly got very polite.
People get pulled over all the time by the police for all sorts of reasons. Do you keep your registration in the glove compartment? If you’ve got a gun in there, don’t open up your glovebox. Inform the officer that you have a CCW and there is a loaded gun stored with your registration/proof of insurance/whatever, and follow his instructions. In many states you’re required to let the officer know if you’re armed when they approach you. Pistols in your glove compartment count.
STUFF, STUFF, AND MORE STUFF
If there’s a gun in your glove compartment, can you even see it, much less find it? For the lead photo in this blog post, just so the gun could be visible, I had to remove about 20 things from my glove compartment, including a tape measure, shooting glasses, a multi-tool, FedEx receipts, a dog tag, and a bunch of other things that would only interfere with my ability to get to that pistol quickly. Time to clean out the glove box. (The one thing I didn’t find in my glove compartment? Gloves.)
IT TAKES ALL KINDS
What kind of gun do you have in your glove box? When it comes to putting a pistol in a compartment that, by its very nature, will bounce and shake repeatedly, there are dos and don’ts. Cocked and locked 1911s and glove boxes are a very bad mix -- it won’t take long at all for that thumb safety to get knocked off, and then you’ll have a loaded gun pointing…somewhere. If there are a bunch of odds and ends in there with the pistol, that could be wedged into the trigger guard, maybe any type of handgun with a relatively light trigger and no manual safety is a bad idea. Also, how big is your glove compartment? Is there a chance the pistol can move around enough to be pointed at you when you go to pull it out?
IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT
Even though I have an attached garage at my home, I still do a lot of driving around the country, and the interior temperature of my vehicle will vary wildly throughout the year, from -10 below to 120 degrees F. I don’t know what that huge variance in temperature will do to the primers and gunpowder in the cartridges loaded into my glovebox gun, but I know it’s nothing good. I try to switch out the ammo in my car gun every six months or so, just in case.