Shooting From a Car

Shooting From a Car

How to overcome the obstacles of deploying a gun in a vehicle.

Effectively drawing a concealed handgun while seated in a vehicle is a real challenge because of all the inherent obstacles, but it's a skill people should master because of how much time we spend driving.

For many of us, we spend much of our lives driving. It then follows we have a higher probability of being assaulted while getting into, out of or while within a vehicle. It also follows that we should then practice using our handguns in this venue and also should make every effort to avoid being at the top of the victim selection process.

Unfortunately, practicing using a handgun in a vehicle is difficult for most folks, as only a few ranges allow drawing and movement--let alone attempting to replicate your body movements when entering, exiting or operating a motor vehicle. Doing so even for practice can be dangerous to yourself and anyone else present.


For instance, while seated behind the wheel doing a right-handed, strong-side draw, you can easily have the gun muzzle track across your legs and an arm. "Stubbing" the gun muzzle in the steering wheel or against steering-column levers is also easy to do. And this assumes you have managed not to entangle hand, arm and handgun in the seat belt and have avoided any drinks in the center-console cup holders.


The only safe way to practice this is with a dedicated, non-firing gun such as a blue gun. There is no second method if you absolutely want to prevent an accidental discharge.

Next you'll need a location that assures privacy. Now, review your normal routine for getting into and out of the vehicle, putting on your seat belt, putting the vehicle in gear and so forth--without doing any gun work. Once you've identified the typical actions and motions involved in driving, put on your holster and pick up the blue gun or other facsimile and practice deploying the gun during any of these actions.


As you do the above, you might well find that the vehicle's safety features work against your safety. Today's seat belt is pretty good at protecting you, as is a contoured or bucket seat, which decreases sideways slippage of your body during a skid. Automatic door locks help keep doors shut, and the omnipresent cup holders decrease the possibility of hot spills or reaching for drink containers to keep them from spilling--possibly causing you to lose control of the vehicle.


Once surrounded by all these safety features, however, drawing and directing a concealed handgun at a threat can be problematic.

Like them or not, we are now strongly "encouraged" to wear our seat belts at all times, which most of us do--donning them on entry and not releasing them until we exit. (Fortunately, the automatically encircling seat belts of a few years ago are no longer being installed.) And most doors on newer vehicles lock automatically when the transmission is taken out of Park and unlock when put back in Park.

I don't know about you, but there are times when certain locations and people raise my level of concern, and if I were to have to draw my handgun while in the vehicle with the engine running, the reflexive forward move needed to allow me to access my handgun will be abruptly (and possibly painfully) halted when the seat belt will not extend, having locked into position.

Seat belts can't be disconnected, so early release is the only option, but check your state's seat belt laws. In mine, mandatory seat belt wear is not applicable in private parking lots. However, I can't get an answer to this question: "Am I in compliance with the seat belt law if I only wear the lap belt?"

Also, I most certainly want my doors locked when I park in "iffy" locations, wanting to take one last look around before committing to leave the relative safety of my vehicle. I suggest habituating yourself to manually locking your door as soon as you get in and before you get out. And be sure to take a look around before actually getting out of your vehicle.

A threat may pass you by if he thinks you're not an easy mark, but sometimes you are the only item on the menu.

Contrary to popular wisdom, predators are not dumb, and they know how these safety devices and convenience features work against you, and they may well elect to attack when you are most disadvantaged, such as when you are in the process of getting behind the wheel or exiting the vehicle.

Certainly, all your limbs are tasked during these actions, and with the proliferation of the ubiquitous portable communication devices, you're also probably not paying much attention. Most bad guys know this, and they may have successfully attacked people in the past using tactics targeted at points in the driving process such as I just mentioned. So they will be prepared.

That's why both preventative measures such as awareness, along with handgun skills, are equally important. A threat may pass you by if he thinks you're not an easy mark, but sometimes you are the only item on the menu. The least you can do is give him indigestion.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Going To The Range

Going To The Range

Jim and Scott show you how to make each trip to the shooting range a quality experience.

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

The Kodiak is a long slide 1911-style semi-auto complete with 6-inch bull barrels and chambered in 10mm.

Ruger Security 9 Compact

Ruger Security 9 Compact

This handgun lives up to what Ruger wanted to build: a solid, dependable, easy-racking carry/home defense pistol at a better-than-reasonable price.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a terrific balance of weight, power and shootability. 1911

Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander 9mm Review

J. Scott Rupp - May 08, 2019

Available in .38 Super, 9mm and .45 ACP, the Ed Brown 1911 Executive Commander offers a...

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense. Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

The Smith & Wesson Model 13 revolver was a combat classic back in the day. Revolvers

Smith & Wesson Model 13 Revolver

Payton Miller - July 31, 2020

The Smith & Wesson Model 13 revolver was a combat classic back in the day.

See More Trending Articles

More Training

Defensive pistol experts constantly preach “getting off the X,” and what they mean is you don't want to just stand in one spot when engaging a threat. This simple drill teaches you to get off that X, and the more you do it, the more instinctive and easy the actions become. Training

Shooting Drills – Getting off the X

J. Scott Rupp - April 01, 2020

Defensive pistol experts constantly preach “getting off the X,” and what they mean is you...

From arm position to thumb location, there are plenty of methods out there. Training

There's More Than One Way To Shoot A Gun

Richard Nance - December 27, 2018

From arm position to thumb location, there are plenty of methods out there.

In this article, Richard Nance examines multiple shooting positions for when an assailant is close enough to reach your gun and you can't use your sights. Training

When You Can't Use Your Sights, Aim With Your Body

Richard Nance - February 14, 2018

In this article, Richard Nance examines multiple shooting positions for when an assailant is...

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or from a particular gun to reacquaint themselves with the trigger. Training

Handgun Skill Drill: Vicker's Leatham Drill

Eve Flanigan - July 19, 2018

Vicker's Leatham Drill is great for good shooters to do after some time away from the range or...

See More Training

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now