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

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.

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

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...

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

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...

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The unique Revolvers

Remington Timeline: 1858 - Beals Revolver

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The...

See More Trending Articles

More Training

J. Scott Rupp examines a handgun drill that is helpful for working on sight tracking, target transitions and reloading at the same time. Training

Handgun Skill Drill: Four Pair

J. Scott Rupp - June 11, 2018

J. Scott Rupp examines a handgun drill that is helpful for working on sight tracking, target...

This is a simpler, more compact version of the Box Drill. Training

Handgun Training: The Box Drill

J. Scott Rupp - February 11, 2019

This is a simpler, more compact version of the Box Drill.

Nance lays out best practices for clearing malfunctions in a semiautomatic - skills that could mean the difference between life and death. Training

Handgun Malfunction - Getting Out Of A Jam

Richard Nance - January 11, 2018

Nance lays out best practices for clearing malfunctions in a semiautomatic - skills that could...

Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil. Training

Shooting a Handgun - Stance Matters

Eve Flanigan - June 14, 2018

Good stance capitalizes on posture and joints to minimize the effects of recoil.

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