I recently had a conversation with a fellow gun nut in which the topic of trunk guns came up. He asked me what kind of gun I have in the trunk of my car and I replied that I didn’t have one. This was apparently the wrong answer as I was informed that having a gun, namely a rifle, stored in my trunk is critical to my survival. Without a long gun sitting in my trunk there is no way that I will be able to survive major civil unrest such as rioting. And he topped it off with the famous line, “A handgun is for shooting your way to your rifle.” He must have attended the My School is the Only Valid School of Gun Fighting. I hear it’s quite popular but most of the instructors and students that I have met from that school are assholes, which has dissuaded me from seeking training there.
Instead of telling you what the one and true proper self-defense plan is I’m going to explain how self-defense plans vary from person to person based on criteria unique to each individual. I will do this by explaining why I don’t have a trunk gun and why I don’t feel as though I’m going to die a horrible death due to my lack of preparation. As always your mileage will vary. Your situation is almost certainly different than mine and therefore requires a different set of plans. Don’t take this post as me saying trunk guns are stupid and nobody should have one. What I’m trying to explain in this post are some of the criteria I use to develop some of my self-defense plans and why I have come to the decisions that I have.
It’s no secret that handguns, in general, suck when it comes to stopping power. To compensate for lack of stopping power most schools of self-defense recommend firing two shots into a target immediately and then assessing whether or not more are necessary. Seeing this it’s pretty easy to understand why military personnel rely on rifles for their primary weapon and have a handgun as a backup. It’s also easy to see why people would prefer a rifle over a handgun in a self-defense situation. Needless to say a rifle in your trunk is much closer than one in your safe at home.
Let me first say that I live in the Twin Cities, which is Minnesota’s largest metropolitan area. Obviously that has a lot to do with my situation and shapes my self-defense plan. The chances of me getting mugged are higher than somebody living in a rural area but the chances of me encountering a large (relative to Minnesota) animal such as a black bear are practically nil. Another factor worth mentioning is that periods of civil unrest in this area are rare. That brings me to my self-defense plan. Statistically the defensive scenarios I am most likely to be involved in are immediate in nature. Things like muggings, drunken assholes looking to start a fight, or getting stuck in the middle of two gang members’ relational issues. In these scenarios my ability to access defensive force must be immediate and if I’m able to get to my car I have most likely escaped the danger. And if I haven’t the time it takes me to access my trunk, retrieve my rifle, and continue the fight isn’t that dissimilar to enter my vehicle, start my car, and get the fuck out of there. For me the mobility my car offers almost always outweighs the firepower a rifle brings to the table.
But let’s discuss the primary justification for trunk guns: civil unrest. History shows that civil unrest in Minnesota, and the United States as a whole, is pretty rare. The chances of me being stuck in the middle of a civil unrest situation are much smaller than, say, my car being stolen or broken into in Minneapolis. A regular auto theft sucks but it sucks a whole lot more if the thief not only gets a car but also a loaded rifle. Furthermore, in a time of civil unrest, I believe you’re highest chance of survival comes from not drawing attention to yourself. There are two risks when you draw attention to yourself, which toting a rifle does in a metropolitan area, rioters and police. Rioters act in a slightly more random nature than police but as a general rule it’s best to not stick out if you want to avoid being targeted for violence. In fact it’s probably a better idea to attempt to appear to be a rioter when rioters are near than it is to be toting a rifle. Police, on the other hand, are less random. During a time of civil unrest they’re looking for people that appears to be rioting or otherwise acting dangerously. Carrying a rifle is likely to raise red flags with local police officers and those red flags will likely increase the chances of them shooting you first and asking questions about your innocence later. After all the words “office safety” justify almost any violent action taken by police and the fact that you were visibly in possession of a weapon during a riot will give them the ability to claim their safety was in jeopardy.
As I said earlier, the most common self-defense situations I am likely to encounter are immediate in nature. If somebody pulls a gun on me and demands my wallet I don’t have time to get to my car, pull my rifle out of the trunk, and shoot the mugger. Periods of civil unrest usually have a lead up time to them. Consider the events that occurred in Ferguson. Riots didn’t break out immediately after the shooting. There was a lot of news coverage of the shooting beforehand as well as signs that the local population was very upset by it. The best way to survive a period of civil unrest is to be elsewhere. Pay attention to your local news. If there are signs of impending civil unrest in an area make sure you’re not in that area. While I do understand that that’s not always possible in most cases it is. Being somewhere else will increase your chances of survival much more than being near the unrest with a rifle in your trunk.
There you have it, some insight into why I don’t have a trunk gun. Let the ridicule from the students of the My School is the Only Valid School of Gun Fighting begin (which is to say let the impotent rage flow through their keyboards)!