Concealed Carry Corner: Things To Consider When Carrying In A Vehicle

Matt E
by Matt E

For the majority of concealed carriers, carrying in a vehicle is a daily event. Whether that’s going to work or running an errand, we often travel a ton with a gun outside. We travel constantly and everyone has different practices for carrying a gun, but there’s a number of things people do that may not be the best practice whether it comes down to traveling long distances and knowing a state’s gun laws or keeping your gun secure as you drive. Over the last few years, I’ve seen a few crazy things from people whether its carrying guns improperly to ignoring state gun laws out of convenience. Let’s dive into the various things you should avoid when carrying in a vehicle.

Defining The Term “Concealed”

Depending on what state you live in, there are different definitions of the word concealed. Here in Michigan, if you have a gun inside the vehicle, it’s considered concealed no matter what. Whether it’s laying on the passenger seat or on the center console, it’s still considered concealed because it’s in the vehicle. Not every state is like this and other states have a true concealed definition. Florida is a great example because the firearm must be concealed inside the vehicle and out of plain sight.

In Michigan, this Glock would be considered "concealed" even though it's clearly visible through a car window.

I know most people aren’t going on road trips lately because of everything with COVID-19 but normally it’s not uncommon to drive through multiple states in just one day. The biggest thing I can stress is to have an updated app or book detailing every state’s gun laws when it comes to vehicle carry and declaring firearms if you find yourself pulled over. Having your bases covered before leaving not only gives you peace of mind but also lets you plan a route if there’s a state you prefer to avoid entirely (I’m staring at you Illinois).

Hiding your firearms shouldn't be hidden like your high school porn stash. Friends have sadly told me they do this...Don't be this guy

Having A Secure Firearm

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with carrying a firearm in the car is just throwing it in the passenger seat or sticking it in between the seat and center console without a holster. Putting a loaded weapon unsecured in between your seat and the center console is one of the most idiotic things I have seen when going around with other concealed carriers. I can’t stress how important it is to have some sort of retention on your gun inside the vehicle. Even hitting the brakes hard is enough to dislodge the gun sending it flying onto the floor. Not only do you have to worry about traffic and driving safely but now you have a loaded handgun on the floor bouncing around.

A great example of how jamming your gun into the seat is potentially very dangerous. The trigger is still exposed and unsecured.

Subtle Ways To Secure Your Handgun

It’s a situation that is easily avoidable by keeping your gun on your body while driving or having it holstered in the center console. People have installed G-Code hangers for an RTI holster to clip in for vehicle carry. Having something like that may be helpful for people traveling fairly often but honestly, it’s best to keep your gun on your body as much as possible. With a little bit of practice, it’s not hard to become fairly quick drawing from the seated position and it never hurt to try different draws out before you have to use it in the real world.

Deciding to Carry An AR-15 In Your Vehicle

Probably one of the most polarizing topics I’ve ever talked about on TFB is the idea of carrying either an AR pistol or rifle inside your vehicle. Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I’ve come to understand how it can be useful at times to carry a rifle or larger gun in your vehicle for hunting and outdoor purposes. There are a ton of people around the country who decide to carry a larger firearm in their car on a daily basis. Having the ability to have something like an AR in your vehicle is one of the amazing freedoms we get here in the United States.

Realistically, having an AR next to your leg or in the passenger seat is mostly impractical and can unintentionally escalate a traffic stop if it's hanging out in the front seat.

Discretion Is The Best Policy In Public

Having these freedoms though comes with having some responsibilities. Like I said earlier, Michigan law says anything inside the vehicle is considered concealed, so I’ve seen first hand a few different guys carrying an AR pistol in the front seat right next to their leg. That’s every bit legal in Michigan, but to me, it’s bordering paranoia at that point. If you plan on carrying something like an AR in your vehicle it’s never a bad idea to have some sort of way to lock it up and avoid leaving it unattended at all while your vehicle is parked somewhere. Having a handgun is usually more than sufficient to protect yourself but if you feel the need to carry something larger, it’s never a bad idea to invest in a Truck Vault storage system or a lockbox from BOSS StrongBox.

Having a vehicle lock box isn't an end solution but can help add another layer of security to your firearms you may not otherwise have.

Overall Thoughts

Being able to carry a firearm daily is one of the many things to make America great, but it’s important to think about it ahead of time to minimize any risk. I know most of you will say it’s crazy to think someone would do what I described above but I wrote this entire article over experiences I’ve had with other concealed carriers who’ve done crazy things out of ignorance or convenience.

If you plan out your daily loadout to be vehicle carry friendly, it’ll be that much easier to deploy if you ever need to use it in an emergency. Let me know what your favorite way to carry a firearm is in your vehicle down in the comments below. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

TFB’s Concealed Carry Corner is brought to you by GLOCK

Matt E
Matt E

I'm an avid shooter and love educating whether it's at my job or in the shooting community. I'm an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.I'm active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.

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7 of 47 comments
  • YS YS on May 02, 2020

    Can you expand on the consequences of the Michigan vehicle carry.

    I'm a Michigan CPL too, and I'm aware of the basic of in vehicle carry, but what are the rules with non-CPL passengers in the vehicle?

    Is the entire vehicle covered as long as someone in the vehicle is a CPL? What if the non-CPL is closer to the firearm than the CPL (for example, CPL driver, non-CPL front passenger and pistol in glove box)? Can a non-CPL open carry in the vehicle if there's a CPL in the vehicle? etc etc...

    I understand the basics of the requirement, but I see too many gray areas when I start thinking about the edge cases.

    • See 4 previous
    • Neoprofin Neoprofin on May 05, 2020

      @YS No rebuke here. The trouble is that when legal ambiguity creates a ton of headaches for everyone at every level, that's not a legislative priority. When you're a representative of lobbyists that's why things change, and it it's the same on both sides of the aisle.

      We've been trying for years to get our domestic violence disqualifier straightened out so that things make any sense between LEO's, the county and state courts, and the Feds. Political traction = 0. Republicans won't pick it up because it's gun control, Dems won't pick it up because it's gun control that no one cares about.

      Of course on the other side, the original legislation for our state concealed carry permit specified that it was good for five years from the date of the background check, which means if you renew early you may lose as much as $2.63 if you renew before your expiration date.

      That problem was fixed in a month with the statute being rewritten.

  • Brian Schmidt Brian Schmidt on May 05, 2020

    Good topic to consider...especially for people like me who live in a Tri-State area. I can be in two other states in minutes and with just a short drive. I think I have it bad, but it must be really bewildering for folks living in New England and "Megalopolis." While those areas are hostile to guns in general, and carrying them in specific...the stakes...for making mistakes...are just too possession of JHP's in the PRNJ can get you locked up, and the NYSP have a reputation for targeting and arresting out of state travelers for carrying the wrong things when passing through. I can see how an awareness of these issues could easily evade a person living in the center of a large, gun-friendly state.