Concealed Carry Corner: Vehicle Carry Mistakes To Avoid

Matt E
by Matt E
Concealed Carry Corner: Vehicle Carry Mistakes To Avoid

Carrying in a vehicle is a part of everyday life for most of us. Whether it’s running errands or heading out on a road trip, having a firearm while in your vehicle is a fairly important part of carrying concealed on a daily basis. I’ve made a few mistakes over the years and it’s fairly common to not think about certain aspects when starting out or even after carrying for a decent amount of time. Let’s dive into some of the vehicle carry mistakes to avoid when carrying a firearm.

Carrying In A Vehicle Holster

This isn’t as popular as it was around 10 years ago, but occasionally I will see people carry their loaded handguns in flimsy car mounted cloth holsters or using a magnet with no holster to secure their firearm. In theory, this would be a positive thing because it gives the carrier faster access to their firearm. In reality though, it creates stressful situations if you are ever pulled over, and having a visible firearm isn’t always good especially if you’re away from your vehicle.

These types of holsters may seem like a great idea at the time, but in the long run, they cause several issues with concealment. They also cause issues at traffic stops with the officers' comfort level.

I have seen a number of people use either the vehicle holster or some type of magnet instead of keeping it on their body. The main issue is if you have to quickly exit the vehicle, you may not have time or think to grab the firearm before exiting. The other issue that’s much more common is leaving the firearm inside the vehicle. Leaving the firearm in a holster for a short period of time is a rather bad idea since it’s clearly visible from the outside in most cases. Having a firearm visible while you’re away from the vehicle is a terrible idea and should never be acceptable even if it’s just for a quick in and out trip to the store.

Leaving Firearms In Your Vehicle

Leaving a firearm in your vehicle is a real gray area. Some individuals think it’s fine if there isn’t a bunch of firearm stickers on your vehicle, while others say you should never ever leave firearms in your vehicle no matter what precautions you’ve taken. My opinion lands right in the middle where it’s alright in certain situations if you have precautions built into your plan. I think it’s extremely risky to leave a loaded firearm unattended in your vehicle. Whether it’s hidden or even in the glove compartment of your vehicle, it’s still rather easy and predictable to check if someone breaks into your car or truck.

Now some individuals have installed various vaults and lockable areas into their vehicles. While these systems are not perfect, they offer a great option for beefing up security inside your vehicle. Deck systems in the bed of your truck or something like Boss StrongBox vaults offer a robust way to lock up your firearms which ultimately adds another layer of protection to your firearms in case if someone attempts to break into your vehicle. The problem with these systems is the fact vehicles are mobile and can be stolen entirely, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to have your vehicle stolen with your firearms being taken as well. Long story short, try to keep your firearms out of your vehicle entirely but if you can’t, it’s important to have a reliable way to lock them up.

Accelerated Upholstery Wear

One aspect of carrying in a vehicle I didn’t expect is the amount of upholstery wear that occurs when carrying a firearm. My previous vehicle had leather seats and over time, I would see small indents with the leather chipping away after a while. My new vehicle has cloth seats and over time, the beavertail and grip have torn my seat stitching. If you plan on carrying your firearm strong side, it’s a great idea to grab some decent seat covers so your driver seat doesn’t rip or become indented over time where your gun sits on your body.

People who carry appendix won’t have this issue as much. For the majority of us, this is a topic I don’t typically hear about but will eventually affect most of us over time. If you plan on carrying a firearm strong side, it’s an important aspect to think about. The best ways to avoid wear are either putting seat covers onto your seats or being aware of the possible damage carrying a firearm can do to your vehicle seats. This may seem like a small problem in a bigger picture view, but it’s an important aspect that some of you may never realize until the damage is already done.

Overall Thoughts

There are a number of little topics most don’t talk about when it comes to carrying while in a vehicle. In the past, I’ve written about everything from carrying on road trips to having a truck gun, but there are smaller issues that don’t always get addressed. When it comes to carrying and keeping firearms in your vehicle, I understand that appeal but it’s not the best option. I always emphasize keeping your firearm on your person and practicing your draw stroke. When it comes to wear and tear on your vehicle, it definitely accelerates upholstery wear depending on your style of carry.

Let me know what you guys think about these mistakes and if you’ve made them in the past. Like I’ve said, I have made plenty of these mistakes in the past and if I can help others avoid them, I will gladly write up tips and tricks. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions about carrying concealed or just firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

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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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2 of 67 comments
  • R. Lee R. Lee on Sep 05, 2021

    After 30+ years of police work, a great deal of time in plain clothes, I've developed a way to car carry my pistol through trial & error. I prefer right side carry, the 3 o'clock position, using a paddle holster, or belt slide, either leather or Kydex. That type of carry allows me to slide the holster canted forward, semi-appendix, improving access, clear of seat belt buckles, and the grip on semi-autos away from upholstery. That works for me, your mileage may vary.

    I can not recommend magnets to secure a pistol. If you should become involved in a collision, the firearm is very likely to fly away from the magnet, onto the floor. Another problem leaving your gun unattended in your car; the one time you don't take it to run into the local stop & rob for a quick purchase, you discover you should have brought it with you.

    I was once rear-ended in an unmarked police car. My partner carried his revolver (.357 mag Colt Python, 4") in a shoulder rig which "secured" the muzzle down gun with a piece of elastic. When we arrived at the hospital, my partner's holster was empty. It was recovered from the floor, under the dashboard of our totaled cop car. (We were hit by a drunk lawyer, and later settled out of court for an "undetermined" amount.) If the impact of the wreck would send his revolver flying from his holster, it certainly would dislodge it from a magnet.

  • Royce Williams Royce Williams on Sep 08, 2021

    A secure and easy to access solution for carrying a subcompact or compact handgun in a vehicle, especially when you’re commuting or traveling, is a quality ankle holster. An ankle holster provides immediate yet discreet access when seated in a vehicle and eliminates access and discomfort issues caused by the seatbelt, armrest, or bolsters. On road trips I carry my P365 in a Galco ankle holster while seated in the vehicle and move the pistol to my OWB belt holster when I’m out of the vehicle.