Get home

You probably have one. If not you may have given thought to having one. A get home gun. Some call it a truck gun. A lot of people will take beater weapons like the Hi-Point pistol and toss it in a glove box or under a seat thinking that should their vehicle be broken into, no big loss if it gets stolen.

I have a problem with that line of thinking as a firearm in the hands of a criminal is one of the things we try to prepare against. But, I digress. There are plenty of options out there for vehicle carry and they don’t have to break the bank. In this article I’ll cover just a couple of options I would encourage you to consider over a “throw away” gun like the Hi-Point.

Option 1

A Hi Point. No, seriously. The Hi-Point Carbine  and you can choose your flavor, they come in 9mm, .40S&W, and .45 ACP. I’ve recently discovered they even make a .380 ACP version which is interesting and I will investigate .380 ACP in a different article.

Pros of the Hi-Point Carbine are price, modularity, and the package offered. I owned a Hi-Point carbine for a while, the (.40 S&W version). I got this weapon as a range toy and ended up using it as a home defense weapon that my spotter would run in case of a home invasion. The package from Hi-Point came from my local gunstore with a laser, a flashlight, and a vertical fore-grip.  All for about $350. And contrary to a lot of internet hyperbole the Hi-Point carbine ran flawlessly and never once made me think it would fail to fire, regardless of the junk ammo that I ran.

Cons of the Hi-Point were actually fairly few, but you have to be comfortable with a gun to use it in self defence/SHTF situation. While the ergonomics of the gun were fairly neutral for me, but I didn’t care for the placement of the picatinny system. Also the recoil produced a phenomenon called “cheek slap“. While not terrible, it was enough to make shooting the carbine, initially, unpleasant. The biggest drawback of the Hi-Point Carbine is capacity. Typically the magazine is limited to the same capacity as that of the Hi-Point pistol, meaning somewhere between 8-10 rounds. There is an aftermarket magazine available now, but they look so unwieldy to me (and I can’t vouch for their reliability) as to make me shy away from them. Manual of Arms is also something that caused me some issues here, with a charging handle located on the left side of the gun. A small thing, but as a right handed shooter it made me need to come off the weapon in order to charge it when it ran dry.

Option 2

Continuing the small, lightweight carbine theme is the Kel-Tec Sub-2000. Another gun I have owned and enjoyed.  Available in most of the popular calibers and with a unique folding frame feature that allow you to have rifle power in small package.

Pros The Sub-2000 can be fitted with GLOCK magazines. Love or hate GLOCK you almost never hear anyone complaining about having a 33 round giggle stick. Be careful when ordering these though as the Sub-2000 is made to accept magazines from Beretta and Smith&Wesson as well. While these magazines of those makers are generally reliable, I choose to use GLOCK as it is the sidearm I carry making it easy to switch between weapon platforms should a stoppage occur.

Cons Availability. Having gone through the post Sandy Hook shortages and Great Leader Obama’s gun control scares, the Kel-Tec which was notoriously hard to get, became as rare as hen’s teeth.  I don’t know that this has changed since the election, but part of the problem with Kel-Tec’s wares is that they are (it seems) more focused on churning out cheap handguns–much like Hi-Point–rather than their more interesting offerings such as the Sub2k and the CMR-30. Additionally the manual of arms is a little unfamiliar with the charging mechanism being located underneath the bolt tube takes some getting used to. Not something you want in a stressful situation. Another issue I experienced with the Sub2k was the takedown mechanism. The takedown mechanism doubles as the trigger guard on the Sub2k and can be inadvertently operated causing the gun to break apart (as for storage) which can be a problem when operated under stress. Additionally you need to make sure that the locking mechanism when assembled to operate is fully engaged. Kel-Tec has designed this weapon so that it will not fire in either situation, but it’s still a slightly unnecessary complication on a defensive firearm.

Option 3

Shotgun! An appropriate reference since we’re talking vehicle carry. There’s nothing better than a shotgun. To me, a shotgun is the best multi-role weapon you can choose in my opinion. From buckshot to slugs you can cover a wide variety of scenarios. Properly equipped and with some basic training a shotgun can turn anyone into a fear inspiring force of nature. For this option, I’m not going to recommend a specific weapon as some people have preferences based on the manual of arms for a given platform. I personally rock the civilian version of the Mossberg M590A1. The differences aren’t really that noticeable between the military and civilian version. I grew up shooting Mossberg and am familiar with them, so that’s my preference. The Remington 870 has as many fans and in a pinch I’d take one of those. The Mossberg just fits me like an old pair of boots. One upgrade I would suggest is the Magpul furniture kits available for either the Mossberg or Remington variety. These allow you to change length of pull, add a cheek riser and other accessories from the Magpul M-Lok catalog that increase the flexibility of this platform.

Pros Price. Availability. Power. Simplicity of operation. Short and simple here.

Cons RECOIL. And lots of it. Going out and shooting several boxes of any defensive ammo or slugs in training is going to suck. A lot. Capacity. Most shotguns are limited to around 5-6 rounds in the tubular magazine. Magazine extensions may be available, but then you change the length of the weapon and that can make it difficult to use. Reloading. Unless you practice reloading a shotgun as you go, it can be pretty difficult to keep a shotgun fed. If you’re on the range try shoot one, load one. Make it a habit. It’s easier (to me) to keep the weapon topped off and than to run it dry and try to recharge the magazine. Ammo part 2. Shotgun shells take up a lot of room, tend to make a fair bit of noise and be difficult to carry if you’re dressed in your gym clothes, or coming from the office. There are always solutions to problems, but those solutions come with trade offs.

Option 4

The AR-15. Again, not going to choose a specific maker/model as tastes and budgets vary. The customization inherent in the AR platform makes it, really, the ultimate choice for a get home gun. Optics, magazines, furniture, etc. The AR-15 is the barbie of guns. Dress her up and make her pretty. Or make her functional (is there a functional Barbie? Does she have some whiskey hidden in her purse for those really long days to spice up her Starbucks mocha chino?)  The internet has multiple perspectives to offer on the Armalite Rifle and I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here.

Local police agencies began carrying the AR-15 instead of shotguns after several incidents from the North Hollywood Shootout to smaller incidents involving police being unable to target a shooter because of being armed only with shotguns.

Pros Range.The AR-15 has recorded kills at 800m. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying that for a number of reasons, but the ability to hit a target at 150m+ has some definite advantages. Capacity. Forgetting our poor slave-state brothers and sisters who have artificial limits imposed on them by politicians,  AR’s have the ability to be belt-fed, or use any number of magazines beyond the standard 30 rounder. I don’t personally have a lot of use for the 60 and 100 round magazines for anything other than range fun, but they’re out there even so. Ammo. It’s cheap and plentiful. I could go on and on about the good qualities of the AR, but unless the NFA  suddenly gets tossed out and I can have my 240 back I’ll go with the AR until then.

Cons AR’s can be finicky. Ammo, cleaning,fitment. A cared for, quality AR will likely treat you well for all of its days, but a gun carried in a vehicle requires some special care and consideration.  AR’s can be fragile too, especially in regard to the buffer tube and so will require some additional thoughts which will be covered in Part 2 of this article.

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