Recent uncertainty and social unrest caused me to reevaluate the firearms I travel with for personal protection. I had many different types of guns chambered in a variety of cartridges and while reviewing my collection I came to the old realization that less is more. While the .45 ACP, 10mm, .300 Blackout, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .380 and a host of other cartridges are fine in and of themselves for personal protection, for the sake of simplicity I narrowed my selection to two: 9mm and .223 Rem (and chose the latter). The complexities of relying on firearms chambered in a many different cartridges in the event of an emergency just didn’t make sense. This meant effectively “retiring” a number of guns and, happily, picking up a couple new ones.
My first acquisition was this AR pistol, a MK107 Mod 2-M from Primary Weapons Systems (PWS) in .223. The company was among the first to bring dead-nuts reliability to short-barrel ARs, and they still excel at that mission.
The MK107 Mod 2-M uses PWS’s long-stroke piston system which has a three-position adjustment on the gas setting so you can tune the pistol to your needs and liking. It has excellent ergonomics. The handguard can take both M-Lok and Picatinny accessories, the magazine well is flared for easy reloads, the ambidextrous safety is buttery smooth to operate, and the length of the SB Tactical brace can be adjusted in a flash.
I added a Surefire Scout Light Pro to the handguard, and topped the rifle with a Trijicon SRS sight. I have it zeroed at 100 yards using 55-grain polymer-tipped ammo and have no problems getting hit after hit on 8-inch steel at that distance. The Surefire kicks out 1,000 lumens of light that is activated by a switch pad that sits under my left thumb making the system ready to use in the dark or low light. I attached a single-point sling to the QD at the base of the buffer tube to complete the setup.
Because it is so compact and portable, the pistol is by my side most of the time. It is an excellent truck gun and is unobtrusive. Most importantly, however, is that the PWS runs like a cat on fire and is built to withstand extreme abuse. I’ve put hundreds of rounds through it to date, and not once has it failed to fire, cycle, and eject. —John B. Snow
Accuracy International AXAICS Chassis
If you already have a Remington 700-type bolt gun and want to harden it for rough work, you can’t do better than bolting it into an Accuracy International chassis. The chassis has a folding stock that locks into place tighter than a bank vault, so there’s no wiggle or slop when it is deployed. The stock itself adjusts multiple ways to achieve a custom fit for the shooter and the fore-end has a KeySlot mounting system for attaching segments of Picatinny rails in order to add accessories like bipods and weapon lights. AI’s rail segments also have QD cups for attaching slings.
The mag well is machined with tight tolerances which helps ensure smooth feeding from five- or 10-round AI magazines (either AICS or AW, depending on which your specific action uses). There are a lot of different chassis options out there, but none of them have the battlefield pedigree of an AI. It’s designed to bang around in Humvees, so it’ll be right at home in your truck. —J.B.S.
Henry Lever Action X Model .45/70
Grandad always said you can never have too much gun, and if you live in hog country, or work a ranch out west amidst wolves and bears, the iconic .45/70 is a fine option to keep handy. A capable big-game gun, this particular model is synthetic, so it will stand up to years of whatever hell you put it through. It’s drilled and tapped for an optic, and the Picatinny rail at the fore-end is ideal for mounting a light, so you can illuminate invasive piggies right before pulling the trigger. The Action X holds four rounds in a removable tube magazine and can be loaded though the side gate as well. A blue-steel barrel is fixed with fiber-optic sights and threaded for a suppressor or muzzle brake. —Joe Genzel
Rock River 7-inch A4 Pistol
AR pistols may be the most versatile truck gun you can buy. The RRA A4 definitely fits that bill. It’s chambered in .223/5.56 NATO, weighs just over 5 pounds, and is only 23 inches long, so it doesn’t take up much room in the cab of your old Chevy. I like the .223 because it’s plenty capable for dispatching varmints, particularly coyotes, and if you put a decent optic on the A4 you can shoot at longer ranges. Also, one of the reasons an AR pistol is so handy is you don’t really need to carry a rifle and a handgun driving backcountry roads. It’s not a viable everyday carry gun, but it is less to haul if you have to leave the tuck and check a pump or well in the desert. The barrel is a 7-inch chrome moly with 1:9 twist rate. It is equipped with an A2 flash hider and threaded for muzzle devices. The trigger is single stage. —J.G.
There’s almost nothing a .357 magnum can’t put down, and since the iconic Colt Python is back, it will make a fine addition to your collection. The double-action wheel gun is available in 4.25- and 6-inch barrel lengths, plus it has a new adjustable rear sight for better accuracy. There’s also 30 percent more steel below the rear sight for better balance. The frame is stainless-steel with a walnut grip, and it weighs a shade under 4 pounds, plenty heavy to smash a rattler on the head if you run out of bullets. —J.G.
CZ 527 American Synthetic
I like compact bolt-action rifles, because they fit nicely underneath a truck bench (unloaded), and carry easy. You have to practice with them a bit to get the same performance and accuracy if you are used to longer/heavier guns, but once that’s mastered, it’s tough to find a better truck gun. The 527 comes suppressor ready, and is available in .223. 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62. I’m a fan of the 6.5 Grendel because it’s not an overly popular load, so it’s almost always available and you can often find good deals because it sits on store shelves. It also has the capability to hammer hogs, and if a bullet can pierce pigskin, it’s a damn fine projectile in my book. Built on a .223-length action, the barrel is hammer-forged steel, and the American is equipped with a 16mm dovetail for mounting an optic on rails or rings. —J.G.
Hunters keep odd hours. We are out late scouting and up early on our way to the field. In between the treestand and home you can drive through some rough areas—I have to go through the worst part of town as all the bars are closing on my way to the duck blind. If your truck breaks down or you get t-boned by a meth head on a rural road, it’s nice to have security, and this Ruger 9mm will serve you well. It’s accurate as hell for a handgun under $550, and has a 15 plus 1 capacity with three included magazines, so you shouldn’t run out of ammo. It has a 4-inch barrel and is just over 7 inches long, so it’s a slick carry gun, and in won’t take up much room in the truck. There’s a compact version of the 9mm if you want a smaller gun, though it has less mag capacity (10+1). It slides easy for a striker-fired pistol, and is simple to strip down. —J.G.
Winchester Model 94 Short Rifle
An iconic lever gun in a smaller package, the Model 94 Short only has a 20-inch barrel (and an overall length of 38 inches), making it a quick-handling rifle chambered in .30/30. The Model 94 makes a damn good deer gun, but it’s also handy out west or on the back 40 to pulverize hogs and predators. It’s about 7 pounds fully loaded, which makes it light enough to carry for miles once you leave the truck. Sights are traditional with a semi-buckhorn at the rear and gold bead at the muzzle. It’s drilled and tapped for scope mounts. —J.G.
If you’re in need of a truck gun that can stop a bear charge, the Marlin 1895 is a fast-handling lever-action that can do the job. Chambered in .45/70 it’s a fantastic big-game rifle (at moderate distances), capable of taking down elk and moose. The 1895 is only 37 inches long with a 18 ½-inch barrel, so it’s easily transportable, plus it weighs 8 pounds, not overly heavy to carry. A six-round magazine capacity allows shooters to get off multiple shots when necessary. —J.G.
Rossi R92 Triple Black
The Picatinny rail on the R92 is forward of the receiver for longer eye relief scout scopes or red dots. You can also shoot open sights (the rear peep sight is adjustable) with this lever gun, which comes chambered in either .44 or .357 magnum. Only 34 inches long and weighing around 6 pounds, the Triple Black is threaded for a suppressor or muzzle brake. It has an eight-round capacity, and all the metal on this gun is finished in black Cerakote. The stock and fore-end are painted wood. —J.G.
Ruger 10/22 Takedown
Ruger made it possible to carry the 10/22 Takedown in a backpack after you separate the receiver from the barrel. To take the 10/22 apart, you just make sure it’s unloaded, push in a recessed lever, twist, and separate. Putting it back together is just as easy, and when it is reassembled the rifle returns to zero even if an optic has been mounted. A combination scope base adapter for Weaver-style and .22 tip-off mounts are included. Offered in .22 LR, the magazine is a 10-round detachable rotary you will find on many semi-automatic rimfires. It’s smart to buy a few extra mags so you can pre-load them and have the ammo ready. Durability shouldn’t be an issue with the 10/22 thanks to a synthetic fore-end and stock. The barrel has a clear matte finish and twist rate of 1:16. It weighs less than 5 pounds. —J.G.
Savage A22 FV-SR
You don’t get many bells and whistles with Savage’s A22, but truck guns aren’t supposed to be glamourous, and this rifle was built to take a beating…and not dent your wallet. The FV-SR is an upgrade to the A22 rimfire lineup. It includes a 16 ½-inch button rifled, medium contour barrel and threaded muzzle for a suppressor. Shooters also get the adjustable AccuTrigger with this model, and the A22 is drilled and tapped with a one-piece Picatinny rail. A detachable rotary 10-round magazine feeds the .22 LR semi-auto. It has a synthetic stock, and matte black finish on the barrel and action. —J.G.
Mossberg Patriot Predator
If you live in a state that doesn’t allow traditional bottleneck cartridges but spend time driving the backroads, the Predator is a formidable option, because it is offered in a straight-walled 450 Bushmaster. The 16 ¼-inch barrel is threaded (1:24 twist rate), and the bolt gun has a 3 plus 1 cartridge capacity with box magazine. An LBA trigger is adjustable from 2 to 7 pounds, plus the oversized bolt handle makes chambering follow up shots easier. A Picatinny rail makes mounting optics a snap. —J.G.
M&P Bodyguard 38
A buddy of mine is an avid outdoorsman but lives in an urban area where he doesn’t feel comfortable toting a lever gun or AR around in his truck. Since he spends time off the beaten path and in the city, he bought a handgun that could offer personal protection (but stay hidden). The M&P Bodyguard .38 Special with an integrated Crimson Trace laser was the perfect option because the laser sight allows him to be more accurate even though there’s no range to practice at near home. It’s a reliable hammerless revolver, which makes it easier to operate because there’s nothing for it to get hung up on. Light (14.2 ounces) and small, the five-shot wheel gun can be concealed easily. The polymer grip has a good feel and gives you full control. —J.G.
SIG MCX Rattler SBR
With a foldable stock and a tiny 5 ½-inch barrel, the footprint of the SIG MCX Rattler SBR is small, so you can keep it out of sight or pack it into the backcountry. Available in .300 Blackout or 5.56 NATO, this gas piston semiauto rifle has a cold hammer-forged carbon steel barrel (1:5 twist in .300 for subsonic ammo/1:7 twist in 5.56). The stock is thin and constructed of aluminum to cut down on weight—both models are 6 pounds or less. Plus, you will find that the grip is more straight up and down, making the gun easier to handle. A free-floating M-Lok handguard, 30-round polymer magazine, and a monolithic Picatinny rail along the top that runs right into the ambidextrous charging handle round out the features of the Rattler. —J.G.