Self Defense with a Handgun in a Vehicle
Transitional spaces have a higher likelihood of needing to defend yourself - vehicles are such spaces.
The best way to keep yourself safe is to avoid conflict. That is quite easy to do in a vehicle in most situations – simply floor it and leave the threat behind or under your tires. “Get out of the danger zone” as John Correia would put it.
However, there are many situations where flight is not possible, such as in stop and go traffic. In this video, Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics reviews the various challenges of deploying a handgun for self-defense inside the confines of a vehicle.
Avoid the conflict
Keep your doors locked and your engine running. This prevents access to the vehicle and allows you to get the heck out of there if needed.
Avoidance is the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Watch out for potential threats
Simple observation is a great way to avoid or be ready for an attack. Criminals prefer easy victims. They would rather attack the unobservant person staring at their phone instead of the person who is watching them approach. Keeping your head up and aware can identify potential attackers on the approach, or encourage them to pick a different target.
Stage the handgun
Seatbelts keep us safe in the event of an automobile collision, but they can easily make it difficult to get to our handgun. (Know your local laws.) When your state’s laws allow it, uncover your handgun so the shirt and seatbelt won’t get in the way, preventing a fast draw.
If your local laws do not allow the handgun to be visible, then you may have to stage it as close to ready to grab, but not quite exposed and ready to grab.
Be careful when drawing the handgun
When drawing a handgun from a seated position, it is easy to sweep your own legs or those around you. It is also easy to bump the steering wheel, keeping the gun from getting into the fight. It is a great idea to practice drawing your handgun from your vehicle, maneuvering the handgun around your legs, steering wheel, and seatbelt.
In the video, Aaron reviews various ways to quickly and safely get a handgun into the fight. It is a shooting technique video well worth watching.
Be careful when practicing this. Putting a bullet through your console would be an expensive mistake. There’s nothing wrong with doing this through dry fire. Ideally, it would be great to take a vehicle class when shooting up the beater car isn’t a big deal, but I completely understand not wanting to risk shooting your primary mode of transportation.
If you have a garage, it’s easy to practice this at home. Close the garage door, put up some paper targets, and dry fire away without fear of neighbors calling the cops.
Written by Brian Purkiss - always a student, sometimes a teacher.
I'm not a competitive shooter - I'm a performance shooter. I am all about performing at as high of a level as possible. Towards that end, I am obsessive about learning how to perform. I spend a lot of my life learning from the best across the entire firearms world and even into other areas of performance and other sports. I am a USPSA Carry Optics Grandmaster, currently working towards my second GM title in the Open division.