So, we got this nice note from Gun Tests Reader Ken: “I have a suggestion for a future review by you and your excellent team, and I would also like to see input from your readers as well on their solutions to my problem. I usually carry my firearm IWB. But when I travel in my vehicle for extended trips, it gets uncomfortable. So, I take it out of the holster, and then what? Lay it on the console, under the seat, in my coat pocket? What’s the best option here? An alternative holster inside the vehicle? Now it’s time to stop for gas/eats. Not going to leave my baby in the car, and I want to have her near and dear while brushing shoulders with the local clientele inside the Git-N-Go. So now I gotta re-insert my handgun back inside my pants while seated in my car, hoping like hell I don’t
blow my Johnson off in the process. I’m open for suggestions to improve this process as well.”
Ken’s email spurred a look at car carry solutions, which we do this month in two parts. In these pages, we look at simple, easy ways to secure a gun off-body in an auto’s cabin while the user is in the car. Then, in Gun Tests+, we examine several auto gun safes that offer good enough security where you can leave your gun in your car and have a reasonable expectation that the gun will still be there after you finish dinner or after the movie.
For car carry while you’re in the vehicle, the bottom line is to keep the gun on your body when possible. Having a pistol in a car holster and ready for action while driving is fraught with peril, we believe. Far better to have the pistol strapped to the body in a secure holster while driving.
The Gungoddess Vehicle Holster Mount we chose is very strong. Note the well-designed hook. Where legal, you may put the car mount and holster facing the left or right side. A holster is not included in the mount package.
First, we must address legal issues. Many states prohibit a handgun in the passenger compartment. Period. If you have a concealed-carry permit, you may drive with the pistol holstered, but a concealed-carry permit in your state may not allow you to drive with a pistol on the seat or under the seat or dash. Conversely, other states specify the handgun must be in plain view on the seat, and still others specify the handgun must be in the dash or console. So right off the bat, many of these devices can’t be used because they are illegal in your state. Know your local and state laws. With those caveats, here’s what we thought about items that allow you to take the gun off your body and hold it in the cabin while you travel.
Crossbreed Magna-Arm Gun Magnet, $20
One of the raters found this while on the prowl for car retention devices. The company recommends it for static use under a desk or attached to furniture. But a clerk in a local shop recommended this magnet for car carry, so we tried this device in a car, in a state where its use is legal. A rubber covering protects the pistol’s finish when attached, but the handgun is exposed. We dropped the combined gun/magnet from a 6-foot height, and the magnet did not dislodge. The magnet is easily mounted in a location of your choosing with a power drill and flat-head Phillips screws in wood or plastic, or you can use heavy-duty double-sided adhesive tape. Where there’s steel available, the magnet will also stick strongly to a metal surface with no other fasteners.
Using a triple-checked unloaded handgun, we attached the Magna-Arm. We did not test momentum in an actual vehicle, but instead attached the Magna-Arm and a snubnose steel-frame 38 (triple-checked to be unloaded) to a heavy safe door and slammed the safe door several times. The device worked held the gun in place. This seems to be a good solution to several issues. A strong tug is needed to dislodge the pistol from the magnet, but the magnet may be mounted practically anywhere off the subject. If mounted in a car, would the gun fly loose in an accident? Depends on the speed.
We caution the reader to ensure you’re in compliance with state laws about display of firearms in plain view. Also, the gun should be mounted in the car where it won’t muzzle sweep the passenger or the user’s legs or body.
GUN TEST GRADE: A
Gungoddess.com Steering Wheel Column Holster Mount, $40
We found this mount to be very secure. The mount features two hooks that attach just to one side of the steering column. There is plenty of leeway for comfort and access or left- or right-hand set up. We were surprised at the ease of the draw. While a mount or magnet may be hidden, in this case the steering column served as a point of reference in leading toward the handgun. It is much easier than drawing from a holster on the belt. Reach down and bring the handgun up toward the center of the chest. Being certain the mount is adjusted as tightly as possible is the trick. We recommend a fabric holster such as the Uncle Mike’s model illustrated. Falco and a few others offer a similar holster. The holster must incorporate a safety strap into the design. While the handgun may stay put in a tightly fitted holster, and some leather holsters work okay, you really need the combination of Velcro and a tight belt-loop connect. Line the mount up, properly tighten it, and you have a solid mount. Where legal, this will solve the Reader Ken’s problem. And drawing the pistol without covering the body isn’t difficult.
GUN TEST GRADE: A
Gungoddess.com Sticky Holster Travel Mount, $35
Sticky Holster, $30
For what it was designed to do, this works well. This holster combination prevents the handgun from flopping about in the glove compartment or a center console. A rater mentioned he thought pressure would hold it between the seat. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It is better in that role than using a handgun without a holster. The combination of the holster holder and Sticky Holster is recommended because the travel mount alone isn’t as well suited to holding a handgun. If you use the holder, leave it in the console and remove the sticky holster as you deploy the handgun. A relatively rapid draw is available once you open the console lid or glovebox, but only if you use the holster in the carrier as designed. The combination does what it is designed to do and rates an A in that niche. We would not use it anywhere else except inside a glove box or console.
GUN TEST GRADE: A