How to Conceal Weapons in Your Vehicle

Jon Harris
By Jon Harris December 29, 2016 14:07

How to Conceal Weapons in Your Vehicle

First, let me give you a little background.

I am a retired Army Senior NCO, Retired Master Peace Officer, drug interdiction officer and for the last 4 years, a military-contracted counter explosive canine handler in Afghanistan and Iraq.

My job depended on finding things people did not what found. I have literally searched, and taken apart thousands of vehicles in my career.

This article is about where to hide your stuff in the vehicle. Since carrying a weapon in your vehicle is legal in most of the USA, this article is geared more to hiding your weapons from those uninvited looters and scavengers who are inevitably going to come around in a social/government breakdown situation. Yes, I’m talking about the proverbial SHTF times.

So, let us set some ground rules. We are going to talk about two types of vehicles, handguns and long guns, as well as ammo. These are no concealment techniques that let you get to your firearms at a moment’s notice. This is about hidden storage that others, unless very skilled, will not find. This is for storage.

Imagine the following scenario: your vehicle is broken down and you have to leave it for a period of time as you need to find, tools, parts, or fuel. You can’t reasonably carry everything, so you are counting on your hidden cache of weapons to still be there upon your return. Or, your vehicle is parked outside, the looters and scavengers come through the area and ransack every vehicle on the block taking what they can easily steal. You don’t want them to find your stuff that was hidden. This is what this article is about. That being said, let’s get to it.


The modern sedan has plenty of places to hide weapons. I will start with the accessible places inside the vehicle.

Under the center console. The center console is held to the floor in most sedans by a series of plastic clips or a few Phillip’s screws. Remove those and the console lifts up exposing a compartment that will house a rather large pistol and a couple boxes of console concealed weapon

back seat bucketSeat Backs. The modern car has bucket seats. The back of the seats has a cover that simply snaps onto the seat and covers the springs. This area will conceal a pistol, ammo, and a short barrel long gun like an MP5 or Uzi.  Snap the seat back in place and no one will know it is there. This is also very fast to access if needed.  No tools required.

Under seats. I’m not talking about just on the floor under the seat. What we are talking about here is attached to the underside of the seat by tape, zip ties or something else. This keeps it out of sight if someone looks under the seat but it is still there if you just know where to look. Here are other 26 practical survival uses of duct tape.

Other examples:

Inside door panels. You can hide a shotgun with a folding stock or a short rifle here. Clips and a couple of screws hold the door panels in place. You could remove the screws and leave them out but a sharp eye will notice something is amiss. My advice is to always put everything back the way it was so there will be no “giveaways” that there could be something behind the panel that is worth hiding.

Behind the radio. The radio will have four holes in the corners. Look at yours and you will see them. Most folks don’t realize all you have to do is insert metal rods, about the size of a wire coat hanger in these holes and the entire stereo slides out, leaving a very large cavity to hide weapons and ammo behind.behind radio weapon

Now for the outside of the vehicle

Outside. The bumpers, front and rear have cavities under them that will hold a shotgun or rifle. Duct tape is a wonderful thing and you will be using it.

Open the hood. Inside the fender wells, you will see several places to hide your firearms. Inside the air cleaner box is a good place for a pistol.

In the trunk. I don’t really suggest this area as it is very easy to detect but in a pinch, it may do. Pull the carpet away from the sides of the trunk. It will be attached to a cardboard backing. Place your weapons behind this, in the cavity that is in the lower part of the rear fender, and replace the trunk lining. If you have done this carefully, it will be undetectable to the untrained eye. I also suggest throwing some old rags or a little dirt in the area to make it look as if it has not been disturbed.

Other examples:

trunk concealed weapons

SUV or Truck

You have many more places to work with here. Count all of the same places mentioned for the inside of the sedan above. Those hiding places are common to just about all vehicles.

Starting at the front

The Front Bumper. Under the front bumper is a very large area to store weapons.  Tape them in a secure place. You can hide a lot of stuff here.

Front Fenders. From under the hood you have access to a very large area to place a rifle bag full of goodies.  It will fit in behind the fender well and be very hard to see without knowing it is there.

Air Box System. This is a common place for pistols and ammo. Placing a weapon here will not affect the operation of the vehicle.

Under the vehicle. The modern SUV/Truck frame is an I Beam type structure. This is a natural shelf for all sorts of things.  A few large black Zip Ties will hold a rifle, shotgun, and a lot more. These will not be visible from just bending down and looking under the vehicle. A person would have to get under the vehicle and really look for them to find your hidden arsenal.

Roof. The roof of all modern SUVs and Trucks is actually hollow. Remove the third stop light that is at the top and rear of the cab. Pull that out and you will see a vast area to hide magazines, ammo, and other items. The way to do this is to tape a string to each item with duct tape and string them together.  Replace the stop light after you have hidden your items in the roof section. Make sure you tape the end of the string to the back of the light or to an area that is concealed but you can reach again. Then to retrieve, all you do is take out the light, pull the string and the items come out one after another.

Tailgate. This is hollow. The inside can be accessed through the latch assembly OR by splitting the tailgate by removing the screws and bolts that hold it together. I have seen tailgates that were split and then resealed with silicone. To open you just cut the silicone with a razor-blade and pull the two halves apart. Not all tailgates are the same, so you may have to adapt to your situation.

Rear Bumper. Like the front of the truck, there is a vast amount of storage space.

Spare Tires. Placing something inside a tire is a real pain in the rear, but hiding an item on top of the tire is easy. Lower the spare tire; most are cranked down to the ground with the jack handle. Once on the ground you can place your items inside the rim and crank the tire back into place. This is a simple and readily available storage area.spare tire weapons

Depending on your ingenuity, time you want to spend, if you want to modify the vehicle or not, it is not hard to make your vehicle a rolling arsenal and no one would ever suspect was holding weapons and ammo in every corner.concealed weapons truck rears

End thoughts

If you really feel this may be something that you have to deal with, I suggest throwing your roving horde of scavengers off the trail. If you have to abandon your vehicle and you are pretty sure it will get at least looked at, give them something to go after. Leave a useless (as in not functioning) pistol or something in plain sight. Let them take that and stop searching. Basically, throw them a bone. The whole point about concealing your weapons so that the looters won’t find them is just that: concealment. Make sure you leave no signs, no pointers that say “Hey, Look Here!”. Do this and when you return to your vehicle from something as simple as a walk into the woods to take care of bodily functions, you can rest assure when you get back your stuff with be safe and secure.

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About the author:

Jon Harris is a former Army NCO, Master Law Enforcement Officer, and Military Contractor for the Department of Defense and Department of State.

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Jon Harris
By Jon Harris December 29, 2016 14:07
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  1. Wannabe December 29, 16:36

    Won’t the out of the vehicle hiding places make the weapons exposed to water? Under the bumper or fender especially.

    Reply to this comment
    • Nolan Conley December 29, 17:02

      For this you can use multiple layers of ZipLoc bags over a well oiled pistol. Then I recommend getting a block of styrofoam or pliable foam material, cut a slit in it and place you package in that. After that, checking and re-oiling your “piece” at least yearly would be recommended.

      Reply to this comment
      • Modified secret hidden compartment profession April 3, 01:52

        I beg everybody do not use any of those hiding places there’s only one sure way you will not be detected a modified hidden compartment done by a professional and it will have to be done very well in a very good place a modified hidden compartment in a car is 99.9% undetectable and think like a thief think of every place you would look in a car and don’t put mom and dad put the compartment somewhere that you wouldn’t look thank you if you agree with me please comment me

        Reply to this comment
  2. clergylady December 29, 17:30

    I like the hollow roof idea, up under or inside the back of seats and under the center console although my vehicles don’t have that. Both of my vehicles are 5 on the floor. Behind the radio my be a quickly lost cause because redios, GPS units, CD players et. are first easy targets after things laying around in the car or truck. Up underneath will work until you leave your vehicle parked in town. My nearest large town has several hundred stolen vehicles a day. I usually drive my 13 year old car with typical dirt road dirt on it and leave the truck for when I actually need it. But I do have handy loaded weapons in my home….mostly to shoot dogs or coyotes getting into kill my critters. You’ll never see them but they are handy. A hollow shelf with nicknacks on it, a hollow book, a coffee can and a canister in the kitchen exactly where you’d expect them to be. …

    Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck December 29, 18:26

    Just what is a Master Peace Officer?

    Reply to this comment
  4. Wayne Buck December 29, 20:10

    Those are ALL places people will look for a gun. So there isn’t anything concealed about it. You might want to THINK before you print.

    Reply to this comment
    • NancyP December 29, 22:48

      I was thinking the same thing. This article just told everyone (thieves included) where to look for your guns!! DUHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

      Reply to this comment
      • BillH December 31, 02:04

        I doubt there are many thieves reading this blog. Given what a low percentage of the population will read these words, it makes no sense for a thief to look in places which require effort to reach and are unlikely to contain anything.

        Reply to this comment
    • BillH December 31, 02:01

      I disagree. These places are not all equally obvious. Lacking a reason to believe there is something hidden, no one is likely to remove door panels, for example. On the other hand, hiding things behind radios, GPS, etc on the dashboard is really stupid, as these are things which are stolen all the time, thus revealing your “extras” to a common thief even before the SHTF.. Conversely, if the thief somehow has reason to believe that you might have things hidden (for example, if there are indications that you are a prepper), then there is no such thing as a hiding place.

      Reply to this comment
      • X September 13, 20:56

        Would you really use ANY “Hiding Place” that was just posted to the internet for all to see?

        Reply to this comment
  5. Illini Warrior December 30, 13:44

    you need to know the laws & regs for your individual states before you start taking some of thee gun storage ideas ….

    Reply to this comment
    • hidden January 22, 20:58

      yes, some states it is a crime just to have a hidden compartment in your car. even if there is nothing in it.
      go directly to jail, do not pass go……….

      Reply to this comment
    • PB -dave March 25, 02:45

      Guessing the Illini Warrior is from the Peoples Republic of Illinois…… He’s well acquainted with “very different” state laws. Heed his warnings.

      Reply to this comment
    • Old prepper March 25, 06:25

      illini warrior. I thought this was for when the SHTF?
      I’ve wanting to know, where to keep a gun in my car. HAVE IT handy, but not exposed. I would not worry about, LAWS AND REGS…if we get down to SURVIVAL. lol My plan is to have it handy. I’ve been thinking,having it in my purse, even when grocery shopping. Some black youth, eye we funny,eve that I was not born in America. But, being white, woman and elderly, they might think of POLAR BEAR HUNT. I AM DETERMINED NOT TO BE VICTIM. AT least as much, as I can help myself.

      Reply to this comment
      • X September 13, 20:53

        The only thing bad about carrying your gun in a purse is what do you do when someone steals your purse? Now your purse is gone and so is your gun

        Reply to this comment
  6. montainman December 30, 17:12

    crossing the boarder into Canada?

    Reply to this comment
  7. annet January 2, 19:08

    We have a 2015 Chev Tahoe it has a huge console and we were able to buy a safe that fits inside the console still leaving plenty of room. The safe is combination and easy to use.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Rc5924 March 29, 22:49

    Kind of dumb how every single picture showed a really obvious hiding place that would have been discovered in seconds

    Reply to this comment
  9. Annie Oakley April 7, 15:51

    I have a carry permit so I can take it almost anywhere. When I’m waiting in the car, I put the gun in its holster between my car seat and the console. I would never just leave it in the car unattended. If you’re old enough to have a gun, you should be responsible enough to carry it.

    Reply to this comment
  10. left coast chuck May 7, 21:53

    These places will have significance if you are bugging out and know that you will likely have to pass through roadblocks where weapons are being confiscated. In those situations, searches are cursory and not detailed, especially if there is a long line of cars waiting to get through the roadblock. If your car is going to be sitting some place where it is likely to be stripped, then these hiding places may or may not be valuable. The harder they are to get to, the less likely thieves will find them. Behind the radio is not a really good spot because even if the grid is down, thieves will steal a high end electronic goodie because they are too stupid to realize that they will be dead long before the electricity comes back on for the purloined item to be useful.

    Reply to this comment
  11. John August 4, 15:04

    Another option for under the steering wheel and closer to the accelerator.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Yup September 6, 16:32

    This guy knows nothing about the good places – because he never found them.

    Only the dumb criminals get caught, the really dumb ones talk about it.

    Reply to this comment
    • X September 13, 20:55

      and here you are……..Yup!!

      Reply to this comment
    • Modified secret hidden compartment profession April 3, 01:37

      All of those places are so obvious understand a thief is a job title and a profession just like drug dealers no where to sell the drugs these know where to look for valuables and if I was well I’m not a thief and I would even look in those places the only place will be a hidden compartment that will be he’s very hard to find area it would have to be modified and hidden really good so if it’s a customized hidden modified compartment in part of the car then that will be your best bet anything else is a waste of time if you agree with me please let me know

      Reply to this comment
  13. Ruth September 26, 23:54

    Please send me the book

    Reply to this comment
  14. good2go December 4, 17:10

    Whenever I see a vehicle plastered with NRA, S&W/COLT/Springfield Armory, etc., or the family of stick figures holding AR’s I point and say “there’s guns in that car!”…I’m just guessing here, but the scumbags probably do the same thing, huh?

    Reply to this comment
  15. Allen Michael March 1, 08:05

    Great tips on car hiding spots. These are very helpful to keep your guns safe from thieves, at least. Thanks for sharing, Jon!

    Reply to this comment
    • X September 13, 21:00

      Of course there are n thieves that read this just like you did………………………………..

      Reply to this comment
  16. Warsaw Wizard June 24, 13:25

    I have known about most, and used some, of these hiding places for a very short period of time but, if I were to have to leave my car unattended for more than a few hours or for a weekend (and I could not take my gun with me) I would have opt to leave my gun at home. Most thieves know all about the hiding places in your car and those places are the first place they look. Now, if I am traveling through bad neighborhoods, and feel I have to take my gun, and have to leave it in my car, I have a very inexpensive revolver that I don’t mind leaving in my car. I generally leave it in the drivers door pocket covered with a very used looking hand kerchief with a “tell signal” so I can see if it had been moved. I keep the hand kerchief and tell in the pocket al all times and, when valet parked, have never seen it touched. Of course lots of people know my hiding place now.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Jake June 24, 13:33

    If you are going to have to leave your pistol in vehicle for hours, not days, use the cable lock that comes with new guns to lock it to seat frame unloaded,

    Reply to this comment
  18. Doubtful June 29, 19:17

    Seems to me that when The SHTF, the confiscatorss will just set up roadblocks with their sniffer dogs, and that will be that.

    Reply to this comment
  19. TexasScout December 22, 14:13

    Storing that many weapons is a sure way to end up in jail if you’re stopped by a K-9 unit. Only in a SHTF situation would I even think of carrying that many arms.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Bluestl December 26, 22:09

    If I was going to leave my car on the side of the road to look for help I would 1) Try calling 911 or roadside service. 2) Would not leave my gun in the car, I would carry it with me because while walking to get help, you might need it. Why leave a “bone” (cheap gun) to make it an enticing target? While some of the places might be good to hide, in times of an emergency, it might be harder to remove your radio or side panels or lift up the hood etc. I think prevention is the best method. Don’t go to areas that are known as high crime. If you leave your car at any time, carry your weapon. Don’t have a semi-auto, shotguns, multiple handguns etc. in your car…just have your primary with enough ammo. Most of the time, the criminals are punks that are scared off at the site of someone carrying because I would guess that 99% of their victims don’t carry.

    Reply to this comment
    • Modified secret hidden compartment profession April 3, 01:42

      I beg everybody do not use any of those hiding places there’s only one sure way you will not be detected a modified hidden compartment done by a professional and it will have to be done very well in a very good place a modified hidden compartment in a car is 99.9% undetectable and think like a thief think of every place you would look in a car and don’t put mom and dad put the compartment somewhere that you wouldn’t look thank you if you agree with me please comment

      Reply to this comment
  21. Modified secret hidden compartment profession April 3, 01:50

    I beg everybody do not use any of those hiding places there’s only one sure way you will not be detected a modified hidden compartment done by a professional and it will have to be done very well in a very good place a modified hidden compartment in a car is 99.9% undetectable and think like a thief think of every place you would look in a car and don’t put mom and dad put the compartment somewhere that you wouldn’t look thank you if you agree with me please comment

    Reply to this comment
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