Defending Yourself From Passengers in Your Car?

If you had a reasonable threat to your life in your car, how would you handle it…

if the person was in the passenger seat
if the person was in the back passenger side
if the person was in the back driver’s side

I think that if the threat had a gun, I could not take my gun out at that time. Just obey until the point to where I might be forced out of my vehicle. Ideally, I just do what they say and they eventually exit on their own.

If they had a knife though, it seems reasonable I could draw my gun if they were in the back passenger side, especially if I made a quick, startling stop to throw them off. I could probably do the same if they were directly behind me, but would need to really, really, really learn to turn myself around in my seat. I would also need to practice these maneuvers and if I’m in my automatic, set my car up in such a way when I made the hard stop, to where it would idle into a safe stop (pole, another car, etc.) and if in my stick shift, that wouldn’t be as much of an issue as there’s not much of an idling/moving, but still wise to think of where my car would roll. Then again, maybe I just intentionally run into something, and that itself being the startling stop I spoke of?

I want to say that having a person pose a threat to my life in the passenger seat would prove to be more difficult, but maybe not. I’m just thinking about being right handed and how close my gun would be to their hands, but that’s probably the case no matter where they are in the vehicle. But them being in the passenger seat would cause issues with them seeing me draw my weapon. Which leads me to…

How I draw my weapon. My thoughts are to carry my weapon in my thin purse, between the car door and my seat. I’ve been somewhat practicing how easy it would be for me to grab it covertly while making a right hand turn. I also could possibly use my left hand to transfer it to my lap if the threat was seated directly behind me. If the person was in front, I could not do anything without them noticing. Also, if the threat was outside my window and was forcing me out of the car, I could reach over like I was using my right hand to open the door, but actually reach down 8 inches and grab the gun instead. I could keep my left up in a “hands up” position, maybe making the threat believe I’m being completely compliant to their commands.

I don’t know… I’m just in the preliminary stages of all this and am really interested in what you all have to say. I’ve searched a bit on YouTube about this, but only have found instances where the threat is outside the vehicle, and not inside.


Interesting questions/thoughts. I’m assuming this is while the car is parked still :slight_smile:

In close quarters like that, I’m not a fan of drawing from the drop whether they have the drop on me with a gun or a knife. By the time I could draw (from a seated position, with a seat belt on) they would have had several opportunities to shoot or stab me several times. (not to mention the challenge of attempting to get the gun into a position to fire at the assailant) .

So instead of looking to draw, I would be looking for ways to get out of the vehicle and escape and/or create enough distance and/or get to cover to actually get a good draw otherwise complying.

If the passenger started attacking me, again would be looking to exit the vehicle and create space to escape or better counter/defend.


That would definitely be the ideal situation. I would assume said bad guy would like to exit the vehicle without injury, so would likely not shoot or slice me while moving. If they want me to get out with them for whatever reason, I would like to come out with my gun. If this person had a knife, I would feel safe with getting my gun as I got out and turning on them. If by gun, getting my gun and turning on them becomes a lot more tricky. I would want it on me at this point, but would have to move my hands to where my gun was, alerting them to me having a gun?

I suppose just a lot of compliance with the threat in hopes that he or she takes/gets what they want and then leaves me unharmed. Maybe more willingness to keep my gun on me. But I’m still seeing so many pros and cons to where I keep my gun. If the threat was outside my window, having the gun on my left and being able to grab it out of their sight seems better than having it on my right and me grabbing it being visible. But then again, if someone was pointing a gun at me from outside the window (if waving a knife, I’d probably just say “eff you” and drive off), I wouldn’t want to draw my weapon and assume I would have the fastest reflexes. Gaining that space between the bad person and hoping the bad person takes a moment to look elsewhere (or I distract them to look elsewhere) would be a good opportunity to get my weapon? Maybe there’s more cons to my initial thoughts of the gun being off body between the door and I than there would be having it on body.

So many freaking things to think about!


My suggestion is to look into hand to hand combat and extreme driving courses to help with this. I drive a semi for a living so when I get into something smaller I feel like I’m in a really fast go kart. If you have a safe place to drive at high speeds and doing different maneuvers like a track of some sort can also help.


I drove semi OTR for a while myself. I know that exact feeling, lol.

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Try throwing what ever he wants behind his head making him by reflex turn allowing time to draw. Now this is not the BEST advise, but I’m not going to die and not try to do something.

Many would say give them what they want and the threat will cease but, I highly disagree. If they are willing to rob they are willing to kill.


Then you understand what I mean when I say use that to your advantage. Since we’re used to driving something so much bigger, we can do things with something smaller others can only dream about. You know how to maintain control better than others. Use that if you have to gain the advantage. You can always do something to get the police onto your vehicle without them realizing it. Use your blinkers if you have to, make sudden turns, run red lights or anything to gain someone’s attention to call police.


This reminds me of a Criminal Minds episode :wink:

It 100% depends on the situation - where are they in the car, is anyone else in the car, is there a weapon, can I get out, where is this taking place?

I love that you’re thinking about these situations. Your body cannot go where your mind has not gone. :slight_smile:


I don’t have any advice regarding your driving scenario, but a couple of things to practice and think about.

• Practice shooting with 1 hand only, both left and right. This will ensure you know how much grip it takes for the gun to fully cycle for the next shot or if your non-dominant hand has enough finger strength to overcome the trigger pull. An example is my sister does not have enough strength in her non-dominant hand to pull the trigger – better to learn now than when in the situation.

• There will not be a lot of aiming going on (from your side) so be sure your timing catches your attacker off-guard.

• A semi-automatic pistol will not fire if the barrel/slide is pushed against anything, like your seat or the attacker.

• Shooting your first shot thru the seat or other obstruction might be your only option.

Throwing these out for discussion …


A couple of other thoughts:

• If your gun has an external safety, you should consider putting it “ON” every time you load a magazine into it at the range. This will teach you to turn it “OFF” without thinking about it before firing.

• A firearm discharge in a car is ridiculously loud. You and everyone else in the vehicle are probably going to be so temporarily hearing impaired that your only communication is going to be hand/body gestures. In other words, don’t expect your other passengers nor the attacker to hear anything you say after that first shot. You will have to rely more heavily on eyesight and touch for continuing situational awareness and communication.

• Discontinue “stopping the threat” when they are stopped.