Amy Graves, the Bond Arms Girl, is the official spokesperson for Bond Arms. Here she poses for a picture with some of her company’s very popular handguns. photo by Luke Clayton

I’ve never been very interested in carrying or shooting handguns. Not that I haven’t been exposed to them most of my life. My firearms instructors in the Marines gave me some good firearms instructions at a very early age. I just never thought I had need for a handgun later in life.

I have more rifles and shotguns that I shoot on a regular basis and even several muzzleloaders that I enjoy shooting but a handgun? Well, I’ve took a long, hard look at my situation and made the decision to purchase a handgun for protection of my family and myself when traveling. I have another reason for considering carrying a light weight, easy to handle firearm: protection from wild critters while I’m hunting.  

On an almost daily basis, I am in some very thick cover infested with wild hogs. To date, I’ve never had what I consider to be a real ‘show down’ with a boar but I’ve come close. I have plenty of friends that have their horror stories about wild hogs. I guide elk hunters each fall in the Rockies and the past couple years and especially last fall, bear numbers have greatly increased in the area we hunt. Our group of hunters all left camp last years with plenty of tales of their close encounters. I had a big boar that stalked within about 15 yards of me (I was setting on the ground in some oak brush, calling elk for my hunter). 

The bear looked me in the eye for a long 30 seconds or so before slowly walking away. I also encountered a sow with two cubs on the same hunt. This encounter also became intense enough for me to wish I had some protection. I was guiding bow hunters and wasn’t even packing a bow. THEY were doing the hunting.

I’ve been looking at the two-barrel handguns made by Bond Arms for some time, especially the model called the Snake Slayer IV.  When visiting with the Bond Arms head honcho Gordon Bond a couple weeks ago, he asked if I would like him to set up a shooting session with Amy Graves, better known as the Bond Arms Girl. I’d watched Amy’s videos and knew she was a storehouse of knowledge about all the handguns offered by her company.

I readily accepted the offer and in a telephone conservation with Amy learned that she would bring many of the different models for me to shoot so that I could decide upon which model best suited my needs. I was already leaning heavily toward the Snake Slayer IV…

When we met at the range for our little shooting session, I found Amy very helpful and extremely knowledgeable; she’s a great spokesperson for Bond Arms. She allowed me to shoot the different models, saving the Snake Slayer IV until last. I think she wanted me to get a feel for the other models before I made a decision.

I am a self-confessed safety nut. The Bond Arms pistols all have positive, easy to see and operate safeties. They have to be cocked (single action) in order to fire. While I enjoy shooting semi autos and bigger revolvers, I immediately liked the safeties on these handguns. I also like the fact that by removing a very strong Allen screw, a new barrel of a different caliber could be in stalled in a matter of seconds. Amy was switching barrels on the handguns in a matter of 20 seconds, I timed her!

I shot several models and found the little handguns very manageable and surprisingly accurate. Then Amy broke out the Snake Slayer IV, it was chambered in .45/.410. With a barrel length of 4.5 inches and overall length of 6.5 inches, it felt right to me. The recoil was very manageable, thanks to its weight of 23.5 ounces and the fact that the extended custom rosewood stock (grip) fit my hand nicely. 

You might say, I will soon be loaded for bear, or a close encounter with a wild hog or…. Whatever. My desire is to shoot my new handgun only at the range and for fun but that’s not the primary reason I decided to purchase it. I considered taking a concealed firearms class, but after consulting with a good friend that is a lifelong law enforcement officer, learned that the current laws makes it legal for me to transport my new handgun and use it for protection when on the road.

Below is some information that may be useful if you find that you are ready to start ‘packing’. 

In 2009 the Texas legislature passed HB 1815, also known as The Motorist Protection Act (MPA). The bill affects the Penal Code, allowing citizens to carry a handgun "inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle that is owned by the person or under the person's control", providing:

the handgun remains concealed

the person is not engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic

the person is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm

the person is not a member of a criminal street gang

Prior to the passage of this bill it was illegal to have a handgun in your car unless you were traveling or directly en route to a location for hunting or a shooting sports event. The definition of "traveling" was never clearly spelled out and was determined by case law. All this means that a citizen that meets the above four exemptions and is not licensed to carry a concealed handgun can keep a loaded handgun in their vehicle, but there are a few things that you should consider.

Lock it up!

First, secure your gun when leaving your vehicle. You can't take it with you unless licensed to carry, and the glove box or console isn't enough to keep it from being stolen should your car be broken into. Install a small safe or lock box that bolts to the floor or locks with a chain or cable to the seat or body of the vehicle somehow. Make it as difficult to walk away with as you possibly can. Don't put guns into the hands of criminals.

Keep it out of sight!

When driving you can keep it at the ready, but be smart about it. Don't put it in the glove box on top of your insurance card, in case you are stopped by the police for a traffic violation. The officer probably won't have much of a sense of humor about an incident like that. Don't take it to the full service car wash, where an attendant may find it while detailing the interior of your car. It shouldn't be seen by anyone, anywhere. If someone sees it you may be reported to the police, or worse.

Federal property!

Any federally-owned property such as the post office (including the parking lot) is off-limits. Certain state parks in Texas are Army Corps of Engineers projects and therefore Federal land, and off-limits. You are not violating any state laws here, but Federal law applies. Do your homework and know before you get there.

Employer parking lots!

If your employer has a "no weapons" policy prohibiting you from having a weapon in your car while in the parking lot you could be fired if you get caught, but it may even be enforceable by state or federal law depending on where you work. Again, do your own research and know for sure what you're doing.

Police interaction!

Just remember, that as long as you meet the four exemptions listed above you aren't doing anything wrong. Don't be nervous. Be polite, and follow the officer's instructions. You are not required to notify the officer that you have a weapon in your vehicle, unless you are licensed to carry it. Don't blurt out "I have a gun in the car!" Just behave yourself.

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