I'm not an expert on NC law but if it were me and the laws were similar to those in KY (where I live) I wouldn't hesitate a second to have a pistol with me. When it comes down to to it explain with honesty to the police officer should the occasion arise and as long as your record is mostly clean I think he/she should be pretty understanding, especially if you are knowledgable of the exact laws and statutes that allow you to carry. If thats too much of a hassle for you then I'd say a short barrel shotgun with a pistol grip would be the ticket and pretty affordable. Can't go wrong with a mossberg 20ga or if you really really wanna knock someone on their ass then 12ga...but for close quarters of a vehicle and to not over penetrate in the house i'd say 20ga is perfect. If you like the pistol idea check out the Taurus Judge, it was almost designed for VD. Load that baby with .45 long colt and 3in. .410 shells every other shot :-)
P.S. I'm only 20 and have been OCing since I was 19. Dress properly and be confident in yourself.