I, too, have been on the wrong end of a pistol - a pistol held by some guys who wanted the fast cash. so i can guess where you're coming from.
In Idaho, your firearm doesn't have to be in a holster, but it must be visible from at least two sides of the vehicle, without a permit. So your hip probably wont work. I keep mine on my dash. The following is an excerpt from an Idaho gun law pamphlet found on this forum and http://hitbackfirst.com/idaho_gun_law_color_20Mar09.pdf
In Vehicles: While in any motor vehicle, inside the limits or confines of any city, a person shall not carry a concealed weapon on or about his person without a license to carry a concealed weapon. This shall not apply to any firearm located in plain view whether it is loaded or unloaded. A firearm may be concealed legally in a motor vehicle so long as the weapon is disassembled or unloaded. ~ I.C. §18-3302(9)