Tom asks:

I’ve yet to see anywhere (on TTAG or elsewhere) any advice for what to do when one is carrying concealed and has to answer the call of nature. Specifically, when you have to drop your drawers to do so.

Years ago, I made the wrong call on this very subject. But after much investigation, I discovered that there’s only one right answer to this problem of how to carry a gun when your pants are around your ankles . . .

The wrong call is to hang the heater by its trigger guard on the hook on the back of the door. That is quite possibly the dumbest idea of all, since not only do you no longer have direct control over your gun but criminals are known to reach over and grab whatever is on those hooks. Luckily someone corrected my dumb idea before anything bad happened, but I know quite a few people who independently came to the realization just how bad an idea it is, so I know it really does happen.

The correct way to do this when there is no obvious shelf or tank cover on which to rest your gat is to unholster the gun as you undo your belt, lower your pants with your unarmed hand, and then once you sit down simply place the gun on top of your underwear inside your now empty pants.

That’s it. That’s the best advice I’ve received on the situation.

[Email your firearms-related questions to “Ask Foghorn” via guntruth@me.com. Click here to browse previous posts]

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54 Responses to Ask Foghorn: Concealed Carry and Public Toilets

  1. It occurs to me that removing the gun from the holster at all introduces an unnecessary risk of an ND. I simply let my pants down to about the knees and hold them there so that my firearm isn’t visible under the gap and once I’m finished pull them up and adjust as needed.

    • I’m with Peter B, no need to unholster. Just hold it at knee-level by pressing your knees outward slightly if needed. I don’t see why people are making this so complicated. The added benefit, I don’t have to let my pants touch the ground of a public restroom…..ewww!

    • If unholstering a weapon introduces a risk of a ND, one probably has no business carrying one to begin with.

      If someone can’t draw and holster a thousand times a day if neccessary without pressing the bang switch, frankly, they’ve the motor control of a diced carrot.

      As to the issue itself– haven’t used a public toilet in two decades, see no reason to start now.

      • pride comes before the fall…. trying to argue that unholstering a firearm DOESN’T increase the risk for a ND for EVERYONE is just dumb….

        • Oh, come on. You’re both right. Yes, unholstering your weapon is an increased risk of ND over leaving it holstered because there is effectively zero chance of an ND if your gun remains in your holster, and there is some, i.e. greater than zero, chance of an ND when unholstered. But Mr. Lion is also right. You ought to be able to draw and holster safely, repetitively, all day long.

          This is really not worth arguing over.

      • “If unholstering a weapon introduces a risk of a ND, one probably has no business carrying one to begin with. ”

        Spot on.

    • It occurs to me that removing the gun from the holster at all introduces an unnecessary risk of an ND.

      I keep hearing this, yet if you actually know WTF you’re doing, there’s no risk from handling a gun.

    • Is that the one where the gun is pointed at the folks behind you? Or is that the one where you have to reach across your body to get to your firearm? Or both?

      (Sorry. Just playing Devil’s Advocate again … It’s a hobby.)

      • Bill Jordan made the argument that cross or shoulder draw means your draw sweeps width_badguy whereas strong side draw means your draw sweeps height_badguy, and since height_badguy>width_badguy you give yourself an advantage drawing strong side in hitting some badguy fast.

        -D

      • +1 ST!
        Leo: Yes, your weapon is pointed at people behind you which isn’t obvious if you’re wearing a cover garment; but I have had a couple of people mention that it is a little unnerving to be looking down the barrel of a .45 even if it is holstered.
        And yes, you do have to reach across your body. On the other hand, if you have good situational awareness this is less of an issue but if the BG surprises you then just pretend you’re having a heart attack.
        This does 2 things: 1) it tends to distract the BG and
        2) allows you to grasp your weapon covertly, since most people don’t think “shoulder holster” when they think you’re carrying.

        • >pretend you’re having a heart attack
          Unless, like moi’, yer a southpaw. But then I’ve been told before that my heart is in the wrong place.

  2. This is what I do and was covered in my first, ever, training class. You know, those ones that you don’t have or want (ref recent TTAG post) to go to, but can if you want to improve yourself?

    Happy shooting, dv

    • Oh…my…gosh. 18 minutes to explain what should only take MAYBE two minutes. Leave it to a woman to more than quadruple the time in explaining something. Get a microphone lady. Utterly useless video.

  3. I find using a wide stiff belt keeps the gun in the holster in more or less upright position. However, if the toilet paper holder is a nice flat surface you might want to use it as a shelf. If you carry a Glock or similar gun keep it in the holster. If its got a saftey or two failsafe devices like a XD you can safely put it on the shelf.

  4. Carrying at 3 or 4 o’clock with a good IWB (Crossbreed) makes it easy enough to refasten my belt just above the knees and keeps everything in its proper place without ever needing to touch the gun.

  5. I usually take my piece, and turn my belt inside my pants so the holster ends up down in my undershorts. No unholstering required.

    • Yup… Exactly what I do too with my IWB (Comp-Tac) too. Easy enough to just flip the waistline/belt/holster in and not have to worry. Just leave it in the holster.

      Course I live in the south where at worst a neighboring stall might start asking about what ammo I carry. Your mileage may vary though. 😉

  6. So why in the world can’t you just drop trou with the gun still in the holster? If it just falls out and slides across the tile then it is a junk hoster.

    Whatever you do -Don’t take the gun out of the holster. Why is that even an option? Seriously!?! This is terrible, horrible advice.

    I mean isn’t this what everyone does…cops, military, ccw, open carry/etc?

    • Headlines From The Future on TTAG:

      “Man arrested in bathroom stall at local mall-police apologize for Shocking Treatment”

      “AP-At 12:15pm, a man noticed the butt of a Glock semi-auto pistol in the stall next to his. He called 911 to report a man with a gun in the mens room of the local mall, resulting in SWAT evacuating the building and entering the commode. The armed man turned out to be a legal permit holder. Police have no comment to the allegations that the armed man had his pants down during the arrest”

  7. I agree with I_Like_Pie. Unless you are expecting someone to kick in the stall door, there is no reason to unholster the gun. And if you are expecting this kind of trouble, maybe you should hold it in for a little bit and find a safer restroom.

    The odds of a negligent discharge, while still low, go way up once you unholster the gun.

  8. 1) There’s no such thing as an accidental discharge; if it goes bang and you didn’t mean for it to do so, you were negligent.

    2) When I have to use the latrine in public, I unholster and place my pistol on the TP dispenser. This prevents me dropping my pistol and prevents a possible panic if bystanders see my pistol.

  9. There is only one good way to do this, I thought it was pretty common knowledge:

    1) lower your pants to your knees, not your ankles.
    2) re-buckle your belt so you can hold everything there.

    Works like a charm. No issues. No need to un-holster the gun. No unwanted visibility. No need to turn your underwear into some kind of Ewok village hammocky thing.

    -D

    • yes, I all ways do this because i have an issue with my cloths touching the surfaces in public restrooms. It works well with everything i carry on my belt.

      i just partially undo my belt and re-secure it in a hole near its end.

  10. Using a Remora as I do for pistols, or a Mike’s or Blackhawk #3 pocket holster for a snubby, there’s no need ever to unholster. The Remora and its contents can be placed in the banana hammock area of the underwear where the kit would be very difficult to forget. The snubby stays just where it is. Either way, the guns remain holstered at all times, and more importantly, they stay on my person.

    Stowing loaded firearms anywhere but on your person when using the porcelain convenience just seems like a bad idea.

  11. There’s actually a very good way of doing it.

    Use the Remora, or the Sticky holster. It’s a no clip holster that uses friction to keep it in place.

    I carry one and when I use the john, I simply pull it out of my pants, holster and all, and tuck it under my armpit. The gun never leaves the holster so the trigger remains covered. And you’re not advertising to the guy next to you that you’re carrying a gun by showing him your empty holster.

    And you’re still in a decent draw position should you need it while on the throne.

  12. A local cop left his firearm in a public bathroom a couple of years back and after a news report on the missing weapon the story disappeared. Never found out if any disciplinary action was taken although many months later another newspaper blurb reported that the weapon was recovered eventually at the scene of a crime.

  13. I want to put a lanyard on the sides of the holster so I can wear the holster around my neck while I’m on the toilet.

    Yes, you’d now have extra rope hanging off the holster… but if you make that retractable/detachable… or simply tuck the rope/paracord behind the holster while you wear it, I don’t see how it would be a problem…

  14. My favorite technique is to use the baby changing table when one is provided. It’s designed to keep a squirming infant from rolling off, so it’s good for a handgun too.

  15. No one said anything about practicing at home. You practice at the range shooting your gun. If you not sure how to drop your pants with a gun, practice at home where its private till you find something that works.

  16. UPDATE: Just so you know this “what to do with your gun in the john” problem isn’t exclusive to us…

    “A gun belonging to a member of Mitt Romney’s U.S. Secret Service detail was found unattended in the bathroom of the candidate’s charter plane Wednesday afternoon.” source

  17. FWIW, I seem to recall that putting your piece in your shorts was a trained SOP for the FBI, for the equally valid reasons that it keeps it concealed and in your reach, AND equally if not more importantly keeps one from forgetting where one set it down.

    That said, not tested in public, but with a G19 in a Blade-Tech Phantom, IWB strongside behind hip, I note no problems with leaving it in the holster and repositioning it slightly in the trou to hide it and orient it in a muzzle-safe and easily accessible direction. Second flboots above.

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