Via tractorpartonlinestores.com
Via tractorpartonlinestores.com

What’s the number one thing that most people new to the world of concealed carry don’t know, and that most training courses — whether state-mandated or not — fail to address? It isn’t basic gun safety. It isn’t the communistically-burdensome firearms rules imposed by federal, state, and (in non-preemption states,) municipal authorities on gun owners. It isn’t self-defense tactics.

No, the silent killer that no one wants to talk about is this:

What the hell are you supposed to do with your concealed, belt-holstered sidearm when you’re visiting a public lavatory?

Admit it: when you were a newbie on your first visit to Wal-Mart for nachos after getting your shiny new license and first concealable handgun, you felt more than a little anxiety when you headed into lavatory stall. That’s because American public lavatory designers prioritize janitorial convenience over privacy and someone might notice that you had something in your pants that typically isn’t seen in the loo.

So you had to improvise on your own. Some of you sought out that semi-private handicapped stall in the corner. Others wrapped the waistband of your undergarments around the butt of the pistol to keep Larry Craig-style looky-loos from noticing it.

And some of you — I’m not judging here, but you know who you are — decided that the safest and most covert route would be to simply remove the handgun and stick it on the toilet, the paper dispenser, or other handy surface.

It’s to that latter group that I’d like to gently suggest that a different strategy might be appropriate.

Look, everyone has different priorities. For some of you, avoiding discovery tops the list because the stakes of being ‘made’ while carrying a gun during the typical day are high both socially and in terms of future career prospects. Others may have issues with the local constabulary, who might take an aggressive interest in people discovered to be carrying a firearm in public regardless of the legal particulars.

It isn’t easy. People of different body types, genders, sartorial tastes, and tolerances for being ‘outed’ may find the solution that works for me (for the record: the waistband solution mentioned above) impractical. But this is something worth thinking about, because it’s a problem that, eventually, we all have to face.

If you’re embarrassed by this, well, suck it up buttercup – these are the things adults who carry concealed firearms need to consider.

In my experience, removing the firearm from the holster during a typical bathroom visit is something to be avoided at all costs. It’s a version of off-body carry (which I don’t endorse either), but it’s a particularly malignant one that requires its practitioner to be on their game when they are vulnerable to distraction.

A system that requires you to do the right thing 100% of the time is not a good one. We’re all fallible. We all have off days, and the way the human mind works, unexpected sights, sounds, and smells — anything that gets us to split our attention — can cause us to get distracted. Some of these sights, sounds, and smells can make us to want to GTFO of Dodge as fast as we can, without going through our usual checklist before we do. Especially in a public lavatory!

Did you ever leave anything behind in the toilet — say, a cell phone — and have to go back to retrieve it later? Yeah, that’s the kind of thing we’re talking about. Except instead of the next toilet visitor getting to check out the pic of your kids that you have on your cell phone lock screen, that person instead gets free access to a deadly weapon.

I bring this up because a 63-year-old school teacher in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, had to resign from her job and is facing charges from the D.A. because she left her gun behind in the classroom toilet, where some elementary school children found it.

Beth Jean Dixon, 63, put her holstered pistol on a toilet tank when she used the unisex, one-toilet bathroom Aug. 25 at Cumberland Christian School, in Chambersburg, police said. They said she forgot about it and left.

Four children, ages 6 to 8, used the bathroom while the gun was on the toilet. One child told his parent, who told a teacher.

Dixon informed administrators of what happened and immediately resigned from the school, police said.

No one was injured….

[T]he school did not have any policies regarding guns on school grounds, the Rev. Mike Sanders, the school president, told the Public Opinion newspaper. School officials have now created a policy banning weapons unless they are approved by the administration.

Dixon has now been charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the latter charge is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree, which means a maximum penalty of not more than five years. In case you didn’t know, a conviction there would mean that you will be prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm and, at best, will have a convoluted path toward getting those gun rights restored after your time in the justice system is finished.

One moment of forgetfulness took away this person’s job, threatens her freedom, has no doubt caused no end of embarrassment for her, and has even turned an employer that was apparently neutral on guns into one imposing more official requirements for legal concealed-carriers.

If concealment is truly a priority for you, and you believe that the lavatory is a high-risk zone for whatever reason, perhaps a smaller, .380 pistol carried in a pocket holster might be more appropriate. Concealed carry is really just a series of compromises, after all. If you had an unavoidable gunfight scheduled that day, you’d be sure to bring a long gun. Think it through. Whatever your solution happens to be, just make sure it doesn’t require you to be perfect 100% of the time.

We all have to deal with enough crap these days — don’t make it harder on yourself.

93 Responses to The One Weird Trick That No One Teaches You About Concealed Carry

    • +1. Why does this topic keep coming up? I don’t understand why it’s so hard to grasp the idea of only pulling your pants down to your knees while seated on the toilet. I had always done this, even before I started carrying. Who wants their pants touching the disgusting floor of a public toilet?! This way an IWB holstered gun is pointed down in a safe direction, it’s not visible under the stalls, and you maintain better control of it if you needed to draw while seated. This isn’t rocket science people.

        • If he did, I missed it…. I don’t always get a chance to read every article that is published on TTAG, unfortunately.

        • Didn’t mean to criticize. Your article was much more thorough. You got him beat at the toilet, hands down;-)

        • Yes, Nick posted about it and I also don’t understand why it even comes up. I truly did not realize that there are people who drop their pants all the way to their ankles when they’re sitting on a toilet. That seems crazy to me. As mentioned by others, the waist of my pants remains above the knee — as high as they can, really, without touching the front of the toilet — when I’m sitting on a toilet, whether at home or out and about. This has been the case as long as I can remember. When I’m carrying, the gun remains in the holster, the holster remains on my belt and IWB, and nothing changes about it. It hangs out there on my thigh and it waits patiently until I’m done and I pull my pants back up. My pants change location a bit, but the gun just stays in/on my pants where it always is and goes for the ride down my thigh and then back up. Total non-issue.

        • @JeremyS – whenever the subject comes up in a gathering of concealed carry folks, there’s always a few who haven’t seen the light.

          I was really floored to see that even Gunsite Academy, has dowel rods in the wall of the lavatory so that people can ‘hang’ their guns by the barrel when they use the toilets at the range. If the idea that you ought to be handling your pistol while on the loo has currency there, it’s everywhere.

          In fact, when I was there, one of the students in my class left a 1911 hanging on the dowel rod. I know because I was the one who went in immediately afterward and drew that person’s attention to the fact that they had, um, left something behind.

      • Well, ma’am, men have these things called “testicles”. It means sitting with your tight clenched together and your knees touching isn’t very comfortable for a man (especially when taking a dump). See, men and women ARE different!

        • If you clenched your thighs together with your knees touching your pants would fall down. Proper technique is to pull your pants and holster down just above your knee and spread your legs wide enough apart to prevent your pants from slipping down any further. That was my technique long before I started carrying. Not sure how grown men don’t know this yet.

        • Unless you’re wearing really loose pants (which seeing how 75% of Americans are fat, you may be…you know, FUPA and all), your thighs are going to be pretty close together in order to have the waist of your pants around your knees.

    • ^ This. Here is another asset to add to the Plus column when considering pocket carry. I’m very satisfied with my Ruger LC9s Pro (6+1) in its DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster on my strong side, with a 9-round magazine in a left pocket.

    • Pocket carry of a .380 is the way to go if concealment is one of the most important factors for you. There is such a variety out there now, I think there’s one that will work for just about everyone. Just be sure to train with it — both shooting and drawing from the pocket.

  1. Or just keep your gun on your belt and let it fold into the seat of your pants. It’s not that complicated and most IWB rigs will tend to do this naturally when they are not supported by your body.

    • She wants to take them away from you.

      I want to encourage you to exercise personal responsibility when you’re enjoying your liberty.

      If you think those are equivalent, we probably don’t see eye-to-eye on much.

      • I can’t argue with exercising caution and responsibility, as that’s something we “should” do (Read: moral obligation, not legal).

        However, phrasing the sentence your way, seems to me (and maybe a lot of other people reading) that it implies,

        one, free access to deadly weapons increases the likelihood and/or the severity of violent crimes;

        and two, free access to deadly weapons increases the likelihood and/or the severity of accidents.

        Both of these we’ve debunked again and again. And these are exactly what’s driving the ignorant anti-gun public.

        And, in my opinion, a gun owner should not be legally liable if he unwillingly and unknowningly leaves a gun unattended and someone uses it in a crime or an accident. The fact that a gun, a piece of private property, is left there is not a driving force behind a criminal act or an accident. The gun does not compel a criminal to kill, nor does it compel a kid to accidentally shoot him/herself. They should leave the gun the hell alone to begin with. SHOULD we secure our guns? Yes. Should there be a LEGAL liability if we do not? Not IMHO.

        What we need is continued Gunsplaining to the public and a Tort Reform, not playing into the hands of those bloody shirt wavers by implying that a gun is an active player in crimes and accidents.

        And no I’m not directing this at your person. This seems to be a common misconception among a lot of gun owners.

        • If the person who finds it knows nothing about guns, it could be bad. Remember, there was a TSA agent that fired a revolver (found in carry-on) while trying to unload it.

        • @James in AZ –

          If I leave my gun behind because I’m negligent or reckless, then the person who finds it really does have access to a deadly weapon. Just like if I leave my wallet behind, they have access to a bunch of credit cards and cash, or if I leave my flash drive behind, they get a lot of incomplete, badly-written articles about gun rights, politics, law, and training with all the expletives that I normally edit before submission left in.

          At that point, what happens to my property is up to them. Whether there use of my property becomes a criminal or civil liability – for them OR me – is, literally, up to them.

          I don’t like letting other people have that kind of control over my life or my property. I try to develop systems in my own life so that that doesn’t happen. I encourage others to do likewise. That’s all.

  2. G19 in a Raven Concealment Vanguard trigger “holster”. It protects the trigger while I keep the pistol inside my underwear/pants. Trigger stays guarded, so it’s safe; can’t forget it because it’s inside my pants. When business is finished, just tuck it back in my waist and clip to my belt.

  3. Unfasten belt. Drop trou to just below knees. Refasten belt around legs just below knees. Maintain tension on belt with legs to hold the belt and holstered gun just below your knees. Sit and press.

    This way your gun stays safely in the holster, it doesn’t drop to a level low enough to be seen under a stall partition, and the gun is positioned within easy reach should the need arise in the middle of your business.

      • Adjust as the situation requires.

        Below the knees keeps the muzzle down. Above the knees increases access and perhaps concealment but now the muzzle will be parallel with the ground.

        • Then just let it drop to the floor. The close proximity of the round will destroy the soul of any relevant germs. And the sight of the mighty cartridge by your neighboring stall mates may just help them evacuate their bowels. It’s a win win situation for everyone involved!

  4. Okay, I know I’ve been critical of ttag since the horrible new site roll out and often unjustly so but the title of this article is so blatantly Click-Bait that I have to assume you all are doing it on purpose.

    • I know! Title said “One weird trick” and then the article only pointed out obvious issues without singling out a real practical solution.

      Do these guys even carry?

      • You can blame me for the title. It started as the working title, then I just could’t stop myself from submitting it as-is….

        The headline started out as “one weird thing” when I wrote it, since I wasn’t actually offering a solution, b/c everyone is different. I really just wanted to get people thinking about it. The headline must’ve ‘evolved’ between submission and publication….:-)

        • Why did you bother writing this article at all though? I typed in “bathroom” into the search bar and the 5th result was this article Dan reposted http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/05/daniel-zimmerman/guns-for-beginners-bathroom-carry-what-to-do-during-a-no-2/ that actually had useful tips/tricks/information. Were you trying to attack the news story about the teacher from another angle? Were you too lazy to do some preliminary research to see if TTAG already covered the topic?

        • New people are finding TTAG every day.

          I can see this being re-visited on a regular basis.

          Besides, you’re not required to read every post and click every ad (no matter what RF implies *wink*).

          Next time, just skip that post…

        • Actually, I think it’s more helpful if you click on it, read it, get angry at it, then write a comment saying how angry you are at the author, because that helps improve our ‘reader lingering’ time. 😀

          Ah, what do I know? I’m just a humble caveman.

  5. The only time I used a public toilet and was carrying I had a case of explosive must get to the toilet now.

    Honestly, I just got in and to a toilet as quickly as possible and dropped my pants. Thankfully the gun stayed in the IWB holster.

  6. One weird trick huh? I thought it was one of your pop-up ads. Seldom do I do #2 in a public john. Just put whatever in your lap. And don’t leave your GLOCK behind like some cops do…

  7. Two things.

    First off with most holsters you have no reason to unholster the pistol in the first place unless… I mean what are you doing, taking your pants off in the stall?

    Second, if you do have a holster that you need to take the gun out off or take the holster off and you’re putting it on the TP holder or whatever, I don’t really see a problem with that unless you forget it and leave it there, in which case you’re not smart enough to have a gun in the first place.

    As for me, I usually unholster my gun, check my mag is still fully loaded, yell “OK, I’M RELOADED!” before firing 2-3 shots into the ceiling and then placing the gun on the floor and sliding it down a few stalls to the feet of someone else. You know, for funzies. Plus, if that person was constipated they aren’t any more!

  8. I’m female, I always sit down. But, I carry a “carry” purse.

    To Art Out West, who pocket carries. I carry cell phone insurance, for one reason, my son, who dropped his cell phone recently, out of his pocket, into the toilet.

  9. Carry an LC9 or equivalent in a SneakyPete, drop it on the floor and kick it to between your feet, you’re good to go. Your descriptions of toilet calesthenics make me tired.

  10. This is some of the funniest stuff i’ve read in a while.

    I can’t mentally “un-see” some of the images in my brain now.

    I am scarred for life.

    LMAO

  11. If you are wearing boots that come up over your ankles a bit this isn’t much of an issue. Your pants can’t come down that far in that case. Remember that you do also have pockets and sometimes that is helpful. Happy bm potg!

    • She also told me to wear clean underwear in case I was in an accident. I told her that if I was in an accident my underwear wouldn’t be clean anymore.

      She always told me she hoped I’d have one just like me someday.

      • Mine told me both of these things as well. My response to the first was that if I was in any kind of accident requiring someone to take my clothes off, shouldn’t I be prepared to make it easier for them and just not wear underwear?

        For the second, her hope came true.

    • Yeah, well, if the game is played often enough, stuff with a less than 1% chance of happening will eventually happen. Why I carry a gun in the first place. 😀

  12. This is just plain silly. Ever try to draw from loose pants? Holster comes up with firearm. Concealed carry relies on holster retention, not firearm retention. You all are ridiculous. Piece sits on my thigh, ready to rock.

  13. You could always cradle your piece in your undies, which are just hanging there empty while your other piece does its thing. Nobody but you can see it, It’s right at hand if you need it, and when you pull up your pants, you’ll definitely remember it’s there.

  14. Whatever your plan for peeing and pooping while carrying your weapon, it should be tested out in the privacy of your home bathroom where, I might add, you don’t have to wait for your permit to be approved to try it out.

  15. “For some of you, avoiding discovery tops the list because the stakes of being ‘made’ while carrying a gun during the typical day are high both socially and in terms of future career prospects. Others may have issues with the local constabulary, who might take an aggressive interest in people discovered to be carrying a firearm in public regardless of the legal particulars.”

    And there is yet a third group, for whom “concealed” means “concealed,” and need no further justification.

    It’s called concealed carry for a reason, and if you have no particulars of showing everyone your lovely Kimber 10mm with Rosewood grips, just open carry and let your belt drop to the floor with a thump while taking a dump.

    • “And there is yet a third group, for whom “concealed” means “concealed,” and need no further justification.”

      These folks need not justify anything but they need to understand that their concealment isn’t perfect and that it fails. It fails due to the gun becoming obvious, the way they act or the way it restricts their movement. People who know what they’re looking for and are paying attention will often know you’ve got a gun. Generally, they just have the good graces not to put you on blast about it.

  16. 1-Find good lawyer
    2-Do research of cops who did same and gun was used in a crime and are still packing.
    3-request equal treatment of law and dismissal of case

  17. I know this might be a bit late, but you could just dummy cord your gun to your holster. Most guns accept some kind of lanyard nowadays, I’m sure you could buy one or fashion one somehow.

  18. Always use the stall, sit (not stand) and put the gun in the crotch of your pants… Doesn’t matter how big it is you are not going to drop it or leave it behind. Plus, using the stall gives you all the time needed to check, adjust and position after you finish your business…

  19. More and more places, especially stores, now have a “family” or “unisex” bathroom separate from the standard men’s and women’s rooms. It has a lockable door, and sink, commode, and usually a changing table. If there’s one of these bathrooms available, I’ll always try for it first, and if it is occupied I’ll wait for a few minutes (if possible). The advantages of such a facility for those to carry should be obvious, plus you’re not going to find yourself sitting in the next stall to somebody whose onion rings last night are coming through…

  20. True story time:
    The first gun store I worked at was in a mall. At leasr one of the county deputies who worked in it made a point of using our instore facilities when nature called to avoid having to drop trou (and their duty rigs) in the public stalls.
    Thinkng about it just now: gun-friendly restrooms might be something a few large businesses could use…

  21. Ok. Pants around your thighs is how a woman goes number 1and2, most men need some leg room for their gun, as far as carring a firearm if you HAVE to unholster just let the gun in between your feet inside your pants. It’ll be coved from scared people’s eyes. And there’s no way to forget it becuse you’d have to forget to pull up your pants. Problem solved.

  22. Really? This is an actual problem?

    If you’re not bright enough to figure out how to keep your sidearm safe and secure while dropping
    some friends off at the pool you are TOO STUPID TO BE ALLOWED TO CARRY A GUN. Jeez….
    some people’s kids.

  23. If you really think that there is any possibility at all that you might forget to grab your firearm upon exiting a bathroom stall:
    (1) Make a loop out of string.
    (2) Keep the string in a pocket where you do NOT keep your handgun.
    (3) When you latch the bathroom stall closed, hang the loop of string on the latch.
    (4) When you are ready to exit, the loop of string on the latch reminds you to grab your handgun.
    (5) Grab your handgun and then your loop of string, put them away, and go about your day.

  24. Had to drop one today in Walmart. Got in the stall and realized i had my Glock in appendix carry in a Remora holster (which I love) and an extra mag in the small of my back. Was stumped for a minute, first time I’ve had this particular problem, but nature gave me no choice. Had to put them both up on the toilet paper holder. So gross.

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