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Carrying a Gun in the John

I’ve carried a firearm on a regular basis for a decade now, for most of that time a Glock 19. During that time I’ve never had an issue with what to do about the gun in the john. I’ve found it’s possible to use a urinal without dropping the drawers far enough that the gun drops below the covering garment (though I usually prefer a stall when carrying), and the number two situation can be dealt with easily, if you’re using a proper holster, by not dropping your drawers around your ankles. Taking the belt down to just above the knees is enough to drop your friends off at the pool, and to keep your firearm out of sight and under your immediate control. A proper holster will stay on the belt regardless of whether you’re wearing it or not, and will retain the gun even if you hold it upside down. The only thing you have to be conscious of is to make sure the belt doesn’t side out of the loops, but I’ve not found this to be a problem with properly sized belts.

I think advice that suggests unholstering the firearm is bad, and I wouldn’t suggest anyone follow it. If ¬†you do find it necessary to remove your gun in the john, or anywhere in public, remove the holster while the gun secured in the holster. If your holster won’t do this, or if retention is a problem, time to rethink your holster. The best advice is always going to be that which keeps the firearm secured, and minimizes the chance of something, booger hook, piece of clothing, or door coat hook, from yanking on the bang switch. I’m of the opinion that, ideally, the only time your firearm should clear leather (or Kydex, as the case may be) in a public place is if you have to defend yourself.

29 Responses to “Carrying a Gun in the John”

  1. Stew says:

    This is why I like shoulder holsters whenever I can.

    • HSR47 says:

      The tradeoff being that you spend pretty much all your time with your muzzle pointed at something you don’t want to destroy/kill.

  2. Harold says:

    Hmmm; my gun holster is just fine at this sort of retention (Milt Sparks Summer Special II) but my magazine pouches (single ones for my single stack .45 Wilson magazines) won’t retain without some pressure, like when normally worn.

    And you really don’t want to drop loaded magazines on hard surfaces, you have to remove them from service until you confirm they didn’t get damaged….

    • Sebastian says:

      Magazines you can pull out and stuff in a pocket. You generally don’t have to worry about rounds loaded into a magazine going off on their own.

  3. Russ says:

    Amen.

  4. Zermoid says:

    Personally I DO unholster once in a stall with the door latched shut. I use an open top IWB holster and with no belt pressure my 1911 can slide out.
    There is enough space on MOST commercial toilets (The ones with a big pipe and sensor or handle in place of a tank) between the back of the seat and the pipe to safely lay a 1911. It’s in arms reach and it can’t easily be seen by anyone looking under the door/walls.

    Has worked for me for last 12 years.

  5. ExurbanKevin says:

    1. Unless I missed a memo, it’s not a good idea to link to sites that depend on search results for their business model when said sites are detrimental to gunblogging.

    2. Unholstering is a DUMB idea. I have to do that whenever I visit my kids school, and I hate it, as I’m waiting for the inevitable ND. Holstering and unholstering is when ND’s happen the most.

    3. If you need to sit down, unbuckle, and drop ’em down to about your knees as you sit. Re-buckle, and your pants should stay there as a you do your business.

  6. Skullz says:

    Applicable to both IWB and OWB holsters, especially when carrying a heavy gun (1911) and the belt coming out of the loops:

    When you sit, buckle the belt on the first hole in the belt so it is creating tension around your legs. This will keep the holster from flopping and the belt coming out of the loops.

    @Zermoid – if your 1911 can fall out of your holster, you need a new holster. Either that, or you have such vigorous constitutionals, you should invest in a retention holster.

  7. Roger says:

    What works for me, is using an IWB holster is to drop my pants to my knees, drop my undies down & pull the elastic band of the undies over the butt of my carry piece at my knees. (Kimber .45 compact SS pistol or S&W J frames.
    Secure, safe & never a problem. It’s worked for me for the 12 years since I fled to the gunshine state of Florida.

  8. Matthew says:

    I’ve never had a problem with any type of belt holster – IWB, OWB, thumb break, no thumb break, etc. I carry a Glock 19 at 3 o’clock. I rotate my pants 45 degrees on the way down to where the gun is at 6 o’clock and then lay the holstered gun on top of my pants and undies between my ankles muzzle toward the toilet. The holstered gun ends up sitting basically inside my pants. Gravity pulls it down inside them but not enough to pull it to the floor. Someone would have to get on their hands and knees in the stall beside me to even get close to just seeing the gun (and they still probably would not be able even see it). It is guarded by my legs to the sides, the toilet to the rear, and there is so much distance between it and the stall door no one could reach it from the front. And it is positioned right in front of me where I could easily grab it if needed or someone tried to take it. And if someone managed to somehow see it while laying prone on the bathroom floor they are going to have a difficult time getting their hand between my legs, inside my pants, and either unholstering the gun or ripping the holster from the belt before I grasp their arm with two hands and simply stand straight up either breaking their arm in two or turning their elbow inside out using the the bottom of the stall wall as a fulcrum.

    • Jake says:

      I do the same thing with my .45 (without the rotation, since I usually carry at about 5 – 6 o’clock). The gun is also covered by my underwear so it’s not visible at all.

      I do unholster when pulling back up, though, because the balance point on my IWB holster when the gun is in it is high enough that it’s difficult to control while simultaneously pulling my pants up, and the holster needs a little belt tension to retain the gun if it goes upside down.

      There are two things to keep in mind, here:

      1) Most people are not going to be able to find a holster that is 100% perfect for their gun, their body type, and their daily routine. Sometimes, you have to settle for one that is 95% perfect, which may mean having to unholster for the (usually) infrequent trips to a public restroom. As in all things, YMMV.

      2) While I am all for minimizing “administrative” gun handling, reducing that to “0% outside legal requirements” is not going to be possible for most people. Being insulting and condescending to those that find it necessary, in the absence of actual negligence, does no good other than pissing people off.

      • HSR47 says:

        Your numbered points are spot on.

        If I have to defecate in a public restroom even once in any given month, I’m doing something wrong. Generally it’s far more infrequent than that.

        When I do defecate in a public restroom, I generally start out with the ‘fasten belt around knees’ method, but it gets tiring, so I often switch to the ‘unholster and set gun in/on my bundled undies’ method. Given the holster I use, all other methods I’ve heard suggested are impractical or otherwise undesirable.

        On the whole I recognize that I have a number of options, and I weigh the pros (my comfort) and the cons (potential safety issues), and reach an adult decision that the risks are minimal so long as I am careful, and that my comfort therefore takes precedence.

    • harp1034 says:

      Matt, if someone is laying on the floor and reaching under your stall they are after the non-firearm gun. So go ahead and break their arm.

  9. asdf says:

    I just remove my gun from the holster and place it in the “hammock”. Been doing that for over 15 years and it’s never come close to being a safety issue. If anything, it’s less safe to have a gun flopping around without some belt tension.

  10. Roberta X says:

    Why link to TTAG?

    As for firearms and the loo, this is one of the better arguments for using a real holster, one with excellent retention and that covers the trigger and guard, and not messing with the fiream unnecessarily. (I have to admit to carrying off-body — or not at all — most of the time, but I work in a gun-free facility, so most of my “carry” time is in the car anyway. The Hyundai doesn’t have a washroom — or an autopilot.)

    • asdf says:

      The problem with a *real* holster is that they tend to make drawing from concealment while under duress an iffy proposition. I prefer a holster that relies on belt tension for retention. My Versa-Max II is the only holster I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned them all) that manages to have good retention and be forgiving on the draw. Several of my other “retention” holsters give me a hard time when my form is less than perfect – which will always be the case under duress.

      • Harold says:

        Have you tried the Summer Special (II), also from Milt Sparks? (Two big differences are the loops are on top of the gun instead of to the side, so it’s a little thicker, and you can get SS IIs from Brownell’s for a few of the most popular gun models, instead of buying one used or waiting 6 months for a custom order).

        I’ve found it also satisfies the desires for “good retention and be[ing] forgiving on the draw”. These are not cheap holsters, but they’re really good (or so I’ve heard about the Versa Max, the SS is the only one I use, not counting the special case of the Safe Packer or fanny packs back when I was living in tourist infested Northern Virginia).

      • Sebastian says:

        I’m not speaking of a retention holster, as in a holster that has active retention, I’m speaking of one which will hold the gun, even if you turn the holster upside-down, and that offers a little resistance on the draw.

        The Versa-Max II looks like a real holster to me. I’ve never owned one though.

    • Sebastian says:

      Why link to TTAG?

      I normally don’t pay any attention to them, but I came across that post, which I thought was bad advice, and the gun on the coat hook thing made my jaw hit the floor. I wanted to toss what I thought was better advice out there. I know I shouldn’t, believe me… I don’t like the way TTAG conducts itself… but sometimes the advice I see over there is so bad, I think it’s doing a huge disservice to the community.

      • jkp says:

        Agreed. That was stunningly terrible advice from TTAG.

        I have never found the need to unholster while in any sort of restroom facility. Either keep the pants up, or extend waistband of underpants over the exposed portion of the firearm that is outside the pants waistband.

        If you’re really concerned, wait for the handicapped stall! It’s usually in the corner, away from prying eyes.

  11. Dannytheman says:

    This is a shitty discussion.

    Things they don’t tell you in NRA Pistol 101. “Hammmock” I love that.

  12. Robert says:

    I just hold it until I get home. I don’t like using public restrooms. :-)

  13. Justin Buist says:

    I wish states with training mandates would change their courses to cover this. Leave the shooting qualifications out, they’re pointless anyway. Just cover the legal stuff and how to take a shit while wearing a gun. That’s it.

  14. Richard says:

    Thanks for initiating an important discussion of an often overlooked topic. Everyone needs to develop a drill at home to accomplish this maneuver safely.

    A LTF holder in Pittsburgh became ill a few years ago, went to a public toilet, removed his pistol and left it on the tank or TP dispenser. It was later found by someone else. For this reason alone, I don’t think unholstering is a good idea in a stall.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s been one of my big fears. One experience I’ll never forget was on my way back from a social gathering in Virginia, when Bitter lived there. I got in her house and felt around my back, and no gun. I had one on when I went. I panicked. Fortunately, no kids at the social gathering, because then I really would have panicked.

      Went out to the car and found it on the seat. The clip had started to shear off and it worked its way off my belt, holster and all. It dumped in the car without me realizing when I got out. I had that problem with early Comp-Tac IWBs, and for a brief period it caused me to switch to another brand… but the belt loops broke on that one too. Eventually Comp-Tac fixed the problem. I have an Infidel IWB holster now that’s been rock solid, and doesn’t seem to be experiencing the fatigue cracks of earlier models.

    • Harold says:

      Everyone once in a while don’t we read about a plain clothes law enforcement officer leaving his gun in a public restroom?

  15. Will says:

    Parking your piece on the toilet tank, or dispenser, is foolish as all hell. To start with, they have a surface that is designed to be slippery. (Do you really want to have to pick it up after it has hit that filthy floor? Or chase it into another stall as it bounces and skitters away from you?)
    They are usually out of your sightline, so easy to overlook as you prepare to exit.

    One of the attack methods is for a BG to slide under your door and grab your ankles, while his buddy helps him yank you off the toilet. You’re going to feel really stupid now that your gun is out of reach when you need it most. Nested in your pants, or still in your holster, it should be within your reach. Try not to sit there with your legs stretched out. Keep them close to the toilet to help deter this type of assault. No reason to make it easy for them.

  16. Sevesteen says:

    With the holsters I’m willing to use, I’ve found it sufficient to tuck the tongue of the belt back into the first beltloop. Got into the habit to keep my cellphone from falling in, continued the habit when the phone moved to the left side to make room for a holster. A bit of a wide stance helps a bit too.

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