No matter whether you call it dropping a deuce, hanging 10, the call of nature, a trip to the water closet, or going code brown, everyone has to seriously relieve themselves at some point. Often this situation presents itself when you are out and about in a public venue. If you are armed this leads to the dilemma of what do you do to keep your firearm safe while you drop trou. Here are the options:
The TP Dispenser Drill
Often the only furniture in the stall with you while choking out a dark demon will be a TP dispenser and many a fool has fallen into the beginner’s trap of taking their whole handgun rig off their belt and placing it onto said dispenser for safekeeping. To the even more foolish the temptation to unholster their firearm and lay it on the inviting white cushion may be too much so stay far away from this drill! Your firearm can fall off at an inopportune moment and even discharge if conditions are right (say the gun falls in just that right spot onto a hard tile floor). The firearm in motion may also want to stay in motion once it makes contact with the floor and skitter like a hockey puck out of your stall. Then what?
The Coat Hook Option
Typically inside stalls in North America (I have seen the inside of many), there is a coat hook attached to the inside of the door. This zamak hook in all of its polished strength and glory seems a logical place to hang a gun belt (if you are LE) or, in some cases a holstered pistol plucked from your belt (for those with CCWs). Do not fall into this honey pot of poor judgment. These hooks are made to handle the random raincoat or windbreaker, not your Kimber longslide or your 10-pounds of batman utility belt. While it may go years without breaking, Murphy will make sure that when it finally does, it is while your personal means of defense is hanging from it as you pray to the porcelain gods.
Another self-taught option for those hanging a rat in a public restroom is to seat yourself, unholster your firearm safely (finger off trigger, pointed in safe direction etc.), and lay it down into your suspended under garment. This is a bad idea. While out in public, you should never remove your firearm from its holster unless you intend to use it. This ‘resting in the skids’ move can lead to accidental discharges and snags when you go to reholster, or move about to perform needed paperwork.
The Tactical Duke
Some, who should know better, draw their firearm and sit there with it out the whole time they are coiling cable. While this could be a good tactic if using a public restroom in Mogadishu, it’s better not to do this in Anytown, USA. This is an unsafe and needless practice. Sure, your finger is your safety and trigger discipline will prevent most negligent discharges, but do you really want someone who passes by and happens to catch a glimpse of you through the gap in the stall to see you sitting on the john in the Suhl position? What might they think?
The Calf Warmer
This maneuver is the most common one in an informal study conducted among several fellow firearms instructors who asked to remain nameless. It involves safely lowering the holster along with the belt that contains (but not all the way to the floor) and letting it remain there. If needed a paper towel, hat, the band of your undergarment, or a few strips of TP can be draped over the grip to conceal it from view of neighboring stalls. It is these types of moments that inspire you to have a duty holster (if LE or open carry advocate) or a concealable holster (if your are a CCW holder) with a high retention level.
When standing, be sure to have positive control on the holster when getting yourself put back together. Don’t rush. Just do a web search for ‘cop left gun in bathroom’ to see that these bad boys can fall out all the time when people rush.
It’s always best to mitigate this problem as much as possible by using a single-person restroom where and when possible. When not available, stick to handicapped stalls and stalls where your strong side (and the firearm) is facing a wall, not a fellow traveler in need. On the other hand, those who carry in shoulder holsters never have to worry about the inevitable call of nature.
Personally, I like the privacy of my own house when I talk to a man about a horse, but that’s just me.
Have a personal favorite for carrying while going? Leave it in the comments section below– and don’t forget the courtesy flush when needed.