CCW Dilemma: When You Have to Use a Public Restroom

This situation is one that most concealed carriers will face. Here's how to handle it.

by posted on November 28, 2022
Deering Public Restroom Ccw

New and even experienced shooters, hunters and concealed carriers often have a lot of questions, and even if we have the nerve to ask the more sensitive or embarrassing ones, we don’t always have someone we can turn to for solid advice.

For instance, none of us like having to face the ick of the big-box store or fast-food restaurant bathroom, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. If you’re concealed carrying, particularly on your belt, you’ve got a whole other consideration to deal with. What do you do?

There are two concerns: First and most immediate is safety, and second is security. By safety, I mean keeping the gun in a position where the muzzle will not cover anything you’re not willing to destroy, and by security, I mean you don’t want the gun to be dropped, knocked to the floor or left behind when you leave.

If you’re lucky enough to have the option when nature calls, the ideal scenario for privacy is a single-use bathroom where you don’t have to deal with anyone in a neighboring stall. The next best choice is the last stall in the row so that few people if any will walk past and do the quick is-it-occupied check. In any case, to stay safe, keep the gun holstered—there’s no reason to draw it out of the holster and probably no reason to remove the holster from your belt. The easiest thing to do if you carry on your belt is to keep one hand on the holster/belt at all times through the whole process; that way it never has to come off your belt and it won’t flop loose or drop your pants to the floor due to the weight. You might have to grab some toilet paper before you unbuckle your belt to make the one-handed situation easier. And speaking of dropping your pants, don’t lower them down so far that anyone checking under the stalls might catch a glimpse of the gun. Keep them up by your knees. This hand-on-the-gun situation might also work if you carry on-belt in the appendix position.

If you are in a situation where you absolutely must take the holstered gun off your person (although I don’t know what this might be—maybe small-of-back carry or pocket carry?), you’re better off to keep it in your hand pointed in a safe direction the entire time, which means at the floor. Setting the gun down anyway is problematic because first of all, germs, and second of all, you run the risk of it getting knocked off the tank or the toilet paper dispenser, and you also run the risk of getting distracted and walking out of the bathroom without your gun. Now you’ve got a whole new set of problems!

Using a public restroom while carrying concealed really isn’t a big deal once you’ve done it a couple of times and know the drill—the two keys to keep in mind are to keep the gun holstered and to do as little manipulating of it as possible, which usually means keeping it on your belt while you support it with one hand.


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