How to deal with bathroom breaks while carrying concealed
Do you recall that scene from Unforgiven where the Schofield Kid ambushes Quick Mike in the outhouse? If not that scene than certainly the part in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis discovers John Travolta's fully automatic SMG while he's indisposed. Going to the bathroom is a fact of life and as a concealed carrier, we have to make additional considerations for how we handle our firearms in these situations. While it's extremely unlikely any of us will ever be ambushed in a similar situation, we must be cognizant of where our firearm is situated.
Proper Sitting Technique for Concealed Carriers
A great habit to get into is removing one leg from your trousers when you sit to use the bathroom. This guarantees two things: if ambushed, you are not immediately hampered by having your trousers about your ankles AND it guarantees you are able to at least respond.
When applied to a concealed carry holster, it is recommended the leg you remove from your trousers is the opposite of the side you carry on. This allows your pistol to remain within reach. There's also various ergonomic things about having a leg positioned across your thigh in terms of digestion but we're not here to discuss that.
If you're not into trying a new sitting technique, that's fine. The leg outside the trousers is a great piece of information on its own because, again, you're seated without being restrained.
Inside the Waistband Concealed Carry Holster Technique
There's two basic considerations to make which rely on the style of concealed carry holster you're using. The first is the inside the waistband (IWB) concealed carrier holster. Generally, with a hybrid IWB holster, it's clipped to the interior of one's trousers. While standing, the scabbard should be snugly pressed along the seam between the body and the fabric – making smooth, steady high-hand draws possible. When resting on the restroom floor, however, such an advantage doesn't exist.
Tip: Never lower your trouser leg outside the length your arm needs to reach down and take a firm grasp of the pistol grip. Preferably, your pistol should always be within your reach and under your control in all situations.
Technique: To build muscle memory to make your IWB concealed carry holster work best for you, there's a simple range technique that you can practice. Take a pair of pants and a belt and simply rest your pistol in the IWB concealed carry holster you normally use.
Draw your pistol and hold it a fist's length from the center of your chest. This is a great close quarters maneuver. Engage a target at 5 yds to give you an idea of the lethality of shooting even from a relatively hampered sitting position with little room. Of course this is never an ideal situation to be caught in – that's why we're training for it. Find that comfortable range where you can grab hold of your pistol and draw it while being realistic of your needs.
Outside the Waistband Concealed Carry Holsters
If you have a hybrid holster that clips along the belt line, then the IWB technique described above would work well with an OWB Holster configuration. However, if you have an external removable scabbard, there are two places you can put it – on your lap with firm control or within the folds of your pants. Your preference, truly. We've included a video that humorously discusses some of the various non-invasive techniques that don't require a bunch of new training or disruptions to your routine.
Where NOT to Hang Your Holster
There are truly two places you never want to hang your gun – on the coat hangar inside the stall and on the toilet lid (or handle). Both are not within your reach or control. While modern firearms are built to be dropped without accidental discharges – there's rarely a reason to test this theory out outside the classroom.
On the coat hangar
This is a horrible idea for one major reason: it's outside of your control. In the extremely unlikely event that someone kicks down the door, that firearm has immediately lost any use for you. While it may seem convenient at the time, ultimately if it is outside of your direct control – it's no longer your friend.
On the toilet lid
Polished ceramic has an extremely low friction coefficient. Translation? Your pistol scabbard can and likely will slide if the toilet is jostled or moved in any way. It's better to simply put the scabbard in the folds of your pants between your legs than to take chances with placing your firearm on a non-stable surface.
Ultimately, you must decide which technique works right for you. While Schofield Kid or Bruce Willis ought not be hunting you down in a bathroom any time soon, it's always good to remain situationally aware of your situation. As a concealed firearm carrier – you are likely the first line of defense when something goes down. Why not play the part?
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.