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Using the Bathroom While Carrying Concealed

It never fails...you're out and nature calls while you're carrying concealed. Find out tips for restroom choice, positioning, and potential accidents.

It never fails.

You’re running errands and your stomach grumbles, lets loose a little gas, and you know it’s time to head for a bathroom. 

Concealed Carry Pants Down, Dave Moore
Concealed Carry Pants Down, Dave Moore

“What do I do with my concealed carry gun?”

Unless you’re one of those people who can only perform certain…um…“functions” in your own house, this is a situation you’ll have to deal with sooner or later.

Sure, you can leave it (the gun) in the car, but what if someone tries something when you literally have your pants down?

Before you encounter this situation, let’s talk about how to use the bathroom when you’re carrying concealed.

Table of Contents


Choosing Your Pitstop Location

You know what they say…”location, location, location.” This even applies to using the bathroom.

Knowing what stores, gas stations, restaurants, and other public places have good bathrooms helps more than you think.

Bear with me. 

When it comes to bathrooms, there are things you will want to look for aside from cleanliness.

If it’s not an emergency and you have some options to choose from, there are some better options than others when it comes to bathrooms.

Avoiding Detection

For starters, if you can find a bathroom that’s meant to be used one person at a time, this is your best option. You can get in and out without having to worry about anyone seeing your gun.


If you are in a larger big-box store, you can look for family bathrooms. A lot of times they are in a different location than the men’s and women’s bathrooms, so try the back of the store or ask.

Family Restroom Sign
Family Restroom Sign

Family bathrooms ditch the stalls so you don’t have to worry about someone seeing the gun under the stall. Some gas stations have outside bathrooms where you can also be alone.

Public Toilet
Public Toilet

If you need to use a stall where there might be a person next to you, opt for the stall at the end by the wall. There are fewer angles there for someone to see your weapon.

When You Find a Place

When you find a location to do your business, pay attention when you drop your drawers.

Aside from the extra weight of your EDC, pay attention to the direction of the barrel, how much you can see under the stall wall, and what to do when you pull your pants up.

Womens Concealed Carry AIWB

Your carry holster should have good retention, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your gun falling out, even if it flips upside down.

You should be able to hold your holster upside down with the gun (unloaded for this test) or magazine in it and shake it without the gun or magazine falling out.

Many of us also have a carrier for an additional magazine or two. While it’s great to have if something goes down and you need a reload, they get in the way during everyday activities.

Recover Tactical Magazine Clips
Recover Tactical Magazine Clips

Knowing that your gun won’t fall out of the holster can stop some of the pants-dropping gymnastics you may have thought you’d have to do.

Simply unbuckling your belt but keeping tension on the belt will help it from going limp (the belt).

Now that you have control of the loose weapon, you can lower your pants while guiding your holster where you want it to lay.

Concealed Carry Pants Down, Dave Moore
Concealed Carry Pants Down, Dave Moore

Where your holster and gun lie is a judgment call based on the bathroom you’re in and the stall wall height.  

If you are a right-hand draw and you’re in the first stall with the bathroom entrance door to your right, you may have to cover your weapon or lay it more inside your pants if the stall wall is far up off the floor.

Concealed Carry Pants Down Holster to Side, Dave Moore
Concealed Carry Pants Down Holster to Side, Dave Moore

Positioning Your Gun When Seated

Positioning your gun, no matter where you are is important; remember the 4 rules of gun safety? It’s even more important when you are sitting with your gun loosely between your legs, resting in your pants.

You want to make sure you aren’t pointing it in a direction that could harm someone in the case of an accidental discharge, including yourself.

So don’t do this…

Concealed Carry Pants Down Gun Pointed, Dave Moore
Concealed Carry Pants Down Gun Pointed, Dave Moore

The layout of a bathroom stall leaves few options for this. If you can access the “corner office” you can point it at the wall if it’s not flimsy drywall and 2×4 wall, because that wouldn’t stop much.

The other alternative is to point it back at the toilet base.  

While it would suck to have to replace a toilet, there is less chance of danger pointing it back at the toilet than in other directions in this case.  

And this should go without saying but I’ll mention it anyway, don’t point the gun up at you.

Down and away from you is always better.

Be ready for anything in the bathroom.

Stage your gun in a manner that will make it difficult for someone in another stall to grab. This alarming reality has happened before.

Finally, don’t play with your gun while you’re on the throne. Nothing good can come from it,

If you’re bored, play on your phone like the rest of the population, or God forbid…read something.

What if it Falls Out?

If your weapon falls out of your holster while you’re pulling your pants up or down, first of all, don’t panic. Carefully pick it up and holster it.

Don’t make a big deal of it. Your gun should not discharge from being dropped. And check out our Best Holsters for Carry since the one you used probably wasn’t great.

Walther PDP Holster Mags
Walther PDP Holster Mags

Your holster should be snug and not let your gun loose unless you want it to come out.

Kydex can lose retention; it shouldn’t, but it can. If that’s the case, you can usually fix the retention problem pretty easily.


Of course, most of this is common sense, but to those of you new to concealed carrying you may not think about the simple things you do (or need to do) until it happens.  

There’s my 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Concealed Carrying article to help you out too.  

2 o'clock Holster Position

Hopefully this gives you an idea about what could happen and how to avoid the pitfalls of using the bathroom while concealed carrying.

There is a bit more to take into consideration than just dropping your drawers and sitting down.

Have you had any AH-HA moments when you’ve tried to use the bathroom while carrying? Tell us in the comments below and be sure to check out our Definitive Guide to Concealed Carry for more tips.

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30 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Brad Freden

    This is undoubtedly the most moronic article I have seen on your normally excellent website. Who needs to be told how to take a crap while carrying?!? Really, if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, consider not publishing anything. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    January 15, 2022 7:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James lively

      Ummm yeah this is a killer article. it's a good article for newbies and also for you to read your own words an stfu next time because now we all have 100% confirmation you are a moronic troll. Kudos sir outstanding.

      January 17, 2022 4:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      Hey Brad, sorry this wasn't your cup of tea. We like to help new concealed carriers, gun owners, and shooters and this is a commonly asked question. But no worries we have plenty of other content that might be more to your liking. Thanks!

      January 18, 2022 5:40 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Brad Freden

        OK, I take the point. A lot of people found it useful. Mea culpa.

        October 7, 2022 10:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Actually, this is a very common concern. Just because you were born with innate knowledge on how to handle every situation involving your EDC doesn't mean everyone else does. This is especially important for those who carry while at their job. Next time, if you don't have anything edifying to add to the conversation, just stay quiet. No one cares what you think otherwise.

      March 28, 2022 10:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      A. Davis

      Apparently you haven't read the articles about the Secret Service guys forgetting their guns in the bathrooms all over DC. Its a legit concern and definitely one to give some thought to. Granted, I try not to crap in public, but sometimes you just gotta go. So if that's the case, better to be prepared.

      October 4, 2022 11:59 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John L.

      Let's assume we don't all start out life omniscient. Let's say I'm 22 with a freshly minted concealed carry card. I go to a big public event, and want to carry. Nature calls. I don't probably know enough about holsters or retention. I drop trow, and my brand new gun flips out of the holster and drops into the toilet bowl. No round in the chamber, so no harm done. Except severe embarrassment which was only personal because nobody else saw or heard anything. I accept all advice from this site. I've learned a lot from this site. Keep publishing guys and don't listen to this troll.

      October 6, 2022 6:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael Clay

    Just be sure to holster BEFORE you wipe .

    January 13, 2022 3:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You can also not take your pants all the way down to your ankles, that's a really really really good idea.

    You don't need to take them down to the floor to sit on the toilet. You unfasten your pants, slide them down a little to just above your knees, sit, and just keep the pants on your knees or fasten the belt a little to keep them on your knees, keep the gun in the holster. No dropping below the stall wall, about a good reachable level and you can maintain a positive control of the gun more radially with your hands if needed. If someone tries something the gun is right there at your hand level and you don't need to reach down or worry about loosing control of it. And if your holster is working right you don't need to worry about it falling on the floor.

    A little expansion on: ..."you don't need to reach down or worry about loosing control of it..." - three years ago a friend actually had someone reach under the stall wall and grabbed his gun while his pants were around his ankles. And the guy got it too and it came right out of that level one retention IWB holster just fine with a strong tug. Luckily he dropped it in doing that and my friend was able to snatch the gun back, then the guy was gone.

    That's the most stupid place your gun can be in a public restroom with stalls. All anyone has to do in the other stall is simply look under the wall and see the gun around your ankles, and be just a little faster and they have your gun while you are still trying to poop. For cripes sake, you are worried about the gun falling out onto the floor and someone seeing the gun but then you basically put the gun at floor level with your pants almost on the floor around your ankles where it can be seen and snatched from under the stall wall just by bending down a little and looking.

    Keep it in the holster up around your knees like I mentioned and you should be fine.

    Its not rocket science. I don't know why there is even an article on it, especially with this 'pants on the floor around your ankles' coverage in it.

    January 13, 2022 10:23 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joe Fodo

    Let's talk about a more pressing item... Where is this guy's UNDIES??? Seriously, taking tacticool "Comando" way past the norm here.. Anyways, just fold the holster and weapon upon itself. And if you think someone is sneaking a peak you can bring your legs together to further conceal.

    January 13, 2022 4:23 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Gary H

      Thanks for NOT having bunched up briefs in the staged photos...

      January 14, 2022 12:03 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I've always loosened my belt up just enough to get my pants to my knees or just below. Then after I sit I spread my knees apart tighten up the belt, holding it and my holster in place. I NEVER drop my pants to the floor. Of course make sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction.

    May 29, 2021 5:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      One of the reasons I love Kore Essentials belts is it's easy to re-tension the belt just below your knees because I totally agree, in a public restroom especially, never let anything but your shoes touch the floor!

      January 13, 2022 7:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Gives a whole new meaning to pewpew tactical.

    April 9, 2021 10:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Haaaaa. Good one

      January 13, 2022 4:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    A couple of things that have helped me is a bellyband holster when I go on shopping trips. This type of holster allows you to drop your pants, etc., yet leave your gun and extra mag very secure. One other suggestion. When Imwear my kydex IWB, I take my gun and extra mag out of their respective holsters, and put them in my jeans or pants pocket. Most guns today are perfectly safe in your pocket. Make sure the gun and mag are all the way,in. Final suggestion, do not rush during a bathroom situation. Take your time and think about what you are doing.

    July 24, 2020 10:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Here is one I am not to proud of. When I must "go" I generally take it out of the holster and set it atop the TP holder. No worry about someone seeing it, but, DO NOT FORGET it as I had managed to do. Bye the time I realized I forgot it and called the store a young man of eight years old found it and told Grandpa. Grandpa notified the manager and she called the local law enforcement. The manager tells me I must contact local LE. Thankfully while waiting an officer came out that recognized me from his previous employment. So all the waiting and questions were bypassed and they handed me my weapon and I left.

    January 15, 2020 7:15 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Use 3speed holster. Had it for years. Solves unholstering your weapon when there is no need to.

    May 26, 2019 1:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I use my safariland holster or um tactical holster with my red dot. Either way i have did the upside down test and shake it with no problems. With my umtactical holster i have the tak lok holster and switch it to my molle sling bag strap. Or put it in the bag, either way i can do my business. The other option i like is my tactical belt i use as a backup belt not for holding pants i can unbuckle and rebuckle to hook it on the coat hanger pointed safely. Same goes for my jacket with conceal pocket hand for safety. Im tall enough it can stay in my reach.

    User name can get you a promo at umtactical.com

    February 7, 2017 11:29 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Nice article, I have carried a Barreta mod 84 with 13 in the magazine very nice

      June 11, 2017 4:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    In addition to IWB, I wear a belly band when carrying as an alternative holstering device and for things not carried on my waistline. A vest is good also depending upon circumstances.
    The bathroom hunt is a fact of life. So is concealed carry for some of us. Here the two finally meet.

    February 3, 2017 12:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joshua Gillem

    Lol. Imagine my surprise when I see a picture of myself appendix carrying in an article about carrying in the bathroom.

    Thankfully, the other pictures of the dude in the room aren't of me.

    Anyway, great article that even made me chuckle a few times. The only thing I'd add, is to the part about dropping your gun. Never, under any circumstances, should you ever try to catch your gun. Let it fall, then pick it back up.

    If you try to catch it, your finger could catch the trigger causing a negligent discharge.

    February 3, 2017 10:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Great insight Joshua on not trying to catch the gun.

      *Note* Not him in the bathroom picture :-).

      February 7, 2017 7:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Good article. I pocket carry a Ruger LCP in a wallet holster and I've had it fall out while using the bathroom at work. Luckily no one was around so it wasn't a issue, but it's made me cautious since. I'm actually an attorney so I did want to elaborate on your statement that because an accidental discharge isn't intentional, it shouldn't be negligent. This isn't correct. The definition of "negligence" you linked to is "gross negligence" or recklessness. Gross negligence is a higher standard than regular negligence. Conscious disregard for a known or highly probable risk is gross negligence. Failure to act as a reasonably prudent person is negligence. Generally, I think it is highly likely that a jury is not going to have much difficulty finding you negligent (i.e. that you didn't act as a reasonably prudent person) if you have an accidental discharge, regardless of the cause. This is not intended to be legal advice and is merely my analysis of a hypothetical situation.

    February 2, 2017 7:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Ah, thanks for that insight into the hypothetical :-).

      February 7, 2017 7:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I carry and pratice israli carry so the chances of accidentally discharging my firearm are smaller specialy since im around my kids most of the time u may also if the firearm is compact or micro put it in the empty pocket of your pants. this is just my two pennys

    February 2, 2017 6:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Thanks for the insight!

      February 7, 2017 7:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Agreed. I carried Condition 1 for years. When my oldest kid was 3, I switched to Israeli (Condition 3). I would rather die in a gunfight from being too slow than die of guilt from being too negligent.

      April 15, 2018 2:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    You could also consider carrying a grocery/brown bag with a box of Kleenex on the bottom into the store. Simply set the bag down and put your weapon on top of the Kleenex box. Keeps it concealed from most any angle. Set the bag at your feet or somewhere you can't forget it or leave it behind.

    February 2, 2017 6:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Lols...simple and effective!

      February 7, 2017 7:49 pm
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