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Using the Bathroom While Carrying Concealed

It never fails.

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

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 the family bathrooms.

A lot of times they 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

The reason for using the family bathroom is so it doesn’t have five stalls.

Some gas stations have outside bathrooms where you can also be alone, not worrying if someone will catch a glimpse of what’s in your pants.

Public Toilet
Public Toilet

If you need to use a stall where there might me a person next to you, try to get the stall at the end by the wall.  It will help because there are fewer angles for someone to see your weapon.

When You Find A Place

When you find a location to do your business, it’s time for the real effort to start.  

It might seem like it’s a simple thing and you do it daily, but carrying a gun changes how you pull your pants up and down.

When you need to be less obvious about what’s attached to your belt, you’ll need to pay attention when you drop your drawers.

Aside from the extra weight, you will need to 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.

Appendix Carry Example
Appendix Carry Example

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.

Mag Carrier, Lag Tactical
Mag Carrier, Lag Tactical

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 lay is a judgement 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?

However, it’s really 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 a 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 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.

Also, 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.  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 Any Way You Carry since the one you used probably wasn’t great.

Lots of Holsters, Boondock Saints
Lots of Holsters, Boondock Saints

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.

What Should I Do If There Is a Accidental Discharge?

First thing is, it’s probably good you’re in a bathroom, because it will probably scare the crap out of you.  So, after you wipe, you’ll need to own up to the accident.

The first thing is to secure your weapon.  

It would be a good idea to take the mag out and remove the round in the chamber too just to be safe.

Don’t flee the scene.

This will look bad and probably break a law making things much worse.  The laws vary from state to state, but you could be in it for a felony if you flee.

Police in Restroom
Police in Restroom

Make sure no one is injured.

Even though it was unintentional, it’s your gun and bullet, so it’s your responsibility regardless of intent.

The key word to this situation is negligent.  Because it was not an intentional discharge, you shouldn’t be negligent.

But that’s what the lawyer may use to describe your action, especially if you are in a gun hating area of the country.  I’m not a lawyer, so check your local laws so you know for yourself.  *Update* Some more insight in the comments.


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.  

Keep Calms and Concealed Carry On
Keep Calm and Concealed Carry On

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?  Maybe an accidental discharge of your weapon or having a stall-mate catch a glimpse of what you’re packin… in your holster.

Let us know how you handled the situation.

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17 Leave a Reply

  • 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

    Gives a whole new meaning to pewpew tactical.

    April 9, 2021 10:36 am
  • 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