When Duty Calls

One of the questions we get most often asked in classes is “What do I do with my gun when I am in the bathroom?”

The other day I found myself using a fairly secluded restroom and, remembering this, took some quick pictures to illustrate what you should (and shouldn’t) do. So, if we can get through this without giggling, let’s talk about what to do with our guns when nature calls.

DO use the stall instead of a urinal (yes ladies, I know you don’t have a choice).

Using a urinal puts you with your back to the door, facing the wall, with your gun hand occupied. It’s very easy for someone to come up behind you and slam you into the wall. On the other hand, the stall door, while not exactly Fort Knox, slows down an attacker long enough for you to react.

DO keep the gun under control. There are some different options available, depending on how you are dressed.

If you keep your knees apart, tension on the belt will keep your gun and holster from falling to the ground. The heavier your gun, the less likely this is to work.


Sometimes the stall will have a handy shelf or other spot, such as this toilet paper dispenser, you can set your gun on. Before doing so, make sure it’s a flat surface. Many of these items have curved tops and the last thing you want is your gun clattering to the floor. If you have to “balance” your gun on the object, it’s not going to work.


I prefer taking the gun out of the holster and setting it in the crotch of my pants. It’s still immediately accessible and I’m not going to forget it’s there.


DON’T put your gun anywhere it can be grabbed, forgotten, or worse.


Stashing your gun behind you on the toilet might seem like a good idea, but once it’s there and you start to take care of business, it’s out of sight and difficult to reach. Being out of sight increases your chances of forgetting it.

Here in Minnesota, forgetting a gun in a bathroom isn’t just embarrassing, it’s potentially a crime. Minn. Stat. 609.378 makes it a Gross Misdemeanor to “leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person knows that a child under 18 is likely to gain access.” There have been cases of permit-holders being charged under this statute after leaving guns in bathrooms.


Placing your gun on the floor is also a bad move. Don’t forget you may not be alone in the bathroom and the guy in the next stall will be able to see your gun. He might either grab it and take off or whip out his trusty cell phone and call 911, creating an unplanned police encounter.

Please, please, please never do this: hang your gun on the hook on the stall door. I did it here with a triple-checked unloaded gun for demonstration purposes, and it still made me very uncomfortable.


Aside from having your gun out of reach while you are doing your thing, it’s not a stretch to see how this could result in an accidental discharge when the hook hits the trigger as you try to retrieve your gun. Worse, the recoil from that accidental discharge could result in another discharge. A local gun show promoter was seriously injured in just this fashion.

Use the hook for its intended purpose: hanging up your concealment garment.

Going armed means your gun is with you and accessible all the time. Public restrooms have been the scenes of violent crime. It makes sense, if you are carrying a pistol, to keep it handy, even in the bathroom.

Erik is the owner and founder of QSI. He has over 35 years of experience as a firearms instructor, including military, security, and law enforcement.