Surviving on the throne

“Takin’ care of business,” self-defense-style
; .

In days of yore, the King was always worried about being killed by his foes while sitting atop the throne. It’s still a problem today but in a much different vein.

You will quickly guess where I was sitting when the inspiration today’s column struck.

Thinking Spot

I had just retired to my favorite contemplation location atop the cool white porcelain when a thought suddenly occurred: Using the restroom is an everyday human activity fraught with self-defense problems but it’s something seldom discussed. I immediately realized this was a grand idea for a column.

“Besides,” I thought, “just imagine the bathroom humor possibilities.”

First, we are talking solely about public restroom facilities. If you’re concerned about an attack in your own home, you should reconsider your living arrangements or contact the nearest reality television program. A hybrid of the situation is the danger faced living in a barracks or dorm, but this column won’t cover assault by shaving cream, water bucket and digital camera.



The reason for violence in public bathrooms is simple: You are obviously indisposed and not in a very good position to fight back. The dirtballs of the world know this well. In fact, one of the more tragic cases I assisted with during my time at the Cop Shop was a minister murdered at an interstate rest area simply because the suspect wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. The bad guy was caught and eventually given a nice all-expenses-paid execution by the state — unfortunately, it didn’t do anything to help the minister or his family.

The first step to staying safe in the restroom is simply being aware. In nearly every restroom attack I can remember having covered during my career, the victim saw the suspect(s) in the area prior to the incident. Regardless, they continued onward with their important mission, happily ignorant in the belief they would never personally become a crime victim.

If you are making a pit stop and there are creepy people hanging about, you need to reconsider the urgency of the visit. The danger is dramatically increased during late night and early morning hours since this is prime hunting time for the felons and perverts of the world.

Buddies and I have discussed, humorously and otherwise, the proper safety protocols and positioning in a restroom. Our learned debates eventually agreed if men are conducting stand-up operations, you are safest inside a restroom stall with the door shut and secured, especially if alone.

Travel In A Herd

It is always a good idea to travel with a partner when using a public restroom, especially during late hours or in more isolated locations. Women are obviously way ahead of men on this point although I’m fairly sure it isn’t for tactical reasons. A group of three or more is even better since it becomes profoundly more difficult for even two attackers to achieve control. In any group, one person is usually finished before the other(s) but the Speed Racers of the world should deign to remain inside, fussing with hand washing or grooming in the mirror to make sure his or her partner can complete their visit unmolested.


Fake It

A good bluff can be handy at times. One time during a late-night visit to a truck stop, two suspicious looking young men entered the restroom where I was blissfully ignoring my own rule and standing alone at the line of urinals. Though I was indeed armed, I didn’t like the odds so I blurted out, “Hey Bill, I’ll be outside when you’re done,” to my imaginary partner inside one of the stalls. Nothing happened as I quickly left the bathroom but I often wonder if my little put-on planted enough doubt in their minds to stop them from requesting my wallet or worse.

Of course, it’s never a bad idea to turn around or leave as quickly as possible if things begin to look dicey. It is better to find another restroom or go outside to the bushes than turn your back on someone who is spending an inordinate amount of time in front of the mirror picking his teeth for no obvious reason — he doesn’t care about hygiene, he’s waiting for potential witnesses to leave.


What Will You Do?

There is one other great restroom mystery of gun life we shall address: What should you do with a handgun while conducting a sit-down transaction inside a stall?

There are several thoughts on this maneuver. The most common technique is to place the gun on the toilet tank but this is a very bad idea. First, many public restroom toilets don’t even have a tank in the first place, rending the point moot. Secondly, regardless of how careful you are, it is very easy for the gun to slide off the slick porcelain surface and go noisily clattering to the ground. Finally, more than one person has left a gun sitting on the toilet when they exited the stall.

Hanging your holster from your belt over a hook (if provided) is another option but there is still the good possibility of the gun falling to the ground, possibly damaging it and undoubtedly drawing unwanted attention. I’ve seen cops hang the gun itself off a hook by the trigger guard, which is only slightly less dangerous than handing it to the nearest toddler. All these concerns leave the inside-the-pants method the only safe choice.

The Technique

To perform, you hold your firearm in one hand while undoing your various belts, zippers, support garments and other stuff I don’t want to know about with the other hand. Then, as you lower yourself into a sitting position, place the gun into the basket formed by your pants or undergarments, taking great care not to point the muzzle at any part of your body.

Though it seems improbable, this is actually a fairly secure position for the weapon. Even when you move, the gun will usually remain in place or, at worse, start to silently slide down a pants leg.

Once finished, you reverse the process to re-dress. One huge benefit is you will never leave your gun behind.

While you’re dealing with your gun, don’t forget spare magazines, speed loaders or loose ammo. Nearly every long-time shooter has gone to the restroom and had ammunition go rattling across the floor after forgetting what was in their pants pockets. The effect of a handful of loose 9mm rounds bouncing around on terrazzo in an otherwise silent bathroom is simply breathtaking! Always check your pockets!

Unfortunately, we must here end the lesson because we’re running out of room — which is too bad because I still had some killer “dump pouch” material ready to go.

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