Because carrying a gun adds just one more complication to our already complex lives, carrying a gun in public is a fertile breeding ground for errors that can sometimes be embarrassing and sometimes prove very dangerous. Here are some tips for armed women.
Imagine that a friend makes a romantic “pass,” and instead of giving you a nice warm hug, gets a handful of your Glock Model 26.
A playful young child at the local playground dashes headlong into your hip and bellows in outrage, “Mommy! Your gun hurt my head!”
You stand to rise from a comfortable captain-style chair at a nice restaurant when your gun’s grips tangle in the chair arms, making a loud clacking sound, tipping the chair over and jerking the gun half out of its holster.
While the myriad stories about inadvertent breaches in concealment are instructional and funny to all but the embarrassed party, there are more serious errors of which you should be aware.
These usually center on a dropped gun or a dropped magazine, or rounds of ammunition that got loose and rolled around in a public place.
Carrying Concealed When Nature Calls
When carrying a gun in a belt holster, the question of how to secure it while using the toilet is quite a topic of contention. One school of thought calls for drawing the gun and setting it on the toilet tank, the tissue roll dispenser, or other flat surface.
This is probably functional at home and maybe even in a locked single restroom if you’re not too germ-phobic. This solution, however, is very iffy in restrooms with multiple stalls separated by metal dividers where one door slamming shakes the entire structure, and the toilets rarely have water tanks at all.
If the gun must come out of the holster at all, a safer solution, in my opinion, is the one offered by Kathy Jackson, author of The Cornered Cat(1) website, who recommends hanging your purse on the coat hook, opening it, and stowing the gun in the purse.
Since I have been carrying a gun for some two decades, I’ve honed my carry gear to such good equipment that I can hold the belt tight against my thigh and the gun and holster remain safely upright, even with the trousers lowered.
I prefer this option in restrooms, since it entails absolutely no gunhandling in a public place. My dear friend Vicki Farnam likes a purse holster for these circumstances, since, like my solution, it entails no gunhandling whatsoever.
The aspect of all this gun handing that troubles me greatly is that there is no safe gun direction in a public restroom or even a single restroom in a public building, and often a safe, bullet-stopping backstop is not available in the home restroom, either.
With respect to all the folks who recommend various places to stash your gun in a public restroom, I simply will not do it. When you draw the gun out of the safety of its holster and handle it, that loaded gun is pointing somewhere.
Inadvertent contact with the trigger can discharge it with very tragic results, since something important may be forward of the muzzle in the direction in which the gun points.
Again, good gear contributes much to avoiding a dangerous problem. A gun carried on a rigid belt in a holster that is molded to the shape of the gun will stay securely in the holster even when it is not in its normal, muzzle-down orientation on your waistband.
Close your gun-side hand around holster, belt and waistband while lowering your trousers.
If bathroom duties require both hands, squeeze the holster against the outside of your thigh until pulling your britches up.
Denim jeans sometimes have enough stiffness to do this alone, but with a softer fabric like wool gabardine, you can also buckle your belt around your thighs or knees to create the needed tension, if that proves necessary.
Yes, this takes some finesse, but it can be done. I’ve been doing it for years. That way the gun need never leave the security of the holster, where the covering over the trigger guard provides a considerable margin of safety against an unintentional and very dangerous discharge.
Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Concealed Carry for Women, a new book by Gila Hayes. It takes a comprehensive approach for women who have decided to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. Click Here to Get Your Copy