A special thank you to James R. Rummel, a professional self defense instructor who lives in Ohio for this most important safety information. You can reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The majority of my students have never touched a gun before in their lives, so it is essential to go over the basics. But it is surprising how practical some of their questions are. For example, a student was wondering what they should do if they have to use the toilet in a public restroom. Where do they put the gun so the rest of the patrons don't freak out, or so a thief won't make a grab for the valuable and expensive weapon while the owner is in a delicate position?
The image of some punk kneeling on the floor outside of a bathroom stall so they can snake their hand in and grab a gun that is puddled around someone's ankles might seem ludicrous, but consider the amount of cash involved. Even reasonably priced yet reliable handguns sell for somewhere around the $400.00 USD range, and thieves will take greater risks for less reward. Why take the chance?
I was reading a gun magazine some years ago, and came across a tale of a lawman who liked to carry a Colt 1911. He would use the trigger guard to hang the gun from the clothes hook on the inside of the toilet stall door while he was indisposed.
One day the inevitable happened and he shot up the ceiling of the public rest room. The conditions had to be just right, with the thumb safety off, the gun cocked, and his hand had to be placed perfectly to depress the grip safety. After that, any light brush of the hair trigger was then enough to send a bullet into the acoustic tiles.
Obviously, I want to take this chance to caution you against doing anything like that yourself. Don't hang your gun off of the clothes hook via the trigger guard. Please!
There are other options available, although you should keep in mind that none of them are perfect.
I went to the movie theater today to catch a film, and I figured that it was a perfect moment to get some pictures of the inside of a real live no foolin' public toilet stall. As an aside to my female readers, now is your chance to see how the other half lives!
Not very exciting, is it? Just your standard, ordinary, mass produced public toilet stall.
But wait! There is something that sets this apart from most other toilet stalls! It is the bar used by disabled patrons to hoist themselves out of their wheelchairs and on to the porcelain throne!
The rail can be used for our purposes since it provides a handy place for us to store most small handguns.
Please note two things.
First, the handgun is still in the holster, which in this case is a nylon inside-the-waistband model. This provides an extra level of safety for both you and your firearm. It helps prevent accidental discharges since your finger cannot reach the trigger while the gun is still in the holster, and it helps keep all that nasty moisture typically found around toilets off of the finish of your gun.
The second thing I want to bring to your attention is that this method ensures that the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. Safety first, after all.
Muzzle pointed in a safe direction or not, old gun fighters like myself are still extremely uncomfortable placing a firearm outside of our direct physical control without first unloading it. Sometimes it is necessary, though. Anyone who has watched a few action films knows the distinctive sound of an autoloader slide as it ratchets back and forth, and most people would take it as an aggressive or threatening act if they heard someone loading up their gun before emerging from a stall at the mall. (I know I would!) If you don't want to start a panic, then you are going to have to forgo that important safety step.
It is, of course, different if you carry a revolver for defense.
Since loading and unloading a revolver doesn't necessarily involve any distinctive sounds, one can simply take the cartridges from the cylinder and place them in their pocket until the distasteful transaction with the toilet is complete. Then it is just the work of a moment to reload during the tucking and buckling phase.
So we have discussed the merits of using a handicapped-accessible stall, but what if there is a long line of people confined to wheelchairs waiting to use the toilet? Is there any other place where we can stash out firearm while we do what we came there for?
Actually, there is!
That is the dispenser where you can get a paper toilet seat cover. They say that they are "Provided For Your Protection", but it also an option where you can place the object you carry on your person for your protection.
That's right, just jam that sucker right in there! If there are so many seat covers that you can't find the room for your gun, then just grab a few handfuls and pull them out. Hey, they're free! You can toss them in the wastebasket on your way out, still clean and usable, which certainly defines the word "waste". But it is more important that you have a safe and secure spot to place your firearm.
I want to point out once again that the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. It is always a good idea to keep the basic safety rules firmly in mind.
One of my female students told me that there is usually a shelf inside of the stalls in the Women's Room. It seems that it was included in the design to provide a place for the fairer sex to place their purse, and I don't see why it couldn't be employed as a gun rest, although it would be more difficult to make sure that the muzzle isn't pointed anywhere we don't want it to be pointed.
So why didn't I get some pictures of the inside of a stall in the distaff bathroom? Because I have never been inside of a Ladies Restroom in my life!
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