[singing]: Putting the keys in my left pocket. Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm. Gun in the right-hand side. Samantha Caine:
It makes a bulge, people can see. Mitch:
Ya want me to stick it in my pants and shoot my damn dick off? Sam:
Now you're a sharpshooter?
—The Long Kiss Goodnight
When a character stores or conceals a weapon, typically a gun, in a place which is not suited for such a purpose, typically the waistband or sometimes pocket of his/her pants. There, or loose in a civilian briefcase. Anywhere but a holster. Often as not, the safety isn't on and the gun is loaded, too. Perhaps it's another source of the term "going off half-cocked". He means shooting his penis.
Although aversions aren't uncommon, the weapons rarely fall down the pants leg (provided you are wearing a belt or pants at least as sturdy as blue jeans), and only occasionally will the weapon accidentally discharge and injure someone in an intimate place. As of the 1950s firearm actions are required to be "drop-safe", so the not going off part is Truth in Television
. Even when the weapon is drawn suddenly, like for combat, and leaves the pants with the user's finger on the trigger, it typically only happens for comedic purposes. Because what's funnier than someone shooting themselves in the foot? That's right.
Subtrope of Artistic License - Gun Safety
. See also I Just Shot Marvin in the Face
, Hidden Weapons
, Trouser Space
, Unorthodox Holstering
, and Victoria's Secret Compartment
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- In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, Edward Elric spends an entire arc with a borrowed handgun shoved into the back of his belt. There are no mishaps, although it's so clotted with blood by the time he gets out of Gluttony's stomach-dimension that Hawkeye has to take it apart completely and clean it. In retrospect, this may at least have helped prevent misfires.
- Heero in Gundam Wing usually keeps a pistol tucked into the back of his bicycle shorts. Oddly, although the top half is often visible, the barrel rarely makes a visible bulge in the tight material.
- On multiple occasions in Heat Guy J, Clair has produced (variously) a gun or hand grenades or an icepick from his pockets. (And, like Heero mentioned above, one would never guess that Clair has anything stored in his pockets, let alone guns, grenades, and the like!)
- The front of his astoundingly tight leather pants is the favourite holster for Mello of Death Note.
- Similar to the Leverage example below: In Blacksad: Arctic Nation, some thugs try to intimidate the title character in a grocery store. As the leader gets up in his face, Blacksad grabs the gun the guy is keeping tucked in his belt and holds it there. Rather than get a bullet in the gut, the thug calls his goons off.
- Batman shows a bad guy quite painfully why this is a bad idea.
- Behold the cover◊ of Spy Boy #3!
- The cover of the "Spy-School Confidential" trade mimicks the above, but with Spygirl and a sai instead of Bombshell and a gun.
- Harry Potter gets yelled at by Mad-Eye Moody for storing his wand in the back pocket of his jeans.
Mad-Eye Moody: "Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!"
Tonks: "Who do you know who's lost a buttock?"
- James Bond comments on this in the John Gardner novel Icebreaker. He remembers what his instructor told him: when it is necessary to do this, the barrel should be pointed down your leg and away from your body.
- In Win, Lose or Die Bond also remembers the instructor's warning that doing this improperly could result in what the instructor called "testicide". Yikes.
- Allegiance has Han Solo's blaster confiscated by the Hand of Judgment. A chapter or so later Luke gives him a tiny hold-out blaster. When they confront the Hand of Judgment again and Han doesn't feel like shooting, largely because he's outnumbered by stormtroopers who have much bigger blasters, he starts to slip the hold-out into the usual holster, but realizes that it would get lost in there and he'd have to fumble for it, so it goes into his waistband.
- In another Expanded Universe book, it's mentioned in the narrative that gang-bangers, in an effort to look macho, will sometimes modify their blaster pistols to be deliberately unsafe by doing things like removing the trigger-guard...and how much of a Too Dumb to Live move this is, especially since many of them carry their guns in their waistband instead of a holster.
- The Takers by Jerry Ahern. Gun writer Jeff Culhane tells his girlfriend, reporter M. F. Mulrooney, that their latest adventure might be somewhat dangerous. She replies, "Hey, I'm prepared" and then takes a minute rummaging through her huge purse for her .38 pistol. Culhane replies, "Yeah, and I like that quick draw too."
- Patriot Games, by Tom Clancy, features Jack Ryan absentmindedly shoving a loaded handgun down his waistband, with the safety off and the hammer cockednote . Gunny Breckenridge takes the gun out, puts the safety on and gives it back.
- Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower is kept from shooting Marten/Walter/Flagg when the Ruger he kept in his waistband catches by its front sight on his belt buckle.
- Eddie Dean also makes use of the trope, stuffing one of Roland's revolvers down his pants as he and Susannah try to escape from a band of Pubes in The Waste Lands. Lampshaded, as the narration describes Eddie as "feeling like a cut-rate Superman" as he tries to manage both the gun and his underwear, while dodging a dozen or so armed lunatics at a dead run with a bilateral amputee riding on his shoulders.
- John D. MacDonald's recurring character Travis Mc Gee mentions in one book that he actually has a pair of pants with a spring-release holster hidden in the right front pocket.
- Harry Dresden once had to warn Billy the werewolf that keeping a gun in your pants pocket is a good way to sing soprano.
- Invoked in The Fifth Elephant, where Vimes reflects that while a "springgonne" could be concealed in your trousers, you'd need nerves of steel. And possibly other parts of steel as well.
- In the Riftwar Cycle novel Silverthorn, Jimmy stores a looted dagger this way, and ends up with a nasty gut wound later on because of it.
- In Another Fine Myth, when Skeeve is cornered by muggers at the Bazaar, he reaches for the knife tucked into his belt, and it slips down the back of his pants. Luckily, he's still got his magic and his new pet dragon to even the odds.
- In Silicon Wolfpack, Murgatroyd carries his pistol in his waistband with an empty chamber for safety reasons.
- Lampshaded in The Godfather when Michael Corleone asks to go to the toilet in the middle of his meeting with Sollozzo. Corrupt Cop McCluskey is immediately suspicious and does a pat-down of Michael's groin to see if he's got a gun hidden there. There is a gun, but it's been hidden in the toilet.
- Almost gets Waxachie Smith killed in Cure the Texas Fever by J.T. Edson. While in Chicago, Smith is unable to carry his revolver in a fast-draw holster the way he normally does, so he sticks it in the back of pants under his jacket. When attacked, his reflexes cause him to reach for the holster he is no longer wearing.
- In the Heroes R Us series Soldiers of Barrabas a CIA man notices that one of the men kidnapping him has a cocked Colt .45 with the grip safety taped down shoved in the front of his pants. He later gets kicked in the crotch, causing the gun to discharge with inevitable consequences.
- In the Horatio Hornblower series, it's fairly standard for Horatio et al. to shove a pistol through the waistband largely because there's nowhere else to put it. Lampshaded in one Midshipman story, when Horatio only just remembers to put his gun on half-cock before doing so.
Live Action TV
- Trope Namer is the perk Pants Positive Safety in the High Tech supplement of GURPS. Any character without the perk gets hit with detailed rules for accidental discharge.
- In Red Dead Redemption Irish walks around with his gun in the front of his pants, pointing directly at his crotch. It is later revealed in the last news paper that Irish died by a self inflicted gun shot wound while drunk. One can only guess where he shot himself. The real funny thing is that the single-action revolvers in that time period still lacked much in the way of safeties, so that was actually fairly normal. Cowboys would open the loading gate on their revolvers and stick it in their pants, for example. The only way to shoot yourself is if you carried it around with all six rounds loaded and the hammer over a loaded chamber, which was a huge no-no at the time.
- Similarly, Takaya in Persona 3 keeps his revolver slung in his belt, pointed right at his crotch. Which makes little sense, as guns are illegal in Japan, and you'd think someone would notice whenever he's not walking around in the Dark Hour.
- In The Walking Dead game characters store loaded firearms in the waistbands of their pants on a routine basis.
- In Pay Me, Bug!, the protagonist does this during his escape from the hospital on Tyrelos Station. He didn't have the chance to steal the holster when he stole the gun, so there's really no place else to put it.
- This article. Try not to snicker at the description of the incident as an "accidental discharge".
- NFL player Plaxico Burress famously shot himself in the leg (one of the two he needed to do his job) after storing his (unregistered!) gun in the waistband of his sweatpantsnote . It slipped down his pants leg and he accidentally pulled the trigger when trying to catch it. He was in a crowded nightclub and he didn't notice he'd shot himself until he could feel the blood a few minutes after. So to recap: a man rich enough to have other people carry his gun, with a contract suggesting he should, shoots himself as his gun falls down the elastic waistband of the pants he wore to a nightclub. Of course, the only way the gun could've gone off is if he carried the gun with a round in the chamber. Immediate action is not taken due to the minimal attention being paid to the gun.
- "Gangsters", fictional or otherwise, often tend to store their illegally acquired guns right above their family jewels.
- That's because criminals need to ditch their guns quickly if they're likely to be searched by the police. Wearing a holster (which would take longer to remove and dispose of) is evidence that they were carrying an illegal firearm.
- Somewhat related: fairly or not, armed female civilians are stereotyped as keeping their weapon loose in a purse.
- Women keeping guns loose in purses thing doesn't only apply to civilians; that's where the first female cops were expected to keep their weapons too. Clearly, people who should have known better weren't thinking much.
- Averted in the case of more than one Darwin Award winner. Keeping a pistol - or a Sawed-Off Shotgun in one memorable instance - in the front of his trousers caused him to lose the ability to procreate, among other things.
- This video, made to further scare school administrators after Columbine, shows an average-looking kid pulling twelve guns out of his pants. This includes a submachine gun and a full-length shotgun. The video never shows him walking, nor does the audio track hint at the clanking that would occur even in the Extended Disarming scene shown.
- One person tried to actually walk with that load out. (All unloaded, disarmed, or props.) Not only did the guns spill out, the person immediately fell on their face as they couldn't even bend their knees.
- An officer of Polish Anti-Corruption Bureau shot himself in the ass with his service pistol, because he carried it in the back of his pants instead of a holster. Serves him right, the cheap bastard.
- According to one story on A Certain Imageboard, a thug walked up to a guy and tried to rob him. When the guy asked "with what?" the thug pulled up his shirt and showed him the gun in his waistband. The victim simply reached for it, pulled the trigger, and left the thug screaming as he walked off.
- This dude tried to shoot somebody, missed, and then accidentally shot himself while putting his gun back in his pants.
- Wild Bill Hickok, in his famous duel with Davis Tutt (which helped solidify the image of the Wild West Quick Draw), apparently invoked this. While warning/threatening Tutt, Hickok cocked his pistol, then shoved it back into his waistband.
- Holsters made to be worn inside the front waistband are quite common. As for why concealed carry holders aren't going around shooting off their peckers all the time, it's mostly because Reliably Unreliable Guns are rare in reality and pistols don't simply "go off" on their own without the trigger being pulled.
- It's entire possible to carry a gun in a holster or pants pocket and not risk shooting yourself or others. The safest way is carrying it with the safety on or an empty chamber, though single-action weapons with the hammer down and double-action ones with a reasonably firm trigger pull are also usually safe even with a loaded chamber. Most modern holsters also cover the trigger to prevent accidentally pulling it while drawing the weapon.
- There was a guy who went to see The Bourne Legacy not long after the infamous theater shooting in Colorado. He decided to carry his pistol in the back of his pants. The gun went off, putting a bullet in his ass. He apologised to everybody else and then drove himself to the hospital.
- The term "Mexican style" carry refers to carrying a handgun unholstered in the waistband up front. It's not a pejorative, it is an homage to Mexican folk heroes who stood up to tyrants and crime lords in the 19th century, and carried this way because a holster would become prima facie evidence of owning a gun in a land where private possession of firearms is restricted and ditching the gun might be necessary in a hurry.
- A shooter at the North Harris campus of Lone Star College in Houston attempted to put his gun in the back of his pants after trying to use it to settle an argument. Predictably, it discharged.
- The Glock Clipdraw allows you to keep your Glock handgun tucked in the waistband, with a spring steel clip holding it in place so it won't fall down your pants. Of course, the website makes a point of telling you to do this with the gun unloaded.