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Nami pulls out the wooden staff that was tucked in her skirt.


Mitch Henessey [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?

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, and only occasionally will the weapon accidentally discharge and injure someone in an intimate place. 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.

Examples of Pants-Positive Safety include:


  • One Piece: Nami keeps her Magic Staff under her skirt.
  • In Noir, Kirika's Beretta is usually carried in her pocket or waistband, rather than a holster. Mireille usually carries her Walther in her handbag.
  • 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.

Comic Books

  • 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.
  • Seen why this is a bad idea in a Batman comic right here.
  • Behold the cover of Spy Boy #3!


Terry had SIG-Sauer P228 in her pants


 "What's to stop it blowing your bollocks off every time you sit down?"

  • Ditto for 8 Mile. This time, though, it's not funny.
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight used this trope in reverse. Charlie's spymaster-handler tells her his hideout gun is always stashed at his crotch in front, because its a place few bad guys search. The ploy doesn't do him any good, because he gets killed right away. However, it works for her because the body is tied up next to her, as she's being tortured, and she's able to retrieve the gun to use on an unsuspecting Mook.
  • Happens to Maxwell Smart when tucking his gun into his pants in The Nude Bomb. Fortunately the bullet "missed it by that much!".
  • Rocco of The Boondock Saints stores his revolver shoved in the front of his waistband. Given the generally incompetent portrayal of the character, it's a miracle he never ends up losing something important.
  • In Q – The Winged Serpent a main character objects to being made to carry a pistol in his belt.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Vince and Jules both carry their guns in their waistbands after having to lose their suits to blood splatter. Vince's in particular can be seen pointing straight at his crotch in the final scene of the film.
  • Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop seemingly habitually carries his service automatic behind his back, in the waistband of his jeans, rather than in a holster. This is never commented on in the film.
    • Likely because Axel normally poses as a criminal, who wouldn't use a holster as it's evidence that you were carrying a gun if you ever dispose of your weapon (to avoid a police search or after committing a crime).
  • Taken to extremes in the film Tropic Thunder, where Jack Black's character, who is wearing nothing more than underwear, can be seen reaching into it to pull out a full size pistol... and fire a bunch of blanks.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry takes Hermione's wand out of the front pocket of her jeans.
  • The Joker pulls an ENORMOUS revolver out of his Trouser Space to shoot down the Batwing in Tim Burton's Batman.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Elizabeth pulls a considerably large gun out of her pants, when she has to disarm completely before entering a pirate lord's hideout. Even Barbossa looks surprised, and looks down at her pant legs like "What the hell else do you have in there?!"
  • Gay Perry in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang hides a tiny firearm near his crotch. He's gay, so he figures that homophobic guards wouldn't check there.
  • A variation in From Dusk till Dawn, where one character reveals a revolver with two...oddly shaped and placed bullet cylinders. If it gives you a clue, he's called Sex Machine.
  • Ronin. When doing an exchange for the mysterious suitcase, the East German mercenary pats down his Russian contact, only to have the latter produce a gun anyway.

 East German: "Where did that come from? (Russian just grins in response) I should have had you strip."

  • City Heat. In the final shootout Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds keep producing larger pistols in an attempt to both shoot the mooks and one-up each other. Clint naturally has the biggest gun, an absurdly long-barreled revolver which he pulls out of his trousers.
  • In Broken Arrow, after she encounters him on the train, Terry picks up a SIG-Sauer P228 from Max and puts it in the back of her pants.
  • Let's Get Harry (1986). A group of construction workers, financed by a gung-ho businessman and advised by a mercenary, go down to Columbia to rescue a colleague. The mercenary, who's given them strict instructions not to try bringing guns into the country, walks into their hotel room, grabs the businessman by the crotch and says, "I want you to give me this." While the others are gaping at this apparent Ho Yay, the businessman gives a shamefaced grin and produces a 9mm pistol from his underpants.
  • Fun with Dick and Jane heavily mocks this trope. When Dick tries to draw the gun he's hidden in his pants, his fumbling causes the convenience-store clerk he's supposed to be robbing to think he's trying to buy condoms.
  • Jay of Men in Black sticks his gun into waistband while still in the NYPD.
  • Mitchell. Joe Don Baker's character does this while answering a door in his apartment. Turns out it's his "new best friend" Greta. He invites her in with the gun still concealed. The hilarious part is that at one point, the gun actually slides down his pant leg and drops out. This provoked quite the reaction from the MST3K crew.
  • An especially stupid example in Die Hard With a Vengeance when McClane puts his pistol in his waistband instead of in the shoulder holster he is wearing!
  • Extremely painfully averted in Unlucky Monkey (Anrakkî monkî), where a hitman stuffs his loaded gun into the front of his waistband. When he trips and hits the ground, the gun goes off. The result is an extremely graphic depiction of exactly what you think would happen.
  • Riggs and later Lorna are guilty of this in the Lethal Weapon series.
  • In Inception, Cobb keeps a pistol in the waistband of his pants.


  • 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.
    • He 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, Hot Scoop 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 cocked[1]. 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 Trope 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.

Live Action TV

  • Multiple characters on Lost keep guns tucked into the back of their waistlines, including Jack, who has no in-story excuse for knowing how to use a gun.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series, some of the later seasons had characters with phasers tucked into their pants instead of attached to an equipment belt (first season) or the outside of their waistband (later). William Shatner remarked in a book that this had been to show the characters getting accustomed to the weapons.
  • Played for laughs (of course), in The Red Green Show. Bill pulls a hunting rifle from his pants.
  • In the Leverage episode "The Miracle Job", Eliot and Hardison confront some local gangsters and one of them pulls back his shirt to intimidate our heroes. Eliot just grabs the gun and flips the safety off without ever removing it from the guy's pants.
  • All three of the main characters in Burn Notice are guilty of this trope, but to be fair, they are trained spies and can't exactly carry openly. One assumes that they're intelligent enough to turn the safety on when they put their guns in their waistbands. And Michael has Lampshaded the necessity of turning the safety on when you have a gun near any part of your body.
    • The "trained spy" thing makes this less justified, not more. There are choices beyond carrying openly and sticking a gun unprotected into one's pants. A trained spy would know how carry a concealed weapon safely.
    • Nate puts the gun in his waistband as well when Michael gives him a gun (as in S3 E 13).
    • The smuggling pilot that knows the location of where he dropped off a russian that wanted to kill Michael did this. Fionna then calmly walks over to him, grabs his gun, and orders him to come with her or "you will lose your two closest friends". It worked.
  • Hoobler in Band of Brothers had been trying to get hold of a Luger for months. He was pretty excited when he finally managed to commandeer one, only to go and shoot himself in the leg with it a bit later and bleed to death. While the series was based on true stories, it is more commonly believed that the real Hoobler died when his service rifle snagged on barbed wire.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. In "Valley of Darkness" Dualla tells Billy (a civilian) that sticking a pistol in his pants with the safety off is a bad idea. Later Billy has an accidental discharge when taking the safety off, giving away their position to the Cylons.
  • A lot of characters regularly keep their guns concealed down the front of their pants on The Wire. One episode in particular features Omar Little, having to go out first thing in the morning but unwilling to go to the effort to get dressed, attempting to conceal a handgun in his baggy, silk pyjama pants, before apparently realising that this won't work, and deciding against bringing his gun at all.
  • Dr Watson in the BBC's 2010 Sherlock sticks the gun he keeps in his desk drawer in the back of his waistband. He's an army doctor apparently recovering from a gunshot wound... really, he should know better. Later Sherlock puts it in his trouser pocket.
  • Averted in an episode of Cheers when Sam takes a gun off an enraged husband, and then shoots himself in the butt while trying to put it in his back pocket.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf" , Captain Jack Harkness produces a concealed blaster while stark naked. This item must have a very effective Orifice Positive Safety.
  • In the second episode of Black Mirror one character hides a large shard of glass down his trousers, secured by the elastic waist-band, you can just see it poking out the rear. What's interesting is that he then does a very vigorous dance-routine and it stays perfectly in place.
  • Crab Man of My Name Is Earl says he doesn't want guns in his house around his kids. One might suspect that he just doesn't want his wife to have them. She experiences an accidental discharge at the end of the episode while shoving a gun into her back pocket.

  Joy: It's alright, everybody! I just grazed my stinker.

  • In the Community episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" the 'loose in a bag' variation turns up when it is revealed in one of the alternate timelines that Annie, who lives in a really bad neighbourhood, has taken to carrying a loaded concealed firearm in her purse for protection. It then goes unnoticed in several of the following timelines until one where Annie accidentally trips and drops her bag -- and the gun goes off, accidentally shooting Pierce in the leg. Unusually, the expected comedy in this example is later completely subverted; the tag reveals that in this timeline Pierce died of his injury and Annie consequently went insane with guilt as a result.
  • Jamie Hyneman knows how to handle firearms, but during the Pinball Projectile test he's clearly seen on-camera with the test handgun shoved in the back of his waistband. Hopefully we can blame the director for that one.

Tabletop Games

  • 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.

Video Games

  • 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.
  • 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.

Web Original

  • 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.

Western Animation

  • Lamilton carries his grandmother's gun in the front of his pants waistband on The Boondocks, but he manages not to shot himself (or anyone else he doesn't intend to).
  • The Simpsons: In "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes", Homer becomes a bounty hunter and starts carrying a taser, which he shoves down the front of his pants because it looks cool. The results are predictable.
  • American Dad! CIA man Stan does this on a regular basis. He hasn't shot himself yet, though.
    Stan: Cold, cold! Yet flattering.
  • Spider-Man The Animated Series: After stunned Spider-Man, Alisha places a ray gun in her pants.

Real Life

  • This article. Try not to snicker at the description of the incident as an "accidental discharge".
  • NFL player Plaxico Burress famously shot himself (almost, but not quite, in the nads) after storing his (unregistered!) gun in the waistband of his sweatpants. 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. Immediate action is not taken due to the minimal attention being paid to said gun.
  • "Gangsters", fictional or otherwise, often tend to store their illegally acquired guns right above their family jewels.
  • Somewhat related: fairly or not, armed female civilians are stereotyped as keeping their weapon loose in a purse.
  • 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.
  • Thunderwear
  • 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.
  • 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 pants 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 gun in a holster or pants pocket and not risk shooting yourself or others, but it requires a firearm with a reasonable firm double action trigger pull to it.
  1. as in an inadvertent bump would be all that was needed to set it off, ending his line at Jack Jr