Where do you sit when there are 2 sheep dogs at the table?

photo by Alessandro Muiesan

photo by Alessandro Muiesan

When my family goes to dinner seating arrangements are easy.

I approve the table, I sit with my back to the wall, facing the door and the majority of the staff an patrons and not blocked in (if it is a booth).  My wife then chooses whether she wants to sit next to me or across from me and my children fight over who gets to sit next to mommy. See easy.

After 15 years together, even if I’m not there when the table is chosen my wife knows where I want to sit.

Most of our family friends don’t do this so even when we go out with friends, I usually get my preferred seat… but sometimes I don’t.

Last night we went out with a retired police officer, who because of the law he carries under was armed and I wasn’t, so I gave him the more preferred seat.  Even if we were both unarmed I likely would have deferred due to his previous career and greater “seniority.”

After competitions when everyone is likely armed and everyone is likely to have similar preferences it is a dance that usually involves false curtsy to fill up less desirable blocked seats and then everyone takes the best available when they sit down.

How do you chose seats when you approach a table and how does it change if there is another sheepdog at the table? Have you ever discussed this with your family and friends? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Britney Starr says

    Things run just about the same way in my family. The hubbs knows that I sit with my back to the wall (facing the front door and kitchen, if possible). Things get a little difficult if my dad and I ever go out to eat together. We usually have a ten second playful exchange about how HE always gets the “safe seat” and I make a point to say how it’s not fair. He is a retired Michigan state police officer an I always defer the “safe seat” to him due to seniority. Besides, he’s the one that taught me where to sit in the first place. :)

  2. aczarnowski says

    If I know them well enough to know they’re carrying, or that they care were they sit in the first place and I suspect why, I’ll let them have where ever they want to sit. But it’s on them at that point and they know it. No pressure. ;)

  3. says

    We had this discussion in my family, and it was awkward the first time, maybe 5 or 6 years ago, but now it’s not.
    I sit facing the door, and on the outside, if it’s a booth. I figure the biggest threat is someone coming in from the outside, and if someone already in the establishment is an issue then I will hear about it.
    If I’m with someone else who is carrying then we would discuss it. In that case I would not have a problem with my back to the door.

  4. Tara Lyon says

    I love this post Ron! I think that not only does it apply to seating in a restaurant but also when walking down the street. When walking with a loved one, where are they typically positioned in relation to you? Being right hand dominant I prefer to have my kids on my left for quicker access to my firearm if God forbid the need should arise. This however can change based on the occasional questionable character that may be headed our way… in that case I will always move to put myself between “creepy” and my kids.
    But I agree, Big Dog gets the best seat in the house!

  5. Joshua Tolley says

    I went to a hotel’s lousy “continental breakfast” the other day, armed and with two armed friends. I chose the table and sat in the one decently defensive seat in the room. Friend #1 simply said, “Oh, I see how you are,” grinned, and sat down next to me. In the end he preferred his seat’s visibility down the hallway over my seat’s view of the room anyway.

  6. Skip says

    Being a lefty, the preferred seat is facing the front door/cash register, left side open.
    Driving around town, it’s a shoulder rig with the seat belt loose.

  7. dannytheman says

    My wife will never get it. I am always asking her to let me sit a particular way. In booths, I prefer to be facing door and holster to be on the wall side and left side open. Being a gentleman means the lady goes first and she will just plop on in where ever and the kids plow in behind her. Then I have to say, “Can I sit over there.” All this while the busy waitress wants our drinks order. Can I send my wife to some school?

  8. Benny Park says

    Great post and responses. Typically, I do the back-to-the-wall position when possible, with as clear lines of sight as possible. When my wife wants to mess with me she will sometimes try to grab that spot first, but she then gets the brief tongue-in-cheek lecture about how it’s her job to be on guard and that if it hits the fan and we get wiped out, it will all be her fault. When in a group, I don’t mind giving up the best defensive position in exchange for the seat with the best sight-lines. They are often not the same seat, actually, and I like being able to see as much as possible. I do prefer to sit on the outside of a booth, though, for sure.

  9. snoopycomputer says

    We usually eat out at fast food, which have 2 doors, sometimes 3, all opposite one another. I like to have visibility on the front counter/registers where the money is transacted.

  10. says

    I also consider the location of the kitchen door, or other doors leading to the outside, especially if I am alone, or with someone else who is on his own if TSHTF. But, if with family, speedy exit might not work.
    I’m willing to share the fields of fire with another armed person, just depends on who they are.
    Tables leave you more free to move.
    Definitely inside seat in booth is to be avoided.
    While we’re on this, can’t forget the parking lot where we transition from car bubble to lot, of course. Knife-point car-jacking happened there one Friday at lunch. Reminder to unfriendly restaurant owners who got miffed over “guns in bars” laws: you don’t control the world. There are many demented people out there, and one of them might just pay you a visit. You little “no guns” sign isn’t worth much at that point, is it? Who do you want controlling your restaurant when he walks into your door? Him?

  11. Tam says

    A guy I know was talking about being at the IDPA Nats and going to dinner with a bunch of his fellow shooters, a group that included people like Larry Vickers, Ken Hackathorn, Rob Haught, Ernie Langdon, and others. The waitress took them to a big round table at the steakhouse.

    To paraphrase: “…and everybody just sat down. And I thought ‘If this had been a bunch of Marksman-class shooters, we’d still be standing there as everybody tried to jockey for the most tactical seat.’”

    • ronlarimer says

      I understand the sentiment, but I choose that seat long before started consciously focusing on awareness… (sorta like no one sleeps with their head towards the door) and in that example it is safe to say anyone could be counted on to alert the table.

      I’d even say the SWAT team might have been outgunned if they decided to rob the place.

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