Appendix Carry Questions

I’ve carried IWB at 4/5 o’clock for 14 years. Lately, I’ve developed a pain in my back right where my weapon goes. The doctor says it’s a pinched nerve. I don’t know if it was caused by my weapon, but I have noticed that carrying in that position seems to aggravate the pain. Thus, I’m looking for a new way to carry. I was considering AIWB, but then I got spooked.

I saw a video of a guy putting his weapon in his appendix carry holster, seemingly doing everything correctly as per every video I’ve seen and article I’ve read on the topic of AIWB. Yet, his weapon went off seconds later when he bent over. I’m sure many here have seen this video. There’s no information on what went wrong that caused this to happen. Still, every video on appendix carry by the most reputable instructors assures viewers that it’s no more dangerous than any other carry method: even with modern striker fired pistols. I have no reason in the world to doubt them. They’re experts. Still, I can’t escape my misgivings.

I know what the detractors of AIWB would say, but what about all you proponents? What keeps you using this mode of carry, how and why would you encourage it, and what advice would you have for someone like me who understands the benefits of AIWB but is on the fence for the perceived dangers?

I know people can get rather passionate about this subject, and I don’t want to get anyone mad. I’m just looking for guidance to further my own understanding and help me either get educated enough to feel confident about it, or find another solution.

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Good thread @GuitarJoe. A lot of people are uncertain if AIWB is safe.
I think it is, if you know your firearm and you know procedures of safe holstering. And of course you have to have good AIWB holster !
There is no such thing as “go off” after proper re-holstering in proper holster.

I’m not appendix carry fan, but only because of big discomfort while sitting. I found perfect, very comfortable IWB holster which I carry at 2:30 position. It sits high enough that muzzle doesn’t bother me it any way.

I know a lot of people - firearm owners, Instructors, trainers who carry AIWB and they love it.
All is about personal preferences… and in case of “appendix carry”, mental safety as well.

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I wear AIWB everyday and have no worries. To echo @Jerzy one needs to know their firearm, how to operate it, what state it needs to be in when holstered, and absolutely get a quality holster made for the given purpose.

I feel safe in this carry position and prefer it to other options. I do wear a leather owb when the occasion calls for it.

Carry confidently!:+1:

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I’ve personally found AIWB just a bit too uncomfortable. When I wear IWB, it’s about at 2-ish o’clock; directly in front of my hip bone.

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I’ve tried it. Sitting is definitely the biggest problem for me. I also don’t like it aiming at my femoral artery and reproductive organs… I think it’s more of a psychological thing. I bet it would be a good option considering your circumstances!

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Kevin Michalowski and Colion Noir have both suggested moving the appendix carry over to the center. I would call this the belly button carry instead of appendix. By shifting the belt buckle as far right as I can, I am able to get the holster in the center of my body. This pretty much solves the bending over and sitting problems. It does scare the crap out of me as to what it is pointing at, but it makes me very aware and conscious of carrying for the day. Give it a try and see if you like that better.

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@GuitarJoe

I carry at AIWB, as well sometimes. As far as the discharge I would be willing to bet money that he holstered some part of his shirt around the trigger.

I know someone who carries at AIWB and he is probably the fastest draw I’ve seen. So much so that when I go back to my normal EDC Glock 30 I will probably go back and start carrying that way.

I carry at 4-5 as it is more comfortable, but it definitely slows my draw down somewhat. I make some speed up by being a good, fast, and accurate point shooter, up to certain distances.

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I too cannot carry at the 4-5 o’clock position anymore and searched for quite a while for other options till I settled on Shoulder holster. Been carrying that way ever since. Took a bit to get used to and find the proper holster, but for 2 years now been carrying that way. Good luck in your search.

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Have carried AIWB for 28 years. Started with a revolver in a leather holster and just recently went to kydex and a different weapon. What you need to remember is drawing is the only motion that need be done in a hurry. When holstering the threat should theoretically be over. Just take your time and observe the weapon ALL the way into a good holster. Don’t get complacent and just push it in. I use my free hand to press any garment into my belly so I have an unobstructed view of the top of my holster. With a little time and practice it’ll be second nature. Once you have carried that way for a little while you may get more mentally comfortable with the method.

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I used to carry IWB at the 4 o’clock position. After I injured my shoulder and had to have surgery I am unable to draw my weapon (comfortably) from that position. So I started carrying AIWB and have found it to be both comfortable to wear as well as easier to conceal. I can also draw faster than I could from the 4 o’clock position. When holstering your weapon just pay attention to your finger discipline and make sure that you clear your cover garment out of the way. I also feel like the weapon is more secure in the AIWB position if I were to be attacked from behind. Just my opinion…

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A couple months ago I included AIWB to my options. I also use a shoulder holster which many don’t like. Both required finding the right position, related safety procedures, training, etc. The right position includes cant, position on belt from left to right (e.g. 12;30 -1:30), and the position of the belt/holster up and down on the belly.

I included AIWB carry because 3-5 o’clock simply won’t work in many daily situations that I am in (often related to printing and clothing options). That being said, yes, it is pointing the firearm at you throughout the day, and if you don’t want that, you shouldn’t do it, and I respect that position.

Safety principles are really important upon drawing and reholstering (although the same can be said for any holster). I also don’t use a soft holster for this position, although I don’t for other positions either.

AIWB requires finding the right spot… especially when sitting. For me, the muzzle goes into the “crease” and the grip sticks out past the belly (instead of under it) when sitting or bending over. This is VERY comfortable for me with a subcompact. It is also easy access when sitting/driving. Additionally. it doesn’t change the way I sit in seats with good lumbar support, where sometimes 4-5 o’clock carry does.

I’ll add, that I normally use a Kydex holster with a “claw” that I add a “wedge” to. I don’t have these additions on my tiniest subcompact, but it helps reduce the already low printing of a subcompact in that position. That being said, the simplest and still comfortable setup I have for that position is a Mitch Rossen leather IWB for my K9.

I’ll add… forgive the bluntness on this subject but it is a consideration… No issues with urinals (at least with compacts) and if your belt is long enough, you can loosen a good, stiff, gun belt to the last spot so as to retain the rigidity and still sit without the holster flopping around when nature calls. For this and sitting in the office chair, it also helps to have a multi-adjustable belt like the Kore Essentials Gun Belt, but not required. It took me a day or two to get used to using the mechanism (play with it before first putting it on). I still use my Galco belt a lot though (the thicker leather, like on the Galco, holds better with the clips IMHO).

A couple of other points… I really prefer OWB at 3-4 o’clock, but that requires certain types of dress to stay concealed. A shoulder holster is another option, but requires a lot of fine tuning and break in for comfort… even the leather shoulder straps (suggested) will slowly form to your body and require adjustments over a week or so. The shoulder holster also prints more than you would think… even with my relatively small CW45. The benefits for me include seated comfort, sitting accessibility, it goes on and comes off like a small backpack, doesn’t add anything to the belt line, and spare magazines have the same benefits.

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Well, thanks for so many great replies and information! This is the first topic I posted here, and everyone has been excellent in providing candid opinions, advice, and information. I’m so happy to have joined such an awesome community! If you haven’t chimed in, keep the comments coming! God bless everyone!

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I carry appendix because it’s the only way I’ve found to conceal a pistol in my work clothes. Everyone always gives me advice for how to do it other ways, but those ways are closed to me because of our dress code.

I have carried a Walther CCP and am now in the process of moving to a PPX, a much larger pistol. No idea if it will continue to work for me. What I do remember is that Kevin Michalowski had at least one video he posted that said not to reholster an appendix carried weapon while wearing the holster. Take it off, reholster, reattach holster.

Now, I have a bad relationship with Appenidx Carry Holsters. They hold your gun vertically, and it prints like nothing else. I use what I believe is called a slimline holster. It is a form fitting kydex glove for the gun with a plastic clip. I move it over a few inches to the right, not quite in front of the joint where my leg connects to my hip. The only problem I run into is that if I sit and bend over, the holster sometimes comes partway off my belt.

Once I get a holster for my PPX, we will see how it works with a full sized pistol. I may have to rework everything.

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That was my first thought too, @Zavier_D.

I went from 4 o’clock to appendix/center of the body and I love it. I feel like my firearm is more protected and only have to adjust it in the car if the seatbelt is goofy. Anyone in my car usually knows I’m carrying (usually I’m the only one in my car), so they wouldn’t be surprised to see the adjustment.

If they didn’t know, they may think it’s my belt buckle.

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Lots of great thoughts in here already.

Pros that I think are universally accepted about appendix carry:

  • Faster draws from appendix vs strong side hip
  • Easier to protect the firearm from someone trying to take it

I think @Scotty above nailed a lot of items on carrying comfortably. Appendix really works well out of the box for some people, and others have to really work to find a system that works for them, and still others will never have it work for them.

For me, I can’t wear at 3o’clock because since i’m short even adding that 1" or 1.5" of width on my side makes me look like a lopsided troll. 4-5o’clock concealed really well for me… as long as I stayed standing straight up.

Appendix worked pretty well right out of the gate, and after several holsters I’ve really got it down to where no one notices. With very minor clothing variations I can wear a Glock 43, 26, or 19 in appendix.

I would suggest going to youtube and doing a search for “Spencer Keepers” and watch any video you can where hes talking about appendix carry. He is a “large guy” and has tons of advice on carrying that apply to you no matter what body shape you have.

Things Ive learned that help appendix work for me:
Where on the belt-line
Find the sweet spot from left-right where the firearm naturally finds a crease. Appendix generally goes from 12-230 o’clock, for me depending on the pants I will carry around 1230-130o’clock. This means I can comfortably sit & stand without having to readjust

Pay attention to the belt clips.
Some come with a single wide clip, others come with 2 thinner clips that are spaced apart and some come with just a single thin clip.

Dont bother with the single thin clip, IMO, as it allows for too much movement and it will cant somewhere that prints or pokes. Additionally, it makes for an inconsistent draw as every time it will be in a different place. And finally I’d worry that they would break away from the belt.

I’ve found the single wide clip to stick out more than double thin clips, but depending on your clothes and body shape this may not be an issue. It allows for quick/easy on/off while giving at least some stability

The double thin clips are the best IMO. the wider apart they are the more stable and “locked in place” your holster will be which means less printing (or at least predictable printing) and a consistent draw location. These will usually give you the most amount of room for adjusting cant and do not print as much since they are usually placed “next to” instead of “on top of” the thicker part of the holster that carries the firearm. You then have a choice of the regular clips, Ulti-clips (which “clip” to your pants behind your belt and are less visible) and J-clips (which go behind and under the belt instead of the normal in front of belt and so are less visible)

Take advantage of claws and wedges
Claws push against the back of your belt to push the grip of the firearm in towards your body. Wedges on the bottom of the holster push the top of the firearm in towards your body. The combination of these two with a good firm belt help mightily reduce the amount of printing

You need a good adjustable gun belt
You always need a good gun belt, but appendix carriers really need a good belt. Better is one that is infinitely adjustable. Spencer Keepers has a good bit on this here, but basically just letting out one belt notch on a normal belt (about 1") makes the firearm print significantly more. So being able to keep your belt appropriately tight is massively important. I like Kore Gun Belts as they have a racheting notch that you can let in/out in 1/4" increments. They have leather and nylon belts

Consider a holster with a sidecar
A sidecar is basically a built-in mag holder. It may seem counter-intuitive to put a larger thing in front, but in some cases the sidecar helps to spread the weight and size across a larger area actually reducing print and increasing comfort. Plus it means you will always have a spare mag handy which is helpful for those of us who struggle with where to keep a spare mag.

I like JM Custom Kydex or Keepers Concealment for appendix holster only, and I have a sidecar model from Tier1Concealed (recommended by WarriorPoet) on order that I’m highly anticipating.

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That pretty much sums it up for me with a belt.

Another thing I had to go away from the full kydex holsters and switch to a hybrid. A piece of hard kydex poking and jabbing into me all day just wasnt comfortable. With the hybrid I have the comfort of the leather against the skin but the rigidity and peace of mind of kydex wrapped around the rest of the firearm.

@GuitarJoe It really all comes down to research and finding the best holster that works for you. Then practice practice and more practice until it becomes engrained into you and then practice some more.

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Great post as usual sir. I have always wondered what the claw did. I cant really do appendix but wondered about that claw.

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I think that’s VERY much the case. I AIWB or cross-draw AIWB as my primary position. Like anything, knowing your equipment is key. I want a holster that does not leave any possibility for the gun getting out of position, or anything getting to the trigger. I want a hard-sided holster, all kydex or kydex front on a stiff backing, or heavy stiff leather. I don’t use soft collapsible holsters for this position, I think they may increase the risk of holstering accidents and don’t hold the firearm as secure, so they may increase the risk of firearm-movement accidents as well.

I do carry in a corset, but I use a kydex trigger guard when I do. I’m experimenting with pocket carry, and for that I use a kydex trigger guard too.

My observation in the videos I’ve seen where someone shoots themselves in AIWB position is that they holstered without looking… ALWAYS look your gun back into the holster in appendix… there’s never a reason not to. If an edge of your holster folds down, a toggle or lace or part of your shirt gets snagged by the gun, or the gun is not properly positioned, you want to be able to SEE that happening and halt the holstering process before you have a problem.

There are some differences for drawing too… need to make sure you have a clear grip access, ‘opening’ your hips to get to your gun is a different action than the forward shooting position and it needs practice.

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The claw very much depends on having a stiff belt. If you dont, the claw levers against your body and pushes your belt outward and does nothing to pull in the grip so printing will be worse in that case.

But if you have a stiff belt and tighten appropriately, it does a great job of angling that grip into your body

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Well, I’ve been carrying at 2 o’clock for a couple of days. Only time it’s a problem is when I want to play the guitar. Otherwise, I like it a lot.

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