Appendix Carry

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Not For Everyone.

By Sammy Reese

I had a lengthy chat with a reader about the pros and cons of appendix carry. He had a lot of questions, and unfortunately, I didn’t have all the answers. I made it a point to find out as much as I could about this mode of carry some love and others hate, and indeed, rarely have I found someone on the fence about it.

I’ve had some experience with carrying appendix or “appendix inside the waist band” (AIWB) but mostly it was to test a holster and I always found my way back to traditional IWB for daily carry. In AIWB carry, the holstered gun is tucked inside the waistband just to the right or left of center of your front-waist area. Back in the early 1980’s my dad always carried his Series 70 Colt AIWB in a holster he modified. Pop was 6’5″ tall so he had no problem hiding a large pistol on his person.

I have a few buddies who have been carrying AIWB for some time so I started by picking their brains about holsters and types of guns carried in what looks like a very dangerous position. What I came up with is there is definitely no “one size fits all” for this mode of carry, but I found a few similarities dedicated AIWB’ers possessed.

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CrossBreed’s appendix holster is a blend of
horsehide, kydex and metal (clips and hardware).
Clip height is adjustable to customize fit.

Not Created The Same

Body type plays a huge part in being able to pull off AIWB. The more athletic you are — AKA in shape you are — and don’t have any extra “you” hanging over the waistband is the number one constant with the dedicated AIWB guys, and girls too. As Clint Smith is so fond of saying — “I’m not trying to be ugly.” It’s just the way it is for this type of carry.

Second constant is they’re all dedicated shooters and very committed to this mode of carry. They exclusively carry this way and practice draws and re-holstering; not only live fire, but also a lot of dry practice wearing their daily clothing.

This mode requires special attention to your wardrobe. Pants will have to be one size bigger and cover garments are critical to avoid printing and exposure of your holstered gun. All of them stated emphatically you have to have a proper belt designed for carrying a gun or you will be miserable no matter what holster you choose.

Practicing with a cover garment is crucial too. Once you’re comfortable drawing and holstering (with an empty gun and no cover garment) move on to using a cover garment and then to live fire with the same gear.

Every person I talked with stressed the importance of holstering slowly and deliberately every time. No points for re-holstering fast anyway, so take your time, regardless of how you carry.

Since each of us is built differently, what we can carry comfortably is as individual as our fingerprints. I’m comfortable with pistols up to Glock 19 size, but I’ve also found with this size pistol I can’t remain seated for as long as I can with my Glock 26 or Smith & Wesson SHIELD. Comfort gets picked on but we all know if it hurts we won’t carry it for long. My attempt to carry a Glock 17 was my personal no-go. Standing I was fine, but seated just plain hurt.

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Comp-Tac’s Neutral Cant holster might just be the perfect
hybrid for AIWB carry. The kydex holster is adjustable for
retention and the duel clips make for a snug, comfortable ride.
If you carry more than one gun AIWB, the Neutral Cant
is modular so just swap the holster.

Hybrids

I’ve found hybrid AIWB holsters are the ticket for me. CrossBreed Appendix for my Glocks and Comp-Tac Neutral Cant for my shield have been my go-to rigs for the last several months. The SHIELD is as close to perfect as I can get for AIWB carry — the dimensions work great for my body type. The leather backing with kydex holsters mounted to them is the perfect hybrid for AIWB carry. The leather kept the kydex from biting at the skin and the kydex held the gun perfectly in place and has shown no sign of wearing out. Who says kydex and leather can’t get along?

For my test, I made the commitment to only carry AIWB for a month — well it’s been almost six months and I’m still going AIWB. I started slowly and did a lot of dry practice — still do every day. Over the last few months I’ve found during live fire drills from concealment, I’m faster on target than I was with tradition IWB and it’s more comfortable for all-day carry. For me it’s not so much what I carry but that I carry. AIWB might not be for you, but you won’t know until you give it a try.

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