The Great Appendix Carry Experiment


The concealment claw extends out and applies pressure to the belt, pushing the grip toward the body.

Before we get into the trials and results of my appendix carry experiment, let’s get the controversial discussion out of the way. It’s complex and could fill an antique called a “phone book” but you’ll get the idea.

Appendix carry offers a speedy draw. Concealment is great if one has any chest at all, as the cover garment drapes over your gun. It also packs your pistol in a very protected area, not sticking out your side. Retention rocks. The muzzle points at important stuff like, well, you know, and other important stuff like your femoral artery. Where it points doesn’t matter because your handgun is protected in a holster. But you have to draw and replace your gun pointing in scary directions! But training overcomes, and you can stick your belly out when performing administrative functions so the muzzle points at the ground forward of your feet.

That should about sum things up. Those aren’t all my opinions, just the conventional wisdom of pros and cons. To check out this appendix carry thing all the cool kids use, I invested a month, forcing myself to carry a GLOCK 43X with a Leupold DeltaPoint Micro right smack in my gut. Rather than repeat hearsay, I wanted to develop my own firsthand opinion on whether it works for me.

The Blackhawk Stache is a great holster for appendix or standard IWB carry.
This is the basic version without an optional mag carrier attached on the right side.

Gear Considerations

Successful appendix carry requires the right holster. A traditional IWB model will be less than ideal as it’s designed for strong side, not frontal carry. On the side, bending forward when moving or sitting isn’t a consideration as the muzzle area slides along your hip. When positioned up front, the muzzle in a lower-ride holster has nowhere to go but right into your leg. So, the holster must support the gun fairly high relative to the belt clip point.

You’ll also want a more vertical cant angle. You might have some success canting the grip slightly towards your strong side, so experiment with that.

Last, many effective appendix holsters use a wing or claw that sticks a “bar” off toward the strong side. The purpose of this is for the “bar” to press against the inside of your belt and force the handgun’s grip toward the body. This aids concealment.

For this experiment, I chose the new Blackhawk Stache holster. It’s ideal for appendix carry but makes a swell standard IWB holster too. It’s ambidextrous by flipping the sturdy mount clip and you can tweak cant angle easily. There’s a detachable concealment claw with multiple “bars” to adjust the amount of “grip tucking” pressure. The claw mount screws double as retention adjustments. You can add an optional mag carrier extension if you like and that works fine for appendix carry as you can separate mag and gun on either side of your centerline.

Results & Learnings

Ineed to lose weight. Geometry is geometry after all. My excess “muscle” over the beltline tends to push the grip forward instead of allowing the whole handgun rig to ride in the theoretically flat area of my midsection. Adding a closed-foam “wedge” on the lower inside of the holster helped immensely.

Do experiment with side-to-side positioning. Counterintuitively, the more I moved toward the center, the better the system worked for me. I was less keen on using the mag carrier extension, but that’s likely a weight-related issue too.

With strong side carry, I tend to tighten the belt a good bit. With appendix carry, allowing a touch of slack worked better for me. This allowed the belt and holster to ride up when I sat down. Huge comfort difference!

I learned to live under pressure. The muzzle protrudes below the belt. Your leg is always there. Those two objects will touch, especially when sitting. The right holster, placement, and adjustments converted the “pressure” level from jabbing me painfully to perfectly tolerable. Your mileage may vary, but I suspect most people will feel a bit of muzzle area pressure on the upper leg. The more fit you are, the less you’ll feel.

Bottom line? It was okay for me. I found the right balance of placement and mount making this method work without undue pressure against my gut and leg, but until I shed a few pounds of “muscle” from my waistline, it likely won’t be my primary carry method. I have to confess I still have some reservations about the muzzle “pointing at important things” issue, so for the time being, I’m enjoying that Stache holster in the 3:30 position on my waist.

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