5 Appendix Carry Tips

Secrets That Just Might Make It Work for You

The foam pad option helps prevent the scenario of the gun grip rotating forward away from your body.
It's especially helpful on smaller guns like this Springfield Armory XD-S Mod 2.

A reader, James, recently wrote in asking some good questions about appendix carry …

“Could I see some pictures of folks who are using the appendix carry method of carrying a concealed firearm, actually sitting down? I have tested out appendix carry a few times and found it next to impossible with my evidently misshapen torso to sit down. It is not only extremely painful, but it also pushes my pistol up and outward, thereby defeating the whole purpose. Social media is full of gun bunnies and tacti-cool dudes taking selfies of their shirts lifted, showing their hidden appendix-carried firearm, smiling away. Yet not one of them was while sitting down.

I tried it with an M&P Shield, a S&W 642, and, just for the sake of argument, a GI Springfield 1911. How do these people sit down? In the meantime, I keep soldiering on with ankle holsters, holster-hip, and an ever-worsening case of tinnitus.”

All great questions, James, and when I embarked on a multi-month experiment to see what all the fuss was about with appendix carry, I encountered the exact same challenges you describe. Now, I carry a full-size, double-stack Staccato P model 2011 appendix every day, even while sitting and spending hours in the car.

Fortunately, from the secret appendix carry society, which doesn’t reveal itself until you publicly proclaim you’re giving up this %^&*#$!# appendix carry experiment, I learned some tips and tricks that might help you out. The short version is this: some tips are counterintuitive, while others offer big comfort gains with minuscule adjustments to technique.

And there is a disclaimer common to virtually all on-body carry methods. Tips and tricks can eliminate the pain, but not always all of the pressure. A long car ride while carrying with the traditional hip position isn’t great fun, either. So, be realistic. You’ll feel your gun while sitting down, but we should be able to eliminate the suffering.

Foam pads like these make all the difference, especially if you have a few extra pounds around the waist.
Tom carries a full-size Staccato 2011 daily with these setups.

1. Padding for padding

Especially if you have a bit of “padding” around the waist, run, don’t walk, to implement this tip.

Add a piece of foam (closed cell is best) to the back of your holster. This will encourage the muzzle to move away from the body, even if there is a bit of spare tire pressure pushing on the gun grip, encouraging the muzzle to press into you. It changes the entire position of the gun in a way that reduces the problem of the muzzle jamming into your body when standing or sitting.

You can also buy ready-to-go foam pads from many holster makers. It’s worth it, as this one tip makes all the difference. You’ll feel pressure from the pad when sitting but not the pain of steel gun parts perforating your guts.

This Tenicor holster has a "pad" molded into the holster body to direct the muzzle away from your body.

2. Offset the buckle

Use a thin but sturdy belt and shift the buckle position away from the holster. If you’re right-handed, moving the buckle to 11 o’clock will reduce potentially visible bulk and pressure on the holster, which can translate to pain.

3. Experiment with belt tension

Loosen the belt a bit. The tighter the belt, the less the holster rig can move around when you sit. A little less tension on the beltline allows the holster to ride up a bit when you sit or get into a car. This makes all the difference for me when driving.

As long as you use a holster with aggressive belt clips, a little less belt tension won’t impact carry or your draw at all, and you’ll be a lot more comfortable.

A thin but sturdy belt helps too. Be sure to shift the buckle to the support side so it doesn't add bulk to the holster area.

4. Try all the nap time positions between 12 and 1:30

Minor position changes can make big carry comfort differences. I get the best results just right of center. That provides great concealment and gun security but also is the most comfortable position for sitting as it keeps the muzzle just “left enough” (I’m right-handed) so it doesn’t jam into my upper leg. Rather, the muzzle on larger guns tends to ride along the inside of my thigh.

A longer handgun, when configured in a proper holster, can actually be more comfortable for appendix carry.
1911s have the added benefit of bring thin.

5. Try a longer gun

This makes no sense whatsoever until you stop and think for a minute. Assuming you’re using a foam pad on the back, a longer muzzle provides more leverage to offset the problem James describes, where the gun grip rotates forward and negates the whole point of appendix carry.

Thanks to the leverage mechanics, I actually have better success with a larger handgun than a smaller one, although the foam pad makes a big difference with compact guns, too.

6. Persevere

I was a long-time skeptic and had little success with appendix carry for any size gun until I experimented with these techniques. Keep tinkering, and you might just be surprised at the results. Do be fair and compare apples to apples. Other carry methods aren’t effortless either — you’ll always know you’re toting a handgun by the feel, so focus on eliminating pain rather than tactile pressure.

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