Appendix Carry (AIWB): Is it Viable?
I have heard a lot of people talk about concealed carry. Instructors, friends, Internet gun puppets, etc. I have studied different ways to carry, the benefits and negatives of said ways. I have trained with
different ways including appendix carry. When I first began carrying concealed I was a 3 o'clock
carrier. For many purposes 3 o'clock is a great position to carry. I trained for years carrying at that position. It works. But in recent years I have moved over to appendix carrying. Now does that mean I solely appendix carry and deem any other way stupid and wrong? No, not in the least. I think many people look at things in black and white too often. If I make a video discussing a way to carry then many people assume that I or anyone making such videos are against other ways. I can only speak for myself, and I can assure you I am more open minded than most. When I see people discuss appendix carry it is either a good or bad explanation, there really is not lukewarm feelings for appendix carry. Just because someone is afraid or not sure of their own skill level should not influence a form of carrying. In this article we will discuss a few things. They include holster, safety and conceal-ability. Lets begin!
HOLSTER There are many holster companies and designs out there. From gun only holsters to the dual mag/gun holsters. I really enjoy listening to companies talk about why they designed their holsters in
the way they did. Travis Haley of Haley Strategic recently had a video talking about holster and
magazine carrier angles/positions on your belt. It was one of the most interesting videos I have seen in a while. Basically he was saying your hand angle changes as you move around your belt, say to draw a gun. Getting a holster that matches those angles is important to function. It is one of the reasons for the design behind his INCOG holsters and their options. Appendix carry means having a much different holster than a 3 o'clock holster. It really means you buy a separate holster specifically for appendix carry. Some that come to mind on the market that are setup for appendix carry specifically are the T.REX ARMS SideCar, INCOG w/ Mag Caddy and Raven Concealment EIDOLON. There are others but those are the first that come to my mind. Can you use a non-appendix carry specific holster for appendix carry? Sure, but you will find out that comfort and conceal-ability will increase dramatically using a appendix carry specific holster. I prefer a gun/mag holster combo.
This is where design comes in. To have a good experience, having things like the magazine angled slightly can be the difference between a few milliseconds on your magazine changes. That goes back to the Haley Strategic video I referenced earlier. I recommend researching, checking reviews and
references of a appendix carry holster before buying. Feel that out along with your specific needs and desires. I have appendix holsters from Triton Holsters CA Holsters. Both are design wise similar to the T.REX ARMS SideCar I mentioned earlier. One is a light bearing and one is non-light bearing. After much research I knew I could go with these companies, which is why I said research and ask around. Why wait for weeks on end when you can get a quality holster elsewhere for less time? There are a few things on a appendix carry holster that are a need. At the writing of this article the "claw" is a huge addition to the conceal carry market. It basically pushes against your belt and tilts the gun back towards your body ever so slightly. A holster with out this will print more than one without it. Always get the claw. Raven and some other companies have holster "wedges". These are pads that sit at the bottom of holsters which to a similar thing in pushing the gun back toward the body. The claw tilts horizontally and the wedge does vertically. Combined them and get the most concealable holster possible at current time.
SAFETY This is the big one. Internet gun puppets with state that you can shoot off your dick (if your a dude). Can you? Of course so! But don't be a dumbass and train. I have done vehicle CQB while appendix carrying. That introduces so many variables. Seat belt, tight spaces, steering wheel, windows, etc.
Appendix carrying can be done safely. Period. People will argue that one of the firearm rules is to not point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. Yup, I get it. But we live in a free country and everyone is personally responsible for their own level of risk. I personally am very weary of holstering and reholstering while appendix carrying. I have actually adopted the habit of taking the holster out, holstering them gun and then putting the holster back in my pants. I see no issue here as if your reholstering your weapon you have cleared the area of danger. This is where a good holster comes in. Once holstered, in a high quality kydex holster, your gun will not fire. Nothing can really get into the trigger guard area. I have always recommended people dry fire 100 times with any new holster or new position you are carrying. If you can get through it without firing on a dry fire, then move to live fire. You can do things safely if you do it in a process like this. Never just think you are a super SEAL GI Joe and find yourself saying "Fuck it, we'll do it live" when never doing it before. Carrying a gun involves much more brain power.
CONCEAL-ABILITY This is where, in my opinion, appendix carry wipes the floor with other positions around the waist. You want your gun to be concealed but yet quickly and consistently accessed under duress. People might
talk small of back (Yuck!) or 3 o'clock. But what appendix has over those is direct easy access. Your hands have to go to the center of your body to shoot (in most situations). So having your gun center of body is a benefit. Reload from center of body are amazingly quick, fluid and consistent compared to anywhere else on the body. So many reasons make sense, but they don't if it isn't able to be concealed. Appendix carry in a appendix carry specific holster is concealable and competitive with any holster positioning around the waist. Hell, I even saw a video with a 300+ pound dude saying appendix carry is the way to go (and he explained it!) over on Warrior Poet Society's YouTube channel.
While appendix carry might not be for everyone, for those interested I say find a friend or someone at a course running one and ask them to borrow it. Dry fire a few times from it and feel it out, see if it is something you might be interested in. Research and ask around about it. If it is, then seek out a appendix carry specific rig, dry fire train the shit out of it, then live fire slowly and go from there. In conclusion appendix carry is viable. It is a successful way of carrying concealed. It is up to you whether to give it a try or not. One way or another way of concealed carrying is not the right way. Do I always appendix carry? No. Different times and situations lend themselves better to different ways of carrying. It is a good option for a main way of carrying concealed. In the end appendix carrying is just another way of concealed carrying.