Some Thoughts on Appendix Carry

There are more excellent holster products for Appendix Carry than ever before, like this JM Custom Kydex rig.

Over the past half decade, it seems that every instructor on the Internet is promoting appendix carry as their favorite CCW method, and there are good reasons. Appendix carry is extremely fast from which to deploy, and if you appropriately dress around it, it conceals quite well. Our friend Caleb Giddings wrote an excellent article covering some of the pros and cons of appendix carry, and I agree with his assessment that it is measurably faster than standard IWB carry. It also comes with some increased risks, especially during reholstering. As with anything, these risks can be mitigated with proper training.

I never found appendix carry very comfortable, even with Raven Concealment’s low profile Vanguard, but after reading Hilton’s article on the JM Custom Kydex AIWB rig I decided to give it another shot. I carried my G19 in this rig for a few months to really shake it out and found the rig quite comfortable. My thoughts on AIWB now? For walking around, it is extremely easy from which to draw. It is fast and easy to obtain a consistent grip after clearing the garment. The rub is that for me, I could never adjust the rig quite right to get very comfortable when sitting for extended periods of time. Another issue is being seated in a car with a seatbelt. I looked at the way the lap belt sits across the holster and gun, and while drawing from this position is easier than traditional AIWB, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I was involved in a traffic collision where that lap belt had to do its job. This thought didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies so I avoid AIWB if I am to spend a lot of time sitting in a car, or I would change to standard IWB carry before doing so.

Everyone’s body types are different, so one method of carry may be comfortable for me but not so much for you. What is your preferred method of concealed carry?

This entry was posted in Training by Tim Lau. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tim Lau

Tim Lau has over a decade of experience as an end user, armorer and instructor. He has worked for several well known firearms training organizations, and holds multiple firearms instructor certifications. He owns and operates 10-8 Consulting, LLC, which provides industry consulting services as well as marksmanship and specialized firearms training to qualified civilian, law enforcement and military personnel.

25 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Appendix Carry

  1. I have tried AIWB and everything is cool till I sit down. 4-5 o’clock IWB is my preferred conceal carry for a G19 or Shield.

  2. I think aiwb is great for walking/standing. I tuck the lower portion of the seat belt behind my pistol while in the car. Sure you have to do a quick adjust when getting out, but so do the regular iwb carriers.

  3. I only carry AIWB when concealing now. Tried the JM and liked it well enough but after trying one of 5 Shot Leather’s SME holsters… I was sold. Now I have one for each of my carry pistols.

    Its not for everyone but for me its the best option. Full size to compact, i can conceal it all and carry all day in full comfort.

  4. I run appendix as well most of the time with a VG2. I got a 3 inch loop of 550 cord on the end.
    For extended car rides I take the gun/VG2 off and wedge it between the passenger seat and center console. The 550 cord gets looped over the emergency brake handle. In the event of trouble, reach over and draw.
    I clip the holster back inside my pants prior to exiting the vehicle.

    Yes a car accident carrying appendix would leave some interesting bruises.

  5. Tuck the lap belt behind the grip. It makes the gun easier to get at and the belt won’t compress the gun into your gut during an accident.

  6. I’m a big fan of appendix carry. EDC is my Glock 19 and Dale Fricke Archangel.

  7. I too have concerns about AIWB and car accidents. Then again anything hard attached to your waistline or in your pockets has the possibility of causing further injury in an accident. I think that even a shoulder holster would provide increased risk in a collision.

    Would a ND AIWB be catastrophic? Yeah, probably. Hole in your femoral artery that high up might make a TQ useless. A quality holster and utilizing good practices should minimize the risk. If we look at the holster “accidents” that have been publicized they involved one or more bad practices: Low quality, ill fitting, poorly designed or worn out holster. Finger on trigger when reholstering. Not clearing clothing or gear from holster before reholstering.

    • We had a case recently of a local man with a CCW who had an ND while driving. He bled out before assistance could arrive. I’ve wondered since of he was carrying AIWB. I can’t picture an ND from the other traditional carry positions that would cause death from massive blood loss. Embarrassment, maybe, but not blood loss.

      • Brachial artery via shoulder holster comes to mind. Maybe even subclavian with one of those upside down rigs.

  8. I have tried appendix carry but just not a huge fan. It’s cool standing up but I can never get comfy sitting down. I will carry it in dress pants or with some clothes that just don’t conceal well but otherwise I just carry IWB at 3:30. Super comfortable and easy to conceal in most clothes.

  9. Given the obesity rates in America, not to mention muzzling your junk: American bellies get in the way.

  10. I carry a G 26 in a Zorn holster, appendix carry. It’s very comfortable and fast to access the gun. With kydex, re-holstering the gun is a lot safer. AC avoids the pitfall of clothing jamming into the holster. It is very comfortable for me with no additional modifications for driving. If I am in areas of greater concern the gun is under my left leg regardless.
    If I am on a special out of uniform assignment I am really confident someone cannot spot my gun.
    I have tried carrying my 19 AC but it is only comfortable while standing. That extra inch makes a lot of difference when sitting.
    My thought is not to follow the trend. Try carrying every way possible, pick the gun and holster that works for you. Then you have no excuse to be separated from your gun.

  11. I’ve been carrying AIWB for a LONG time with no issues–including bicycling to work everyday, horseback riding with my daughters, and even when rock climbing easier sport routes. Likewise, for my body size and shape, it works well in vehicles–even for long 12 hour drives.

    I started out using AIWB carry nearly 30 years ago when faced with the need to carry a service pistol while wearing the Navy Service Dress Blue uniform–since the jacket is a double breasted type that could not be left unbuttoned, AIWB was the only option to allow easy access to the pistol. It also worked well with BDU/DCU uniforms when not wanting to appear armed, for example on MEDCAP’s. Likewise I have used AIWB for over 25 years in the LE and civilian world, to carry 1911’s, G19’s, and most recently M&P’s. The AIWB holster I currently primarily use is the superb JM Custom Kydex, along with the Fricke Seraphim or CCC Looper to carry a Glock or M&P AIWB each day strong side in the 1 o’clock range.

    With the proper holster and attire selection, pistols the size of a G17/M&P9 are more than acceptable for daily carry AIWB . Depending how your holster rides, the location of the holster on the belt, and your clothing, the shorter grip on the G19 can be an advantage over the G17 for some folks with AIWB. When carrying AIWB, a LONGER barrel helps keep the pistol tucked in and secure, as does a good holster. However, if you go with too long a barrel for your physique, then important anatomic structures can get poked. It turns out for that for some folks AIWB can be less comfortable doing certain activities like bicycling and equestrian events when using a longer barrel like a 5″ 1911 or G34… Conversely, at 6 feet, 200 lbs, I find the G26 has far too short a barrel for stable carry and too short a grip for effective shooting; the G19 is the smallest I want to go with for daily carry.

    Note that many of the pistols I carried AIWB–1911’s, Glocks, and M&P’s are either striker fired or cocked and locked. There will be NO problems if appropriate care and prudence is exercised while slowly re-holstering along with simultaneously tilting the holster AWAY from all critical anatomic areas that could be perforated or damage if the pistol inadvertently discharges. Much like other endeavors requiring error free performance such as flying, deep scuba diving, rock climbing, and performing surgery–DON’T MAKE A MISTAKE doing this!

    • Great post Doc. With the exception of the Navy thing my experience with this method mirrors yours. Don’t have much to add.

  12. Mr. Lau,
    I hope you don’t mind my opinion on the matter. I’ve also thought about the “what if” while seated in a vehicle while appendix carrying. The only thing I can think of is to unbuckle and deal with situation at hand as best as one can. My train of thought is centered around the “time is of the essence” and “what takes precedence” stance.

  13. Use to carry a G19 IN A COMPTAC MTAC, changed to AIWB for a year now, couldnt be happier. Took me a while to get the right holster. It is NOT tacticool and can be dangerous if not careful. Not for new shooters.

  14. I’m not sure how some of you can get the lap belt behind the gun as it seems awfully high for me.
    While driving, the lap belt is at or slightly below my pants belt and I just need to make sure that my covering garment is not held by the lap belt but stays loose over it. Once that’s done, drawing the gun becomes the same as if normally seated with no seat belt.
    As far as accidents go, yes I’m going to get more compression on my abdomen, specifically at or slightly below the pants belt where the holster already spreads out some the compression created by the pants belt. I don’t see how an accident is going to make much of a negative difference in an area where the compression is already spread out a little.

  15. Rob over at Off The Grid Concepts, makes some great kydex. His ADR appendix carry holster works great, has a minimalist design, yet its built to last and doesnt break your budget.

  16. I have tried both AIWB and “regular” IWB and I can’t stand either. I’m admittedly a larger guy and that has a lot to do with it. The rolls and the belly get in the way. I’ve tried various types of IWB holsters and could never find one comfortable for me. So for years I just carry in a simple Leather Pancake holster outside the waistband at 3 o’clock. This is the most comfortable and convenient for me. Since I prefer full size service guns for carry, this allows me to carry what I want.

  17. I carry AIWB daily with either a Glock 17 or Glock 19 (or equivalent .40 caliber versions-mandated for work) and find it the fastest, most secure method that I have yet tried which includes standard IWB, OWB strongside and at one point a shoulder holster.

    Two years ago this summer, I was involved in what termed out to be a fairly serious rear end collision where my family and I were hit from behind by a truck. Luckily we were driving my wife’s Volvo which lived up to its reputation as a very safe car and they, wife and two of the kids, were thankfully not hurt. I on the other hand had a vertebrae in my neck displaced due to the crash.

    While I won’t go into the full details, as they are not germaine, here, suffice it to say that I hurt immediately. Luckily I was not incapacitated but my movement became somewhat restricted due to the neck / upper back tightening up. With AIWB, I most certainly could have drawn and fired should the situation have been one that required such. The pistol itself, a G19 that day, stayed just as secure during the crash as it was before and as I said could have easily been accessed, something that, due to the tightening of my neck and upper back, might not have been as easy with another carry method. I had no ‘extra injury’ due to the pistol location and the seat belt auto-tightening and as I said, the AIWB pistol was a non-factor

    • Scott, glad you and your family were not seriously injured in the traffic collision. Having been diagnosed with a herniated disc, I can relate to neck and spine injuries all too well. As for AIWB carry, it works for some better than others. Suffice it to say, as far as complications due to concealed carry method, I am more worried about frontal impact in a TC with the belt across the gun more than rear impact, though either can be just as dangerous and damaging overall.

      To be honest, I hadn’t thought of tucking the lap belt over the gun, but that would only work in certain travel circumstances and not others.

  18. I’ve not been able to be one of the cool dudes that love and employ the AIWB. While it sounds good in theory and might be particularly useful while standing, every other scenario make me uncomfortable both physically and safety wise. I’ll stick with the 4 o’clock IWB holster.

Comments are closed.