There has been a growing trend in the popularity of use of appendix carry for those who carry their firearms concealed on a daily basis. I have been using the method for well over 20 years and it is by far my favorite means of carrying a pistol. Appendix carry is loosely defined as placing the pistol in the area between the primary side hip and the belt buckle. It has several positives and negatives, and users should be aware of both before they make a decision to carry in this fashion. Once the decision is made to use appendix carry, there are some very important decisions that need to be made for gear selection as well.
TT Gunleather’s AIWB holster for the HK45C (left) and a prototype 5 Shot Leather AIWB holster for a grip-chopped Glock 17 (right) shows the difference in ride height and cant used for AIWB carry.
Ups & Downs
The first of the positives for me is that by placing the pistol ahead of the hip line with a muzzle straight, or muzzle forward cant, the shooter’s primary wrist is locked when the pistol is grasped. This allows for a very fast presentation, and allows the shooter to fire the pistol the second the muzzle is oriented towards the target for close-quarters retention shooting. One only needs to look at the fastest shooters in the world from such diverse disciplines as IPSC and USPSA to World Fast Draw Association to see how shooters orient their pistols and revolvers to their body to see the benefits of this type of placement. I have also found that this type of carry is the most concealable for me in my normal daily dress of an oversized untucked shirt and shorts. The issue of constant concealment and lack of “printing” is of huge importance to legally armed CCW holders and armed professionals alike.
Placing the holster just outside the first belt loop allows for easy AIWB concealment with an untucked shirt.
The draw from this type of carry also more closely mimics the hand position used for uniformed police officers with more modern holsters. I was quite cutting-edge when I began my police career in the 80’s by always using a holster that allowed for a locked wrist grip. Many duty holsters of the time were of the traditional muzzle-rear orientation. Today’s modern duty rigs tend to be straight up and down in orientation, and it makes sense for off-duty and undercover police officers to utilize a carry system that is similar in the type of draw to their duty rig. Equally, for the armed citizen who also shoots competitively, a similar draw-stroke and pistol placement is an important consideration.