Appendix carry means carrying your weapon up front. It’s controversial and, to some men, a bit scary because the pistol muzzle scans a specific part of the male anatomy. But we tend to forget that with 4 o’clock inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry, the muzzle scans our femoral artery. Carrying concealed is dangerous no matter where the weapon is on your waist. But if you have the right body type, appendix carry offers easier concealment and a faster draw than side or behind-the-hip carry. It’s also easier to protect your weapon from a gun grab.

Appendix IWB carry means your holster is just left or right of your belt buckle, depending on your shooting hand. A hoodie, pull-over sweatshirt, loose-fitting T-shirt and other outer garments can conceal your weapon in appendix carry. If you bend over while wearing a holster behind your hip, it’s easy for people to see your weapon. But larger full-sized pistols are less comfortable in an appendix carry position, especially if you must sit for long periods or bend over a lot. If you’re on your feet all day, however, it’s not much of an issue.

Compact and subcompact pistols are by far the most comfortable to carry appendix style, even when sitting. Try drawing a pistol from a behind-the-hip holster while seated in a vehicle. Then try it with appendix carry. This latter method offers better access to your weapon, and throughout our lives, we’re constantly getting into and out of our vehicles. Having a plan when you’re in your vehicle is smart.

I transitioned from behind-the-hip to appendix carry with compact pistols because I could more easily conceal my weapon, and because my pistol is close to where my hands naturally fall toward the front of my hips. My hands are almost always closer to my weapon when I use appendix carry. The draw is critical, however, and with appendix carry, I can grab the front of my shirt or hoodie with my support hand, yank it up to my chin and draw my pistol with my shooting hand. The pistol is then in front of me and I can quickly gain a two-handed hold—or not, depending on the distance to the target. Because we’re on the receiving end of most lethal confrontations and never know when one will happen, or perhaps we might only have a moment to react, the ability to draw a weapon quickly is important. Appendix carry is fast.

Having the right holster makes all the difference when carrying any pistol concealed. Holsters designed for appendix carry are made to be comfortable, provide support and keep the pistol in a position for a fast draw. Thankfully, there are a several holster-makers churning out some truly cutting-edge rigs designed specifically for appendix carry. Here are some of the best available.

For more information about the appendix carry holsters featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.

5.11 Tactical





DeSantis Gunhide

DSG Arms





This article was originally published in ‘Concealed Carry Handguns’ 2017. For information on how to subscribe, please email or call 1-800-284-5668.

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