Appendix carry has exploded in the last few years, and many people like to think it’s a new “phenomenon.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can see professional IPSC shooter Jim Zubiena use an appendix holster in his guest appearance in episode 4 of season 1 of Miami Vice, which premiered in 1984. The firearms industry isn’t immune to the ‘what's old is new again,’ phenomenon. If we can see it on TV with shows like Stranger Things, and the return of 80’s synth music we can see it with holsters.
What is Appendix Carry?
When many people think about holstering their weapon, they think about hip holsters, so you may be wondering, "what is appendix carry?" Appendix carry inside the waistband, also known as AIWB, is simply when a gun owner holsters their weapon in the front of their waistband near their appendix, usually attached to a gun belt. While the idea of appendix carrying began with frontiersmen shoving their old six-shooter into the front of their waistband, the innovation of holsters, gun belts, and holster claws have made AIWB much more comfortable, concealable, and practical.
What’s New with Appendix Carry
While appendix carry isn’t exactly new, what is new is the materials used to produce appendix carry holsters. Back in the day you were pretty much limited to leather. Leather appendix holsters still exist, and aren’t a bad selection. However, times change, and holsters get better. Some leather holsters can have a major problem when it comes to appendix carry.
Poorly made leather holsters can flatten against the body when the gun is removed, and even holsters with built in reinforcement will still somewhat collapse when the gun is removed. This makes re holstering the weapon difficult, and even unsafe without undoing your pants.
What came to save the day is polymer materials and their introduction into their holster world. The most common polymer holster material is known as kydex. Kydex is an ultra-thin, lightweight, and incredibly tough material. When it comes to appendix carry kydex offers a substantial advantage over leather. Kydex doesn’t collapse when you draw your firearm. That’s the main advantage, but is it the only advantage?
No. No it's not.
Kydex can be molded specifically to a gun, leather cannot be molded in the same way. Molding a holster to the gun aids in retention, makings drawing easier, and doesn’t have the, “will this fit?”, effect when you purchase it.
Kydex is weather and moisture proof, which is critical when held tightly to the body and being exposed to sweat on a daily basis. Kydex will also last forever. It’s comfortable against the body, dependable, durable, and is superior to leather for appendix carry.
Kydex holsters have evolved over the years offering adjustable cant, ride, and retention. Modular kydex holsters, like our Freedom Holster, offer thousands of configurations with a single holster and has features such as tuckable clips to accommodate a tucked in shirt.
The Freedom Holster features over 2500+ configurations
The real question is: Is appendix carry for you? Well there are a few advantages to consider before you make the decision.
Advantages of Appendix Carry
Drawing from the appendix position is fast, really, really fast. Going from strongside to AIWB was an eye opener for me. I was able to cut time significantly when it came to drawing and getting a shot on target. The reason it's faster is because your hands are naturally closer to the gun, and less movement overall is required to draw the gun. If you examine where you naturally have your hands sitting when standing and walking, you'll realize reaching in the general vicinity of your belt buckle is faster than reaching for your 3 or 4 o’clock position.
If you ever find yourself in a high-pressure situation where you are forced to draw your weapon, every second will matter. All types of carry positions must be practiced to gain proficiency when pulling and re-holstering, but an appendix holster’s natural position lends itself to speed.
Easier to Conceal
The position of the holster in the appendix area cuts out the necessary bulge that occurs when carrying in a more traditional strongside position. When the holster is in the appendix position it’s nearly impossible to see because there is little to no noticeable bulge. In general, for anyone to even look at your gun in the appendix position they need to be staring in a very inappropriate area for an extended amount of time. However, by combining your AIWB with a holster claw, even if someone is staring at your appendix for an extended period, a holster claw will hide any potential gun printing.
You can also carry a larger gun comfortably in the same position. I personally find it easy to conceal a full-sized gun in an appendix position compared to a strong or weak side position. It’s simple, in the appendix position you avoid bulges, printing, and other ‘tells’ when it comes to concealing a gun.
It’s Easier to Retain
AIWB carrying is also better for gun retention. You’re carrying a concealed weapon because you realize that a situation may arise where lives are in danger. As a gun owner, it is your responsibility to safely use your weapon and keep it out of the wrong person’s hands. While all IWB holsters are naturally better at preventing gun snatching, an appendix carry with an IWB holster is even better.
When the gun is mounted on the strongside position it’s still somewhat hanging out the window, even with a holster than clings to your body. It can still be grabbed and taken from you. With appendix carry the gun is set against the body. No one can approach you from behind and try to steal it from you. You can defend your gun much easier from the front than you can from the rear or from the side if someone does try to take it from you.
The only person who can decide if appendix is for you is you. Concealed carry is a lifetime of learning, adapting and experimenting. You should always be willing to grow, and willing to experiment. If you are interested in appendix carry check out our line of concealed carry holsters here. ( https://wethepeopleholsters.com/collections/iwb )
Final Thoughts on Appendix Carry
If you decide that carrying a concealed weapon at your appendix is right for you, We The People Holsters has all the holsters and accessories needed to comfortably and safely AIWB. We believe in ensuring that gun owners are educated about all their carrying options. We also want to ensure that gun owners can comfortably and safely carry their weapons according to their God-given Second Amendment rights.
Continue to check the We The People Holsters website for more educational pieces about concealed carry options. If you decide that AIWB carrying is suitable for you, head on over to the We The People Holsters store and check out our selection of holsters!