Confessions of an Appendix Carry Convert

I’m a Glock guy. I’m also a “100% carry where legal” guy and a “I don’t want people to know I’m carrying” guy. Glocks aren’t always the easiest thing to conceal in the t-shirt & jeans ensembles I typically wear. And I often find myself carrying in places where it’s legal, but frowned upon. That being the case . . .

I needed a better concealment solution than the strong-side hip IWB holster I’d been using for so long. That location just doesn’t work well for me, especially when carrying my kids or bending down to intercept the newest sidewalk delicacy they’ve discovered before it hits their lips. I find myself worrying too often about blatant printing or my shirt riding up over my gun.

So…last month I began appendix carrying my G19 and G26 in a leather Bianchi Professional IWB holster. Instantly my concealment issues went away; I can bend over, reach up, carry the munchkins or just about anything else I need to do without worrying I’ll inadvertently display my means of protection. But the change wasn’t without a fair amount of concern. At least at first.

The obvious: I’m now pointing a gun directly at an area I really, really, really don’t want to take a bullet. But I got over that pretty quick. We all know guns don’t just ‘go off’ without physical interaction (contrary to what many gun control advocates think). I’m using a high quality holster so the trigger is well protected. Once you get past the realization of where the gun’s pointed and that it’s safe…it’s really becomes a non-issue.

Re-holstering, though, is a different beast. That’s when most accidents happen and I train a lot where I have to re-holster a hot gun. Now, though, I’ve become much more “involved” in this motion – looking closely at the holster, clothing, and just triple checking that there’s no way to send a round where I don’t want it go.

This, after all, is the biggest issue with appendix carry. But it’s easily rectified by just paying attention and being very deliberate in your motions. I realized I was probably not paying as much attention as I should have been, even when re-holstering while carrying strong-side hip.

Comfort is another difference from hip carry. Appendix carry, in my opinion, can be just as comfortable if you accept the fact that the gun is going to “ride-up” a little when sitting, depending on how you wear your pants and the barrel length of your firearm. This doesn’t impact concealment, but this is where you really want a high quality holster that’s going to hang on to your belt. A cheap nylon thing – or frankly even something like a Remora – isn’t the way to go for appendix carry.

So while the deeper level of concealment I get is great, draw speed has also greatly improved. It’s easier and more reliable for me to pull my shirt up in front rather than trying to sweep it to get to a three or four o’clock position. The up-front location results in less reach distance and fewer motions required, so it’s naturally faster.

It’s also a lot better in the car. Strong side hip carry in a vehicle can make it extremely difficult to draw with the seat belt or buckle covering your heater. Appendix carry actually allows the belt to run across the front of the holster, allowing you complete access to the firearm just in case that carjacker sticks a knife to your neck.

Have I totally abandoned my other carry methods? Well, as far as strong-side hip carry goes, yes. That means my beautifully worn and ragged Crossbreed horsehide Supertuck has been retired to the safe. That said, I haven’t totally abandoned ankle carry. But I only use it in situations where I need the deepest level of concealment with my G26. It’s for those situations when I don’t even want the slightest possibility that someone will know I’m carrying. I’m willing to sacrifice accessibility for deeper concealment in those few situations.

So after years of strapping one on my strong-side hip, now I’m officially an appendix carry convert. The “no-touch” zone where my gun now sits insulates me from both visual and felt concealment issues. Pair that with the improved draw speed and we’ve got ourselves a winner.

My G26 is virtually invisible even under a t-shirt and my G19 is easily concealed under most t-shirts, polos and other heavier, looser garments. Go ahead and try it out. Give it a week and you might make the switch, too. Just be sure you put in the practice reps to get comfortable enough on the draw that you don’t sweep yourself or anyone to your weak side, OK?

57 Responses to Confessions of an Appendix Carry Convert

  1. avatarjwm says:

    for the love of god, don’t let anything distract you while reholstering. instant flashback to the iguotd who shot himself in the junk.

    • avatarMr. Lion says:

      If you keep your finger off the bang switch while doing anything other than firing, it doesn’t really matter how distracted one becomes. That is simple awareness, and if you haven’t got that while manipulating a firearm, it’s not if, it’s when.

      • avatarPK says:

        …unless, of course, something (like the cover shirt or T-shirt) jams in the trigger guard. Following the rule of keeping your finger off the trigger is marvelous, but in this case there is no way to reholster without pointing the gun at something you don’t want to destroy.

      • avatarScott says:

        Unless a piece of clothing gets hung up on the bang switch.

  2. avatarsam says:

    I agree 100% with this story. Try it you’ll like it! Better yet try it with a Kahr PM40 you will not go back.

  3. avatarMotoJB says:

    Thanks for the article…my stones feel more comfortable already.

  4. avatarStan says:

    No thanks, one mistake and you’ll bleed out before an ambulance a block away can save you. You can rationalize it however you like, but you have a weapon pointed at the largest artery in your body. Accidents happen regardless of how much you train. Throw in a panic situation where you’re now not focused on a safe draw but instead on a threat and you have the distinct opportunity to plug yourself in a very bad place. The same goes for drawing from the seated position, you’re just begging to hurt yourself in a very unforgiving region.

    I’ll keep my muzzle pointed safely at my buttocks. I know I’m likely to survive a mistake there.

    • avatarPaul says:

      The author’s point is not that accidents can’t happen, but rather how he handles risk management (for example, risk of exposure of concealed weapon vs. shooting yourself). Your mileage may vary. By the way, the aorta, not the femoral artery, is the largest artery in the body.

    • avatarZack Pike says:

      Valid. But to me the advantages outweigh the risks (and the risks greatly diminish with effective gun handling). You might be surprised how many of the nations top defensive pistol trainers actually support appendix carry… And many do it themselves.

      • avatarJohn says:

        Travis Haley, Gabe Suarez, etc… all made the switch to Appendix carry, and they both AIWB Glock 17s! The big fuckers lol. I’m making the switch as well to appendix, as soon as I get a Glock 19. I don’t think I could get away with concealing a G17.

    • avatarBlake says:

      Not true, the aorta is the largest artery in the body. It is the artery that comes off the heart and turns into the femoral artery after passing through the abdomen.

  5. avatarAharon says:

    The solution for those of you guys concerned about shooting off your genitals is simple: start wearing a kevlar armored athletic cup. Just imagine soon at the next gun show someone is selling the ‘tactical’ athletic-cup protector.

  6. avatarLCB says:

    This really, really sounds uncomfortable when sitting. Doesn’t the grip dig in to dah tummy when sitting???

    • avatarRightYouAreKen says:

      This would be my problem with appendix carry, as I have a bit of an “overhang” in the front that the grip and slide would really dig in. Would be even worse with a 1911 (beavertail and hammer digging in).

    • avatarZack Pike says:

      It does a little… But it hasn’t bothered me. Probably depends a lot on your body shape.

      • avatarRalph says:

        Yeah, Zach, I’ve tried appendix carry (or as I call it, testicle carry) and was able to get past the whole perforated Johnny business. I also found that appendix carry is comfortable when walking around. However, my little pistol still dug a furrow into my lower abdomen whenever I sat down, and was exquisitely uncomfortable when I was driving a car. Oh, well.

      • avatarRich says:

        What’s the old joke?

        I’m in shape, round is a shape…

    • avatarZack Pike says:

      One thing I’ve found it does do is force proper posture… With a gun in that position it’s more comfortable to sit up straight than to slouch.

  7. avatarGreg Camp says:

    I do a kind of appendix carry with my 1911, but the muzzle is pointed back and away from my body. The gun is easy to conceal that way, and the grip doesn’t stick out when I move around.

  8. avatargreat unknown says:

    Why in the world are you using a picture of a femoral catherization for your photoshop? Are you implying that appendix carry can lead to super-efficient surgery on your arteries? Is this a way to make the article less gender-specific?

  9. avatarPaul says:

    Thanks for the article. I agree — and I carry appendix for the same reasons.

  10. avatarJason says:

    I think the printing issue is overblown. Unless the print looks just like a gun, who is going to notice a bump from the end of a grip and think gun?

    • avatarZack Pike says:

      Your right, very unlikely that most will even notice a print, let alone think it’s a gun. But when I can solve the print issue while increasing draw speed… It’s a win-win for me.

    • avatarOHgunner says:

      “Unless the print looks just like a gun, who is going to notice a bump from the end of a grip and think gun?”

      A skiddish rookie cop with an itchy trigger finger and a massive adrenaline dump. I don’t want to end up face down on he ground missing teeth or bleeding from a new hole

  11. avatarBill says:

    Tried it, but I’d have to lose a bit of weight before it would be comfortable enough to keep it there for more than ten minutes.

  12. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I get the whole comfort thing, I really do, but it’s pointed at places I don’t even want to mildly put at risk for an accidental discharge. I’m quite happy that my major arteries are intact and function fine, and “little Willie” and I have been together for all of my 56 years, I’d hate to lose him now. I just don’t think I could ever feel right having the muzzle of a loaded gun pointed at my nether regions.

    • avatarCorey says:

      There is no such thing as an “accidental” discharge. That would be a negligent discharge.

  13. avatarWiebelhaus says:

    Your going to shoot yourself in the penis.

  14. avatarJosh in GA says:

    Apendix carry? Maybe. With a Glock? Never. You know those things just go off by themselves half the time. I heard about it on the internet, so it must be true.

  15. avatarTD says:

    Have read way too many stories about way too many well trained people shooting themselves in the butt or leg to even consider carrying this way. Would rather print all day long than risk bleeding out before anyone has even realized what happened.

    • avatarZack Pike says:

      Very valid point, accidents happen (although it’s an extremely small percentage of the time) but we all know they’re due to negligence. As soon as you get complacent with your firearm, your risk goes up substantially. This is definitely not for someone who is complacent.

  16. avatarAharon says:

    The tymbuk2 (made in San Francisco) traditional bike messenger bag is now also available in extra small. Lots of people carry that bag maker design around the urban cities so it’s a common sight. It probably has enough room in it to carry a mix of a primary handgun, backup gun, spare mags, small size flashlight, stun gun, pepper spray, whistle, flares, and handcuffs.

    • avatarJosh in GA says:

      Interesting. It would even be slightly ironic to carry in this sort of bag since many of the left leaning gun control loonies, at least in my area, carry this bag or something similar.

      • avatarAharon says:

        Exactly. In some areas it is still a bit of an alternative look to the leather briefcase conservative image. I think the bag’s acceptance went from bike messengers to the creative types and high-tech geeks to many in the young business crowd camp and now it’s carried by lots of diverse people. The bag can be ordered in many colors and subtle design feature differences. If the two plastic clasps are unhooked you can pull out your defense gun immediately.

        The last thing I want is a bag that screams; ‘tactical wanna-be commando here with a loaded gun!’

  17. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    two problems with appendix carry:

    1) It is not comfortable to sit/drive with it. Sorry – I am not overweight and it is uncomfortable.
    2) While you say your draw speed is improved, it is not a natural movement when confronted with a BG. Most of the time, they are trying to mug you. Reaching back is a natural response to the proverbial “give me your wallet” command so they don’t suspect that you are reaching for a weapon. Granted, it is harder while seated in a vehicle, but then you should have other options for drawing a different weapon.

    I love my Remora and love carrying from the 7 o’clock position. It doesn’t print and IWB works just fine for me. I also have a raven concealment I use when wearing a suit/sportcoat and it is just as comfy.

    • avatarZack Pike says:

      “Most of the time they are trying to mug you…”

      I hadn’t seen that… Is there somewhere that supports that being the majority of time a gun is used in self defense? I’m not trying to sound snarky, but really am interested if that’s a validated statement and would love to see that info for my own use.

  18. avatarI_Like_Pie says:

    I remove the entire holster to insert my gun rather than try to reholster while wearing IWB. That is what the buttons are for on my hoster and what I use them for.

  19. avatarJACA says:

    Agree and Disagree.

    I use a Remora, and I appendix carry almost elusively.

    When I leave the house it goes appendix. When I get into the car, the whole rig comes out (because it’s a Remora) and goes under my right thigh (If I’m in the Honda) or I simply lay it on the center console between the front seats (if I’m in the truck). The sticky exterior of the Remora won’t allow it to move against the soft vinyl of the center console. Open Carry is legal in my state, but not in certain cities so I might throw a ball cap or a jacket over it on the seat. No issues with seat belts or drawing in this position.

    When I go to the bathroom in public facilities it goes under my armpit and when I’m done it goes back appendix. No holster (or gun) bouncing on the ground and advertising to my neighbor that I’m armed. And since it’s under my arm, there is no chance of me forgetting it behind in the bathroom.

    The gun never leaves the holster during any of this. And the trigger is covered the entire time. If I have to reholster then I take the holster out (because it’s a Remora), reholster the gun and then put the whole rig back in my pants as one item.

    For me, appendix carry is easily the most concealable. And combined with the Remora, it’s the most versatile.

    • avatarAzman says:

      And how do you reholster when doing live fire practice? Not being snarky, genuinely curious. BTW ive only been carrying AIWB for about 10 months but for me it’s a lot more comfortable in a car than iwb @ 4 o’clock

      • avatarJACA says:

        I have to pull out the Remora, reholster “in the air” (for lack of a better term) and then “reinstall” in my belt.

        It does take longer than just ‘sticking it back in there’, but not all that much. We’re talking 5 seconds or so.

        I’m not saying it’s perfect in every way. There are compromises with everything. But for me, the pro’s out weighs the cons.

    • avatarRSAB72 says:

      This is what I do. I have G26 in Highnoon Mr. Softy. It goes AIWB all the time. When I get in the car I pull the holster & gun out together. I never unholster the gun. It goes under my leg while driving. There are times when AIWB is not comfortable. I have tried carrying other positions but my shirt allways rides over the grip when at 3:30 – 4:00. Exposed weapon is a violation of my states CCW law. You can’t carry open while holding a CCW permit in LA. You can open carry without a CCW. So an accidently exposed wepon is open carry and a violation of CCW permit. If a gun goes off while carrying at any positon you could injure or kill yourself or someone stading near your. Fragments from a round hitting a floor can hurt or kill bystandards nearby. That is just as likely as shooting your junk off. That has recenlty happend at a Walmart I belive. Stay safe.

      • avatarKR says:

        Not accurate.

        In Louisiana you can legally Open Carry (where legal) ANY time, even if you have a CCW. This is often misquoted incorrect information.

        Open Carry FTW!

  20. avatarEdwin Herdman says:

    I just remembered the “speed draw” sequence from Miami Vice, again. Jim Zubiena carried the pistol (basically a 1911 firing blanks) appendix-style. Look up the first-season episode “Hit List,” or “Calderone’s Return Part 1,” as it was retitled. You could also just find it on Youtube.

    It was a “practiced” scene, but I bet Zubiena didn’t carry appendix style during his time in competition shooting. He wore his white shirt with only the top button done so he could get at the pistol, which probably won’t work for everyday carry – at least not outside Miami in the ’80s.

    Actually, the more I think about it, the more improbable that scene was…still great fun to watch though. “You stand right there!” My lesson from this: Don’t use your gun to motion where the bad guy should go.

  21. avatarhoppes#9 says:

    I’m an OFWG, and appendix carry a Ruger SR1911 in a Gould & Goodrich IWB leather holster made specifically for the weapon. With the trigger covered and using Condition One, I have no concerns for my marriage tackle. Comfortable enough, too.

  22. avatarWho Knows? says:

    That pic looks like a Dale Fricke Arch Angel holster with a G26 +2 that really wants to be a G19. At 10:00 on that guy is either a BladeTech horizontal mag holster or maybe another of Dale Fricke’s work. Can’t tell.

  23. avatarnshooty says:

    I agree……appendix carry is great! I have a desk job and sit all day and don’t have any issues, I carry a Ruger LC9 in the 3 speed holster. This holster is made for appendix carry and is very comfortable, very concealable, and even has a pouch for my spare mag! Great Article, good to know I am not alone at feeling safe with my heater pointed at my junk.

  24. avatarBob Harvey says:

    A Note from Thunder Ranch today to all his clients……….

    Thunder Ranch
    WARNING: Most of you know that Clint and I are not that WILD about appendix type holsters. IF you use one and use it correctly then thats your gig….continue to do that. Many choose to use this holster and the FACT is that when you are seated the muzzle IS pointed at YOUR privates. You MUST make sure that your finger is OFF the trigger when you get the gun out and keep it out of the trigger guard until you get the gun up into the threat area. I personally do not like them because I do not want anyone trapping my hand in that area when I go for the gun…but thats Clint and I. We mention this because one of our students who is a Doc just treated a guy this morning that shot himself by mistake in the nuts drawing from his appendix carry holster. He was lucky….he only shot his privates and not his femoral artery…so…just a helping tip for the day…do NOT shoot yourself in the crotch Heidi

  25. avatarRichard says:

    I don’t carry this way anymore (I’ve developed a bit of a muffin top over the past 5 years), but when I did I made it a habit to remove the holster to re-holster. Training can make the draw stroke safe, but any obstruction can cause discharge during re holstering. This was a pain in the ass at the range, but it made me feel much better about the safety factor.

  26. avatarTAM says:

    I have gone to appendix carry most of the time. I live in South FL and the majority of the year I’m in a t-shirt or polos and shorts. When I first started carrying I used to carry in a Crossbreed or similar in the 4:00 or 5:00 position however I quickly found (thank God it was just the wife) that anytime I would bend over like in a store the gun would print pretty badly, I added a cover button down shirt over my t-shirt but then I had to worry about the wind blowing my shirt open. I found that I spent so much time worrying about printing or exposing my firearm that I really wasn’t comfortable. I switched over to appendix carry on the advice of someone I trust and I haven’t looked back. I can now wear just a t-shirt untucked and carry a decent sized firearm. I will also say you MUST invest in a good strong holster don’t skip on some cheap thin holster. I prefer molded leather although the new ones from Crossbreed look interesting, whatever you get just make sure it is stiff and won’t deform into the trigger guard. Also accidents can happen no matter what, for me I personally prefer a manual safety on the majority of my firearms (I know they aren’t 100% but it’s what I train with and I feel confident enough). Heck you could re-holster at 4:00 and still kill yourself.

  27. I love appendix carry. I’ve been carrying this way since 2011 and rarely change to anohter method. I find it very easy for a slim guy to keep a Glock 23 concealed. The only thing I would add other than what you said is increase the trial time. It took me a while to get used to it. A week isn’t that long. After a week I was still anoyed by it at times and still trying to find my sweet spot.

    Good luck and really do give appendix carry a fair shot.

  28. avatarMark Lloyd says:

    At 57 and carrying since I was 21, I have carried every way except an ankle holster. I never got into cross draw either, but shoulder, small of the back, 4 and 3. Appendix for concealed carry has been the ticket. Obviously one size doesn’t fit all, but for general everyday carry, this is by far the fastest, least obtrusive, most concealable method of carry.
    Yes guys have to get over the fact they have a firearm pointed at things that most guys are very attached to, but that fact is easily overcome. Proper weapon handling is crucial….absolutely crucial! If you are practicing with an automatic and re-holster the weapon with the action still set in single action and your finger is on the trigger, you will shoot yourself.
    All other positives to appendix carry are covered in the article. I carry a Sig P229 and it doesn’t dig in anywhere. It doesn’t get me in the belly, and I can carry all day and not be bothered by the weapon.

  29. avatarScott says:

    I went to the link you posted of the site you got your holster at but couldn’t find the holster that is in your photo (the kydex looking holster). What holster is that in the photo?

    Thanks!!

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