In Defense of Appendix Carry

I used to live in The People’s Republic of California. If a resident aspiring to exercise their right to bear arms managed to get an elusive concealed carry permit in the gun-averse Golden State, concealed meant CONCEALED. No, zero, zilch, nada, absolutely no printing, please!

Some citizens in California freak out over pictures of guns. If they even think you might be carrying, it can be cause for alarm. Alarm meaning hassle for the law-abiding gun toter, or worse. Believe it or not, that possibility is mentioned in concealed carry classes.

The most effective way for my body type to hide my concealed carry gun (the only one of two guns I was allowed to conceal because your permit is gun-specific in California): the appendix position.

I spent a lot of time practicing my draw and getting used to the belly band. Once I tucked the Kydex into the waistband of my jeans and secured it with a belt, I could conceal my gun completely.

While more secure, Kydex holsters aren’t anywhere near as comfortable as my appendix carry belly band. If I wear a Kydex holster, when I get home, I move the holstered gun to my hip and don’t bother hiding it.

Several gunnies said, “If you can conceal in appendix you can conceal on your hip.” But for some women, myself included, this simply isn’t true.

Appendix carry isn’t the best carry option for everyone. Those who carry extra weight in the belly can find it inefficient and uncomfortable. Others object to the idea of having a loaded gun pointed at their privates and/or femoral artery.

The bottom line? Appendix carry is perfect for those who find it comfortable and practical, taking into account your method of dress and how well you need to conceal the gun.

comments

  1. avatar sammyi says:

    The major problem with appendix carry, is that the gun is pointing at your body–see safety rules.

    In your photos, it appears that the gun is pushed into the bellyband too far and partially covers the grip. This prevents you from getting a complete grip prior to the draw.

    How stable is it when rolling around the ground in a fight??

    Some folk say that appendix carry is faster than belt, and it is highly defendable in a gun grab.

    1. avatar Ryan says:

      Carry a gun,…and eventually you will “muzzle” someone, including yourself so there’s that silly myth debunked. Appendix carry is perfectly safe if you carry in a quality holster that completely covers the trigger. Take a modicum of care when holstering or reholstering and there is nothing to worry about.

      1. avatar Sammy says:

        Yup, nothing to worry about if everything is done right. Fact is that its not always done right, hence the term “negligent discharge.”

        1. avatar MLee says:

          Like Sara said, it’s not for everyone. I would especially not recommend appendix carry for newbies, the inexperienced or idiots. Only you know if you’re an idiot. No gun, no carry method, no caliber, no holster is perfect for everyone for every situation. I carry appendix 100% of the time I carry, unless in some training class where I use a more traditional Blackhawk Serpa style holster. Appendix provides extremely quick presentation with long term comfort with easy of draw while seat-belted.

        2. avatar Mikial says:

          First off, I don;t like appendix carry simply because i find it uncomfortable when sitting or bending over. However, NDs occur in every conceivable circumstance and situation, and while appendix carry does indeed mean that the gun is pointing toward your femoral artery, that is not the only situation when an HD could kill you. So, if you don;t ;like it, don;t use it. But everyone has their preferences and the author makes sense in the article.

      2. avatar Jer says:

        You haven’t debunked anything. Pointing a firearm with a chambered round at something or someone creates a danger to that thing or person. The fact that this will inevitably happen inadvertently even with conscientious handling doesn’t make that danger go away. And in those cases, the gun will only be pointed at that thing or person very briefly. With appendix carry, the gun is pointed at you, not for a brief moment here and there, but for the entire time you are carrying it, including when you are handling the firearm so you can holster or place it in your waistband.

        1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

          There really isn’t any 100% “safe” direction anywhere, except maybe on an outdoor range. When you carry a gun, no matter HOW you carry it, it will be pointed at something you do not want to destroy often, or even most of the time unless you are alone, out in the woods, but no guarantees even there. Life is risky… and the only 100% safe place is in a coffin in the ground.

          The golden rule is to keep your finger and everything else off the trigger until YOU decide to pull it. If that one rule is the only one you manage to keep consistently, there’s little danger from where the gun is pointed. It’s not going to “go off” all by itself. Of COURSE nobody wants to point it carelessly ever, but you simply can’t guarantee that a gun in your holster (or any one else’s) will never cover something you wouldn’t want to shoot.

          That being said, carry as you will of course, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that any carry method will always prevent someone or something from being muzzled. Not happening.

    2. avatar Arc says:

      I don’t want a pistol pointed at a significant piece of personal identity. I don’t care the setup, unacceptable.

  2. avatar pwrserge says:

    For me, the femoral artery is the big one. I can live a perfectly good life with just one ball, I’m not likely to survive a jacketed hollowpoint hitting my femoral artery. I suppose it’s one of those things that you can get around with proper training, but my main problem is that the act of holstering requires me to muzzle myself with a loaded striker fired gun. Given the number of people who have given themselves a case of Glock ass over the years with 3 o’clock carry, I’m not a huge fan of running that risk. Then again, I don’t live in a “printing” state. Illinois CCW only requires a “mostly concealed” standard.

    1. avatar Vanbulance says:

      I rarely, if ever, make a regular point of holstering while wearing my rig. Remove rig, place gun, place rig. Pretty easy.

      I was much more comfortable holstering in appendix when I had a DA/SA CZ P-07. With a Glock 19, much less so.

      And as far as “speed reholster,” I don’t know why I would be reholstering quickly- if I need to be fast, there is a threat, so why reholster?

      1. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

        I do just the opposite. I put on the holster, then put the gun in the holster. I would rather not have the gun inside as I try to reposition the holster to where it’s most comfortable/concealable.

        1. avatar MLee says:

          Supposedly that is incorrect. It’s being taught, at least with the Sticky Holsters to remove the holster from your waistband, insert the weapon in the holster, then stuff the whole thing in your waist. I suppose it’s an extra step to keep ones finger away from the trigger or snagging it somehow.
          As someone pointed out, I’m way more comfortable with my P229 and the stout DA pull it has. I’d have to be a moron to shoot myself with that weapon. I confess that I don’t remove my holster to re-holster, although it was wondered why you would be re-holstering in the first place. I do because sometimes I’m in the mood to practice drawing my weapon. I’m thinking that it’s probably safer to remove the holster prior to re-holstering, particularly with strikers.

    2. avatar unknown says:

      No Glocks for me, I cross draw IWB with true DA guns or guns with a safety. This for me is total concealment, I ignore ‘unarmed victim zone’ signs. Taking off the safety before the draw is completed is second nature. Safety reengaged for holstering. Have my own range so I have the luxury of drawing with live fire.

    3. avatar Jeff A says:

      Am I the only one who has never read or heard the term “Glock ass” before?

      I’m still laughing.

  3. avatar BLoving says:

    Given the physique of many women, appendix carry works because of the loose fabric over the belly. A woman’s hips often cause printing when a piece is holstered to the side. As for safety – “keep your booger hook off the bangswitch” as we like to say.
    In any case, it still beats the hell out of purse carry.

    1. avatar FlamencoD says:

      Or you could replace that statement with “as we like to say, don’t point the gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy”. That rules out appendix carry.

      1. avatar Jeff K says:

        Would agree if you carry glock, otherwise no.

  4. avatar adverse4 says:

    Is that your appendix, or are you just glad to see me?

  5. avatar Vhyrus says:

    As a fat person I find this post highly offensive and othering. You flat stomach people wouldn’t understand.

    1. avatar Robert T Foy says:

      Oh’ come-on, your favorite cc is your cookie bag!

      1. avatar Ing says:

        I’m a proud open-carrier, myself.

        1. avatar Jeff K says:

          Hard to open carry in GFZ’s

    2. avatar BLoving says:

      Yeah, Sara didn’t really state clearly that having to reach around and under a barrier of flub might rule out appendix carry. Hot, fit people always seem to assume everyone lives as actively as they do.

  6. avatar Vhyrus says:

    But seriously, if you’re that concerned about printing, just pocket carry.

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      I hate to say this, but do you realize how many Women’s jeans have FAKE pockets. Yeah, as in they have the hole for them but no pocket inside. It’s absurd I realize, but a sad truth. I always give my wife grief about it because it’s one of those things about clothes I don’t get. Like paying extra so some child in a third world country can tear holes in them.

  7. avatar HamChuck says:

    Travis Haley had a good video about appendix carry. In it he demonstrates how someone can muzzle themselves with strong side and small of back carry as well as appendix. While I personally carry appendix, I was conserned enough about the possibility of catching the trigger on my Glock 19 when reholstering that I switched to carrying my CZ P07 even though I shoot better with the 19. That is until the guys at Tau Development Group came up with “The Gadget” for the Glock. 500 failure-free rounds later and I’m back to carrying the Glock. If you carry one, I’d give them a look.

    1. avatar Cubbie says:

      Very interesting device. While I appendix carry a revolver, I’d consider carrying a semi-auto differently given the lighter and shorter trigger. This would alleviate some of that concern, especially when reholstering.

  8. avatar Cubbie says:

    Initially I was set against appendix carry for reasons others have mentioned and carried exclusively IWB/OWB in the 3 o’clock position. I still side carry if I’m in a suit or blazer, but I primarily carry appendix now. I can’t recall why I decided to give it a try, but I’ve found it more comfortable and less likely to print. I carry an LCR revolver in a stiff DeSantis leather holster and have had no issues with retention or draw, and that’s working in construction where I’ve been from crawl spaces to roofs climbing, crawling, reaching, and bending.

    1. avatar FlamencoD says:

      “…and less likely to print, and more likely to shoot myself in the jewels or femoral artery .” Fixed it for you.

  9. avatar kevin says:

    I’m concerned about the femoral artery thing, but still carry appendix. Its easier to conceal a moderate size gun and easier to retain. For me, it’s usually a little more comfortable (depending on what I’m doing). The fact that it’s pointed at my nuts just makes me a little more cautious. Doing IDPA-style matches with an appendix holster helps build good habits.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    I recognize that appendix carry is as safe as any other form of carry (if done properly). If it wasn’t, we’d be reading daily reports about guys named Ischotmi Balzoff who have severely damaged their reproductive parts. So, yeah, it’s safe.

    And it still creeps me out.

  11. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    The risk of a negligent discharge seems most likely during the act of reholstering when something might get caught inside the trigger guard as you advance the pistol in to the holster. With appendix carry, you have a clear view of exactly what you are doing. Hip carry, not so easily done. Thought of that way, appendix carry might actually be significantly safer than other methods of carry, as the act of reholstering is always in your field of view. My favorite method for carrying a Glock AIWB is with a Vanguard device from Raven Concealment. Reholstering with that is a moot point anyway.

    1. avatar Jeff K says:

      Looked up Vanguard device from Raven Concealment; to me a cumbersome idea. But if you are die hard glock, it makes sense. However glocks make no sense to me.

  12. avatar Hannibal says:

    I’ll carry that way but when I do it’s with a hammer-fired gun with a heavy trigger OR a gun with a manual safety.

    It’s a viable option, though.

  13. avatar fteter says:

    The more I learn about concealed carry, the more I’m convinced there is no one right answer. Things that work for one person may not work for another. Heck, even things that work for one person carrying one gun may not work for the same person carrying another type of gun (I know I can’t carry my CZ-82 the same way I carry my Mak).

    If appendix carry works for you, especially with a belly band, then that’s what you should go with. The important things here are: 1) safe and relatively comfortable concealment, and 2) drawing the gun when you need it.

  14. avatar Hank says:

    I’m just gonna say it. There’s something awkwardly hot about a woman concealing a gun in her groin.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “There’s something awkwardly hot about a woman concealing a gun in her groin.”

      Hank, allow me to introduce you to Miss Dallas Archer:

      http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/04/daniel-zimmerman/irresponsible-gun-owner-day-dallas-archer/

  15. avatar Skoon says:

    Doesn’t appendix carry push into ones groin every time they sit down?

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Depends on your barrel length 🙂

      1. avatar nimda007 says:

        So size DOES matter!

  16. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    If you can find some way to ensure that your handgun cannot discharge when carried at your appendix position, fantastic.

    Carrying with an empty chamber is a guaranteed way to avoid shooting yourself. Of course carrying with an empty chamber has its own problems.

  17. avatar Mark T says:

    Appendix carry works perfectly for me. I can carry a Kahr PM9, or full size Glock 17, all day with no issues in a kydex holster. Hip carry has never been comfortable for me.

    Yes, there are times when the muzzle is pointed at you, which is why a always use a kydex holster and never a fabric based one. In my opinion the trigger should be covered with plastic, not fabric. And always keep a close eye on your trigger when/if you need to re-holster to be sure nothing gets between it and your holster.

    1. avatar Jeff K says:

      Really don’t like Kydex or Glocks & don’t use either, but I do like appendix carry.

      1. avatar Mark T says:

        yeah, it’s all personal preference and whatever works for your body type.

  18. avatar GS650G says:

    A DA gun would be a better choice for me, striker pistols without external safeties are too risky.

  19. avatar JohnS says:

    Slight expansion: CA *law* mentions nothing at all about printing; there’s no Penal Code definition for it. CA *issuing agencies* seem to expect a CCW gun to actually be concealed.

    And as Sara notes, the rare GFW who might be observant indeed might make a (wo)man-with-gun call to local LE.

  20. avatar FlamencoD says:

    I cringe when I think of where those barrels are pointing when she sits down (or anyone who appendix carries for that matter). Why do people harp so hard on the 4 gun safety rules, then blatantly break it to carry the gun? Doesn’t make any sense. Don’t point the gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy, remember? Oh, you only have to obey the rules some of the time? I see.

  21. avatar Ed says:

    Here’s a novel idea…how about buying/ carrying a pistol that you CAN conceal without having to muzzle your femoral artery and naughty bits? A full size double stack pistol (looks like an XDM) is a bit large of a frame to have as a ccw when you’re a petite framed female. A XDS, Shield, PPS ect. Also, how likely are you to end up in a combat situation where anywhere close to19+ rounds are going to be needed? The excuse of ” I can’t hide it anywhere else..” is invalid. I can’t hide my redhawk on my person unless I try sticking it up my ass…that alone makes it NOT a concealable option for me…kinda like a full size XDM is for her. I was taught you NEVER point a gun at anything your not willing to destroy, especially your BALLS. Get a gun you can carry properly FFS.

    1. avatar FlamencoD says:

      So much reason, some people might take offense. Why do people jump down people’s throat when they see someone taking a photo and their finger is on the trigger, but have no problem with appendix carrying and muzzling their junk or legs? Makes no sense.

  22. avatar Robb says:

    I appendix carry a Glock 19 everyday in a Hopp Custom Leather single clip holster, and i have a gut. I may be lucky but my gut allows my shirt to hang out enough to hide the weapon most of the time. Even in a tee shirt.

  23. avatar Barry says:

    I will agree, when doing my CCW class in the people’s rupublik of california, it was stressed that the sheriff fully expected there to be no “man/woman with gun” calls reported to his office or the local PD because someone saw your “concealed” gun. Is this law? I don’t think so, but the local agencies have no time to deal with such issues.
    When I first received my CCW I was terrified that I would print and have some rabid anti gunner pointing and doing their best impression of a pod person shriek, followed with a sky full of helicopters and swat teams in tanks rolling up on me. So, having a tiny XDs and two 1911s on my permit, I carried only the XDs until it finally sank in, that no one notices except other CCW people and LEOs. Finally I began to venture out with a full size 1911 with an inside waistband holster. Appendix carry? Uh, no.. not yet.

  24. avatar PW in KY says:

    Honest question: Do rigs for conceal carry in the AIWB position sit up higher? I don’t own any, but I tried doing a little comfort testing with some of my other holsters placing them there. I hated it because it was “all up in my business.” I understand it works for others, I have a buddy who conceals in that position. The gun seemed to be fairly well buried into his pants.

    In my experience sitting on the holster at my 4 o’clock is infinitely more comfortable than readjusting EVERYTHING just to sit down.

  25. avatar Buzz Word says:

    I’m set against appendix carry because I rather think that a low-pitched voice is more suitable in a man. If you’re into the ‘instant transgender’ thing, then appendix-carry away to your surgeon’s content. If I feel I might run into trouble, I will do a surreptitious draw without revealing the gun, which gives me the fast draw advantages of appendix carry. Best, for me, is OWB hip.

  26. avatar Crowbar says:

    I have appendix carried various Glocks (19, 23, 30, 43) for better than 20 years now and GASP!!!! no NDs. I have had to quickly draw in a defensive situation, worn them while working, etc., etc. Point being, with a good holster, currently Blade Tech which covers entire trigger guard, and not putting your finger on the trigger unless you are ready to shoot, we all know guns DO NOT just go off. Thank your article Sara.

    1. avatar Ed says:

      “we all know guns DO NOT just go off.”
      Yeah, tell that to Remington. How simple is the concept of NOT ever pointing a loaded firearm at yourself, really? If you wouldn’t put it to your head, why would you point it at your leg or package?
      Caution: lurking operators operating operationally, proceed with extreme prejudice.

  27. avatar mayhem34668 says:

    Sara is an attractive young lady with young children…hope she’s totin something with a grip safety…we would all miss her..

  28. avatar fc sanders says:

    Appendix carry is perfectly safe if a few rules are followed; Only carry either a revolver with its long 8-10 lb trigger pull or carry a DA/SA pistol. A striker fired pistol without a safety is a no/no. Common sense and knowledge rules over everything else when you carry a weapon on a daily basis.

    1. avatar Adam Selene says:

      Agreed.

      I’ve appendix-carried my whole life. Knowledge and a natural desire to avoid shooting my junk off has kept me safe.

  29. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    Just love these verbal chess games. The 9mm vs 45 argument was fun while it lasted, but nobody ever won that war. Nobody will win this one either. 🙂

    If you are interested, look up the “desk rider” holster. I’ve carried an XD compact 9mm in one, roughly at 2 O’clock, for about 10 years now… OPENLY. No trouble either drawing or reholstering. When I CC, it is in a special fanny pack. I have no desire to partially disrobe in order to draw my gun. But that’s just me.

    1. avatar Matt says:

      Underrated toast right here.

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