Appendix Carry AIWB Dangerous IWB Carry Concealed
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If you’ve been following along, you know that we ran a video recently of a carrier whose holstered GLOCK 43 fired when he bent over. He was carrying inside the waistband at 12 o’clock. In other words, AIWB. We took the opportunity yesterday to re-run John Boch’s explainer on why he thinks appendix carry is generally a bad idea.

So in the interest of fairness and equal time, here’s Sara Tipton’s defense of carrying at 11, 12 or 1 o’clock.

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 California permits are gun-specific): 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 say, “If you can conceal in appendix carry, 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. I understand that.

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. For me, it just works best.

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  1. Regardless of the “advantages” of appendix carry, having a loaded gun pointed at your body is NEVER safe.

    Never point a gun at anything you are not willing and ready to destroy.

    How “safe” do you think your gun handling skills will be under the extreme stress and body alarm reaction caused by a life threatening attack?

    • Meh. If you take that rule as literally as you apparently do, no holstered gun is ever going to be “safe”. More often than not, a holstered gun is always going to be pointing at something you don’t want to destroy.

      • DaveR,

        So you can’t tell the difference between a gun pointed along the side of your body and one pointed at your body?

      • “If you take that rule as literally as you apparently do”

        Your seeming contempt for basic safety rules is troubling.

        That aside, to me the problem isn’t when the gun’s in the holster, but if seated while drawing it’s literally impossible to avoid pointing the loaded gun at yourself. Drawing from 4 o’clock IWB (or a cross-draw OWB mentioned below) can be done safely from any position.

        • Drawing from any position *can* be done safely, just as drawing from any position can be unsafe. Ask bubba here:

        • “Drawing from 4 o’clock IWB (or a cross-draw OWB mentioned below) can be done safely from any position.”

          Interesting idea, but….

          I tried to simulate cross-draw, and couldn’t ensure to always not muzzle someone/thing I didn’t want to shoot. I did a very slow, jerky movement to force the barrel to point down, away from me and everyone else, and bring the muzzle up for firing. Got that to work, but as soon as I tried drawing faster, the movements broke down, and the muzzle ended up pointing at something other than the target.

      • Ever pocket carried in a front pocket? Every time you sit down that muzzle is pointed straight ahead. One day I realized I had a 9mm 147hr HST pointed right at the groin of the individual sitting across from me. Even in a quality pocket holster, a striker-fired gun doesn’t instill much confidence as a negligible chance of smoking someone. Since then I only pocket carry pistols that absolutely cannot be fired without multiple steps. One example is an XD-S (grip safety), but the best is an NAA revolver with the hammer sitting in one of the half-notches between cylinders. You have to cock the hammer anyway to fire it, so it doesn’t slow the draw, but it sits there as harmless as a handgun can be while in its pocket holster. A pocketed handgun is usually just a backup to a real handgun in an IWB or OWB rig at the 4 o’clock position anyway.

        Back to the article: appendix carry is retarded, but it’s a free country and I won’t argue with someone that defends pointing live rounds at their crotch.

        • The guy who shot himself in the video from 3:00 likely violated rule #3. His finger was on the trigger before his sights were on the target. Violate that one and damn near anything can happen.

    • Agreed. Nothing in this post even attempts to counter the safety argument against appendix carry. Accidentally killing myself is higher on my concern list than freaking out some progressive idiot (is that redundant?). I live just across Lake Washington from Seattle, and I go to Seattle at least once a month. I routinely open my car door, get out, pull a holstered hand gun off the map pocket on the door, and place it on my hip, while walking across the parking lot. If that doesn’t bother people, I’m not worried about an accidental reveal if I’m reaching for something on a tall shelf.

      • Jason, your position is understandable for Seattle but Seattle is not the People’s Republic of California. What is tolerated in Seattle is absolutely unacceptable even criminal in the People’s Republic of California. As I stated previously the slightest most minuscule printing can lend her in jail or a shot. I used to communicate commute between Seattle and San Francisco regularly. It is nothing short of a miracle that she got a concealed weapons permit in the first place. Based on your name and risking politically incorrect gender identification, it appears that you are not a woman. Or have a female spouse that carries a concealed weapon. Women’s bodies are very different than yours. No not all solutions are perfect in fact very few are in fact as in this case most are in perfect in one way or another. Don’t judge another until you’ve walked in their shoes or lived in their skin. Obviously you have done neither in this case.

    • The act of drawing a handgun from the strong side, appendix, cross draw, etc always results in part of your body being swept by the muzzle. Holstering strongside always results in sweeping part of the body.

      A holstered gun, in a correctly built holster, is a safe gun. It will not discharge if in mechanically sound condition. This is well known. The gun safety nerds have created an illusion for themselves so they can maintain their belief in safety. The facts are carrying a gun is a risk in and of itself. Drawing a gun has additional risks. Mitigating those risks is a skill that requires attention, but gun safety is not the purpose. Their constant babbling is annoying, but the adults in the room know how to handle them.

    • Sam, you apparently missed her point entirely. She lives in the People’s Republic of California. Any and that means any, the slightest most minuscule bit of printing can land her in jail and have her permit taken or worse. Just because something works for you and your environment does not mean that it works for everybody. For a woman, especially a woman in an environment were 70° temperature is the norm concealing outside the waist band is impossible. Any inside the waistband carry will risk pointing the gun at a body part. 3 o’clock is possible for a woman to carry concealed, they’re called hips. 4 o’clock points a gun at a ladies backside. If you have a practical solution that actually works for a woman to carry concealed you could retire in a year because it’s a dilemma that has plagued women since they began to carry concealed.

  2. Well, you don’t have anything hanging down on the outside to worry about at least.

  3. Kenzie Blye isn’t a problematic body type, and she carries her heater SOB under t-shirts, with zero printing. Yet, the gun is always there when she needs it. You can see her do this weekly (if not daily). Maybe catch a few concealed carry pointers?

    • SOB carry is great right up until you fall on your back and the gun breaks your spine. I have fallen on my back numerous time, mostly on ice.

      Appendix and SOB are the two most dangerous forms of carry.

        • I’d tweak my shoulder drawing that way, but I suppose a small framed woman could do it.

        • That’s why I gave up on it. I couldn’t figure out a draw that wasn’t awkward. Hard to beat for deep concealment, tho.

      • Take a martial arts course and learn how to fall. Granted, there is still a risk during a fight or some other accident, but I think it’s possible to reduce the risk of spinal injury from normal accidents. It all depends on whether concealment is more important than injury risk – which applies to the AIWB also.

        What’s problematic for me about SOB is whether it really conceals as well when bending or twisting as behind or in front of the hip. Everyone recommends squatting down rather than bending, but then there’s the problem of sitting down in a chair and making odd clunking noises at the back of the chair. “That was my wallet” seems unconvincing.

        However, it is also clearly problematic when drawing. It would seem to me that when you reach back and clear the holster, the wrist tends to do a ‘turn and down” that tends to bring the gun away from the body rather than sweeping the body – at least if one practices it that way. The problem point is before the gun clears the holster. Shooting oneself in the spine is not ideal, either.

        In the end, however, any concealment depends on your clothes and your movements. If one is willing to forego wearing very tight, revealing clothes and pay attention to one’s body movements while carrying, it’s likely concealment is adequate in any carry position.

        And there is always off-body carry – provided one has trained with it to be fast enough. Some of those off-body carries have the same risk as AIWB, however, depending on the position of the carry device. A fanny belt worn on the front could leave the gun pointed at the body just like AIWB.

        People have shot themselves in various body parts from probably every possible position. Probably shoulder holster carry is the safest carry but you could still easily shoot yourself in the arm while clearing the holster.

        I guess the bottom line is: make sure of your trigger finger control and make sure one’s holster is clear of obstructions before drawing – which means check it frequently for obstructions, not just when putting it on or taking it off. Without that, any position is unsafe.

        • “Learn how to fall. . .”

          I was born in Alaska, Eons of Our Years Ago. I have been walking on ice since I learned to walk, and I have NEVER been able to adequately predict slipping and falling sufficiently to ‘learn how.’ It has been my experience that slipping and falling happens in a rather unforeseen fashion and in a split second; One instant one is vertical and moving, and the next instant (considering that we fall at about 32ft per second, I am only six feet tall, thus it only takes my head approximately 1/5th second to hit the ground by my imprecise calculations) one is flat on one’s back with the occipital protuberance bouncing off the ice with an interesting ‘cocoanut’ sound.
          By that point, it is FAR too late to remember if you ever ‘learned how to fall.’
          Lucky ‘fallers’ only fall on a tailbone, or hip, or shoulder, or elbow, or wrist; UNlucky ones get a spinal compression, a concussion, or just die.
          So. . . Given that we are not going to ‘learn how to fall’ well enough, with the average person’s cat-like reflexes, to be able to control said fall in a fraction of a second while in total surprise, we’d BEST not have anything hard and unyielding in the small of our tender backs, n’est-ce pas?

    • Four hours in Craig Douglas’ ECQC course will cure you of any notion of carrying SOB.

      • “Four hours in Craig Douglas’ ECQC course will cure you of any notion of carrying SOB.”

        As noted, I cannot figure out how to “do” SOB carry. Every whichway I try to draw ends up muzzling parts of me. Also quite problematic trying to re-holster.

        It’s frustrating that all the TV heroes can do SOB without problems, but I am too fumble fingered.

        • I have carried a 1911 .45 in the small of my back for almost ten years. Never had a problem with the pistol pointing at my body during drawing or reholstering. I also carry two NAA revolvers in my front pockets.

  4. I pocket-carry. Nevertheless, I am paranoid about an ND. Accordingly, I have carried my single-action semi-automatic in Condition 2. Recently, I switched to a revolver after having it modified to be single-action only.

    Under either practice, I would have to make 2 distinct stupid mistakes to have a ND.

    By habit from childhood, I’m comfortable with the idea of cocking the hammer before expecting any bang from the trigger-pull.

    If one were inclined to try appendix carry, it seems to me unlikely that s/he would be inclined to both cock the hammer and then pull the trigger before clearing leather.

    • Recently, I switched to a revolver after having it modified to be single-action only.

      Really? Don’t you think that’s going a little overboard? I mean, I do carry a single action revolver sometimes on horseback, but I don’t consider a cowboy revolver a top choice for every day carry self-defense even aside from size/weight considerations. Even on horseback I’m more likely to be found with a DAO or DA/SA revolver most of the time.

      There is a reason the entire snub-nose industry is DAO or DA/SA and there’s not a single compact production SA-only revolver option in a caliber larger than .22 magnum.

      • “there’s not a single compact production SA-only revolver option in a caliber larger than .22 magnum.”

        Talo Ruger Vaquero with 3.75″ barrel, birds-head grip, in .45 ACP or .45 Colt. I carried one all day, every day until moving back to the city after two decades. Now it is a 80%/20% split favoring my 1911 at night. Cimarron makes their Lightning .38 special in 3.50″ and birds-head grip as well as other concealable models in calibers above .22 Mag. There are options for EDC of single actions in respectable calibers if one is interested in looking. Generally, I prefer SA revolvers. It’s what I was first taught to shoot as a child by my great uncle (an old pistolero and on/off deputy in his youth, ancient in age by my early youth) so they are pretty much second nature to me.

      • He said he had it”converted” to single action only. I’m guessing he meant DAO. To my knowledge you can’t convert a conventional DA to SAO.

    • Right. I thought her last article was in 2016 when literally every TTAG reader out there took her to the woodshed for preferring Hillary winning to Trump. Same with firearms concierge.

    • This must be an old contribution. She sounds like a conservative here. Personally, I really have no interest in reading anything she has to say.

  5. Much like caliber wars, carrying small is better than not carrying at all. We have tried all sorts of stuff for my wife and she would rather not carry unless it is appendix or open, and she does not want to open carry day to day in town. So appendix it is and lots of practice!

  6. I find that not having a round chambered makes any carry – including appendix – safe.

    • I was going to mention this. If you must carry in the appendix position, it might be wise to carry with an empty chamber, especially if you are carrying in a belly band which could allow a hard object to actuate the trigger.

    • I’m surprised this isn’t mentioned as a viable option more often. What percentage of DGUs require such a quick draw that an extra second or two turns a win into a fail?

      • Rod Parker,

        Certainly there are plenty of self-defense situations where the extra one second it takes to wrack the slide on a semi-auto handgun still allows the defender to prevail. There are also some situations where that could prove fatal for the defender.

        I am more concerned about the fact that carrying with an empty chamber requires the defender to wrack the slide before he/she can shoot: that adds a step that a defender could easily bungle under the stress of a real self-defense event. I think that creates much more risk for the defender than adding one second to their draw-and-shoot time. (If the defender bungles wracking the slide, they could easily become flustered to the point that they never bring their self-defense handgun to bear.)

        • “(If the defender bungles wracking the slide, they could easily become flustered to the point that they never bring their self-defense handgun to bear.)”

          Interesting conundrum: the least trained should “Israeli carry” as a safety measure; the least trained are more likely to bungle the slide when defense is required.

        • That’s a good point. You might also be screwed if you’re grappling. Trayvon could’ve been an honor student at an ivy league school if the white hispanic had some Israeli in his training.

  7. Meh…I will never point a gun at my junk/femoral artery. I don’t care what anyone does(especially dancing FBI agents)😧

  8. That’s one reason I’m not a big fan of over sized tires on vehicles that do not have flaired fenders, they seem to get the sides of your vehicle covered with debris also chipping the paint with small stones ejected by the tread of the tires. I do like her boots very much.

  9. I would think that with a good safety and a stiff SA/DA handgun(or maybe a mag safety with the mag not clicked in completely), you could be OK. I live here in Ca(LA County), so CCW is a moot point for me. Something could be rigged to keep the mag from inserting all the way until you pulled it(I am thinking a Mak or P-64 here with a tight fit mag). No way would I even think that a Glock(or any trigger safety handgun) should be carried this way.
    In the 50s-70s, some undercover cops used a woman’s girdle and a snubbie for their duty gun with appendix carry.

  10. TRex arms aide car is by far one of the best AIWB holsters on the market. With proper training, it’s as safe to carry AIWB as any other form.

    • You have to keep in mind that likely 1/10 people will seek and apply the “proper training”. Most people talk about safety and caution l the time, but very few of them practice and learn enough to instinctively behave in a safe manner at all times.

  11. yet another “i’m too smart for that to happen to me”
    if you don’t have something covering your trigger guard while you are carrying it, i’m just not too sure of your mental capacity. ESPECIALLY since you know better!!!
    “know your target and whats behind it” in this case…its your GENITALIA!
    i can’t believe people think its not a big deal to muzzle sweep their crotch with a loaded gun. hell, its not a muzzle sweep, you a literally pointing it at YOURSELF!
    but agian im sure your too smart for that to happen to you.

  12. Safety-less gun + non-firearm specific holster + appendix carry = Matter of time

    Sure you can appendix carry
    Sure you can carry a glock or some other safetyless gun
    Sure you can use a universal holster

    Doing all three at the same time?…..bad plan.

    • Kyle,

      That has to be best, simplest, and most accurate analysis possible to illustrate the danger of appendix carry.

  13. ” Lots of people freak out even at the picture of a gun”. Lots of mental illness in Commiefornia.

    • Yup, it’s why we can’t have nice things. We used to have OC, until Ronnie Reagan and the State Legislature were terrified by armed Black Panthers in the capitol building, and then we lost OC unloaded about five years ago because soccer moms were afraid that their children’s delicate sensibilities (or theirs, since they tell their kids how they should feel about guns)would be forever damaged by the sight of an unloaded handgun. Unloaded rifles followed the next year. Add to that the Ninth Circus said that we do not have a right to concealed carry permits, and pretty soon we expect that it will rule that our so-called right to open carry (which is literally nonexistent because of the GFSZA anyway) is subject to “reasonable regulation in the public interest,” such that the ban on OC in all urban areas is constitutional.

  14. Someone should make a AIWB holster with ballistic polyurethane at the muzzle, that extra half inch of plastic might save a life

  15. “Never point a gun at anything you are not willing and ready to destroy.” sez the guy wearing the horizontal shoulder-rig that points indiscriminately at everyone behind him. Neither the horizontal shoulder holster nor the waistband holster should be a danger to anyone as long as they properly protect the trigger while carrying, drawing, and holstering the firearm.

  16. Carry how you want, just don’t endanger me.

    I see a lot of people carrying this way, which means they aren’t really concealed, but YMMV. Since open carry is “by right” here in Alaska, it doesn’t matter from a legal standpoint, but I don’t think most people realize how obvious it is they have a gun tucked in the front of their pants.

  17. The debate ref. AIWB is silly. IMHO cross-draw OWB is the Perfect carry for me. Now come on out “experts”. PS can’t find a decent CD holster US made for a good price. Had to go to Slovokia! No carry position is perfect. All require practice. And you don’t have to carry enough firepower to take on MS-13.

  18. Really? Rehashing this tripe from someone we were glad to see go? Anyone who thinks apendix carry is a good Idea should seriously keep carrying this way. Please.

    • The trick is to know what you’re doing and not blow your dick off in a hurry.

      Seriously, big-kid rules here people. KYFOTFT and clear your clothing and make sure your holster properly secures the entirety of your trigger guard.

      If you still get he heebie-jeebies then don’t do it. I’ll carry this way and not print like a jackass when wearing a t-shirt in hot weather.

  19. Let’s see…
    ” Appendix carry is perfect for those who find it comfortable and practical”

    You mean perfect for the guy in that video that shot himself with a ND? I guarantee he has previously said or thought the same words as all those who appendix carry, that it “won’t happen to me because I’m not an idiot and my safety is between my ears.” Blah blah.

    Sara presents no argument except for comfort and concealment. What about the safety issues-crickets. Because you can’t argue those.

  20. If you like appendix carry, carry that way.

    If you don’t, carry some other way.

    No moralizing necessary, either way.

  21. Appendix carry? No. Appendix carry with a belly band? Hell no.

    Sure is a lousy comment system ya got here.

  22. C’mon, people. I thought that under both the old and the new ownership there was a request to not go for the ad hominem attacks. No reason to attack Sara Tipton in the way that some have done. So many previous posts about the need for women to feel comfortable as POTG and here is a female POTG being dissed for her complexion, called everything short of a dumb broad, etc. Not good. Not necessary. She took risks writing for the old site – give her some credit. IWB carry is not easy as we all know, and an individual function of the person’s body shape, the size of the gun, and the dress code. I absolutely agree with many of you that carrying a striker fired short trigger handgun without a safety AIWB and hot is a disaster waiting to happen, but after that, it may not be perfect but comes down to individual preference.

  23. Maybe if you Israeli appendix carry. But even then, if you have a DGU you might not be thinking clearly and forget to clear the weapon before holstering.

  24. I appendix carry a Glock 26. Doesn’t bother me at all. It’s by far the most comfortable and easy for me to conceal. To each their own

  25. Even with loose shirts, a gun on my hip is very obvious. I guess I have wide hips. The only place I’ve found that can reliably conceal is aiwb. The under the arm kinda works with a few limited clothing options. So my options at this time usually are appendix, or don’t carry. Thanks for the post.

  26. I disagree with your statement because you can carry on the hip you just choose not to wear the proper clothing, as most women prefer the side hugging figure forming shirts and to flaunt their bodies in the appendage carry pics. Your top photo is a great example of that because the loose secondary garment will easily cover that handgun and the dark color will stop a lot of print.
    Weapon size choice often plays into where you carry too. Some are too big for one area so appendage might be the better solution. It’s not the best solution for physical confrontations by any means.
    BTW I don’t care where you carry as long as you do and train. My choice is not to and living in free America it’s not a big deal because we all have guns so the occasional print doesn’t freak anyone out.

  27. You folks sound like the gun grabbers that want to ban guns after a shooting. “AIWB it wrong because Nevada guy tucked his shirt inside his trigger guard.” Carrying requires knowledge, training, and complete discipline. Get some AIWB training and move on.

  28. I carry my Beretta Nano 9mm AIWB in a Blackhawk TecGrip holster with a round in the chamber. The Nano has a decocker button on the right side, slightly below the slide. It decocks the striker and disengages the trigger. To recock the striker, you pull the slide back about a half inch and let go….something that I practice doing quite often to build muscle memory. As I draw with my right hand, just as the muzzle clears the holster and I slightly point it out from my body, I bring my left hand up to the rear of the slide, pull the slide back a half inch, let go and continue into my two hand grip. It’s all one smooth continuous movement. The gun is never able to inadvertently discharge while in the holster and secured in the appendix position as the striker is never cocked, and the trigger is dead until I recock it during the draw.

  29. Do you forget your car keys and have to go back and get them ?
    Do you misplace your keys , wallet , purse , phone , pocket knife or perhaps your cash ?
    Do you have a routine that you follow in life , always aware of your surroundings and of those things you find essential to day to day life ?
    If you cannot answer yes to these questions , then leave your gun in the safe and don’t endanger yourself and those around you with carrying at any position , in or outside your britches .
    The most important aspects to daily carry are routine and awareness .
    1. Do not take your firearm in or out of it’s confines with a finger on the bang button .
    2. Practice draw and re-holster often , unloaded .
    3. When appropriate , practice draw and re-holster , loaded and discharge under stress . Competition and reward will create this environment best .
    4. Remember , speed is only as good as your ability to safely place your chosen projectiles into a given target .
    Carry position is about comfort and control . If you practice safe handling procedures ( this includes a secure well made holster designed for your handgun ) , and use the safety features correctly , provided by the weapons manufacture ., you should be fine no matter where you carry on your person .
    I personally do advise appendix carriers to carry something that offers a second or third layer of protection over a striker fire without .
    Know your weapon , be aware and alert , build a routine and practice . Finger off the trigger until target is acquired .

  30. Damn a hottie like her with that shape figure it would be hard to conceal anywhere on their body. Looks good on her where she has it .

  31. Human failings aside, mechanical devices, no matter how well made, carefully maintained can and do sometimes fail. This, in my view, is the major problem with Appendix Carry, as it is known and described. With the above firmly in mind, choose for yourself.

  32. If you like it and train with it follow safe handling rules go ahead.
    Nothing wrong with it as for me it is uncomfortable I prefer hip carry.
    Now if you do decde on any IWB carry go for a polymer or leather over kydex.

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