Appendix Carry for Beginners : Point It At Your Junk

April 1, 2024  
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Categories: Learnin'

by Anthony Winegar

What’s all the hype about regarding Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) Carrying or appendix carry, for short? Let me start by saying that if you are already well versed in the topic and/or have had some training in the topic, what you’re about to read will be way too simple for you.

The following explanation is designed for those who have to google AIWB and, more importantly, how they can get started in the practice. The internet is full of explanations about why, how, etc. Here is one stab at it from a guy who figured it out from watching his friends and colleagues.

Which for the record is not the same as staring at someone’s junk.

I’ve carried a gun to work and off duty for more than 20 years, and I have found that carrying your pistol in the AIWB configuration has several distinct advantages.

Appendix Carry

AIWB (Appendix Inside the Waist Band)

glock 43 aiwb

Smaller guns like this Glock 43 can disappear under a mere t-shirt when carried in the appendix position.

To kick it off, AIWB is for many people far easier to conceal even larger blasters. For example, I can routinely conceal a Sig P320/X300U or G19/X300U combo in an AIWB configuration with minimal cover garments. Is that a big combo to shove down the front of my pants?  Why yes it is, BUT the benefit I get in return is that I have a bigger gun that I am used to shooting with more ammo on board to handle the issue. I carry the biggest gun I can get away with whenever possible, and I have absolutely given briefings to larger, non-LE specific audiences in a suit and tie with a full-sized duty weapon/light combo with little more than the holster’s belt attachment showing.

Smaller guns like a G43 (when appropriate) nearly disappear under something as simple as a t-shirt. I was a kidney/pancake holster guy for a long time, but in the summer trying to conceal the pistol, magazines, and handcuffs resulted in more clothing than I wanted or needed and, most importantly, resulted in slower draws as the gun was not in an ideal position for retrieval. I felt like I was trying to conceal my duty belt in that configuration, and it wasn’t a great long-term solution. Additionally, sitting back on my equipment without the dispersion that my normal ballistic vest offered made it even worse for longer durations.

Second, because of the front placement of the gun during appendix carry, it is inherently ambidextrous. Unlike the hip, kidney, or ankle carry, the gun’s position makes the removal of the cover garment AND the pistol draw simpler. There are no large, cross body movements that waste precious milliseconds. There is little need for awkward reaches as your hand simply falls toward the gun and the cover garment at the same time. All that is needed is coordination and training by the shooter. Speed comes along with that efficiency if you practice it.

In addition to being more efficient for your draw stroke in terms of placement of the gun, AIWB also allows the gun to be accessible from a wider range of positions such as seated positions (including in vehicles), standing, and kneeling. If you think of time as being a holistic unit of measurement, you are shaving time off of your draw stroke when you do not have to change positions simply to access the gun.  Your overall weapons retention also becomes theoretically easier since the gun is within your immediate periphery and grasp.  Unless you have chosen a poor cover garment or printed badly, most average criminals won’t know where your pistol is to begin with, but they are sure to notice that bulge on your hip if for no other reason than they are used to looking there.

The Appendix Carry Holster

appendix carry for the Sig P365

For nearly everybody, the holster is going to sit roughly halfway between center line on your pants and the side seam of your pants, thought the vast majority of people will cheat the gun towards center line. The butt of the pistol will be facing away from centerline. Think of it like putting the gun in your pocket. Of special note here is that a normal appendix carry configuration as described is also potentially going to mean that your belt buckle will not be centerline. Unless my shirt is tucked in, I nearly always start my belt on my left side above the side pocket. This is done to keep the buckle from adding extra bulk to your front and to keep the belt buckle from interfering with the pistol. Your normal daily setup has to adapt to fit your new carry configuration.  Additionally, some mole skin cut out and stuck on parts of the holster will customize your setup and make it more comfortable for you. Find a decent holster or three and don’t be afraid to tweak some things for longer comfort.

raven concealment appendix carry holster

There are drawbacks to the setup as well. For me, the constant notion that there is a pistol pointed at my manhood is something that has never fully gone away. Occasional internet videos of people shooting their crotch off doesn’t help.  If you have grown a “tool shed” around your waistline, you may also have some trouble finding a place for the gun rest.

Picking a stiff belt and quality holster from a trusted manufacturer is a phenomenal place to start. One you have found the setup that works for you, seek out the professionals like Pannone, Defoor, Fisher or Jacques (to name a few) who can set you on the right path to success in the concealable world.

You owe it to your privates to get it right the first time.

Check out more of our content related to concealed carry positions:

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