The Genuine Deal About Appendix Carry


Appendix carry may not be for everyone, but if you're having issues with other carry positions, you should give it a try.

Appendix carry may perhaps not be for absolutely everyone, but if you happen to be getting problems with other carry positions, you must give it a attempt. (Tom McHale/)

LET’S Begin THIS DISCUSSION with a pop quiz. Do not be concerned, it only represents five % of your final grade.

  • &ltp&gtWill you shoot your self in the (fill in the blank) if you carry in the appendix position?&lt/p&gt
  • &ltp&gtIs concealment a lot easier in the appendix carry position?&lt/p&gt
  • &ltp&gtCan you draw more quickly from the appendix carry position?&lt/p&gt
  • &ltp&gtCan a fat guy appendix carry?&lt/p&gt

We’ll discover these concerns, and much more, in this discussion about appendix carry. As a lengthy-time inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster user, I’m accustomed to toting about the bulk and weight of a handgun inside my belt line. What I hadn’t invested time and work attempting is accurate appendix position carry.

My default position for an IWB holster on the waist is usually at the three:30 to four:00 o’clock position (I’m suitable-handed) based on the particular gun and holster mixture. So, is it a significant deal to shift my handgun many inches counter-clockwise? Let’s discover out.

I did most of my testing with two pistols, a Glock 32X and Springfield Armory XD-S, both with Tulster Kydex holsters.

I did most of my testing with two pistols, a Glock 32X and Springfield Armory XD-S, each with Tulster Kydex holsters. (Tom McHale/)

I embarked on the fantastic appendix carry experiment utilizing two pistols that are far much more suitable (study: straightforward) to carry in that position than the significantly bigger pistols I ordinarily tote about: a Glock 43X and a Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm.

For comparison, I ordinarily use either a Sig Sauer P229 Legion 9mm, a Beretta APX RDO with a Trijicon RMR optic, or a Beretta PX4 Compact Carry 9mm. Although two of these are labeled “compact” on the box, none of them would be thought of compact. Having said that, I have no problems carrying any of them in the typical IWB side position.

Tulster holsters are great for either appendix or strong-side carry. You can order a variety of cool finishes like this carbon fiber pattern.

Tulster holsters are fantastic for either appendix or robust-side carry. You can order a assortment of cool finishes like this carbon fiber pattern. (Tom McHale/)

For this experiment, I’ve been utilizing two comparable Tulster holsters for the 43X and XD-S. These are higher-excellent pieces of gear, and the side advantage is that they operate just fantastic as regular IWB holsters as well if it turns out that appendix carry is not your issue. The physique is produced from vacuum-formed Kydex and the single huge clip is injection molded.

A slot in a single of the two clip screw holes enables you to adust the cant angle from to 30 degrees. There are subtle attributes for significant customers as well. The trigger guard region is undercut, so it is straightforward to get a right higher grip on the pistol ahead of beginning the draw motion. You can also order models shaped for typical handguns with a light attached.

Final but not least, the enterprise provides customization alternatives. Note the custom carbon fiber and Kryptek finish on the two models shown right here.

Some holsters, like this Tulster model, have adjustable cant angle. Be sure to try both vertical and canted. Canted might conceal easier but you’ll have to bend your wrist sharply to draw.

Some holsters, like this Tulster model, have adjustable cant angle. Be positive to attempt each vertical and canted. Canted may conceal a lot easier but you will have to bend your wrist sharply to draw. (Tom McHale/)

Appendix Carry Pros and Cons


I found I had to crank my wrist aggressively to get a firing grip before starting the draw.

I located I had to crank my wrist aggressively to get a firing grip ahead of beginning the draw. (Tom McHale/)

We typically joke about the “privates area” becoming in the line of fire, but that is not actually the challenge. Irrespective of whether you are of the opinion that “danger” challenge of muzzle position is perceived or actual, the truth is that the muzzle of your pistol points straight towards your femoral artery from specific positions.

When standing or walking, the muzzle may perhaps or may perhaps not be pointing in an undesirable path. That depends on your particular physique variety. If you have a small additional of the “spare tire” in the waist region, that pushes the grip forward which causes the muzzle to angle back toward the physique. If you are lean and imply, the organic gun position when standing may perhaps pretty properly be pointing straight at the ground.

When sitting, it is not possible to steer clear of muzzling your self as the pistol is anchored to the torso and does not move with your leg as it bends. Of course, the gun is holstered, and assuming you are geared up with a right model, the trigger guard is protected, so the handgun can not fire. Really serious appendix carriers take into account this type of muzzling a moot point as the gun is holstered and for sensible purposes, rendered inert because the trigger is covered.


Most agree that the danger connected with a appropriately holstered gun is low. It would take a sequence of seemingly miraculous events for an accident to happen. Having said that, drawing adjustments that status quo.

Not only does the gun move, and potentially muzzle the physique when coming out of the holster, the trigger becomes exposed, and devoid of ideal strategy and trigger finger discipline, the chance for a discharge in an undesirable path exists.

To be clear, the danger connected with lacking strategy is no unique than with any other process of carry. If you carry on the robust side, it is up to you and your constant draw motion to make positive you do not muzzle your self bring the gun forward and that you preserve the trigger finger out of the guard till you have produced a selection to shoot.

The bottom line from a security point of view with the appendix carry draw, in my view, is that it is no unique from most other modes of carry. It is up to you to understand and practice the correction draw motion till it is perfected. There is a single distinction to point out, nevertheless. Be conscious of muzzling persons to your side as you draw from the appendix position.

When a handgun is mounted close to the 3 o’clock position, the muzzle rises from pointing at the ground in an arc that points straight ahead towards the target. With appendix carry, the organic lifting motion of your arm utilizing the elbow points the gun much more to the side till you force the muzzle forward.

It is up to you to make positive you are not muzzling a person. Practice raising the pistol muzzle towards the target ahead of rotating your firing hand to drive the grip into its organic vertical position.

The Tier 1 Axis Slim holster offers a detachable pouch for an extra magazine. Note the paracord attachment. That allows the magazine and gun compartments to bend around the body.

The Tier 1 Axis Slim holster provides a detachable pouch for an additional magazine. Note the paracord attachment. That enables the magazine and gun compartments to bend about the physique. (Tier 1 Holsters/)


There are a couple of schools of believed with regards to secure re-holstering procedures. Because, by default, the muzzle will be pointed at some portion of your physique for the duration of the operation, it is essential to do it suitable.

Appendix carry differs mainly because with robust-side IWB carry, you are not necessarily pointing the muzzle at a crucial physique portion when the gun goes into the holster. It varies with holster and physique shape but in the worst-case situation, the path of an errant bullet would be along the exterior of the leg. Do not get me incorrect, that is not superior either, but it is much less most likely to be a fatal consequence.

Strategy a single of appendix position re-holstering calls for a modified beer belly push. By moving your belt buckle forward relative to the rest of the physique as you re-holster, you are pushing the muzzle and theoretical bullet path away as properly, so a negligent discharge must travel straight to the ground if you do the strategy appropriately. It appears strange but eliminates the need to have to drive the muzzle inward towards the physique.

Strategy two borrows from pocket carry. Eliminate the holster absolutely. Then insert the gun totally and re-pack the complete bunch back into your belt. Because the trigger guard is safely covered, it is not possible for the gun to discharge if you get hung up on belt or clothes as you are re-mounting the holster.

With either process, take your time. Really, when re-holstering with any carry process, attempt to set the planet record for slowest and most deliberate re-holstering process. There is no need to have for tactical re-holstering in your ability set. If you ever need to have to “safe” your gun straight away, for instance, when police are responding to a self-defense encounter, you can set your gun on the ground and stand on it even though displaying your hands are clear. Speed re-holstering is hazardous. Do not do it.

Speed of the Draw

A single purpose that appendix carry is in vogue is that the draw can be more quickly – drastically. If you quit to consider about our physique engineering, the hands and arms are optimized for operation in front of the physique, not on the sides, and in particular not behind the centerline.

When drawing from concealment, all the “work” is in front of you, and that is a organic position that supports dexterity. It is why we train to do items like magazine adjustments suitable in front of our face – that is the regular and most effective operating region exactly where we’re most most likely to encounter a optimistic outcome.

A associated aspect to draw speed is distance. Envision carrying outdoors the waistband at the common three or four o’clock position. From a organic standing position, your firing hand is close to the handgun and basically raising it begins to approximate most of the draw motion. Now consider about undertaking the exact same issue when the handgun is concealed.

Unless you are wearing an open cover garment like a blazer, you will need to have to attain all the way across your physique with the assistance hand to move clothes out of the way.

Note the difference in reach to move your cover garment out of the way. With appendix positioning, a simple bend of the elbow puts your hand in the right place. With strong-side carry, it’s an aggressive and awkward reach.

Note the distinction in attain to move your cover garment out of the way. With appendix positioning, a easy bend of the elbow puts your hand in the suitable location. With robust-side carry, it is an aggressive and awkward attain. (Tom McHale/)

It is a lengthy attain and an awkward motion. The farther to the back you carry, the tougher, and slower, that motion is. When carrying in the appendix position, you can basically bend your assistance arm at the elbow to lift a shirt out of the way. Small attain and motion is necessary. The exact same applies to your firing hand.

A bend at the elbow is all you need to have to begin a draw motion. Each the garment clearing and draw are tight and effective movements with minimal wasted physique portion travel.

Simply raising your arm, using the elbow as a hinge, puts your hand in the perfect position to draw. Appendix carry features great economy of motion.

Basically raising your arm, utilizing the elbow as a hinge, puts your hand in the ideal position to draw. Appendix carry attributes fantastic economy of motion. (Tom McHale/)

All of that translates to quick. The much more effective your motions are and the much less distance your extremities travel., the more quickly you get your handgun out of the holster and into firing position.

Given the way your arm hinges, it’s easy to muzzle someone to your side during the draw, so be sure to avoid this.

Offered the way your arm hinges, it is straightforward to muzzle a person to your side for the duration of the draw, so be positive to steer clear of this. (Tom McHale/)

One way to avoid muzzling the side is to raise the barrel forward rather than lifting your forearm using the elbow.

A single way to steer clear of muzzling the side is to raise the barrel forward rather than lifting your forearm utilizing the elbow. (Tom McHale/)


With its front positioning, concealment is easier—there’s nothing protruding outward from your side to create a visible bulge.

With its front positioning, concealment is easier—there’s nothing at all protruding outward from your side to develop a visible bulge. (Tom McHale/)

Appendix carry ninjas get higher marks in the concealment division. There are a lot of benefits, so let’s breeze by way of some of them.

  • Because your handgun is in the front, you have small danger of brushing a person or one thing on the side. In crowded regions, this can be a actual concern with regular robust-side carry positions.
  • Hugging is in fact a lot easier. With robust-side carry, you have to rapidly present the “off” side if a person comes in for that hug. When carrying in the appendix region, you can basically lean forward at the waist. Couple of persons want to make speak to that low on the physique, so the odds of maintaining your secret are superior.
  • A cover garment bulge is much more visible on the side than in front. Consider about a person hunting at you head on. On the side, there is nothing at all behind the robust-side carry region, so a protrusion shows. When the gun is positioned in the front, your physique is behind any “bulge” so it is largely invisible.
  • Unless you happen to be challenged with some additional spare tire, your chest also aids in concealment. If your chest sticks out farther than your waist, that causes your cover garment to hang loosely in front of the gun rather than on top rated of it.
  • Although technically not “concealment” we must note that safety is outstanding in the appendix position. Your gun is not exposed off to the side. The much more “interior” positioning keeps it beneath your manage.

Appendix Carry Guidelines

So, following providing appendix carry the superior ol’ college attempt, and speaking with a quantity of appendix veterans, I’ve got some ideas that may perhaps support you out.

Ride Height

With most pistols I attempted, carrying even though standing and walking was straightforward and comfy. When the physique and legs are in the exact same line, there’s no stress and carrying in the appendix position is not significantly unique (in terms of comfort) than on the robust side.

Factors got fascinating when I sat in a chair or got into a vehicle. With out some adjustment, I typically located a holstered muzzle jamming into the top rated of my thigh. That is much less than best. To resolve the challenge, at least with subcompacts like the Glock 43X and Springfield Armory XD-S, I discovered to raise the belt and holster just a tad as I sat down.

That produced all the distinction. With the configurations I attempted, I usually had some speak to involving my leg and the base of the holster. Raining the belt basically minimized the stress. Of course, there’s a limit to how higher you can go, so bigger guns, or at least models with longer slides may turn into problematic.

Definitely experiment with the ride height. Raising the whole rig makes a big difference when sitting.

Absolutely experiment with the ride height. Raising the complete rig tends to make a significant distinction when sitting. (Tom McHale/)

Grip Length

If you carry at the a single o’clock position, give or take, there’s a lot of space for a complete size grip to extend towards your side devoid of spoiling concealment—technically speaking.

Having said that, in reality, my additional poundage in the waist region triggered grip length to be much more of an challenge than I anticipated. If your gut has a tendency to push the pistol forward relative to the belt, a longer grip will exacerbate that impact and will be much more most likely to print by way of your cover garment at the bottom finish.

It is not a significant deal, just one thing to be conscious of. Each the Glock 43X and Springfield Armory XD-S worked fairly properly for me. Thinking of that the 43X has a complete height grip, that was a pleasant surprise. I wouldn’t want to go to a bigger pistol, but if you are much more on the lean side, you almost certainly can.

Holster Geometry

You can enhance your odds of appendix carry accomplishment by paying cautious focus to holster geometry and matching offered attributes to your gun and physique shape. There are two positioning angles to aspect into your appendix carry arranging.

To support describe these positions, picture the pistol in its carry position with the muzzle pointed straight towards the ground. Got that mental image?

Grip Position

The 1st geometry aspect is a single of rotation. The suitable appendix holster ought to position the gun so that the grip is encouraged to stick to the curve of your physique in the clockwise path, assuming you are suitable-handed. Unless the grip is pushed back towards your spine, it’ll develop a bulge suitable up front in your cover garment.

The Tulster holster does a strong job of maintaining the grip pressed in towards the physique regardless of whether or not you carry in the appendix or behind-the-hipbone position. Other holster makers take a unique method.

For instance, Tier 1 Holsters have a “wing” on the outer finish of their AGIS and Axis Slim holsters. This spacer device pushes against the belt which causes rearward stress on the grip side of the holster. That assists bring the grip in closer to your physique for superior concealment.

Note the wing on this Tier One holster. That pushes the grip end closer to the body.

Note the wing on this Tier A single holster. That pushes the grip finish closer to the physique. (Tom McHale/)

Vertical Alignment

The other angle that impacts comfort, ease of draw, and concealment is the vertical alignment. If you place a level alongside the slide of your pistol, what’s its orientation? Is it “leaning forward” so the grip is forward of your belt even though the muzzle is pointing much more towards your physique? Is it specifically vertical? Or is the grip becoming pulled in to your physique and forcing the muzzle to move slightly forward?

It is the final of these that is usually preferred for appendix carry. When standing or re-holstering, there’s an additional margin of comfort if the muzzle is not pointed into your physique. This orientation also assists with concealment because the grip is pulled in tight to the physique and will not protrude by way of your cover shirt.

The G-Code Incog Eclipse makes use of a exclusive method to support attain this positioning. The section that attaches to the holster pouch is regular, but the clip segment bends sharply forward. This arrangement shoves the grip of the handgun into the physique even though encouraging the muzzle to point much more forward. That is a advantage for concealment and security.

To get the right fit for your body and gun, you might have to evaluate different options. Left to right, holsters from Tier 1, G-Code, and Tulster.

To get the suitable match for your physique and gun, you may have to evaluate unique alternatives. Left to suitable, holsters from Tier 1, G-Code, and Tulster. (Tom McHale/)

The Net-Net

The complete point of this appendix carry trial was to give it a fair shot and by way of encounter, figure out the actual pros and cons. What did I understand?

I get appendix carry. There are some compelling advantages with concealment, gun safety, and speed and ease of the draw. These are significant advantages when thought of in the context of why you carry a gun in the 1st location.

I get the controversy. Holstered or not, your pistol will point in uncomfortable directions. I get why some schools and instructors ban the practice. I also get why other folks not only tolerate it but encourage and teach appendix carry.

If you are going to give it a attempt, begin with a gun that is friendly to the process, which means a single with a quick to moderate barrel and slide. Also be patient with your positioning experimentation. Tiny adjustments in the side-to-side place and carry height can make significant variations.

So, is it for me? I do not consider so. Possibly I have a couple of as well quite a few additional pounds, but I do not discover it pretty comfy, in particular when sitting or driving. Do not get me incorrect, I firmly think in the “handgun carry must be comforting, not comfortable” college of believed, so I’m not hunting for the flannel shirt version of carry techniques.

Although robust-side hip carry adds weight and stress to the side, I just can not get more than the muzzle stress to my leg when sitting and I struggle with my gut pushing the grip as well far forward. I also have to admit the pessimist in me just will not ever be settled with the complete “muzzle pointing at a significant artery” issue.

On the vibrant side, the Tulster holsters I’m operating with make outstanding robust-side carry rigs, so there’s a optimistic finding out that will support me out.


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