How can it be comfortable to carry a handgun in the appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) position? How do you sit down with appendix carry? We’ve got some tips in the video below as our mini-series on AIWB continues, or you can scroll down and read the full transcript.
CHRIS: Hey guys, Chris here from LuckyGunner.com. Today we’re continuing our mini-series on Appendix Inside the Waistband carry. Last week, I talked about overcoming some of the challenges specific to appendix carry for bigger guys and now I want to look at a concern that I hear from people of all sizes and that is how to make appendix carry more comfortable.
A lot of people seem to prefer the feel of appendix over carrying behind the hip the second they first try it. But I’ve also heard from plenty of shooters who find appendix carry appealing for other reasons, but they just can’t find a way to do it comfortably.
So to start off, I’ll just reiterate that appendix carry is not for everyone. There are some people who will just never be able to make it work, either because of how their body is shaped or how they wear their clothes, or their tolerance level for having something pressing against their abdomen all day. There are a ton of factors involved, and not everyone will be able to figure out a way to do it comfortably, and that’s okay. And really, the same goes for any method of concealed carry. But I think more often than not, people who give up on appendix carry because it’s uncomfortable haven’t tried all the tricks and techniques available that can make it a lot easier.
We covered a few of these things last week with some help from Spencer Keepers — firearms instructor and founder of the holster company Keepers Concealment. The tips he suggested for bigger guys who want to try appendix carry are pretty much all helpful for the rest of us, too. We talked about using a foam wedge at the base of the holster to keep the muzzle from pressing into the body and using an infinitely adjustable belt so you can get just the right amount of tension to keep the holster in a spot where it’s comfortable.
We also talked about the somewhat counter-intuitive idea of making sure the holster is long enough so that the gun isn’t so top heavy that the grip wants to roll away from the body. Shorter is not always more comfortable with appendix carry. But you also might have trouble if the holster is too long. This is another one of those things that’s unique to each individual. The balance between a holster that’s too short and one that’s too long is going to have a lot to do with the length and shape of your torso, and also what kind of pants you’re wearing and how you’re wearing them.
Obviously, carrying a gun inside the waistband requires you to have some extra room, so with a lower waistband and a tighter overall fit it’s going to be more difficult to comfortably fit a gun in there. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear Hammer pants to carry appendix. I don’t wear baggy or relaxed-fit pants and I can carry a compact double stack 9mm most of the time without any comfort issues. I do own one pair of pants that are a little more of a fitted style. I don’t wear them very often, but when I do, carrying my usual gun can get annoying after a couple of hours, so I will sometimes carry something smaller on those days. So the pants make a big difference, and generally speaking, I would advise finding a carry setup that you can use every day, regardless of what you pull out of the closet that morning.
You also want your appendix rig to be comfortable when you’re sitting down. This is not nearly as big a deal as some people make it out to be — mostly people who have never actually tried appendix carry with a decent holster. Spencer had some good things to say about that in my interview with him at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.
SPENCER: If the holster is set up correctly with the right ride height and cant and you’ve got a good holster and a good belt, it’s easy. Believe it or not, I’ve got a full size Beretta 92A1 on — a full house custom from Langdon Tactical — and I drove out here 5 hours. Piece of cake. If the holster is hurting you when you sit, you need to adjust it to the point that it’s not. You’re trying to get the holster to sit in between the crease in the leg and the important parts in the middle. That dead space is where the hoslter needs to be. So guys, get a holster that has ride height and cant adjustment and find that spot and enjoy appendix.
CHRIS: Ride height adjustment is a pretty common feature in most decent appendix holsters. This one is from JM Custom Kydex with the Pull the Dot loops and you can see it’s got three different holes here for you to adjust the ride height up or down. Here’s a Keeper’s Concealment holster and the screw holes for the attachment loop are each about half an inch long. That doesn’t seem like much, but playing around with that adjustment really can make a significant difference in terms of comfort and concealment. It also changes how easily I can access the gun because it lets me make sure there is a big enough gap between my belt and the front of the grip for me to get all my fingers on there.
With this design, I can also make very fine adjustments to the cant of the holster, and that’s a feature that you really don’t see quite as often. I’ve loosened these screws a little to show you how a small change in the way the belt loop is tilted up here will make a major difference in where the bottom of the holster is positioned on your body.
Of course, you don’t want comfort to come at the expense of concealment and there are some holster design features that can help out with that, too. The foam wedge we talked about will tuck the grip inward along the horizontal axis and that really helps with concealment. But a lot of people, especially people with a smaller build like me, can still have issues with the butt of the gun printing a little bit. That’s where it helps to have something to pull in the grip along the vertical axis. That is what this little thing is right here. This is a JM Custom Kydex holster but they’re using the Vanguard Claw that’s made by Raven Concealment. When you tighten your belt, it pushes against this thing here and pulls the bottom of the grip inward. Here’s similar device on this J-frame revolver holster from Phlster. They call this the TuckStrut. It doesn’t look like much, but for me, this conceals much better than most of the other snub nose holsters I’ve used.
Okay, that’s all I’ve got on making appendix carry more comfortable. Next time, we’re going to talk about the issue you’ve all been waiting for – is appendix carry safe? Stay tuned for that and in the meantime, be sure to buy some ammo from LuckyGunner.com.