We are often asked if there is any way that an appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) holster can work for the more generously proportioned gentleman who wishes to carry concealed. The short answer is “yes, it can!” In this video, we get some sage advice from holster maker and AIWB expert Spencer Keepers to find out how. Or you can scroll down to read the full transcript.
CHRIS: Two years ago, we published a video about the basics of appendix carry. Since then, we’ve received a ton of questions about some of the finer points of this method of concealed carry, so I thought it might be time to re-visit this topic.
In case you’re not familiar with the term appendix carry, also called AIWB, we’re basically talking about carrying a concealed pistol inside the waistband at about the 1 o’clock position for a right handed shooter, which happens to roughly coincide with the location of the appendix. People have carried pistols this way for as long as handguns have been in existence, but it’s become a lot more popular in the last decade or so. Appendix carry is not for everybody, but I think it’s got a lot of advantages and most of the perceived disadvantages can be mitigated with a little bit of education on the topic.
Some of the more common questions we’ve gotten about appendix carry have to do with whether it’s a safe way to carry, or how to make it more comfortable and I will be covering those topics in the near future, but for today, I want to get into a question that I am actually completely unqualified to answer and that is how is it possible for bigger guys to pull off appendix carry?
So for this one, I will defer to my friend Spencer Keepers, the foudner of Keeper’s Concealment holster company and also one of the best shooters I personally know. I got to hang out with Spencer this past weekend at the 20th Anniversary Rangemaster Tactical Conference in Little Rock, Arkasas where he was presenting a lecture on appendix carry.
SPENCER: How do bigger guys carry appendix? Well, you know, I’m a pretty big guy. I’ve lost a little bit of weight, but I’m still 6’2″ and 300 pounds. Really, the way that works is, you need a holster that has enough length to put more gun below the beltline than above. What I’ve done is I’ve lengthened the bottom of the holster just a little bit and that allows more leverage below the beltline than above.
CHRIS: What Spencer is talking about here is the tendency for your gut to push the butt of the gun away from your body. If the muzzle of the gun and the holster are too short, the gun is going to want to tip outward. That will make the outline of the gun more visible through your clothes, and it might also cause the muzzle end of the holster to dig into your body, which is really uncomfortable. I think this leads a lot of people to believe that their gun is too long for appendix carry, but counter-intuitively, a lot of times a longer holster will actually stabilize the gun which makes it more comfortable and will prevent it from tipping out like that.
Another part of the solution that Spencer is a fan of is the foam wedge. And I really like these too, I use them on all of my holsters. He’s got velcro here at the base of the holster where you can attach a wedge-shaped piece of foam. You can play around with different shapes and sizes until you figure out what works. The wedge pushes the muzzle away from the body, and tucks the grip in toward the body. And really, unless you have really baggy clothing or washboard abs and your stomach is completely flat, I think it’s tough to pull off an appendix holster without some kind of wedge. If your holster doesn’t have this feature, you can always add it using velcro tape from the hardware store and some of those the gel-based shoe inserts. A lot of people have had good luck with that.
Besides the wedge and holster length, there are few other important factors Spencer mentioned.
SPENCER: The other real key for big guys — really for appendix carry in general — is that I have an infinitely adjustable belt. Very small amounts of belt tension make a huge difference. So when you’re looking for a holster for anybody for appendix, you want to try to find one that has ride height and cant adjustment. And guys, we’re living in great times right now, there are a lot of good appendix holster manufacturers out there.
CHRIS: Even though he’s got his own holster company, Spencer recognizes that finding the right holster is a very individual decision and having multiple viable options is a good thing. A few other holster makers he suggests looking at are Dark Star Gear, JM Custom Kydex, and LAG Tactical, which are all companies I’ve had good experiences with as well.
Whether you’re a big guy, or you’re built more like I am, if you’re going to try appendix carry, it’s really important to get a holster from a company that understands appendix carry and how to do it comfortably and safely and in a way that allows the gun to be easily accessible. So make that choice carefully. Be on the lookout for more appendix carry info coming very soon and the next time you need ammo, be sure to get it from us at LuckyGunner.com.