Appendix Carry, You Can Love It, While Keeping All Your Body Parts

Carrying in the appendix position is practical, the tricorn cap is optional.

Everyday carriers debate so many topics it is difficult to keep up with them all. But the question of how you carry your gun is as contentious as what gun you carry.

What I mean by ‘how you carry' your gun, is the location on your body your gun calls home. Think of any location on the body and you can likely find a holster that will let you carry it there. In fact, ask a cop or corrections deputy about some ‘deep-concealment' methods that don't need a holster at all.

For a right-handed, concealed carrier, carrying in the small of the back (6 o'clock), strong side hip (3 o'clock) and appendix (12-1 o'clock) are most common. Check out this great infographic for reference. They all have their pro's and con's, but I swear by appendix carry, and I want to tell you why you may want to consider it.

Early On

I first started carrying concealed around 10 years ago. I was a thin 5'6″ 160 lb Police Officer. I wore more t-shirts than anything else and carried a Glock 27 as my off-duty gun. I was naive about concealed carry options. Being familiar with duty style holsters, I slapped an OWB pancake holster on my strong-side hip, threw a cover shirt on and, voila, concealed carry.

Carrying in the 3 o'clock position is comfortable. The presentation replicated my duty holster, so there was some consistency there as well. But, the combination of my physique and apparel, made carrying this way a challenge. So after a month or two, I tried something else.

I experimented with carrying at 6 o'clock in a hybrid holster. This lasted about a week after I couldn't get over some of the problems I had with the method. I didn't have good control over my firearm. The presentation was slow, and I had to expose myself to reach my gun.

Getting to the gun if I were driving or on my back was about impossible. Re-holstering was less than ideal, and I couldn't get the gun with my off hand. So this lasted about a week.

I was sorta' frustrated and looking for options. I decided to try a simple leather IWB holster with a single clip. I slid that bad boy inside my pants and over to the 3 o'clock position. Much more concealable, but it rubbed my hip bone.

I took the holster and moved it around my waistline until it felt comfortable. Low and behold, my love-affair with appendix carry began. I didn't even know it had a term, or that anyone besides criminals stuffing guns in their pants carried there. But it worked for me.

But is there one in the chamber?

Why It Works

  • Appendix carry has several advantages.
  • Firearm presentation- The gun presents from your center-line very naturally.
  • Weapon retention- You have much more leverage and many more options to keep someone from taking your firearm.
  • Accessibility- The gun is accessible by either hand in nearly any position, even while seated in the car.
  • Conceal-ability- Shirts typically fall loosely over this area, reducing printing.
  • Comfort- The proper length gun, in the right holster doesn't ride against boney hips or rest against your spine.
  • Female friendly- Women have wider hips, which makes carrying at the 3 o'clock position extraordinarily difficult. Belly bands, which are popular among females, work great in the appendix position.
  • Re-holstering- Catching clothing, draw ties or debris in your holster can potentially force the trigger to the rear. This method allows you to see any obstructions in or around your holster as you holster your gun.

Appendix Carry Challenges

Not everyone's body is the same. Several carriers have told me that they can't carry appendix style because they have a ‘spare tire' around their waist. This is a drawback, depending on the size of the tire. Shifting the gun to the 1 or 2 o'clock (for righties) or the 10 or 11 o'clock for lefties can sometimes mitigate this issue.

You may have a simple problem of trying to use a holster that isn't designed for appendix carry. Believe it or not, there are holsters purposely designed for this cozy area of our body.

Appendix style holsters with claws, wedges, and wings all aid in concealment. While some rigs provide spare mag pouches and flexibility to bend with the body.

Holsters designed specifically for appendix carry, like this Phoenix holster from Alpha Concealment make a huge difference when carrying in the appendix position.

And Yes I'll Address it

I don't know how many times people have told me that I would ‘shoot my junk off.' I am proud to say I am still proving them wrong.

I get it … carrying a firearm in that area of your body takes some time to feel comfortable with. Why? Because there are two barriers to overcome.

  • Trust in yourself. Confidence in your abilities to draw/re-holster the gun without squeezing the trigger is important. If this is an issue during administrative actions, you're not following basic safety rules, to begin with.

A concern with inadvertently pulling the trigger under stress can be resolved with training. Lots and lots of dry-fire reps, properly drawing your gun, and of course time on the range.

Finger placement on the frame or slide reduces the possibility of squeezing the trigger unintentionally during your draw.

Furthermore, wherever position you draw your gun from, the potential for the muzzle to momentarily cross your body is there. Granted, in the appendix carry position, there are sensitive areas along with the femoral artery. But no carry method is without this risk.

  • Trust in your gear. The concern with the gun “just going of”‘ boils down to not having faith in your equipment. I know guns can malfunction and fail. But a quality handgun that is: properly maintained, unmodified, and carried in a holster that protects the trigger guard won't fire on its own.

Don't disable safeties, use your Dremel to ‘tune-up' your trigger or fail to maintain your handgun and you're going to be fine.

Points to Remember

This is my opinion of why appendix works best for me and my lifestyle. Is it going to work for 100% of gun carriers? Nope … but it is worth a try. Especially if you experience many of the same problems I experienced with other locations.

Need some info on a good holster? We have reviewed a lot for you and you can check them out here. After that, get a good, stiff gun belt and try it out for some time. Don't be afraid to adjust a little left or right of center, to fine tune the fit. Also, play with how deep the holster sits. Make the adjustments so the gun doesn't dig into your leg when sitting. Once you get all that dialed in, you might just find appendix carry makes all the difference between carrying and leaving your gun at home.

I will warn you though, brace yourself for many eunuch jokes.

Stay safe and God Bless.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Dave on November 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I am relatively new to the concealed carry community and have worked over the last year to figure out what is best for me. I have also come to realize that appendix carry is best for me but like every option has drawbacks. It isn’t safe to carry a gun beneath a seatbelt that rides across your abdominal organs. The alternative seems to be going in and out with your holstered weapon everytime you get to where you are going- which is not comfortable and certainly not always easy to conceal in a public parking lot. Anyone got any pointers? Thanks

    • Jacob Paulsen on November 14, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Adjust the seat belt to ride below the grip of the gun… essentially right where your belt would be on your waistband. This will keep you safe in a car crash while ensuring access to the firearm should you need it. No other safety related concerns assuming you are using a quality holster!

      • Dave on November 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        Thanks for the feedback. Will work on this.

  2. Lonny on April 7, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Also Dave, be sure to pull up any loose shirt/jacket out of the seatbelt and flap it over top of the seatbelt, so if you have to draw from a belted position your gun is not trapped, clothing is free to pull up easily to access the weapon.

  3. Ray on November 26, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I tried appendix carry and did find it comfortable at first. Was using a standard brave response holster (my wife’s holster incidentally). My edc is a S&W M&P full size in the .40. Ran into an issue though. Work as a mechanic and ran into the issue that it seems to be very much in the way working. Had to switch back to 4 o’clock position. This has been relatively comfortable for me while working using an alien gear cloak tuck 2.0. Love the idea of appendix carry but not sure if it would work for my edc with what I do for work. Any suggestions?

    • Matthew Maruster on November 27, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Ray thanks for the feedback. Appendix carry does have a lot of advantages, but one disadvantage is what you are dealing with. Having the gun in an area that makes it uncomfortable because you are bending over against something, like leaning in to work on a vehicle. You could try a smaller EDC gun that may not cause ‘as much’ discomfort when leaning over to do work. You may also try rotating the gun slightly offline to say the 11 or 1 o’clock positions. You can even rotate to like a 9 or 3 o’clock position. It all depends on the trade-offs. You may be more comfortable but not be able to get to your gun. You may be able to get to your gun super fast, but are uncomfortable. If you can find the trade-off’s you’re willing to accept then (at least for when you’re at work) you can use that method of carrying. You may also decide that while at work you carry a smaller gun and ankle carry it. That may free you up to work without any issues. Then strap on your FS Ruger and leave the ankle gun as a backup or put it in the safe. I hope this helps. Keep me posted!

      • Ray on November 27, 2018 at 9:19 pm

        Thanks Matthew. I plan to continue to try out and work with appendix carry. At this point I think it is going to be easiest to just carry at the 4 position at work. I wear work shirt tucked in at work so it is still concealed pretty good there. My concern with a smaller edc would be the loss of capacity. On another note, any recommendations for ankle holsters that work well with mid calf length boots? Have to wear high boots with safety toes for work. My winter work boots(safety toe snow boots) come up almost to my knees. I have a S&W bodyguard 38 revolver that I have thought about carrying in an ankle holster as a backup. Thanks again for the information.

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