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.
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.
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.
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.
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.