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There’s so much information out there about carrying your pistol at the appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) position and even more about carrying concealed. I will try and keep this post short and open to comments, experiences and your opinions.
I get asked all the time why I would even think about appendix carry. The main argument I get is, “I don’t want my pistol pointing at my junk, period”! The second is, “There is no way for it to be comfortable carrying my gun there”. For the purpose of informing people about this carry option and not just my personal opinion, I’ll try to stick to what has already been discussed throughout the holster manufacturing and conceal carry community about appendix carry.
First I will start with the obvious dangers of carrying AIWB. Carrying in this position forces your pistol to point at very important body parts. Not only your “junk” but also your femoral artery. The biggest training point I would make for carrying in this position safely is following one of the Cardinal Safety Rules for handling a firearm. “Keep your finger off the trigger until you’ve made the conscious decision to fire and your sights are aligned and on target”. There’s several interpretations of that rule, I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the comments, but I digress. If you train and practice your draw efficiently and safely, there is a very small chance of you putting your finger on the trigger during the draw process where you are unintentionally pointing your gun at your body parts.
If you train regularly and have high expectations in yourself when it comes to training safely, you will never have to worry about shooting yourself while drawing or re-holstering your firearm. With that being said, buy a holster that protects the trigger area. Make sure it covers most, if not all of the trigger guard, so that nothing can get to the trigger while you have your gun holstered. The most important purpose of a holster is to protect that area from being able to let anything touch the trigger while your gun is not being used. Take your clothing into consideration as well when re-holstering. It is highly recommended that you practice your draw from AIWB with a dry (empty and safe) gun.
Lets get passed the dangers and get into some of the advantages to carrying AIWB. Most of us train at a range with static targets facing us and we shoot from the different distances that most ranges have available. How many of you train while sitting in a car, sitting in a booth as if in a restaurant, in an area that has people in close proximity to you, walking in a park, sitting at a desk etc. If you were to put yourself in a training environment with these variables taken into consideration, you will find that it is difficult to draw effectively when you carry in positions like the 4 o’clock, ankle holstered or the small of your back. Of course, carrying at these positions make it more comfortable to carry your gun but how easy can you get to your gun and draw it if you had to?
When you carry AIWB, your gun sits right in front of your body where you have full control. Whether you are walking, sitting, running or doing whatever, your gun is easily accessible for you to draw. Along with the other carry options, if you train constantly to draw in all those situations, you will get efficient with your draw in any position. In my experience and training, along with listening to and seeing other instructors who teach conceal carry courses, drawing from the AIWB position seems to be the fastest and most consistent compared to the different ways there is to carry your pistol concealed.
If you get into a situation where things get up close and personal with someone and they go hands on with you, it’s also a good place to have your weapon so that you can control it and get to it if you had to. Train carrying your gun in different positions (safe and empty) and have someone go hands on with you and see what works for your style and level of grappling and dirty fighting.
An instructor once told me, “the faster you are out of the holster, the faster you should be on target. The faster you are on target, the more likely you will win a gunfight”. There are several other factors that need to go your way along with a fast draw but the quicker you are in a gunfight, the better in my opinion. Depending on who you speak to and what your read, there are several stats that show a majority of deadly shootings happens within 7 to 15 ish yards, and usually within a few seconds. No matter the distance, weather, your mental state, location or the alignment of the planets that day; in a gunfight, your draw should always be quick and efficient. Speed is one of the factors that needs to be on your side in order for you to have better odds to win a gunfight, since you’re more than likely going to be in a reactionary capacity and behind the curve.
Most AIWB holsters are made for speed. On average, if a person trains constantly and consistently with an AIWB holster, their first shot from concealed can be under 1 second easily. I’ve even seen people shoot 2 and 3 rounds from concealed and with an AIWB holster in under a second.
Solatium et Occultatio
When you shop for a holster, especially one that sits inside the waistband, your first thoughts are usually, “Will this conceal my gun well” and “will it be comfortable”?
When I walk around carrying concealed, I look to see if I can spot anyone else who may be carrying. The places I usually look for a gun is on a person’s sides or on their back, since most people carry in these positions due to comfort. I now look for people who carry around the appendix area after I started carrying this way. When you think about it though, how many people look at another person’s crotch area in public. This is a good place to conceal a gun because not many people look there. If they do, you’re more than likely going to catch them looking which should raise your situational awareness.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you carrying AIWB is more comfortable than any other way. It takes some time to get used to and I will tell you now that the regular way you sit and squat is going to change. For the better if you ask me, because you’ll have to do it with better posture. I don’t have too much of a “tactical layer” on me but I’m also not skinny. I can honestly say that I have no issues with comfort when carrying AIWB. My level of dealing with discomfort will be different than anyone else’s but it only took me a couple weeks carrying and training in the AIWB position for me to get used to it.
I can go on for another thousand words on different aspects of carrying concealed and AIWB carry, but I’ll stop by saying, please research and shop around for the different ways to carry before you decide. When you do decide what to buy, train with it until you get really good and carry it as much as possible. If you do appendix carry be extra mindful of when to put your finger on the trigger. Besides me and the shooting community I surround myself with, there are plenty of holster makers, instructors and well trained people out there that are always willing to answer questions about carrying concealed that you may have. You just have to reach out.
Always carry, Stay safe and God Bless!