Appendix carry holster

by Hayden Cooper
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Appendix carry holster

An appendix carry holster is a type of concealed carry IWB gun holster designed to be worn in the front of the body, typically in the waistband, at the 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock position (for right-handed shooters). This is the approximate location of the appendix, hence the name appendix carry holster.


Advantages of appendix carry holster


1) The primary advantage of an appendix carry holster is that they allow for a quick and easy draw since the gun is easily accessible. With the holster situated in front of the body, the firearm can be drawn quickly and efficiently. Appendix carry holsters are therefore easily accessible even in different scenarios such as if in a car with your seat belt on or having lunch at the table. This is due to the fact the hands normally rest at the front of the body, near the appendix and therefore draw time is reduced. This can be especially important in situations where every second counts, such as a self-defense scenario.

2) An appendix carry holster can provide better concealment of the firearm as compared to other gun holsters. Since the holster is situated closer to the body, it can be covered more easily by a shirt or jacket, making it less likely to be noticed by others. This can be especially important for those who want to carry a firearm discreetly and avoid drawing attention to themselves.

3) Appendix carry is often seen by many as a more defendable position in terms of weapon retention as compared to other holster positions. This is because the holster is located in front of the body, making it easier to protect and control the firearm in case of an attempted grab or snatch.

When carried in the appendix carry position, the firearm is closer to the body and easier to control. You can access the firearm even with your non-dominant hand. Moreover, if someone tries to grab your firearm, you can quickly use your non-dominant hand to defend against the grab and maintain control of your firearm.

4) In addition, appendix carry holsters can be more comfortable to wear for some individuals. This is because they distribute the weight of the firearm more evenly across the front of the body, rather than concentrating it on one side. This can be especially important for those who experience discomfort or pain when carrying a firearm in other positions got longer time periods.


Disadvantages of appendix carry holster


1) One of the biggest concerns with appendix carry is the risk of an accidental discharge. This can occur if the trigger is inadvertently pulled while re-holstering the firearm, or if something gets caught in the trigger guard. In order to mitigate this risk, it’s important to choose a high-quality appendix carry holster that covers the trigger guard completely and to practice safe handling and use of firearms.

This risk can also be reduced by avoiding a striker fire system (such as Glocks) while appendix carrying. This is due to the fact that many striker fired pistols do not have an external safety to disengage before firing.

2) Not everyone is comfortable with the concept of a loaded gun pointing towards your lower body and leg for prolonged periods. Appendix carry violates the basic rules of gun safety i.e. never point your gun at anything that you are not willing to shoot at. The femoral artery is located in your upper thigh area, near your groin. Therefore accidental discharge while appendix carrying can also be fatal.

3) Another potential drawback of appendix carry is that it may not be suitable for all body types. For example, plus size individuals with larger stomachs may find it uncomfortable or difficult to wear an appendix carry holster, as it can dig into the abdomen and cause discomfort.

Simply said, the fatter you are there is a tendency for the gut to push against the holster, which can cause the butt of the gun to protrude away from the body. This can make it more difficult to conceal the firearm, and may also impact the ability to retain and draw the weapon when needed.


Features of an appendix carry holster


Always choose a high-quality holster that is designed specifically for appendix carry. There are a few important factors to consider when choosing an appendix carry holster.

1. Adjustable cant:

Appendix Carry Holster

Appendix Carry Holster (Pictures courtesy of Vedder Holsters)

In the context of a holster, cant refers to the angle at which the holster is tilted or angled on the body. The cant of a holster is important because it affects the position, accessibility as well as the degree of concealment of the firearm. A gun holster with an adjustable forward and reverse cant allows you to wear the same holster in a number of varied positions including the hip, appendix and cross draw.


There are 3 types of cants:

i) Negative or Reverse Cant: The grip of the gun tilts backwards. It is easier to appendix carry in this position as a reverse cant gives a more comfortable and natural grip. Furthermore, since the tilt of the grip of the firearm is backward, it helps to improve concealment.

ii) Forward or Positive Cant: The grip of the gun tilts forward. This type of cant makes it easier to draw from a seated position.

iii) Neutral or Vertical Cant: The holster is pointing straight up and down, there is no angle. Normally when you hip carry it is easier to draw from this position

Some appendix carry holsters have a fixed cant which cannot be adjusted. Such holsters should not be used as they will effect your natural draw routine. For appendix carry it is essential to have an adjustable cant and most manufacturers allow for up to 30 degrees of cant. It is important to remember that you are paying your hard earned money for your holster.Therefore, your gun holster should work for you rather than you trying to adjust your habits to accommodate the holster.


2) Claw or Camming Bar:

Claw or Camming Bar

Claw or Camming Bar (Pictures courtesy of Vedder Holsters)

When you put on your appendix carry holster and tighten the belt, the camming bar or claw it will push your gun holster inside and closer towards your body. This will make your gun and holster more concealable. The camming bar also reduces chances of the gun printing on your clothes and is more comfortable as your gun will not be sticking out. Certain holsters do not have a claw or camming bar. However it is an essential for appendix carry.


3) The Wedge:

A wedge is another component that is commonly found on appendix carry holsters. A wedge is typically a small piece of material, such as hard foam or rubber, that is attached at the back bottom of the holster. The wedge is pushed against your body when you wear the holster. Without the wedge, there is space between your body and the holster. With the wedge at the bottom end of the holster, it will push the muzzle of the gun away from your body. This will automatically push the grip of the gun closer to your body. Therefore the wedge is designed to angle the holster towards you, which can help to improve the fit of the holster and reduce pressure points.

Moreover, by angling the holster towards the body, the wedge can also help to reduce printing and improve overall concealment, especially for individuals with larger midsections. The wedge can also help to improve the draw stroke, by providing a more comfortable and stable platform for the hand to grasp the firearm.

There are some appendix carry holsters which do not have a wedge. Using such a holster increases the chances for the butt or grip of the gun to push outwards and reveal your concealed carry weapon. Both the wedge and the camming bar or claw helps reduce the gun printing underneath your clothes.


4. The ride height:

Ride Height of appendix carry holster

Ride Height of appendix carry holster (Pictures courtesy of Vedder Holsters)

This refers to being able to adjust the height of the holster while on your gun holster belt. This is also a crucial feature any good quality appendix carry holster should have. While using an appendix carry holster, there has to be some space between the butt or grip / handle of the gun and your gun belt. If the handle grip of the gun is touching your gun holster belt, there is no space for your fingers to properly grip the gun. If your appendix carry holster does not have the option to adjust your ride height, it will be hard for you to grip the gun properly when you draw. As you attempt to draw the gun, it may even fall down causing accidental discharge.


5) Quality of the clips and other attachments:

The quality of the clips and other attachments on an appendix holster is critical for ensuring the security, retention and concealment of the firearm. Avoid budget appendix carry holsters that have plastic clips as they do not hold on to the gun belt very well. Appendix holsters with plastic clips may not provide a secure enough grip on the belt, which can lead to the entire holster coming out when drawing the firearm. This can be a serious safety issue, as it may cause the firearm to become dislodged or even fall out of the holster during use. Therefore its important to look at the quality of the attachments on the appendix holster. For example, metallic clips are easy to use and sturdy. Similarly snap loops are also used by many manufacturers.


6) A high quality gun holster belt:

A good quality gun holster belt is designed to be sturdy and stiff enough to hold a gun as well as the holster. A standard normal every day belt can only hold your pants up and not the weight of the gun and holster. Wearing a gun holster on a normal belt will cause you to feel uncomfortable as eventually the holster will start to tilt outwards.

A good gun holster belt allows the wearer to adjust the belt to the ideal position for carrying their firearm and also accommodate changes in waist size over time. Gun holster belts have the ability of infinite adjustments (normally every quarter inch) resulting in a tight but comfortable fit for all body types. People often forget that a small amount of belt tension can make a huge difference in appendix carrying.

Thus a gun holster belt will keep your gun holster in a comfortable, consistent and accessible position. It also provides additional support, stability and concealment, all of which are crucial in appendix carry.


How to draw a gun from an appendix carry holster ?


Drawing a gun from an appendix carry holster requires specific techniques and proper training to ensure safety and efficiency. Here are the basic steps to draw a gun from an appendix carry holster:


1. Clear away the shirt or clothing:

Clear away the shirt or clothing

Clear away the shirt or clothing

If you’re wearing a longer shirt or garment, use your non-dominant hand to clear any clothing away from the holster. Do not try be a hero and use one hand only to draw your gun. It is important to use both hands, one hand to grab the shirt or the concealment garment you are wearing and to use the dominant hand to grip the gun.

Remember to lift the concealed garment clearly up and away so that it exposes the entire gun.

2) Body position:

While individual preferences may vary, many experts recommend positioning your hips slightly forward and outwards, while your shoulders are slightly back. This stance can help create a clear path for the firearm to be drawn from the holster without interference from clothing or any other obstruction. This body position would require some practice before you perfect your draw.

3) Establish a proper grip:

Establish a proper grip

Establish a proper grip

Before you begin to draw the gun, establish a firm grip on the firearm with your shooting or dominant hand. Make sure your index finger is outside of the trigger guard and that your thumb is positioned on the back of the slide. You need to get a full grip on the gun meaning that the fingers should be underneath the grip.

4) Drawing the gun:

Using a smooth and deliberate motion, draw the firearm from the holster, keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. It is important to pull the gun straight up directly and clearly out of the holster. At no time should the gun point towards your leg, feet or body. Do not pull the gun sideways to the left or right causally.

5) Aim at the target:

Once the gun is out of the holster aim towards the target, aligning the sights with the target. You can now release the concealment garment and use both the hands to grip the gun.


Re-holstering the gun while wearing an appendix carry holster

Re-holstering a firearm in an appendix carry holster requires a deliberate and cautious approach to ensure that you don’t accidentally discharge the firearm or cause any other safety hazards.

Here are the basic steps for re-holstering a firearm in an appendix carry holster:


    1. Engage the safety of the gun: Not all handguns have a mechanical safety but engage the safety of the gun if available.
    2. Establish a safe direction: Before re-holstering the firearm, make a conscious and deliberate effort to point the muzzle down and away from your body as compared to at your body or anybody else.
    3. Ensure that the trigger finger is pronounced and off and outside the trigger guard area.
    4. Use your non-dominant hand to lift up your shirt or garment clear out of the way of the appendix carry holster area. Make sure that there is no clothing or other obstructions near the holster. Avoid sweeping your hand in front of the muzzle of the firearm while re-holstering.
    5. Slowly and carefully re-holster: With your dominant hand, slowly and carefully re-holster the firearm, making sure to keep your finger off the trigger and your eyes on the holster. Use your other hand to guide the firearm into the holster, ensuring that it is securely seated and that the trigger guard is fully covered. It is extremely important to look down at your holster while re-holstering to ensure there is nothing in the way. Use both hands in this process to avoid fatal accidents.
    6. Verify holster retention: Depending on the design of your holster, it may have retention devices that need to be engaged once the firearm is re-holstered. Make sure to verify that any retention devices are engaged before moving on.
    7. Adjust clothing and gear: Once the firearm is securely re-holstered, adjust your clothing and gear as needed to ensure that the firearm is concealed and that the holster is in a comfortable position.



Before using your appendix carry holster, take some time to familiarize yourself with how it works and how your firearm fits into it. Make sure you know how to safely and securely holster and un-holster your firearm, and practice doing so with an unloaded gun until you’re comfortable with the process.

It is also important to choose the right clothing to ensure your firearm remains concealed and secure. A potential silhouette is hard to cover up in a plain single color shirt when wearing an appendix carry holster. Shirts that are loose-fitting and have a pattern or design can help to break up the outline of the firearm. When appendix carrying, it is recommended to wear a shirt that is long enough to cover the holster and the firearm, even when you are moving around or bending over. Ideally, the shirt should extend well a few inches past your belt line to provide proper coverage and prevent any accidental exposure of the firearm.

An appendix carry holster and a spare magazine can add extra weight and bulk to your waistline, so it’s important to choose trousers that are comfortable and allow you to move freely. Sizing up your pants (normally one size up) can help to prevent any tightness or discomfort in the waist area and ensure a proper fit for your holster.

In conclusion, appendix carry holsters can be a great option for those who want quick and easy access to their firearm. Appendix carry is a good and functional carry position, however as everything in life it does require practice to perfect the draw of the gun. As always, it’s essential to take your responsibility as a gun owner seriously and prioritize safety at all times.


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