Some of our most popular and innovative products are made for appendix carry. We get asked all the time, “Why would you want to wear a gun in front which is so dangerous and/or uncomfortable?” Well, the purpose of this article is to outline the benefits and dangers of appendix carry so you won’t have to ask that question anymore. So fasten your seat belts, grab your favorite cat, and settle down.
NOTE: Appendix carry shall be referred to as A-C for the rest of the article.
Obviously this is the first consideration. As you draw or holster the weapon, you’re aiming the firearm at important body parts and possibly a femoral artery. While we like to avoid flagging our body parts whenever possible, A-C can be done safely as long as we observe one of the most important principles of firearm safety: keep your finger off the bang switch till you’re ready to fire.
As long as you have high standards of trigger control and are disciplined in your training, you can safely holster and unholster your firearm without blasting yourself in the groin every morning when you put your appendix holster on. Proper trigger control is PARAMOUNT if you wish to carry a firearm safely, whether appendix, strong side, ankle, or small of the back. If you can’t keep your finger off the trigger when you’re not supposed to fire, you shouldn’t be carrying a firearm anywhere on your body. Or at all, really.
Additionally, when carrying A-C you really ought to be using a gun with a firing-pin safety. With a Glock style gun this means the gun CAN NOT fire unless the trigger is pulled. Provided the trigger is protected and covered by Kydex, a modern firearm can’t fire. This is what makes CARRYING a gun in your pants safe. Some older firearms don’t have firing-pin safeties and with the right compromises of their mechanical workings, can discharge. Without you pulling the trigger. So strongly consider using a modern firearm with a firing-pin safety if you choose to A-C.
Clothing can be problematic when carrying appendix, and on very rare occasions can cause firearm discharges. This is why careful re-holstering should be exercised through all your training.
Some people believe that going fast with your draws increases your likelihood of shooting yourself at some point. For undisciplined and untrained people – probably. But if you’re disciplined and diligent to work on the fundamentals and start slowly, you can get very fast without sacrificing safety. I can get a shot off at under one second from concealment, on a body-sized target, at 5-7 yards. Watching the video of me drawing, shot at 240 frames a second, shows that my finger is clearly off the trigger until the weapon begins to present on target. With diligent dry-firing, anyone can get fast while remaining safe. It’s about getting sub-conscious with your trigger finger and draw stroke. Consistency is key.
With all of this said, A-C is probably the most dangerous way to carry a firearm. You have to understand the risks, be willing to train carefully and diligently, and never become complacent. But the rewards of appendix carry are great. Let’s get into those.
Since most CCW lethal encounters happen within just a few yards, and are over in just a few seconds, getting your firearm deployed quickly is vital. It doesn’t matter how good a shot you are, or how upgraded your handgun is… if it takes you three full seconds to draw and the gunfight is going to be over in five seconds, you are greatly disadvantaged. Your speed or lack thereof could cost your life or the lives of others.
With this in mind, we develop all of our holsters for speed. Appendix holsters have been proven to be an extremely fast way to deploy a gun to the fight. As I mentioned earlier, I can easily draw and put one shot in a body sized target at 7 yards in under a second with one of our Sidecars. And many times can do two rounds. Some people have even gotten three rounds off in under a second. All from appendix carry. This is pretty quick in my opinion.
Most people train on flat ranges standing up facing targets. But most of our lives are spent driving, lounging on couches, sitting in restaurant booths, walking, running, surrounded by people, and cramped in small spaces. How often do you practice your draws in these everyday situations, when the need is most likely to arise? Many people quickly discover that carrying at the small of your back, 4 o’clock, ankle, or from conceal-carry shirts doesn’t allow a fast enough draw when you’re going about everyday life. Sure, you can sit in your car with a holster at the 4 o’clock position, but how fast are you at getting your weapon out?
In the appendix position, your weapon is right there in front of you. Easily accessible in most everyday positions, and VERY accessible when sitting down. Unless you’re lying on your stomach doing some weird yoga position or are a hostage at your local bank forced on your stomach by clowns. It’s this accessibility that can make it the fastest way to carry concealed.
When people are eyeballing people for weapons, they typically check the sides, small of the back, and chest. Ankles too if they’re really doing their homework. The appendix region is typically a location to which very little attention is paid. Since the human body is designed wider across the front and back, there is more area in which to hide things there. Which is what makes it easier to conceal firearms in the appendix position.
The first major concern of appendix carry is safety. The second is comfort. When many people see an appendix holster they blurt things out like “Forget bending down…” or, “Say goodbye to sitting down while wearing that”. It’s true, bending straight down can be uncomfortable depending on the size of weapon you’re carrying. But squatting works great, and according to experts, is more healthy for your spine anyway. So if you want to cure bending straight down for everything, an appendix holster could be great!
Sitting while wearing most A-C holsters works just fine. If appendix holsters weren’t comfortable to sit with, people wouldn’t wear them. Because much of our lives consists of sitting down.
As you can tell in the photos, I’m a skinny dude. Appendix-carry for me is very easy. So I get asked a lot by larger people who have some gut whether appendix carry is comfortable. I have no idea what it would be like for them because I’ve never had a pronounced gut in my life. However, I have gotten reports from a number of people with bellies who A-C just fine. But everyone’s comfort level is different. Some people don’t mind a little discomfort when they’re carrying – it reminds them that they have a gun, while some people can’t stand anything against their skin causing a “disturbance in the force”. I mean, the body.
The question always comes up, “How comfortable are appendix holsters once you’re in a vehicle?” It’s a good question, because vehicle seats are nothing like sitting in normal chairs or sofas. Vehicle seats typically raise your legs so using the pedals is more comfortable. This can push the firearm into your gut more. Some people have to take their appendix holsters off in vehicles; but some guys like me leave ours on. It all depends what kind of vehicle, firearm, or body type you’re running (did I just say “running a body type”? I guess I did. Carry on).
I travel a lot these days, and I typically drive since I take lots of equipment with me. I never take my Sidecar off, even if it’s a three-hour stretch in the driver seat.
HANDS ON AND GUN GRABS
Sometimes situations get ugly. Ugly and up close. At bad-breath-distance gun grabs aren’t unheard-of. Carrying appendix can make it harder for someone to disarm you. Even if someone notices you’re carrying appendix, they would have a hard time getting past your garment and drawing without your easily having time to react.
However, carrying appendix can make it harder to blade your body in such a way to protect the handgun during a hand-to-hand scuffle. Carrying strong side or at 4 o’clock allows you to position yourself in such a way to put the weapon as far from the threat as possible while drawing or going hands on.
Some people hate the idea of modifying their wardrobe and sense of style to conceal carry a firearm. However, contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to compromise your style and wear 5.11 cargo pants and baggy Hawaiian shirts. Appendix-carry can be easily achieved with most shirts by simply leaving them untucked. Some holsters and sizes of firearm will dictate what kinds of shirts. T shirts, slim fit shirts, polos, button downs, etc… Some holsters can even have the shirt tucked in over the firearm with just the clips exposed attached to the belt.
Most people who carry appendix just wear untucked shirts. I like casual button-downs. The seams and buttons can help hide any suspicious bulges, and the fabric is heavy, making it easier to rip the garment out of the way as opposed to a stretchy 50/50 blend t-shirt. When I’m carrying in public, I typically have on jeans and a button-down shirt. I look just like most Americans walking around. Nothing that screams tactical except for maybe the T.REX ARMS (sometimes BCM) ball cap or Inforce handheld flashlight in the pocket.
EXTRA MAG CARRYING
So once you’re carrying a firearm in the appendix position, it’s very easy to integrate an extra magazine next to it. The extra magazine can actually help even out the bulge the gun causes, making printing less noticeable. They’re also very accessible with either hand. We believe carrying one extra mag is essential regardless of how many bullets your gun holds. If you have a really low capacity gun, two extra mags should be considered. Some people argue that if you’re already carrying a double stack gun, why would you need more bullets? Well, we know from the study of ballistics and human physiology that bad guys don’t necessarily go down after they’ve received a few pistol rounds. Not even if it’s .45 bullets. Because science. And are you confident you’ll shoot with 100% accuracy? Because most people don’t, in high stress situations.
Strongly consider adding an extra magazine to your EDC (every day carry) if you don’t already have one.
There you have it. We believe A-C is a viable way to carry a firearm. Not only viable, but a very effective way to carry. More and more people are starting to A-C as they discover the benefits and get good training. And good holsters make a big difference. Here are things to look for in an A-C holster if you don’t order one from us (which is fine, you little rascal.)
Adjustable ride height. This can be handy if you’re not sure how high you want the firearm to ride in relation to your belt. A handgun riding high above the belt will make the draw easier because you can get a full firing grip. But it is usually less concealable than a grip that’s lower to the belt. Pros and cons for both.
Spare mag. Always having an extra mag is important. Carrying an extra spare mag in the appendix position can help balance any bulge that can happen with your handgun, and it’s easily accessible in most positions.
Canted spare magazine carrier. If the mag carrier is canted some it will be more comfortable and the magazine will be easier to index due to natural body mechanics.
Tuckable clips. Not necessary, but handy if you might need to tuck your shirt in.
One large clip, or two clips spaced apart. Stability is very important. If the holster can shift on the belt, you won’t have a consistent draw every time you go for your gun. Two clips spaced far apart or one large clip can help combat this.
Adjustable retention. Nice, but not necessary.
Light and/or optic compatible. Depends if you run this equipment, obviously.
Well, lookie there… everything just described can be found in our Sidecar holster series. But there are many other companies out there making good appendix holsters. Just because you read this article at T.REX ARMS doesn’t mean you need to buy one from us.
Thanks for reading, if you have further questions you can email us and we’ll try our best to answer as time permits. – Lucas