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Is Appendix Carry Safe?

by Daniel @HolsterCentral on May 28, 2020
Estimated 7 minute read.

Appendix Carry


With Appendix Carry Inside The Waistband or AIWB for short we are talking about the holster being inside the waistband at the 1 O'Clock or 2 O'Clock position if you are right handed and 10 or 11 O'clock if you are left handed like me. ;) 

People have carried in this position for a long time but it's really taken off in the last few years, perhaps social media, perhaps holster making has something to do with it as we have an abundance of AIWB Holster makers, perhaps TV or just people are better trained these days and have more access to information to self educate and have came round to the benefits of AIWB...Or all of the above...

Plenty of world class firearms instructors carry this way and are open minded to the benefits.

It's definitely not for everybody, there are pros and cons but it may work for you so let's take a look...

So we get this question a lot...

"Is Appendix Carry Safe?"

Appendix, Appendix Inside The Waistband, AIWB or 1 O'clock Carry..

Well first we must acknowledge that being around guns is never 100% Safe. There are objects that must be respected and treated that way and handled with care, even whilst obeying the 4 basic rules of firearm safety, there is always a risk a mistake could be made, we are all human. 

However we can mitigate that risk a lot by abiding by the 4 rules of firearm safety and being very mindful of our actions when handling guns. 

So everyone and their grandmother has an opinion on whether or not Appendix Carry is safe.

There is a lot of back and forth, debates and even arguments on the topic. You will hear people making jokes of you shooting yourself in the junk, leg, femoral artery and that you are breaking rule number 2 of firearm safety (don't point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy) and that you are "Flagging" yourself.

However with training, practice and abiding by the other 3 rules of firearm safety that will keep you as safe as possible. 

Personally I am a very safe person, I abide by all the rules of firearm safety at all times anytime my gun is in or out of the holster so I am confident with carrying Appendix myself.

A holstered gun should be a safe gun, correct trigger guard coverage, good retention and secure in the holster. When leaving the holster your index/trigger should be on the slide out of the trigger guard the entire draw until your sights are aligned and on target, you know your target and whats beyond it and you are ready to fire. 

Catastrophes happen when that rule is broken.

Another time is reholstering and something getting in the way of the gun going back into the holster and getting in the trigger guard and causing a negligent discharge. 

 Appendix Inside The Waistband Carry

Carry Position -

Anytime we are drawing or reholstering from any position on our body that is where the risk comes in and we must be careful.

I argue that appendix is more safe as the gun is infront of you and its quick to get into your work space of low, mid or high ready and to your shooting position there is no obstruction in your path. You can press the gun out quick and consistently.

Getting a cover garment that you cannot see whilst drawing out of the way clearly and consistently is a pain in the ass and its much easier for that to get in your way and when reholstering it is hard to turn and see from an awkward position and look every single time to constantly turn and guide it back into the holster and due to it's awkwardness it just takes 1 time of being too lazy to look when reholstering and you have a negligent discharge on your hands.

Hip carry you also flag yourself, many people have shot themselves through their butt cheek and leg, when reholstering at 4-5 O'clock carry there's plenty of videos online of that, just a quick google or youtube search will give you proof of that.

If you look where the muzzle is pointed when in an OWB Holster at 4 or 5 O'clock carry quite often it is muzzling you too. 

With Appendix, clearing your garment, pulling the garment upwards fast is much easier than clearing garment anywhere else on the body.

Appendix Inside The Waistband Carry

Re Holstering -

A huge benefit of appendix carry for me is being able to visually reholster and guide the gun carefully back into the holster ensuring no garment, shirt, drawstring or anything else is in the way and it has a safe path to reholster without any obstructions. 

Most self inflicted negligent discharges happen when reholstering. To do that you must have broken 2 safety rules, you pointed the muzzle in an unsafe direction at something you were willing to destroy and the trigger was pulled. 

Keeping your finger out of the trigger guard and making an effort to control muzzle direction whilst reholstering is paramount. 

You most definitely should visually guide it back into the holster, exercising extreme caution, do not rush or try to reholster quickly, it's your draw you want smooth and fast, not your reholstering, you want your reholstering, slow, mindful, methodical, to be sure nothing is in your holster like part of your shirt, draw string from your pants, and lean backwards slightly whilst pushing your hips forwards so the muzzle and bottom of the holster are pointing forwards away from the body. If I am at the range practicing from concealment and reholstering repeatedly, I will employee that method of the forward hip lean and carefully reholster. 

But if I am simply holstering my firearm to concealed carry for the day I will holster my gun before I put the holster on and then put the holster on whilst the gun is inside it carefully. Then I am only holstering it once before I leave the house and unholstering it once when I get home I will simply take the holster off my body with the gun inside.

The next most important thing is your holster.

Inside The Waistband Holster

IF you have a high quality, safe holster that checks all of the boxes Appendix Carry is very safe. We can then move onto it being safe whilst pointed at yourself when holstered.

IF your holster is not safe then yes it is more unsafe carrying appendix with that holster..

The 3 Hallmarks of a safe holster 

1. Trigger Guard Coverage

2. Retention

3. Open non collapsable mouth 

If your trigger guard coverage is perfect - (Like all of the holsters we sell)

Then there is no space or room for anything to get inside the trigger guard and between the holster and the trigger guard, it is completely sealed off making the trigger impossible to be pulled whilst in the holster.

Retention - If the holster has great retention, the gun has no way of falling out or coming loose and exposing the trigger guard in some way, with an adjustable retention holster you can fine tune that to make sure the gun is tight and safe. (Leather and nylon do not check this box, most guns fall out easily when held upside down due to their lack of retention)

Non collapsable mouth. What this means is when the gun is drawn, the holster does not collapse into itself from being inside the waistband closing the mouth of the holster obstructing a reholster. It stays open everytime ready for the gun to reholster.

With Nylon, sticky, leather holsters, when the holster collapses closed after drawing, people fish with the muzzle trying to reopen it to reholster or use their non dominant hand to try to reopen it and muzzle themselves that way which is very dangerous.

This actually happens a lot when people are hip carrying as its even more difficult to reholster with a closed holster in that position. A Kydex Holster like the ones we sell do not have this problem, they stay fully open even without the gun in the holster, you can see and visually guide the gun back into the holster, every single time.I personally would never carry a leather or nylon holster appendix for those reasons. 

Another win for Appendix Carry!

Custom Kydex Inside The Waistband Holster with Magazine Carrier

Now that we have these 3 Bases covered of what makes a safe holster. Appendix carry is incredibly safe, the fact the muzzle is pointed at part of your body is no more dangerous than where your muzzle is pointed whilst it's in it's case on the way to the range, in your safe at home or in your range bag.

Whilst in those positions it is deemed safe and in a safe holster it's no different.

You don't worry about where the muzzle is pointed whilst in transit in whatever storage platform you are using (hopefully a safe one).

Whilst holstered the gun is effectively in transit, the muzzle has to be pointed somewhere.

Just the way you correct the muzzle direction when opening your range bag or case (I hope) if you open it and its pointing at you, you carefully move the gun to change the direction of the muzzle to down range. Just like when the muzzle leaves your holster it is headed in a safe direction down range.

The basis of Rule number 2 on ensuring the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction is more about when actively handling the firearm not when in storage and being holstered safely is in storage in my view.

There's no way for the trigger to be pulled if in a safe holster. Even carrying OWB Hip carry the muzzle is always going to pointed at something so we have to deem if it's in a holster it's safe and therefore, it does not matter.

But if there's any chance that's not the case, whether that's your gun or your holster isn't safe you shouldn't be carrying it at all. 

So in conclusion, Appendix Carry can be a very safe and reliable way to carry a firearm, it can also be a very quick way to draw, a very good way to conceal a firearm as it does not print as much and it can be a very safe way to visibly reholster.

Yes it points at places we don't ideally want it to when holstered but it has to be pointed somewhere to carry at all and that can be mitigated by a careful and gentle reholster technique and a good reliable holster that checks all of our boxes on safety.

It can be no more unsafe than carrying in any other location on the body. But we should always be careful and mindful wherever we carry our gun. Ultimately only you can decide if it's for you!

Please leave us a comment in the box below and tell us your thoughts and experiences with Appendix Carry!

Thanks for reading guys!



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