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Appendix Carry 2.0

Photos by Renee Jacques and Rob Curtis

Limit the Chance of Shooting Your Junk With a Few Simple Considerations

The arguments for and against appendix carry are heated and many. Of late, the tenor of this particular debate approaches the 9mm-versus-.45 and Glock-versus-1911 fervor with staunch supporters on one side and ardent naysayers on the other.

I’ve carried appendix inside the waistband (AIWB) for years. I began carrying this way back in the ’90s as an undercover cop working surveillance and buying dope. The reasons we carried this way back then weren’t based on education and experience, but on what we saw bad guys doing. We often didn’t even use holsters based on the same beliefs that undercover (UC) officers needed long hair and beards … only cops carry guns in holsters. While the reasons for carrying AIWB were rooted in operational necessity, decades later, the practice has evolved based on years of training and experience into a safe and effective means of carry.

While there’s been no shortage of instructors who don’t like AIWB, and even disallow it in their classes, I argue more and more instructors have accepted it and are now converts. I don’t believe everyone reading this will immediately switch based on my advice, but hopefully we can address some common questions and get you thinking.

In the earlier days, there wasn’t really a catalog of AIWB holsters to choose from, so stuff was made up on the fly. And only a small portion of the handgun market was of the striker-fired family. We were using mostly Smith & Wesson DA/SA pistols or revolvers for UC work. My agency issued the Glock 21, but it was commonly thought back then that bad guys didn’t carry hand cannons like that; it was a heavy pig to keep in the waistband and even harder to conceal.


One carry option we used was called the Jamaican rig. It was basically a section of coat hanger wire with a bend in each end. One end slid into the muzzle, the other went over the waistband. While it helped to prevent the gun from sliding down into your pants and disappearing into your britches, it offered no security, retention, or consistency in the drawstroke, and we were constantly adjusting and checking to make sure the gun hadn’t started to slide south or some other direction. It was a long way from the dozens of holster manufacturers we have today, making all sorts of safe and effective options for AIWB carry.

When working on AIWB from concealment, make sure you consider a few key points when choosing a holster. First, ensure you have a quality holster that’s capable of re-holstering without the use of your support hand. Leather and hybrid construction holsters will soften and can collapse over time; this leads to unsafe wiggling or twisting the gun to get it into the mouth of the holster.

Body Shields Are Your Friend
Body shields act as a barrier between your gun and your body, and between your gun and clothing. A shield protects your skin from the sharp edges and heat of a gun while also keeping sweat, lint, and dirt from getting to your handgun. The outer body shield will protect your cover garment and keep it out of your holster when your pistol is away, doing work.

Another benefit of body shields: the inner, tall body shield is great if you have to perform a one-handed draw for example, if you’re holding an infant and a bag of groceries, you can drop the groceries and buy more … you can’t drop your child, so you’ll have to draw your weapon with one hand. Reach down with your firing hand and grab a fist full of garment, yank up toward your sternum, and then thrust it forward toward your belt buckle. This forces the shirt in behind the body shield and allows you to draw with your cover garment out of the way.

“You’re going to shoot yourself in the junk.” I get it. This is probably the number-one concern people have when they say it isn’t for them. I worried about that as well until I started to educate myself and found out what did and didn’t work.


For the rest of this article, subscribe here: Concealment 4

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