During a recent conversation with my friend Tony Mayer of JM Custom Kydex, I learned that a significant portion of his sales are inside-the-waistband, appendix-carry holsters.
Appendix carry refers to carrying the concealed handgun near or on the center line of the body. I’ve seen multiple participants in firearms courses carrying concealed in this fashion, but I had no personal experience with this method of carry.
Tony agreed to ship me a few of his products for test and evaluation purposes. Within a few days, I received appendix inside the waist band (AIWB) holsters for both the Glock 19 and Glock 26, my primary off-duty handguns.
Once I had experimented with the configuration and worked out the draw-stroke with a replica firearm, I decided to put the Glock 19 AIWB rig to the ultimate test — on a 12-hour road trip to visit family in Salt Lake City.
While the Glock 19 rested comfortably in this position while seated in a vehicle, the Glock 26 provided a level of discomfort that made concealment challenging.
Please understand that every body type and weapon configuration varies, and what may work for one person may not for another. But in most other concealment methods, the smaller the gun frame, the easier and more comfortable it is to carry.
I raised this point with Tony when discussing my findings (along with asking for a Glock 17 AIWB holster to experiment with). He explained that once the pelvic bone is factored into the equation, many find that larger framed handguns extend beyond this point, thereby increasing the comfort level.
Pros and Cons
With a basic understanding of the concept, let’s discuss the pros and cons of appendix carry.
• Rapid accessibility in multiple body positions (standing, kneeling, seated and supine)
• Generally will not "print" on exterior clothing when bending, kneeling or squatting
• Element of surprise — most adversaries do not anticipate a good guy producing a handgun from this position
• Holster design should allow re-holstering with one hand (not bad news for Kydex manufacturers)
• Places handgun muzzle in direct line with sensitive body areas
• Requires the user to learn a different draw stroke
The above list is not exhaustive — these are merely the items that come directly and immediately to mind. The naysayers of this method are quick to comment about the handgun’s positioning and the areas of the body that the muzzle covers. To counter that argument, safety rules should be adhered to regardless of the carry position. A mistake with a dominant side hip holster can be just as costly.
Once I received the Glock 17 AIWB holster from Tony, I put his hypothesis to the test. Not surprisingly, he was right. The full-frame duty gun was the most comfortable configuration in this position. Allowing persons of varying shapes and sizes to carry large frame handguns in a concealed fashion is the ultimate sales pitch.
To offer one admonishment, please train and become comfortable with any concealed position before placing live firearms in close proximity to your body. I have become completely confident with AIWB carry, and it has become my primary method of carry while in plain clothes.
Please feel free to email me with questions, comments, or concerns. You can also visit www.jmcustomkydex.com for more information on this type of holster, as well as the options available for your individual needs.
Be safe, and train hard.