SHOT Show 2016: Choosing a holster that makes appendix concealed carry work for you

When we see police officials on TV telling the public to “buy a gun and learn to protect your family,” you know that our society has truly turned a corner


Due to the recent explosion of violence and police hatred, off-duty concealed carry is something you should all do (and you should do it all the time). You may stumble upon an armed robbery or terrorist attack. You may be summoned off-duty to an active shooter event at a local school. You may be recognized as a police officer by someone you’ve arrested. Don’t let your last thought be, “If only I’d had a gun with me.”

Though retired from active policing, I carry every day under the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA — HR218). My situation frequently requires me to use “deep” concealment techniques to carry a small pistol well hidden under clothing, which precludes a quick draw. So I must be very conscious of my surroundings, hoping to buy a few seconds of warning to access my pistol. 

Having quicker access to your sidearm — and carrying a bigger gun to start with — is a much better plan for active officers in covert clothing. In my youth, the “cool” carry mode for off-duty or casual plainclothes-duty was a semi-auto pistol stuffed in your pants, without a holster, just behind the hip in the 4:30 o’clock position. 

From Mexican to Appendix
I’m not sure where the term came from, but it was commonly referred to as “Mexican carry.” We were mostly carrying either double-action auto pistols or 1911’s with a locked manual safety. Now that striker-fired pistols without a manual safety are the norm, you should NEVER carry one of these pistols without a holster or some other form of trigger-guard protection.

In those days I was working in the “wild west” and my moustache was still a flaming shade of “Ragnar red.” Now that white hair prevails, I never carry without a holster, even if all I have is a mini .380 in my pocket. 

The newest fad in concealed carry is the appendix position, from about 12:30 to 1:30 o’clock position, under an untucked shirt. This spot on the body can conceal a surprisingly large, capable pistol and be very comfortable once you sort out the depth and angle where the pistol naturally fits. Several makers are building holsters specifically designed for appendix carry and most sit pretty much straight up and down. I find leather designs the most comfortable for my body type (full-figured), but Kydex designs are becoming ever more comfortable and sophisticated. 

Gearing Up for Appendix Carry
At SHOT Show 2016 in Las Vegas this week there will undoubtedly be a plethora of new holsters designed for appendix concealed carry. On display for certain will be designs announced previously, such as the 5.11 Tactical Appendix IWB Holster (built in partnership with Blade-Tech and Viking Tactics), the inconspicuous Leather Inside-the-Pants Holster from BLACKHAWK!, and a host of others. 

My most-commonly carried holster is a simple pocket-style designed by Sticky Holsters. This amazing and very inexpensive holster works great for inside-the-waistband carry in any position, either behind the hip or behind the belt buckle. The same holster will also work perfectly under a shirt against your body armor or on the ankle with an adapter wrap, two common BUG carry locations for on-duty cops.

An alternative safety device (I don’t really consider them a holster) is a trigger-guard protector like the ones pioneered by MIC Holster Systems (formerly known as Glocktech). Available from countless Kydex builders, the molded devices snap over the trigger guard and include a nylon cord you loop around your belt or belt loop. When the pistol is drawn, the cord draws tight and pops the MIC holster off the weapon allowing access to the trigger. A polymer/striker pistol can be carried safely without a holster when a MIC is used, but I still recommend at least a Sticky Holster be used to keep the pistol in place.

Final Word of Warning
I like to think I’m too professional to resort to crude jokes, but a device like the MIC could prevent the biggest threat from the appendix carry position, perforation of a femoral artery or … other precious groin-area anatomical assets. I can’t resist the MIC holster motto: “Don’t shoot your d*&%, carry a MIC!”

 

About the author

Dick Fairburn has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming, working patrol, investigations and administrative assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and as the Section Chief of a major academy's Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published more than 100 feature articles and two books: Police Rifles and Building a Better Gunfighter.

Contact Richard Fairburn

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