I've been intrigued with appendix carry for quite some time, especially so after I saw a man open carrying a Glock 17 in Home Despot that way over a year ago. Why in the world would I want to carry a gun on the front of my hip? Speed. Appendix carry uses the body's natural mechanics to minimize movement during the draw, and the end result is a natural and fast draw.
But how fast?
Yes, I know that Jim Zubiena is a badass with a 1911, but it still shows how fast the draw can be when there is little distance between your hand and your gun.
If you want to know more about appendix carry, check out this Pistol-Training.com thread on the subject.
There is a downside to this form of carry, and that is that if you botch the reholstering of your pistol, you could blow a big gaping hole in your satchel or femoral artery, as the gun will be aimed at your crotch. Speed reholstering is stupid to begin with, and even more so when your holster is strapped to the front of your britches at the 2:30 position. Naturally, you would slow down and think carefully when you reholster, and you could also use a pistol with a hammer and keep some thumb pressure on that baby. If you have a Glock, which doesn't have a hammer, the folks at Pistol-Training.com are in the process of getting a patent on The Gadget, which is like adding a hammer to the Glock, but without the hammer. You will have to go there and see what it is because it really can't be explained. The Gadget will work well for appendix carry, and probably won't add any major cost to your pistol. Also, the benefit of not killing yourself or turning your balls into a pink mist when holstering your firearm is priceless, so there's that.
These days there are holsters expressly made for appendix carry. I do not have any holsters that are made for it, but that will be remedied in the near future. From everything I have read, if you try to use a regular holster for appendix carry, it will be very uncomfortable, which is what my limited experience has told me as well. Also, this mode of carry favors the svelte individual, which I am slowly becoming the opposite of. That means I will have to drastically cut back on the number of Stellas that I consume, with that being a good idea anyways. I'll ring back in with the results in the next couple of months with a holster review.
Yes, appendix carry does offer a faster draw than side carry. But you have to have a "non-intrusive" beltline. That does it for me.
The Remora holsters could probably be used for appendix carry as well as the other positions they are good for.
I think Michael Bane says that you need to have gun with a manual safety to carry this way. 1911s yes. Glocks and XDs no.
I messed around with it last night using a 1911 and a Glock 17. My holster selection doesn't allow for it, so it's no surprise that it was uncomfortable.
There's always Mexican carry.
If you start looking at holsters for AWB, I'd be curious to see what you get. Again, I've got too much of a middle-aged-man gut for this, but appendix carry is intriguing.
BTW, did you try sitting down, or bending over? While the draw maybe more comfortable, the time in between draws everyday might not be.
I have a middle-age gut and I carry appendix.
I've carried that way for about ten years and started when I didn't have that gut problem (and went through countless holsters to find the right ones); my G17 and 19 still conceal quite well under a polo shirt.
One does need a dedicated holster though and the various ones mentioned on http://pistol-training.com/ , all work very well. My favorite is the Shaggy from Custom Carry Concepts (http://shop.customcarryconcepts.com/Shaggy-AIWB-SHG.htm) as it is designed to have the butt pulled in against the body thus minimizing printing.
@Andy: it's actually perfectly confortable once you get used to having your gun there. It's one of the best positions for sitting down or bending over as 1) you won't print, 2) the gun is always close to your hands and 3) nearly all the complications of drawing while seated in your car are removed.
Another advantage is in weapon retention (if things have really gone to hell) in that everything gets done real close to your core where you have the most strength and balance.
Thanks for the insight. I'm with Andy in that I have to find out how to make it comfortable while sitting, as I'm on my ass for 11 - 12 hours every day. Last night I tried a 1911, a Glock 17, and a Kahr PM9, with the latter being the most comfortable for obvious reasons. I think an undershirt is a must, and the right holster to allow the gun's muzzle to nestle in the crook where the thigh meets the hip while sitting. When it was in the right spot it was quite comfortable, I just need a dedicated holster for it. I'm already pricing out for a Kahr CW9 or TP9, as my 1911 is just too big for buisiness casual carry. I'm definitely going for this, and I'll take a bunch of pictures as I go.
" it is designed to have the butt pulled in against the body thus minimizing printing."
This. Last night using the Glock 17 in a BladeTech IWB using one belt loop, I was able to get it comfy while I was on the internet, but it didn't pull the grip into my gut like the Shaggy would. I tried the 1911 again this morning in a BladeTech UCH set for a straight drop, but the holster is way too tall and keeps the gun up too high. The sweat guard is over the beaver tail too.
Finding the right holster is really tricky and I have the shoeboxes to prove it :-)
I don't know whether I would stick with the Kahr in your position. It may be more comfortable because there is less gun overall in your pants, but it comes at a cost. The shorter the gun, the less there is under and below the belt and the easier it becomes for the belly to push it outwards at the top and maximize printing.
I use a Shaggy for a G17 and put a G19 in it more often than not. That way, I get the short grip of the G19 (which diminishes printing) but the length of the G17 holster which stabilizes the gun better (for me at least) and it doesn't stick outward from my belly too much.
As everyone has a different body, you will have to find your own happy medium (remember the shoebox of holsters :-) ) but as a rule I find that longer is more concealable and not as uncomfortable as it would seem (I carried a full size 1911 in AIWB for a couple of years -personally modified Summer Special, i.e. done with a knife- and turned to Glocks because I was lazy about maintenance).
Gun height is another tricky thing. My rule of thumb is that as you fully grip the gun still in the holster, your knuckles should lightly feel the top edge of your belt/pants but in no way be impeded by them. Any higher and you compromise concealment; any lower and you may fumble your draw. A 3/4" clearance between the front strap/trigger guard root and the beltline/pants is just about right for me. Others want less but unless you have sausages for fingers, more clearance will hinder you.
There must be NO material (leather, kydex or anything else) at the root of the trigger guard where you middle finger goes. If there is any, you will find yourself regripping the gun during the presentation and that will slow you down. Even a tiny little bit of material can be bad.
The angle at which your holster sits also matters. As a general rule, the closer to vertical the better as it is 1) more concealable and 2) your own body movement throughout the day will angle the gun naturally towards the most comfortable position (so long as the holster has belt loops; a rigid belt clip won't allow much movement which is why my Shaggy is used with the leather belt loops).
If you can try Mexican carry with an empty gun for a while, you should be able to find what positions work best for you. They will change overtime as you learn more but that's the same for every endeavor.
+1 on the undershirt, even with the leather backing of the Shaggy, I prefer to have some fabric protecting my skin. Some folks aren't bothered but I am.
I hope this helps some.
P.S. I sit on my duff most the day too.
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