Appendix Carry Guide How To Carry AIWB

Appendix Carry: How To Carry AIWB

Appendix Carry, or Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) carry has steadily gained popularity among concealed carry enthusiasts for its outstanding blend of concealability, accessibility, and comfort. This method of carrying allows for a quick draw and easy retention, making it a preferred choice for many who prioritize self-defense.

However, mastering appendix carry involves more than just tucking a firearm into your waistband; it requires a thorough understanding of the right techniques, gear, and safety protocols to ensure both effectiveness and safety.

Read our article Ultimate Guide To Concealed Carry

This guide aims to provide a concise overview of AIWB carry, covering essential gear, safety measures, and practical tips to enhance comfort and proficiency. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned carrier, our insights will help you navigate the intricacies of AIWB carry, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience.

What Is Appendix Carry?

Appendix carry, also known as AIWB (Appendix Inside the Waistband), is a method of concealed carry where the firearm is positioned in front of the body, typically around the 1 to 2 o’clock position on the waistband. This placement corresponds to the appendix area, hence the name.

The primary advantage of appendix carry is the ease of access it provides; the firearm can be drawn quickly and efficiently, making it a popular choice for self-defense situations. Additionally, this carrying position allows for better concealment under a wider variety of clothing, making it a versatile option for everyday carry.

Appendix carry requires a specialized holster designed to safely secure the firearm while providing comfort and preventing printing. Despite its benefits, AIWB carry also demands strict adherence to safety protocols and proper training to minimize risks associated with carrying a firearm in close proximity to vital body parts.

Is Appendix Carry Safe?

The safety of Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) carry is a topic of considerable debate within the concealed carry community. The primary concern revolves around the firearm’s muzzle pointing towards the lower abdomen and, potentially, the femoral artery when holstered. However, with the proper precautions, AIWB can be as safe as any other carry method.

Key Factors for Safe AIWB Carry:

  • Holster Quality: A well-designed AIWB holster is paramount. It should securely hold the firearm, cover the trigger guard completely to prevent accidental discharge, and maintain its shape for safe reholstering.
  • Firearm Handling: Safe gun handling practices are crucial. This includes keeping the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot and ensuring the firearm is pointed in a safe direction when drawing or reholstering.
  • Training and Familiarity: Regular practice with unloaded firearms can help build muscle memory for safe drawing and holstering movements. Familiarity with the firearm and holster also minimizes the risk of negligent discharge.
  • Clothing Consideration: The right clothing can aid in safely carrying AIWB by facilitating smoother draws and reholstering without garment interference.

Mitigating Risk:

To mitigate risk, carriers should engage in continuous training, especially focusing on drawing and reholstering drills. It’s also recommended to initially practice these actions with an unloaded firearm to ensure safety. Adjusting the holster’s position slightly off-center can reduce the risk of the muzzle pointing directly at the body, combining safety with comfort.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Appendix Carry

Advantages and Disadvantages of Appendix Carry

Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) carry, like any carry method, comes with its own set of pros and cons. Understanding these can help individuals make informed decisions about whether AIWB is the right choice for their concealed carry needs.


  1. Accessibility: AIWB allows for a swift and direct draw, which can be crucial in self-defense situations. The firearm’s position in front of the body makes it easily reachable under various circumstances.
  2. Concealment: This carry method is excellent for concealing the firearm, even under relatively tight clothing, due to the natural contours of the body in the appendix area.
  3. Control: Carrying a firearm in the appendix position provides better control over the weapon, reducing the risk of it being grabbed in a close encounter.


  1. Comfort: For some, appendix carry can be less comfortable, especially when sitting or bending due to the gun’s position against the stomach and groin area.
  2. Safety Concerns: The muzzle of the firearm points towards the lower abdomen and pelvic area, raising concerns about accidental discharge. Proper holster selection and rigorous training are essential to mitigate this risk.
  3. Body Type Limitations: AIWB carry may not be suitable for all body types. Individuals with larger midsections might find it difficult to comfortably and effectively conceal their firearm in the appendix position.

In conclusion, while AIWB carry offers significant advantages in terms of accessibility and concealment, it also demands careful consideration of comfort and safety. The decision to carry in the appendix position should be based on personal comfort, lifestyle, and a commitment to practicing safe handling and carrying techniques.

How To Appendix Carry Comfortably

Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) carry can be incredibly effective for concealed carry, but comfort is a common concern among those new to this method. Here are several tips and strategies to enhance comfort while ensuring safety and accessibility:

1. Choose the Right Holster

  • Material and Design: Look for a holster made of comfortable materials that conform to your body shape. Features like adjustable cant and ride height can also improve comfort.
  • Holster with a Wedge: A holster with a built-in wedge can tilt the muzzle away from your body and distribute the pressure more evenly, reducing discomfort.
  • Padding: Some holsters offer additional padding or cushioning, which can significantly increase comfort for prolonged wear.

2. Select an Appropriate Firearm

  • Size Matters: Smaller, compact firearms tend to be more comfortable for AIWB carry, especially for extended periods or when seated.
  • Weight: Lighter firearms reduce the strain on your waistband and can improve overall comfort.

3. Wear Proper Clothing

  • Looser Fit: Slightly looser clothing can accommodate your firearm without pressing it against your body, improving comfort and aiding concealment.
  • High-Quality Belt: A sturdy, adjustable belt designed for concealed carry can provide the necessary support without being overly tight.

4. Adjust Positioning

  • Slight Off-Center Placement: Experiment with positioning the holster slightly off-center (either to the left or right of the belly button) to find a more comfortable spot that doesn’t interfere with bending or sitting.
  • Ride Height Adjustment: Adjusting the ride height of your holster can make a significant difference in comfort, especially when sitting or moving frequently.

5. Practice and Conditioning

  • Gradual Wear: Start by wearing your AIWB holster for short periods and gradually increase the duration as you become more accustomed to the feel.
  • Movement Practice: Regularly practice sitting, standing, and moving to find and adjust to the most comfortable positions for your daily activities.

6. Use Accessories Wisely

  • Holster Accessories: Consider using accessories like holster claws, which help tuck the grip closer to the body, improving concealment and comfort.
  • Clothing Adjustments: Specialized concealed carry clothing and accessories can offer additional comfort and concealment options.

Carrying comfortably in the appendix position is achievable with the right combination of gear, firearm selection, and personal adjustments. It requires a bit of experimentation and patience to find the perfect setup, but the payoff in terms of both comfort and effective concealed carry can be significant. Always prioritize safety and practice regularly to ensure the most comfortable and efficient appendix carry experience.

How To Choose An Appendix Holster

How To Choose An Appendix Holster-2

Selecting the right appendix holster is crucial for ensuring both the safety and comfort of AIWB carry. Here are essential factors to consider when choosing an appendix holster:

1. Material

  • Kydex: Popular for its durability and rigid structure, Kydex holsters offer excellent firearm retention and a smooth, quick draw. Their hard exterior also protects the trigger and prevents accidental discharge.
  • Leather: Offers a more traditional look and feel, leather holsters can be more comfortable against the skin and conform to the body over time. However, they may require more maintenance and can wear out faster than synthetic materials.
  • Hybrid (Kydex and Leather): Combines the best of both worlds, providing the durability and safety of Kydex with the comfort of leather where the holster contacts the wearer’s body.

2. Retention

  • Passive Retention: Most AIWB holsters use passive retention, which relies on the fit of the holster to hold the firearm in place. Look for models with adjustable retention screws to customize the draw strength to your preference.
  • Active Retention: While less common in AIWB holsters, some models may include active retention features like thumb breaks or retention straps for added security.

3. Trigger Guard Coverage

  • Full Coverage: Ensure the holster covers the entire trigger guard. This is non-negotiable for safety, preventing any accidental trigger movement.

4. Comfort Features

  • Holster Wedge: A wedge attached to the back of the holster can help tilt the top of the gun away from the body, improving comfort and aiding in concealment.
  • Wing or Claw: A holster with a wing or claw pushes against the belt, rotating the gun’s grip closer to the body, reducing printing and enhancing comfort.

5. Adjustable Cant and Ride Height

  • Cant Adjustment: Allows you to angle the holster and firearm for a more natural draw stroke and comfortable positioning.
  • Ride Height Adjustment: Enables you to set how high or low the holster sits on your belt, affecting both concealment and draw efficiency.

6. Size and Profile

  • Minimalist Design: A holster with a slim profile reduces bulk and improves comfort, especially important in appendix carry where extra material can be cumbersome.
  • Specific Fit: Choose a holster designed specifically for your firearm model to ensure a secure fit and proper retention.

7. Reholstering Safety

  • Rigid Mouth: The holster should remain open when the firearm is drawn, allowing for safe and easy reholstering without the need to adjust the holster with your other hand.

Choosing the right appendix holster involves balancing safety features with personal comfort and concealment needs. Prioritize holsters that offer excellent retention, full trigger guard coverage, and are made of durable materials.

Adjustability for cant and ride height can also greatly enhance comfort and functionality. By carefully selecting an appendix holster that meets these criteria, you can enjoy a safer and more comfortable appendix carry experience.

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Important Tips For Appendix Carry

Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) carry is a popular choice for many concealed carriers, offering excellent concealment and quick access. To get the most out of AIWB carry, consider these essential tips:

  • Select the Right Holster: Choose an AIWB-specific holster with good retention, trigger guard coverage, and comfort features like padding or a wedge.
  • Dress Appropriately: Opt for slightly looser clothing that aids in concealment and pair with a sturdy belt to secure your firearm and holster.
  • Practice Safe Handling: Always practice drawing and reholstering with an unloaded weapon, emphasizing finger discipline and muzzle awareness.
  • Find Your Comfort Zone: Adjust the holster’s position and angle to balance comfort with accessibility, experimenting to find the best spot.
  • Be Mindful of the Muzzle: Pay attention to muzzle direction, especially when sitting or bending, to enhance safety.
  • Engage in Regular Training: Incorporate both dry fire and live fire drills into your practice routine to improve draw speed, accuracy, and situational awareness.
  • Carry an Extra Magazine: Consider an AIWB holster with a magazine carrier or carry an extra magazine separately for emergencies.
  • Adjust Based on Experience: Be willing to make changes to your carry setup based on comfort, practicality, and performance feedback.
  • Be Patient and Consistent: Allow yourself time to adapt to appendix carry and remain persistent in practice to develop proficiency.

By following these tips, you can enhance your appendix carry experience, ensuring both comfort and readiness. Whether you’re new to AIWB or looking to refine your approach, these guidelines will help you carry safely and effectively.


Read our article Best Gun Belts for Concealed Carry

Appendix carry presents a unique blend of accessibility, concealment, and speed, making it an appealing choice for many concealed carriers. By carefully selecting the right equipment, practicing safe handling, and fine-tuning your carry setup, you can maximize the advantages of AIWB carry.

Remember, comfort and proficiency with this carry method come with time and practice. Embrace the journey of mastering AIWB carry, and enjoy the confidence and security it brings to your everyday carry routine.

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