6 great guns for appendix carry

The 6 best guns for appendix carry

Written by Mark Buff, GunZee founder and CEO.

Appendix carry is one of the most popular IWB positions, and for good reason. It’s a great way to keep your piece handy, yet out of sight. Let’s have a look at some of the best concealed carry guns for the AIWB position.

Quick links:

What to look for in an AIWB gun

Glock 43 X

Sig Sauer P365

MP Shield

Ruger LCP Max

Kimber Micro 9

Springfield Hellcat

Benefits of AIWB

Best AIWB holsters

AIWB carry tips

Whether you’re new to concealed carry or a seasoned pro, read on. We’ll guide you to ideal appendix gear for seamless concealment and daylong comfort.

Buy our holster pad to make your AIWB carry comfortable!

What to look for in an appendix carry a gun?

Here are some important features to look for in an appendix carry gun:

  • A slim, compact profile to seamlessly disappear at the front waistband position. Single-stack pistols are best. 
  • Lightweight construction under 25 oz to prevent sagging and improve comfort
  • Smooth, snag-free edges to avoid irritating skin or printing
  • A short barrel length of under 4 inches for easy concealment without sacrificing accuracy
  • A manual safety feature can provide an extra layer of protection against accidental discharge. It allows the user to engage or disengage the safety mechanism based on their preference and situation. 
  • The shape and size of the trigger guard are essential considerations, especially for appendix carry.
  • Some firearms incorporate a grip safety feature to prevent unintentional firing. This safety mechanism requires the shooter to have a firm grip on the gun in order to disengage the safety and allow the trigger to be pulled. 
  • Opting for a gun that offers the availability of extra barrels or threaded barrels can significantly enhance the versatility of your AIWB carry gun.
  • Having a clear-sighted picture is crucial for accurate and fast target acquisition.
    • Dot sights, such as red dots or holographic sights, provide a precise reference point, improving accuracy in low-light and high-stress situations.
    • Night sights, which consist of tritium-illuminated or fiber optic sights, enhance visibility during nighttime or low-light environments.

Some features can make your concealed carry way more comfortable and better. Each feature can play a crucial role in optimizing your carry experience. Let's discuss these features in more detail.

For the most part, the weapons that work for AIWB carry are the same that work well for all positions. Traditional dual-action and single-action semi-automatic pistols and semi-automatics with a manual safety are a pretty safe bet. —Vedder Holsters

What are the top AIWB guns?

We distilled the crowded concealed carry market down to our elite picks for appendix carry. These compact handguns deliver big firepower and accuracy in a wonderfully wearable package.

  1. Glock 43X
  2. Sig Sauer P365
  3. Smith & Wesson Shield
  4. Ruger LCP Max
  5. Kimber Micro 9
  6. Springfield Hellcat

Glock 43X

Glock 43

Glock 43. Image sorce: https://us.glock.com/en/pistols/g43

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 3.41 inches
  • Length: 6.50 inches
  • Height: 5.04 inches
  • Width: 1.10 inches
  • Weight: 18.7 ounces (unloaded)

The Glock 43X is an excellent option for appendix carry thanks to its slim, compact profile. The shorter barrel length, minimal width, and light weight make the 43X easy to conceal at the front waistband position.

Despite its small size, the 43X offers a 10+1 round capacity and maintains enough grip surface for control. The grip angle and texturing allow for an intuitive, natural point of aim. 

The 43X comes with Glock's reputation for reliability and durability. It provides substantial firepower in a wonderfully concealable and shootable package. For those seeking a minimalist 9mm for appendix carry, the Glock 43X hits the mark.

Sig Sauer P365

Sig Sauer P365 i
Sig Sauer P365 i. Image source: https://www.sigsauer.com/p365-380.html
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
  • Length: 5.8 inches
  • Height: 4.3 inches
  • Width: 1.0 inches
  • Weight: 17.8 ounces (unloaded)

The SIG Sauer P365 shines as an appendix carry pistol thanks to its micro-compact proportions. This 9mm maximums concealability without sacrificing shootability or firepower. This single-stack carry weapon measures just 1” wide yet remarkably fits 10+1 rounds of 9mm into the grip magazine.

With an ergonomic textured grip with minimal printing, the P365 is firmly under control. The snag-free contours aid in a smooth draw from an appendix holster. A crisp, light trigger break enhances accuracy while the SIGLITE night sights enable rapid target acquisition. Reliable feeding comes courtesy of the enhanced magazine design. 

This redditor carries the P365 in a Tenicor Velo holster.

Smith & Wesson Shield

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 8+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
  • Length: 6.1 inches
  • Height: 4.6 inches
  • Width: 0.95 inches
  • Weight: 20 ounces (unloaded)

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a slim 9mm single-stack carry handgun. It combines a compact, lightweight polymer frame with a 3.1” barrel for easy concealability along with accuracy and shootability.

The M&P Shield has an optimized 18-degree grip angle for a natural point of aim. Aggressive front and back strap texturing provides a secure hold. The thin, snag-free profile aids in a smooth draw from an appendix holster. A crisp 6.5 lb trigger enhances precision as well. At just .95” wide and 3.1” for the barrel, the M&P Shield provides 8+1 rounds of 9mm at the ready.

Forget about uncomfortable IWB carry with our holster pad!

Ruger LCP Max

  • Caliber: .380 ACP
  • Capacity: 10+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 2.8 inches
  • Length: 5.5 inches
  • Height: 3.7 inches
  • Width: 0.88 inches
  • Weight: 14.1 ounces (unloaded)

The Ruger LCP Max is a semi-automatic pistol chambered in .380 ACP. It has a capacity of 10+1 rounds and a barrel length of 2.8 inches. The LCP Max is a lightweight and compact pistol, weighing only 10.6 ounces. It features a textured grip frame for a secure hold, a snag-free profile for a smooth draw, and a crisp 5-pound trigger pull.

Kimber Micro 9

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 6+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 3.15 inches
  • Length: 5.6 inches
  • Height: 4.0 inches
  • Width: 1.06 inches
  • Weight: 15 ounces (unloaded)

The Kimber Micro 9 is a lightweight and compact 9mm pistol designed for concealed carry and personal defense. It has a capacity of 6+1 rounds and a barrel length of 3 inches. The Micro 9 features a textured grip frame for a secure hold, a snag-free profile for a smooth draw, and a crisp 4.5-pound trigger pull.

The Micro 9 is a single-action pistol with a manual safety. It has a fixed front sight and an adjustable rear sight. The Micro 9 is available in a variety of finishes, including stainless steel, black nitride, and PVD.

Springfield Armory Hellcat

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 11+1 rounds
  • Barrel Length: 3.0 inches
  • Length: 6.0 inches
  • Height: 4.0 inches
  • Width: 1.0 inch
  • Weight: 18.3 ounces (unloaded)

The Springfield Armory Hellcat is a lightweight and compact 9mm pistol designed for concealed carry and personal defense. It has a capacity of 11+1 rounds and a barrel length of 3 inches. The Hellcat features a textured grip frame for a secure hold, a snag-free profile for a smooth draw, and a crisp 5-pound trigger pull.

The Hellcat is a striker-fired pistol with a manual safety. It has a fixed front sight and an adjustable rear sight.

The benefits of appendix carry

Here are some advantages of appendix carry that make it a popular choice among concealed carry enthusiasts:

  • Accessibility. With the gun positioned in the front of your body, the firearm is easily accessible, allowing for efficient and faster drawing. This can be especially advantageous in self-defense situations when every second counts.
  • Concealment. Appendix carry offers excellent concealment, as the gun is positioned in a natural contour of the body. This can help prevent printing (the outline of the gun showing through clothing) and maintain a low-profile appearance, ensuring that you carry firearm discreetly hidden from sight.
  • Retention and security. Carrying in the appendix position provides better retention and security compared to other carry methods. The gun is positioned in a location that is less likely to be accessed or grabbed by an assailant, making it more difficult for someone to disarm you.
  • Comfort. For many individuals, appendix carry can offer a comfortable carry option. The gun is positioned in a spot that is generally free from interference with daily activities, such as sitting, bending, or driving. With the right holster, a GunZee holster pad, and belt combination, appendix carry can distribute the weight of the firearm evenly, minimizing discomfort associated with carrying a firearm for extended periods.
  • Quick reloads. Another benefit of appendix carry is the ease of performing magazine reloads. The gun's position allows for efficient and quick reloads, reducing the time it takes to get back into action during a self-defense situation or while training on the range.
  • Increased situational awareness. With the gun positioned in the front of your body, appendix carry can enhance your situational awareness. By having the firearm within your line of sight, you can easily monitor the condition of your firearm, ensuring that it is securely holstered and ready if needed.

Best AIWB holsters

Holsters make or break your appendix carry. So what gear traits tuck heat tidy and trouble-free?

  1. Material. KYDEX's rigid construction prevents sagging while leather molds comfortably to your body over time. Both offer trade-offs in durability, retention, and maintenance.
  2. Adjustable cant and ride height. Tweak the CCW holster angle and vertical position to dial in the optimal draw stroke and concealment for your body type.
  3. Claw attachment. This curved device uses belt tension to tuck the pistol grip in close, defeating printing for better discretion.
  4. Sweat guard. A taller sweat guard keeps moisture off the gun, preventing corrosion while also creating a comfortable skin barrier.
  5. Retention adjustment. Customizable friction enables smooth and faster draws without early release while securing the firearm.
  6. Coverage area. Maximum coverage of the trigger guard and slide ensures safety and concealment.

If you want to learn more, read our guide to AIWB holsters and feast your eyes.

Appendix carry tips

Appendix carry takes practice. Follow these tips to master it.

  • Mount your holster at the 1-2 o’clock position, centered forward of your hip bone crease for a natural draw angle.
  • Adjust ride height so your pistol grip rests just above your waistband, exposed for quick access.
  • Angle your pistol grip slightly inward towards your body for comfort and concealment.
  • Use a purpose-built rigid gun belt to support weight and reduce sagging.
  • Tweak position to suit your body type and avoid pinch points when sitting or bending.
  • Test movements like reaching, walking, and drawing to identify any printing or exposure issues.
  • Fine tune ride height, cant, and position until your setup is optimized for access, concealment and all-day comfort.

With smart gear choices and proper positioning, you’ll achieve safe, effective appendix carry. Stay armed and ready!

AIWB FAQ

What is the best cant for appendix carry?

The best cant for appendix carry depends on personal preference and body type. Some people prefer a slight forward cant, while others find a straight vertical cant more comfortable. 

Experiment with different cants to find the one that offers the best balance of comfort, concealment, and accessibility for the individual.

Is Glock safe for appendix carry?

Glock is safe for AIWB carry. Some people may prefer different carry positions due to concerns about negligent discharge or discomfort.

Is appendix carry the fastest?

Appendix carry is often considered one of the fastest methods of carrying a CCW firearm. This is because the appendix position allows for quick and efficient access to the weapon, as it is located in front of the body and easily reachable with the dominant hand. 

Is it safe to appendix carry a 1911?

Appendix carry of 1911 can be safe if done properly and with the right holster. It is important to ensure that the trigger is fully covered and protected to prevent accidental discharge. 

Can you sit with an appendix carry?

Yes, it is possible to sit with an appendix carry. However, it may not be the most comfortable position as the appendix carry is worn in the front of the body, just off to the side of the belly button. Appendix carry in the seated position may cause some discomfort or restrict movement depending on the size and placement of the holster.

Does appendix carry cause problems?

Some of the issues associated with appendix carry include discomfort, difficulty in accessing the firearm quickly, and increased risk of accidental discharge. But this carry technique is no more dangerous than any other technique when one is properly trained and armed with the right handgun.

How can I make my appendix carry more comfortable?

To make your appendix carry more comfortable, you can try several things.

  • Make sure the weight is evenly distributed in the bag and adjust the straps accordingly.
  • Consider using a padded strap or adding extra padding inside the bag to cushion the pressure on your appendix.
  • Try to minimize the weight of the items you carry in the appendix to reduce strain on your body.

Can you run with appendix carry?

Yes, it is possible to run with appendix carry, although it may be more challenging and uncomfortable compared to other carry positions. It is important to ensure that the carry holster and firearm are securely fastened to prevent any movement or discomfort while running.

Does clothing choice affect AIWB carry?

Your choice of clothing can significantly impact the concealability and comfort of appendix carry. 

Tighter fitting shirts with elastic fabrics tend to contour better to AIWB holsters, while looser or thicker materials are more prone to printing. Low-rise pants or shorts also facilitate a smooth, uninterrupted draw stroke. 

About the Author

Mark Buff is the founder and CEO of GunZee. He is an ardent firearms enthusiast and has been carrying concealed for more than 15 years. He created GunZee to solve his own problem: that of uncomfortable KYDEX holsters. His patented GunZee memory foam holster pad makes inside-the-waistband carry super comfortable.

Further reading

The best CCW holsters for fat guys

Are Eclipse holsters any good?

Are Tenicor holsters any good?

The best Glock 43 holster

The best Kimber Micro 9 holster

The best Springfield Hellcat holster

What is concealed carry reciprocity?