What Is Appendix Carry?

What Is Appendix Carry?

Appendix carry is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) position. In appendix carry, also known as appendix inside waistband (AIWB) carry, the gun sits at the “one o’clock” position for right-handed folks. 11 o’clock for lefties. 

AIWB is popular because it offers quick and easy access to your gun, especially in self-defense situations. It can provide superior concealment as well, particularly for those with slimmer body types. 

Quick links:

How to AIWB comfortably?

Pros and cons of AIWB?

Best appendix carry holsters?

How to choose an AIWB holster?

Appendix carry for fat guys?

Appendix carry for skinny guys?

Is appendix carry dangerous?

Appendix carry vs hip carry?

Appendix carry vs IWB?

Despite its popularity, appendix carry has its detractors. Let’s get into all the details of AIWB so you can decide if it’s right for you.

No more uncomfortable IWB holsters. Grab our holster pad, apply it, and enjoy appendix carry nirvana!

How To Appendix Carry Comfortably?

If you're new to the world of concealed carry or looking to make the switch to appendix carry, you might be wondering how to do AIWB comfortably. Carrying a firearm in this position can take some getting used to, but with a few adjustments, you can find a comfortable and secure fit that works for you.

Whether you're a seasoned concealed carrier or just starting out, the following tips will help you appendix carry with confidence and comfort.

  1. Find the right holster. A decent holster is crucial, much like a solid foundation for a building. Look for a high-quality, adjustable holster made for appendix carry, with features like adjustable cant and riding height.
  2. Consider the gun's size. There are a lot of great CCW guns on the market, but you’ll find that AIWB works best with subcompact or microcompact pistols. The proper size and weight balance will prevent discomfort and printing. In terms of comfort, our holster pads make all the difference in the world, as well.
  3. Adjust the cant. Changing the angle of your holster can make a significant difference in comfort. Experiment with various cant angles to find the sweet spot for your body type and drawing style.
  4. Mind the belt. A good gun belt is essential for a comfortable appendix carry experience. Purchase a strong, purpose-built belt that can carry the weight of your firearm without sagging or digging into your skin.
  5. Positioning is key. The exact location of the holster can be a big factor. Experiment with slight adjustments left, right, up, and down. Find what works for you and your appendix.
  6. Dress for success. Avoid extremely tight or restrictive clothing, and opt for somewhat looser shirts and pants with a little additional leeway at the waist.

This redditor correctly points out that body type and gun size are major factors to consider.

Another reddit user suggests pushing the holster close to the 12 o’clock position, adjusting the cant, and having a stiff belt.

Pros And Cons Of Appendix Carry

Appendix carry, like most things in life, has advantages and disadvantages. Let's lay out the pros and cons so you can consider your alternatives.


  • Quick access. Appendix carry places your pistol in the front and center of your body, enabling faster draws and better access in high-stress situations.
  • Better concealment. With the correct holster and clothing, appendix carry can be as quiet as a whisper, lowering the chance of printing or inadvertent exposure.
  • Greater control. By keeping your firearm near your body's core, you'll have a greater grasp on it, making it more difficult for someone to snag.
  • Standing or walking comfort. For many people, appendix carry feels like a snug fit when on their feet, allowing them to move around freely.


  • Potential discomfort (this applies to all IWB positions, in all fairness). Depending on your body shape and gun size, appendix carry might be difficult when sitting or bending for extended periods of time.
  • Potential safety risks. Appendix carry, if not done properly, can provide a risk of accidental discharge, especially during reholstering. Always adhere to safety requirements and train on a regular basis.
  • Limited options for larger firearms. Due to their size and weight, larger weapons can be more difficult to carry in the appendix position, making concealment and comfort more difficult to achieve.
  • Not for everyone. Appendix carry may be uncomfortable or impractical for some people because of their body type, personal preferences, or special situations.

This redditor likes the accessibility of AIWB, but isn't so keen on having a firearm aimed into his body. We can't say that we blame him.

Whatever piece you’re packing, if you’re wearing it AIWB, grab this holster pad, apply it, and thank us later!

Best Appendix Carry Holsters

T.REX ARMS Sidecar holster

T.REX ARMS Sidecar holster.

Image source: https://www.trex-arms.com/store/trex-arms-sidecar-holster/

Finding the ideal appendix holster is similar to looking for a one-of-a-kind fishing lure—it must have the proper combination of features and usefulness to be worthwhile. Whether you're new to appendix carry or a seasoned veteran looking to upgrade your gear, saddle up and join us as we explore the world of high-quality holsters.

Here are some of the best appendix carry holsters, according to users:

  1. Tier 1 Concealed Axis Slim. It features a unique design incorporating a spare magazine carrier, resulting in a smooth, low-profile configuration.
  2. Vedder LightTuck. Known for its small profile and adjustable cant and retention, the LightTuck is a solid choice for anyone looking for a balance of concealment and accessibility.
  3. Tenicor Velo is a sleek, purpose-built holster with unrivaled concealment and an adjustable fit, making it ideal for discerning carry.
  4. T.Rex Arms Sidecar is a revolutionary design with an integrated magazine carrier, making it an excellent choice for individuals who appreciate efficiency and convenience.
  5. StealthGear USA. The breathable, soft materials used by StealthGear USA holsters give a comfy carrying experience without sacrificing durability or functionality. This holster reviewer finds the SG-Revolution to be unique. “The diamond pattern that lets the holster ‘breathe’ is pretty neat and gives the holster a look that we haven’t seen anywhere else. This backing, made of a proprietary polymer, seems like it’ll hold up to just about anything. I have no doubt that this will last for the long-term.”

This redditor loves the Axis Slim for its flexibility.

This YouTube commenter is a fan of the LightTuck's adjustability. 

Make AIWB holsters comfortable with our memory foam holster pad!

How To Choose An AIWB Holster?

StealthGearUSA SG-Ventcore AIWB Holster

StealthGearUSA SG-Ventcore AIWB Holster.

Image source: https://stealthgearusa.com/holster-models/glock-34-holsters/

The appropriate AIWB holster can make all the difference in your concealed carry experience. Here’s how to find the best fit for you and your trusty sidearm:

  • Material. Holsters are made of a variety of materials, including KYDEX, leather, and hybrid combinations. When choosing the material for your holster, keep your comfort preferences, durability requirements, and climate in mind.
  • Customization. Look for a holster with adjustable cant, retention, and ride height, which will allow you to fine-tune the fit and feel of your pistol.
  • Quality. Purchase a well-made concealed carry holster from a recognized manufacturer. Good craftsmanship and long-lasting materials will ensure that your holster survives the test of time and performs reliably.
  • Concealment. The goal of appendix carry is to conceal your pistol, so look for a holster with little printing and maximum concealment without losing accessibility.
  • Comfort. Because you'll be wearing your holster for extended periods of time, it's critical that it doesn't pinch, poke, or rub you the wrong way. Try on numerous designs until you find one that feels like a second skin.
  • Retention. A proper AIWB holster should securely retain your pistol in place, even when moving or exercising. Look for adjustable retention mechanisms that strike the ideal balance between security and draw ease.
  • Safety. When selecting a holster, always prioritize safety features. Your AIWB holster should completely cover the trigger guard, preventing accidental discharge. 

Appendix Carry For Fat Guys

Appendix carry isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, and for those carrying excess weight, finding the correct fit can be like herding an obstinate mule. But don't worry; in this section, we'll discuss the difficulties that come with an appendix carry for individuals with a larger figure. 

Here are a few quick tips for finding the best AIWB gun holster for a larger person:

  • Holster selection. Select a holster with a wing or claw attachment to help tuck the firearm's grip closer to your body. This feature improves concealment and comfort, even for individuals with a little extra around the middle.
  • Ride height. Adjusting riding height of your holster might make a big difference. Experiment with various concealed carry positions for the best concealment and comfort while sitting or standing.
  • Belt matters. A strong gun belt that appropriately distributes the weight of your pistol can make appendix carry more comfortable for bigger guys. Look for a belt that offers adequate support without digging into your waist.
  • Positioning. The right location of the holster on your belt can make or break your comfort. To determine the best comfortable position for your body shape, try shifting your holster slightly off-center, either to the left or right.
  • Clothing choice. Choose clothing with a little extra room around the waist and hips, such as slacks with an elastic or adjustable waistband and slightly looser shirts. This makes appendix carrying more comfortable and aids in concealment.
  • Patience and practice. Finding the right mix of the holster, placement, and clothing for your body shape may take some time. Be patient, try several configurations, and practice drawing and reholstering until you discover the sweet spot that works best for you.
  • Holster pads. Our memory foam pad makes appendix carry more comfortable.

Let’s take a look at some of the best AIWB holsters for fat guys.

  1. Tulster Profile Holster. The Tulster Profile holster is well-known for its adjustable retention and customizable fit. It's lightweight and has a sweat guard to keep moisture away from your firearm, making it an excellent choice for everyday carry.
  2. Tier 1 Concealed Axis Elite Holster. The Tier 1 Concealed Axis Elite holster is a high-quality option made of long-lasting materials. It has adjustable retention, a sweat guard, and a comfortable fit, making it ideal for larger people.
  3. JM Custom KYDEX AIWB Holster. For those looking for a holster that is both durable and customizable, the JM Custom KYDEX AIWB holster is a popular choice. It is made of high-quality KYDEX and has adjustable retention as well as a low profile for comfortable and discreet carry.
  4. The Keeper Holster. The Keeper holster is an excellent choice for those seeking a minimalist, low-profile design. This lightweight holster features adjustable retention for all-day comfort and ease of use.
  5. Tenicor Velo Holster. The Tenicor Velo holster is a high-quality option that is both durable and customizable. It has a sweat guard to keep moisture away from your firearm, adjustable retention, and a comfortable fit that makes it ideal for larger individuals.

This redditor thinks the Velo is “crazy comfortable.”

Appendix Carry For Skinny Guys

For skinny guys, you may find it easier to carry in the appendix than in other positions. 

Here are some useful tips for appendix carry for skinny guys:

  • Choose a slim-profile holster. Look for a holster with a low-profile, simple design that will not add bulk to your frame.
  • Choose smaller firearms. The best CCW gun for a skinny person is compact or subcompact because they are easier to conceal and carry. 
  • Adjust the cant. To discover the best comfortable and concealable posture for your body type, experiment with different holster angles.
  • High-quality belt. Invest in a strong, compact gun belt that gives support without adding bulk to your waist.
  • Think about holster padding. Some holsters have additional padding or cushioning for enhanced comfort, which can be especially beneficial for those with less natural padding around the waist. Try the GunZee holster pad and be sure you’ll enjoy carrying your weapon AIWB.
  • Concealment clothing. Choose patterned or looser-fitting shirts to help break up the silhouette of your firearm and make it less visible.
  • Don't forget to practice. Draw and reholster your firearm on a regular basis to ensure you're comfortable and efficient with your selected arrangement.

“Concealed Carry Andrew” is a self-professed “skinny dude” who recommends avoiding solid color shirts (they print more readily) and advocates for a good holster. In Andrew’s opinion, a good holster has the following elements: 

  1. An AIWB holster should have “the ability to adjust the ride height,” meaning “raising or lowering the belt clips.”
  2. “The second feature of a good appendix holster is the claw. The claw’s purpose is to get pushed by the belt. This pushing forces the pistol, especially the grip closer to the belly.”

So, look for a holster with adjustable belt clips and a good claw.

Here are some of the most popular AIWB holsters for skinny CCW folks:

  1. StealthGearUSA VG2. Made of comfortable and breathable materials, this low-profile holster has an adjustable cant angle and ride height to fit any body type.
  2. T.REX Arms Sidecar. This holster is a popular choice among skinny guys because it has an adjustable retention system and a mag carrier for added convenience.
  3. Tier 1 Concealed Axis Elite. The Axis Elite has an adjustable retention and ride height, as well as the option to add a mag carrier.
  4. Vedder LightTuck. This slim, lightweight holster is fully adjustable to fit any body type and provides excellent concealment.
  5. JM Custom KYDEX AIWB Holster. The JM Custom KYDEX holster is an excellent choice for skinny guys looking for a comfortable and secure appendix carry option, thanks to its adjustable retention and cant angle.

This redditor uses a Tier 1 holster. 

In the same thread, another redditor recommends “move your appendix carry from front and center more toward 1-2 o’clock.”

This YouTube user recommends wearing dark-colored shirts. 

No matter your size, you deserve comfort. Grab our holster pad, apply it, and experience CCW nirvana!

Is Appendix Carry Dangerous?

Appendix carry can be dangerous if not done properly. Your gun is positioned near vital organs and important body parts. An accidental discharge can result in serious injury or even death. It's crucial to practice proper safety measures, such as always keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and only handling your firearm when necessary. 

Here are some factors to think about when weighing the risks of AIWB.

  • Accidental discharge. The repercussions of mistakenly pulling the trigger can be catastrophic.
  • Muzzle direction. The muzzle of the firearm in the appendix carry posture is frequently pointing towards the lower belly, groin, or thigh. Because several essential organs and arteries are located in these locations, an inadvertent discharge could result in life-threatening injury.
  • Close quarters defense. If an attacker comes within arm's reach and grapples with the person carrying the firearm, reaching and drawing the weapon from the appendix position may be difficult, leaving the carrier vulnerable.
  • Inadequate training. Inadequate training and practice can lead to dangerous scenarios for people new to appendix carry or weapons in general. Handling a loaded weapon without the proper knowledge and skill set is always dangerous, and the appendix carry position exacerbates these dangers.
  • Poorly designed or ill-fitting holsters. Using a low-quality or badly constructed holster increases the danger of accidental discharge or other problems. Similarly, if the holster does not properly fit the firearm or is not securely fastened, it might lead to dangerous scenarios.

“Do proper research, use the proper gear, get the proper training,” says this redditor about appendix carry, and we agree.

Appendix Carry Vs Hip Carry

When it comes to IWB concealed carry, hip and appendix are two of the most popular positions. Let's look at the differences between these two popular carry styles and see how they compare.

Appendix Carry

  • Accessibility. Appendix carry places the pistol in the front of the waistband, allowing for quicker and easier access, especially when seated.
  • Concealment. Appendix carry can provide good concealment and decrease printing with the correct holster and clothes.
  • Control. Carrying your pistol closer to your body's core can provide you with more control, making it more difficult for an enemy to disarm you.
  • Comfort. Appendix carry may be more comfortable when standing or walking, although this is a personal preference. It is less pleasant, though, when sitting or bending for long periods of time.

Hip Carry

  • Familiarity. Hip carry, often known as strong-side carry, is a more conventional and extensively used manner of firearm carrying.
  • Comfort. Hip carry is more comfortable for many people, especially when sitting or driving for long periods of time.
  • Larger firearms. Hip carry can allow heavier firearms that may be difficult to hide in the appendix position.
  • Safety concerns. Concerns about safety: Because the muzzle is pointing away from important organs, some people believe that hip carry is safer than appendix carry.

What works well for one person may not work well for another. Experiment with various carry positions, holsters, and guns to find which option best suits your specific needs and lifestyle.

This Quora user enjoys both carrying positions equally but opts for the appendix carry due to its greater convenience. 

In the same thread, another user prefers hip carry.

Whether you prefer hip or AIWB carry, our holster pads will make you enjoy carrying your gun more than ever!

Appendix Carry Vs IWB?

Many people wonder whether appendix carry is superior to IWB carry, but the AIWB is actually a type of IWB. IWB refers to any method of carrying a firearm where the holster is secured inside the waistband of the pants. Appendix carry is the placement of the IWB holster in the front of the waistband, around the 1 o'clock position for right-handed individuals. To better understand their differences and benefits, let's compare these two positions.

AIWB (Appendix Carry)

  • Accessibility. Appendix carry allows you rapid and simple access to your firearm, even when seated, which might be advantageous in some scenarios.
  • Concealment. Appendix carry can provide good concealment with the correct clothes and holster, reducing the possibility of printing.
  • Control. Placing the pistol in front of the body improves weapon retention, making it more difficult for an attacker to disarm you.
  • Comfort. Comfort varies, however, some people find appendix carry more comfortable when standing or walking, while others find it less comfortable when sitting or bending.

Other IWB Carry Positions

  • Familiarity. Other IWB carry positions, such as the strong-side hip or 4 o'clock position, feel more familiar to some folks.
  • Comfort. Some people prefer to carry their firearm behind their hips or in the small of their back, especially when sitting or driving.
  • Safety concerns. Carrying the firearm behind the hip may feel safer for some people because the muzzle is usually pointed away from important organs.
  • Larger weapons. Some other IWB carry positions are better suited for larger firearms that may be harder to hide in the appendix position.

Appendix Carry FAQ

Is appendix carry a good idea?

Appendix carry is a good idea if it works well for you and if you follow safe practices. Appendix carry provides quick and easy access to the firearm because it is located where your dominant hand can easily reach it. Some people prefer appendix carry because it is the quickest way to reach their weapon.

Can you sit down with appendix carry?

You can sit down with appendix carry, though it might be slightly more uncomfortable (unless you're using our holster padding). The 1 o'clock position may be easier to access when seated.

Is a holster claw only for appendix carry?

Holster claws are used for appendix carry as well as other IWB positions. A holster claw brings the gun’s grip closer to the body and improves overall concealment.

What are the benefits of appendix carry?

Appendix carry is a popular choice for concealed carry because it provides quick access to your firearm, better weapon retention, and enhanced concealment.

How do carry belts and belt clips improve my appendix carry experience?

A strong carry belt will provide more support for your firearm, while belt clips will secure the holster, ensuring a stable and comfortable carry experience.

Can I use a holster wedge for appendix carry?

Yes, by bringing the gun closer to your body and following your natural contour, a holster wedge can improve concealment and comfort.

How do mag pouches work with appendix carry?

Mag pouches can be attached to your carry belt, allowing you to store spare magazines conveniently alongside your appendix carry setup.

Are there any risks associated with carrying a firearm near the lower abdomen and femoral artery?

Yes, a discharge of the gun in the appendix carry position could result in serious injury. To reduce risks, proper training and a high-quality holster are essential.

What is the difference between accidental and negligent discharge?

Accidental discharge and negligent discharge are two terms used to describe the unintended firing of a firearm, but they differ in their underlying causes.

  • Accidental discharge occurs when a firearm discharges due to a mechanical failure or malfunction, without any fault or negligence on the part of the person handling the firearm. This type of discharge is relatively rare, as modern firearms are designed with multiple safety mechanisms to prevent unintended firing. Examples of accidental discharge include a malfunctioning safety or a defect in the firing mechanism.
  • A negligent discharge happens when a firearm is unintentionally fired due to human error, carelessness, or lack of proper training. This type of discharge is often the result of improper handling or failure to follow basic firearm safety rules. Examples of negligent discharge include failing to engage the safety, handling the firearm with a finger on the trigger, or not properly clearing a firearm before cleaning or handling it.

It is crucial for firearm owners to prioritize safety and receive proper training to minimize the risk of negligent discharge. Regular maintenance and inspection of firearms can also help prevent accidental or negligent discharges.

Can I use a modular holster for both appendix carry and cross draw?

Yes, modular holsters typically come with interchangeable holster shells and have the ability to be adjusted to accommodate a variety of carry positions. These carry positions include appendix carry as well as a cross draw.

How do gun laws affect competition shooting and appendix carry?

When taking part in a shooting competition or carrying an AIWB, it is essential to become familiar with the regulations in your area to ensure that you are acting in accordance with the law. Gun laws vary from place to place.

Can I use red dots with my appendix carry setup?

Yes, many appendix carry holsters are made to fit firearms with red dot sights, which improves your shooting accuracy and target acquisition.

Is it comfortable to carry AIWB near the hip bone?

Adjusting the holster's position and ride height can help alleviate discomfort near the hip bone. Comfort is subjective and depends on the individual's preferences for using the holster.

How can I practice shooting targets with appendix carry?

If you want to get better at acquiring targets and shooting them, you should regularly practice drawing and reholstering your firearm from the appendix carry position at a shooting range where it is safe to do so.

What are some useful holster accessories?

Here are some examples of useful holster accessories that are worth investing in.

  • gun belt
  • holster claw
  • magazine carrier

Can I adjust the ride height of my appendix carry holster to improve comfort around my hip flexors?

Yes, the ride height of many holsters can be adjusted, allowing you to find a comfortable position that works with your hip flexors and the rest of your body.

Is AIWB good for predator hunting?

When hunting predators, you’ll probably be using a rifle, not a handgun. If you are using a handgun, you may want to carry it in a holster outside the waistband for better access. 

Where can I find more information on different carry methods, like shooting illustrated articles or guides?

To help you make an informed decision, Shooting Illustrated and other reputable firearms publications provide informative articles, guides, and expert advice on various carry methods, including appendix carry.

Can I use an expansion pack with my appendix carry setup for additional gear storage?

Yes, some appendix carry holsters include expansion packs or compatible accessories for storing extra gear, such as spare magazines, flashlights, or other essentials.

What are some popular holsters for appendix carry?

Some of the most popular holsters for AIWB are:

  • CrossBreed holsters
  • Alien Gear holsters
  • Tier 1 holsters 
  • Tenicor Velo holsters 
  • T.Rex Arms Sidecar holsters 
  • StealthGear USA holsters

What are some common guns for appendix carry?

Here are some popular guns for AIWB carry:

  • Sig P365 XL
  • Glock 43x
  • M&P .380 Shield EZ
  • Glock 19
  • Springfield XD S

What are the advantages of appendix carry?

Here are some advantages of AIWB:

  • Appendix carry allows you faster access to your firearm, even when seated, giving you an advantage in self-defense scenarios.
  • Appendix carry can provide good concealment and decrease printing with the correct clothes and holster, making it discreet for everyday carry.
  • Carrying your firearm in the appendix position close to your body's core gives for improved control and retention, lowering the likelihood of an enemy disarming you.
  • The position of the firearm in the appendix carry allows for greater freedom of movement, making walking or standing more comfortable for some people.

What are the disadvantages of appendix carry? 

Some of the disadvantages of appendix carry are:

  • Safety. Carrying a handgun in the appendix position may endanger vital organs, including the femoral artery, in case of an accidental discharge.
  • Comfort. Appendix carry can be uncomfortable for some people, especially while sitting or bending for long periods of time. Luckily, our holster pads can make any AIWB holster more comfortable. 
  • Body type limitations. Appendix carry may not be suitable for all body types, as concealing a firearm in this position can be difficult for some people.

What is Mexican carry? 

Mexican carry, also known as "tuck and go" or "gangster carry," is a way of carrying a handgun that does not require the use of a holster. In this carry technique, the firearm is simply tucked inside the waistband of the pants, often at the appendix or strong-side hip location. While Mexican carry appears to be a convenient option, it carries substantial hazards owing to a lack of appropriate weapon retention and trigger protection, which can result in accidents or inadvertent discharges. 

Where do you put your gun for appendix carry?

For appendix carry, the gun is positioned inside the front waistband of your pants, often at the 1 o'clock position for right-handed people and around the 11 o'clock position for left-handed people. The precise positioning may vary slightly depending on personal preference and body form. To provide adequate retention, safety, and concealment of the pistol in this position, a quality appendix carry holster is required.

Are ShapeShift appendix carry holsters good?

Yes, Alien Gear's ShapeShift appendix carry holsters are well-regarded for their quality, comfort, and adaptability. Because the ShapeShift system is modular, you can customize and adjust the holster to meet your specific needs. Adjustable retention, cant, and ride height are among its features, as is a trigger guard for added safety. Many users find these holsters to be a reliable and comfortable option for appendix carry, but personal preferences and body types play an important role in determining the best holster for each individual.

Further Reading

Best Springfield Hellcat holster

Best Glock 43 holster

Best concealed carry holster for sitting

Best appendix carry for females

Are Eclipse holsters any good?

Best Kimber Micro 9 holster

Understanding concealed carry reciprocity

Best appendix carry for sitting down

Best Taurus G2C holster

Best concealed carry for small frame