As an average TV consumer, you’ve probably seen the guys who simply tucked a handgun into their waistband without a holster and went out. Usually, they stuck the gun somewhere between their belly button and the front of the hip.
This is basically an appendix carry method without a holster, which we strongly don’t recommend because it’s an extremely dangerous way of carrying your sidearm. If you go through the literature, you will come across the term “Mexican Carry” as a common name for that carrying style.
Whereas the practice often called “Mexican Carry” is not secure, particularly when running, carrying a holstered sidearm in front of your body will securely hold your firearm in comfort and concealed manner.
Moreover, an appropriate AIWB (Appendix Inside the Waistband) holster with a defensive handgun in that position is a trendy way to carry for several different reasons.
Advantages and Disadvantages
First, appendix carry offers more comfortable concealment and second, drawing from concealment at the appendix position is fast than side or behind-the-hip carry.
As a third factor, for the average body type, 12 or 1 o’clock positions of carrying compact and subcompact guns are by far the most comfortable style. People with the right body contour can achieve full concealment even of a full-size gun as a side note.
Besides, the appendix carrying method offers better access to your weapon when you are sitting or driving the car.
And don’t forget the passive security of your weapon since it’s much easier to protect your firearm from a gun grab.
On the other side, this method of carrying has earned some condemnation among the firearms community.
With this type of carrying, your deadly weapon is holstered with its muzzle aimed at your lower abdomen and in case of an accidental discharge, the results may be severe and even tragic. But you should be aware that carrying a concealed firearm is dangerous no matter where the gun is on your waist.
While most concealed-carry permit owners prefer to carry their weapon on-body, as the most secure way to carry concealed, any of these options require extensive practice and trigger finger discipline, especially when drawing and reholstering.
Carrying a handgun at an appendix position is not something new, but with the development of modern materials, AIWB holsters have seen a gradual upward trend.
Although the traditional holster materials like leather are still present, there are various synthetic materials such as a polymer, Boltaron thermoplastic or Kydex that are simply molded into the shape of the desired gun. At the same time, contribute to the sleek holster design.
There are also so-called hybrid models on the market, consisting of a molded Kydex/polymer shell and a cow or horse leather backer. Newer hybrid holsters, instead of using leather, use the backing made of synthetic materials.
Whether you are wearing a concealed handgun in standard inside the waistband (IWB), outside waistband (OWB), or Thigh Carry, you should consider an attachment method. While we have a multitude of holster designs, fortunately, there are only a few main ways that holsters attach to belts.
The most common way is with a clip, a standard plastic belt attachment that goes over the belt and hooks underneath it. Some quality holsters have snap closures, and some designs come with a soft loop attached that secures around your belt but requires more work to take on and off.
Every holster type must have a fully covered trigger guard. Speaking of OWB or AWIB holsters, it is the most crucial feature since holstering the pistol is the most common time for a negligent discharge.
It would be best if you tried to get a holster with adjustable retention and sweat guards along with sleek and comfortable construction that will not make the holster digging into your body.
While the adjustable retention is pretty self-explainable, a rig with a sweat guard would be a very nice and useful feature during the summer or hot days, keeping sweat off your gun.
TOP 5 Best Appendix Carry Holster
Reviews and Buying Guide 2021
1.Black Arch Entrada
Unlike many dual-purpose holsters that can be worn on the hip or appendix, Black Arch Entrada is a dedicated appendix holster with a side cart designed to carry an extra ammo magazine.
The Black Arch Entrada appendix holster is constructed from two separate pieces made of very tough and durable Kydex and polymer material combination.
While other IWB holsters come with an integrated magazine pouch, the Entrada magazine portion is connected to the gun holster via 3 strips of flexible material.
This innovative connection type keeps the whole holster setup comfortable for the appendix without cracking on the bridging material.
Besides apparent durability compared to other holster makes, the Entrada provides you an additional comfort by better contouring to your body.
Both the pistol and magazine portions are equipped with highly durable belt clips that allow adjusting the ride height for added comfort.
The holster features molded Kydex pocket designed for specific pistol models and comes with excellent retention capabilities. A tight fit will not have the gun fall out even in an upside-down position, while you can hear an audible “click” whenever you sit the handgun in the holster.
Additionally, you can modify the retention and ride height by adjusting the screws on the belt clip.
Another selling feature is a concealment claw, a smart design used to push against your belt line to prevent printing and twist the firearm’s grip into your body.
2.Blackhawk A.R.C. Holster
Indeed, the most prominent name in the world of tactical accessories is a BLACKHAWK! Products Group. Blackhawk is known for its well-designed tactical holsters designed for military and law enforcement operators.
Their new Appendix Reversible Carry (ARC) is one of the most comfortable and very inexpensive IWB holsters purpose-built for covert law enforcement operations and civilians who need a deep concealment rig at an economical price.
With slim and sleek contours, the ARC holster from Blackhawk is constructed from a soft yet durable, injection-molded polymer material. Unlike rigid Kydex, this polymer holster features a soft leather coating that will not irritate your skin nor leave any visible marks on the weapon.
On the other side, the ARC holster won’t collapse during reholstering, so you can easily reholster your gun with one hand.
As its name says, the ARC is a reversible rig since you can attach the belt clip to either side of the holster, making it ambidextrous. Furthermore, it comes with two cant and rides height belt clips for 1.5- and 1.75-inch belts that can be switched between easily for adjustable ride height and cant.
Besides fully ambidextrous design, this versatile appendix (AIWB) holster boasts adjustable retention via the passive retention detent and adjustment screws.
Finally, the Blackhawk ARC IWB holster can accommodate pistols with mounted red dot sights.
3.BLADE-TECH HOLSTER REVOLUTION KLIPT APPENDIX IWB
Blade-Tech’s Revolution Klipt IWB holster is another holster design that came in conjunction with a top-tier military unit and SOF specialists.
Unlike many IWB Kydex holsters, the Blade-Tech made this minimalist holster with an injection-molded polymer material to get an ultra-compact and highly concealable rig.
With a low-profile design, this polymer rig made of thin (.085 inches) and rigid material that will allow you lightning-fast drawing and reholstering with an audible click.
Though it comes without adjustable retention, it has a positive friction retention built-in, which is so tight that some users even complain about a super tight fit.
While the Klipt IWB holster is primarily intended for appendix carry position, it is also perfect for strong-side, behind the hip or cross-draw use.
Due to the ultra-thin body, the Blade-Tech Klipt appendix holster requires minimal attire because it is unlikely that this rig leaves a print on the clothes.
A newly developed Blade-Tech injection molded clip provides an easy on and off without removing your belt. The built-in clip fits a belt up to 1.75″ high, but it does stick out a little more than some competitors.
3.Tulster IWB Profile Holster
Our next suggestion for an appendix holster comes under the name Profile IWB holster from the Tulster brand.
The Tulster Profile is a pricey holster compared to other options, but if you’re looking for a really comfortable holster for your compact or sub-compact and don’t mind spending a little more cash, this is a great choice.
At first glance, you will notice the perfect craftsmanship and smoothness without any sharp edge anywhere on the holster.
The material on this minimalistic holster is not plastic polymer but a classic 0.08″ Kydex.
As one of the most recommended holsters for AIWB, this ultra-concealable appendix carry holster comes with an injected molded clip that will fit 1.5-inch belts. However, you can order a 1.75-inch clip or choose the soft belt loop option.
This slim and discreet design features an intentionally undercut trigger guard to promote a higher grip on your compact and allow for magazine release while the pistol is fully holstered.
This Kydex rig comes with sweat shield protection to keep moisture away from your weapon.
While providing an excellent high grip on the firearm, this AIWB Profile holster sports an adjustable retention screw and adjustable cant from 0-30 degrees for perfect grip and all-day comfort.
4.RELENTLESS TACTICAL DEFENDER LEATHER IWB HOLSTER
without a doubt, modern synthetic materials for holsters are incredibly popular these days, but the feel, look, and smell of the classic leather holster is irreplaceable for the significant part of a traditionalist in the gun community. Additionally, some gun enthusiasts find leather is more comfortable than polymer or Kydex.
The Defender Leather IWB Holster by Relentless Tactical exemplifies American craftsmanship, intelligent design and genuine USA bull hide leather.
The Defender is another leather inside the waistband (IWB) holster with a strong metal clip and soft leather pouch that can be used as an AIWB holster.
This handmade, form-fitting holster has a reinforced top made of two layers of leather to keep its shape when the weapon is drawn, aiding in reholstering. While thicker material does make Defender bulky and somewhat cumbersome, this concealed carry holster will offer optimum concealment depending on your handgun’s size and what kind of clothes you have on.
Like most leather holsters, the Defender is molded to some extent to specific handguns, so it comes without retention features since the weapon security relies on pressure from the waistband.
The Defender is available in both right- and left-hand versions and Relentless Tactical offers it for over 80 different models of semi-automatic pistols.
5.CYA HOLSTER IWB
Another reliable synthetic holster option built in the USA comes from the veteran-owned CYA Supply Co manufacturer.
Unlike Kydex holsters, the CYA Supply IWB rig is constructed from 0.08-inch thick Boltaron material. The manufacturer recessed material at slide release and safety area to create a smoother draw and reholster, also reducing the amount of holster wear on the gun.
As a standard feature, the CYA holster covers magazine releases and has a large channel for optional sights.
Boltaron thermoplastic outperforms Kydex in impact resistance and hardness, whereas it keeps its shape better than Kydex in high heat scenarios, usually after short strings of fire.
The CYA high-quality holster is designed to be an IWB concealed carry rig. Still, its small dimensions (measured at about 1 3/4″ at the thickest point, including the clip) are the perfect option for those who prefer the appendix carry position.
This holster comes with a full-length sweat guard for protection from moisture and a belt clip made of similar durable plastic that will fit standard a 1 1/2″ gun belt.
This secure holster has a solid and audible click when inserting your firearm into the holster.
As you would expect from a holster with so many great reviews, it comes with two adjustable screws placed in front of the trigger guard, allowing you to customize the angle (cant) of your gun and set the retention to your liking.
The CYA IWB holster comes in several models where one size fits for about 3-5 pistols.
You are probably aware that AIWB concealed carry is an ever-growing trend, followed by myths, rumors, and exaggerations.
There are holsters specifically made for appendix carry position, but dual-purpose IWB-AIWB holsters from reputed manufacturers are also suitable.
Depending on the material, you can choose leather, polymer or Kydex and avoid nylon-made holsters.
Some are ambidextrous, allowing you for right- or left-hand use, and some holsters come with two belt clips, but all of these features are up to your preference.
While market offer number of a flimsy or cheaply made appendix holster, much responsible for such a bad reputation, you should concentrate only on quality products handled in similar guides like us.
Brian Belko is a freelance writer and blogger. His primary areas of focus include the outdoors and shooting sports. In addition to his freelance work, Brian also writes for Wide Open Spaces and is on the Pro Staff at Military Hunting and Fishing. When he isn’t busy writing, Brian enjoys fishing farm ponds for bass and hitting the spring woods during turkey season.