Few topics are more love/hate in the concealed carry world than that of Appendix Carry for your concealed firearm. From thoughts such as "I'm not aiming my handgun at that part of my body" to "I wish I liked it, but it's just not comfortable," detractors have ranged from unwilling to try to unable to manage. On the flip side of that coin, other people swear that appendix carry is the best thing since sliced bread. They point to the secure position of the firearm, the speed and accessibility for quicker presentaton, and comfort. WAIT, WHAT?!? That's right... Both sides of the debate use comfort/discomfort as a source of their argument.
Note that like any advice, I'm going to share with you what works for me. I'm going to provide you with some tips/tricks that I use to make appendix carry work for me, and nothing else. If you still swear by it or avoid it like the plague- that's fine too... This is free advice, so take it or leave it.
The first consideration as to what makes appendix carry comfortable or uncomfortable for me is the position at which the gun/holster ride on my body. When standing, appendix carry is just as comfortable (if not moreso) than any other carry position. However, this tends to change when sitting since our bodies do bend at almost a 90° when we sit down. If the riding position of our gun/holster is on both sides of that bend, then it is very uncomfortable. In short- I found that a lot of the discomfort was caused by the gun being exactly in the wrong position. Moving it up or down made it far more tolerable, but the middle of the rig resting directly behind my belt made the rig push into my legs or stomach depending on which direction I bent as I would try to pick something up off the ground or sit in a chair.
When it comes to concealing a handgun, there are three primary issues that you'll have to consider how to conceal: the firearm's height, width, and length.
In my opinion, the length of the handgun isn't really nearly as difficult to defeat as the other two dimensions. The length of the firearm is overall measurement from the most rearward point of the firearm to the tip of the muzzle. Unless you are carrying a really long handgun- the length will likely be running alongside your leg. Since the length of the slide is not going to be longer than any part of your leg, this isn't really that large of a consideration. The times when it does become an issue are when the firearm isn't canted (angled) in line with your leg (likely your femur). This can occur in a number of different carry methods:
- Appendix Carry (most common)
- Horizontally carrying in the 6:00 (or small of the back) carry position
- Shoulder-Rigs (which I don't personally recommend, but more on that in a different rant)
- A sharply canted 5:00 carry with a long firearm (ex. Glock 34)
- Off-body Carry (especially in a purse, for the ladies or European men)
Naturally, it's possible to overcome these challenges- but these seem to be most rare. When carrying a longer firearm in the Appendix Carry method, I would encourage the carrier to move the firearm to the 11:30 position, offsetting the weapon from parts of the body that don't appreciate guns/holsters push against them. I would also encourage the carrier to consider a Below the Waistband carry solution for the longer firearm. Cherries Apparel has a Below the Waistband holster rig that allows for a much larger firearm to be carried in the appendix position much more comfortably than traditional appendix rigs.
In the other cases, I would urge the carrier to consider alternative carry methods, an alternative weapon, or dressing/equipping yourself to better conceal the firearm. As is the case for almost every challenge with concealed carry- you have to dress to the gun.