Making Appendix Carry Tolerable
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.
I've heard the argument that one should just never bend when carrying appendix. Cool, bro... Your argument for appendix carry is regarding its high degree of comfort, so long as you don't ever move around in it... Moving on...
To make it realistic, let's consider making some changes in the height. By moving the rig UP on our abdomen, it allows the bottom of the rig to wrest against the bend in our pelvis and femurs when seated. Far more comfortable on the legs, without a doubt. However, for those concealed carriers who are also sporting the "tactical tummy" they might find that the discomfort has merely shifted from the legs to the stomach. How do we get around this? Well- the obvious answer is to lose some weight. Let's face it, the better your physical condition is directly tied to the level of difficulty for someone to kill you... Get in shape. However, what can we do in the immediate future?
If we move the entire rig down, below the bend at our waistline, then we stand a much better chance at alleviating both issues. We might need to change to a Below-the-Waistline carry rig in order to accomplish this, but doing so might allow us to comfortably carry in the appendix position. In my case, I can comfortably carry the M&P Shield and a spare magazine in a Veil Solutions Apex Holster quite comfortably. When carrying a firearm that is much longer than the Shield, I prefer to move to either 4:00 carry position or shift to a Below-the-Belt setup. Another possibility would be to lose the mag carrier on this rig and shift to either an 11:30 or 12:30 carry position, which would allow for a deeper carry position and therefore increasing the comfort level.
Another piece of advice that I would offer is to choose your belt wisely. When I'm going to run an appendix carry rig, I prefer to either wear a belt that doesn't have a large front buckle (which would limit my positional options for the rig), or to shift the buckle to one side or the other. In the top image in this article, you can see that I have shifted my belt over to one side, allowing me to have a completely clear area of belt space in the front to choose where I place the rig clips. Since I'm wearing my shirt un-tucked with this setup, it doesn't call attention to anything being out of the ordinary regarding the way that I am dressed, and it really does free up options to properly position the carry rig.