A while back I moved to appendix carry exclusively. The benefits of wearing your gun forward of your hips are numerous. Likewise, having a knife forward of the hips, accessible to the support hand, also makes good sense. The mechanics of the human body clearly function best when we conduct tasks in front of us rather than to the sides or rear. We are stronger, faster, and more dexterous when accessing something in the front.
I am not at all apposed to strong-side hip carry; for most of my life I used strong-side for carrying larger guns, though I often used appendix carry for deep concealment of smaller guns, so I am very familiar with both modes. Some time ago I switched to AIWB carry for everything. I was never against appendix carry, I just did not find it comfortable for full-size guns. While many people get caught up in the safety concern, if you draw and re-holster safely, there is no greater safety hazard compared to strong-side hip carry. Either needs to be done correctly. I also found that, with the right holster, appendix carry proves perfectly comfortable.
For those on the fence about it, I wish to illustrate the advantages of AIWB carry:
1 – It conceals better. This was my primary motivation to move entirely to appendix carry. While you still have to work with this mode to avoid overtly printing you don’t fight the ever-present issue of printing when bending in any way as you do with strong-side carry.
2 – It’s Faster. All else being equal, drawing from appendix is faster. I think most will find about ¼ second increase in speed. You simply need to perform less movement to draw from that position compared to strong-side. While this may not be the top concern for most, faster is faster.
3 – It’s more accessible from seated or compromised positions. This is a huge advantage. We spend a lot of time seated in the modern world, be it at work, in an automobile, or elsewhere. Accessing a gun that is holstered on strong side or behind the hip while strapped in a car seat is not easy. An appendix carried gun is much more accessible. Also, if you find yourself on your back, always a possibility in a fight, it is more accessible than strong side, and certainly more than behind the hip.
4 – It facilitates a surreptitious draw. This is another advantage of appendix carry that often gets ignored. You can access a gun from in front of your hips with minimal movement, particularly in the shoulders, compared to accessing it from strong side. If your back is turned to a threat, or if you are seated with a table in front of you, accessing the gun with almost no sign of movement is possible from the appendix position.
5 – Less likely to cause injury. When in the appendix position the gun is at a point of the body less likely to cause injury if you fall. A gun on strong side can cause injury if you fall on your side. Obviously, a gun carried small-of-the-back (an absolute no-go for anyone with a clue) can cause serious injury if you fall on it. Appendix carry offers the safest waistline carry position in this regard.
6 – Less Detectable. This is different than “concealable.” It is inevitable that you may bump against or brush against other people in your life, many of whom don’t know that you carry. A gun on strong side is more easily detected through feel. The front of your hips are not likely to be felt by other people, save those you have an intimate relationship with.
7 – More defendable. I think a strong side gun can be defended fairly well from a disarm attempt that you see coming. However, the gun in appendix position is more defendable against a surprise disarm attempt. A gun on strong side or behind the hip can be more easily taken by surprise. You simply have more control over the gun in front your you.
8 – More accessible to the support hand. Should you need to draw your gun with your support hand only, appendix carry makes this task far easier than strong side hip carry. Having tools in front of the hips make them accessible to both hands.
Those are the top advantages of appendix carry that I can think of.
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