You have seen it even if you did not know what it was. That love it or leave it method of carrying a pistol just forward of your hip and just backward of your zipper otherwise known as the Appendix. Like it or hate it, we are going to spend some time on it so come along and grab your notes.

What is it?

Appendix carry is so named as it is over the side of your waistband that your appendix, that most adorable of vestigial organs, is located. If you ran a clock around your waistline with the 12 at your navel, the appendix area would be about at your 1 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions. Your pocket line and side would be at your 3. The dead center of your back your 6, and so forth.

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For southpaws, there is 'left hand appendix', which is at the 10/11 position.

This can be carried either outside the waistband (which works well for open carry) or inside the waistband. As such, the abbreviations AOWB and AIWB are sometimes seen. As I feel too many abbreviations make people go cross-eyed, we will not be using those but just know they are out there if some hipster concealed carry aficionado mentions them.

The good

Appendix carry is comfortable. The body, (provided you don't shop in the husky section) has a natural indent in this area, which conceals a small to medium frame handgun very nicely. This keeps the gun from 'printing' as bad as it does when carried on the side.

Likewise, this form of carry is lightning fast to deploy as it is inside your natural 'green zone' of your arm's ergonomic motion. Your arms do not have to extend fully to your side, reach around your back, or fish in your pockets, purse, or socks for a firearm. Since it's directly inside your core strength, this also helps with weapon's retention should someone want your piece. Remember, the further it is away from your core the less control you have over it should someone try to take it from you.

The Bad

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(See those blue and red things running down your legs from the hips to the inside of the knees...they are bad news if they get shot, and appendix carry, either right or left, can tend to flash the muzzle over these areas.)

Open or shut, no matter who you are, boy, girl, old, young, whatever, when using the appendix carry you will have the muzzle oriented down the side of your femoral artery. This is bad relatively speaking insomuch as if the gun goes off while pointing that way, you run the risk of bleeding out in a very dramatic and horrible way.

Case in point, this week Bob Owens over at Bearing Arms profiled the case of a Milwaukee man who, as told by Owens, was killed after he accidentally shot himself while reholstering his gun. The man, a 22-year-old who recently received his concealed carry permit, shot himself in the femoral artery while appendix carrying.

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Timothy Phonisay, late of Miluakee, Wisconsin. (Facebook)

That being said, almost any position that you have the gun oriented on your body means that it could, provided the right unfortunate chain of events, put a smoky hole somewhere in your body. This can be mitigated with training (specifically in proper holstering and unholstering with a cold weapon), and good holsters that cover the trigger guard and maintain enough rigidity to reholster properly. The only way to eliminate this possibility is in having a semi-automatic on condition 3 (full magazine, empty chamber) or in having a handgun with a manual safety control.

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Another bad thing about appendix carry is that for wide body types (present company included), that layer of bellah may prevent rapid presentation of the pistol. I personally carry in the 3-4 o'clock position most often due to this fact.

Our thoughts

Like with many things in the gunworld, there are some who like it or hate it while others are indifferent. Personally, I believe that the appendix carry has its place and have carried in that manner from time to time. Like any carry method, technique, and employment, the best thing to do is to try several different combinations until you come across one that works for you, and then train with it safely until you can master it enough to use it when you are experiencing extreme stress, auditory exclusion, and tunnel vision.

Or else you are just fooling yourself.

Firearms instructor Rob Pincus and his thoughts on the Appendix

Now that you have your notes, what is your favorite method of carry? Please enter it below.