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  • Writer's picturePaul Howe

Appendix Carry-Inside the Waistband

Recently a well known tactical instructor decided not to allow students to carry inside the waistband in his classes. This is his right. I will not bad mouth him for it. Others jumped on the bandwagon.

I will continue to teach it and here are my reasons.

First, I am an instructor and use the carry method. I also teach hip carry, inside or out of the belt, ankle carry if needed and off-body carry in a bag if you so choose.

Some instructors don’t know how to teach the proper carry, draw, and re-holster and what equipment is needed. It is easier to just outlaw it rather than to learn it themselves. In the end, it is a business decision. It is one less thing they have to worry about.

As for me, I will refine my instruction and put more emphasis on how to properly employ the appendix holster.

Recommended Holster for Appendix Carry

I recommend two manufactures for Appendix Carry, Contact Concealment, and Comp-Tac. Both make top-quality holsters that will not compress and I have personally used both.

I will not allow Uncle Mike’s as they compress along with other nylon types. Any holster you have to force the pistol back into is not safe in my opinion.

Position of the Appendix Holster

Yes, the position is close to your reproductive organs and your femoral artery. This is why you must pay attention to re-holstering. It is also the easiest holster to see. You can simply tilt your head down and see where it is and if it is clear of obstructions. Holsters in the back right or left quarter of your body prevent you from doing this. This is dangerous in my opinion, especially in winter with jacket balls and other objects that can fall into the holster and cause your trigger to be depressed.

I have watched tactical officers obstruct their tactical holsters with added pouches that caused them to weave their re-holster stroke into the holster, pointing the weapon directly at their pelvic girdle from the side. This is not safe and we correct it in the first five minutes of class.

I know of more shots to the upper thigh and calf from improper holstering or draw strokes than I do the appendix position.

Proper Training

By simply training the students to use the holster properly, appendix carry is a great position that I will continue to use. Some instructors do not want to take the time. I will take the time with my students.

As a professional instructor I make it my business to know all the holsters and how to use/set them up. For example, I don’t like nor recommend Serpa type holsters, but teach their use and allow them on my range. Why? I had one military group that had them and that was all they were issued. I was not about to let them go and not know how to use their holsters safely. I made equipment recommendations, but in the end, this is what they deployed with.

As for teaching the draw stroke, I do it early on in my classes so students know how to properly do it and then get to practice it all day.

Next, I also teach you to look at your holster when you first learn to re-holster. Also, if you cannot find your holster on the first attempt to re-holster, look at it. We are putting the weapon away because the threat is no longer there and we have the time. Jabbing at where you think the holster is with a loaded gun is unsafe.


I have seen the appendix carry method used for 40 years in my weapons history. The only accident noted was a detective/officer in the ’70s who shoved a Smith & Wesson model 59 series 9mm into his pants appendix without a holster. Under high-stress, he attempted to draw, snagged the front sight, and pulled the trigger causing it to discharge.

He made several mistakes to include not having a holster, finger on the trigger when drawing and pulling the trigger while still in his pants. This is not a carry method issue but rather an operator issue.

Finally, I will continue to use and teach appendix carry because I personally use it and know of many, many people that use it in the real world to include those operating in multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies.


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