stuck-in-a-rut

Ever get stuck in a rut? Do you ever do the same thing over and over, simply because that is how you have always done it? Not good. What’s worse than being in a rut? Being in a rut and not knowing it. I didn’t realize until I read this article last night that I was in a carry rut. I always carry my gun in the same place without consideration of which type of gun I am carrying and if my chosen placement is the best concealment for that particular firearm. As my first daily carry firearm was an XD-40, I quickly determined the best place on my body to conceal a firearm was inside the waistband, behind the hip. Fast forward multiple years, I am 40 lbs less and I recently added a J frame revolver to my short list of possible carry guns. Out of habit, I stuck the revolver behind my back.

face palm

A thinking person would have realized a reevaluation of carry positions was in order. A thinking person would have recognized the size and form difference between an XD-9 subcompact comfortably carried behind the hip and a S&W 442 theoretically capable of being carried in more locations. A reevaluation was absolutely imperative upon finding the revolver was not secure or stable behind the hip. Unfortunately, I did not behave as a thinking person and I simply relegated the revolver to a back-up position in my work bag. I neglected to even attempt problem solving. I was in a deep, deep rut and did not even realize it.

Wake UP!

The smack-upside-the-head came as I read Active Response Training’s blog. Carrying the revolver in front of the hip (appendix carry inside the waistband or AIWB) solves most of my problems (minus holster issues) and others I had not thought about. The AIWB method has several advantages over my preferred behind the hip carry.

Advantages:
  1. summer-conceal-shortsConcealment: Shirts, especially for women, tend to be looser in the front than the sides or back. This provides a perfect place to hide a gun. Many blog writers and forum participants claim they are able to conceal medium to large sized firearms in this position. For me personally, I saw today that my revolver printed very little under a tight T-shirt, and what little it did print, I was able to disguise by putting on a belt. The belt buckle added just enough texture and shape to the area that the butt was no longer noticeable. The revolver printed horribly when carried behind the hip.
  2. Drawstroke: In the same way that IPSC and USPSA competitors position their gun in front of the hip to gain a faster draw, so AIWB carriers gain a slight advantage in draw time. Draws from in front of the hip generally test faster than draws from the side or behind the hip.
  3. Accessibility: By being in front of my body, the firearm is much more accessible to my non-dominant hand in case my dominant hand or arm is injured. Reaching around and behind my body to draw with my left hand is a very challenging maneuver I hope to never have to perform in a hurry. Carrying in front makes it drastically easier. It may also be easier to access if I am grappling with an opponent.
  4. gun-grab-coverFirearm Retention: It is much easier to protect the firearm in a crowded environment with it in front of you than on your side. It is the same reason ladies pull their purses in front of them when they get on a crowded bus. It is easier to control an object in front of you (with both hands if necessary) than on your side with only one hand. Our strength tends to be focused more towards the centers of our bodies than our sides. Have you ever noticed how we pull a jar in to our centers when we struggle to open the lid? The gun on your side or behind you is in a weaker position should you have to protect it. Only one hand will be able to reach it and the strength you will be able to apply to keep the gun in the holster is less than what you could apply to a gun in front of you. (Of course, you will likely only have one hand on the AIWB gun too. The second hand will probably be doing something to your opponent.) It is also much easier to maintain awareness in a crowded environment of anyone making a motion towards your gun if the gun is in front of you (for the simple fact that your eyes are also in front of you).
  5. Encourages good posture: On a personal note, I also found it encourages good posture. As I am rather short-waisted I quickly found bad posture resulted in the butt of the gun digging into or getting under my ribs.
Disadvantages:
  1. D0UgkMuzzle Direction: This is the number one concern for most people. As the firearm sits in the holster, the gun is typically pointed either at the groin or the femoral artery. Most men have a visceral reaction to the very idea of having a loaded gun pointed in that direction, but the femoral artery is actually the worst option. You will likely bleed out if that is shot. Either way, messing up is a very, very bad thing if you carry AIWB. For this reason, careful holstering is absolutely imperative! Many of the links below share techniques and tips you can use to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while holstering.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    It works great for some people.

  2. May or may not work well for overweight people. Many people on the forums reported that appendix carry was not comfortable for those with “large bellies.” But each person is different and what does not work for some may work for you.
  3. May or may not be comfortable while sitting: While I have not had much chance to investigate this personally, I read many conflicting reports of how comfortable sitting is while appendix carrying. Some say flat-out it is uncomfortable, others say it is fine if you get a good holster that is specifically designed for AIWB.
  4. Unconcealed reach for the gun: Again there were conflicting reports. Some blogs argue that it is easier to cover up a draw from AIWB than from the hip by using a magazine or a bag to cover your hand motions. The movement of drawing from an AIWB holster may be minimized to the forearm and hand. However, the full arm is engaged in a draw from the hip or behind the hip, thus revealing to the opponent that an item is being drawn. However, a person may also pretend they are reaching for a wallet in their back pocket when in reality they are going for their gun. That subterfuge would hardly work for AIWB. So each has their pros and cons.

Overall, AIWB is the preferred method of carry for many well-renowned instructors, has been around for decades, is used by thugs worldwide, competitors have used it successfully in the past, and is the most comfortable position I’ve tried yet. While there is a lot more for me to research and really dig into, before I begin daily carrying this way, mentally getting out of the “behind the hip” rut and exploring possibilities is exciting and refreshing. Please share in the comments below your thoughts, experiences, and beliefs regarding AIWB carry. This is a whole new world to me and I would love to hear from those of you who have adventured forth into this brave new world.

6225886421_6ff019be39_o-568x640

As a side note, many years ago I developed the habit of keeping the gun in the holster as I put the holster on or take it off. I always figured everything was safer that way… no chance of a negligent discharge if the trigger was always covered. Basically, the only time my guns are ever out of a holster is at the range or dry-firing. Seeing as how holstering is one of the major concerns with appendix carry, it seems like that would be a recommended manner of putting your gun on for the day; yet only one of the sites I went to mentioned it as a possibility. Anybody know of a potential safety hazard I am not aware of when I do this? Thanks!

ava_appendix_carry_1

http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/appendix-carry-thousands-of-thugs-cant-be-wrong

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/ccm-columns/features/learning-to-love-appendix-carry/

http://www.calccw.com/Forums/holsters-carry-methods/13521-benefits-appendix-carry.html

http://theprepperproject.com/top-5-reasons-i-carry-in-the-appendix-position/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/holsters/holster-safety-the-four-rules/

http://www.corneredcat.com/article/holsters/straight-talk-about-curves/

http://www.warriortalknews.com/2010/05/appendix-carry-comfortable-concealable-and-quickest.html

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7768

http://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?120-AIWB-%28Appendix-Carry%29&p=87911&viewfull=1#post87911

http://pistol-training.com/archives/7234

http://www.handgunworld.com/episode-63-continued-appendix-carry-benefits-fanny-pack-and-purse-carry/

http://churchsecuritymember.com/appendix-carry-church-security-safety-gun/

http://monderno.com/monderno/getting-started-with-appendix-carry/

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Comments
  1. MamaLiberty says:

    I don’t carry concealed much, but this topic pretty much applies except for the printing issues. When I do carry concealed, it is usually in a special “fanny pack,” because after nearly ten years of trying to figure out how to CC, that’s the only combination of access and comfort I could ever find outside of just covering my OC rig with a coat.

    First, I strongly suggest that a person settle on one gun, holster and postion for carry most of the time. If you switch around often, you may wind up with that split second hesitation in a pinch while your mind processes just which gun and WHERE it is… Probably not end of the world, but I have changed my carry gun three times in the last eight years and was very aware of the difference, even though I carried “appendix” for all three.

    Now, I’m only 5 feet tall, and rather “plump,” so the digging in would be a real problem if I didn’t carry in a “cross draw” holster, positioned at 2 o’clock on the “strong side,” rather than the other. The draw is smooth and slightly to the rear at first, so I can clear leather and present front with no wasted motion or effort. There is simply no room between my waist and armpit to draw any gun straight up. Lord knows I’ve tried. 🙂

    As for the muzzle pointing at the groin, the darn thing is going to be pointed at SOMETHING, no matter how you wear it. I think of the pregnant lady I had in class not too long ago who wore her gun in one of those high riding belly bands, with the gun pointed pretty much at her BABY! But she insisted she couldn’t body carry any other way – could not wear a belt. The trigger was covered, and she could draw the thing fast… so it was a risk she was willing to take. We each have to evaluate our perceived risk, and train to overcome it. There are no guarantees, but good trigger discipline comes about as close as we’re going to get.

    • MamaLiberty,

      I’m in complete agreement about the importance of carrying the same gun in the same place for the development of muscle memory and to prevent that “uhhh…” Moment of trying to remember where you decided to carry your gun that day. In fact, for the time being, I’ve taken to carrying two guns. My normal carry gun is in my normal carry position behind my hip while I explore the appendix carry option with my revolver. Overall, I’m still very intrigued which that option but until I have practiced drawing as many, if not more, hours from AIWB as I have from behind my hip I am not comfortable going without my XD riding behind my hip.

      I must say I have never tried the fanny pack (mostly due to its lack of fashion appeal to me) it does seem like a very convenient way to daily carry. Is weight ever an issue? I know I am most comfortable with holsters that bring the weight of the gun close into my body and it just seems like the fanny pack would tend to move the weight out an uncomfortable distance from the body.

      And yep… Finger off the trigger! Can’t emphasize that enough.

  2. shivam says:

    s&w 380 holster
    – Welcome to DeSantisHolster.com, your online source for the finest Concealment Holsters, Inside the Waistband Holsters and Gun Holsters for every major weapon manufacturer and model.

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