Renowned firearms trainer and the founder of Gunsite Academy, the late Col. Jeff Cooper, is credited with having said, “If you don’t have a gun within arm’s reach, you’re unarmed.” It’s a sound observation, considering that most criminal attacks transpire in five seconds or less.
As a concealed carry instructor, it’s no longer a surprise to hear more than half of the licensed carriers I encounter say they never, or rarely, carry a firearm on their person. Most have groomed a sense of satisfaction based on their handgun being a permanent resident of a car door pocket or nightstand. Unless a threat to their lives occurs when they are in the car or near the bedroom, however, they likely will be defenseless if that critical moment comes to pass.
Why do most folks who’ve gone to the trouble of receiving training and purchasing a handgun not carry? Most haven’t found a method of carry that is comfortable and secure for their typical day.
My own carry habits and methods have evolved over the 12-plus years since I made the decision not to outsource my personal safety. Purses, pockets, ankle rigs, “four o’clock” inside-waistbands, and various belly bands all had their turn. Now, and for the past few years, my everyday carry (EDC) gun has occupied either the right or left quadrant of the front of my waistband — commonly called appendix inside waistband (AIWB) position. Of course, it’s not the only way to carry; everyone needs to find what works for them. For purposes of this article, a working assumption is that any gun, carried in any manner, is inside a sheath of some sort that prevents penetration of the trigger guard.
Here’s why AIWB works for me:
There is no fuss associated with drawing the gun. Simply lift the shirt hem with the support hand and draw. It’s simple and fast, and works regardless of whether I’m standing or strapped inside a car seatbelt.
AIWB and front pocket carry are the only positions about which I’ve not encountered a news story in which a concealed carrier was relieved of their gun by a common thief or mugger. Of course, there’s probably a story about that somewhere, but compared to other methods, AIWB makes the would-be thief’s job nearly impossible. It also makes the gun inaccessible to children, unlike off-body methods. Compared to otherwise equally secure methods, AIWB prevails due to factor No. 1 in this article — ready access.
With a compact firearm, AIWB carry allows me to move from attending a meeting, to going for a run, to doing outdoor chores, and even driving long distances with the gun on my person. No need to take the gun off every time I get in the car. No more digestive issues from a belly band that feels like a boa constrictor when adjusted so the gun won’t pull it down. No more blistering from the seam of an ankle holster — you get the picture. It just works. There is no concealment system that offers zero discomfort, but AIWB has been the least bothersome for me.
4. Discreet carry
While I’ve had to abandon tucked-in dress shirts worn without a sweater or jacket, as well as giving up proper dresses in favor of shirt/skirt ensembles for dress-up occasions, AIWB offers one of the least obtrusive methods of carry. I thought the purse was discreet, too, until a co-worker asked why I carried it with me even for minor tasks.
5. Least disruption to my mornings
Sticking a holstered gun into my waistband every morning is fast and easy — which makes it easier to be a habit, and thus easier to be prepared. Systems that entail fiddling with straps, clips and the like are not likely to become a part of an already full routine.
Every method of carry requires compromise, and AIWB is no exception. The holster I use must be set aside when using the restroom — an act that requires one to be extra-present, mentally speaking, in public facilities. This isn’t true of all AIWB holsters. The slightly looser shirts this method requires hide the waistline that is a benefit of exercise. As a female, the biggest compromise has been the kind of pants or shorts I wear. An adjustable drawstring or substantial belt loops are a must.
There are some holsters, like the magnetic Quick Click & Carry (QCC) made by JM4 Tactical of Abilene, Texas, that even overcome some of these minor drawbacks. Holstered AIWB carry isn’t for everyone, but it’s been a panacea for me after having tried numerous other methods. What’s your favorite method?
Do you use AIWB carry? Share your thoughts in the section below: