When it comes to choosing an appendix carry holster, there are two main things you should consider, comfort and safety.
There are a TON of crap appendix holsters on the market, which is why over the years appendix carry has gained such a bad reputation. The truth is if you find a quality holster and practice with it, carrying appendix style is one of the BEST carry methods.
I get it, it does have some advantages and disadvantages compared to standard inside waistband (IWB), outside waistband (OWB), or Thigh Carry (which I’ll cover in detail later). You can also check out out Corporal Pike’s review of the best concealed carry holsters here.
Before we get into the review, I just want to say that you may hear this type of holster called an AIWB holster, which stands for appendix inside waist band holster. They’re meant to be carried somewhere between your belly button and the front of the hip.
When shopping for an appendix carry holster, you really need to do your due diligence and find a holster that is tried and true. When carrying appendix style your gun will be pointed at some important areas, leaving no room for an accidental discharge. Below, I’ll list my 10 favorite holsters and some things to consider when choosing the best holster for appendix carry.
I’ll also let you know what holsters are the most popular and the best value. Just keep in mind, when it comes to choosing a holster, some things just come down to personal preferences.
- Here Are the Best Appendix Holsters in 2019
- 1.CYA Supply AIWB Holster (Best Seller and Value)
- 2. Blackhawk ARC Appendix Carry Holster (Cheapest)
- 3. Tulster Holster with Flashlight or Without
- 4. Concealment Express Kydex Holster
- 5. APS Appendix Rig (Best with magazine Pouch)
- 6. Alpha Conceal Minotaur V2 IWB Magazine Carrier Rig
- 7. Relentless Tactical Defender Leather Holster
- 8. Vedder LightTuck Kydex Holster
- 9. CYA Supply Co Left Hand Draw (Best for Lefties)
- 10. BravoBelt Belly Band Holster (Soft Belt)
10 Tips to Find the Best AIWB Holster for You
I found this video on YouTube. I think it does a great job summarizing what you should look for in a holster. If you don’t feel like watching I wrote out 10 tips and considerations when choosing a holster below the video.
Fully Covered Trigger Guard
The first tip might seem obvious, but it’s too important to skip over. With a fully covered trigger guard, you won’t have to worry about a negligent discharge when you’re moving around. This is an important feature for any OWB or AWIB holster, especially because most people carry with one in the chamber.
The Right Thickness and Material
When it comes to thickness, most holsters are 0.8” or 0.6”. So, you might be wondering which is better? It really comes down to personal preference, both are pretty thin. Some people prefer a 0.6 holster because they’re thinner, but sometimes it can be too thin and cause the holster to collapse in on itself. If you’re going to get a 0.6” holster, make sure you read reviews and choose a quality product, otherwise it may be difficult to holster your gun. I wouldn’t recommend a nylon holster because they’re known to collapse on themselves, which can make it hard to holster your gun. There are some nice leather appendix carry holsters, but if you don’t get a quality one they can wear out pretty quickly.
Holstering the gun is the most common time for an accidental misfire, and if the holster collapses it can make things a little more difficult, especially if you’re performing a one handed reholster. No matter what thickness you go to, make sure you practice your draw and holstering a lot!
A Good Firm Grip
When you’re drawing your weapon, you want to make sure the holster allows you to get a firm grip. If you get a holster that is bulky or isn’t designed well it can be difficult to draw your gun. When it comes to the retention, you want to get a holster with some retention but not too much. If you can, get a holster with adjustable retention, so you can set your preferred amount of force required to remove your gun from the holster
There are two main ways that holsters attach to belts. The most common ways are with clips or snap closures. Most high-quality holsters have snap closures. Clip attachment holsters are usually a little quicker to get on and off a belt, but in my opinion, are a little more prone to breaking or failure.
Sleek Comfortable Design
Appendix carry can be uncomfortable if you get a holster that is bulky. A sleek design will make it so your holster doesn’t cause your shirt to bulge out, which can give away that your concealed carrying. Some cheap holsters also don’t have rounded corners, which can lead to the edges of the holster digging into your body, which is super frustrating. All the holsters on this list have a great design so you really won’t have to worry about that too much while looking at this list.
Well designed holsters will securely hold your firearm and not allow it to rattle and shake as you move around. With some cheap holsters you can literally hear the gun moving around. You should be able to shake your holster upside down and not have the gun fall out.
Some holsters come with extra mags, others don’t. I recommend carrying with at least one magazine. Along with giving you more rounds, it can also balance the holster and make it feel more secure. Sometimes if you get a holster with multiple mag holders it can get too bulky, but again, it all comes down to preference. It’s nice if you can find a holster with a removable mag caddy if you aren’t sure if that’s a feature you want.
Does it Fit Your Gun?
This is another point that is pretty obvious but make sure you buy a AWIB holster that will accommodate the gun you plan on carrying
Some holsters have sweat guards. These are nice during the summer or hot days because they keep sweat of your gun. It’s not a must have but it’s a nice feature.
Open or Closed Ended
If you’re planning on using a handgun with an extended barrel, you will want to look for an open-ended appendix holster. Open-ended can also be better if you plan on practicing or shooting a lot. It allows for better ventilation and for the barrel and other components to cool faster.
Right or Left Handed
Make sure you buy a holster that allows you to comfortably draw with your dominant hand.
Try not to fall into the mindset that more expensive is better. There are some holsters on this list that are far better than holsters that cost almost twice the price.
Here Are the Best Appendix Holsters in 2019
1.CYA Supply AIWB Holster (Best Seller and Value)
Price: Under $50
Available for: Nearly all common CCW models (refer to product page for specifics)
If you haven’t heard of the CYA Supply Company, they’re a newer Veteran owned company that is rising quickly due to their quality products and excellent customer service. The owner is a former Marine and hires veterans, which is just another reason to support them.
Let’s talk about some other reasons this might be a good option for you.
If you want one of the best appendix carry holsters out there, but don’t want to drop a 100 plus dollars, CYA Supply holsters are a great budget option. A lot of people say this holster is so comfortable they decided to try appendix carry for the first time. This is a great IWB holster for 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 1 o’clock carry.
The clip has a great design that quickly attaches to your belt quickly and securely. It has an adjustable retention pressure and carry angle (cant) between 0 and 15 degrees. The belt clip is designed for belts 1.5 inch wide.
2. Blackhawk ARC Appendix Carry Holster (Cheapest)
Price: Under $20
Available for: Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, 31, 32, Glock 42, Glock 43, Rugar SR9c, Rugar LC380, LC9, Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, Smith and Wesson J-Frame / Tauras 85, and many more.
There isn’t anything too fancy about the Blackhawk ARC holster. It’s a reliable holster that does what it’s made for. It might not be the absolute best AIWB holster, but for the money, it’s hard to beat.
It is made of a durable injection molded polymer material that is comfortable. It has a little flex but not so much that it’s going to collapse in on itself. The holster is designed to be fully ambidextrous, making it a great holster for right or left-handed carry. It comes with two cant and ride height belt clips that adjust to your preference
The Tension screw is easily accessible and adjustable with a Philips head screwdriver. When you get the holster, you’ll have to attach the belt clip, which is easily done with a sing square nut and bolt. Just read the directions to determine which side and hole you should put the bolt through depending if you’re planning on right or left hand carrying and your preferred ride height and cant. Setting up the holster takes less than a minute if you just follow the simple instructions.
Please refer to the seller page to find the right size for your exact gun model.
The only con I see:
- Doesn’t accommodate a 1” belt
3. Tulster Holster with Flashlight or Without
Price: Under $100
Available for: Most Popular Handgun Models.
Note: This is a great holster. It is a true “buy once, cry once” type of purchase.
Tulster holsters are not cheap, but if you’re looking for a really comfortable holster for a Glock 43 and don’t mind spending a little more money this is a great option. This is a standard IWB holster that is made of 0.08 KYDEX. It does have some features that really make it stand out from most KYDEX Appendix Carry Holsters out there.
The clip is injected molded with 2 stainless steel screws that are blackened. The stainless-steel hardware is an upgrade from most other holsters on the market.
This holster has a couple unique design features that set it apart from many other KYDEX holsters. It is cut nicely so you can get a good high grip on the firearm while still getting protection from the body with the sweat shield.
Tulster intentionally undercut the trigger guard to allow you to get a higher grip on your gun and allow the magazine to be released when the firearm is completely holstered. They also removed all the extra material between the muzzle and retention screw to make it sleeker and to prevent it from digging into the body or thigh.
The magazine release for most firearms will be located outside the holster, so you can remove the magazine with your weapon holstered. This is an interesting feature which most people like, but I have heard some people say they worry about it getting bumped, but report it has never actually happened.
Note: 1.75-inch clips sold separately if you’d prefer that over the 1.5-inch clip. There are also soft loops available with pull the dot directional snaps the prevent the holster from accident releasing from the best.
The only con I see:
- Pricey compared to other options
4. Concealment Express Kydex Holster
Best for: Nearly all common CCW models
Concealment express is another one of my favorite holster companies. This model here has a minimalist design that is perfect for appendix, hip, cross draw, palm in back, and owb carry.
It comes with a standard 1.5-inch belt clip and utilizes a Posi click audible retention lock system. Like most the other holsters on this list, it is made of 0.08 KYDEX. The holder has a lightweight (2.5 oz) and sleek design.
The retention pressure and carry angle (cant) can easily be adjusted with a Philips screwdriver.
5. APS Appendix Rig (Best with magazine Pouch)
Price: Around $80
APS arguably makes some of the best appendix carry holsters and rigs on the market. This holster is no exception. It was designed by military and law enforcement special operations veterans to meet their unique needs. It’s a very durable holster. In fact, they call it “unbreakable” which is quite a claim. It’s a quality Kydex holster made in the USA.
This holster is different from all the previous holsters on this list because it has an integrated magazine pouch. If you’re someone who likes to carry extra rounds this is a solid option.
There are left and right-handed orientation holsters, so be sure to double check on the product page which one you have selected before you hit buy.
If you haven’t heard of Advanced Performance Shooting, I recommend reading some customer reviews to see what others are saying about their appendix rigs.
6. Alpha Conceal Minotaur V2 IWB Magazine Carrier Rig
Price: Around $85
Alpha Conceal doesn’t list their holsters for sale on Amazon, but since they’re top notch I decided to add this holster to the list. They sell their holster with and without the magazine carrier.
They do have a long lead time because much of their work is custom. This holster was designed specifically to be worn in the appendix position between 12 and 2 o’clock, but they say it’s ideal for 12 o’clock carry. They recommend offsetting your belt by an inch or so to either side.
There are 3 retention adjustment points, two for the gun and one for the magazine. The holster is made from a single piece of Kydex. I recommend checking out their website through the link below for more information. It’s one of the best AIWB holsters that a lot of people don’t even know about.
The only cons I see:
- 20-30 day lead time
- No returns
7. Relentless Tactical Defender Leather Holster
Price: Around $40
Relentless Tactical Makes a quality leather AIWB holster. Some people find leather is more comfortable the Kydex. This holster fits most compact guns that are 9mm, .40 caliber, and even .45. Some of these guns include the Glock 17, Glock 26, Glock 43, S&W M&P, Sig Sauer P226, Sig Sauer P229, Sig Sauger P250, and many other similar sized concealed firearms.
The holster is opened ended which is nice if you’re practicing a lot. It allows barrel and internal to cool faster and prevent overheating.
The only con I see:
Doesn’t fit larger CCW
8. Vedder LightTuck Kydex Holster
Price: Around $65
Vedder is another company known for making some of the best appendix concealed carry holsters for sale. It has all the features you’d want in an AIWB holster and has custom channels for standard sights and indicators.
The company designed this holster to be as sleek as possible and “virtually disappear” under your clothes on your belt. This is a great holster for 3-5 o’clock carry, appendix, and cross-draw. It’s made of .08” Kydex that gives it good strength without being too bulky.
The only con I see:
- Similar holsters at lower price point
9. CYA Supply Co Left Hand Draw (Best for Lefties)
Price: Around $40
This CCW was featured as number two on this list. I included the left handed version again because I think the holster is a great value. You can pick it up right on Amazon. There have different models to accommodate hand guns of around the same size. Usually, they will have one size for about 3-5 pistols. Anyway, I’ll put a link below to the left handed version if that’s something you’re interested in.
Just to recap what I like most about this holster is the fact that it has all the features you’d want in an appendix holster while still maintain a reasonable price. If you’re someone who is looking for the best holster for the money this is definitely one to take a good look at.
10. BravoBelt Belly Band Holster (Soft Belt)
Price: Under $30
I don’t know how I feel about this, nor have I ever personally tried it. I guess it has its place if it’s going to help people carry on them while their exercise or doing something where they can’t carry a sturdy holster. It has great reviews, so I figured I’d add it to the list. It can be worn around the waist, on hip, behind hip, appendix, on the small of the back, and many other styles.
I read one review from a woman that said she hated concealed carrying because it was uncomfortable, but she wore this belt on a 20-mile bike ride and had no problems at all. While there are some downsides to a soft holster like this it’s better than not carrying at all. Let me know what you think of it in the comments. It seems like it could be a good option for women because it can even be work with Yoga pants and can be worn a little higher up if needed.
Another good thing about this holster is that it’s one size fits all, so you can swap out different guns without having to buy an entirely new holster. It accommodates most CCW weapons including Glock 17, 19, 23, 25, 32, 26, 27, 29, 39, 42, 43, Smith and Wesson M&P, popular Sig Sauer, Ruger, Kahr, Beretta, Springfield, Walther, Taurus, and More.
The only cons I see:
- Limited testing
- Potential increased risk of a misfire
- I don’t recommend as a primary holster
What is Appendix Carry?
Appendix carry is a somewhat new term for an old practice. With this type of carry, your firearm is holstered inside your waistband between your stomach and belt. Usually, the gun is situated between the hip and naval. There are a lot of movies that show people just tuck their pistol into their pants, which is basically appendix carry without a holster, which is extremely dangerous. Appendix carry does have some benefits, for instance, it can be easier to conceal the weapon and it can be easier to access in some positions, like seated.
How can I adjust my holster’s retention?
Some holsters have screws located near the front you can tighten.
Is there anything I can do to make my holster more comfortable?
Some holsters are covered with suede or another material that can cause the gun to not move around as much. The best thing to do is just invest in a good holster with a sleek design to start with. Most holsters also have an adjustable ride height, so you can find a carry depth that is most comfortable for you. When your sitting for long periods of time, try pulling up your pants a little. It can make the gun sit a little more comfortable against your stomach. Another thing is just actively carrying. The more you carry with an appendix holster the more comfortable it will become to you.
What are the benefits of appendix carry?
For some people, carrying a firearm against the hip can be uncomfortable. The holster can dig into the iliac crest of the hip leading to discomfort. Others find AIWB more uncomfortable, especially if you have a large gun with an extended barrel, so it really does all come down to preference. Some people also like AIWB carry better because they can get to their firearm more easily while driving. If you’ve never tried an appendix holster you might want to go to a local firearm dealer and see if it is comfortable before you spend a lot of money on one. With AIWB carry, you also don’t have to worry about giving away while bending over because your shirt will naturally cover the gun.
Is AWIB Carry Safe?
The short answer is yes, but if you’re not trained properly and practice with your firearms it can increase the risk of accidental discharge. There are a lot of professionals in the industry that are straight up about not liking AWIB holsters, there are others that swear by them. Some say it’s less safe, and it can be if you’re not careful and especially if you have a cheap holster that is low quality. I prefer to carry my Sig on my hip, but for those who find conventional hip carry techniques uncomfortable, this may be a great alternative to try.
What are Downsides to Appendix Holsters
Inside Waist band (IWB Holsters) and AIWB is very comfortable when standing, but a lot of people find them uncomfortable in a seated position, especially with larger guns. There are some techniques you can use to make AIWB holsters more comfortable when seated, like pulling up your pants a bit before you shit. This type of carrying is usually more preferred by people who are thin. For those with a large belly, this may not be the best carry style for you.
There are safety concerns related to IWB holsters, particularly appendix carry, because where the gun is pointed (femoral arteries and other sensitive areas). That said, these risks are often overstated and AIWB can still be a safe and practical carry method if proper gun safety is utilized.
Will Appendix Carry Work for Me?
Your best bet is to try a AIWB holster and see how it feels to you. Your local gun shop should have this type of holster and you can put it on. Try sitting down and walking around to see how it feels for you. Depending on the activities you are doing on a particular day, an AIWB holster may be more comfortable.
One thing I noticed is that almost all holster companies manufacture their products in the USA. It seemed strange to me at first because usually, it costs more to manufacture in the USA. It’s probably because their primary audience is in the United States due to the right to conceal carry and the preference of those who take advantage of the second amendment to support American founded companies.
Many of holsters on this list were actually designed by veterans.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.
Corporal Wabo is a former Infantry Squad Leader with 3rd Bn 4th Marines. As an outdoor enthusiast, he has been testing outdoor and tactical style gear for over 20 years. He started this website while transitioning out of the Marines, and since has recruited several other Marines to help him work on the Marine Approved website. On this website, we only write about things within our range of expertise like tactical gear, survival gear, hiking supplies, etc. Check out the “About Us” tab to meet the team.