So you’ve decided to go ahead with concealed carry. You’ve gone through all the required training, looked over all your options, and made your choice as to what gun you want. But don’t forget, when thinking about concealed carry, you have to decide where you want to carry.
Different people have different favorites when it comes to their choice of holster but many are looking for the best appendix carry holster (ACH). Why is that? Well, if you’re not familiar with this item, you should know that it fits in front of the body which makes it more accessible.
The ACH is sometimes known as an inside waist band (IWB) concealed carry holster. However, IWBs can be worn in the front or the back, over the kidneys or in another position other than over the appendix.
The ACH is worn underneath clothing, inside pants. To keep this from being too uncomfortable, some wearers opt for pants that are at least an inch bigger in the waist than what is normally worn.
Features That Recommend The Ach
While you are deciding on the type of holster, you have a few different factors to consider when making the choice (for instance, comfort and ease of concealment). Here are a few important features that make the ACH one of the best choices:
- Comfort: Such a holster must provide you with comfort while carrying the firearm for long periods of time. Considering that the holster is close to your skin the comfort factor is of absolute importance.
Those who are fans of the ACH would say that they are not only comfortable to wear but make their gun easily accessible – extremely important when you are concerned about personal safety.
- Ease of access: the holster must allow you to draw the gun quickly without any risk of injuring yourself in the process. The right ACH is great for easier drawing, compared to other holsters.
When you do need to grab your gun, it is a natural movement – all you have to do is drop your hands down. A hip holster, on the other hand, means you have to make an effort to draw, and it makes it tough to draw if you are in a tight space where it is difficult to get your elbow up behind you.
- Safety: the holster must keep the gun firmly in place without creating any discomfort.
- Concealment: appendix holsters are easy to conceal, as they can fit right under your shirt – your gun doesn’t have the obvious bulge that comes with a hip holster (and most people won’t be specifically looking at your waist, anyway).
Most people won’t even realize you have a gun. And, if someone does realize you have one, the fact that it is positioned right in front of your body means it is easy to protect it if someone decides to make a grab for it – not so if the gun holster is at your side or on your back.
A few drawbacks that need to be mentioned
Of course, we can’t fully discuss the ACH if we don’t mention the problems that might come with this type of carry. Users who don’t really like this type of holster say that it is uncomfortable, as it is located right at a point where you bend your body. However, you could get either a gun with a short muzzle or a holster that rides high to try to solve this problem.
Another counter argument would be that the odds go up of shooting yourself on a draw or while re-holstering — but you can solve this by choosing a holster that protects the trigger. And, as always with firearms (and with any holster), you should be paying close attention to what you’re doing, and you should also be making an effort to be very deliberate with your movements.
One point that is a little more difficult for many to get over though, is that, when holstered, a gun in the ACH points at the groin, and beyond that, at the femoral artery – which can be a lethal hit if something does go horribly wrong. If you don’t feel safe with a gun attached to your waist, take a look at our list of holsters for the ankle area.
At the very least, perhaps these items are not for the new and inexperienced.
An Array Of Achs To Consider
When looking for an appendix carry holster, experts say you shouldn’t automatically choose the cheapest model. You should get a good quality holster that will move as you do, is comfortable, hangs tightly to your waist, and makes for easy drawing and re-holstering.
Below we gathered a list with the best products on the market so take a look and let us know if any of these fits your needs.
5.11 Tactical Appendix IWB Holster
Price: from $29.99 to $42.47
Best Use: it can be used in the appendix or kidney position, inside the pants
Special Features: extremely comfortable, conceals very well, can be used even without a belt
Description: This 5.11 Tactical Appendix IWB Holster has a reasonable price and it is made from a polymer that is heat, grease, and oil resistant. Also, the belt clip has space to accommodate a tactical light.
One complaint about this holster is that, because it is designed for multiple guns, it can get uncomfortable (depending on the gun you have), and can dig into the skin after a few hours of wear. The size and type of pants you wear can make a big difference.
A pro to this holster is that the gun fits securely, and the clip that holds it to the pants holds very well, even when not wearing a belt.
Blackhawk! Leather Inside-the-pants Black Holster
Price: ranges from $22.00 to $144.33
Design: a unique, speed-cut design
Best Use: It can be used for middle-of-the-back, strong side, appendix, or cross-draw carry.
Special Features: Comes in two versions – for right and left-handed people. It features a superior draw technique and it makes an audible click upon re-holstering.
Description: The Blackhawk! Holster fits Beretta 92 and 96. It has an angle-adjustable belt loop that helps maintain stability, an adjustable tension screw that lets the user choose the level of retention, and a shirt shield that protects clothing, increases comfort, and keeps the opening unobstructed.
Although many users are impressed with the quality of leather used, other users note that the belt loop sticks out too far and basically advertises that you are carrying. Another complaint is that the holster comes with the weapon when drawing. However, most agree that it is comfortable to wear.
Galco Stow-N-Go Inside The Pant Holster For Glock 26, 27, 33
Material: Natural Premium Center Cut Steerhide
Design: right and left-hand design
Best Use: great for Glock 26, 27, 33 and goes on belts up to 1 3/4″. It can be used in various positions
Special Features: supports fast draw due to the open top. The holster carries the gun in a vertical position, with any cant or angle
Description: The Galco Stow-N-Go Inside The Pant Holster For Glock 26, 27, 33 is designed with a reinforced mouth for an easy return to the holster.
A nylon clip secures the holster to the belt, at a vertical orientation. It can be used for appendix carry, strong side, or crossdraw and was designed to be used for semiautomatic pistols and double-action revolvers.
Users say it is lightweight and a good value for the price, and that Glocks fit in just right, after the leather has had some time to adjust to the shape of the gun. The belt clip is strong and dependable, keeping it securely against the waistline. Because it is made out of rigid leather, it is easy to reholster with only one hand.
Everyday Holsters Glock 17, 22 And 31 Hybrid Holster
Material: Premium Leather & Kydex
Price: about $35
Design: slim design, fully adjustable for cant and ride height
Best Use: great for Glock 17, 22, and 31
Special Features: Lifetime Warranty
Description: While the Everyday Holsters Glock 17, 22 And 31 Hybrid Holster IWB Right Hand is considered pretty uncomfortable by some users, there are also positive voices.
According to actual users, you will have to get used to it, but once you do, you’ll love it! The slim design and the comfy material allows for perfect concealment and great fit.
Sadly, the negative voices say that it never gets broken in and never becomes comfortable. Others complain that the grip on the weapon is too tight and the belt loops are open-ended, which results in having to rip the holster out of the pants every time you draw.
Vedder Holsters Lighttuck IWB Kydex Gun Holster
Material: 08” Kydex
Price: around $70
Design: LightTuck feature for easy access
Best Use: Glock 26, 27, 33
Special Features: sweat shield to protect the gun, offers amazing concealment due to the slim design
Description: This handmade Vedder Holsters Lighttuck IWB Kydex Gun Holster is molded to fit the gun, and makes it easy to carry in different positions – forward cant, appendix carry, or cross draw.
The holster and the belt clip are made out of Kydex, a durable material designed to hold up to extreme conditions. The clip fits belts up to 1 inch wide.
This holster can be easily concealed by tucking in your shirt. Comes with retention screw that allows you to loosen or tighten the retention, to your preference. The LightTuck is handcrafted to fit your specific gun model and backed by a 30-day money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
Overall, users are very impressed, saying it fits very comfortably, is easy to conceal, and is of great quality.
Hip Hugger Classic – Can Can Concealment Women’s Concealed
Material: Military-Grade Elastic with Hypoallergenic Non-Slip Tacti-Grip™
Best Use: made for women. Great for concealing large handguns and Service Issued Firearms
Special Features: comfortable for all day carry
Description: This Hip Hugger Classic – Can Can Concealment Women’s Concealed is a little pricier than other holsters and it’s made for weapons under 6.5” in total length. It has 4 holster positions, including 1 appendix and 2 on the kidneys.
It also has 3 additional pockets for magazines, tasers, knives, or pepper spray.
Two rows of hypoallergenic nonslip Tacti-Grip helps to keep the holster securely in place. Wearers get an adjustable, comfortable fit with gently tapered military grade elastic and all metal 3 row Hook and Eye closure.
The Hip Hugger Classic is reported to be very comfortable, even when worn under clothes, and even when jogging or exercising. It also works great for left and right handed shooters. It has been described as not only discrete but “sexy.”
Everyday Holsters Beretta 92/96 Hybrid Holster
Material: Premium Leather & 0.6” Kydex
Design: fully adjustable for cant and ride height
Best Use: Inside the pants use for Beretta Modell 92/96
Special Features: two-week trial period during which you can test and return the holster – no questions asked.
Description: This hybrid Everyday Holsters Beretta 92/96 Hybrid Holster IWB Right Hand is fully adjustable for cant and ride height, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Users report this is one comfortable holster that nicely conforms to the body. The weapon feels safely secured and is completely out of sight. However, one complaint is that it holds the weapon too securely, which can make for trouble drawing.
Viridian Green Laser Sights King TUK IWB Holster
Material: Premium Steer Hide and Kydex
Price: about $65
Design: inside the waistband
Best Use: designed for Viridian C Series-equipped Glock 17/22 and 19/23
Special Features: equipped with ECR technology
Description: This Viridian Green Laser Sights King TUK IWB Holster is specially designed for Viridian-equipped pistols. It is made of premium steer hide with heavy nylon stitching and lightweight Kydex for comfort.
It fits belts up to 2” in width and has tough aluminum clips for a secure belt hold.
Also comes with ECR (enhanced combat readiness) technology built in for automatic activation of the Viridian laser/light when the gun is drawn. Price is $63.83.
Users are impressed with the ECR technology – to use it, all you have to do is holster the firearm as usual but keep the laser/tactical light on the setting you prefer. When the firearm is slid into the holster the power button is depressed, which turns the lights off.
When drawn, the button on the firearm is released and the lights are ready to go. The leather and Kydex materials that make up the holster also get high marks – the leather is high quality and the Kydex shell maintains its shape so that drawing and re-holstering are all done in one smooth motion.
Uncle Mike’s Paddle Holster For Springfield XD Compact
Price: between $10 and $25
Design: Paddle Holster
Best Use: great for confined spaces of for people with shorter torsos
Special Features: open top
Description: This is the most basic of holsters and runs. Uncle Mike’s Paddle Holster For Springfield XD Compact MD: 54271 is made of injection molded, high-quality Kydex and has an adjustable, semi-rigid paddle that molds itself to the wearer’s hip.
It was made to prevent moving around or pulling out when drawing a firearm.
The user can adjust it for butt forward, vertical, and muzzle forward carry. It can be worn behind the hip, as appendix carry, or crossdraw. The lead edge of the holster is cut down, making it easy to use in a confined space or by people with shorter torsos.
Users are impressed that it does stay in place when drawing and re-holstering, and that you can adjust the position and cant. The firearm remains secure, the holster stays stable because of the hooking system, and all of these benefits come with a comfortable fit.
Galco Triton Kydex IWB Holster for Glock 17, 22, 31
Price: about $50
Design: inside the waist
Best Use: GLOCK 17, 22, 31
Special Features: sweat guard, smooth and easy draw and return
Description: This right-handed Galco Triton Kydex IWB Holster for Glock 17, 22, 31 is made of durable Kydex, and has a sweat guard to protect the gun and the user.
It comes with a belt clip for quick on and off capability, and a firm body that allows for a smooth and easy return of the firearm after the draw.
Available in black, the holster fits belts up to 13/4”.
Reviews are generally positive for this holster. Users say it is light, thin, and easy to conceal, with a nice cant angle and good retention adjustment.
Hip Hugger— Big Shebang Women’s Holster For Large Firearm
Material: Military-Grade Elastic with Hypoallergenic Non-Slip Tacti-Grip™
Best Use: made for women. The snug fit supports and distributes the weight of the gun evenly throughout the unit
Special Features: Patent Pending tabs for safe, Heads-Up Re-Holstering™, designed with a size extender
Description: This Hip Hugger—the Big Shebang Women’s Holster For Large Firearm Concealed Carry promises all day comfort, and provides 3 holster positions: 1 appendix and 2 kidney. It also has 3 additional pockets for magazines, phone, knife, or a taser.
Users can adjust the fit with an all-metal 3 row Hook and Eye closure and the general design is very feminine.
Users love this holster for its comfort and how easily it conceals firearms and accessories. They also love that it is made for women by women – some users even comment that it is sexy and feminine.
It stays in place, can be worn comfortably for a long period of time, and works no matter your body size or shape.
Everyday Holsters Ruger Sr9c/sr40c Hybrid Holster
Material: genuine leather
Price: about $30.00
Design: Inside Pants Holster
Best Use: for Ruger SR9C and SR40C (not designed for outside pants or small of back carry)
Special Features: handcrafted and hand dyed. Easy to re-holster.
Description: This Everyday Holsters Ruger Sr9c/sr40c Hybrid Holster IWB Right Hand is fully adjustable for cant and ride height, handmade in the USA, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Users say that, for the price, this is a great holster, but comment that it works best after a period of breaking in, which can take 1 or 2 weeks.
After the breaking in period, the holster will become so comfortable that you’ll even forget you’re wearing it. The design is quite versatile and allows the holster to mold to the body well.
One feature we liked is represented by the clips which allow you to tuck the shirt in while wearing the holster.
Everyday Holsters Sig Sauer P226 Hybrid Holster IWB Right Hand
Material: Premium Leather and 0.6” Kydex
Design: Inside the waistband
Best Use: for larger persons
Special Features: adjustable retention screws
Description: This Everyday Holsters Sig Sauer P226 Hybrid Holster IWB Right Hand is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. Made from 9/10 ounce premium leather and .06O Kydex, it is fully adjustable for cant and ride height, easy to conceal, and comfortable. Runs at $45.00.
Users’ opinions vary. Some consider it a cheap knockoff while others rave about the quality for the price. Generally, it is considered to be comfortable, with the added bonus that it is adjustable to cant and height preference. The firearm stays where it’s supposed to when drawing and re-holstering.
Before You Get Holstered
When it comes to where you want to carry your concealed weapon, you have a lot of choices. The good news is that you also have a lot of choices once you decide on an ACH. Look for one that is comfortable, especially if you will be wearing it for long periods of time – you don’t want one that will be digging into your abdomen all day.
You should also look for one that makes for easy drawing and re-holstering, and for one that won’t come out of place when you draw. Ask around, read reviews, and you will be able to find the best appendix carry holster for you.