CCW: Some more thoughts on the appendix position for concealed carry.

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The appendix carry position (so named because the gun is on the front of your body, between your navel and the point of your hip; roughly on top of your appendix if you’re a right-hander) has gotten quite popular in recent years. That popularity has made it the subject of both scorn and praise, with some believing it’s the work of Beelzebub himself and others opining that it’s the best thing since a bunch of duck hunters in Louisiana decided to go into full ZZ Top mode.

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’ve generally been agnostic where the appendix position was concerned. I’ve tried it, with several holsters, and found that it simply wasn’t comfortable for me. I’ve also noticed that the people who like appendix carry tend to be taller than I am, with longer torsos, and are usually fairly athletic. Since I’m short, with a correspondingly small distance between my beltline and hip joint, sitting down with a gun in the appendix position is quite uncomfortable regardless of the size of the firearm. I do have a lot of students, however, who use and like that style of carry.

It wasn’t until doing instructor development for shooting from unorthodox positions that I really grew to appreciate some of the less-obvious advantages of the appendix position. Its proponents tend to emphasize the speed with which the gun can be accessed when standing (which is undeniable), but I noticed that it had some distinct advantages when shooting from those unorthodox positions which sometimes happen during a violent encounter.

When in the driver’s seat of a car, for instance, it’s easier to access the gun from that position than when the gun is worn behind the hip. The seatbelt is not nearly as much of an obstacle, and presenting the gun to a threat on the passenger side is simpler. When knocked on your back, a common occurrence in a fight, getting the gun into play from the common 4-o’clock position requires more movement and body shifting than accessing the gun that’s carried in front.

From a grounded position where you’ve been knocked down on top of your gun, making space to access the gun in the appendix position (on your stomach) is much easier than with strongside carry (on your side.) This also applies to situations where you might be standing but otherwise confined, such as being up against a wall or in close contact with another (innocent) person.

In general, getting the gun oriented on most targets from the appendix position requires less movement than a corresponding 3- or 4-o’clock carry position. It’s also easier to access by the weak hand should your strong hand be injured at the initiation of an attack.

While it’s still not for me because of the comfort issues, appendix carry has a lot to recommend itself when you consider the whole range of plausible situations in which you might need to access the gun.

There is always the issue of safety, of course, and if you decide to CCW in that position you need to be extra vigilant on both the draw and the re-holster. Making sure of exactly where the muzzle is pointed and where your trigger finger is placed are crucial, and learning to arch your back and drive your hips forward to clear a path for the muzzle is imperative. If you’re conscientious and train properly, I see very little increase in risk but a very big increase in achievable efficiency.

Appendix carry isn’t for everyone, but for those who take the time to train properly it has some undeniable (and compelling) benefits.

-=[ Grant ]=-


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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