Appendix vs. Strongside: Which is Better?

appendix carry vs hip carry

It’s a debate as old as 1911 vs. striker-fired polymer, .45 vs. 9mm., Yankees vs. Red Sox.

What’s the best way to carry concealed: appendix carry vs hip carry (strong side)? Before I get started, let’s take one option out of the equation: off-belt carry. While there are plenty of other carry options besides appendix vs strong side carry, such as ankle, off-body, pocket, jacket, etc., let’s focus on the two most common carry methods and their pluses and minuses. This is, after all, an article, not a book.

Why are these the most popular carry positions? A key factor in winning a gunfight is quick access to your weapon. While that may seem like a no-brainer, I’m constantly amazed at how little concealed carriers think about the real world and how they plan to get to their gun in an actual encounter. Real gunfights last mere seconds, not the long, drawn-out shootouts made famous in Hollywood epics. You have to get to your gun right now.

Appendix Carry vs His Carry Pros & Cons
appendix vs strong side carry

What is Appendix Carry?

There’s something to be said for having a gun right in front of you at all times. Whether you’re wearing a jacket or just a shirt, an appendix-carried gun is accessible with very little movement. For the unfamiliar, appendix carry means the gun is safely tucked away inside an IWB holster in the front of your pants, right in front of your…wait for it…appendix (clever name, no?). This position eliminates the need to reach around your waist, clear your shirt or jacket, and hope you grab the gun the right way for the draw. Faster out of the holster means faster on target.

Appendix Carry Position Pros

It’s pretty hard for a bad guy to sneak up from behind and steal an appendix-carried firearm. For a face-to-face encounter such as a robbery at a gas pump or to prevent a carjacking, appendix offers a much faster draw, especially from a seated position.

The appendix carry position is also popular with fashion-conscious women who have a hard time finding clothes that allow strong side carry. It’s easy to hide an appendix rig under a blouse or sweater, and because women are (thankfully!) shaped differently from men, they have less issue with the leg gouging drawbacks of a gun in front.appendix vs strong side carry

Cons of Appendix Carry Position

The biggest complaint about appendix carry position is it often hurts when you sit down – a lot – because the gun and holster dig into your groin. Standing is typically fine, as your body is in a straight line top to bottom, but bend at the waist and you’ll gouge the top of your leg. Speaking of muzzles, who wants a loaded gun pointing at their junk or the blood-filled arteries that surround it? Can you say, “lethal accidental discharge”?

Also, overweight individuals have a harder time carrying appendix because of printing issues. It’s also difficult to conceal a full-frame firearm because the grip tends to stick out too far. Thanks to more appendix-carry-friendly waistlines, however, women often find this position far more comfortable than men. And with no, ahem, stuff in the way, sitting is less of an issue of women.

Pros of Strong Side Hip Carry

Strong Side Is More Comfortable

If you’re into comfort, strongside hip carry is the way to go. No digging into your leg and no risk of the unquestioningly inconvenient accidental discharge to the groin when you reholster. So, in a way, the case could be made that strong side carry might help your sex life. If that’s not enough reason…. ever need to bend down to pick up something? It’s much easier with the gun behind you or at your side than stabbing you in the leg and waist. The draw stroke from the hip – even the 4 o’clock position – is a more natural arm movement than twisting from the front; the elbow and arm are already at the right angle when the gun comes out of the holster. If you’re approached by a robber, you can blade your body for the draw if you need to fake removing your wallet from your back pocket.

Strong Side Hip Makes It Hard to Steal.

Unlike appendix carry gun snatching (see above), it’s hard to steal a strongside hip carry with a frontal attack. So the guy how slugs you in the gut probably won’t feel your gun – then again, if he were to bust his knuckles against it…. But you get the point: for a threat from the front, a gun tucked behind is more secure.

Cons of Strong Side Hip Carry

First, you have to reach around your side to draw, which is not as convenient as drawing from the appendix carry position in front. Second, there’s the issue of clearing your cover garment adequately not only for the draw but also for reholstering at the end of an encounter. All that material could get stuck inside the holster and foul the action of a semi-auto on its way back in. Third, drawing while seated – especially in a car – presents its own set of difficulties, including the need to rock your body out of the way and possibly clear the seatbelt buckle to reach the gun. If you forget to bend from the waist when you reach down or squat, the gun might reveal itself behind you, thus removing the whole “concealed” part of concealed carry.

Reholstering behind your body takes a bit of practice. Do it wrong and it might not be as disastrous as an appendix reholster miscue, but you still won’t like the more-than-uncomfortable sensation of a high-speed projectile tearing through the inside of the back of your leg. This, of course, can be remedied with plenty of empty gun training and the right holster, but it does take practice.

Conclusion

However you prefer to carry your firearm, just make sure you practice with it. Get used to where your gun is on your body. Stand, sit, kneel, run, bend over, draw from different positions. And, of course, get a good CrossBreed Holster and gun belt for your EDC and your style of carry!

About the Author

David Workman is the Content Marketing Manager for a major tactical apparel and gear manufacturer, an avid gun guy, and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. In addition to being an NRA-certified RSO, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. “Real life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”

62 thoughts on “Appendix vs. Strongside: Which is Better?”

  1. I prefer appendix carry and have found that a good leather holster is more comfortable below the belt. But as the article states practice is what makes all the difference if ever put in situation where you need your weapon. The more you practice the faster and safer your gun will come out of the holster. PS. When practicing at home make sure gun is empty. Practice at the range with a loaded gun and visit the range as often as you can to our increase muscle memory. If you can afford to take lesson from a Pro it’s worth every dollar. The other option is to read and watch the pros videos. The best advise I can give is to use your common sense to avoid having to use your gun. If you must pull your weapon don’t just use it as a threat, use it to stop the threat.

  2. 4 o’clock IWB carry was “my” carry for years: I tried IWB appendix carry and it’s unlikely I’ll go back. Seems I’m fortunate since I’m “fluffy” side and haven’t have a problem with being poked
    with the barrel or grip when sitting or stooping but then the EDC critters are about the size of a SigSauer P365 or Springfield Armory XDs. The 4 o’clock position just seemed like a poor position when seated in a motor vehicle or in a restaurant. Arms on the table with hands dangling into the lap places the “gun hand” naturally close to the weapon and would likely allow a quicker draw than attempting to access from the 4 o’clock position or, heaven forbid, behind the back. (Yes, a good friend actually carried at the 6 o’clock position. He said he’s never fall on his back/pistol and trash his spine and he practiced drawing from this holster position. Maybe he did. To each his own.)

  3. I went from 3 to appendix and took the round out of the pipe. Thinking about going back to 3 with one in. When you have an open flannel which I love wearing lots you can Dracula/ vampire the flannel and get it out of the way super fast!!! If you don’t know what I’m talking about look it up on YouTube. A seal does it and I think it’s an awesome way to clear your garment.

  4. I went from 3 to appendix and took the round out of the pipe. Thinking about going back to 3 with one in. When you have an open flannel which I love wearing lots you can Dracula/ vampire the flannel and get it out of the way super fast!!! If you don’t know what I’m talking about look it up on YouTube. A SeALdoes it and I think it’s an awesome way to clear your garment.

  5. I have been in LE for almost 30 years and I strongside hip carried for most of those years, but in the past few years I have been carrying Appendix Carry. One other Plus to appendix carry is the lessened ability for the gun to be found if you are a robbery victim. IN my city I have seen sevreal videos of gunpoint robberies where the robber “Pats Down” the victim looking for a gun. In these sistuations the bad guys typically check both sides of the waist and back, but they never or rarely check the front. I guess no man wants to be near another man’s junk. I have found In order to avoid the issue of the “poking”when sitting down, simply pull the bottom of the holdter away from your body or push it it up slightly from the bottom, this remedies the “poke”.

  6. I carry outside at 2 standing and nearer to 2 1/2 sitting. I most always have on a sports coat or long vest. Always one in the chamber. I prefer a proper quality leather holster with thumb release. Long shirts make for a two hand draw and a deadly experience. A sport jacket can be quickly moved aside and you look good as well. I normally carry a 365 but with overcoats I comfortably carry a heavy XD45 at 10 1/2. Know where your at at all times and train for a long life. Shoot straight.

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  13. This comparison between appendix carry and strongside carry is really insightful. Choosing the right carry position is crucial for comfort and accessibility, and your article breaks down the pros and cons well.

  14. I’ve always been torn between these two carry positions. Your article clarifies the key differences and considerations, making it easier for me to make an informed choice.

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