Of the many polarizing topics bandied about in the firearm community, one of the most heated is the battle over appendix carry. For those who’ve thus far avoided taking sides or even familiarizing themselves with the concept, the appendix-carry position involves carrying a gun inside the waistband on the front part of the body, just off the center line of the abdomen toward the carrier’s strong side. There are both benefits and drawbacks to this carry method, and it’s these pros and cons that draw supporters and detractors to either side of the debate. However, Keepers Concealment developed a number of appendix-carry rigs that may just address some of the issues raised by those wary of this concealment concept. In particular, the design I’ve worked closely with is the company’s Errand AIWB holster.
The appendix-carry position gained popularity in recent years, thanks to the development of both slim, single-stack nines that have largely come to embody the concept of a CCW pistol, as well as trim, minimalist IWB holsters made from Kydex. This material adds little bulk while offering a secure, safe mounting point for a pistol, and it won’t degrade and wear like all-leather holsters. However, the use of this carry position raises concerns for some and is the source of much debate. First, as detractors like to point out, a holstered gun is generally pointing toward a very delicate part of the body. Second, the bottom lip of a holster can put uncomfortable pressure on the abdomen, particularly when sitting down.
However, these cons are outweighed by several benefits, and it’s the benefits of the appendix-carry position that make it a go-to position for many concealed carriers today. For one, accessing a gun at the front of the body is much faster than strong-side IWB. Printing becomes less of an issue as well, since it’s often bending over and stretching a cover garment over a holstered gun in the strong-side position that causes printing. Additionally, for those who spend a great deal of time in their cars, that appendix-carry position is much more accessible than attempting to access a gun holstered behind the hip while belted into a seat. One of the other benefits can be experienced during reholstering, since shooters can look the gun into their holster and ensure that the holster mouth is cleared of any debris or garment material.
To get the most out of the appendix-carry position, though, having a good holster matters more than ever. For security and safety, having a hard-sided, all-Kydex rig clipped onto a gun belt ensures that the trigger remains safely covered while the gun is holstered, as well as keeps the holster mouth open for easy, safe reholstering. The potential problem with these Kydex rigs, though, is now users have to deal with this hard, inflexible plastic that can poke uncomfortably into the body if the design isn’t right. Fortunately, the Keepers Concealment team focused heavily on addressing the comfort issues associated with this carry position, thanks to several unique features on its Errand holster.
Probably the most-prominent feature consumers will find on the Keepers Concealment Errand is the large foam wedge attached to the body-side of the rig with hook-and-loop backed fabric. It’s simple and unelegant, but hey, it works really well. What the wedge does is spread that pressure out across a wider area of the body. You’ll still feel pressure from the holster while sitting down, but it’s much more of a “I know this is here” pressure rather than a “Jesus, it’s drilling a hole into my groin” pressure that long-term wear with some appendix-carry rigs can spark.
One of the added benefits of this wedge is there’s enough material there that, even when compressed, the entire holster sits at a slight angle inside the waistband. The muzzle of a holstered gun is pushed out from the body, angling away from those “sensitive areas” we referenced earlier, so that addresses one of the principle concerns many have over appendix carry. One of the other benefits of this angled IWB position is that it pushes the grip of a holstered gun tighter to a wearer’s body, further reducing the opportunity for a gun to print through a concealment garment.
A number of appendix-carry holsters on the market have a wedge-style protrusion molded into the holster body to accomplish the same thing, but the added benefit of the Keepers Concealment Errand is that the hook-and-loop backed wedge can be moved and oriented to suit personal preferences. However, the downside to the foam material is that it will gradually compress during use and will require eventual replacement. Fortunately, spare wedges can be easily gotten from Keepers Concealment for just $2.50 apiece.
The “Errand” part of the Keepers Concealment Errand AIWB holster is reflected in the belt-attachment. Rather than having pass-through slots for a belt, this holster features a wide C-clip that easily and quickly slides over a belt, allowing the holster to be mounted and removed in seconds, if you’re just heading out for groceries or some other quick errand. If your weekend wear doesn’t involve wearing a belt, the clip is designed to secure a holstered gun by just clipping onto the lip of the waistband, but the rig definitely works better when paired with a decent gun belt.
Much of the success behind the Keepers Concealment Errand is in the design of the Kydex shell itself. The bottom of the holster body is trimmed to ensure there’s no extra material below the belt line that can cause discomfort and restrict movement. The area beneath the trigger guard is cut away generously, which allows for a solid, firm grip on the gun before the draw stroke, a must-have feature in a good holster. Finally, the body-side of the holster features a sweat guard that’s large enough to protect your gun from body oils and moisture but small enough to remain unobtrusive.
I’ve worn and practiced with the Keepers Concealment Errand for several weeks now, and it’s become a permanent addition to my EDC stable. For my money, the Keepers Concealment Errand is one of the best AIWB holsters on the market. Whether or not you’ve carried in the AIWB position for a while now or you’re considering it, this holster is worth a look. There are fits for 15 of today’s most-popular CCW guns, and the retail price on the rig is $89.99.