Can you appendix carry with a belly?


There are a lot of folks who are skeptical of appendix carry for various reasons.

However, the top two reasons I usually hear are either “appendix carry is not safe” or “appendix carry is not comfortable because I have a belly”.

I’ve found both of these issues to be the result of never trying the method or lousy technique.

Furthermore, I hear the comfort complaint coming from both skinny guys and bigger guys alike. 

Like most issues within the concealed carry world, it’s hard to overcome poor technique. 

I’ve been a firearms instructor for almost 20 years and have had the opportunity to train plain-clothed federal agents, police officers, and civilians alike. 

Fortunately, over that time I’ve been able to identify a few tips and tricks and help you get over this hurdle.

Before we go into more detail, I want to say that you can absolutely appendix carry with a belly. To do this, you need to focus on proper gear selection, clothing considerations, and technique/positioning. If you get these dialed in you can appendix carry with ease, even if you have a belly.

Let’s dig into each of these in more detail so you can fine-tune your appendix carry experience.

How to appendix carry with a belly

In order to appendix carry with a belly we need to focus on a few specific things, primarily gear, clothing, and technique. Let’s start by talking about gear.

Holster wedges

Holster wedges are simply a pivot point that allows you to manipulate the position of the holster/firearm.

Wedges can be a great tool to improve comfort, especially if your discomfort is coming from the muzzle end of the gun/holster.

Dark Star Gear

If you prefer something over-the-counter and factory-made, consider some wedges from Dark Star Gear

These wedges are injection molded foam teardrop-shaped pads that work with a lot of different-sized holsters. 

Homemade wedge

Yoga block to make homemade holster wedge

You can Google how to make these, but essentially it consists of some Velcro and some foam from a yoga block.

Carve out the shape you want, add the appropriate velcro, and let the good times roll.

Here’s a video to give you an idea.

DIY alternative

Another homemade wedge option we’ve discussed in the past is to use a shoe sole insert, which is easy to find and easy to use.

You can typically just add some velcro and add it to your holster.

For a visual of this, watch 8541 Tactical demonstrate the AIWB Holster Gel Wedge Hack.

Holster

Holster type

Consider using a holster that has radiused and rounded edges, like the PHLster Pro Series

Radiused edges are way more comfortable than squared or angled edges and can make all the difference in the world.

PHLster Pro Series

A side bonus of wedges is that they often increase concealability as well as comfort.

Holster length

People scoff at this suggestion, but it works. The idea is that you want to have more of the holster below, or under, the belt than above it. 

If not, your belly will tend to push the portion of the gun above the waistline, grip, etc., and push the muzzle into your crotch or thigh. 

Eliminate this by buying a “longer” holster and using that fulcrum to your advantage. 

A wedge can also be used in conjunction with this technique for more fine-tuning.

Clothing

Properly sized pants or shorts

We have gone into buying pants or jeans for concealed carry in great detail in the past so be sure to check that out. 

However, to make things simple, it’s best to test your clothing for fit prior to buying. Be sure to experiment a little and you’ll often find you need to go up a size to make things work. 

Having something too tight will create a horrible experience and will often counter progress made in other areas.

Compression shirt or bandeau

Compression shirts can add a “layer” of defense between your weapon/holster and your body. 

This is particularly useful if you find you are experiencing discomfort from friction or rubbing.

Another option is using a bandeau. Search it on Amazon and you will have more options than you can shake a stick at. 

Basically, you wrap this around your midsection and use it as a barrier as mentioned above. 

A bandeau can be extra beneficial when paired with the PHLster Enigma, which we will discuss below.

Belt

Belts are always a topic of contention and opinions greatly vary. 

I have my opinions as well, but if we are strictly talking about carrying with a belly I like something that offers A LOT of adjustment. 

Consider something such as a ratcheting belt from Kore Essentials.

These types of belts allow you to fine-tune the adjustment of your belt on the fly.

What this does is enable you to loosen a belt when you sit and tighten it up again when you stand. 

I’ve found these micro-adjustments allow you to work with your body type and not against it.

Enigma Holster Chassis

As mentioned above, another option is the Enigma from PHLster

The Enigma is a holster chassis that works independently of your clothing, a belt is not needed, and it integrates with a lot of different holsters.

It offers a multitude of adjustments allowing you to custom fit it to your body type and comfort. 

I’ve been using one now for over a year and highly recommend it.

Holster position

When most people think of AIWB, they think of carrying centerline. This does not work for the majority of people.

Typically, the most comfortable position is where the holster/gun combo rides in the crease in between your thigh and privates (inguinal crease).

To get an idea of where this is at, sit in a chair, scoot your butt all the way back, and keep a straight back.

This crease is now more evident and is the exact position where you want your gear to ride for optimal comfort.

Conclusion

We’ve discussed several ways for bigger guys to carry AIWB within this article. 

We’ve discussed additional tips and techniques in a couple of previous articles linked above that we’ve written in the past.

Be sure to check those out for additional information. 

In addition, here’s another video offering additional insight but having a similar mindset. 

If you have a belly and give this technique a try, don’t give immediately give up. 

It often takes a little fine-tuning and with a little effort you can appendix carry with ease…even if you have a belly to work with. 

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