The Ultimate Guide to Appendix Carrying Without Printing

appendix carry

Appendix carrying is a popular method of concealed carry that offers both comfort and accessibility.

However, one of the concerns for those who choose this carry position is the potential for printing, which can reveal the presence of a firearm under clothing.

This article will provide you with an ultimate guide on how to appendix carry without printing, ensuring that you maintain a discreet and concealed profile.

Understanding the basics of concealment mechanics is key to successfully appendix carrying without printing.

Various factors, such as holster and firearm selection, body type, and clothing choices, all contribute to effective concealment.

The article will draw from the insights shared by PHLSTER Kydex Holsters and others, providing you with practical tips and advice to help you master the art of appendix carrying while remaining invisible to the untrained eye.

Whether you’re new to appendix carrying or a seasoned concealed carrier looking to improve your techniques to maximize comfort and concealment, this guide will offer valuable information and recommendations tailored to help you succeed in remaining discreet and maintaining the element of surprise.

What is Appendix Carry

Appendix carry refers to the practice of placing a pistol and holster in the front of one’s waistband, typically halfway between the pants pocket and waistband button, close to the location of the appendix, hence the name.

This method of carrying a concealed firearm has gained popularity due to its benefits like easy concealment, convenient insertion into the waistband, and accessible draw.

Factors that contribute to the concealment of a firearm in appendix carry include the ride height, grip compression, and holster angle.

Body type and clothing choices also play a significant role in determining the concealment capability and comfort of appendix carry.

It’s advised to experiment with different ideas to find the option that suits you the best.

Although appendix carry is considered one of the most difficult methods to master, once dialed in, it can offer more concealment and comfort than other carry positions.

It might take some time and work to adjust to carrying a firearm in this position, but the benefits can make it worthwhile for many people.

Important Terminology

Before diving deep into the world of appendix carrying, it is essential to familiarize yourself with some important terminology.

Understanding these terms will make it much easier to navigate the ins and outs of proper appendix carry and ensure that you have the necessary knowledge to carry concealed without printing.

Concealment Mechanics

This refers to the principles and techniques used to effectively conceal a gun on your body.

These mechanics play a vital role in keeping the gun hidden and comfortable while carrying appendix.

In order to achieve proper concealment, factors like holster design, gun position, and clothing should be taken into account.

Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB)

AIWB refers to a specific carry method in which the gun is positioned inside the waistband of your pants, typically in the front of the body between the hip bone and navel.

This carry position enables quick and easy access to the gun for self-defense situations and, when done correctly, ensures discreet concealment.


Printing is when the outline of a concealed firearm is visible through clothing, giving away the fact that you are carrying a gun.

The goal of appendix carry is to minimize printing and maintain the element of surprise.


appendix carry

The device used to secure and carry your firearm…is typically made from materials like Kydex, leather, or nylon.

A good holster should provide adequate retention, trigger protection, and comfort while promoting effective concealment.

Selecting the Right Holster

Selecting the correct appendix carry holster is essential for comfortable and concealed carrying.

The right holster can help eliminate or minimize printing and improve overall comfort.

Some key factors to consider when selecting an AIWB (Appendix Inside the Waistband) holster include:

  • Comfort: Ensure that the holster is comfortable when worn, with adjustable settings to accommodate your body type and preferences.
  • Concealment: Look for features and materials that make the holster effective at concealing your firearm, ensuring minimal or no printing.
  • Quality: Investing in a high-quality holster made from durable materials will ensure long-term use, durability, and a secure fit for your firearm.
  • Retention: Good retention means that your firearm stays securely in the holster while allowing for a smooth and fast draw when needed.
  • Adjustability: An adjustable holster will allow you to fine-tune the ride height and cant for optimal carrying and drawing.

There are a variety of effective concealment options out there that cater to appendix-carrying needs.

A good start to finding the right holster can be done by watching Phlster’s video guide to help identify comfort issues and learn essential skills for selecting the best holster that caters to your carry position and body type.

Remember that selecting the right holster is ultimately a personal decision, and you should prioritize your own comfort, concealment, and ease of use when making your choice.

Properly Gripping the Firearm

When using appendix carry, having a proper grip on your firearm can have a significant impact on your shooting performance and overall safety.

In this section, we will discuss two essential sub-grips you should master: natural grip and master grip.

Natural Grip

Achieving a natural grip means holding the gun in such a way that it feels comfortable in your hand and points naturally, allowing you to maintain a firm grip without straining your hand muscles.

To establish a natural grip, follow these steps:

  1. Place the pistol’s backstrap firmly against the web of your dominant hand, making sure that it aligns with the natural angle of your arm and wrist.
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to fire.
  3. Wrap your dominant hand fingers around the grip, placing your middle finger directly under the trigger guard.
  4. Ensure that your thumb is pointing forward along the frame, making sure not to interfere with the slide operation or any controls on the weapon. For semi-automatic pistols, be sure not to accidentally activate the magazine release, slide lock, or any other parts.

Master Grip

The master grip involves incorporating your non-dominant hand into the grip.

This grip provides additional stability and control when shooting, which is essential for accurate and consistent shots.

To achieve a master grip, follow these steps after establishing your natural grip:

  1. Point your non-dominant hand forward, then tilt it down 45 degrees.
  2. Place the heel of your non-dominant hand on the exposed grip of the pistol, filling any available space and ensuring there is no gap between the hands.
  3. Wrap your non-dominant hand fingers around the dominant hand fingers, applying even pressure, but not too tight to cause discomfort or alter your natural grip.
  4. Place your non-dominant thumb in a downward position, alongside the frame of the gun, parallel to your dominant thumb, without touching the slide.

By mastering both the natural and master grips, you can significantly improve your shooting accuracy, control, and comfort while using appendix carry, ultimately reducing the risk of printing.

Optimizing Your Wardrobe for Concealment

VERTX Pants Comparison

In this section, we will focus on optimizing your wardrobe for appendix carrying without printing.

To do so, we need to consider essential clothing-related factors such as concealment garments, the proper belt, and pants and waist considerations.

Concealment Garments

Choosing the right concealment garments is crucial for effective appendix carrying.

The primary goal is to avoid any visual or physical signs of a concealed firearm.

Some factors to consider when selecting garments include:

  • The length and style of your shirt, which should help break up the outline of your firearm;
  • Patterned or textured shirts which can further help in concealing the firearm;
  • Cover garments such as jackets, vests, and overshirts that provide additional concealment;
  • Loose-fitting clothing that ensures ease of movement and minimizes signs of printing.

Selecting the Proper Belt

A good belt is essential for securely holding your firearm in place.

Factors to consider when selecting a belt for appendix carry include:

  • Sturdiness and rigidity to prevent sagging;
  • Adjustability, allowing for a comfortable and secure fit;
  • Material – leather belts often look more fashionable, but synthetic materials can provide that extra rigidity;
  • Belt width and size, which must correspond to the belt loops of your specific holster and pants.

Pants and Waist Considerations

When selecting pants for appendix carry, consider the following factors:

  • Waist size – ensure enough room to accommodate both the firearm and holster without causing discomfort;
  • Belt loop placement and size – this can impact the position of your firearm, affecting concealment;
  • Pants material and style – opt for breathable, durable materials that allow ease of movement;
  • Pocket placement – assess how the positioning of your pockets interferes with or complements your appendix carry setup.

By optimizing your concealment garments, choosing the proper belt, and considering pants and waist factors, you can successfully achieve appendix carrying without printing.

Concealment Mechanics

Understanding concealment mechanics is essential for appendix carrying without printing.

Several factors contribute to effective concealment, including the use of a wedge, claw, and cant.

In this section, we will discuss each of these sub-components and their benefits to enhance your concealment strategy.


The wedge is a critical part of concealment mechanics that helps in preventing printing while carrying your firearm.

A wedge is an angled piece of foam, rubber, or other material that’s attached to the back of the holster.

This helps to push the grip of the firearm closer to your body, reducing the chances of printing.

A properly positioned wedge will provide better concealment and reduce discomfort during daily use.

Some holster manufacturers include built-in wedges in their designs, or you can purchase aftermarket wedges to enhance your existing holster.


Another essential element in concealment mechanics is the claw.

The claw is a small device attached to the holster, designed to apply leverage against your belt, rotating the grip of the firearm inward.

This ensures that the grip is tight against your body, minimizing printing.

Many holster manufacturers incorporate claws in their designs, but you can also find aftermarket options if your current holster lacks one.


The cant refers to the angle at which your holster positions the firearm on your body.

A slight forward cant, often around 10-15 degrees, can significantly impact your ability to conceal a firearm in the appendix position without printing.

This subtle adjustment in your holster’s cant can lead to improved concealment and easier access to your firearm when needed.

It’s essential to choose a holster with adjustable cant options, ensuring you can find the perfect angle for your carrying preferences.

By understanding and utilizing these concealment mechanics – wedges, claws, and cants – you can optimize your appendix carrying experience without printing, enhancing both comfort and concealment during everyday carry.

Training and Safety

As a responsible appendix carrier, it’s essential to prioritize training and safety.

In this section, we will discuss the importance of proper draw and safe reholstering when appendix carrying.

Proper Draw

Developing a proper draw technique is vital for appendix carry, as it ensures quick access to your firearm and minimizes the risks associated with negligent discharges.

The main steps for a proper draw are:

  • Establish a good grip on your firearm while it’s still in the holster.
  • Release any retention devices on the holster, if applicable.
  • Draw the firearm upward, smoothly, and in a controlled manner.
  • Rotate and align the gun toward the target as soon as possible.
  • Join your support hand with your dominant hand to achieve a proper two-handed grip.
  • Extend your arms and aim at the target, taking care to maintain proper grip and stance.

Regular practice, including dry-fire exercises, can help build muscle memory and quick, fluid draw movements, ensuring better performance in high-stress situations.

Safe Reholstering

Reholstering your firearm safely is critical, as it helps prevent accidental discharges.

Follow these steps for safe reholstering:

  1. Ensure your finger is off the trigger and outside the trigger guard at all times during reholstering.
  2. Control the movement of the muzzle, being cautious not to point it at any part of your body.
  3. Use your non-dominant hand to guide and clear the cover garment, ensuring a clear path for the firearm to the holster.
  4. Slowly and deliberately reinsert the firearm into the holster, making sure it remains in the proper position.
  5. Secure any retention devices on the holster if applicable.

Remember, there’s no need to rush when reholstering.

Take your time and remain vigilant to maintain safety.

By focusing on training and adhering to proper safety protocols, you can greatly reduce the risk of accidents and enhance your overall appendix-carrying experience.

Always keep these principles in mind and practice them regularly to increase proficiency and confidence in appendix carrying.


As we wrap up this ultimate guide, it’s important to remember the key factors in successful appendix carry without printing and experiment with different positionings to find what works best for you.

Moreover, choosing the right holster and maintaining proper holster adjustment plays a vital role in minimizing printing.

Investing in a high-quality gun belt to secure your rig is essential for optimal concealment.

Proper clothing choices, such as wearing loose-fitting, patterned shirts, can help disguise any printing that may occur.

Additionally, regular practice and training with your chosen carry method are crucial to ensuring both comfort and safety.

In conclusion, mastering appendix carry without printing takes time, dedication, and attention to various factors.

By following the guidelines in this guide, you can achieve effective concealment and carry with confidence.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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