For those just starting carrying, or even people who have been toting a concealed handgun for awhile, the term “appendix carry” is bound to come up at some point. This term aptly describes a carry position where the pistol and holster are tucked along the front of the midsection, usually close to the location of the appendix, for right handed folks. Though the controversy of this carry position seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon, the method of carry in itself is not new. It has been around for a long time, and likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
So what’s the issue? Nothing, and everything, at the same time. Detractors of appendix carry frequently can be heard saying things like “If you have a negligent discharge, you are going to hit yourself in the crotch or femoral artery.” Possible? Sure. But isn’t that the wrong point of focus? Is it somehow more acceptable to have your gun go bang when you didn’t want it to go bang, simply because you were carrying it somewhere else? For me, I feel as though appendix carry is getting the focus, instead of the real issue: negligent discharges. If your gun goes off while it’s inside a holster, regardless of that holster’s location, you have failed at firearms safety. So, perhaps we should take a closer look at what makes guns go bang when they shouldn’t.
- A firearm of dubious quality. This one I almost didn’t even want to mention, because the likelihood of the gun’s quality being the issue in this day and age is so slim. Simply put, unless you are carrying an extremely old, or extremely low quality firearm, this is probably less likely to happen than winning a billion dollar Powerball payout. And no, for those of you thinking it…. Even Hi-Point’s QC department has a good track record in this area.
- Holster. This is probably one of the most important, yet infrequently discussed causes of negligent discharges. A few decades ago, your choices for holsters were pretty much leather, or nylon, or some combination thereof. Leather is still a very common and popular choice, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. However, as leather ages, it begins to soften. What was once rigid, and held its shape, will start being more malleable and downright flimsy in many cases. While this may be more comfortable, it is not safe, particularly for modern striker fired handguns. That edge, corner, flap, etc that doesn’t stay where it should anymore has a real good chance of ending up inside your trigger guard while holstering, potentially pushing the trigger of your firearm. Does this mean leather holsters are bad? No! Just pay attention to your gear, and replace it if it gets worn out. I will go ahead and say that I have always been a fan of Kydex holsters for this reason though.
- Foreign Debris. Guys, ever go to zip your pants and realize something was not where it was supposed to be, and get a painful lesson about securing your…..equipment….before zipping? Same principle. Many super secret tactical training gurus who were supposedly Delta SEALs will advocate holstering while remaining focused on the “threat.” I say bullshit. If there’s a “threat” that still warrants your eyes on him or her, why are you holstering? Anyways, LOOK your gun into the holster. Any jacket bungies, keychains, strings, voodoo dolls, etc need to be clear of your holster before you put your handgun in there. Secure your equipment, folks.
So, as we can see, it’s not appendix carry that’s the issue. It’s negligent discharges. Sure, if you have a negligent discharge, you have a better chance of altering your life permanently, whether fatal or not, with appendix carry. But I, for one, would like the conversation to be more centered around preventing bullets from leaving barrels when they shouldn’t. After all, a bullet fired at an unintended time, probably will hit unintended things.
TL/DR VERSION: If you have a modicum of common sense about preventing your gun from going off when it shouldn’t, appendix carry is A-ok. If you don’t….. Well, you probably shouldn’t be carrying anyways. 🙂