The Best Appendix Carry Holsters of 2024

There are a variety of holsters designed for appendix carry on the market; here are some of the best
blackpoint Dualpoint aiwb for staccato CS

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In 2023, more people than ever are exercising their rights to carry a concealed firearm for self defense, and one of the most popular methods to carry a concealed handgun is the appendix carry. This requires an IWB (inside the waistband) holster that fits in your pants, positioned to the right of your belly button—at about 1-o’clock—for right-handed shooters. Appendix carry holsters are also abbreviated as “AIWB holsters,” which stands for appendix, inside the waistband. Many people find this position to be ideal, but a key factor is finding the best appendix carry holster—or simply AIWB holster—for you and your pistol. 

Concealed carry—appendix position or otherwise—is an individual thing, and no single holster is best for everyone. However, I’ve tried a variety of holster brands and styles, and it’s likely that one of these will work for you.

How I Chose the Best Appendix Carry Holsters

Distilling or actually drawing universal conclusions on a best appendix carry holster isn’t possible because everyone’s build, handguns, and individual carry preferences are different. Varying holster styles and features will appeal to different folks, and things like the style of clips, concealment claws, materials, and whether the holster includes a spare magazine pouch are all things that will factor into how well one works for you. Even the type of gunbelt you wear plays a big role in how well your holster will fit and function. 

I primarily use appendix carry holsters, and I’ve chosen a variety that I like to highlight the different styles that work for lots of shooters. There are scores of custom and semi-custom holster makers that have their own little twists, but one of these basic styles and feature sets should work for you.

Why Use Appendix Carry Holsters?

Appendix carry is a generally discreet carry position that allows for easy access to your handgun in most circumstances. Like any position, it has its advantages and disadvantages, but if you’re still sporting the old tan photographer’s vest to cover your belt-carried pistol, everyone in sight knows you’ve got a heater. Most folks can use appendix carry holsters with a tee shirt and not print or reveal their pistol while going about their business. Using an AIWB holster allows you quick access to your pistol while you’re seated in a car or if attacked and put on your back. Of course, every situation has its own caveats, and no system is perfect. Still, I find this carry method favorable for the majority of day-to-day circumstances. 

Like with any carry method, safety and training are of utmost importance. You’ll be carrying your pistol with a round in the chamber, and holstering a pistol should always be done deliberately and reluctantly. You’re not larping at the local square range, and all it takes is one mistake to injure or kill yourself. 

How to Choose Appendix Carry Holsters

Picking the best AIWB holster for you will take some trial and error, but if you follow some simple guidelines, you’ll get there. The most important consideration is to choose a gun that is reasonable for you to carry in that position. If you’re in cooler weather and have the right body type, you might be able to carry a full-size pistol discreetly. Most people will choose to carry either a compact or micro-compact pistol or revolver, but making a wise gun choice is the first step in choosing the right holster.

Second, you want to choose an AIWB holster that is specifically designed for your gun. Remember, it’s important to pair it with a quality, rigid belt! There are some holsters that are compatible with a small range of guns, but here is not where you want to go with a generic, universal-fit holster. You need your holster to securely and safely retain your pistol while still being slim and discreet. 

Third, you need to try holsters out to find the best one for you. This may mean buying a couple cheaper versions of appendix carry holsters that you think you might like, just to see how they fit and feel. You want clips that fit your belt well and won’t come loose when trying to draw. You want to see whether you prefer just a holster or a holster-and-mag-carrier combo. It helps to experiment with holsters that have different styles or sizes of concealment claws too. 

Finally, to judge whether a holster will be a good fit, you need to wear it and carry during everyday activities. If it’s uncomfortable or your firearm is visible, it may be time to try something else.

Best Appendix Carry Holsters: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Blackpoint DualPoint AIWB

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Key Features

  • Folded single sheet kydex
  • Steel belt clip
  • Adjustable retention
  • OWB strut loop doubles as concealment claw
  • Price: $99

Pros

  • Simple and streamlined
  • Tough and secure-fitting metal clip
  • Can be worn outside the waistband via the strut loop
  • Durable and dependable

Cons

  • Carry depth isn’t adjustable

My favorite appendix carry holster is the Blackpoint Dual Point. It’s a simple and effective holster that I’ve been carrying for several months now. It’s constructed from a single sheet of kydex that’s folded on the trigger guard side to allow the attachment of a strut loop that acts as a concealment claw. Concealment claws stick out from the holster and apply pressure to your belt in order to hold the grip of your pistol against your body and reduce printing or showing the outline of your gun through clothing. This strut loop allows the holster to be worn on the outside of your waistband (OWB) by running your belt through it if you want.

Although the steel belt clip isn’t adjustable, it’s very durable. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to fine tune a holster clip so that the gun isn’t riding too low or too high in your waistband. The kydex layers are separated by rubber washers, and when tightened, the screws will tighten the holster’s grip on the pistol. It’s streamlined, simple, and effective. 

Best Budget Appendix Carry Holster: Safariland Schema IWB

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Key Features

  • Skeletonized, injection-molded polymer
  • Minimalist design
  • Concealment claw
  • Adjustable cant and clip height
  • Price: $40

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good adjustability
  • Easy re-holstering
  • Optic-compatible

Cons

  • Cookie-cutter, no custom options
  • Only available in right-handed configuration currently

Many good appendix carry holsters are expensive, and some cost over a hundred bucks. That doesn’t mean you can’t find good, reputable holsters that are more affordable. Safariland makes some of the best holsters on the market, and the Schema is a generic-but-effective appendix carry holster that they released this year. It features a skeletonized design and is made from injection molded polymer. The Schema has a concealment claw, trigger guard retention, and a belt clip that’s adjustable for cant and height so you can position your pistol perfectly. It’s available for a variety of guns, and works with most optics, but only comes in right-handed configurations currently. 

Most low-profile: Mission First Tactical Minimalist holster

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Key Features

  • Ultra slim design covers trigger guard and part of frame
  • Safe retention 
  • Concealment claw
  • Single belt clip
  • Price: $28

Pros

  • Great for someone who wants the most streamlined fit
  • Good, safe retention and trigger protection
  • Convenient to use
  • Available for some revolvers
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Doesn’t keep lint off your gun
  • Clip isn’t the most durable

In the movies, everyone has always just stuffed their loaded blaster into their waistband and proceeded to kick ass. Reality is, that’s not a safe or smart way to carry a concealed handgun. These minimalist holsters, however, provide a good balance between secure retention and the free-balling feel of not using a full-coverage holster. This holster is simple. It’s a couple molded sheets of kydex that are pancaked together and grip the trigger guard and the middle portion of your pistol’s frame securely. It’s got a single thin belt clip that allows the pistol to ride low and out of sight. The concealment claw helps keep the butt of the pistol pressed against your flank so as not to show through your screen-print T-shirt. These really are cheap and effective holsters for some applications. I’ve used them with micro 9mm pistols as well as a full-size 10mm. 

Northwest Retention Systems Outlaw IWB

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Key Features

  • Kydex outer shell, leather inner shell
  • Positive click retention and fully-covered trigger guard
  • Single belt clip
  • Concealment claw optional
  • Price: $110

Pros

  • Leather inner shell is very comfortable
  • Adjustable cant 
  • Can use with or without concealment claw
  • Adjustable retention

Cons

  • Custom-order only

Most appendix carry holsters are made of kydex, which is a durable material. However, it’s not always the most comfortable, and sometimes a better barrier between the pistol and your skin is ideal. I’ve used an Outlaw IWB holster from NW Retention systems for a few years for my Kimber Micro 9, and have found it to be ideal when carrying against my skin under a T-shirt. The trigger guard has complete kydex coverage and a solid-click, adjustable retention—it’s not simply sandwiched between kydex and leather. You have to custom order it, but you’ll have your choice of kydex color patterns and other bonus options.

Radial Innovations Coreflex AIWB Holster

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Key Features

  • Attached spare magazine pouch
  • Concealment claw and wedge
  • Adjustable for depth of carry
  • Flexible cordage joint between holster and mag pouch
  • Price: $99

Pros

  • Carries extra magazine
  • Thin adjustable clips can help with positioning
  • Optic-compatible
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Less flexible for carry position with mag pouch

One common type of AIWB holster includes an attached extra magazine pouch. It’s never a bad idea to carry an extra magazine, and although many folks carry an individual mag pouch, it can sometimes be easier to conceal these combined-style holsters. They’re designed to be worn with the clips on either side of your belt buckle, and position the extra magazine across the buckle from your pistol. The thin clips on the Coreflex allow you to adjust the height and fine-tune your left-right carry position better than wider clips. The magazine carrier and holster are separate pieces connected by flexible cordage that allows some movement and isn’t as rigid and uncomfortable as some similarly-styled holsters. The holster side features a concealment claw, and the mag pouch has a molded-in wedge to press the magazine against your body and aid with concealment.

Concealment Express Classic IWB Holster

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Key Features

  • Folded Kydex shell
  • Polymer belt clip
  • No concealment claw
  • Price: $45

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good Kydex shell
  • Adjustable retention
  • Compatible with threaded barrel

Cons

  • No concealment claw
  • Minimal belt clip adjustability

A good middle of the road Kydex AIWB holster is the Classic IWB from Concealment Express. It’s made of a folded sheet of Kydex which doesn’t require any fasteners on that side. It’s connected with rubber spacers and screws on the trigger guard side, and they can be tightened or loosened to adjust retention level. The back plate extends up towards the back of the slide to provide a more comfortable contact surface with your skin, and the belt clip is set at an angle that tilts your grip up. There’s minimal adjustability, but it’s a good holster for $45. Mine is for a Springfield Armory Hellcat, and fits the Hellcat Pro—even with a threaded muzzle. All in, it’s a solid holster for the price. 

Blackhawk Stache IWB

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Key Features

  • Molded polymer construction
  • Left- or right-handed modularity
  • Polymer belt clip adjustable for height
  • Price: $29

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Available for common handguns
  • Lefty-friendly
  • Works with threaded muzzle

Cons

  • No concealment claw
  • Not as durable as Kydex

The Stache series appendix carry holsters from Blackhawk are affordable, user-friendly holsters that are made for a variety of pistols. The basic model doesn’t come with the magazine holder, and is pancaked molded sheets of polymer with adjustable retention via two tension screws that pass through rubber spacers. The belt clip can be attached to either side for left- or right-handed shooters to use, and its easy to set the height as well. This is a simple and affordable holster that pairs well with affordable guns like the PSA Dagger, or if you are looking to try out this style of holster without breaking the bank. 

Read Next: The Best Concealed Carry Holsters of 2023

FAQs

Q: How do I carry an appendix?

The appendix carry position is just like it sounds—with your gun right on your appendix (for a right handed shooter). Your pistol will sit low on your waistline, to the right of your belly button. Left-handed shooters will carry left of center, at about 11-o’clock.

Q: Is it legal to possess an appendix carry holster?

Consult your local laws, but unless you live in glorious Soviet Union, China, or North Korea, possessing an appendix carry holster is perfectly legal. In a majority of states, you can even put a gun in it without a permit.

Q: Can I sit comfortably with an appendix carry?

Most people can sit comfortably when using an AIWB holster, but it does depend on your body type, the holster, the gun you’re carrying, and your posture.

Q: Can I keep my appendix carry holster concealed?

Usually, an appendix carry holster is one of the easiest holsters to keep concealed. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Appendix Carry Holsters

Carrying a firearm for self defense and how you carry that firearm is a decision that’s very personal. It’s complex, and there isn’t objectively any single best holster for everyone. It’s deadly-serious business and, if you’re going to carry, you should take it seriously. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money, but choosing the most optimal gun you can, making sure to have a good belt, and training with your holster are all critical factors in being comfortable, discreet, and effective in a defensive scenario if necessary. There are lots of excellent holsters on the market, but deciding what general style and feature set works best for you will help you out more than just buying the most expensive AIWB holster you can find.

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Tyler Freel

Staff Writer

Tyler Freel is a Staff Writer for Outdoor Life. He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska and has been covering a variety of topics for OL for more than a decade. From backpack sheep hunting adventure stories to DIY tips to gear and gun reviews, he covers it all with a perspective that’s based in experience. Freel is never one to shy away from controversial topics. He’s responsive to readers on OL’s social channels and happy to answer questions, debate opinions, and squash trolls.  

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