Often in online forums and social media, you will find overweight people lamenting that they cannot effectively carry their gun in the appendix carry or AIWB position. I can say from experience that except for a few very extreme examples anyone can carry in the appendix position.
Appendix Carry and Pant Ride Height
The number one obstacle I see for people is pant ride height. Too many of us want to keep that high school pants size. It’s time to swallow your pride and pull those pants up, big boy! Wearing your pants at your natural waistline rather than on your hips creates a flat plane for your gun and holster to ride on as well as eliminating a major point of discomfort when sitting down even slim people experience.
Now that we have you wearing your pants like Walt Kowalski, let’s talk about the next step. The Belt Conventional wisdom says your belt needs to be rigid to successfully carry a gun. In this context that isn’t quite the case. A belt with some flex so that the gun and holster moves with your body is far superior to an ultra-rigid “gun belt” for both comfort and concealment.
The Holster & Gun
While there is a certain degree of personal preference associated with this there are some widely understood principles at play here.
1. Hybrid holsters are a bad idea. The flexible backer causes the holster to snap shut and reholstering requires you to muzzle yourself.
2. A bigger gun or at least a longer holster is going to help with your comfort and concealment. It distributes the weight over a larger area helping to reduce or negate hotspots. More importantly, a longer holster reduces the keeling effect.
3. A wing or claw attachment is a must-have to tilt your grip into your body to prevent printing.
4. Wedges, either foam or molded into the holster are generally going to be a huge boon to comfort and concealment by both further negating hotspots and assisting the wing attachment in keeping everything close to your body.
The most important thing to do when fitting your appendix holster is to not be afraid to experiment. Few of us find the right combination of ride height, belt, holster, and placement on the belt line the first time we try this.
Now that you have the holster dialed in for concealment and access sit down. That in my opinion is the biggest test of your carry method. Is it still concealed? More importantly, is it still comfortable? Or does it look and feel like you just shoved a car stereo in your pants? If so you may want to adjust your ride height further up.
Then you need to check mobility. Run in place, do stretches, jumping jacks, and other calisthenics to ensure your carry system will hold up to daily activities.
The arrival of the PHLSTER Enigma to the market has vastly improved the options for carrying a firearm and I highly recommend it. Regardless of your size.