What is AIWB Holster?

A Comprehensive Guide

A holster is a device to hold or facilitate the carrying of a portable firearm. It can be an integral part of a gun belt, sit on the inside of the waistband, outside the waistband, in a pocket, or be part of a shoulder holster. In this blog post, we will discuss what is AIWB Holster?

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Holsters are generally designed to offer protection to the handgun, secure its retention, and provide ready access to it. They vary in how they carry the firearm, cant, size, and attachment method. Holsters can be divided into many categories by use, method of retention, or the location where they’re worn. For example, there are shoulder holsters (worn under the shoulder on the side opposite the dominant hand, but can be worn cross draw), ankle holsters (worn on the inside of the ankle bone of the non-dominant leg), and small back holsters (worn in very small of back area).

What is AIWB Holster?

Appendix inside waistband holsters (AIWB) are carried inside the waistband at the appendix position. The gun is carried between your strong and weak sides, with the grip pointing to 3 or 9 o’clock. It should be considered an unconventional carry method. AIWB concealed carry requires long pants that are untucked, a tucked-in shirt, and a good holster. The appendix carry is often touted as being one of the most comfortable ways to carry a handgun. It allows for effective concealment of a medium or large frame handgun while being easy to access. Appendix carry can be drawn between the index and middle fingers or sweeping across the waistline with the weak arm.

What is AIWB Holster?

Why Use An AIWB Holster?

There are both strong points and weak points to the appendix carry. It’s just as easy to conceal a full-size, polymer-frame pistol as it is a small revolver. In addition, that area provides great support to the handgun when drawing, unlike the small of the back or strong side kidney areas. It is easy to conceal a handgun under loose shirts or jackets. In addition, it is very unlikely for someone to be able to grab the gun from your holster while you have it on. Even so, most people find this method of carrying uncomfortable when seated.


Appendix carry is a great way to carry a backup gun or a spare magazine. The appendix position allows for easy access to the spare magazine while limiting the possibility that it could be taken from you if you were involved in a struggle. In any case, appendix carry requires training and practice to become proficient with your weapon, especially when drawing and holstering in potentially compromised positions. If you choose to carry an appendix, wear a holster that is specifically designed for AIWB use.

Holster Types for Appendix Carry

Here are some of the most common holsters used for appendix carry.

Strong Side Holster

The strong side holster is usually mounted on the outside of the belt. It is the most common of all holsters and is usually used with a straight draw technique. This means that you sweep your weak hand across your torso from behind to reach the gun. It’s also possible to use this holster with a reverse grip, but it has some potential dangers associated with it if you’re not very experienced in using the drawing motion. For appendix carry, these types of holsters are held in place by loops or clips that attach to the belt on either side of the waistline. They can be worn at any suitable angle around the waistline according to user preference.

Pancake Holster

A pancake holster is a popular option for strong side carry. It’s also designed with two belt loops, but they’re usually molded around the width of the waistline to distribute the weight more evenly. These holsters are very secure and provide an excellent method for safe concealment. They work well in any type of weather and conditions. Another pancake holster is a hybrid pancake, which creates a much faster draw by using a retention strap to secure the weapon inside the holster body. The strap goes across the top of the weapon to provide additional support for one-handed reholstering.

Weak Side Holster

The weak side holster (also called the cross-draw holster) is worn on the inside of the belt, usually at or just behind the hipbone. The gun is held in a slightly diagonal position to allow for easier access while seated. It’s also possible to carry extra magazines and other gear in this location. There are two main types of weak side holsters: the vertical and the horizontal. The vertical holster is designed so that the muzzle points slightly forward, allowing for a quick draw without sweeping one’s own body with the gun arm. This holster is often used in conjunction with a straight draw technique to keep your torso facing forward while drawing the gun.


The horizontal holster is designed with the muzzle pointing to the side, providing a more natural draw that doesn’t require sweeping the gun arm across the body. It’s possible to use this type of holster with either a straight or reverse grip technique for drawing, but it does require additional training on how to sweep your torso properly. One downside to a weak side holster is that it’s usually held in place by a thumb break strap or retention strap. This can slow the draw and make the holster less safe for faster draws while seated in a car. In addition, some people find it harder to conceal due to its placement directly on top of the hipbone.

Features Of an Appendix Carry Holster

Appendix carry holsters come in many shapes and sizes. When choosing your holster, keep your body type in mind to find an appendix carry holster that will be comfortable and effective for you. However, some common features that appendix carry holsters can include are:


Holsters for appendix carry are typically made from plastic or leather. Leather is usually more comfortable to wear against the skin, but it can stretch out over time. Plastic holsters are inexpensive and lightweight, making them easier to conceal under clothing, especially with a polymer shell. Polymer holsters are also very durable under extreme conditions.


Some holsters for appendix carry have a retention strap that goes over the weapon’ to provide additional security, but it can also slow down drawing time. Retention is most important when using your holster in conjunction with an OWB paddle or belt attachment. This will prevent your gun from falling out during physical activity or while you’re seated in a car. Wearing your holster with a retention strap also makes it harder to conceal, which is why some people opt for an appendix carry holster that has no retention at all. This leaves you with the responsibility of securely gripping your weapon during use, especially when drawing from a seated position. That’s why many people who carry appendices prefer to keep their hand on their gun as often as possible so they can draw quickly if necessary.


Some manufacturers have developed holsters that are offset from the trigger guard to prevent accidental discharges while re-holstering. This feature is important for individuals who sit down and need more space between the grip and seat cushion/backrest.


Holsters come in a variety of finishes, including smooth and rough. A smooth finish is ideal for appendix carry because it’s more comfortable against the skin. It also tends to be lighter than a rough finish holster, making it easier to conceal under clothes. However, a rough finish will not snag on clothing during re-holstering so long as you have an accessible belt attachment point close by.

Features Of an Appendix Carry Holster


You can wear an appendix carry holster anywhere you can wear pants, but this method of carrying is most effective when your gun rests at the 3-5 o’clock position on your waistline.

Yes, but you should consider buying a holster with an offset to prevent the grip from digging into your abdomen while seated in a car or while wearing bulky clothing. For added security, keep your hand on your gun whenever possible so you can draw quickly if needed.

There are many reasons why appendix carry is so popular. For one, it’s the most concealable position for a handgun due to its placement on the waistline and lack of obstructions like straps and belt buckles. It also makes drawing easier and more natural because you’re already holding your gun at your side or with your hand resting on your hip.

Yes, provided you are properly trained with your holster and follow all safety guidelines for carrying a firearm. AIWB is relatively safe when compared to other carry methods. If there’s any safety concern, it’s that you might bump into something during daily activities while carrying in this position.


Choosing the right holster for appendix carry is essential to your safety and comfort. Remember that this method of carrying works well with most duty holsters because you’re not adding any bulk to your waistline, but you need to make sure that your belt attachment is close by when re-holstering. Appendix carry holsters may have a retention strap over the grip of the gun, which may slow down your draw time. This makes it harder to conceal because you can’t wear bulky clothing with retention straps over your weapon. Ensure you do proper research before buying an AIWB holster for your gun and train thoroughly on using it responsibly.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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