I’ve always been more of an OWB person, but over the past several years, mainly out of sheer necessity, I’ve had to shift more and more toward IWB, and in a lot of cases I’ve found that I’m more partial to appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) when doing so.
For me, it comes down to comfort and the ability to conceal my pistol as much as possible.
I also like the fact that if, God forbid, I were to ever find myself in a situation that required using my weapon, it’s in a place where only I can get to it.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a good AIWB holster, and to be quite honest, I went through quite a few before I found one that met my needs.
There are a ton of IWB options out there, but not all of them are right for appendix-carry.
What's the best appendix carry holster?
Personally, I use several different holsters, depending on which sidearm I’m carrying that day.
I like to mix it up from time to time, but my EDC is my trusty Glock 19, and for that, my go-to is always my Tenicor CERTUM3.
Considering the fact that I’ve used, and trashed, so many different appendix concealed carry holsters over the years, I figured it fitting that I write a bit about which ones I believe are worth a look for someone who is in the market for a good AIWB holster.
So I guess we should start with my top pick, which I already mentioned above:
1. Tenicor CERTUM3 IWB/AIWB Holster
While the Tenicor is by far my favorite all-day AIWB holster, it’s definitely not the cheapest option on the market.
In fact, for the price of the CERTUM3, you could buy 2-3 of the other holsters on this list and may be just fine without it.
But for me, it offers the perfect balance of comfort and concealability that I look for in a IWB holster.
First, is the personalization that the CERTUM3 offers.
For appendix carry, it comes with three detachable camming bars.
When clipped on the belt, the camming bar rotates the grip into the body, which helps reduce printing.
The camming bars come in three sizes (1/4" - 3/8" - 1/2") to allow for personalized adjustments for the ideal fit.
It’s also optic-ready, and will work with pretty much any optic that you may use.
The CERTUM3 offers a wide range of options for personal adjustment; up to an inch of ride height and 30° of cant.
Like a lot of the other holster’s in Tenicor’s lineup, the CERTUM3 can be configured with the Discreet Carry Concepts T1 Clip, Closed Soft Loop or Snap Loop.
As far as security goes, you won’t ever have to worry about this thing coming loose during the draw.
Speaking of which, the CERTUM3 has a clean, buttery smooth draw, and since you can adjust the height to your liking, I am able to get a full grip on the handle in the process, which not only helps with speed, but safety as well.
As for comfort, this is one of the most comfortable appendix carry holsters that I’ve tried.
I’d rank it right up there with the Torsion 3.0, but with the added benefit of a sweat guard.
The clip system is incredible, and it’s super-easy to put on and take off, which is one of my favorite things about this holster and the reason that I carry it so often.
While I can, and do, highly recommend this holster, it’s obviously not for everyone.
Probably the biggest sticking point would be the price.
At over $105, it’s a big ask for a holster.
But in my opinion, what you’re actually buying is the comfort, safety and reliability that comes with it.
2. Raven Concealment Eidolon Holster
The Raven Concealment Systems Eidolon holster was designed with the input of former Navy SEAL Kyle Defoor, and it definitely shows.
When discretion is your foremost objective, the Eidolon is unquestionably the holster to reach for.
The RCS claw does an incredible job at pulling the grip of your pistol into your body, which eliminates printing, even with a mid to full-size handgun.
Pair that with the wedge attachment which pushes the bottom of the holster away from the body, effectively tucking the grip even tighter, resulting in maximum concealment.
As far as function, the shell offers adjustable retention and is compatible with most extended controls, sights, RDS, and most extended/threaded barrels.
The draw is incredibly smooth, and re-holstering is about as easy as it gets for AIWB carry.
The Eidolon comes with a number of accessories such as the aforementioned belt claws and holster wedge, as well as extension wings and a tall spacer block for mounting the overhook below the trigger guard to clear the holster shell and adjust for cant.
It’s a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for.
And in this case, you get the last AIWB holster you’ll ever need - bar none.
3. Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0 IWB
Bravo Concealment is one of the O.G.s when it comes to kydex holsters.
They’ve been in the game since 2012, starting out in the garage of founder Rene Aguirre.
That said, they know a thing or two about kydex holsters.
The Torsion is, in my humble opinion, one of the best kydex appendix carry holsters on the market, especially when you factor in the value for the price.
For starters, it’s an incredibly lightweight holster, which makes a big difference when running AIWB.
It comes with two belt clips, but, at least for me, I prefer a single clip for appendix carry, especially tuckable carry.
It’s incredibly comfortable as well, which is one of the most important things to consider in an appendix holster.
Whether you are sitting, standing, or bending over, it’s easy to forget that it's even there.
As far as concealment, it’s pretty decent in that department, however not the best.
Depending on your body type, you may need to consider your choice of clothing when running this holster, as I did notice some printing while performing day-to-day activities.
However, in my experience, that’s the case with most AIWBs.
Overall, though, it’s a pretty tuckable holster.
The Torsion really shines when it comes to action, which really is the ultimate test of any holster. It has a wonderfully smooth draw, with the ability to really get a good, full grip in the process.
Re-holstering is just as smooth.
And since the company uses real guns to design their holsters, you can rest assured that it will be the perfect fit for your pistol.
4. Alien Gear ShapeShift Appendix Carry Holster
The Alien Gear Shapeshift is easily one of my favorite IWB holsters for appendix carry.
The breathable perforated neoprene base conforms to the body and is incredibly soft against the skin, making it very comfortable for all-day carry.
It has a single mounting point, which makes it relatively easy to put on and remove.
It also offers a pretty small footprint, especially considering the fact that the backer for the appendix carry is fairly large compared to a lot of slim-line holsters that I’ve used in the past.
I also love the passive retention system which makes it ridiculously simple to adjust the amount of retention to what is comfortable for you.
You can make it as loose or as snug as you want by simply turning the in-build nut with one of the little coupling pieces that are used to affix the shell to the different backers - no need for a stand-alone tool like some other IWB holsters.
It also offers a nice, smooth draw from the 3:00 position, which is more than I can say for most of the other holsters that I own.
Overall, I highly recommend this holster for anyone who prefers AIWB carry and is looking for a good holster that facilitates it.
5. Vedder LightTuck Kydex Holster
If you’re one of those people (like me) who get satisfaction from hearing that familiar “click” sound whenever you holster your pistol, then you’ll love the Vedder LightTuck.
That’s because Vedder holsters fit your gun perfectly, and you’ll never have to worry about it coming out until you’re ready to draw.
Overall the holster is very smooth, making for a slick draw.
The mouth of the holster is slightly flared which aids in easy re-holstering.
It also has full sight channels that accommodate all standard sights, most suppressor sights and loaded chamber indicators.
There is an optional claw attachment that, much like the Eidolon from Raven, eliminates any printing problems.
It also has adjustable tension using a screw on top of the claw attachment.
The LightTuck uses a large metal clip that snaps around your belt to hold it into place.
The clip is adjustable for ride depth and cant, and can swivel up to 30 degrees in either direction.
It’s also tuckable, so you can easily tuck a shirt between the clip and the pistol.
As far is AIWB holsters go, you can’t go wrong with the LightTuck. It’s a great value for the money, and is built to last.
6. Crossbreed The Reckoning IWB Holster
When it comes to innovation, there are few holster manufacturers that do it quite like CrossBreed.
Their Reckoning line is no exception.
According to their website:
“The Reckoning Holster is the perfect combination of Old-World Craftsmanship meets New-World features.”
Considering that the Reckoning holster blends the durability of kydex with the comfort of leather, this statement rings pretty true from a marketing standpoint.
This holster has a backer that is made from top-grain leather which is soft against your skin, and a tough, form-fitting kydex pocket that holds your pistol.
For the leather, you can choose from premium horsehide, black cowhide, or Founder’s Series, the latter of which is 100% vegetable tanned leather.
It’s also available for lefties as well.
The holster is considered a hybrid, not only because of the combination of leather and kydex, but also because, with a phillips screwdriver and about 5 minutes of tinkering, it can quickly be converted to OWB mode.
In IWB mode, it can be used in either the appendix, cross-draw or strong-side positions.
As far as concealment, the Reckoning is a truly tuckable holster.
You can adjust the position of the clips between two points to modify the height - the lower of which leaves very little signs of printing.
Personally, I’m willing to sacrifice a little discretion for a full grip on draw, so I prefer to run it on the higher setting.
The Reckoning has all of the typical bells and whistles that you’d expect from a company like CrossBreed as well, such as adjustable retention, adjustable cant (in OWB mode) and overall high-quality craftsmanship.
The draw is as smooth as butter, and re-holstering is a breeze.
Overall, for under $70, it’s an excellent CCW rig that is definitely worth considering.
7. Blackhawk ARC Appendix Carry Holster
The thing I love about the A.R.C. is the fact that it’s a reversible carry holster.
I’m a lefty, so it’s not always easy to find a holster that works for me without a custom order.
With this holster, it was a simple matter of flipping around the phillips screw and square nut to the other side of the holster. Just like that, it was a left-hander.
That said, this isn’t a flashy holster. It's a pretty simple, straightforward, and minimalist appendix carry holster, but in the case of AIWB carry, no one is going to see it, anyway.
What really matters is that it does its job. And in the case of the A.R.C., it does it in spades.
The passive retention screw allows you to secure the fit for your weapon, making sure that it stays in place during everyday wear.
This may require a bit of tinkering to get it right, but once you do, you’re good to go.
The A.R.C. also ships with two different belt clip attachments, a 1.75″ and 1.5” which should just about cover every standard belt width.
As far as comfort, the polymer material is stiff enough to keep its shape, but malleable enough not to dig into your stomach.
My Glock 19 did sit pretty high inside the holster, which helps with drawing, but can lead to more printing than some deeper holsters.
This also leads to a bit more contact with your gut when bending over as well; not enough to make it super-uncomfortable, but enough to remind you that it’s there from time to time.
Overall, for roughly $25, this holster is definitely worth the money.
8. Galco Stow-N-Go IWB Holster
When it comes to leather holsters (particularly for AIWB carry) one of the first things that comes to mind is comfort, especially in hotter weather.
While the Stow-N-Go may not be winning any awards for features or aesthetics, it definitely gets it right in terms of comfort.
Much of this is due to the fact that it is very lightweight, with minimal surface area making contact with the skin.
The material is also relatively soft. While that may aid somewhat in comfort, it does make the holster a little less rigid than many other holsters in the same class.
But, considering how comfortable this holster is, I’m willing to overlook it.
The Stow-N-Go also has a single mount clip, which makes it quick and easy to put on and remove, which is a pretty big win in my opinion.
The belt clip also locks into place which helps keep the holster in place while drawing.
Overall it’s a pretty basic holster, with no options to adjust cant or retention.
However, the simplicity of the Galco Stow-N-Go is in many ways one of it’s greatest features, along with the price.
Everyone has different needs and tastes, and because of that, it’s pretty hard to say definitively which holster is or is not the best.
Each person will have a differing opinion, which is why I tried to focus on four critical elements that I thought were the most important when putting together this list:
I think those are things that we can all agree on, so it's probably the best way to try to organize a list like this.
It’s also based on my own personal experience which, while I have tried a lot, I have not tried all of the AIWB holsters out there.
My hope is that, at the very least, this post will help to point you in the right direction when you’re beginning your search for the right holster for you.
My recommendation is, rather than look for ONE, try several before you settle and make your final judgement.
After all, the only way to really know what works for you is to wear them with your pistol and see for yourself.
Do you agree with this list?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Appendix carry simply refers to holstering your firearm inside the waistband between your stomach and belt, generally referred to as the 12 o'clock, 11 o'clock, or 1 o'clock position, between the hip and naval. Some people simply tuck their pistol in their pants, which is technically a holster-less appendix carry, a practice which is incredibly dangerous and therefore stupid. It is HIGHLY recommended that you always use a holster, AIWB is no different and many holsters exist precisely for this purpose.
There are many IWB holsters that can be used for appendix carry, but you're probably better off going with a holster that is specifically designed for AIWB.
There are a lot of professionals who advise against appendix carry, especially for people who are not properly trained and practiced on their use.
In the case of an accidental discharge, AIWB leaves the user vulnerable to more serious injury simply because it is positioned above vital organs such as the femoral artery and reproductive organs. However, as with everything, its a personal preference, and if you are comfortable with the risk, its your decision to make.
Many people report problems sitting with AIWB, but others (myself included) have little to no trouble at all. It really depends on your body type and your personal preference as to what is comfortable for you. If you have a larger gut, you may experience more discomfort.
As with anything else when it comes to firearms, it is only as safe as the person who is running it. If you like to run your pistol with a round in the chamber and safety off, I'd highly recommend that you choose another carry option. There are plenty of instances of accidental discharges, and in the case of AIWB this could lead to a life-threatening injury, more so than what you might find with side carry simply because of the position above more vital organs.