AIWB Carry – Is It For You?

Often maligned and frequently misunderstood, Appendix Inside the Waistband (AIWB) carry is not a new concept. For those that don’t know, AIWB is a reference to carrying a pistol at the front of the body inside the belt line.It goes back to the old west.  It was also popular with gang members (sans holster) going back 20+ years. It has just seen a resurgence in popularity over the last couple of years. With that popularity has followed cries of “you’ll shoot your balls off!” or “you’ll shoot yourself in the femoral artery and bleed to death!” Another complaint I’ve heard is “you can’t draw/reholster one handed”.


While I know a couple of related deaths, they are very few and far between. I haven’t gone looking for deaths from outside the waist band carry but I can probably find a couple. This isn’t hard to imagine when you see someone trying to reholster by pointing their muzzle directly at their hip. One death I’m aware of was a reholster while seated in a car and the gun was discharged, hitting the person in the femoral artery. Note that this was while seated.

What this serves to tell us is that finger discipline is key. If you aren’t yet conditioned to keeping your finger off the trigger unless you’re on target and ready to shoot, regardless of whether or not the gun is loaded, I’d say you need more work on your trigger discipline. This goes a long way towards  alleviating the dangers of shooting one self. There is also a case for proper holstering drawing techniques. If you are pointing the gun muzzle inwards towards you’re body, you’re doing it wrong.


So what are the benefits of AIWB? One is that it is located where you have easy control of it. Second, is that is an easily concealable position. Meaning I can conceal a pistol with a t-shirt. This is particularly nice in the summer.

Some may complain that AIWB carry is uncomfortable and it certainly can be for certain body types. A lot of the time, AIWB carry can be made more comfortable by backing the belt off a notch and going to pants with a one size larger waist band.


If you want to try it, holsters from Phlster (available from, Spencer Keepers  at, Conrad at, and Raven Concealment Systems all have good options. Generally you the holster options are mostlly aimed at Glock though all of them are frequently updating their inventory. One thing I have learned though, holsters for the larger guns work pretty good for their smaller counterparts. By this I mean a Glock 17 holster tucks a Glock 19 pretty well.

Only you can make the decision. Some hate it. Some like it. Go forth and choose wisely.

8 Replies to “AIWB Carry – Is It For You?”

  1. I have tried. Gun digs into my center mass. Backing off belt defeats the purpose of belts , so now there’s nothing holding up my pants. The only time this was remotely possible for me was if I wore some really baggy pants, tactical style, but I generally wear either jeans or slacks so this wasn’t an option for me.

    1. I know some that it doesn’t work for and that’s fine. We aren’t all the same. My point about backing off the belt is based on some people trying to use the same belt notch for AIWB carry as they would without. Generally they don’t consider that stuffing a holster inside their belt line adds a couple inches. A bit can depend on the holster and the gun selection as well.


  2. Holsters is a sore spot for me. I have eleven of them for four guns. I use three of them and am not happy with all three (I don’t carry the fourth gun anymore, so it is a house gun now). I had twelve but convinced a company to take back a holster I bought for credit and got a nice gun belt. I went paddle for a while but they just stick out a lot, even though it is so convenient to be able to un-clip the gun when you need to instead of getting undressed. I bought a Galco belt slide for the 1911 and was so impressed with how flat it lay on my side that I rarely use the paddles and am thinking about getting rid of them.

    I figure that it is the extra weight around the mid-line that keeps me from comfortably IWBing. A constant struggle and I don’t know if it will ever be completely gone, as I am not and never have been much of a gym rat.

    1. Lol. I have been there. I think I have about ten Glock holsters and use like 3 of them.

      I used to carry a 1911 in a Milt Sparks Summer Special. I put on some weight, and I’ll be damned if the muzzle end didn’t start pinching my right cheek.

    1. Properly done, there shouldn’t be a rule 3 violation under most circumstances. Holstering while seated tends to be one glaring occasion. Oddly just happens to be under the same circumstances where plenty of people seem to see no issue with flagging their legs when drawing from strong side. On the other hand, I see plenty of rule 3 violations with people re-holstering strongside. I cringe when I see people point the gun at their hip while they try to find the holster opening with the muzzle.

      1. I’m seated a good bit (TOO often) and having the muzzle cover my crotch just isn’t in the cards. If I’m not seated then I can carry strong side or crossdraw anyway. Just never saw the “utility” in AIWB.
        I’m a believer in Rule 3 and that means ALL THE TIME. There’s rarely a need to holster in hurry (unless you’re a cop, which I’m not) and making damn sure that muzzle doesn’t cross ANY part of my chubby carcass is very important to me.
        Training to have one’s thumb on the hammer (for those of us folks who carry hammer-guns) is another way to avoid issues when holstering. That habit has transitioned to my XD which takes my hand off the grip safety while holstering.

        1. AIWB’s primary purposes have been two fold. The first is to keep the gun near the centerline of the body where it’s much easier to keep control of at contact distances as well as see anyone that might try to lay hands on it. The other is deeper concealment than the usual belt holster. It isn’t for everyone by any means. Moving around with crossdraw can result in the muzzle of a holstered gun pointed at someone else, is that different? And how many people have shot themselves while reholstering in a strongside holster? Clearly they did something to point the gun at themselves before the ND’d.

          The thumb on hammer way of doing things it was led the development of the Gadget for Glocks.

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