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Appendix Carry’s True Strength

When I get asked for my opinion on appendix inside the waistband (IWB) I enjoy sharing my experience and observations. Many times, the students are surprised by my answer.

It’s Not New

This method of carry has been around for a long time, probably longer than most could track. It’s a common response, albeit with some cool pictures of civil war soldiers wearing their single action revolvers in a similar position. Let’s start there, I know this is obvious, but if you can see it then it is not concealed. Carrying in this mode concealed is somewhat new to the concealed carry community. How new, maybe a couple of decades, but again it is difficult to track. Then there are those who will chime in regarding safety. Many are quick to retort with comments along the lines if you can’t handle it then don’t do it or teach it. The problem isn’t the safety concerns, but the outcome should safety be neglected or an accident occur. Then there are those who will say it is faster than any other method. These types of comments are largely regurgitated from other sources who regurgitated them from some other source. I hope everyone is sitting down for this, but it is not really faster and here is why.

Baseline Study For Some Data

I got tired of hearing this comment as a Hail Mary pass to prove their point. These comments can be very subjective so we needed something objective like a study to help truly understand the benefit to appendix IWB. I conducted a study and encourage people to conduct their own so I wanted to share my framework for the study. First, you have to go into this without expecting an outcome. If you want to be objective you start by being neutral, someone in search of knowledge. I honestly expected a different outcome so I kept my thoughts neutral. I did everything the same, put in honest work on all fronts. This study was also fun and very beneficial so there is that as well. In this study we need some control measures to keep everything on an even playing field. I eliminated drawing from concealed and performed all these drills with IWB holsters that were carried in an open condition. This wasn’t about concealing, this was about which drawstroke was faster. Then to eliminate any bias regarding poor posture (see earlier article, Mobility Restrictions) I started each drill with my hands on my head. These control features allowed me to look at each without any bias.

Following Baseline Protocols

The drill was pretty simple, but rather than measure a one round drill; which is often not the best indicator of a skill it was a three round drill. The drill was fired from the 10 yard line versus a 6″ target. The distance and accuracy standards helped to ensure the shooter was skilled enough to have valuable input. The study was conducted following standard baseline protocol. The interval between sessions was approximately 7-10 days to ensure the best cold bore experience. Baseline protocol of 10 attempts to achieve seven clean runs was followed. Then the fastest and slowest times were eliminated to average out the remaining five runs. If in the session I was unable to achieve seven clean runs within 10 attempts the whole session was a wash and I would wait for the next opportunity. The point behind the baseline protocol is to measure performance in it’s purest form. The truth of the matter is many struggle with baselines; which makes it easy to see bias in opinions. This is not an easy endeavor, this takes time to complete properly. I started early fall of 2018 and finished recently. Because I wanted to reduce as much favoritism as possible I opted to use different firearms and holsters. I shot the baselines with Glocks & Sigs from various holster manufactures.

The Tie Goes to the Runner

My results surprised me, what they showed me was there really isn’t much in the way of speed advantage for carrying appendix IWB. I performed these baselines ten times each or 20 total baseline sessions and recorded the first shot and last shot for each. My first shot average for strong side IWB was 1.8 seconds and my first shot average for appendix IWB was also 1.8 seconds. Let that soak in for a little bit. My last shot for strong side was 3.1 seconds and my last shot for appendix IWB was 3.0 seconds. So, if you wanted to declare a winner I suppose you could say by a tenth of a second appendix pulled ahead. For me it only confirmed one thing, it is not about the perceived speed advantage. It is about the ability to conceal better for a lot of people. So, there it is and I’m sure there are plenty who disagree; which is why I posted the study. Feel free to take a shot at it and share your experience.

The point of the study wasn’t to declare a winner, it was to reinforce a major benefit of appendix carry. Whether it is right for you is another story along with your mileage varying.

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