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Considering switching to AIWB?

I am a big guy at 6’4” and hover around 240 pounds. I have a fair amount of tactical girth around the midsection, but it does not look like I am shoplifting a bowling ball.

I have carried at the 3:00 o’clock position in the past but there has been a struggle to completely conceal during the summer months when I am just wearing a t-shirt and shorts. With this in mind, it was time to start working with the Appendix in the Waist Band set-up.

There is obviously more than one way to transition to a different carry position. I wanted to make sure that the way I chose was functionally efficient and safe. I wanted to make sure that the time to access the firearm was comparable to the 3:00 o’clock position as well as ensuring that the four fundamental safety rules were followed.

I chose to try the Entrada holster by Black Arch Holsters. I liked the design. The side by side design has three flexible bands between the holster and the mag carrier. This design allows for more “breathing” and comfort.

I watched a few YouTube videos on the topic and made some mental notes. I downloaded my carry pistol and went to work. I made sure my practice area was ammo free and I would not violate the safety rules.

I started without a cover garment. I worked on my first draw and found that my strong hand thumb had a hard time marrying to the grip with my “tactical girth” in the way. My support hand would continue to come to the center of my chest to wait for the presentation of the pistol. I tried several times to get a positive grip on the pistol and found it hard to do consistently. I also found that when I did get a good grip, I would need to move my strong hand thumb out of the way to get a good purchase on the gun with my support hand.

I started to change my grip on the draw. I found that when I would bring my four fingers to grip of the pistol, I would bring my thumb to the back of the slide. (This would be done with a standard grip module or a module with a pronounced beavertail.) I would get the pistol out of the holster and rotate it towards the target. (When I say rotate, I mean that I am transitioning the barrel towards the target, while keeping it on flat plane to keep the firearm on target.) While rotating the pistol into position, I would bring my support hand to a strong support grip and then bring my right thumb over the top of my support grip. This finally allowed me a faster draw and a more consistent two-handed grip.

I started to analyze the new draw and looked for any safety concerns. I watched to check that the barrel stayed pointed in a safe direction throughout the draw. I did not see any issues. It was time to start working with a conceal garment.

The first thing I found is that the AIWB position allows for a faster clearing of the conceal garment. With the hands near the waistband, there is a faster transition to bring the cover garment upward, allowing access to the pistol a little faster. I did not feel any interference from the cover garment to my strong hand if I ensured a strong pull upward.

I continued the modification to my new grip. This grip worked well and really allowed me to form a strong two-handed grip quickly.

I started to notice that if I rushed through the formation of the grip, my trigger finger missed the rail and made light contact with the trigger. This was extremely light contact, but any unintentional contact is unacceptable. I slowed back down and started another 100 draws and was able to avoid the incidental contact again.

When I first started working the draws from this position, I was seeing 1.7 - 1.8 second draws. After a few hundred practice draws I could consistently get to 1.2 – 1.3 second draws with my hits in the A zone at 5 yards. I am just like everyone else. I would like to get it down lower but that will come with more focused practice.

Now that I have safety and speed worked out, it is time to talk about comfort. The appendix position is incredibly comfortable for me when I am standing. If I must go on a walk or participate in a long shopping excursion, appendix feels like the way to go.

I had to travel on a plane for work and chose to carry appendix. I was carrying a Sig Sauer P320 X-Carry in a Grayguns AIWB holster and a separate mag carrier at the 9:00 o’clock position. My first day of travel was 10.5 hours and my second was 16 hours. The 10.5 hours was not an issue. I felt comfortable the whole time and did not have issue with my tactical girth. The second leg of the journey is where I started to feel a little sore. Surprisingly, this soreness did not come from around my belly but below the waist where the barrel part of the holster would eventually press in on my skin.

I used a pistol only holster (no attached mag carrier) during this trip. The benefit to this was that I could move my holster to the 3:00 o’clock position for a short period of time. This gave me the needed relief so I could finish the ride in the plane.

Overall, I feel good about this carry position. It allows additional concealment that other positions do not. In addition, AIWB can give faster access to a concealed firearm while preventing “printing” normally found at the 3:00 o’clock position.

Remember that if you choose to change to a new setup, that you must drill that position and ensure safe handling will occur during when you need to access the pistol in less than perfect conditions. Stay safe!

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