Has anyone else noticed a recent surge in publicly-posted opinion on carrying their firearm appendix style, or is it just me?

Probably the #1 comment I see in relation to the phrase “appendix carry” is something along the lines of “I’d rather not shoot my junk off.”

Sir, if you’re afraid of shooting off whatever your firearm is aimed at, I suggest you just set it on the ground and back away slowly.

How a person chooses to carry their firearm is no simple determination. Some people may embody the ‘hipster mentality’┬áin regards to how they carry, the kind of person who considers fashion over function, but the bottom line is that it’s not just about looks. Just because so-and-so Youtube star runs it, doesn’t mean you should, too. The carry position involves a variety of important factors, from how accessible the firearm is – which will change by scenario, such as standing versus wrestling an attacker on the ground – to what clothes you need to wear to maximize your ability to draw. Basically, it’s not simple, and it’s certainly not a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all sort of thing.

So when I see just about everyone talking down on appendix carry because “it’s pointed at your Johnson,” I have to remind myself not to roll my eyes again.

Apparently, it needs to be stated that regardless of where it is you carry, there will be a guaranteed moment where you “flag” yourself. Even on the hip, for example, you’d have to be relentlessly vigilant at ensuring your stance was not too wide when you holstered your weapon – otherwise, you’d flag the lower portion of your leg. These moments can, and will, happen on occasion, but they are exactly why we emphasize the rules of firearm safety; keep your finger off the trigger at all times, and treat all guns as loaded without exception! If you remember this then you won’t accidentally shoot yourself in the foot while holstering. The same logic applies to those who (wisely) spend time at home doing dry fire drills. If you are using a functional firearm, rather than a replica, then technically you are breaking “rules” by pointing it at objects that are not a threat and that you do not intend to destroy. The situation will change, but if your finger remains off the trigger, you don’t have to fret about punching new holes where they shouldn’t be.

Another point that seems to be forgotten in the midst of ridicule for appendix carry: if you’re worried that your firearm is going to go off in the holster, then you are in need of a real holster. If there is any chance of compromised safety in regards to the trigger and retention on the firearm in general while holstered, then what in the hell did you buy it for? You’re essentially just pocketing the damn thing. There should be absolutely no reason to fear an accidental crotch shot when holstered. Anyone who does openly admits to running shitty gear.

Now that I’m down off of that particular soapbox, let me provide some personal experience.

I carry appendix. Why? For a couple reasons. Firstly, I do not want my firearm out of sight when it is stored away safely. I don’t want to have to feel around behind me if I carried in the small of my back, wasting precious time just stretching around to draw my firearm in a potential scenario where seconds count (because they do). I need to be able to visually check the holster to be sure there are no obstructions, either when I draw or replace the firearm in the holster, because – and here’s the kicker – I don’t want to risk an accidental discharge, no matter WHERE my firearm is pointed. Appendix carry allows me full view of my gear at all times; it also places the firearm in an accessible location that’s right in my workspace, about as close as it gets to where it needs to be for me to engage a threat. If I were to carry on my ankle, for example, I would have to bend over, unholster, straighten up, and then proceed to engage a threat. On the hip, you’re going to be able to act much more quickly when danger strikes.

Appendix carry has its own set of drawbacks, and by no means do I claim it’s without them. Besides the obvious discomfort, and a wariness of having a weapon so close to your privates (regardless of what kind of equipment you’re packing down there), it’s not the most tactically ideal. In a close quarters scenario, and especially if I am physically struggling against an attacker, it’s not preferable to have my firearm stuck inbetween me and the threat, caught in the crossfire between myself and someone who wants to take control of me (and my firearm) in whatever way secures their victory. Having your firearm placed strong side enables you to draw without inhibition if they’re too close, giving you the opportunity to bring your weapon into play without keeping it in proximity of the threat. If I had it my way, I would actually conceal carry my firearm this way, directly on the outside of my right hip. I often train strong side, and it is extremely comfortable in comparison to appendix carry.

The problem is that I am a female (in case I hadn’t made it obvious before now). As such, I have a figure that is smaller in general, curvier in certain places, and simply not as accommodating for carrying strong side. Essentially, I would have to wear extremely baggy clothing or lots of layers to hide a firearm directly on the outside of my hip. Guys don’t feel this struggle, so of course they’re going to look down on appendix carry when they can choose to rig their holsters up simply on the outer hip. Sorry bud, but some of us have curves that would make such a carry position all but impossible – unless I wanted to always go out wearing a rain poncho.

Yes, I have to get very familiar with the feeling of a lethal weapon shoved down in places I’d rather it not be. Yes, I have become an expert on checking and double-checking (and triple-checking) the safety of my firearm, as well as the retention of my holster. Yes, I get to re-learn how to enter and exit cars, bend over, and other seemingly routine tasks in ways that don’t make the fact I’m carrying stand out. But it’s better to take a well-thought-out risk and train around what you know you’re capable of, than to ignore your individual needs and situational factors that might cost you your life.

Self protection is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Whatever we carry, wherever we carry, the focus is to reject a culture of victimhood and to take action to secure safety for ourselves and others.