John Johnston of Ballistic Radio makes his living by not only talking about self-defense, but by product testing and developing quite a bit of guns and gear for the top names in the firearms industry. He’s also a Rangemaster-certified Advanced Handgun Instructor and one of the Founders and instructors of Citizens’ Defense Research.
John knows a lot about using handguns in self defense (he fires 30,000-40,000 rounds per year with handguns), and decided to address one of the more common rumors about appendix carry by putting his reproductive parts on the line, intentionally creating “negligent discharges” to see if appendix carry is really as dangerous as “internet experts” claim.
I get told all the time that by carrying AIWB I’m in danger of “Shooting my junk off” or some such. My contention has always been that by utilizing good gear, with good technique, the risk is minimal. So, what’s the answer?
For the tl;dr crowd the short answer is: Unless you regularly practice incredibly poor technique, while utilizing sub-optimal gear you’re probably fine. Additionally you must make MULTIPLE massive mistakes to have an issue.
The slightly longer answer: A good AIWB holster will naturally force the muzzle of the gun away from your body as part of the mechanism that helps conceal the grip. This, coupled with *minimal* precautions can do quite a bit to reduce your overall risk of fatal injury should you ND in this location. This is going to be either aided or exacerbated by your body type, and overall holster position. I, at 6’2″ and 260 pounds, am going to have somewhat of a more difficult time keeping the muzzle off of me than someone who is 100# lighter would. With good gear and very few precautions, I still managed to not put a round into myself. As always YMMV, but I stand by my statement that AIWB is overall no more dangerous than any other carry position, and may in fact be somewhat safer.
A few points:
- Barring massive mechanical failure, guns do not go off by themselves in the holster, period.
- IF you make a mistake while carrying a gun in *ANY* position, you can die or be seriously injured.
- IF we are assuming someone WILL ND, and are basing our advice to them off of this consideration, perhaps we should instead encourage them not to carry a gun in the first place until this is no longer a fear of ours?
- If you feel uncomfortable carrying AIWB then DON’T carry that way.
- There are very few legitimate reasons to be in a hurry to get the gun back to the holster. NONE of them can apply when we are carrying AIWB, period.
- No matter where you carry, If your reholster TECHNIQUE, or your HOLSTER itself, has you canting the muzzle of the gun towards your body for any reason, it is probably time to reexamine that technique/piece of gear. Shooting yourself transverse from behind the hip through the front of your pelvis can also “blow your dick off”.
For AIWB holsters, I personally use and recommend Dark Star Gear, Keepers Concealment, Raven Concealment Systems, JM Custom Kydex and 5 Shot Leather, LLC. That is not to say there are not other fine options out there but those are what I use currently or have used in the past. While gear and technique can do much to minimize our risk, please know that firearms are by their nature inherently dangerous when used improperly. EVERY time I holster a firearm I am doing so purposefully while reminding myself that if I make a mistake, it could prove fatal.