Thursday, April 26, 2018

Why Appendix Carry is a stupid idea

Yeah, I’m not sugar coating it much am I?  And I understand some of you do it and swear by it and that’s your call. If you’re adamant about it, then I hope it works out for you.
But there’s a logical, objective explanation as of why appendix carry is such a terrible idea.
The first time I saw anyone doing appendix carry was in a movie, 1995 “The Quick and the Dead”. That was Sharon Stone, and I guess it made sense with a big revolver, exterior holster… (and not having penis or testicles)

The first time I heard of someone actually carrying that way in the real world was years later in a gun store. The guys were talking about this cop they knew who had recently shot himself in the penis. He carried a Glock, that’s right, appendix carry.
I also know of a firearms instructor, a good one that I have considerable respect for, who shot himself pretty bad in the leg due to appendix carry. Came close to hitting the femoral artery.
So here we get to the first real problem with appendix carry which is safety.

As we all know guns are inanimate objects that do nothing by themselves. It’s always when someone screws up that people get hurt. A large percentage of gun deaths and injuries are in fact accidental, simply negligent use or accidental discharges when administrative handling the weapon (cleaning, drawing, dry fire practice). If you spend enough time around guns, and more to the point, if you spend enough time shooting guns, training and competing, you will understand how common accidental or negligent discharges are. I make the difference here because negligent and accidental discharge are not the same thing. Negligence involves the voluntary disregard for firearms safety. But accidents… they can happen to anyone no matter how careful you are. In fact I’ll go as far as saying that if you never had an accidental discharge in one form or another you simple haven’t shot enough. And if you do… give it some time, it will happen.

This is why gun safety rules are supposed to complement one another. If one fails, the other one avoids a tragedy. You unconsciously pull the trigger, or do so willingly unaware that there’s a live round in the gun… but always keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction (EVEN WHEN UNLOEADED) prevents a tragedy.

Now with appendix carry, you have a gun constantly pointing at your groin or upper thigh, your femoral artery, especially when drawing and reholstering, which any instructor knows is one of the most dangerous moments during the manipulation for the firearm. At 4 o’clock that round either completely misses or grazes your leg. And yes, I’ve seen people shoot themselves in the foot too, literally. But with appendix carry… . As of right now I know of several PD in America and at least one qualified, widely renown firearms instructor (Larry Vickers) that got tired of this nonsense and simply wont have students doing Appendix carry during his classes. Couldn’t agree more with him. Saw more than enough AD when drawing and reholstering, most of them without any injury due to carrying on the 3 or 4 o’clock position. You wont be as lucky with appendix carry.
Second, its not tactically sound either. Some argue that its faster. I’m not so sure about that. IPSC shooters seem to be doing just find carrying with the gun 3 o’clock.

But even if there is somewhat of a fraction of a second difference, from a self defense point of view it makes no sense. That 0.1 second faster it may or may not be is nothing compared to how obvious drawing from that position is compared to 4 o’clock. The guy right in front of you sees you lift your shirt, expose the gun and sees right in front of him your hand going to it. While on 4 o’clock it lends itself much better to raising your weak arm in a more natural and instinctive defensive position, turning sideways and away from the threat while drawing your gun behind your hip, out of sight. In fact there are several videos of shootings where the attacker didn’t even notice the person was drawing a gun, precisely because it was either sideways or behind the hip when being drawn. That doesn’t happen with appendix carry. Its right there in the middle of your torso for everyone to see while you draw.

So people, don’t fall for the latest tactical fad, it’s been around before and there’s a reason it fell out of use in the past and will do so again soon enough.  And there’s a reason why people that know their stuff won’t even allow it in their classes.
Take care and be careful out there.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”


Anonymous said...

K, but you rong do..

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100%. i think the people that came up with this idea were just attempting to create a new fad and make themselves look like they were on the cutting edge. Appendix carry violates the most basic rule of gun safety-never point the firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. Although I no longer instruct I NEVER EVER taught appendix carry.

free for now said...

I took two classes from a truly expert instructor (including one three day class where he paired with Vickers and another great teacher) who used appenidix carry. He used it during the class as well. However, he was very clear on the great points you just made and discouraged students from thinking they could or should use this method absent super high proficiency. He had his own views on the speed benefit and was a military guy (not normal pd or daily carry civilian) so probably mostly thought about it in the context of live, no surprise gunfighting as opposed to self d like for most. If memory serves, he may even have said he only does it with a specific firearm/holster pair and no others.

In any event, I have done enough shooting to know that I personally have limited skills and a very real ability to make mistakes, so I am SUPER cautious about how I carry, draw and reholster.

I had a different teacher teach something that really stuck. He tought us to practice/drill as follows: after your shots, while decocking, checking environment and re-holstering, mumble to yourself "don't kill yourself, don't kill yourself, don't kill yourself." That focuses the mind nicely on the process and importance of everything you are doing in that process!