8 Best Appendix Holsters (AIWB)– Tips, Tricks & 2024 Field Test

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We field tested over 40 of the best Appendix Holsters and found the 8 best options available.

I find many people say that carrying a concealed carry gun in an appendix AIWB holster is very uncomfortable.

Since it is arguably the best way to conceal a handgun for self-defense, is there really a comfortable option?

Best Appendix Holster AIWB Five of Jason
Some of my favorite Appendix Holsters

Our team has over 25 years of experience with concealed carry and appendix holsters. We use these holsters every day. We have military experience, safety officer experience, and shoot competitively in concealed carry matches as well.

While finding a comfortable holster is possible, it is only part of what you need to know.

Keep reading to find our tips and tricks to finally be able to carry an appendix holster comfortably.

Comparison of our Favorite Appendix Holsters

Best Appendix Holsters

CYA Supply Ridge Holster – Best Appendix Holster

  • Material: Kydex
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 100
  • Return Policy: 30 Days
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $59.74

The CYA Supply Ridge AIWB Holster is our top pick as one of the best appendix holsters.

This full kydex holster is one of the slimmest low-profile appendix holsters we could find.

Why is that important?

An appendix holster that is not bulky is more likely to be comfortable and easy to conceal.

I have worn this holster for hours at a time and was able to sit, bend over, and load some heavy rocks into the back of my truck with it on.

I like how the edges of the holster are rounded. I have found that holsters that have pointed edges can be painful when I move in a certain position. They are literally a pain!

This holster comes with a spring steel clip from Discrete Carry Concepts. This clip has two fingers with tangs on the inside that catches on the bottom of my belt. This clip is one of the most durable and secure clips that we have found.

I was able to adjust the position of the clip to get the cant angle that was best for me. I simply loosened the screws, moved the clip, and tightened it back down.

The holster comes with a standard concealment wing with two different claw options. Hardware is included to remove it altogether, use a low profile claw, or a taller claw. I really like this option since I can customize it to my gun and my carry position.

But I really like the fact that CYA has included all of these options at no additional cost. Most other companies charge extra.

There are multiple colors available, and this holster is optics ready. However, they do not support pistol mounted lights. I found that they support all of the popular concealed carry guns on the market, so you are likely to find one for yours.

The combination of the features, comfort, and price brought us to agree that this is the best appendix holster for most people.

Recommended for:

The CYA Supply Ridge AIWB Holster is for anyone looking for the best appendix holster. This value here is hard to beat.

Video Review of the CYA Supply Ridge Holster

Harry’s Holsters Infiltrator – Best Kydex Appendix Holster

  • Type: IWB
  • Material: Kydex
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 50
  • Return Policy: 30 Days
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $97.75

Harry’s Holsters Infiltrator Holster is a full Kydex holster that we found works great as an appendix holster as well as any other IWB carry position.

The infiltrator is the latest holster from Harry’s Holsters. The shape and design of this holster looks different than most of the other Kydex IWB holsters that I have seen. You can tell that they have put in a lot of thought and incorporated improvements into this holster from previous models.

I like how the outside of the holster is rounded. My Infiltrator holster has not only rounded the edges on the Kydex, but it is formed in key areas to eliminate any possible edges that could cause pain. This is especially true around the bottom of the holster, an area I found to be the key to comfort.

Just like the CYA ridge holster, this one also comes with a spring steel Discrete Carry Concepts clip. It is one of the best I have found on an appendix holster.

What really makes this holster stand out is the adjustability. The clip comes separate from the holster, and included is a card with a QR code with a link to a setup video.

The hardware on this holster is unique. Instead of the round nuts you typically find on most holsters, this one comes with square nuts that ride in the adjustment channel. This allows the clip to move up and down with nearly one inch of ride height adjustment and 30 degrees of cant angle adjustment.

This much adjustability means this holster will work for almost everyone. I found with some adjustment it worked great in the appendix position as well as behind the hip.

Another feature that I really like on this holster is the unique concealment wing. Instead of being a separate wing with a claw, Harry’s Holsters came up with a unique design.

The wing is molded into the Kydex and is a gradual raised area around the trigger. I found that with holsters that have a claw, they are hard to put on and the claw gets caught on my pants or belt. With this holster, it slides right into place.

This is great since I often don’t drive with this holster on. This design allows me to quickly put it on when I get out of my truck.

All of these design features are great, but they do come at a price. This holster is more expensive than most other Kydex holsters. If your budget allows, this is the one to get.

Recommended for:

Harry’s Holsters Infiltrator Holster is for anyone looking for an appendix holster that will work well in any IWB carry position. The adjustability and rounded design makes this holster very comfortable.

Video of the Harry’s Holsters Infiltrator

Hidden Hybrid Holsters Single Clip – Most Comfortable Appendix Holster

  • Material: Hybrid – Leather and Kydex
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 100
  • Return Policy: 30 Day
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $89.95

The Hidden Hybrid Holsters Single Clip Holster is one of the most comfortable appendix holsters we have used.

This holster is a hybrid design, so it has a leather backing with a kydex shell. I found that the leather has a soft suede backing that is super comfortable. I noticed that the leather was Amish made on their website but did not expect it to feel this soft.

When I ordered this holster I noticed that they have an option for an “RMR guard” and I selected the red dot that I have on my gun. I really wasn’t sure what this was since I had not seen it offered on any other holster before.

I was surprised when I received the holster to find that molded into the Kydex was a full guard for my red dot. Instead of being out and exposed like on other holsters, it is fully covered and protected.

I also selected the optional claw when I ordered it. This pushes the grip of my handgun closer to my body, and it is a feature I usually look for on an appendix holster.

Part of what makes this holster comfortable is it is wider than most other kydex or leather holsters. This helps to spread out any pressure over a wider area. Think of stepping on a small or large Lego and you get my drift.

But it does take up more room as a result. Blake has a small waist and he has been carrying this holster for a while. He says the only downside is the width makes it harder for him to carry a mag carrier IWB as well.

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Hidden Hybrid offers many different gun models with this holster, but they only have pistol light options for a few gun models. They also do not have an integrated mag carrier option, but they do have an IWB option that is separate.

Recommended for:

The Hidden Hybrid Holsters Single Clip Holster is for anyone looking for a comfortable appendix holster. This is one of the most comfortable holsters we have found.

Video About Hidden Hybrid Holsters

Alien Gear Photon Holster – Best Value Appendix Holster

  • Material: Kydex
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 50
  • Return Policy: 30 Day
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $44.88

The Alien Gear Photon holster is more than just a great AIWB holster, it is an entire holster system.

This holster comes with hardware to set it up as either an IWB holster or an OWB holster. I got their Photon mag carrier as well, and I set it up as an AIWB holster with a mag pouch side car.

All of this for a price that is one of the lowest on our list.

When I first setup my holster for my Glock 19, I found the adjustability allowed me to set it exactly where I wanted it. The sidecar attachment bracket has multiple options, as well as the clip on both the holster and the mag carrier. It took a few tries to get it exactly right, but I would rather have too many options than an uncomfortable holster.

This holster can be setup for either right-hand or left-hand draw. While not important for some, it is for us since some on our team are left-handed. If anyone in your family has a different dominant hand than you this holster will keep you from having to buy a unique holster just for them.

I really like the fact that this holster comes with plenty of spare hardware. Since I have switched my holster between IWB and OWB a few times, I dropped a few screws and was glad to have extras.

The holster does have an optional concealment claw that you can attach behind the holster clip. I don’t like how close it is to the clip, as it makes it a little hard to put the holster on.

I found that depending on the pants and belt I was using, the space between the clip and the claw was not enough. A thick belt and a thick waistband just won’t work.

My only dislike for this holster in the AIWB configuration was it does not have a full sweat guard. I found that I always needed to wear an undershirt with it otherwise the slide of my Glock was right against my skin, serrations, and all.

Overall, it is hard to beat the price and flexibility of this holster. When it is setup right it is comfortable and not a pain. There are a ton of gun models available, light bearing options as well.

Recommended for:

The Alien Gear Photon holster system is for anyone looking for a flexible AIWB holster with a magazine side car and light bearing options.

Video of the Alien Gear Photon Holster

Falco AIWB Leather Holster – Best Leather Appendix Holster

  • Material: Leather
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 100
  • Return Policy: 30 Days
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $80

The Falco AIWB Leather Holster is one of the best leather AIWB holsters we have tried.

This holster is made from very high-quality Italian leather. This leather is a little different than the typical leather I am used to. It has some stiffness to it, which has some advantages.

Unlike most other leather holsters, this holster is custom molded to my gun. This makes it fit very well, almost as good as a Kydex holster.

I like how the top of the holster is reinforced with a second piece of leather on the front and around the sweat guard. This stiffens the opening of the holster and keeps it open after I draw my gun. Collapsing after drawing my gun is one of the biggest issues I have found with leather appendix holsters. But Falco has figured it out on this one.

The metal clip is attached to the front of the holster with a reinforced piece of leather. I can’t see it going anywhere. It feels very secure.

However, the clip is not adjustable since it is permanent. My holster feels like it is at a good ride height and cant angle, but some adjustment would be nice.

Since the leather is fairly stiff, I found that the edges can cause some skin irritation when I first started wearing it. Over time, this seems to have gotten better, so I feel like the edges have become softer. But it has taken a few weeks, so it does require some patience.

Overall the quality of this holster is amazing, and I expect it to last a long time. The leather gives it that classic look and feel of leather, with a retention that competes with Kydex.

Recommended for:

The Falco AIWB Leather Holster is for anyone looking for a classic leather appendix holster. The molded leather is hard to find anywhere else.

Video of the Falco Leather AIWB Holster with the Light Option

1791 Gunleather Smooth Concealment Holster – Best Universal Appendix Holster

  • Material: Leather
  • Handgun Models Available: Universal
  • Return Policy: 30 Days
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $45.99

The 1791 Gunleather Smooth Concealment Holster is the best leather universal fit AIWB holster we have tried.

This holster comes in seven different sizes that will fit almost any handgun. Normally I do not recommend universal fit holsters since they often don’t fully guard they trigger, don’t have good retention, or have material around the sweat guard that interfered with my draw.

However, we tried this holster with five different concealed carry guns and for the most part did not have any of these issues. I felt that the Sig P365 XL was a little loose in the holster, and the sweat guard came up a little too high. However, fit was fine with the Glock 19, 43, and the S&W Shield.

This holster is made from top quality leather. It is durable, soft, and smells great as well. This makes it super comfortable, with none of the stiff edges that kydex holsters have.

I found that for some handguns this holster does need a break-in period. The process was easy with the included instructions. I just needed a plastic bag and it took a few days.

Over time I realized the holster forming to my handgun my body. The Leather just feels great. This holster is very low-profile and compact, so it is easy to wear.

The metal clip is easy to use, and it is attached to the holster with a reinforcing piece of leather. This makes it super strong, and I am not worried about it pulling away from the holster.

However, the clip is not adjustable since it is permanently attached to the holster. I didn’t find this to be an issue with the guns I tried, but it could be depending on the gun you are using and your body shape.

Since this holster is a soft leather AIWB holster, I found that it collapsed after I drew my handgun. I talk about this in the guide below. This is not a show stopper but it is an issue during training.

Recommended for:

The 1791 Gunleather Smooth Concealment AIWB Holster is for anyone looking for a comfortable leather appendix holster. The quality of the leather is amazing.

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Video of the 1791 Smooth Concealment Holster

Stealth Gear Ventcore 1.0 AIWB Plus – Best Hybrid AIWB Holster

  • Material: Hybrid
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 75
  • Return Policy: 30 Days
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $129

The Stealth Gear Ventcore 1.0 AIWB Plus appendix holster is one of the best hybrid holsters we have found.

This holster has a hybrid design (learn more in our guide below). But instead of leather, it has a unique breathable fabric for the backing.

This fabric is what sets it apart from all other holsters. I noticed that it is super comfortable without having the issues with sweat that leather does. Leather breaks down when it is subjected to a lot of sweat, so it is best to wear an undershirt between it and your skin.

In very hot weather, I usually don’t want to wear an undershirt. So, this holster is my goto option. I have tried all of the Stealth Gear holsters and can say this fabric really makes a difference.

The Kydex shell fully protects my handgun and has perfect retention that is adjustable.

I like that it has a built-in sidecar for an extra magazine. It is easy to just throw this holster on, and I don’t have to worry about a separate mag carrier for my spare magazine.

I also like the clip on this holster. It is adjustable for ride height and cant angle and I can also tuck my shirt in behind it. The other holsters on our list don’t offer this, so this is the one I go for when I need to dress up and tuck in my shirt.

There are a bunch of gun models available for this holster, and plenty of light and laser options as well.

Recommended for:

The Stealth Gear Ventcore 1.0 AIWB Plus appendix holster is for anyone looking for a comfortable appendix holster for hot weather with a mag side car.

Video Review of the Stealth Gear AIWB Plus Holster

Cross Breed Xecutive – Best Budget Appendix Holster

  • Material: Kydex
  • Handgun Models Available: Over 75
  • Return Policy: 30 Days
  • Warranty Policy: Lifetime
  • MSRP: $39.95

The Crossbreed Xecutive Holster is our pick for the best budget appendix holster.

If you have a tight budget and still want a decent appendix holster, this is the one for you.

I like that this Kydex holster is a compact, minimalist design. It is very slim which helps with comfort.

These holsters are custom made, so safety and retention is there as well.

I found that there are a bunch of options available with this holster. There is a ModWing attachment that provides better concealment (similar to a claw on other holsters).

There are six different clips available, including belt loops and tuckable clips. There is also a foam wedge available that helps to make this holster more comfortable.

However, these options do cost extra. So by the time you add a couple it actually costs more than our top pick above. I would recommend going with the CYA Ridge holster unless your budget is tight and you don’t want or can afford any other option.

Recommended for:

The Crossbreed Xecutive Holster is for anyone with a super tight budget that needs a safe appendix holster.

Video of the Xecutive holster (same as N8 Tactical)

Best Appendix Holster Tips – What to Look For

In our experience, finding an appendix (AIWB) holster that works for us and our handgun is one of the most difficult choices out of all the holster types.

I have found that so much depends on your body shape, handgun, clothing, and how you wear the holster. Even on our team one of us can try a holster and really like it while the others do not.

In this guide we will give you some tips on what we found when trying and actually using appendix holsters with a variety of our favorite concealed carry handguns.

Keep reading to find our tips that you won’t find anywhere else.

Important AIWB Holster Features

First, there are some important features that you need to look for when choosing an Appendix Holster.

Safety is always most important.

Some people (rightfully so) do not like appendix carry because when you sit or bend over the gun is pointed at your body. In a sensitive place I might add.

Carrying a handgun in the appendix position is perfectly safe if you have a holster that fully guards the trigger and retains the handgun properly.

If your holster does not fully guard the trigger do not use it.

This leads us to the second most important feature…

Retention

No matter what kind of holster you use, it should retain your handgun. This is especially important for appendix carry.

This is important so that the trigger always remains guarded. If your gun is wiggling around in the holster it could come out partially and expose the trigger.

I know when I feel something falling my natural reaction is to grab it. Imagine if you bend over to pick something up and your gun slides up and you grab it as a reaction. You could accidentally hit the trigger while the gun is pointed at your groin.

I have found that Kydex holsters made for my particular model of handgun usually have the best retention. Some leather holsters are custom molded and are nearly as good as well.

Universal holsters are hit and miss depending on the handgun. If you are considering a holster that works for many different guns, my experience is that those that work for the least number of guns (more sizes of holster) work better.

Comfort/Adjustability

Nearly everyone I talk to about AIWB holsters talks about how comfortable they are (or not). After all, there is a big chuck of metal down your pants.

There are a few things you can look for before you try the holster to know if it is comfortable or not.

Look to see how rounded the holster is around the bottom. This is the area that could cause the most pain around your groin area. Holsters that have flat or pointed edges should be avoided as they can cause pressure points of pain.

Also note if the belt clip is adjustable. This will give you the most options in where the holster rides on your body. For larger guns I have found this to be even more important.

Draw Grip

The whole reason for carrying a concealed handgun in the appendix position is so you can get to it quickly. While speed is important, getting a good full grip on the handgun is more important.

I have found that if I don’t have a full grip on my gun when I draw, I am trying to reposition my grip as I aim. This really slows me down and also causes me to be inaccurate.

In some cases I have seen others almost drop their gun during the draw process because their grip was hindered by the holster or their clothing.

The grip of your handgun should be high enough over the waist of your pants so that you can wrap your fingers around it. The backstrap of the gun should also not be covered by the sweat guard of the holster.

Similarly to retention, I have found that most holsters that are custom made for a particular gun usually allow a good draw grip. A holster with an adjustable clip will also allow you to move it to the best place for you.

Re-holstering

While it may not seem super critical during a self-defense situation, I have found that being able to holster my handgun without taking the holster off is important.

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In order to be proficient with drawing and operating my handgun, training has been important. If I have to take the holster off every time I need to holster my handgun, it is a big waste of time and an aggravation. I find that I don’t train as much and really don’t want to use that holster.

If I was in an emergency and had to draw my handgun, I want to be able to re holster it quickly. I may need to help others or do some other task quickly.

Concealing Features

Carrying a handgun in the appendix position is one of the most concealable methods for most people. However, since appendix holsters are often narrow in width, I have found that the holster and the grip of my handgun can rotate away from my body, causing it to “print”.

The best Appendix holsters will have a “wing” or “claw” that extends from near the trigger on the holster and presses against inside of my waistband. This keeps the grip of my handgun close to my body and better concealed.

These wings can make it harder to put the holster on or can be too aggressive. The best appendix holsters will have adjustable claws (like the CYA Drift) or they will have sloping wings (like the Harry’s Holsters Infiltrator).

Clothing Considerations

In my experience, when most people complain that appendix carry is uncomfortable, it is because they are not wearing the holster correctly.

The first consideration is my pant size. If my pants can stay up without a belt, they are usually too tight for an appendix carry holster. After all, my pants have to not only accommodate me, but my gun and holster as well.

I usually get pants that are one size larger than I need. It is even better if they have some elastic in the waistband as well.

A stiff gun belt is also a must have. Since my pants are loose and my holster is attached to it, it needs to be stiff and durable since it is holding everything in place. If I keep having to adjust it and my pants move up and down a lot, it becomes uncomfortable.

I have also found that when carrying an appendix holster, I need to keep the bottom of the holster above my hip joint. This is so I can bend over and sit down comfortably.

I normally wear my pants a little lower than most people just because of my body shape. This is a problem for appendix carry since it puts the lower part of my holster right into my groin.

I find that I have to pull my pants up higher to get the holster in the right position. This is the biggest issue for most people and carrying appendix. If you have a belly that keeps you from getting your pants up high enough appendix carry may not be for you.

Appendix holsters are also most comfortable when worn in the center of the body. This is because this area offers the most room. If I slide my holster over to the 1 o’clock position, the bottom of the holster is closer to my leg and can be uncomfortable when I sit down or bend over.

I also like to wear a tight-fitting shirt under my AIWB holster. This keeps the holster from rubbing my skin and getting sweaty. If you don’t want to wear an undershirt, I have found that hybrid holsters are comfortable since they have a soft material against my skin.

Appendix Holster Materials

The only materials you should consider for an AIWB holster are Kydex and Leather. Holsters that are a hybrid design have both of these materials.

Kydex

Kydex is a type of polymer that can be formed to the specific shape of each gun model. Kydex works great for appendix holsters since it is a durable and rigid material. I know that my kydex holster is safe because it is securely holding my gun.

I like that Kydex holsters require no maintenance. Water or sweat doesn’t affect them and they are easy to clean. I find that most Kydex holsters have an adjustable retention screw so I can adjust the holster to my gun.

However, since Kydex is a hard, rigid material, they can be uncomfortable if they have any edges or points like I mentioned before. Make sure your Kydex appendix holster has rounded edges and no corners that can poke you.

Leather

A leather AIWB holster can be very comfortable. I like how leather just gets better with age as it forms to my body. It is a natural material that looks great and smells great as well.

But there are some things to watch out for.

Sweat can break down leather and cause it to deteriorate. I have found it best to wear an undershirt between the holster and my skin to prevent this as much as possible.

Leather usually requires break-in and maintenance as well. Moisture is the main enemy, so you do have to take care in how you clean it. I like to keep a care and maintenance kit on hand like the Craft Leather Care Kit.

Leather can soften over time and could become a safety issue if the areas around the trigger become soft. You also need to pay close attention to the retention of your handgun. With repeated use I have found it will eventually become too loose.

Hybrid

A Hybrid holster combines the comfort of leather with the retention and durability of kydex.

These holsters have a durable fabric or leather backing that sits against my body with a kydex shell attached to the front.

They are just as safe as a full kydex or leather holster, as long as they fully guard the trigger and have good retention.

The only disadvantage I have found is that some of them can be bulkier than a compact kydex holster. For a larger gun like a Walther PDP it can make a difference.

However, I have found that hybrid holsters are great in warm weather. I really don’t need an undershirt with them and they don’t cause as much skin irritation as a kydex holster does.

Price of an Appendix Holster

A good quality AIWB holster is between $50 and $100. Considering that this is much less than the cost of the handgun and ammo, there is no reason to try to save a few bucks here. A cheap $25 holster on Amazon may not be safe and will likely be a waste of money anyway.

Purchase from a reputable company with a good return and warranty policy. We have specifically listed this on all the holsters above so you can be sure you are buying from a good source.

The Best Appendix Holster for You

We hope this guide is helpful in finding the best appendix holster for you. I understand finding one that is both comfortable and functional is a challenge.

The holsters above are the best we have found after years of trying different ones. I hope that one of them becomes the perfect holster for you. But, if it does not, they all have great return policies.

The CYA Drift holster is a great appendix holster at a very good price.

If you have a larger gun you may want to go with Harry’s Holster Infiltrator. The rounded design and adjustability will really help.

Now that you have learned about Appendix Holsters, check out our other holster guides in the Defend Guides and Gear Reviews. Our Emergency preparation and Survival guides also have a ton of information that so hand in hand with self-defense.

Go back to the main Concealed Carry Guide

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>