Appendix Carry & Good Holsters

by Tommy Grant

The only place a handgun is really comfortable is in your hand. If you’re going to carry all day, you need a comfortable holster. For example, the Barranti Leather Summer Classic.

Mexican carry can work in a pinch, but a good holster is key to practical and comfortable concealed carry of a handgun.

I sometimes get belittled by so-called “defensive handgun experts” because I’m fond of stuffing my lightweight Browning Hi Power in my waistband without a holster. This is commonly referred to as Mexican—or appendix—carry. I’m often told this is an inherently unsafe practice because the trigger isn’t covered and it doesn’t provide any retention.


Well, this is partly true; the only thing that keeps your gun secure is the tension between your belt and your body. This is a variable tension that’s dependent on what activity you’re currently engaged in. As far as the uncovered trigger, if the gun is shoved in behind your belt so that your belt—and pants—are covering the trigger, I’m not sure what’s going to pull that trigger.

Now, maybe you have gremlins roaming around in your underwear, or maybe—like a fool—you plan to, or will accidentally, stick your trigger finger inside your waist band when you intend to draw your handgun. (If your belt is tight enough to hold up your gun, I’m not sure how that’s possible.)

But aside from gremlins or your own stupidity, you should be OK. For what it’s worth, people negligently shoot themselves by accidentally pulling the trigger when drawing from holsters. Also, one of the most common self-inflicted—holster-related—gunshot wounds occurs when inserting a handgun into a holster that covers the trigger.


Doing It Right

Now, I don’t think holsterless carry is a better option than a good holster. It is, however, sometimes very convenient. I work from home, which is where I spend most of my time. If I’m simply running a quick errand or meeting my wife for lunch, I’ll shove my Hi Power in my waistband and carry on. If I know I’m going to be out and about for longer periods of time, I use a holster. A good holster is more comfortable for extended carry and does provide a higher degree of retention.


Also—and this is important—a Browning Hi Power, because of its shape and size, lends itself very well to Mexican/waistband/holsterless carry … maybe more so than any other handgun. The Hi Power just seems like it was made to shove in your belt line. Most other defensive handguns, and especially the micro-nines that are so popular today, are just not shaped right for effective holsterless carry.

By Any Other Name

Now, you may be wondering why they call it “Mexican Carry.” Well, as the story goes, in response to Mexican anti-gun laws, they say many Mexicans started carrying without a holster. Should they come into unsuspected contact with the authorities, this allowed them to easily ditch their gun, leaving no evidence of ever being armed. That makes sense, but I’m guessing that practice has been used by all nationalities, for the exact same purpose, ever since handguns became a thing.


A more accurate description of this carry method is probably just “waistband carry.” Incidentally, during World War II, French resistance fighters often carried guns with what was called the “OSS string holster” for the same reasons. I’ve never seen any evidence that these brave souls—or Mexicans—experienced self-inflicted gunshot wounds at a rate any higher than folks who carry with a holster.

With that little rant and history lesson taken care of, truth be told, I utilize a holster more than not. The key to practical and comfortable concealed carry of a handgun, especially the itty-bitty ones, is a good holster. I’ve tried a bunch of different holsters, and those pictured here are a few I recommend without hesitation.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the August 2022 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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