Belly Band vs Strong Side IWB and Appendix Carry: Which is Right For You?

Belly band vs strong side iwb and appendix carry

All three of these carry positions are popular. They each have their benefits and downsides. I have carried with all three and I learned a lot. I compare each carry position to important aspects of concealed carry.

Each carry position will be compared to the others based on each being done correctly. For example, using a 4 o’clock IWB holster for appendix carry would not be a good appendix carry experience and does not reflect the true benefits of appendix carry.


Each carry method can be more comfortable than another. What someone is doing and the temperature have an impact on pistol carry comfort. Think about which situation you will be in most. This will help you determine which carry position is most comfortable for you.

Standing and Walking Comfort While Carrying A Pistol

Standing will usually be the most comfortable way to carry a concealed pistol. The reason for this is the pistol’s weight distribution. While upright, gravity is putting all of the pistol’s weight on the holster and the holster’s attachment point. Either on a belt or on a belly band, having the weight spread out is very comfortable.

If you are on your feet most of time, then any of these carry position will be comfortable.

Winner: Three Way Tie

Sitting and Pistol Carry Comfort

Sitting with a pistol in a belly band is perfectly comfortable. It doesn’t feel any different than standing or walking. However, the same cannot be said for strong side iwb and appendix carry.

Sitting with an appendix holstered pistol can be uncomfortable. This was especially true for me as a skinny guy. When I first started appendix carrying, sitting was super rough. My cheap belt with 1 inch notches needed to be swapped for a good gun belt. A good gun belt will have ¼ inch notches. Also, my gun belt allows me to discreetly loosen it when sitting. Doing this made sitting with an appendix pistol much less annoying. You can learn more about Appendix Carry For Skinny Guy by clicking the underlined text.

Sitting with a strong side iwb pistol isn’t as rough as appendix carry. However, it’s not as comfortable as sitting with a belly band pistol. The backs of chairs can push a strong side pistol into the carrier. This is especially true with car seats. Modern car seats put us deep into the seat. This makes the back of the car seat put pressure on a strong side pistol. Additionally, the seat belt pushes from the front and limits forward hip movement off the back of the seat.

Winner: Belly Band

Hot Weather Comfort

Belly bands are essentially a piece of thick cloth that wraps around the waist. Wearing a belly band is like wearing an extra shirt. It will increase heat, retain heat, and absorb sweat. Having said this, hot weather with a belly band is only a problem for those who stay in the heat. If you live and work in an air conditioned building or car, then the hot weather outside won’t stink up a belly band with salty sweat.

If you do pistol carry while hot, then a kydex strong side iwb or appendix carry holster are good options. Kydex doesn’t insulate, retain heat, or absorb sweet.

Winners: Strong Side IWB and Appendix Carry


All 3 carry methods can offer great concealment. The easiest to conceal is a belly band. It just takes a loose shirt covering the belly to get good concealment. Simple looking down will confirm that the shirt is still concealing the belly pistol. When I strong side carry, I often feel my shirt to see if it’s still over the pistol.

In my experience, concealing an appendix holster was the most difficult. When I first started appendix carrying, I had a big problem with printing. When I started using a good gun belt and wearing looser shirts, my pistol stopped printing. You can learn more about How to Appendix Carry Without Printing by clicking the underlined text.

Winner: Three Way Tie

Draw Speed

Drawing from an appendix holster can be lighting fast. At the appendix, a pistol is closer to the eyes than a pistol at the strong side. Also, it’s less complex drawing from the appendix than either from a belly band or strong side. Drawing from strong side iwb requires swinging the pistol to the middle of the body.

It’s true that a belly band pistol is about as close to the eyes as an appendix pistol. However, removing a pistol from a belly band is slow. It’s slow because of the belly band retention method. Most belly band holsters use a velcro strap to retain a pistol. That strap has to be pulled off before drawing. Because of this it’s faster to draw from a good kydex appendix or strong side iwb holster.

Winner: Appendix Carry

Concealed Carry with a Tucked Shirt

A belly band holster is an easy way to carry with a tucked shirt. Belly bands offer good concealment and comfort including with a tucked shirt. Printing can be avoided by tucking the shirt a little loose.

It really is super easy to conceal a belly band with a tucked shirt. However, the slow draw speed is still factor.

Tucking with a strong side iwb holster or appendix holster can also be done. These holsters need one of two types of tuckable holster clips. These are Ulticlips or tuckable belt clips. Both types of clips have space between the clips and holster to tuck a shirt. They differ in that Ulticlips attach to the pants and tuckable belt clips attach to a belt. With tuckable belt clips, the clips will be exposed over the belt. Because Ulticlips attach directly to pants, a belt can cover them.

Have said all of the above, strong side iwb and appendix carry can conceal with a tucked shirt just as well as a belly band.

To learn more about Concealed Carry with a Tucked Shirt, click the underlined text.

Winner: Three Way Tie

Bicycling and Running with a Pistol

A belly band holster is the best way to carry when bicycling, running or doing anything athletic. Yes, the belly band will get hot, sweaty, and stinky, but so is the rest of you.

Strong side iwb and appendix carry aren’t good options because they usually require a belt. There are holster clips that attach directly to the sweat pants and don’t require use of a belt. These are know as fabriclips. However, I don’t recommend athletic pistol carry with fabriclips. The weight of a holstered pistol could push pants down. You don’t want to worry about that. Also, attaching a holster to athletic pants would require making the pants waist very tight. It would be uncomfortable doing athletic things with a tight waist and a pistol inside the waistband.

You can learn more about How to Carry a Pistol on a Bicycle by clicking the underlined text.

Winner: Belly Band

Concealed Carry For Women

Most ladies are curvy. Because of this, it’s often difficult for women to conceal a pistol. Imagine putting a holstered pistol on a basketball and a sheet over both of them. The space between the basketball and holstered pistol will cause the pistol to print through the sheet.

The belly below the navel is one place women often don’t retain fat. This is usually one of the flattest places on the female body. Because of this, appendix carry is one of the most discreet places for women to carry a pistol. Strong side iwb isn’t as good because ladies tend to store fat in the butt. A belly band holster can conceal good for a lady if she doesn’t have a lot of waist fat.

Winner: Appendix Carry

Andrew Jordan

I’m a lifelong native of Memphis, TN. Shooting drills especially with 22LR are one of my passions. My concealed carry permit application was submitted on my 21st birthday. The P10C is my EDC pistol. I invented the patented 15 round 5.56 stripper clip. You can also find me on the “Concealed Carry Andrew” Youtube channel.

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