(from a series originally begun at firearmstrainingandtactics.com)
Because it has become a topic of discussion -- both intelligent and otherwise -- lately, with your indulgence and at the suggestion of one of the FT&T owners, it seemed a thread devoted to AIWB was called for.
My personal journey with AIWB began, you could say, many years ago. A friend, whose name is Chris, was serving in a SOF role in Afganistan and was home on leave when we decided to hit the range. He was carrying a Glock 19 in an appendix holster and, like any right-thinking adult male, my immediate reaction was: you are the stupidest person I've ever met, and when you blow your dick off, I will be laughing too hard to render aid.
Chris, who had been carrying that way for many years both at home and overseas, extolled its many virtues. I, who had been using my penis recreationally for even longer, could not come to terms with the concept.
Fast forward a few years. Chris is home again, now working for an OGA, and still carrying aiwb. Through his influence, a mutual friend -- Ernest Langdon -- decides to try it and has a CCC Looper made for himself with a straight cant. Ernest begins carrying that way daily and repeatedly tells me how much he prefers it. Simultaneously, another close friend -- who was on a full-time federal tactical team with both domestic and overseas operational responsibilities -- also goes back to aiwb carry, which he used for years when he was with NYPD.
Giving in to peer pressure I tried aiwb. At first, it was something I only did with an empty gun around the house to get a feel for the technique as well as to convince myself that I could do it safely consistently. I was lucky enough to have a number of aiwb holsters land on my doorstep and began to compare them to figure out what characteristics seemed to spell the difference between a truly great aiwb and also-rans.
At the same time, I was able to talk to and train with a number of people who had a lot of experience with aiwb carry. I also started to integrate my techniques into an aiwb mode, or develop new ones that were more appropriate for aiwb.
Now that I have been carrying this way for about three years, I am convinced it is the best solution for me, for a wide range of reasons:
I'll discuss each of those in more detail in later posts.
Of course, the major negative to aiwb is that if you fuck up, you will die. Most people understand this on an innate level, but it cannot be overstated. While you may just blow your testicles off, you are far more likely to shoot yourself in the femoral and bleed out before anyone can help you.
Say again: if you fuck up, you will die.
Reholstering takes on a whole new level of seriousness with aiwb carry. While there are a number of tweaks to your technique that can help minimize the risk, the most important point to remember is that you have essentially zero margin of error so going slowly trumps looking cool. I've had students in class who were told to slow down their aiwb reholstering or they'd be kicked out of class.
Or as one student put it: "Every time I holster my gun, I tell myself don't kill yourself first."
Carrying aiwb isn't for everyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone who is uncomfortable with carrying this way. It is not a badge of honor or an indication of skill. It doesn't make you cool. Chicks don't dig it. It's simply an option with benefits and costs, like any other carry method.