Gould and Goodrich Ankle Holster is also available at:
When to Use an Ankle Holster?
Ankle holsters are really niche holsters. They satisfy a very small need, but when that itch needs to be scratched, there is only one cure: the ankle holster. I’m going to be real with you folks and present the truth about ankle holsters in an objective way.
- Present an extremely deep level of concealment
- Incredibly comfortable and easy to access when seated
- Can enable concealed carry when other ways of dress prohibit it
- In a seated position, you can draw stealthily
- The perfect way to carry a backup gun.
- Slow to draw from while standing
- Limited to relatively small guns
- Can easily attract dirt and debris to the gun
- Requires you to wear pants
I really like the ankle holster when I feel the need to carry a backup gun. This allows me to keep a gun located in a different position from my normal carry gun.
This allows me to access a gun either in a low-profile manner or reach a gun if for some reason my main gun is inaccessible. Ankle carry is also great if you want to carry a gun while wearing formal attire.
Suits or shirt and ties can make it hard to conceal a gun. Carrying a gun in a normal manner also often creates lines in formal clothing and often stands out.
Ankle carry is again a great option when seated for a long period of time, such as at an office job or on a long road trip.
Popularity has waned in the past, but newer systems from Galco and Alien Gear have drawn concealed carry via the ankle back into the open. Its popularity is on the rise these days, and you can find more and more options hitting the market daily.
How to Choose Your Ankle Holster
The most important consideration in choosing your ankle holster is your firearm. Obviously, the holster needs to fit your firearm, but you need to consider more than just if the gun will fit.
If you are carrying a heavy double stack 9 mm handgun, you’ll need a more supportive holster than an LCP 380. A heavier gun will need a wider strap to help distribute the weight better, or you can use a calf strap.
A small gun can get away with a lot less in terms of support and design. So, first consider your gun and the amount of support it needs.
This leads to comfort. Having enough support means having a comfortable carry gun. Additionally, you need to consider the material used to produce the holster and how that affects comfort.
Leather is often stronger but also less comfortable. Leather holsters need to be reinforced with a soft internal material like neoprene or sheepskin.
Neoprene material is incredibly soft and breathable. It provides a soft, elastic-like material that breathes and doesn’t chafe the skin. A reinforcement of some form of soft material is necessary. Your legs are constantly swinging, and this creates the potential for friction.
Since we are talking about movement, let’s do a smooth segue into retention. Whether you’re walking, climbing, jumping, or doing anything else, you are moving your legs.
This means you are moving your gun. You need a holster that can promise retention, no matter what you are doing. A thumb strap is by far the most common method and is quite effective.
Other companies have discovered some really impressive ways to secure the gun safely, but the thumb strap remains the king. A concealed carry ankle holster needs to be concealable.
By design, ankle holsters are concealable, but if the holster is designed for a tight fit, it will fail. It will stick out too far and draw attention to anyone who looks at your feet.
It needs a tight fit that holds the holster close to your body. If it sticks outwards, retire it and try again. Calf straps help a lot with this, as do elastic bands.
The Top Brands for Ankle Holsters
Galco makes a little bit of everything, and this includes ankle holsters. They produce three distinct lines of ankle holsters, each offering different advantages and weaknesses and for a wide variety of guns.
Galco incorporates leather, elastic, and even polymer into their ankle holster lines. Galco produces holsters for both police and civilian users.
Their Ankle Glove is one of the favorites for police officers carrying a backup piece. Galco’s products are far from cheap, but they present an extreme level of quality. These are holsters that last and last dang near forever after daily carry.
They are designed to maximize comfort and ensure concealment. They have built-in retention systems that are hard to beat. Galco’s designs do evolve and continue to grow. They are now implementing both polymer and leather into a comfortable and ergonomic design.
They are produced for a wide variety of popular firearms, and Galco tends to produce holsters for individual weapons, meaning you won’t find many universal ankle holsters in their lineup.
Their custom-molded leather gives you a holster that maximizes retention, safe holstering, and drawing. These molded leather designs are impeccable and make it easy to wear a gun on your ankle day in and day out.
If Galco had a main competitor, it would be Desantis. Desantis produces some amazing leather holsters, and this extends to their ankle rigs.
With names like the Die Hard and the Apache, they are easy to remember. Even if they were named something boring like the Ankle Holster 01 and 02, they’d be memorable for just how comfortable they are.
The Desantis Ankle Rigs are aimed slightly more at the average concealed carrier and built to be low profile and comfortable. The Apache, for example, is incredibly comfortable and utilizes nylon to accommodate most small frame pistols.
The Die Hard rig is elastic and leather and looks as good as it feels. On top of all this, Desantis is known for their ability to add a calf strap, but this is not always necessary.
Their extra wide straps are more than enough to support the guns they provide holsters for. Their main base is very small and concealable guns, which are really the best option for ankle carry holsters.
Desantis has been around for a very long time, and I expect they will remain around for quite some time. They produce extremely high-quality holsters, and their ankle rig designs are second to none.
Now how did Alien Gear become a top brand in ankle holsters when they’ve only produced one? Well, they made the biggest advancement in ankle holsters in decades.
Their modular platform allows the end user to control nearly every part of their ankle holsters. Not only that, the interchangeable shells make it easy to adjust the holster for a wide variety of guns.
Alien Gear changed the game when it came to ankle holsters. The Shapeshift system is designed to allow you to swap between a variety of different styles of holsters from OWB, to IWB, to shoulder rigs, and of course to an ankle rig.
This design allows you to fill the niche of ankle carry when you need it and a normal means to carry when you don’t. Alien Gear’s ShapeShift ankle holster is easily the most supportive ankle holster on the market.
Their holster utilizes an ankle strap, a wide wrap-around band, and an ankle piece with a hard rod that presses the holster upwards. You can carry a full-sized gun comfortably, not that I’d advise it for concealed carry, but it’s strong enough to support it.
Alien Gear has produced only one ankle holster, but it’s the most innovative and useful on the market. If they keep this up, they will own the ankle carry market.
We get a lot of questions regarding ankle holsters, so let’s answer the most common ones now.
What guns are best for ankle holsters?
Typically, subcompacts to pocket pistols are best used for ankle carry. These are the easiest to conceal and lightest to carry.
On what leg should I wear an ankle holster?
Ankle holsters are best worn on the dominant leg. This makes it easier to draw and more intuitive overall.
How do you draw from an ankle holster?
When seated manually, pull up your pants leg as much as possible with both hands. Pin it up with the non-dominant hand and retrieve the gun with your dominant hand.
When standing, grab your pants fabric and pull it up and then take a big step forward, going into a mini-lunge. Retrieve the weapon with your dominant hand and fire.
Is an ankle holster legal in my state?
No, American state disqualifies concealed carry based solely on holster choice.
Ankle Carried Away
Ankle carry isn’t easy, but it’s far from impossible. It requires some training, some practice, and a little know-how. You have to know how to find the right holster and how to use the right holster.
This takes research and practice. If you take the time to do both, you will be quite successful.
If you are not looking for an ankle holster, take a look our other guides: