More people than ever conceal carry. With that, more products are being offered on the market every day to make conceal carry safer, more discrete and easier. Not everybody can carry on their belt. Professionals that wear suits every day, medical workers who wear scrubs without a belt, or even people who sit for large amounts time at work that prevents drawing a belt mounted holster, need an alternative carry method for maximum effectiveness.
Shoulder holsters are good option, but better for some people is an ankle holster. When most people think about ankle holsters, they think of a backup gun. They think of a gun like a Beretta nano straped to the inside of their ankle and only used in an extreme emergency.
What carry back up gun is certainly part and parcel to an ankle holster, that’s not all are used for. Here are some of the best ankle holsters on the market, along with a few tips and tricks to making sure that you choose the right one and know how to use it when the time comes.
- When to Use an Ankle Holster?
- Gun Size for Ankle Holsters
- Weight & Comfort
- What to Look For - Key Features
- Top 7 Best Ankle Holster on the Market Reviews
- Best Way to Wear an Ankle Holster
- How to Conceal an Ankle Holster?
- How to Draw from an Ankle Holster?
- The Top Two Tips to Keep in Mind:
- Maintenance & Life Cycle
- The Verdict
When to Use an Ankle Holster?
The best time use an ankle holster is when you can’t carry any other method. This may sound pedantic but ankle carry is fraught with challenges and obstacles that have to be overcome just that you can draw, let alone carry comfortably.
Ankle carry is really a needs part of the conceal carry world and is difficult to pull off consistently. Most people conceal carry either looking for the deepest carry method possible, like off-duty or undercover police officers, or they work a job where they cannot use a belt mounted or shoulder mounted holster.
Taking the gun off your belt, or your torso moves it away from the typical places that you expect people to look for a gun. It also puts it on the most mobile part of your body. Other than Conceal-ability, the other main upside to ankle carry is that there are many situations where drawing from a belt holster is nearly impossible, but ideal from the angle.
For example, office workers and professional drivers. If you wear formal attire at the office, you may not want to keep your jacket on all day in order to carry with a shoulder holster by carrying inside the waistband is going to create an odd look to your suit. When sitting down all day, you won’t be able to draw from belt holster effectively anyway, this is the perfect situation for ankle holster.
Gun Size for Ankle Holsters
More so than other carry methods, the size of gun that you can carry in ankle holster is going to be determined by your physical stature. If you have a large build, and large legs in circumference you can get away with carrying a double stack or subcompact gun.
Men who are smaller statured and most women will not be able to conceal anything other than a small J frame revolver, or micro-sized pistol without wearing overly baggy pants. This is especially important for people who are opting for ankle carry because of professional attire.
Keep in mind, the length of the grip on your gun matters just as much as the thickness. Most people when considering a gun for concealed carry only think of the thickness because of IWB carry. When it comes ankle holsters the length of the grip on the gun is extremely important to prevent it for printing against your ankle and slamming into things as you walk.
Weight & Comfort
Nowhere on your body moves nearly as much as your ankles. Each and every time you walk your ankles have to swing several feet in order for you to walk forward. Ankle carry requires you strap a gun to the most mobile part of your body, and hope that it won’t go flying across the room when you get up.
With high quality, purpose made ankle holsters this normally is a problem. Ankle holsters are specifically designed with active retention in mind to prevent your gun from falling out when you walk. The challenge of ankle carry is coming up with not only the size of the gun you are willing to carry but also the weight and bulk of the gun and holster will be carrying.
The weight of the holster is important. Holsters made from heavy leather with extra padding can often weigh as much as the micro size guns that are carried inside his ankle holsters. All of these decisions will become easier to make after you spend some time carrying in an ankle holster. This is as much an art as it is a science and personal preference is going to rule above all else.
What to Look For - Key Features
When shopping for an ankle holster, is not unlike shopping for other holsters. However, there are a few extra tips and tricks you may want to make sure that you get the right one for you.
Comfort Vs Bulk
The relationship between comfortable is extremely important to get right in ankle holster that you choose. The bulkier your ankle holster is, the less comfortable is going to be about this is where the weight comes from. Heavily padded designs will require you to wear bulk your pants and be less comfortable when you walk.
If you feel your holster may need more padding, consider wearing a longer sock underneath the holster. This will add a minimal amount of weight or bulk and make your holster more comfortable.
Retention is everything with an ankle holster! You have to be absolutely sure that your gun is not going to fly across the room if you have to get up and use the bathroom. Active retention means like a molded in strap or thumb break are absolutely essential.
If you only ever conceal carry with a Kydex holster, is going to feel odd to you at first when you have to thumb-off the strap but after a few practice sessions will become second nature.
Ankle holsters will likely see more abuse than other designs. Sweat, abrasion and the necessity for the holster to stretch are all going to wear out the material much faster than other designs.
Buy a more durable holster upfront that you don’t have to worry about replacing it later on. If you’re on a budget, you can afford to buy your holster twice so you may as well get the more expensive option.
Make sure each and every night your move your gun from its holster and ensure the holster has adequate time to dry out. Holsters are worn directly next to your skin soak up more sweat than you realize when you first start out carrying.
Making sure that your holster is well taken care of me that you won’t have to worry if there is adequate retention or elasticity to keep your gun from falling out or the holster from falling off. Many of the genuine leather designs on the market will last decades if properly cared for.
Top 7 Best Ankle Holster on the Market Reviews
1 CONCEALED CARRIER (TM) Ankle Holster for Concealed Carry Pistol
If you’re looking for a budget minded ankle holster, this is your best bet. Coming it one of the cheapest on the market, this fully neoprene, and Velcro design is perfect for anyone just getting into concealed carry and wants a comfortable option.
Made from breathable surgical grade neoprene and high-quality Velcro, this holster is large enough to carry any of the single stack 9 mm or .380 ACP guns on the market. This includes Ruger LCP, Ruger LC9 Glock 42, Glock 43 and even some of the smaller double stack guns like a Glock 26.
The great thing about this holster is that it includes an extended ankle strap along with the ability to carry a spare magazine. Most other holsters lack both of these features that makes this holster stand out among others for slightly better comfort and retention.
This is the perfect holster for anyone looking to get into ankle carry for cheap and once a good holster that can fit over boots, or to carry a small gun underneath jeans. Carrying a heavy gun like a 1911 in this holster is a bad idea because of the lack of support and retention.
2 Galco Black Right Hand Ankle Glove
There’s no name and holsters like Galco. They make the most amount holsters on the market and all their models are made on rotation and are ready to ship when you order them. You get a custom quality holster with virtually no way when you order a product from Galco.
Galco is most recognized as a leader and ankle holsters than anything else. They make to primary models, the Galco ankle glove being there highest-quality most popular. Make no mistake, this is an expensive holster.
Extremely high-quality neoprene, Velcro, genuine leather and sheepskin padding make this one of the best ankle holsters on the market for professionals who carry guns. A favorite among police for backup guns this holster is one of the most durable on the market and will likely last decades if properly taken care of.
It features a thumb snap or tension and the entire holster is extraordinarily durable. Available for multitude of different guns including virtually all subcompact and micro-sized Glocks, most small revolvers and even some Ruger firearms, this is one of the best rated and most beloved ankle holsters you can buy.
3 Galco Ankle Lite / Ankle Holster
If you want Galco ankle holster, but don’t want to spring for the more expensive ankle glove they have you covered. This product the Galco ankle lite is made for people wanting a lower cost and low-profile alternative to their more expensive larger model.
Maybe United States is available for left and right-hand shooters fits angles of 213 inches in circumference and is awesome for concealed carry. It is made from neoprene and suede leather, incorporating sheepskin padding for extra comfort.
Most of the holsters and is lineup are made for micro-sized guns like a Ruger LCP or Keltech P3AT. While holsters are made from larger guns a Glock 26, or Springfield XDS, they are not as effective because this holster does lack support for heavier double stack gun. It is a great holster for micro-sized guns, .380 ACP guns, and other smaller pistols.
All the materials using this holster make it well worth the money and with proper care should last for decades. No other holster brand is more recommended than Galco for serious day in and day out carry of guns. This holster will make you understand why.
4 Desantis Die Hard Ankle Rig
Desantis is known as one of the best leather holster makers on the mass-market. All their holsters are high-quality and you can rely on them to do their job, often for less money than their main competitors like Galco.
In this case, the main difference between this holster and the rest is that this is a low-profile ankle holster made from genuine steer hide rather than suede leather. And features the same neoprene and sheepskin angle loop that many other holsters have, along with a leather holster that incorporates a thumb break retention strap.
The difference between this holster and all the rest is that you get genuine steer hide, in an open muzzle design that sheds debris and moisture much easier than other designs. For the money, this is one of the highest-quality US manufactured holsters in the industry.
This is a highly recommended product for anyone looking for one of the longest wearing and highest-quality ankle holsters on the market. The only downside is that it’s made for most single stack and micro-sized pistols on the market, this model holster made for other guns like a Glock 26 hard to find.
5 Crossbreed Holsters Ankle Holster
Most people think crossbreed holsters, they think of their flagship product IWB hybrid holsters. They make other types of holsters, and this is one of their second most popular lineups. They manufacture three different size holsters made for micro, small and medium size guns to accommodate a large number of auto pistols and some revolvers.
The great thing about this holster is that it incorporates an extra Support strap to center the weight of your gun along your ankle. It will accommodate up to a 12 inch circumference angle, making it perfect for people who will be wearing boots with their holster.
The holsters made from heavy-duty nylon and features and Velcro retention strap that wraps nearly around the entire holster. This keeps your gun seated in the holster better than most other designs on the market.
This is a very heavy-duty design that works well for people who will be using it for CCW day in and day out. While doesn’t fit every gun on the market, it is great for people who are looking for a burly piece of equipment that will work with a pistol as large as a Glock 26.
6 BLACKHAWK! Ankle Holster
This is an innovative design from Blackhawk. Manufactured by ATK it fits 3 to 4 inch barreled automatic pistols and is more adjustable with different features than any other ankle holster on the market. It is versatile enough to fit any smaller pistol that will fit inside the holster, and the molded thumb break works with all them.
The body holsters made from a comfortable soft fabric and the holster secured with a non-stretch retention strap that works with a tensioning buckle.
This is a great ankle holster for anyone that is going to be moving a lot throughout the day. It offers the most amount of retention both firearm and the holster against your ankle and all the other designs on the market.
The moisture guard and extra strap make for a slightly less comfortable holster than other models, but what you give up and comfort you gain in Kydex like retention. This is a great, innovative holster for the money and will do its job well.
7 Uncle Mike's Off-Duty and Concealment Kodra Nylon Ankle Holster
If you want the slimmest and trim as ankle holster on the market, this is it from uncle Mike’s. Designed to carry by police officers off-duty this is a fully nylon and neoprene ankle holster designed to fit small auto pistols.
The quarter a nylon holster is made with models large enough to hold up to a subcompact double stack gun like a Glock 27. Was holsters not the most refined on the market, leaving small unrefined edges that can chafe during the day, the design is great, and the materials and workmanship makes it well worth the money.
If you simply can’t fit a larger ankle holster and are using a subcompact gun this is a great option. Just be aware that it is not as finished as other holsters on the market and will likely not last as long.
Best Way to Wear an Ankle Holster
When ordering ankle holster, don’t try to game the system. Meaning, order the same hand designation that you normally would for any other holster. Meaning, if you are right handed order a right-handed holster.
This may seem odd, but ankle holsters are more on the opposite ankle from their strong side. Meaning if you are right-handed, you carry your gun on the inside of your left ankle. This is done for a number of reasons, most importantly being so that you can get a full firing grip on the gun before you draw it from the holster.
If you are right-handed and carry in ankle holster on your right ankle, you are either leaving your holster exposed on the outside of your ankle or you are risking and unsafe draw by having to pry the holster away from your ankle to get a full firing grip. Neither of these situations are optimal.
Wearing an ankle holster underneath jeans with normal sneakers is not a problem. However, if you wear boots with a long shank, typically over 6 inches to run into some problems. Normally speaking, the barrel of your gun should be in line with the ball of your ankle bone.
This is going to feel much higher and odd than it should at first. Once you get used to it you understand that in order for the holster to be properly concealed, and the gun to be adequately retained in the holster during movement, it has to be against the flat surface of your upper ankle.
If you wear the holster too low, the muzzle of your gun is going to be rubbing against the top of your shoe, the bone of your ankle is going to work the gun out of your holster as you walk. Especially concerning if you are police, or work in an environment where you are allowed to be carrying like nurses at a hospital.
How to Conceal an Ankle Holster?
Concealing an angle holster comes done two things, carrying a gun that fits the size of your body, and wearing the proper clothing.
Unlike belt mounted carry, the size gun that you can comfortably conceal on your ankle is largely dependent on your individual body size. If you are a smaller female, you’re going to have a hard time concealing a double stack compact gun on your ankle or even a Smith & Wesson shield, you may have to downgrade to a Smith & Wesson bodyguard for example.
On the other hand, if you’re very large man who wears looser fitting jeans, you may be able to conceal a standard concealed carry gun like a Glock 19 or a Springfield XDS. This is partially why small J frame revolvers and even Ruger LCR models have become ubiquitous with ankle carry. There lightweight, easy to conceal in virtually malfunction free.
The second part of concealing an ankle holster is wearing pants long enough and large enough to hide your gun. You don’t want to have pants that are excessively long, creating a hazard an obstacle for drawing your gun quickly, but at the same time, your gun needs to be hidden if you sit on a barstool or walk up a flight of stairs.
Choosing the right pants and gun and holster combination is as much an art as it is a science. Depending on the type of clothing that you have to wear in your daily life, you may come to completely different conclusion than someone else. The good news about ankle carry is that it is very, very rare for people to be staring at your ankles for any amount of time to notice a gun strapped to them.
How to Draw from an Ankle Holster?
Drawing from an ankle holster can be a tricky affair. Keep in mind, most gun shots wounds in the USA are self-inflicted, and almost all of those occur when holsters and re-holstering a loaded weapon. So, when learning to do this, use a dummy gun or triple check that your gun is unloaded and go slow!
Here’s a quick video to get everyone on the same page:
The Top Two Tips to Keep in Mind:
Maintenance & Life Cycle
The truth about many concealed carry holsters is that their life span is severely shortened due to poor maintenance and neglect. When it comes a high-quality ankle holsters, sweat and mildew is going to ruin your holster far before the material wears out. It’s just not likely for you to experience high-quality leather or neoprene to excessively stretch or wear down within a few years.
However, is very likely that your holster will be ruined, and possibly your gun depending on the type of neglect, if you walk through the rain and don’t make sure your holster is adequately dried out immediately after.
Keep your holster clean, dry and well-conditioned is the most important thing you can do to making sure it lasts a long time. Especially with ankle holsters that rely on Velcro and elasticity to keep your gun retained in your holster and on your leg.
While ankle holster certainly is especially item, if you get past the shortcomings of restricted draw and large amounts of weapon movement while you walk, they can be an excellent alternative carry method. Ankle carry is never going to be as popular, or as effective as other carry methods like IWB or OWB, but with the right equipment and training, you can make do pretty well with an ankle rig.
Look around online for extremely comfortable and secure ankle holster that is going to work well with your type of dress and the firearm that you plan on carrying. Remember that many of the cheaper options on the market severely lack the performance of name brand designs, and that is going to sway your opinion of holsters if you choose to purchase a low-quality product.
No matter which product you choose to buy, make sure you have it on you and the time counts. The best ankle holster in the world isn’t going to do you any good in your gun safe at home.