Ankle holsters are simultaneously an antiquated yet indispensable method for concealed carry. To effectively use an ankle holster, one must appreciate the necessity and innovation that went into its design. These holsters are meant to be fastened around the lower leg, just above the ankle. Wearing an ankle holster properly is not just a matter of comfort; it’s important for retention and deployment. In this post, we’ll cover the ins and outs of using an ankle holster and if it is a viable option for you.
Why Use An Ankle Holster?
Ankle holsters are sometimes called ‘ankle rigs’ or ‘leg holsters’ and are primarily used by individuals in need of deep concealment for their secondary or backup firearms. Historically, they have been the gear of choice for law enforcement officers, private investigators (I’m feeling some 50s detective vibes), civilians, and often criminals. The use of ankle holsters became particularly notable during the Prohibition era, where they provided a discrete option for detectives, agents, and gangsters alike.
Their utilization continued to be significant during the Cold War, when spies and off-duty officers in civilian attire found them easy to use without printing.
Consider that during these eras, ‘snub nose revolvers’ were very popular and common in these walks of life and among civilians as well.
The ankle holster has had a consistent presence in the tapestry of personal defense tools, evolving with advancements in materials and design to provide better concealment, quicker access, and of course more comfort. I mean, who would want a leather strap around their ankle for hours with a piece of metal banging against their ankle bone?
From the holsters used by plainclothes police officers during the 1960s to the modern designs embraced by today’s undercover agents, the ankle holster remains an enduring method for stealth and security in law enforcement and concealed carry.
Are Ankle Holsters Practical?
This is an interesting question to ponder. Consider this example that illustrates the speed and practicality of appendix carry.
No matter how much you practice and train it will be very difficult if not impossible to match the speed of an appendix carry draw. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place, consider that off body carry like in a purse holster is still very common.
Ankle holsters shine in modern real-world applications where traditional waistband holsters are not viable. They are particularly useful for individuals who are sit for long periods of time like drivers, office workers, or those in a wheelchair because they allow quick and discreet access to a firearm. Understanding how to wear an ankle holster properly is another important aspect for those who frequently wear outfits that do not accommodate a waistband holster. For police officers, private investigators or undercover law enforcement, these provide an unobtrusive method of carrying a backup weapon that won’t interfere with their cover, attire, or a crowded duty belt.
For concealed carry, ankle holsters offer a solution for when wearing a belt or waistband holster is impractical due to clothing choices. This can be especially relevant in warmer climates or social settings where lighter, less structured clothing is worn, and a waistband may not adequately support a holster. Or folks who don’t like sitting for long with a firearm digging into their abdomen.
One huge advantage of ankle holsters is very few people are looking for or expecting to see a firearm on someone’s ankle. If a firearm prints anywhere on someone’s beltline, back, front, side, it can be a giveaway. If an ankle holster prints it will likely be missed, of if someone see they may just assume it is a brace, cast, or even ankle monitor. More than likely nobody will give it a second thought. Consider the idea of confirmation bias, we see what we expect to see and miss what is out of the ordinary.
Moreover, ankle holsters can be a method of carrying a personal protection firearm in a manner that is both concealed and comfortable, particularly in situations where they may be sitting for a movie or dinner and want comfort and accessibility.
Pros & Cons of Ankle Holsters
- Concealment: Ankle holsters CAN offer exceptional concealment. They take advantage of the natural human tendency to pay little attention to others’ ankles, making it a less-expected location for a firearm.
- Backup Carry: They are an ideal option for carrying a backup weapon, which can be a lifesaver in emergencies where accessing a primary weapon might not be feasible.
- Sitting: It is easier, faster, and more discreet to draw from an ankle holster while seated with practice.
- Accessibility: Retrieving a weapon from an ankle holster takes longer than from the waistband, especially if standing or moving.
- Comfort and Mobility: Some users find ankle holsters less comfortable, particularly if the firearm’s weight causes the holster to shift or the straps chafe against the skin during extended wear.
Continuing with additional advantages, ankle holsters are versatile in that they can be worn with most types of clothing, you know except shorts, tight pants, etc. However, they also present MANY limitations in terms of the size of the firearm they can carry, restricting users to smaller, compact models and revolvers.
Where and How Should You Wear An Ankle Holster?
An ankle holster should be worn just above the ankle on the inside of your weak-side leg. This positioning optimizes comfort and aids in a smoother draw. The holster should fit snugly, yet not so tight that it impairs circulation or causes discomfort. Some prefer to wear an extra layer, such as a sock, beneath the holster for comfort. Now, this may be counterintuitive to what you may have seen on film, but this is the proper, most biomechanically friendly, and quickest way to draw rather than carrying on the outside of the leg.
Balancing comfort and convenience is important, folks won’t carry if it is too uncomfortable. The holster must be secure enough to keep the firearm in place during all levels of activity. Still, it should also be comfortable enough to wear for longer periods without causing irritation or impeding movement.
Which Leg Do You Wear an Ankle Holster on?
Deciding which leg to wear an ankle holster is a tactical choice influenced by several personal factors, including your dominant hand and the position you expect to be in when drawing your weapon. As a general rule, you should wear your holster on the opposite side of your dominant hand. This means if you’re right-handed, your holster should go on your left ankle. This positioning facilitates a smoother draw. When considering the placement of the firearm on the outer or inner part of your ankle, inside positioning is recommended. It offers better concealment and can be more comfortable when sitting or moving, as well as less printing.
Which is the Best Gun For An Ankle Holster?
Choosing the right firearm for an ankle holster involves weighing factors like size, weight, and personal comfort. Safety is important, so selecting a firearm that can be securely holstered and easily accessed is should be the top of your list. Here are some tips and considerations:
- Size and Weight: Opt for a compact and lightweight firearm that won’t weigh down your ankle, cause discomfort, or change how you walk.
- Reholstering: Ensure that the firearm can be easily and safely reholstered without the need to use both hands.
- Trigger Guard: The holster should fully cover the trigger guard to prevent accidental discharge.
When it comes to specific firearms, revolvers like the Smith & Wesson 640 or 642 are popular due to their reliability and snag-free design. Subcompact semi-automatics like the Glock 26 and Sig Sauer 365 are also favored for their shortened grip. Another consideration should be the thickness of the firearm, as this will contribute to printing. Firearms like the Glock 42/43, S&W Shield, and Sig 365 are great choices.
Can You Run With An Ankle Holster?
Yeah you can, but it will be a test of if the ankle holster is properly fitted.
While ankle holsters are designed for concealment and ease of carrying, they can pose challenges during physical activities like running. The additional weight on one leg can lead to an imbalance. Moreover, there’s a risk of the firearm shifting or the holster slipping, which underscores the importance of choosing a well-fitted ankle holster with secure straps. If you anticipate the need to run or move rapidly, regular drills and practice are advisable to ensure you can do so safely and comfortably with your ankle holster.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ankle Holsters
An ankle holster should be worn on the inside of your weak-side leg, which is the left leg if you are right-handed, and vice versa.
An ankle holster can be excellent for concealed carry, particularly when wearing long pants that can effectively cover the holster and with practice.
A holster should be worn securely on your body in a position that allows for easy access, retention, and comfort; this can vary between waistband, shoulder, ankle, or other types of holsters.
When sitting, the best position to wear a holster is often on the ankle or in a shoulder holster, as these areas are more accessible while seated.
Do you have a Sig 320? Just kidding, they fixed it they said. A gun should not go off in a holster if the holster is properly designed with safety in mind, covering the trigger guard and preventing any movement of the trigger.
You can keep your gun loaded in a holster to ensure it is ready for immediate use, but always follow the safety rules of gun handling and ensure the holster covers the trigger guard to prevent accidental discharge. Empty chamber carrying bring its own set of dangers
Ankle holsters stand out as an option for those looking for practicality and deep concealment. They serve as a great option for law enforcement as a method to carry a backup weapon, or a civilian looking for a concealed carry alternative to waistband carry.
For those exploring options for ankle holsters and other holster types, Tacticon offers a range of choices catering to different needs and preferences. With a focus on quality and practicality, Tacticon can provide you with the equipment necessary to maintain readiness and safety in various situations. As with any tactical gear, be sure to practice with it, get comfortable with its use, and carry it responsibly.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Tacticon Armament.