As part of my ongoing quest for the perfect ankle holster, I hit up Galco Gunleather. They sent me a care package containing three different ankle holsters suitable for my main carry gun: a Glock 26. Coincidentally enough, the Glock 26 weighs 26 ounces loaded. Depending on your stems, that’s near the upper limit weight-wise for reasonably comfortable ankle carry. Which worked out well for this review; the Gaston’s pistol stressed the holster—and my leg—sufficiently to expose the weaknesses of both the holster and this style of carry. Contenders ready?
I tried all three holsters, sometimes switching them around, sometimes keeping one on for eight hours or so at a time. Standing, seated, walking, etc. Normal daily stuff.
The Cop Ankle Band ($52.95) uses elasticized nylon material for the cuff. The thumb break attaches (via velcro) to the cuff on one side, then to the thumb break on the other. It’s as comfortable as Martin Crane’s recliner. The Cop Ankle Band (CAB) pulled the gun marginally closer to my ankle than the other two holsters, helping concealment slightly.
Re-holstering the CAB is a decidedly two-handed affair. The pocket that holds the gun completely closes on draw. The easiest re-holstering method involved removing the velcro thumb break, opening the pocket with the opposite hand, putting the gun at the desired depth, then attaching the thumb snap, running the velcro over the gun and re-attaching the velcro.
The CAB’s velcro thumb break is a potential show stopper. On more than one occasion, it didn’t have enough tension to “break” on draw. (Note: I had a similar problem with the Renegade holster.) If I were committed to this holster, I’d figure out where I wanted the velcro strap, then break out the sewing machine and lock it into place.
That said, this elastic holster holds the gun so firmly in place one could probably do without the thumb break completely. I tried this and the G26 stayed put with walking, light running and jumping, but fell out with repeated sharp kicking motions. I imagine a lighter gun would stay put even more securely.
The CAB offers great retention and allows for a full grip on the weapon for draw. If this had been the only ankle holster I’d tried, I would have been pretty happy with it.
The Ankle Lite ($71.95) [above] shares an identical cuff and fleece with the Ankle Glove. It also has a thumb break. The Ankle Lite’s holster portion is made of a low-end, decidedly floppy (i.e. unmolded leather) leather.
The only thing that annoyed me about the Ankle Lite is a bit of floppiness when moving. This led to a bit of a sore spot on the inside of my ankle after prolonged wear. The holster drew very well, allowing for a firm, complete grip.
The Ankle Glove ($89.95) stands on top of the range with a wide neoprene/velcro cuff on a molded leather holster with a thumb break. The Ankle Glove positions a fleece-type material–which may or may not have anything to do with a sheep— between the holster and one’s leg.
The Ankle Glove and Ankle Lite attach the same way and feel almost identical on the leg. The differences are minor. The softer leather of the Ankle Lite makes re-holstering a little more futzy, but nothing I couldn’t live with. The Ankle Glove is better in this area for sure.
The thumb breaks on both holsters worked flawlessly every time.
Switching from one product to another was telling. Putting on the Ankle Glove or Ankle Lite after a few hours with the Ankle Band feels like switching from an average shirt to one made of Egyptian cotton. If I were blindfolded I doubt I could tell them apart—until I started moving. At which point the Ankle Lite’s slight floppiness would give it away.
All three of these Galco ankle holster are dependable and comfortable enough to daily use. As it should, the final nod goes to the flagship Ankle Glove. It’s the only ankle holster I’ve ever worn that truly “disappeared.” Essentially, I could forget I was wearing my Glock. Not that I did. You know what I mean . . .
If I had a lightweight gun, I’d consider the Cop Ankle Band and toss the thumb break strap. Galco’s Mike Barham told me that the Ankle Glove for the Glock 26/27 has been one of the top selling holsters in Galco’s history. Makes sense to me.
Some concluding thoughts about ankle carry in general (hat tip to the great commentators on the previous ankle carry post).
Ankle holsters are best used with lighter weapons. A good rule of thumb: if a pistol is comfortable in your pocket, it will be comfortable on your ankle. For me, the weight limit for comfortable pocket carry is around 20 ounces. My P3AT (13 ounces loaded) simply disappears in the Cop Ankle Band. The G26…not so much.
Using an ankle holster with a boot allows for carrying a heavier weapon comfortably. If you’re a work boots kinda guy (or gal), feel free to go for something heavier. Otherwise, it’s best to choose an ankle carry weapon in the sub-20 ounce range.
Ankle holsters offer great concealment. (Just don’t wear shorts.) They work best for seated access (such as in a car). All ankle holsters are pretty slow to access. And they limit you positionally during the, draw making it impossible to draw and move at the same time.
In that sense, ankle holsters are ideal for a relatively small back-up gun. No great surprise there. But a potentially big surprise for someone who thought you were done for.