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The first rule of a gunfight: have a gun. That adage assumes it’s better to have a gun than not. T’ain’t necessarily so. If you spend too much time trying to get to your gun you could be dead—or at least seriously injured—before you’re able to bring your firearm to bear. Prioritize. Get a gun or dodge a bullet. Go. I’m not quite prepared to say that “move” the first rule of a gunfight, but I’m thinking about it. Even if GTFO isn’t Job One, ankle holsters suck. I’d like to see the student above remove her firearm from her leg while under fire or facing a bad guy with a blade. As a holster for a back-up gun or deep cover (gun free zone that), sure, why not? As a primary carry system, fuhgeddaboudit. Better a mouse gun in your pocket (the bad guy won’t be pleased to see you) than anything in an ankle rig. Am I wrong?

46 Responses to Question of the Day: Ankle Holster? Really?

  1. No, you’re not wrong. As a primary carry method, that just sucks, and I can’t fathom why you would suggest it to beginners.

  2. I remember Massad Ayoob saying something about an ankle rig making sense for people who spend a lot of time driving–the gun’s out of the way, but within reach. Other than that, the ankle is for the backup to the backup.

    • +1.

      Also Massad’s recommendation as to how to access the ankle holster when standing seems much smoother and more effective than what is shown here.

      Rather than kneeling then grabbing pants leg at the ankle and pulling up, he teaches to grab pants at the knee then kneel effectively pulling your pants leg up by kneeling and then draw so as not to waste time and movement

  3. I completely agree. I’ve carried a Browning .380 in an ankle holster as a last ditch backup, however, my primary sidearm was the .45 on my hip, not to mention the AR-15 in the front seat.

    If you’re carrying one gun, for goodness sake, carry it where you can get to it. On the ankle ain’t it.

  4. Generally, my EDC is a Sig or 1911 is on my hip. When conditions restrict that, there’s an LCP in my boot.

  5. I agree with Mr. Farago 100%. My wife normally carries in front on her waist unless she is working — her work requires that she lean against people and those people would definitely feel a handgun anywhere near her waist. So when working her only option is an ankle holster.

    That said, an ankle holster could actually be an advantage while sitting down in a car, at a table that covers your legs, or a desk. If you were concerned that danger was approaching, you could lift up your leg and put your hand on your pistol without anyone being the wiser.

    For everyday stuff, I would use a mouse gun in a pocket holster in a heartbeat before primary carry in an ankle holster.

  6. Sit in a car.
    Try to draw from many conventional holsters.
    Now try to draw from an ankle holster.

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

      • Because evasion is ALWAYS an option, and you’re always going to be defending yourself, right?

        Welcome to the real world where things don’t always go the way you saw them in your head.

        • If the BG is close enough that you can’t use the car to get away, he’s probably close enough to prevent you from drawing from ANY holster, and certainly one as far away from natural hand position as an ankle.

  7. I’ve never been able to figure out what an ankle holster can do for me that some other holster can’t do better for me, particularly since belly bands exist. Not too crazy about shoulder holsters either.

    -D

  8. I don’t agree with the idea that ankle carry’s all that smart in a non permissive environment. Whenever I sit down my pant legs always ride up slightly , so for my body type at least ankle carry is out. That’s a great way to print or show the gun every time I sit down.

  9. carried a snubbie in an ankle holster for a cross country train trip. long layover in chicago. never was nervous about the gun being spotted. but you have to accept that quick access ain’t happening. only time i used an ankle holster. that was in 87. overall i didn’t like it and haven’t used one since.

  10. Can you remove a pistol from an ankle holster while under fire? It’s true enough to say it is difficult.

    But you’re assuming that the threat will be of the nature of her being under fire. Not all situations requiring a fire arm are of that nature. A lot of times you have plenty of opportunity to arm yourself before the danger gets right up on you, such as a Luby massacre or the people on that island in Norway. Having a gun available in an ankle holster would have been great for a lot of people who were there. No, it wouldn’t have helped the first few victims, but not much would have.

    When evaluating a defensive measure you have to start with defining the threats. If the threat is thermonuclear attack, then your OWB .45ACP isn’t going to help you either.

  11. Isn’t it harder to walk with a couple pounds strapped to one ankle? It would be like having a limp, right?

  12. first, don’t use a 2 pound pistol. an ankle holster is for deep cover and you shouldn’t be using a large one. and even using a 15 ounce j frame does take a little getting used to as you’re walking around.

  13. One on the ankle is better than nothing…if that’s the only way for one to comfortably carry. I agree that it should only be for backup in 99% of circumstances.

  14. I’m surprised no one has mentioned retention yet.

    You will need something to make sure you gun doesn’t pop out of the holster if you’re running.

  15. Anyone ever see the surveillance video of the California cop who was ankle carrying off duty during a bank robbery? He fell over backwards trying to draw, kicked his leg up in the air to clear his pants, and then shot his foot. Can’t remember if he actually shot the bg. Bad idea as a primary.

    • Did you see the guy on You Tube that had his 1911 on hip holster, drew and shot himself on the leg?

  16. A 340PD in a good ankle holster is an excellent back-up piece, under 12 oz. unloaded. Can practice with .38 Specials, carry .357 Mags. It is not a fun pistol to shoot with Mags. It also would be better than a fork if I had no other gun. I don’t believe most DGU’s are quick draw gun fights. Admittedly some are, even then if some one is holding me at gun point I’d think more than twice about going for my gun out of the slickest open carry hip rig going. I think the key thing about having a gun when you need one is having a gun when you need one.

    • virtualjohn wrote, “… if some one is holding me at gun point I’d think more than twice about going for my gun out of the slickest open carry hip rig going.”

      This is very true. If a criminal has the drop on you and is already pointing a gun, options are very limited. That said, it could be a very natural looking response to begin to drop down toward the ground onto one knee with your hands forward in a “don’t shoot” posture. Then, if you have pants that easily get out of the way, you might have a chance to shoot if someone distracts the criminal. It is a longshot (no pun intended) though.

    • I’ve got an ankle holster for my 340 PD if you want it!

      (The 340 PD is a great ankle holster gun – I just hated carrying it that way).

  17. For me the ankle holster is for when you hear a disgruntled employee shooting people as he comes down the hall. Rather than wait my turn …
    It is not for fast draw when I am coming out of a convenience store.

  18. You just have to understand it’s limitations. Being slow to draw and relatively uncomfortable, it’s def not a duty/primary carry holster. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s purposes; deep concealment and convenience. Under even normal fitting pants, a slim auto or revolver is virtually undetectable by sight alone. (I’ve been carrying an LC9 in an ankle holster for a year now and haven’t even suspected that someone’s noticed it.) With an ankle holster, you can carry in pretty much any situation that calls for wearing pants.

  19. I like Purple’s ideal range wear, yoga pants, slinky shirt and heeled boots.
    More likely to junk the gun up tripping through the dirt mounds that riddle that place in heels…

  20. Ok, I’ll say this, primary carry? No way! Back up gun, or no other option (for some reason I can’t think of here) then an ankle rig is ok. I applaud the woman in the video for wearing what she would wear on a daily basis, I mean practicing with her real world clothes, etc. Also for taking her time drawing carefully and safely while being filmed, etc. However, as previously stated she really needs to practice that a lot to get it smoother and faster and perhaps consider another carry method altogether. I will say having spoken to several women I know about carrying a gun they don’t/won’t use conventional carry methods most men will use. Most of the CC purses get laughed at (not stylish enough) and in the interest of fashion sense etc most women wear the tighter clothes as the woman does in the video so they can’t conceal a gun on the waistline as many men do. I wear scrubs on a daily basis and have chosen a belly band as my primary carry system. Works for me but scrubs are trash bag like in their shape so good concealment garb. The ladies I work with wear fitted scrub tops, attractive, shows off their curves but no way you’re getting a gun in there! Anyway, as Clint Smith says, “Carrying a gun is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable.” I guess fashion sense is so ingrained maybe they can’t break those generations of indoctrination.

    Best of luck to the ladies facing this issue!

    Wheelgun

  21. I keep hearing “backup for your primary”…. For me, ANY firearm I carry is my backup. My primary weapon is between my ears.

    The nature of my primary job(estimator/sales) does however require lots of meet-and-greets at customer homes and I rarely have an empty pocket so with deep concealment being a MUST I choose to carry my Rossi snubbie on my ankle during the summer when I can’t otherwise hide much on my svelte frame(read beanpole). Any time I can get away with a large overshirt it stays at home and the big boy gets to take the field trip.

    Any potential customer that catches me printing or sees a slip could be a customer I don’t get. That could not only compromise my ability to pay the mortgage but may keep me from being able to afford my next gun(or ammo).

    Better something than nothing, yes, but that risk/reward assessment once again gets in the way of me carrying what I would consider to be the best tool for the job if needed.

    In a perfect world I’d have enough business to be able to tell the anti’s I don’t want their money but alas….. It’s just not the way of my world.

  22. I use an ankle holster and a 380 (10 oz empty) and it conceals easily. I use it a lot in the car, church, etc. as I can’t (don’t) use it during work calls at offices. I also carry a 40 in the car. I have practiced my draw from various positions and often say “this gun gets me to my other gun”. I travel a lot and as the other post suggests, I use my eyes and brain to assess all situations and look around. I heard of the guy who walked into a store and shot someone, next aisle shot, next aisle shot… with a 380 at my ankle, I would not be the 2nd or 3rd victim and a fighting chance if he shot me in the back to return fire.
    I always say “if you are in a gun fight, you want a bigger gun and more ammo, but if you are not, you want a smaller gun and less ammo to carry.” So, it is always a balance and never just “one” answer or approach… except, what can/will you do when it counts.

  23. I’m late to the party here but this reminded me of a situation where a ankle holster might actually have been handy. I live in KY and the CCW law here allows me to carry almost anywhere, including private businesses that put up “no guns” signs. They of course still have the legal right to toss me out should they discover I have a firearm, but you’d have to be pretty blatant about it, or, as I found out, try to go to a movie “screening”.

    There is a internet site that will send you free tickets to various movies before release as a kind of advertising or “review” process I guess. Regardless, the wife and I went to one of these and I quickly discovered while in line they were *wanding* people on the way into the theater. After watching for a second I discovered it was an attempt to keep cell phones/video recorders out of the theatre. Still not a good thing if your carrying. I went to the restroom and moved my keltec pf9 and holster to the small of my back and “went for it” lol! My pf9 didn’t get discovered but dumb me left my extra magazine in my pocket and that did set off the wand. The nice man wanding people asked me to empty my pockets and I responded “no”. After a moment of stunned silence he said I would HAVE to empty my pockets and I responded “not, not really, I don’t” “goodbye”. And walked off leaving him very very confused. We went and bought a ticket and watched something else. Lol

    Anyway, having an ankle holster. Then could have been useful.

  24. I ankle carry at work. One is a small restaurant and closeness of contact is unavoidable. Any IWB would be detected and I would most likely lose my ability to carry there. My other part time job I don’t wear a shirt, so… it’s just about the only way to carry there. It might not be the best option, but it is an option. If you don’t like it, don’t use it.

    I enjoy this site and use the articles and comments as a source of real life lessons and input into my choice to exercise my right to carry. I am always amazed though how unacceptive people are of anything they don’t personally like. I know that’s a part of life. I’m just surprised that after all the people here who cry it’s our right and choice to carry then turn around and barrage someone who uses a gun or calibre, or carry method they don’t like. I exercise my right daily and sometimes I exercise it with a .380 on my ankle. Rant over. Keep calm and just carry.

  25. I will comment on the Ankle Carry Method. Personally I Ankle Carry. Whether its a back up gun or a primary gun. I use a Galco Ankle Glove which has sheepskin for a backing. VERY comfortable and o$64 with shipping to my door. You can also use the Desantis Apache which has sheepskin backing as well.

    So how do you deploy the Ankle gun as a Primary weapon? Tactics. You don’t immediately draw from the ankle when a threat approaches you. It really depends on what the threat is. Do they have a knife, unarmed a handgun?
    You can redirect an attack and then draw, you can seek cover then draw.
    Which is one of the reasons I wear Soft Body Armor 3A which is also Stab Resistance LV 2 and Edge Resistance Lv2.
    When practiced and used properly and it can be used rather quickly. Not as quick from the IWB or OWB I am afraid. So whats does mean?

    This means you will need to seek cover more of the time, Assess your surroundings more, learn to redirect attacks and then draw, different positions.

    What positions are there?
    Glad you asked!

    #1- Extend your Non Dominant leg out with the Ankle holster ankle and kneel.Grab your pant leg with both hands and pull up. Draw with your dominant hand, Handgun should have the butt facing the rear

    #2- Repeat the above step except Attach Ankle Holster to your dominant ankle with the butt facing forward(Reverse). Pull Pant leg up with both hands. Draw with Weak Hand or Dominant Hand while Kneeling

    #3- Center your body. Put Ankle Holster on Non Dominant Ankle. Lift Ankle up in the air and pull your pant leg up, draw with your dominant hand. (very tricky)

    #4- If on your back, take your dominant hand or Weak hand and pull your pant leg back, draw with dominant hand or weak hand. Ankle Holster can be on either ankle(Butt facing rear or forward)

    Tips: Practice , Practice and Practice
    Draw with your Dominant hand and the Ankle Holster on opposite leg
    Draw with Non Dominant hand and the Ankle Holster on Dominant Leg
    Draw with the Butt facing rearward on Dominant Leg
    Draw with the Butt facing forward on Dominant Leg
    Draw with Butt facing rearward Non Dominant Leg

    Handguns
    .-LC-9 and LCP .380
    -P938/P238
    -Kel Tec P3at/P32
    -Colt Mustand .380
    -Seecamp .32/.380
    -Any 2 inch revolver with a Boot Grip

    Ankle Carry requires more training than IWB traditionally. You should focus on Cover as well Deploying under stress. I have practiced for years with Ankle Carry.

    Who would benefit from Ankle Carry?
    -Medical Professionals in Scrubs
    -Office Professionals in Desks
    -Drivers
    -EMT’s
    -Anyone who wishes to have a backup gun but doesn’t have the pocket space In their pants

    Pros:
    -Can be quite concealable
    -Not on your belt and out of the way
    -Can be comfortable with Sheep Skin models
    -Can Arm another person
    -Weak hand can draw if hostile passenger is in vehicle and your weapon is on your dominant side

    Cons:
    -Requires more practice
    -Requires more Tactics
    -Requires more training under stress
    -Must need awareness more often

    • Thank you for such an intelligent, mature and cogent response.

      You’ve answered my questions and allayed my apprehensions about using an ankle holster.

      I use Alessi holsters so this will give me another opportunity to purchase another of Alessi’s fine products.

      Thanks once again.

      God bless.

      Jack Marren

  26. Another unique situation for an Ankle Holster is for those who want a firearm when sleeping. That’s right. Whether your camping or in bed at home. Some Ankle holsters are that comfortable. It can also be used when in your pajamas and in your house, RV or apartment and you just need a handgun just to go somewhere. Such as using the bathroom at an RV Park. A great option if you have loose clothing too

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