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I’ve been considering ankle carry as a possible solution to the concealment challenges posed by my workplace Dockers/button-down attire. As a medical professional, I’m extremely mobile; I sit and walk constantly and have up-close-and-personal interactions with dozens of people each day. Tuckable holsters work well, but they’re uncomfortable and I’m extremely reluctant to change my entire wardrobe to accomodate a pistol. Pocket carry works—until I sit down. So I ordered up a Model 53 Thumb Break Ankle Holster from Renegade. The telephone-only customer service was excellent. The holster arrived in two days. The price was right ($57.95). Saying that . . .

I thought the $12 shipping charge was unreasonable and don’t get me started on the $5 tax. In terms of concealment, the holster couldn’t be more discreet. The only way anyone’s going to know you’re packing heat is via a metal detector or some serious under-the-table footsie. Being a happily married man working in an environment where the only screening involves medical diagnosis, neither was a concern.

And that’s about it for positive feedback. OK retention was also first rate. The Model 53 needs to be pulled tight to stay put, but once it is it does. I bet I could trampoline with my Glock 26 in this ankle holster in full lock-down and not lose my firearm. But I never seemed to find the happy medium: tight enough to not slide down the leg (which it will do) and loose enough to maintain feeling in my toes.

Once cinched tight, drawing the gun from the holster was on the impossible side of difficult. The Model 53’s thumb break —which pushed into my leg most uncomfortably—is even closer to dangerously useless; it breaks toward my Tibia. I was better off just ripping up the velcro strap attachment on the outside of the holster. [NB: Renegade also makes an ankle holster without a thumb break.]

Reholstering with the holster on the leg is pretty much impossible. Once I got the gun out I had to put the gun back in the holster and  put the holster back on my leg. It would have been a lot less hassle if I’d hand an extra hand. Which I don’t.

Ankle holsters are designed to be worn on the inside of the ankle opposite of the drawing hand. They provide relatively easy weapon access when seated or in a car. They also provide casual/stealth access if you’re at a desk or table.

Most people consider ankle holsters for a back-up gun (BUG). Given my experience with this example—admittedly my first ankle holster experiment—that’s probably an extremely sound approach. But I won’t know for sure until I find an ankle holster that doesn’t feel like a combination of a ball and chain and a tourniquet. Watch this space.


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  1. Food for thought: I am extremely happy with Fobus ankle holsters (no retention strap; only trigger guard retention). I’ve found them to be the most comfortable on the market. I use Fobus for a S&W J-frame and a Sig P230. Keep in mind, I wear my ankle holster in a distal fashion, if you will; very close to my shoe. I cannot tolerate the constriction of a holster near my calf as the muscle changes shape during activity. I am right-handed and I wear the holster with the weapon on the medial aspect of my right ankle with the grip facing forward. I barely have to raise my pant leg in order to draw and I find access is easier the more distally-located the holster.

  2. I wore business casual mufti for almost five years at my old job, and I was armed the whole time. I carried either a Sccy 9mm (think Kel-Tec P11 clone) in a Galco pocket holster or a P3AT in an Uncle Mike’s pocket holster, and no one was the wiser.

    True, in order to draw, you’ll need to leave your seat, but pocket carry worked for me.

  3. Eric, have you considered a lighter/thinner gun? I’m sure you love your Glock, but they are bulky. A PM9/PF9/LC9/IE9 whatever might not conspire with gravity so much.

  4. Holsters without pull straps are much faster and offer less chance for flubbing the draw.

    Ankle holsters are best in the car where you are seated and stationary, but have a major drawback anywhere else: you can not move while drawing. Also drawing takes a loooong time as you have to first stop, kneel down or bend over, lift your pant then draw. Try that while running!

    While the biggest drawback to pocket carry is while seated, leaning over, away from your gun side will solve that problem. It is a little slower while seated, but way faster than ankle. You can move off the line of attack, draw when running and keep your support hand free for blocking, fighting and dealing with 3rd parties.

    Check out my vid and article on pocket carry:

    Because of the rectagular shape of the slide, semi-autos tend to get hung up in the pocket during the draw. I find that the best guns are shrouded or internal hammer snubbies as they don’t snag on the draw.

  5. food for thought jump up and down a few times or take a short quick sprint does it still stay in place or is it around your ankle now mine has a second strap that goes around your leg (knee area) that helps prevent slippage…

  6. I remember back when I first started carrying how uncomfortable I found IWB carry to be; That changed once I got a proper belt, and both the belt and holster were properly broken in.

    Recently, I switched belts for about two days, and again found IWB carry to be EXTREMELY uncomfortable; Suffice it to say that switching back to the other belt fixed it.

    In short, IWB carry is the single best method of carry (assuming proper holster) for me — it combines comfort, concealability, and retention without having too much retention (my problem with pretty much every other holster I’ve used). That said, all equipment must be properly broken in for it to be comfortable, and this takes time, with the BELT being the key part of the puzzle.

  7. Alessi ankle holster.

    Won’t cut off circulation. No elastic to lose tension over time. Properly fitted to a specific model of gun, so it will hold securely (tested with a subcompact Glock).

    Tip: put the holster on empty, then insert the gun. You will never get an ankle holster to be properly tight otherwise.

  8. I have a Glock 26 and the Galco Ankle Glove. It has become my primary method of carry. I have the thumb break version and it works quite well. I bought the non leather version since I wasn’t sure I would like ankle carry, and I wonder if the extra money for the leather would even be worth it. Besides, who is going to see it.

  9. I also use a Galco leather ankle holster. After two hours you don’t
    even knows it there. Great product at a great price.

  10. I have a Telor Tactical ankle holster and it is very comfortable. Instead of neoprene or leather Telor uses materials that allow air flow, so my leg is not as sweaty as with the other ones I’ve tried. I got mine on

  11. Have one for my PF-9. Seemed to work well but only used a few times. I think the previous poster is right- smaller works better with ankle carry. Also, did you pull your sock up on the holster? That helps. Otherwise, I’m selling my PF-9 and getting a smith model 36. Future holsters will probably be Alessi.

  12. Yeah, the bulkier gun and not pulling the sock up onto the holster, up to the grip are probably your issues. I’ll bet if you go smaller and pull up your sock, the holster will work a lot better. Think Popeye from the French Connection- pulling up your sock is cool.

    Seriously though, you can only fight physics so much. That’s why I’m selling my PF9 and buying a Smith Model 36.

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