Alien Gear ShapeShift ankle holster (courtesy
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In the video below, Alien Gear introduces the ShapeShift Ankle Holster, designed for close encounters of the bad guy kind. When either your primary firearm is out-of-action or ankle carry is the only discreet way to tool-up. The latter applies to a large segment of the population who work in . . .

health care. There’s no other practical way to hide a gun under scrubs; although this unit looks a bit bulky for that duty. And it should also be noted there’s no less practical way to carry a gun.

Alien Gear’s glossy video shows the model drawing from the ShapeShift Ankle holster in various positions: standing, sitting, kneeling, skiing, pole vaulting, etc.

It looks easy enough — except the bending over bit. But ankle isn’t ideal. Especially when you consider that your ability to quickly and efficiently bring you gun to bear on a bad guy is more important than gun choice or caliber. So . . .

Do you ankle carry? Would you try ankle carry? Did you try ankle carry and give up?

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  1. I did some ankle carry in a CC class I took years ago. I was bruised on both ankles when I was done there, one from the holster and gun rubbing, and on the other ankle from having the gun hit me while I tried to walk. A totally ridiculous idea, far as I’m concerned. I’d never try it again, especially out and about in public. And I don’t care how fancy the holster is, or what they claim for it.

    • how about carrying on the outside of the ankle to avoid banging it on the other ankle? I’ve considered getting an ankle holster for my lcr.

      • Tried it that way too, Micah. At first it wouldn’t STAY anywhere, then I tightened it so it would stay and it was very uncomfortable. Might work over a stiff boot, but I had ordinary shoes on that day. We worked with them for almost an hour, and I hated it worse every minute. Trying to do a fast draw from there is a sick joke.

        I can’t imagine any reason to even try it again. The holster on my belt, which I’ve carried for more than 10 years, works best every time.

        • I used to live in Vegas after 9/11 and we were a large air marshal site, lots of those guys ankle carried since they were sitting all day. My neighbor was one, but he said it was pretty terrible for most situations. Better than putting it in the seat back pocket and forgetting it, which has happened.

      • Just bought an elastic cheapy for my LCR…couldn’t stand it after 30 minutes. No padding, velcro rash, etc. This unit might be ok depending on price.

      • I carried for years on the ankle when I was in college and at church. I had a Galco ankle holster holding a Sig P938 on the outside of my right leg. Never had the first issue and it was almost easy to forget it was there. One thing to note, it did fit very different depending on what kind of shoes I was wearing. Standard running shoes it did feel weird over the ankle, but it was never truly uncomfortable, it just felt unsecure. I mostly wore low boots that just barely covered my ankle. They gave it a very solid and flat platform for it to ride on and was very secure. Another thing of note, I have a really skinny build, but I was still able to have the holster tighten down securely, yet comfortably. P.S. I also find it faster to draw when I’m seated in a vehicle.

    • I wouldn’t dismiss it as ridiculous. My backup options per department policy as an LEO are limited to I have ankle carried my backup guns since I started. I’ve used a Glock 26, Ruger LCR, Smith and Wesson Shield, and Ruger LCP. I’ve carried those weapons in the same Galco Ankle Band and have ran foot pursuits, k9 tracks, through mud and snow and debris and never had it come loose. I wouldn’t use it is a primary carry unless no other option were available but it does have its uses.

    • I think some has to do with your build and how you walk. (which I may be very wrong since my experience is purely anecdotal).

      I ankle carried for 20+ years (inside left ankle) when on duty as my back-up. Walther PPK/S. I might have just had the right holster and a walk that is not close enough to brush an ankle. I think it was weird for the first few weeks when I was a rook, but was just ‘there’ for the years that followed. Even ran several times with it (tried a bit of running with it before taking it on duty to make sure it wasn’t going to flop around or throw me off) on several occasions in sub-100y sprints.

      Again, I think it came down to luck of the holster and the way I walk. Thought it was normal for years until some other folks complained about ankle carry. I’ve still got that old holster around here…somewhere (retired for years).

  2. The design looks good, especially the little peg that keeps it from sliding down, that’s pretty ingenious. I just do not like their “modular” holster system, the two piece shell and little bits that hold it together lend an element of complexity that should not be in a holster design.

  3. It has always been difficult for me to conceal an ankle carry rig when you sit, the pant leg rides up a bit, etc. Seems to work well for me when standing all the time but that is pretty limiting. In non-permissible environments I find myself using the Smartcarry “thunderwear“ style of holster. Once you are used to using it, it is quite easy to conceal a .38, a 380 or a single stack nine.

    • I’ve written about the before, but…Kangaroo Carry shoulder holster is my “go to” method in a non-permissive environment. Comfortable, and easy to draw if you’re wearing a cover shirt with bottons…or modify your cover shirts/dress shirts with snaps, like I’ve done.

      • I agree Rick
        I have the Stealth Vent Core IWB that I love.
        But I wear a dress shirt and slacks all day at work.
        There is no way I can get away with that holster in the office.
        I have been using the Kangaroo shoulder holster for the last 4 years.
        No one has been able to tell.
        Is it as fast as the Stealth Gear? No
        But it is what works and it is comfortable.
        When I leave the office, I will sometimes unbutton one button on my shirt, which helps.
        At least that is what I tell myself.
        My back is to stiff to be reaching down to my ankles.
        Might as well just shoot me.

  4. Tried it, early in my career. Even with a Walther tph, it was really uncomfortable, bruise inducing, and difficult to bring to bear in a hurry.
    No thanks.

  5. I have a buddy who ankle carries. He spends 90% of his day sitting behind desk and swears it’s his best option. As for me, I’m on my feet all day, in shorts 8-9 months out of the year, and try to refrain from mouse guns. So it’s pretty much IWB only for me

  6. From a family in healthcare, infection control is top priority. The most contaminated article of clothing are the shoes. Scrubs get washed with bleach, shoes get wipe downs with alcohol. I would like to know what the maker says about sterilization of the holster. Needless to say the gun needs periodic wipe downs also.

    • That makes me wonder. How do those upstanding young gentlemen who “sag” the tops of their pants down below the bottom of the “cheek” conceal weapons? I’m guessing that is a demographic with appreciable numbers of weapon carrying individuals, licensed or otherwise. I know they use jacket pockets, but what about the Summer? Usually the shirts are large enough to easily conceal, but I just don’t see how it would be possible with pants that low. Maybe it’s the ones extreme sagging in the Summer who are not carrying weapons.
      It’s puzzling.

      • This demographic (assuming you mean street gangs), they do not each have their own gun like us. They have a few that get passed around their homies, and only get taken along when it is likely or planned that the gun will be used.

  7. I have done it, years back.

    An NAA mini in a sock while wearing jeans, inside-ankle-side.

    Pretty much hassle-free, unless I clocked my ankle on something, that *hurt*.

    All in all, it worked for me on *tiny* guns like the NAAs.

    It was kinda cumbersome with the AMT .380 in an elastic holster. I could easily forget I had the NAA with me, the AMT, not so much…

  8. I have ankle carried in church, it’s a long draw but there are lots of potential targets for a bad guy. Plus you don’t have to worry when getting hugged.

    • Also do this in church with a Ruger LC9s. The holster is a DeSantis something or other with a lot of padding. Honestly, it works really well and is perfectly comfortable (but I am usually wearing hiking boots and jeans that keep things in the right place and covered up). Prevents loud clunking sounds from an IWB gun bonking on the wooden pew when I sit back. Plus it doesn’t print, unlike IWB when kneeling and leaning forward while the nice family behind me wonders what the heck that gun shaped thing is in under my shirt… in NYS, that kind of thing that can create big problems… I always kneel on one knee to keep the muzzle pointed at the floor instead of at the aforementioned nice family’s legs. Because I’m classy like that.

  9. Any time I’m wearing pants for the past 5 years . G26 in a galco ankle holster. Very comfortable to me. Took a little getting used to with the weight on one foot. I’ll carry 2 spare mags on my opposite ankle allot too. I prefer it because it’s very discreet and being in and out of tractors and trucks or wiggling around equipment for servicing it doesn’t get in the way like a IWB or shoulder holster does.

  10. I tried it once long ago with a Taurus model 85. Totally worthless IMHO.
    As backup I carry a Beretta 32Tomcat in a rear pocket holster with the removable panel. At the time I got this there where only two people making this particular kind of holster. The first one I got was from blackhorse leather in Oregon. He kind of started to get a little flaky. Refused to sell to me because I used the word Damn in in email to him. Just in everyday talk. No argument or anything like that just conversation. I am careful not to use profanity if I don’t really know a person, but I thought the word damn, was a word that is pretty much an everyday word, and has never offended my religious friends. Anyway I found a maker that made pretty much the exact same holster. It’s due for replacement. The only problem being a lefty is the mag release on this pistol. It’s located on the bottom of the grip so when it’s in my. Pocket it has a a habit of pushing the mag button. I need to change guns or find a holster that works better. I may go for the little ruger 9. I forget the name at the moment.

  11. Ankle carry never really appealed to me. Unless you are sitting most of the time, I never really saw the point.

  12. No way,nowhere and no how. That reminds me I need some more tactical pants with a kajillian pockets…

  13. Tried it many years ago, when I was new to firearms, with a less than ideal setup involving a modified nylon holster and a steel frame Taurus 85. Very uncomfortable. Have recently considered trying to carry a Shield on ankle as a second gun for access while driving, but I’ve got problems walking as is due to injuries, so I haven’t pursued the idea any further.

  14. Didn’t Rose McGowan once replace much of her leg with an M16. It seemed to work well enough for her. Maybe that was before she went crazy though.

  15. Only ever done it with a knife. A gun seems like it wouldnflop around too much unless you tightened the holster down pretty good around the top of a boot.

  16. Alien Gear seems to be proficient with keeping cost down, innovative design and effective marketing. That’s all certainly important for keeping a company in business. I’ll even say that their customer service is great, based on anecdotal evidence from friends.

    But I’ve compared their neoprene backing with my Stealth Gear Ventcore holsters. It’s not even close to the same comfort and moisture wicking ability. For this new design, I almost set that substandard feature aside. But you mean to tell me they’re manufacturing these ankle holsters for the xds 3.3″ and the big @$$ xdm, but not the newer xds 4.0″? What the heck?

  17. I know a Dr. who bought scrubs with belt loops and carried a G19 with a micro red dot on his waist. I don’t know if he bought longer tops to cover it but they’re not tucked in anyway.

  18. I tried it for five minutes in the house once. Not my cup of tea. I might have to run instead of shoot, and I don’t want any extra weight on one foot if I do.

  19. Do you ankle carry? Would you try ankle carry? Did you try ankle carry and give up?

    I tried it one time just to see what it was like. The holster kept falling down toward my shoe. Even worse, it really felt awkward having that extra weight at my feet and it felt like I could not come anywhere close to running fast with it. Finally, it seemed like a bad idea if I ever had to deliver a martial arts kick to someone. So I promptly gave it up.

  20. No appeal at all. I move around a lot, and pant legs ride up quite a bit past my ankle, so it’s kind of a pointless thing for me. Cargo pockets make pocket carrying a G26 fairly easy, but other than that, IWB is the way to go.

  21. I’ve carried a back ip on my ankle for nearly 30 years. This holster is too thick because of the injection molded insert. Get a Desantis Apache, you’ll be happier.

  22. Some sort of belly-band style would probably do much better under scrubs.

    Ankle carry is almost always a bad option unless you’re sitting…

  23. Yes. When you drive for a living, and have to drive your unwieldy vehicle full of expensive merchandise through the middle of un-nice neighborhoods with lots of stops, it makes a LOT of sense. I still carried a bigger gun behind the hip, but between the jacket and seatbelt, and already being in a sitting position, the ankle rig was WAY, WAY faster.

    That said, I once saw a guy with a terrible ankle rig attempt a light jog, and then I got to see what it looks like when your gun falls out and you punt that sucker into the middle of a busy street where EVERYONE knows exactly what you just did.

    So I’d say, yes, I’d continue to carry that way. But I wouldn’t do it with this rig. Or any one-size-fits-all rig. Mine is a semi-permanent, laced-in-to-my-8″-boot leather rig, and I’d say that makes all the difference.

    • I’ve found shoulder holsters work best in car but that’s just me. Like a lot of carry options it’s going to be a preference based on your clothing style and your body.

  24. I ankle carry mainly at church. Sitting down much of the time. Plus, an ankle holster is easier to access than an IWB or OWB holster while wearing a choir robe.

  25. Have done ankle carry with an Uncle Mike’s off and on since 1988. I like the calf strap, which keeps it secure and non-flapping on my skinny ankles. No discomfort at all. Have prosecuted and defended in several jury trials carrying a Beretta 21A .22or a Kel-Tec P11. When I was an adjunct prof at 2 different junior colleges, I carried a Kel-Tec P3AT or a Taurus Slim 709 in it. The first one’s stitching wore out after about 10 years. the second is going strong, and has hosted my G43 quite well. In 2009, I bought a cheap double pouch mag carrier on Amazon and carried 2 spare mags for the P3AT, the Slim and the G43 without trouble. Is it my FAVORITE carry mode? No, it’s a slow draw. It’s for back-up. The P11 during my private practice days was the only time I used ankle carry as my primary. But for deep cover where a lot of people are focused on you for hours at a time, and management will fire you if you’re caught with a gun (teaching), it’s a good mode of concealed carry with a light gun. The Uncle Mike’s ankle holster runs about $45.00.

    • I got my wife an uncle Mike’s ankle holster for her lc380 last Christmas. Unfortunately she’d have to wear much looser pants for it to actually conceal. So I tried it, and I had the same problem. It’s not like I wear skinny jeans (although a little looser would be ok), but I’m not willing to go back to the baggy jeans I wore in high school in the early 2000s, back when it was “cool” to be able to fit your waist in one pant leg.
      …Now I want a time machine so I can go kick my own ass….

  26. Any gun that I’ve found small enough for comfortable ankle carry (very small — Kel-Tec P32 or NAA mini), I’ve discovered is small enough to carry in a pocket.

    Especially when I was a newer shooter, I experimented with a lot of different “alternate” carry methods. There’s a reason experienced people return to the reliable time-tested methods:

    1. OWB
    2. IWB
    3. Pocket

    I’ll give shoulder holsters as a distant fourth, but, again, I’ve never seen a dress style that will conceal a shoulder holster well that won’t conceal an IWB holster.

  27. Tried it, hated it. It’s just awful.

    Wish it could work, but it just doesn’t. Even something like an LCR is just too clunky and huge when strapped around an ankle. Maybe, maybe an NAA, but then as Cloudbuster said, you coulda put that in a pocket a lot easier.

  28. I wear scrubs every day as I work in health care. I carry either a Ruger SP101 2 1/4” or a Walther CCP both in hybrid IWB holsters. No problems. Only person to ever see I was carrying was a disabled vet in a wheelchair.

  29. To me it only makes sense for a BUG if you’re wearing a duty belt. All that gear on the belt makes iwb nearly impossible and pocket access is heavily restricted. Outside of LEO I think that belly bands or cc shirt/briefs or pocket carry are much better choices. There are exceptions though, ankle is fairly decent to draw while seated so it can work for drivers. I’ve tried it with a decent holster and a p11 but it wasn’t for me. Pocket s&w 380 bug at work and iwb g43/26 off the clock. No method is best for everyone and always try and dress around the gun. This opinion is only worth what you paid for it.

  30. Negative on ankle carry. Health care workers are constantly up and down off exam stools all day, obviously causing pant leg to ride up, and in extremely close proximity to patients. Highly recommend under tech undercover. Comfortable and concealed, but get 1-2 sizes over what you normally wear as the garment is very snug. If borderline between two sizes, go up 2 sizes.

  31. I work in the restaurant biz and have ankle carried for years. I have a Blackhawk, size 1, and carry a Colt 32. I am constantly moving and it has never given me any trouble or pain.

  32. Have the luxury of being able to pocket carry LCR 22lr if 8 rounds doesn’t get it done metal barrel crown makes a good punch to Adams Apple .
    Doubt very few thugs are going to ask by the way “what caliber is that”
    Do I feel like a 22lr is under an underperforming round for self defense. Nope, a lot of assignations have been susessfull close up.
    Would I carry it in Bear County? No way, minimum GP 100 357/38P+ Special. But don’t live in Bear Country.
    Your mileage may vary

  33. Ankle carry is a niche method. There are circumstances where it might be appropriate for some people. Generally it’s a good way to carry a BUG….or a THIRD weapon. As for wearing one with scrubs…..not recommended if you want to keep your job. When you squat down to do something and the cuff of your pants come up it will be visible…and you will be instantly unemployed/unemployable. The best carry method for scrubs is the Smart Carry style of holsters that fasten around your waist and allow you to carry directly in front just below the waistline. Nobody is going to be touching you there and it’s very secure. Drawing from such a holster is no more difficult than drawing from an ankle holster.

  34. Tried it. I had to wear it low on the ankle to keep my sock under it to avoid having the holster chafe my ankle, but that keeps it low, so it really doesn’t fall down. Crew socks, so if you’re into those little low rider socks that just barely peek out of the shoe, that’s not going to do it.

    Also, you’ll need longer inseam lengths (cuff lays down on the shoe) and a looser fit helps…but that is how I prefer my pants, so it works out.

    Honestly, I didn’t have an issue as long as the holster didn’t make direct contact with the ankle, and if I wear it for any length of time, I forget it’s there. But I can dig it’s not for everyone.

  35. I have wear a dress shirt, tucked in, for work. Fortunately, only a couple of days a week. Thought the “Urban carry” style would work, but read reviews of printing, and there’s that exterior flap….
    I use the Crossbreed ankle rig. I am of a slight build, so it barely fit, and have no padding around the ankle bone. I solved both with cutting the toe off of a low rise sock, then put it on backwards, so the heel portion (where there is extra padding) lands just above the bone. Then my dress sock over the top of that. The calf strap helps a lot.
    I’m fortunate that I’m really a 31″ inseam for trousers, which nobody has on the rack, so with a 32″, my pants always ride long.
    It’s not ideal, but doable, and beats the hell out of the alternative – no gun!
    Handgun – S&W Shield in 9mm, but considering a smaller one (Ruger LC9 or bodyguard, Beretta Nano, or similar.

  36. A decent quality ankle holster that provides just enough comfort to be carried regularly for extended periods of time is a viable solution when any manner of belt, waistband, or pocket carry just won’t work. A right handed shooter should always utilize an inside left ankle holster (and visa versa) and practice the draw enough to establish muscle memory. An ankle holster is less than desirable in most situations when the shooter is standing or walking but is optimal for most situations when the shooter is sitting and is arguably the best manner of carrry for quick access when the shooter is the driver or passenger in a vehicle.

  37. yes. thats where i put my back up. my only gripe is it limits your pants choices, cant wear slim fit.

  38. Right person, right gun, right holster, right clothes and it’s awesome. If you’re not that person, then don’t do it and don’t judge.

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