Good afternoon readers and welcome to the first installment of TFB’s Concealed Carry Corner where we will take a look at anything and everything about the carrying of concealed firearms. Whereas this week we focus on the pros and cons of using ankle holsters, next week we might focus on micro red dot optics, night sights, compensators or spare magazines for an every day carry (EDC) pistol. Obviously concealed carry topics are almost endless; so please let us know if there is something you’d like us to cover in future installments..
Our hope is that Concelaed Carry Corner will be a way to start conversations about the legal, safe and practical aspects of carrying a firearm throughout daily life. Some of you may have unique situations – specific work attire, frequent travel, vehicle considerations or security concerns – we’d like to hear about your use cases and potential solutions. I’ll be calling on experts in certain fields to address topics that might be more technical or require a specific skill set. And, of course, we will bring you the latest in both guns and gear as it relates to EDC.
Aside from a handful of situations, I have carried a handgun everyday for the past nineteen years, to include nearly every state in the U.S. as well as overseas. Boats, planes, helicopters. Skiing, biking, kayaking. Bitter cold winters and scorching hot deserts. And I still, I don’t consider myself to be an expert in concealed carry techniques or gear. Myself, along with the other TFB writers who will author this weekly column, will bring up a topic for discussion, offer up opinions and allow our readers from around the world submit their thoughts or questions.
Over my two decades of carrying a pistol, I would estimate that less than five percent of that time included the use of an ankle holster. In some circumstances, that meant the use of a backup gun, but in reality, an ankle holster, for me, means vacation or off duty carry.
Below the belt…
Ankle holsters can relieve concealed weapon carriers of certain wardrobe restrictions that come in to play with traditional belt or waistband locations. The use of an untucked shirt or, god forbid a tactical fishing vest, aren’t always a practical solution to hiding a firearm. And even if you normally use an inside-the-waistband holster that be concealed easier, “printing” (seeing the outline of a gun through clothing) is still a concern. Even the most experienced CCW shooters (or criminals looking to cause you harm) don’t ordinarily scrutinize ankles for carry pieces.
In addition, women’s fashion can be a hinderance to the comfortable and practical carry of a defensive weapon. A quality ankle holster can be a solid alternative to off-body carry locations.
On the down side, without a significant amount of training, drawing from an ankle location in an emergency situation is almost always slower than drawing from a hip or index location. One caveat is the seated position where the natural bend of the legs puts the holster and weapon within easy reach for a smoother draw.
I had the opportunity to talk with Chris Edwards from GLOCK in Smyrna, Georgia, who not only has provided training to thousands of law enforcement officers and shooters in the U.S. but also carries his defensive pistol in an ankle holster on a daily basis.
Q&A: Chris Edwards, GLOCK FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR, Gssf Match CoordinatoR
1) Chris, can you walk us through the basic movements of drawing from an ankle holster?
In the standing position there are a couple of options: Right handed shooter, holster on left leg-shooter bends at waist, grasps covering pants leg ideally with both hands and pulls pants leg to about knee height; right hand goes to pistol, draws and shooter straightens to standing firing position…OR, lift leg with holster, grasp pants leg, put leg down and “follow” down, bending at waist; grasp pistol when leg stops, draw to standing position. I try for around a three second draw to a center hit on a silhouette at 7 yards.
I think I’d be remiss in saying that deploying from a sitting position is where an ankle holster can have a little advantage, e.g., in a car, belted up. Pull leg toward body, pull up on pant leg, grasp weapon and draw. Try all of this WITH AN EMPTY GUN FIRST, to sort out how you will clear steering wheel and not muzzle yourself.
2) For those who decide to carry on the ankle, how important is training/qualifying regularly using this method? How often do you practice from the ankle?
I think one should “test” oneself at least once or twice per year. The Georgia State POST has a “Backup Gun Qualification” which I try to do once per year with local LE. It does not involve draws under time if I remember correctly, but does establish an accuracy standard. Other “standards” might be the “5 yard Roundup” that one could work up to with attention to safety.
3) If a shooter’s range doesn’t allow for ankle draws, is dry fire enough to confidently carry with an ankle holster?
Dry firing is a must for any training and practice program. I would be confident dryfiring to a standard starting say at 4 or 5 seconds, using a timer or timer app. You want to confirm your shooting (accuracy) skills with your “ankle gun” at least twice a year.
4) Any other concerns or considerations for the daily use of ankle rigs?
Safety is always the first consideration. With an ankle holster, be sure and index trigger finger OFF trigger and OUTSIDE trigger guard, especially when reholstering, and be aware of muzzle direction. I’ve caught myself starting to muzzle my foot/ankle when reholstering. No need for speed here.
Check the weapon itself weekly, if carrying on the ankle consistently. It surprised me initially how dusty a weapon can get in an ankle holster. Obviously, if you got it wet in a puddle or mud/snow, you would want to check/clean/dry as soon as feasible.
Our Director of Training adds that an ankle holster could be very useful to a woman with the right cut of slacks. Better in some circumstances, e.g., driving, than off body carry (in a purse).
Chris isn’t kidding when he says an ankle carry gun needs to be inspected an cleaned on a regular basis. My G26 in a DeSantis leather holster with a lot of coverage can get absolutely filthy in a short amount of time. Obviously, running in harsh or adverse environments should accelerate maintenance and inspection schedules.
In my eyes, using ankle holsters for a defensive firearm is a choice of convenience when certain restrictions prevent a CCW carrier from other on-the-body locations or off-body systems. Even with practice, drawing from the ankle will not be as fast or smooth as a draw from the hip or index location. Even so, ankle carry is a much better option than not carrying a defensive firearm at all. Shooters should safely practice dry fire techniques as well as find a range that will allow for confirming accuracy when drawing from the ankle.
Do you have a ankle holster experience – good or bad – that you want to share? Comment below or drop me an email. See you next week.
TFB’s Concealed Carry Corner is brought to you by GLOCK
The 044 ankle holster is made with Velcro(R) closures for ease of putting on and taking off. Securing the weapon is accomplished by the use of a positive-snap device. It is exactly molded to the gun it is designed to carry. This offers positive retention and reliability. The 044 has foam-padded suede for comfort. Available in Black unlined leather. Optional support strap, #C14 is available separately. ** This holster is to be worn on the inside of your ankle opposite to which hand you will draw your firearm with. A right-handed shooter will order a right-handed holster and it will attach to the inside of your left ankle. **
TFB REVIEW: Alien Gear ShapeShift Ankle Holster: