How To Draw From Your Concealed Carry Ankle Holster

sirt pistol

Under the right circumstances, an ankle holster may work for you.

Ever think about carrying your firearm on your ankle? Under certain conditions, and for some people, it may be a great option. Frankly, few instructors are familiar with the method, so they can't properly inform others on how to carry and draw from the position efficiently. It often is thrown in with off body carry as an absolute last resort. While it is not ideal for a primary method, ankle carry may be a way to have your gun on you when all other means fail.

Ankle Holster Considerations

I have been able to successfully conceal a G27 on my ankle from time to time. The G27 is likely the largest gun I could carry on my 5'6″ frame. But the size isn't the only thing to consider. The weight of the gun and ammo you strap to your ankle is going to influence comfort and greatly affect the way you walk.

The size and weight of single stack micro or sub-compacts are ideal. Judging from reviews I have seen on ankle holsters, I'll state the obvious, you have to wear long pants with an ankle holster. Concealing even the smallest gun on your ankle (or anywhere else for that matter) with skinny-legged jeans or tight-fitting pants is not going to work. Make sure the leg of the pants can be pulled up to about your knee, this is going to make all the difference in drawing the gun, which I'll cover in a bit.

Pants with loos fitting legs work best when drawing from an ankle holster.

There really aren't a ton of different styles of ankle holsters. One type wraps around your leg using velcro, and the other type is a sleeve that is pulled up over the foot, somewhat like a compression sock.

Holsters that use soft, furry material for the part that touches the skin is a definite plus. An important consideration when selecting your ankle holster is retention. Having the gun on your ankle exposes it to being bumped, or simply falling out when walking or running.

I have spent many a night looking for a backup gun that fell out of an officers holster during a foot pursuit, and many backup guns have become unsecured during fights. The point is, that the holster absolutely must keep good retention of your firearm.

ankle holster

The furry material on the inside part of this holster helps with comfort.

How To Draw From An Ankle Holster

One thing I often see is someone carrying in an ankle holster on the wrong leg or in the wrong position. Ideally, one should carry the gun on the inside of their support side leg. This may seem odd, but having the gun on the inside of the leg protects it from being bumped into things, and aids in concealment. Additionally, having it on the support side allows for a quicker draw and better presentation. A tip I found that helps with concealment is to position the holster slightly toward my shin rather than exactly on the inside of my leg.

ankle holster

Rotating the gun slightly forward helps with concealment.

There are a couple different draws that I show shooters who desire to carry in an ankle holster. The first and most widely used is to kneel during the draw. The shooter moves to a kneeling position with the support side leg in front. The pant leg is pulled up using both hands.

I find pulling up on both the front and back part of the pant leg helps a lot. Once the pant leg clears the holster, the dominant hand establishes the grip and begins the draw process. Depending on the situation, the draw process may include staying in the kneeling position or moving to a standing position.

draw from ankle holster

Drawing from an ankle holster in the kneeling position.

A draw that I prefer to kneeling requires a little balance and flexibility. The process is quite simple. The support leg knee is bent and the leg is raised toward the waist. At the same time, the pant leg is pulled up with both hands. Again, use both hands to pull up evenly on the pant leg until it clears the holster. Then the dominant hand can move to establish a grip and begin your draw. The pant leg is released and a two-handed grip is established, while the support side leg goes back to the ground.

drawing from an ankle holster using the standing position.

I'll mention it because I see it all the time in movies. Drawing from the supine position (laying on your back) is possible, but not a position you would intentionally go to, absent some very specific circumstances.

Drawing from an ankle holster in the supine position is not ideal because of the extreme disadvantage it places you in. But it can be done.

No matter which method you use, drawing from an ankle holster requires some flexibility and a bunch of practice. Because there are more moving parts to drawing from an ankle holster, many more repetitions are needed before you'll likely feel comfortable. Many people only carry on their ankle occasionally, or the gun on their ankle is a backup. Because it is not their primary method of carrying, they are likely not putting as much practice into their draw as they would their everyday carry method. For this reason, many people aren't as proficient or confident with ankle carry and forego it completely.

For full disclosure, I rarely carry in an ankle holster. I often times had a backup gun on my ankle while working patrol. Outside of that, I carried a couple times on my ankle, one time because I had to wear a tuxedo and cumberbund. There was way too much going on around my waist, and an ankle holster was perfect. You may opt for an ankle holster if you wear fitted shirts that are tucked in, or if you spend a long time driving or seated like cross-country truckers often do. The key is to do it right and practice before giving up on the method completely.

Have you ever carried on your ankle? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments below.

Here is the training pistol used in the photos.


About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. James on July 17, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Free Tip: Never carry in an ankle holster.

    • Intellhonest on July 18, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Free Tip: Never say never. A second firearm in an ankle holster is MUCH easier to deploy than your primary concealed carry firearm while seated and buckled in a vehicle. This is especially true in cold climates when you have possibly a shirt, then a jacket, then a seat belt all on top of your firearm, if you are right handed. Ankle holsters are also viable options for those in office settings, where they can carry concealed, if you spend most of their time seated. Then of course there is the situation where your life may depend on a backup gun.

  2. Greg Corbat on July 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    I have to wear black dress pants with my shirt tucked in for work. I carry my Springfield XDS 45 in my ankle holster every day for 10 hours. It’s so comfortable I don’t even know it’s there. Either does anyone else. I also wear a double magazine holster on my other ankle. Balances out very nicely. I am very active at work walking, climbing stairs and ladders etc. I feel very confident concealing this way.

  3. Erik Eriksson on July 18, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    i just purchased a ankle holsterbecause i normally carry my side arm in pancake holster on my between pant and the belt that i wearbut there are times when i cant find a shirt to cover my side arm. i tried a belly belt and that works sometimes when it is hot outside and it becomes sweaty and i decided to try a ankle holster in the 4 days ive had it i’ve woren it with pants that are wide cut on the bottom it has worked well there and when Im wearing sweat pants.i will continueto adjust the holster looking for the best way to wear it even on my left leg. The holster is a right handed one. buying the ankle holster right now has been a good buy. wearing the ankle holster is like wearing ankle weights like i wore as a kid.

  4. Rick Delaney on July 19, 2018 at 7:45 am

    I have been using an ankle holster for one year, I have tried many holsters and this works best for me, no one has ever seen it on my leg, often I forget it is there. Yes it is slow to draw but I think of that as a safety cushion. I don’t want to be the guy that shot a man reaching for his cell phone.

  5. Skip on July 19, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I first tried an ankle holster for my backup gun while a uniformed deputy. It seemed almost too easy – and it was. Worked great with a good holster (Galco Ankle Glove). Now, for more dressy occasions – it works great.

  6. Arthur Garcia on July 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

    I worked in construction as a cement mason many years ago and working in dangerous areas was not uncommon. Having anything strapped to your waist when pouring concrete is impossible. My gun smith made his own custom holsters and fixed me up with a great ankle holster for my Colt 380. The holster fit great and most of all know one knew I was carrying. Better safe than sorry I say.

  7. Niles Hanson on July 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

    I’ve been carrying for 2-3 years, mostly ankle. Inside left leg for a right hand draw. I tried a few different brands and settled on an all fabric rig that carries and velcro-strap secures my Sig 938 as well as two extra flush base magazines. I think it’s imperative to find a rig that supports the weight with a strap above the calf, just below the knee. Otherwise it drops and rests on the top of the foot. The one I use is a one-piece affair that supports the weapon about 3″ above the top of my dress shoes. The draw for me is easier than noted above, and I think quicker. I grab the left leg of my trouser at just about the knee with my left hand, pull up rotating the trouser slightly inward while leaning to grab the weapon with my right hand. The cuff clears the grip and i can easily draw. It works in practice in any case, even with relatively trim dress slacks.

  8. Ken W. on December 15, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Was glad to see alternative draw by lifting leg up for draw instead of kneeling. This. has been easiest for me at 72 years of age.
    Have yet to find video of seated ankle draw. IMHO this is where the ankle draw comes into it’s own.

  9. Robert Lenn on January 1, 2020 at 10:42 am

    A few years back, I was carrying my S&W .38 special, stubby, in an ankle holster. It was comfortable. Then, disaster struck! Leaving a second story restaurant, coming down the stairs, my pistol fell to the floor as I reached the last step. There was a family descending the stairs in back of me when this happened. I retrieved my pistol, apologized to the family and informed them I was a licensed concealed carry. The father said it was no problem. A little later I saw this same couple outside the restaurant and again apologized.
    The father told me he also was a gunner and that I might consider altering my leg holster to prevent another disaster. When I got home, I sewed the muzzle end of the holster closed with very heavy-duty unbreakable cord, assuring I will not drop the pistol from the bottom of the holster again. The top of the holster has a retaining strap for the gun, so I’m good there. BTW, sent a letter to the company about this incident. Their reply: “Thanks, we will consider alterations.”

  10. Joseph on March 27, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Been carrying a KT P32 in an ankle holster since i bought it new around 2002. Works great. I have worn out many cheap ankle holsters in that time but it’s cheap to replace them. I wear it exactly as the author says, inside my left leg. I’m right handed. I was an LEO for nearly 30 years and just never found a comfortable way to carry concealed except on my ankle. Great article.

  11. Tracie Miller on June 5, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    As a woman, I wasn’t happy carrying on my body. So long story short, I wear jeans and boots 99.5% of the time. Had a guy who makes holsters make me a boot holster for my 380. I love it! And I know about draw time but I’m carrying all the time, which is what I wanted. And nobody knows its there.

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