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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.