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Concealed carry for self defense is one of the most personal shooting topics out there. This is simply because we’re all different and have different needs. Each person’s EDC setup and method of carry will differ based on their chosen firearm, daily routine, self defense needs, and individual taste. Some folks, even ones not living in a Mickey Spillane novel, might find ankle carry optimal. Although they aren’t as quickly accessible as a waistband holster, and we all think of them as something that a washed-up detective uses to stash a stinger for backup, some folks will find the best ankle holsters to be good options for carrying their self defense handgun.
How We Chose the Best Ankle Holsters
Like other holsters, there are a variety of styles and designs, and the best ankle holsters will differ from person to person. Some people might prefer a holster that fits only around the ankle and some might be more comfortable with an over-the-calf design. I selected holsters that are effective and dependable, but included enough variety to help you make an informed decision. It’s a very niche type of holster, and ultimately, you’ll have to try one out to decide if you’ll like it or not.
Best Ankle Holsters: Reviews & Recommendations
Here are our pics for some of the best ankle holsters in different styles that you can get. If one of these doesn’t work for you, it’s a solid bet that you’ll like something similar to one of them.
Best Overall: Sticky Holsters Ankle Biter Wrap
- Grippy fabric construction
- Multi-position holster
- Friction retention
- Price: $38 for ankle wrap, $28 for holster
- Less secure retention than Kydex
- Requires more careful holstering and use
The Sticky Holsters Ankle Wrap isn’t a holster itself, but is designed to be used in conjunction with any of their fabric holsters. Sold separately, the holster itself is made of fabric with a tacky outer layer that grips clothing to prevent movement. They come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different handguns, and can be used in the pocket, waistband, or worn on the ankle with the ankle wrap. They’re light, secure, versatile, and affordable.
To wear on the ankle, the user holsters their handgun, and uses the wrap to secure it on the ankle in whatever configuration is desirable. It allows you to position the pistol or revolver precisely so that it’s comfortable and doesn’t print an outline on the pants leg. The holster doesn’t have any retention straps, but when installed properly, it provides a secure fit and doesn’t slide or shift in the ankle strap. It’s one of the most simple and versatile holster options for ankle carry that you can get.
- Neoprene ankle band with sheepskin padding
- Hook and loop fastener
- Thumb-break retention strap
- Price: $67
- Simple design
- Thumb-break strap for secure retention
- Neoprene is soft and close-fitting
- Neoprene can be clammy to wear
Galco makes some of the best concealed carry holsters, and they offer a variety of ankle holsters too. Their Ankle Lite holster is a light, simple, and effective option that features a stretchy neoprene strap which provides a tight fit. The back of the holster is padded with sheepskin to prevent abrasion, and the strap is secured with a generously-sized hook-and-loop lap. The Ankle Lite has a reinforced thumb-break retention strap that will hold the pistol securely while allowing quick access. Like other ankle holsters, you’ll need to order one to fit your specific firearm, but It’s one of the best tight-fitting easy-on, easy-off ankle holsters.
- Slip-on, over-calf design
- Stretchy pouches for pistol and extra magazine
- Breathable material
- Tightening strap on top
- Price: $40
- Holster pouch holds pistol tight to calf
- More stable than some holsters that sit below calf
- Extra magazine pouch
- Breathable material
- Must order according to calf size
- Must slip-over foot to install
Some concealed carriers will prefer holsters that are secured on the calf. This can provide a more stable platform for holding your pistol against your leg if you’re active and moving. The BugBite ankle holster is a slip-over design that fits your calf snugly, and is further secured by a strap at the top. It’s made of flexible, breathable material and features a holster pouch and pouch for an additional magazine. There’s no retention strap, but the holster pouch is designed so that the rear of the slide is secured and it can’t fall out. When ordering, you have to measure your calf and pick the appropriate size. This holster is a great option for carrying pocket pistols or revolvers like the Ruger LCP MAX.
- Nylon holster pouch with over-the-top retention strap
- Additional neoprene above-calf strap
- Adjustable carry height
- Hook-and-loop straps
- Price: $38
- Adjustable height
- Above- and below-calf straps
- Secure Retention strap
- Retention strap is over-the-top, not thumb-break
The Crossbreed ankle holster is a somewhat adjustable and secure-fitting ankle holster that’s held up by both above-calf and below-calf straps. The vertical strap that connects the holster to the above-calf neoprene strap is adjustable for height, so that you can fine tune your carry position. An above-calf strap will help prevent your holster from sliding down too low, and keep it hidden in the slack of your pant leg. The holster itself is nylon, and the pistol is secured with a single retention strap that folds over the top of the gun and attaches via hook and loop to the holster. To remove the gun, you’ll have to pull up on the strap before drawing. This isn’t as streamlined as a thumb-break strap, but if you’re already having to bend down and hike up your pant leg, it’s not a big deal.
- Above- and below-calf straps
- Nylon holster
- Over-the-top retention strap
- Hook-and-loop connections
- Price: $35
- Calf strap is removable
- Secure two-point holster connection
- Pistol retention strap
- Retention strap could benefit from a pull tab
Everyone likes to make fun of Uncle Mikes, but if you’re looking to try ankle carry out, this is one of the best ankle holsters to start with. It features an over-the-calf elastic strap to help support the holster and keep it from sliding down your ankle, but the holster itself has a wide-band hook-and-loop strap. The over-the-calf strap is removable in case you don’t want to use it. This ankle holster is available for a variety of guns and has a somewhat generic nylon holster pattern. It features an over-the-top hook-and-loop retention strap that holds your pistol or revolver tightly in place. The holster body is essentially covered with “loop” fabric on the outside surface which allows you to position the retention strap as you see fit, but the strap could really use a pull tab or something for quicker access.
Picking the Best Ankle Holsters for You
Ankle holsters are a niche item when it comes to concealed carry. For those people who need a backup pistol or can’t otherwise carry concealed, an ankle holster can be a great option. For others, an ankle holster won’t be the first, second, or third choice for concealed carry. If you want to pick the best ankle holster for you, you need to answer several questions:
- Is my gun practical to carry on the ankle?
- Will my clothing accommodate and hide an ankle holster?
- What is my activity level and how securely does my holster need to be held?
- How well does a holster fit my leg shape and size?
Considering these things will really help you narrow the field and figure out what will and won’t work for you. Ultimately, you’ll have to try a holster out to see if it’s a good fit. It’s helpful if you can try out more than one.
Q: What is a good gun for an ankle holster?
Q: Are ankle holsters effective?
Ankle holsters can be effective if they hold your gun safely, securely, and if you can access your gun quickly and easily.
Q: Are ankle holsters noticeable?
If your pant legs are baggy enough, the best ankle holsters aren’t very noticeable. Additionally, the ankle isn’t a place that most people are paying attention to—unlike the hip or midsection
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Ankle holsters aren’t the most popular method of carry, and most people will find that there are more efficient ways to wear a gun. However, the ankle holster is not purely detective dime-novel fodder. If ankle carry suits your everyday lifestyle, it can be a great option for keeping a gun handy for self defense, and it’s likely that one of these ankle holsters will work well for you.