Having your gun on your ankle isn’t an optimal situation. It’s not the easiest place to access, carrying a larger gun is very difficult, and most ankle holsters aren’t as comfortable as other carry locations. But sometimes it is the only viable method to stay armed.
Generally, I consider an ankle holster gun a small backup weapon. This was an FBI tactic back in the day. Carrying a small revolver should your duty gun run out of ammo was just smart. We don’t have to worry so much about that now with modern high capacity semi-autos and lighter weight guns.
Now I would consider an ankle holster when it wasn’t viable to carry a gun any other way due to clothing or some other restriction. I carried in an ankle holster frequently in the gym when my workout pants wouldn’t support a holstered pistol. It was that or forgo being armed altogether.
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Top 3 Ankle Holsters (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
If you spend a lot of time in a vehicle or sitting at a desk, an ankle holster can be more comfortable to wear and may even be easier to access depending on your clothing and body. Driving would be one situation where they really shine. The sitting position is difficult to draw from, to begin with, and a seatbelt only makes it harder.
Situations where you wear a suit or otherwise have to keep a shirt tucked in make an ankle holster a good choice. This could include meetings, work environments, and more formal occasions. There are tuckable holsters but not all of them do a good job at concealing a handgun.
No matter the situation you plan to use an ankle holster, it all starts with quality. Even more so than a belt holster, an ankle holster needs to be made of the best materials and have been thoughtfully designed to do its job. The below six examples are some of the best ankle holsters on the market today.
6 Best Ankle Holsters
1. Alessi Holsters Ankle Holster – Best Overall
Alessi holsters hit the market more than 40 years ago when a single man decided to make the best damn holsters he could. Ever since Lou Alessi starting fitting and stitching leather, his holsters were rated second to none. If you want the Cadillac of ankle holsters, the one designed by the late, great Lou Alessi is the one!
I won’t lie, this is my go-to ankle holster and one I have hundreds of miles on since I got it over a decade ago. Everything is the way it came from Alessi. It is secure and the draw is natural without any fighting to get the gun out. If you didn’t have two pounds of steel on your foot, you could almost forget it was there.
This holster is by far the most comfortable ankle holster on the market.
You will need to get this holster specific to the gun you are carrying. It is not a universal holster. If you can live with that, this is the best ankle holster you can lay your hands on. That’s what you get with handmade.
- Highly Comfortable
- Great Construction
- Very Expensive
- Fits One Model Only
- Long Wait Time
2. Galco Gun Leather Ankle Glove – Most Trusted
If we take a step down in price and a small drop in quality you end up at Galco. The fact that it is a step down in quality isn’t a huge deal, this is still a great holster, just not as great as Alessi. Its top grain leather, a proven design, and made with outstanding craftsmanship. It may not be handmade, but you won’t know the difference.
I have carried a variety of Galco holsters over the years and still carry a few to this day. Much like the Alessi, with a little care this holster will last you a lifetime. It is a secure holster that won’t jiggle around, even with a heavy revolver, and is comfortable enough for all-day wear.
This isn’t a universal holster either so pick yours based on your gun. It will fit like a glove, for both you and your pistol. This still isn’t cheap but what do you expect for the best! I am not sure but have been told that this was the preferred ankle holster of the FBI.
- Very secure
- Highly comfortable
- Great reputation
- No wait time
- Still one model pistol per holster
3. DeSantis Die Hard Ankle Rig – Best Bang for Your Buck
I am not sure if this holster is John McClane approved but it gets my thumbs up! The difference between the Galco and the DeSantis is so small it isn’t worth noting. If you wore one and switched, it would be hard to tell which one you had on. The Galco is a bit heavier maybe but that would be the only way to tell.
My first ankle rig was a DeSantis and I still have it though they don’t make that model anymore. The Die Hard is the next rendition. Other than materials this has been the same successful design for years. Why change something that works?
Just like the Galco, this holster is secure, comfortable, and fairly easy to draw from. I do prefer the Velcro on the Galco but it’s a nit-picky thing. At the level all of the top three holsters are produced, its hard to find much of anything wrong with them.
- More affordable
- No wait time
- More awkward
- Still one model only
- Small wait time on some models
4. Urban Carry Revo Shell and Revo Ankle Rig – Best Modular
Enough with the old. What if you want something more modern? Maybe something modular? Urban Carry has been doing some interesting things in the holster market and is one of the few doing innovative work with leather when most of the holster world has moved on to kydex.
This is a modular system which means you have to buy two parts to make your ankle holster. The benefit, of course, is that you can buy a variety of shells to suit different firearms and different rigs to support different carry methods. You can do this and still get out cheaper than some other holster options.
Being a new holster, I have nowhere near the experience with Urban Carry as I do with some other holsters. I will say that I have never had an issue with comfort or security of the gun but it is something that I worry about. If the attachment point between the shell and the rig were to fail, you would end up with a holstered gun in your hand and that could be a very bad day.
- Secure – So Far
- Have to order two pieces
- Wait Times
- Less finished look
5. Crossbreed Ankle Holster – Best Universal
Crossbreed made their name very well-known with the SuperTuck holster, of which I owned a few. I don’t doubt the quality of Crossbreed for a second but I am not the biggest fan of universal or multi-gun holsters. Still, I have a ton of miles on this ankle rig and it has done just fine for me.
I initially bought this holster because I couldn’t find a good holster for the revolver I often carry in bear country so I thought I would give it a shot. While it isn’t as comfortable as some of the other options and it does allow the gun to move around a little, it is still very secure and drawing from it is clean with no snagging.
If you demand a universal holster you won’t get one much better. The added pocket is useful but does add weight at a point where having extra weight is a little bit annoying. Use it how you will but if you want something that doesn’t mind dirt, water, or sweat, you get that with Crossbreed.
- Resists sweat and water better than Leather
- Very Affordable
- Not as secure
- Can be floppy with a heavy gun
Of course, if you are on a tight budget and you want something decent that will do its job but you don’t want to dig too deep to get there, Uncle Mike’s has always been known to provide decent quality gear for very affordable prices. I have owned more than a dozen Uncle Mike’s holsters and always found them to be adequate to the task.
This isn’t the most secure holster but I have never known of a gun to fall out of one. I would more worry about the whole rig falling off but I don’t know that that has ever happened either. It is a soft and durable holster, especially with lighter guns, and has a clean draw.
If you asked me for the best ankle holster you could get, this wouldn’t be part of the conversation but if you asked me what ankle holster you should get on a tight budget, we could talk about Uncle Mike’s. When money is short and you need an ankle holster, this is far better than most of the crap you find online.
- Flat out cheap
- Nearly universal
- Not as secure
- Velcro is questionable
How to Choose the Best Ankle Holster
1. Consider Your Body Type
Any time you talk about choosing a holster, you will universally start with comfort and body type. Luckily ankle holsters tend to be a lot more forgiving than other holsters in the body type department. You are likely to have more trouble being too thin than being too thick. Most holsters allow for a lot of extra room.
If you are small framed, you really need to try holsters or at least get a sold measurement before you buy and make sure the holster will work for you. Any of the manufacturers listed here are known for solid customer service and will readily answer any questions you may have.
2. Activity Level Matters
Your next consideration will be your activity level. The more impact that happens at the ankle level, the more secure you are going to need that holster to be. If you plan on even marginal jogging, plan to spend the money on one of our top three and choose a lighter gun. A heavy gun with a lot of movement could cause any number of issues.
3. Clothing Will Make a Difference
Your clothing will somewhat dictate which carry holster is best for you but its more in your choice of footwear. If you wear high boots, an ankle holster is not your best bet. For shorter boots, you can get away with any of the first three holsters and the Crossbreed. The Urban Concealment may work but I would avoid the Uncle Mike’s holster.
4. Buy the Right Holster for Your Gun
Heavier guns need a more rigid holster. If you are carrying a revolver that is not an air-weight or a semi-auto that has a large ammo capacity or is mostly steel, opt for a leather holster. The neoprene will just beat your leg to death and the holster may fail to retain the firearm. Any time you add weight, go with leather.
5. Leather or Synthetic
For workout and a lot of sweating, you can justify one of the non-leather options. Sweating does bad things to leather and if you fail at maintaining it properly you could be in the market for a new holster sooner than you think. This is one place where neoprene shines!
6. Determine Handedness
Whatever holster you get, you want it to carry on the inside of your non-dominant leg. Some movies show differently but trust me on this. Make sure if you are right handed that the holster will be on the inside of the left leg. I guarantee that drawing from the outside of your dominant leg will present a lot of problems you never expected.
While it isn’t the best way to carry your firearm, there are times when ankle carry will do what others cannot. Just like any other holster, this is a piece of equipment you are potentially staking your life on. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to spend the money to get one that will adequately do the job.
This isn’t a time when you should go cheap just to save a few dollars.
That said, if it came down to a firearm in a crappy holster or no firearm at all, I would duct tape a holster to my leg before I went without. It’s a position that more people should practice with. It is awkward to get to your gun and awkward to draw. Being able to do so with authority is as important as choosing the right holster.
Ankle Holster F.A.Q.
Q: What kind of shoes can I wear with an ankle holster?
A: Any sneaker or running type shoe should work fine along with dress shoes and short boots. Taller boots will work only if they are open mouthed so the holster can fit between the boot and your leg. I don’t recommend ankle holsters with sandals, flip-flops, or other shoes of that nature.
Q: Can I clean my ankle holster if it gets sweaty?
A: The answer is yes. If you have a nylon or neoprene holster, clean with water and a mild soap by hand. For leather, you are better off checking with the manufacturer.
Q: My leather holster is much less comfortable than you suggested, what is wrong with it?
A: Nothing. Leather is a natural material and just like a pair of leather boots, it will take time to wear in. Give it some time.
Q: Why are there no Kydex ankle holsters?
A: There are a few companies that make Kydex ankle holsters but none that are of sufficient quality or comfort for me to recommend. One failing of Kydex is that it can lose retention ability quickly. That isn’t something you want for an ankle holster. Two I can think of off the top of my head are Fobus and Alien Gear.
Q: What type of gun is best for ankle carry?
A: There was a time when I would have said only the smallest caliber autos and air-weight revolvers. Now there are a variety of guns that will do well like the Ruger LC9, Glock 42 & 43, and the S&W Shield to name a few. Air-weight revolvers still do well along with the Ruger LCR.
Q: Can I carry my normal (full size or compact) carry gun in an ankle holster?
A: I am sure you can. They make ankle holsters for 1911s after all. But I would not recommend it. A Glock 19 is a heavy gun for an ankle holster. The Same with the 26. They hold too much ammo. You will get the same issue with the M&P series and Springfield’s XD line. Stick with smaller guns. Think last ditch.
Q: You said you worked out with an ankle holster on, did it not worry you to run with it on?
A: No. I don’t run as a part of my workout. The worst issue I had was with squats and hitting my butt on the bottom of the grip.
Q: How do you draw from an ankle holster?
A: It is a more complicated place to draw from than appendix or side carry. You have to kneel and use your non-dominant hand to raise the pant leg and then draw from the kneeling position. Most classes you take with an ankle holster, you will also shoot from the kneeling position, so practice it often!