The Ins and Outs of Ankle Carry
One of the most popular carry methods besides carrying in a holster on the waistband is ankle carry. It isn't necessarily the most popular method and has mostly been reserved for law enforcement officers and soldiers carrying a backup gun.
Civilian carriers have been using ankle carry either for the same purpose or as a deep concealment solution when waistband or pocket carry isn't possible.
Why Ankle Carry?
While drawing from ankle carry is certainly more time-consuming and difficult than drawing from the hip, there are certain benefits of ankle carry.
First is that having a backup gun is a good idea for concealed carry. If engaged in a life or death situation, what happens if your primary gun, for some reason, has been rendered useless or malfunctions? If that were to happen, at least you'll know that there is another option you can count on.
Additionally, there are certain situations and places where it may be a beneficial way to carry on the ankle. For instance, if you're seated - say at your place of work or in a restaurant - an ankle holster and pistol may be more easily accessible than a pistol on the waistband. The same goes for if you're in your car and faced with a carjacking situation.
Also, some people find themselves in situations where an IWB or OWB holster may be impractical or impossible to wear, but where an ankle holster may be feasible. For instance, say you have to carry while wearing a formal suit for work, but your suit cannot accommodate a 1.5-inch wide gun belt, which is a standard size. You aren't able to hold a pistol and holster with a dress belt, after all. Carrying a gun on the ankle, while not as good as waistband carry, can be a viable option in this instance.
What Can Go Wrong With Ankle Carry And Ankle Carry Holsters
Ankle carry holsters tend to attract dirt and dust. This is bad because it can cause your handgun to malfunction. You don't want that to happen. A regular cleaning routine should keep both your holster and firearm in optimal working condition. You will have to set aside some cleaning time every two weeks, if not more often, depending on the terrain you are operating in.
It is extremely difficult to draw a firearm from the ankle if you are in a standing position. You will have to put all of your weight on your dominant leg and lift your carry leg, pull the pants leg up and initiate the draw. If you have issues with balance or flexibility, this could be problematic for you.
Ankle carry is all about concealment. Normally, one wears the gun and holster inside the ankle on the non-dominant side. Unless you are wearing cowboy style boots or baggier pants with cuffs that extend over your ankle, you run the risk of exposing your weapon. Skinny jeans or pants won't work. You should keep this in mind when you are in a sitting position as well.
If you should find yourself in a life or death situation, time is not your friend. Drawing from the ankle takes more time than drawing from the shoulder or waist. To be really fast and accurate at ankle carry, takes time and practice. A lot of practice.
How to Ankle Carry Correctly
If you plan to ankle carry, having a good holster is a necessity. Sure, you can just tuck your gun into your boot, but it can still move around, even while walking. Your gun will have to be secured deep enough into the boot to prevent it from popping out of the top while engaged in more rigorous activity. Comfort could be an issue carrying a gun in your boot too.
Most ankle carry holsters are worn on the inside of your ankle. A right-handed person usually wears the gun and holster on the inside of the left ankle and a left-handed person wears on the inside of the right ankle. Some people choose an ankle holster that comes with a calf support strap to add another level of comfort and security.
There are some people out there that choose to ankle carry on the outside of the ankle. They usually carry in this way while wearing high-topped or cowboy style boots. The drawback to outside the ankle carry is concealment. It is much harder to properly conceal a gun unless you are wearing very baggy or big bell-bottom style pants.
How to Draw From Ankle Carry
Drawing a gun from the ankle is generally easier to do from a sitting position. Doing it from a standing position is a little trickier. The main idea is to be able to reach and pull up the pant leg on the carry ankle, grasp and draw the gun with the strong hand.
A common method is to drop to your knee (on the dominant side), and grab the pant leg with the non-shooting hand, pull up the pant leg exposing the holster and gun. Then, draw the gun and quickly take aim at your target. You can effectively fire your weapon one-handed, but if possible, doing so with a two-handed grip can make for a more accurate shot.
Drawing from a standing position requires you to drop back on your dominant leg and bend from the waist to do the pant leg raise and gun acquisition. Keep in mind, that you should always try to keep your head up to focus on the threat throughout the process. You can then fire from that low position or rise and fire from a standing position if you have time do so.
Determining if Ankle Carry is Right For You
Ankle carry can be an effective method for gun owners to conceal a firearm. Before doing so, a few things should be taken into consideration. One should truthfully assess their physical abilities and limitations to safely access the gun and holster.
In order to effectively carry a gun at the ankle, you should have a good holster to retain your firearm. There are several comfortable holsters on the market. New strides in technology and synthetic compounds have made many improvements in adjustability and security. Leather ankle holsters may work well for one person, but other people may find them to be heavier and too hot for extended daily use. The new composite holsters are a viable, comfortable option and conceal well with few printing issues
Another thing to decide, is whether you plan to ankle carry a primary or secondary concealed weapon. The size and weight of the gun must be taken into account as well. The bigger the better does not seem to apply well with ankle carry. Bigger guns are harder to conceal.
Drawing a weapon from an ankle carry holster isn't rocket science, but it does take a lot of practice. Most experts suggest you practice the draw for at least 10 minutes, a couple of times a week. Work on the draw from various positions until it becomes second nature, and when you do practice, always practice with an unloaded firearm. If you are willing do some research, and definitely put in the practice time, ankle carry just might be a good fit for you.
About The Author
Filled with Aloha, Michael Cambron has lived in the Newman Lake area with his wife and 2 golden retrievers for the past 16 years. He graduated Cum Laude from Gonzaga University in 2014 with a degree in Public Relations and Promotions. When he’s not writing, he can be found in the gym, on the golf course, kayaking on the lake, or at the gun store.