Ankle holsters are a classic means to conceal carry a handgun. It’s fallen in and out of favor as time has passed, but it has always been around in one way or another.
Sometimes these holsters are more or less calf holsters, but we still call them ankle holsters. These holsters are deep concealment holsters and are often perfect for carrying a backup gun or keeping a gun hidden from the most observant people.
Ankle holsters have gotten better; they’ve become more capable, more comfortable, and safer. Today is all about ankle holsters and picking the best ankle gun holster for you.
9 Best Ankle Carry Holster of 2019: Outdoor Empire Reviews
Here is a list of the best ankle holsters of 2019:
- Best Cheap: Concealment Clothes Ankle Holster
- Best For the Money: AlienGear Shapeshift Ankle Rig
- Best Leather: Beretta Ankle Holster
- Best Revolver: Fobus Ankle Holster
- Best for Glock 19: Galco Ankle Lite
- Best for Glock 26 : Galco Ankle Glove
- Best for Glock 27: Desantis Ankle Rig
- Best for Glock 42: Galco Ankle Guard
- Best for Ruger LCP 380: Gould and Goodrich Ankle Holster
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1. Best Cheap Ankle Holster: Concealment Clothes Ankle Holster
We all like to save money, and when it comes to holsters, it’s understandable. To find the right, cheap ankle holster, I knew the price was a compromise, but I didn’t want safety and comfort compromised.
The Concealment Clothes Concealed Carry Holster fits those roles. This holster offers both security and comfort. The rig has an active retention device, fully covers the trigger guard of the weapon, and offers an upper support band for the calf.
It’s a simple design, but it does work as long as you use a little common sense about weapon selection.
Features and Specs
- Active retention thumb strap
- Made from a soft neoprene material
- Extra small pocket to accommodate a magazine
- Completely ambidextrous
- Covered with a 10-year warranty
- Fits a wide variety of small handguns
- Will not support heavy handguns
The Concealment Clothes ankle holster is for those who really need to save some money or those who want to experiment with ankle carry. It’s best used for small 380s with polymer frames.
This ankle rig is very compact but also affordable and easy to use—perfect for beginners or those looking to try something new.
2. Best Ankle Holster for the Money: AlienGear Shapeshift Ankle Rig
We couldn’t do an article on the Glock 19 and its holsters without mentioning a classic leather design. The Desantis Inside Heat is a classic leather holster that is designed to fit inside the waistband and provide all the comfort that leather is known for.
The Inside Heat is a minimalist leather holster that is appropriate for positioning all around the waistband. Its larger, metal, single-clip design allows you to carry your Glock 19 in relative comfort.
Once the leather breaks in, you will be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable option.
Features and Specs
- Adjustable to six different ride heights
- Can be used with a multitude of guns by switching the shell
- Has a true form-fitting design
- One of the most supportive and comfortable ankle holsters out there
- Extremely secure and easy to use
- Padded but still easy to conceal
- Slow to get on and off
The Alien Gear Shapeshift Holster is an awesome system overall, and this ankle rig is incredibly comfortable. If you like to switch up your carry gun or style, then this holster is for you.
The Shapeshift system is comfortable and uses a calf support strap as well as a mini sock that wraps around the bottom of the foot. The ability to adjust the height is great for larger weapons and makes it easier to draw from.
3. Best Leather Ankle Holster: Beretta Ankle Holster
Finding an all-leather ankle holster these days can be difficult, but Beretta takes a classic Italian design and modernizes it. The Beretta Leather holster is two leather bands topped with hook and loop material.
One goes around the ankle and the other around the calf. The portion that holds the gun is leather, as is the leather thong that wraps around it. Between you and the gun is a small square section of leather that keeps it from pressing into you.
Features and Specs
- Made from premium leather
- Shaped to the guns
- Two stretchable leather straps to accommodate all sizes of calves and ankles
- Looks and feels amazing
- Will last for nearly ever
- Very well supported
- Made for a limited number of guns.
The Beretta Leather Ankle is a classic, old school design made to accommodate the most demanding of users. It’s like a fine Italian suit versus a t-shirt and jeans combo.
The Beretta leather holsters are for those who want a little style and class as well as comfort and security.
4. Best Revolver Ankle Holster: Fobus Ankle Holster
The J-frame or snub nose revolver is a classic ankle gun. They are small, potent, and powerful. They are also perfect backup guns. The Fobus ankle holster is a modern take on the classic ankle holster.
The Fobus model is very simple and is a mixture of nylon strap and polymer holster. There is no calf strap, but the massive ankle band is designed to support a revolver.
The J-frame holster itself is well made and ensures retention and an easy draw. The holster is lightweight and comfortable for daily carry.
Features and Specs
- A thick .75-inch Cordura pad ensures comfort
- Polymer holster molded for J-frames
- Simple, single-point attachment
- Lifetime warranty
- Quick and easy draw
- Fits the majority of snub nose revolvers
- Lacks a calf strap.
The Fobus Ankle holster is designed for those looking to outfit revolvers from companies like S&W, Rossi, and Taurus, specifically small J-frame, five-shot revolvers designed for concealed carry.
The system is quick and easy to get on and off and is decently well supported. It’s a great option for those who sit more than walk, especially for an office or a long car ride.
5. Best Glock 19 Ankle Holster: Galco Ankle Lite
The Glock 19 is a relatively big gun for ankle carry, and if you are dedicated to doing so, it is possible. The Galco Ankle Lite is one of the rare ankle holsters designed to accommodate such a big gun.
The Ankle Lite sports a leather holster over a massively wide elastic band. The leather, center-cut, steerhide holster is extremely durable and very supportive of big guns.
The Glock 19 needs a holster like this to support and conceal it. The Galco Ankle Lite’s massive ankle strap is designed to provide the needed support for such a large weapon.
Features and Specs
- Available in right- and left-hand draws
- Internal sheepskin for comfort
- Reinforced active retention thumb strap
- Accommodates an ankle up to a massive 13 inches in circumference
- Very supportive for heavy weapons
- Easy on and easy off
- Can be fitted with a calf strap
- Bulky and heavy
Carrying a medium-sized gun like the Glock puts the Ankle Lite into its own category. This holster meets the challenge of carrying a big gun and enters into a class of itself. The Ankle Lite is perfect for those looking to carry a big gun in an unconventional area.
The Galco Ankle Lite is also available at:
6. Best Glock 26 Ankle Holster: Galco Ankle Glove
The Galco Ankle glove is likely one of the most well-known and used ankle holsters out there. Pairing one with the Glock 26 makes sense since the Glock 26 is one of the most used backup guns.
The Ankle Glove fits like a glove and is incredibly comfortable and durable. The holster portion of the rig is made from 100% leather and is molded to the gun itself. This increases retention and support.
The band is made from neoprene for comfort and low overall weight. The band is also wide and quite supportive of a fully loaded Glock 26.
Features and Specs
- Made from premium Steerhide
- Features a retention strap
- Fits up to a 13-inch ankle
- Likely the most comfortable ankle holster
- Has a wide strap that is supportive and easy to use
- Sheepskin padding provides protection between you and your gun
- Expensive, very expensive
The Galco Ankle glove is for those who want the most comfortable ankle rig on the market. These are popular with cops because of the comfort they provide for allday wear.
It’s a spare-no-expense situation with the Galco ankle glove. The Glock 26 and it are a perfect pair in terms of popularity and handiness.
The Galco Ankle Glove is also available at:
7. Best Glock 27 Ankle Holster: Desantis Ankle Rig
The Glock 27 is likely the second most popular baby Glock on the market. With lots of law enforcement utilizing the 40 S&W, the Glock 27 is a natural backup gun.
The Desantis Leather Ankle Rig is a comfortable means to carry this potent backup gun. The all-leather design is incredibly comfortable and provides the most protection you can get for your Glock 27.
It sports an awesome thumb strap and a very supportive design, even sans calf strap. The Desantis leatherwork is on point, and the holster looks as good as it feels.
Features and Specs
- All black and leather
- Thumb strap for retention
- Made in the USA
- Gun is nearly fully encased by leather
- Right- and left-handed options available
- Foam padded suede for comfort
- Lacks a calf strap
The Desantis Leather rig is incredibly well made and designed to last for quite some time. The holster has a wide strap that is supportive, and it could be carried on a daily basis with ease.
It accommodates the 40-cal baby Glock well and gives you the performance you can count on.
The Desantis Ankle Rig is also available at:
8. Best Glock 42 Ankle Holster: Galco Ankle Guard
The Glock 42 is the smallest Glock on the market, and this little 380 is a popular concealed carry gun and backup gun. Glocks are duty-worthy guns, and they need a worthy duty holster, and that holster is the Galco Ankle Guard.
This unique design uses a hybrid injection-molded polymer and steerhide design. It’s modern, with a touch of old school.
The holster is an open top design but uses an adjustable retention system to ensure the gun stays in place. The Ankle Guard has an interesting and effective design.
Features and Specs
- Fits ankles up to 13 inches in circumference
- Hook and loop enclosure
- Neoprene lined
- Very comfortable
- Compact and holds the gun tight to the ankle
- Features two adjustable tension units
The Ankle Guard from Galco is a high-quality deep concealment holster with a bit of modern design and old school flair. The combination makes perfect sense when you wear an ankle glove and the Glock 42.
Both combine effective systems to make a natural partnership. The Ankle Guard is one of the best holsters for small guns, if you are willing to pay the price.
Galco Ankle Guard is also available at:
9. Best Ruger LCP 380 Ankle Holster: Gould and Goodrich Ankle Holster
Gould and Goodrich made their name with leatherwork, but their ankle holster is made mostly from synthetic materials. A small deviation. But the holster is still well made and very comfortable.
The inside is sheepskin lined for comfort and to prevent chafing from daily wear. This specific model is made for small, lightweight automatics, like the LCP 380.
It lacks a calf strap but doesn’t need one for such small guns. The elastic design allows the user to wrap it around their ankle tightly easily, and the sheepskin ensures comfort.
Features and Specs
- Adjustable for all ankle sizes
- Fits a wide variety of small automatics
- Features an active retention strap
- Can be a tight fit for easy concealment
- Sheepskin is incredibly comfortable
- Wide strap ensures comfort
- Small automatics only
The Gould and Goodrich is a duty-grade holster designed for deep concealment. You can tighten the holster down and remain comfortable due to the sheepskin backing.
This holster will make a small auto disappear. It’s perfect for those who want the most concealment with tons of comfort. The Gould and Goodrich holster is well designed and is a duty grade holster.
Gould and Goodrich Ankle Holster is also available at:
When to Use an Ankle Holster?
Ankle holsters are really niche holsters. They satisfy a very small need, but when that itch needs to be scratched, there is only one cure: the ankle holster. I’m going to be real with you folks and present the truth about ankle holsters in an objective way.
- Present an extremely deep level of concealment
- Incredibly comfortable and easy to access when seated
- Can enable concealed carry when other ways of dress prohibit it
- In a seated position, you can draw stealthily
- The perfect way to carry a backup gun.
- Slow to draw from while standing
- Limited to relatively small guns
- Can easily attract dirt and debris to the gun
- Requires you to wear pants
I really like the ankle holster when I feel the need to carry a backup gun. This allows me to keep a gun located in a different position from my normal carry gun.
This allows me to access a gun either in a low-profile manner or reach a gun if for some reason my main gun is inaccessible. Ankle carry is also great if you want to carry a gun while wearing formal attire.
Suits or shirt and ties can make it hard to conceal a gun. Carrying a gun in a normal manner also often creates lines in formal clothing and often stands out.
Ankle carry is again a great option when seated for a long period of time, such as at an office job or on a long road trip.
Popularity has waned in the past, but newer systems from Galco and Alien Gear have drawn concealed carry via the ankle back into the open. Its popularity is on the rise these days, and you can find more and more options hitting the market daily.
How to Choose Your Ankle Holster
The most important consideration in choosing your ankle holster is your firearm. Obviously, the holster needs to fit your firearm, but you need to consider more than just if the gun will fit.
If you are carrying a heavy double stack 9 mm handgun, you’ll need a more supportive holster than an LCP 380. A heavier gun will need a wider strap to help distribute the weight better, or you can use a calf strap.
A small gun can get away with a lot less in terms of support and design. So, first consider your gun and the amount of support it needs.
This leads to comfort. Having enough support means having a comfortable carry gun. Additionally, you need to consider the material used to produce the holster and how that affects comfort.
Leather is often stronger but also less comfortable. Leather holsters need to be reinforced with a soft internal material like neoprene or sheepskin.
Neoprene material is incredibly soft and breathable. It provides a soft, elastic-like material that breathes and doesn’t chafe the skin. A reinforcement of some form of soft material is necessary. Your legs are constantly swinging, and this creates the potential for friction.
Since we are talking about movement, let’s do a smooth segue into retention. Whether you’re walking, climbing, jumping, or doing anything else, you are moving your legs.
This means you are moving your gun. You need a holster that can promise retention, no matter what you are doing. A thumb strap is by far the most common method and is quite effective.
Other companies have discovered some really impressive ways to secure the gun safely, but the thumb strap remains the king. A concealed carry ankle holster needs to be concealable.
By design, ankle holsters are concealable, but if the holster is designed for a tight fit, it will fail. It will stick out too far and draw attention to anyone who looks at your feet.
It needs a tight fit that holds the holster close to your body. If it sticks outwards, retire it and try again. Calf straps help a lot with this, as do elastic bands.
The Top Brands for Ankle Holsters
Galco makes a little bit of everything, and this includes ankle holsters. They produce three distinct lines of ankle holsters, each offering different advantages and weaknesses and for a wide variety of guns.
Galco incorporates leather, elastic, and even polymer into their ankle holster lines. Galco produces holsters for both police and civilian users.
Their Ankle Glove is one of the favorites for police officers carrying a backup piece. Galco’s products are far from cheap, but they present an extreme level of quality. These are holsters that last and last dang near forever after daily carry.
They are designed to maximize comfort and ensure concealment. They have built-in retention systems that are hard to beat. Galco’s designs do evolve and continue to grow. They are now implementing both polymer and leather into a comfortable and ergonomic design.
They are produced for a wide variety of popular firearms, and Galco tends to produce holsters for individual weapons, meaning you won’t find many universal ankle holsters in their lineup.
Their custom-molded leather gives you a holster that maximizes retention, safe holstering, and drawing. These molded leather designs are impeccable and make it easy to wear a gun on your ankle day in and day out.
If Galco had a main competitor, it would be Desantis. Desantis produces some amazing leather holsters, and this extends to their ankle rigs.
With names like the Die Hard and the Apache, they are easy to remember. Even if they were named something boring like the Ankle Holster 01 and 02, they’d be memorable for just how comfortable they are.
The Desantis Ankle Rigs are aimed slightly more at the average concealed carrier and built to be low profile and comfortable. The Apache, for example, is incredibly comfortable and utilizes nylon to accommodate most small frame pistols.
The Die Hard rig is elastic and leather and looks as good as it feels. On top of all this, Desantis is known for their ability to add a calf strap, but this is not always necessary.
Their extra wide straps are more than enough to support the guns they provide holsters for. Their main base is very small and concealable guns, which are really the best option for ankle carry holsters.
Desantis has been around for a very long time, and I expect they will remain around for quite some time. They produce extremely high-quality holsters, and their ankle rig designs are second to none.
Now how did Alien Gear become a top brand in ankle holsters when they’ve only produced one? Well, they made the biggest advancement in ankle holsters in decades.
Their modular platform allows the end user to control nearly every part of their ankle holsters. Not only that, the interchangeable shells make it easy to adjust the holster for a wide variety of guns.
Alien Gear changed the game when it came to ankle holsters. The Shapeshift system is designed to allow you to swap between a variety of different styles of holsters from OWB, to IWB, to shoulder rigs, and of course to an ankle rig.
This design allows you to fill the niche of ankle carry when you need it and a normal means to carry when you don’t. Alien Gear’s ShapeShift ankle holster is easily the most supportive ankle holster on the market.
Their holster utilizes an ankle strap, a wide wrap-around band, and an ankle piece with a hard rod that presses the holster upwards. You can carry a full-sized gun comfortably, not that I’d advise it for concealed carry, but it’s strong enough to support it.
Alien Gear has produced only one ankle holster, but it’s the most innovative and useful on the market. If they keep this up, they will own the ankle carry market.
We get a lot of questions regarding ankle holsters, so let’s answer the most common ones now.
What guns are best for ankle holsters?
Typically, subcompacts to pocket pistols are best used for ankle carry. These are the easiest to conceal and lightest to carry.
On what leg should I wear an ankle holster?
Ankle holsters are best worn on the dominant leg. This makes it easier to draw and more intuitive overall.
How do you draw from an ankle holster?
When seated manually, pull up your pants leg as much as possible with both hands. Pin it up with the non-dominant hand and retrieve the gun with your dominant hand.
When standing, grab your pants fabric and pull it up and then take a big step forward, going into a mini-lunge. Retrieve the weapon with your dominant hand and fire.
Is an ankle holster legal in my state?
No, American state disqualifies concealed carry based solely on holster choice.
Ankle Carried Away
Ankle carry isn’t easy, but it’s far from impossible. It requires some training, some practice, and a little know-how. You have to know how to find the right holster and how to use the right holster.
This takes research and practice. If you take the time to do both, you will be quite successful.
If you are not looking for an ankle holster, take a look our other guides: