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Ankle Holsters & Boot Guns

Ankle Holsters & Boot Guns

Ankle holsters are a concealed-carry method that is often considered by armed citizens. Out in our western states, the technique is modified to clipping an in-the-pants holster into the top of the "cowboy" boot, thus the boot gun reference. For the sake of brevity, we will simply refer to ankle holsters since the two carry methods are so similar.

Ankle holsters can be a very comfortable way to carry a small defensive handgun. The key is to buy a quality holster that features adequate padding so that the rig doesn't chafe the ankle during long hours of wear. It is also important to wear pants that are full enough in the lower leg area that the gun doesn't print on the pants leg. The same type of pant legs are also much easier to pull up and out of the way if drawing the handgun becomes necessary.

It is also important to give serious thought in selecting the handgun that is to be worn in this manner. Most folks are simply not big enough to wear a full-size service pistol on their ankle without it becoming very obvious. A J-frame-size revolver is much more concealable. And a small, flat semi-auto is an even better idea.

The defensive shooter who chooses to carry his or her pistol in an ankle holster will soon notice that the pistol can quickly become covered in dust and lint. These may cause the handgun to malfunction and, of course, that is something that we sure want to avoid with a gun that we may have to bet our life on. It is a good idea to clean this handgun at least once a week. And it is also a good idea to only oil the pistol lightly, since oil will attract and hold dust and grime.

As with any carry method, an ankle holster has its drawbacks. The most serious is that in order to draw the pistol a person has to stand on one leg while he or she raises the other leg to facilitate the draw, or she or he has to kneel in order to reach the gun. Neither position is one that you really want to be in when a criminal attack is in your face.

I recently talked to an Arkansas state investigator who was in the process of climbing over a gate at a rural residence when the suspect came out of the house, gun in hand. The investigator's .38 revolver was in his boot, and he told me that it might as well have been in his desk back in his office. Fortunately, diplomacy solved the problem and no one was hurt.

The fact is that you are not going to make a very speedy draw from an ankle holster. A partial solution is to work on your powers of observation and draw the gun before an attack actually begins. One may cover the move by seeming to kneel down and retie a shoe. The small pistol is drawn, concealed in the palm of the hand, and then transferred to a pants pocket, coat pocket or waistband. Regardless, quick acquisition is the biggest problem with ankle carry. You have a gun, but will you have time to draw it once you discover that you are under attack? 

Regardless, carrying a defensive handgun in an ankle holster cannot be completely dismissed as a defensive option. It may work better for some people than others. One has to give serious thought to tactics and spend a good bit of time in practice to determine if the technique works for them. Use of a quality holster, keeping the gun clean and functional, and spending time in practice are key elements to carrying in an ankle holster.

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