I’ve always been a skeptic of ankle holsters. They must be slow on the draw and high on discomfort. James Bond and Magnum P.I. wore ankle holsters, not Hank O’Meara.
When I was assigned this article, I groaned out loud in disgust. If I have to write an article on an ankle holster, that means I’ll have to actually wear one for an extended period of time.
My professionalism as a writer and “gun-nut” (That’s right, I am a professional gun nut!) took over and I called Galco International and placed an order for one “Ankle Glove” leather ankle holster.
When my new holster arrived I was immediately impressed with the workmanship and overall quality. The holster part was custom-formed leather made to fit my Glock perfectly. However, when I first tried to slide my pistol into the holster, I could barely get it in. I couldn’t believe how snug the fit was. “There must be some sort of mistake,” I thought. I finally decided to read the product manual that was still in the box. Sure enough, Galco stated that a short “break-in” period would be required to achieve the perfect fit.
I proceeded to jam my pistol into the holster and snap the retention strap. The snap was impressive. It required the perfect amount of “snap closure force.” The leather snap strap extends about 5/8” above the top of the pistol. My right thumb could easily find this area for quick snap disengagement.
In theory, the calf strap sounds like a great idea. In practice, it’s not so great.
The leather holster portion was stitched to a thick, wide neoprene strap. This strap was then wrapped around your ankle and fastened with a very robust Velcro-style closure. The portion of the strap directly behind the holster was covered with a sheepskin-like material. The rest of the strap was soft neoprene. The addition of this “sheep skin” provided for a really comfortable fit. I’ll talk more on comfort later in the article.
Overall, my first impression was favorable. This holster looked and felt great right out of the box. My skepticism was slowly receding, but I still wondered just how comfortable this thing would be after 12 hours.
If you’ve never worn an ankle holster, it takes some getting used to. Before I started my first week of “ankle-holster” carry, I was estimating it would be as comfortable as dragging around a bowling ball that was strapped to my ankle. Much to my surprise, it was not that bad at all.
I wore the Galco ankle glove for 12-14 hours per day for one week straight. The comfort was fantastic. I would strap the holster on nice and tight and after a few hours, I would forget it was there. Due to the soft layer of sheepskin, I never felt any sharp edges digging into my ankle.
Another surprise was how little the gun moved around while walking. I tend to walk pretty fast and was impressed how tight the gun remained to my leg. I did notice that if I tried to strap the holster slightly above my ankle bone, any amount of vigorous walking would cause it to slip down to the bottom of my ankle. Galco sells a calf strap as an additional accessory that is supposed to eliminate this problem. The function of the calf strap is pretty self explanatory so I won’t go into extreme detail. There is a small, steel, rectangular ring that is located right behind the snap strap of the holster. The calf strap accessory has a thin Velcro strap that hooks onto this ring. This thin strap is connected to a wider strap that wraps around your calf right below your knee.
In theory, the calf strap sounds like a great idea. In practice, it’s not so great. First of all, if the holster is sliding down on you, you’re probably trying to wear it too high. Secondly, with the holster and calf strap on, it feels like you’re wearing a lower leg girdle. Lastly, even with the calf strap on, the holster still wants to slide down the lowest point on your ankle. In my humble but accurate opinion, I think you should just wear the ankle holster at the lowest point of your ankle. That is where the holster wants to be.
If you’re a person that likes to wear tight fitting jeans or pants that stop before they get to your shoes, then an ankle holster is probably not for you. With that said, the concealability factor for this holster was pretty good.
I like to wear pants and jeans that are pretty loose fitting. I also like the legs of my pants to be plenty long. This combination is perfect for the Galco Ankle Glove. The holster and gun were practically undetectable under a pair of jeans or dress pants.
The only time you could see something out of the ordinary was when you were walking up a flight of stairs. This occurred when the holstered leg was completely extended on the lower step and the other leg was stepping up onto the next step. At this very instant the butt of the pistol tended to poke against the pants fabric for a brief second. In my opinion, this is not really a big deal.
The most important aspect of any conceal carry holster is the ability to draw quickly. As I mentioned earlier, I initially could barely get my Glock into the holster. I proceeded to follow the Galco “Holster Fit/Break-In” procedure and within a few days my pistol fit perfectly. With the retention strap secured, the gun does not move around at all. However, with a quick flick of the thumb and forefinger, the gun slides out quite easily.
I learned that there are three factors that come into play when learning to make a quick draw from the Galco Ankle Glove. These are practice, practice and more practice. I know this saying is as old as the hills but it really applies here. Galco has done their part in making a perfectly fitting holster that stays put and doesn’t allow the gun to move around. Now I had to do my part in learning how to quickly and efficiently operate this rig.
I broke the draw down into 4 distinct steps as can be seen in the photographs.
The first step is the “Pant Leg Pull.” Once you’ve made the decision to draw your gun, you grab the leg of your pants with your weak hand and pull upward, exposing the holster and firearm. As you are pulling up on your pant leg, your body is crouching down as your strong hand goes for your gun. Step two starts when your weak hand lets go of your pant leg and arrives at the holster a split second before your strong hand. The thumb and forefinger of your weak hand flick open the retention strap as your strong hand arrives to draw the pistol. The third step starts when you pull your weak hand as your strong hand pulls your firearm from the holster. The fourth and final step is coming to a shooting stance and taking proper aim.
With practice, this can be done in less than 2 seconds.
Galco recommends cleaning the leather part of the holster once a month with Galco Leather Lotion or a hard bar glycerin soap. In addition to regular washing, Galco also recommends that you keep your holster away from direct heat sources. With proper care, this holster should last for quite a while.
Reviewing the aesthetics of a piece of equipment that is designed to be hidden seems kind of pointless. However, if any of you are like me, then you don’t like buying things that are not well designed or are just downright ugly.
Rest easy, the Galco Ankle Glove is a good looking piece of equipment. The leather and neoprene used are of the highest quality. There are no loose threads flapping around and there is no glue oozing out of any seams. The holster is designed and manufactured well.
The only negatives I can come up with are of the tactical nature. While it is possible to perfect a less than 2 second draw from the Galco Ankle Glove, you really need ideal conditions to make this possible. Furthermore, if you were ever in a situation where you needed to draw your gun while drawing little attention to yourself, you’d have a hard time doing it while reaching all the way down to your ankle.
In an ideal world, we’d all walk around with multiple firearms for primary and backup protection. In this ideal case, I think the Galco Ankle Glove would be the perfect “second-weapon” holster. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and it is sometimes difficult if not impossible to carry multiple weapons. For the above-mentioned tactical reason, the Galco Ankle Glove is not my first choice as a primary concealed carry holster. For some people, an ankle holster may be their only option. In these cases, I would highly recommend this rig.
I started this assignment with the notion that it would not be a good one. I sure was wrong. I am now an ankle holster convert. The Galco Ankle Glove is a well-built and extremely functional holster that is well worth the money.