For those of us in the business world, “business-casual” dress has become commonplace and wearing a sport coat is almost a trend of the past. To make matters worse, I live in the desert of Arizona where extreme heat is commonplace. Without wearing a jacket or other cover garment, carrying a concealed weapon becomes a challenge. I tried pocket carry but found it hard to hide the bulge it created on the top of my pant leg, especially when seated among others. A tuckable inside-the-waistband holster didn’t work well for me either. As a sales consultant, I regularly have people inside my “personal space.” It’s not unusual for my peers to pat me on the back and that caused me a great deal of concern of my tuckable being discovered. These challenges were what drove me to choose ankle carry as my primary carry method in business casual environments.
Common Misconceptions of Ankle Carry
When I suggest carrying an ankle gun as a primary weapon, many raise their eyebrows and chuckle. But, again, sometimes ankle carry is the only choice we have to conceal a high-quality handgun of significant caliber.
There is one key benefit from ankle carry. Your firearm is highly concealable. For evidence of this fact, think about how often you looked at someone else’s ankle today! An easier access to a concealed handgun, while seated in the office or while seat-belted in your auto, is hard to find.
However, it is at this point we reach the inevitable statement…“But it’s so slow!”
To become proficient with any mode of concealed carry, one needs proper equipment, proper concealment clothing and many thousands of dry fire draw strokes!
“How many of you think that drawing a firearm from an ankle holster is terribly slow?” When I ask this question, virtually all hands rise. Then, when I ask why they think it is slow, almost universally, it is pointed out that in order to access the gun, one must go to a kneeling position. I understand why they answer as they do. Having read gun magazines for all of my adult life, I can tell you that I have never seen an advertisement for ankle holster that didn’t show the user down on one knee to begin the draw stroke. If one chooses, what I call the “drop to the ground and do the splits” technique, I agree, it will be slow.
If you could draw and fire your ankle gun in less than two seconds would you consider that fast?
For the lack of another name, I call it the AST, short for Ankle Speed Technique. Using this unique, fumble-free, draw stroke, I can draw and shoot two accurate, aimed shots in less than two seconds. The gentleman who showed me how to accomplish such speed was a man who takes all things self defense quite seriously. He is a martial artist who decided to combine some of his martial arts training with his desire to shoot quickly from concealed. It was a natural combination. His thoughtful work has been my gain.
I have validated the technique, from the standpoint of time and stability, in several local IDPA style matches in which I shot using my Glock 26 in an Alessi ankle holster. Two seconds to put two shots on target is not the 1.0 – 1.5 second draw strokes that most dedicated people obtain using concealed belt carry. BUT, neither is as slow as most people expect ankle carry to be.
To become proficient with any mode of concealed carry, one needs proper equipment, proper concealment clothing and many thousands of dry fire draw strokes! This is also true when considering an ankle holster for concealed carry.
I like Glock because I have found it to be 100% reliable and because they are ergonomically superior for obtaining a fumble-free draw stroke from an ankle holster. While carrying my Glock 26 loaded with 10+1 rounds of quality 9mm JHP ammunition, I don’t feel inadequately armed at all. For those looking for a backup weapon, both law enforcement and CCW holders will find benefits from selecting an ankle gun that has some synergy with their primary weapon system. Glock, for example, intentionally made their subsequent compact and sub-compact models with the ability to accept the magazines of their full size counterparts. Not only is my sub-compact Glock 26 small enough to fit on my ankle, my 17 round magazines that I carry on my belt for my full size Glock 17 may be used for reloads if things get really tough. The best reason for carrying primary and backup weapons with the same manual of arms is that it helps keep Mr. Murphy away by keeping things simple.
The proper concealment clothing
After selecting a firearm, the next purchase one must make is a proper pair of pants. I prefer dark pants, as the bulk associated with ankle carry is less noticeable. Having a heavy cotton material is also beneficial as the gun is less likely to print in the wind or while walking. I have a 32” inseam and purposely purchase my “Polo Chinos” or “Dockers” with a 36” inseam. I then take them to my local tailor and have them cut back down to a proper fitting 32”. Doing this reduces the taper at the bottom of the pant leg so that it is not so tight around the ankle. Easy accessibility to the ankle-gun enhances speed. And, the way to obtain speed during the draw stroke is to have room at the bottom of the pants.
While there are a myriad of different ankle holsters on the market, I prefer a leather holster molded to fit the gun. One such holster is the Alessi Ankle Holster (Photo above). Lou Alessi really had his thinking cap on when he designed his ankle holster. He made it with a padded ankle strap that can be cinched tight around the ankle to keep the holster positioned where you want it without losing blood flow to your foot. While running with a fully loaded Glock 26 in the holster, the Alessi holds the gun in place. No firearm restraining straps are necessary on this well made piece of work!
The AST Draw Stroke
I’m a proponent of the “four count draw stroke” as taught by Gunsite, FR&I, as well as other highly regarded training groups. It is tactically sound and integrates well with any form of concealed carry including ankle carry!
Now that we have selected the gun, the pants and the holster, let’s review the four-count draw stroke.
As a right-handed shooter, the Glock 26 fits nicely in the Alessi ankle holster and holds the gun securely on the inside of my left leg just above the ankle. While standing left hand slides along your leg, across your torso to meet the gun in the retention position (Count 3). Remember, the hand was sitting on the knee that was drawn up to the body so it doesn’t have very far to go.
Now it is time to push the gun out, find the sights and press the trigger, if necessary. Shooting from this solid retention position, if need be, is also an option (Count 4). Does this draw stroke have a downside? Yes it does.
While there are many ways to carry and not all methods work for everyone, just remember Rule #1: Have a gun.
For a short while, you will only have one foot on the ground, which offers less than optimal stability. But, with practice, it is a very short while. What you will find is that your foot is off of the ground for about the same time that it is off the ground during your normal step while walking. Let me assure that if this 49-year-old can do it, so can you.
The key feature of AST is that it gives you the option of standing or kneeling during your draw stroke. Why worry, you ask? Imagine for a moment that you’ve walked into your home to find a burglar hiding behind the other side of your sofa. Do you really want to drop down to your knees to gain access to your ankle gun at the expense of taking your eyes off of the suspect? With the AST, you will decide what is best for you based on the threat presented. Obviously, this can be of critical benefit to your survival.
While there are many ways to carry and not all methods work for everyone, just remember Rule #1: have a gun.
|Alessi Custom Concealment Holsters
2467 Niagara Falls Blvd.
Buffalo, NY 14228-352
|GLOCK, Inc. USA
6000 Highlands Parkway
Smyrna, GA 30082
About the Author
[ Ken Siverts is the VP Sales/Brand Manager for one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of hydraulics for the Automotive and Truck service markets. He became interested in all things self defense after a loved one was randomly murdered near his home in 1991. Ken may be reached at HeGlock@aol.com ]
Special thanks go out to Bruce N. Eimer, Ph.D. for his editorial counsel and guidance!
Firearm Training Resume
- Gunsite 250, ATP1, ATP2, EW
- Yavapai Firearms Academy Handgun: Level 1, Handgun Level 2, Shotgun
- Morrigan Consulting: Handgun, Shotgun, Carbine, Precision Rifle
- Firearms Research and Instruction: Handgun Level 2 (1999) (2001)
- Marksman’s Enterprise: Handgun, Advanced Handgun, Shotgun, and Carbine