Fit for female cops: Ankle holster checklist
Out of all the non-waistband concealment holsters, the ankle rig is one of the most popular. A well designed one can carry even a medium sized handgun comfortably, and it places the gun on a part of the body that most people don’t look at when looking for a firearm.
But this holster is also one that people often buy and just strap on and think they will be able to carry without difficulty and, more troubling to me, be able to utilize without problems when the time comes. Unfortunately, there is a lot more to it than that.
Here's a short checklist for what to consider with this type of holster.
1.) Will you be wearing plainclothes or a duty uniform?
2.) Is the gun on the ankle a second gun?
3.) What activity will you be doing?
4.) Does your firearm allow it?
5.) Will the weather be a problem?
6.) Can you physically use it?
When wearing an ankle holster, the two biggest points to consider are comfort and shoe type.
The other thing this move will do is aid concealment. Worn on the highest point on the uneven landscape that makes up the circumference around the ankle (that protruding ankle bone again), the gun and holster limit the number of pants that will “work” in both concealing and allowing for the production of the weapon under stress. You also increase the possibility of printing the gun through those pants and giving yourself away in that manner. Moving the firearm behind (in essence, below) the higher bones in the leg and ankle make it far harder to be detected.
Additionally, by positioning the weapon behind the ankle “bone”, the butt of the gun will tend to turn into and just behind (or at least alongside) the calf in a manner such that it will not stick out and print through the pant leg as readily as it might do otherwise. Again this parallels the idea that when the gun is carried along the waist and worn behind the hip “bone” and its butt fits more readily into the hollow formed by the rib cage.
On the range, most of these designs are not too problematic. However, real life can be different and “different” shoes and boots can be even more of an issue. Lug soles can “bite” into certain gravel surfaces as well as into certain muddy environments and stop the turning movement of the foot completely. Or they can at least slow it down to the point that the upper part of the leg will turn at a faster rate than the ankle. Neither is a good thing.
Leather-soled dress shoes can cause your feet to slide out from under you on wet streets or grassy terrain. This is one of the first things I discuss with plainclothes officers who wear suits as their “uniform”. Women have even greater issues for heel shape, and height also comes into play and can greatly affect stability and support. There are reasons that many airlines have rules concerning shoe styles for female flight attendants, and they are not all appearance-related. Many of them relate directly as to how they allow those women to perform in emergency and sometimes merely less-than-stable working conditions. There is something to be learned from that.
Next time, we'll look at specific models, design features and drawing techniques for ankle holster use.
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