A guest post written by Lori Winstead.
Finding the right holster can feel like a retelling of the classic story of Goldilocks’ and the Three Bears. This holster is too bulky while that holster doesn’t cover the trigger guard. For most gun owners, finding the right holster can result in a box of holsters sitting in a corner that don’t fit their needs. My Goldilocks’ gun is my Ruger LCP, and I have purchased several different types of holsters trying to find the holster. My most recent purchase, a Galco Ankle Lite ankle holster, seems to be the current winner. It offers a high level of comfortable concealment at a reasonable price. Of the various holsters I’ve purchased for this particular gun, this is the best option for on-body carry for the Ruger LCP.
The Ankle Lite consists of a steer hide leather holster attached to a wide neoprene band with sheepskin padding behind the holster and a sturdy Velcro closure that runs the entire width of the band. It is designed to fit up to a 13-inch circumference so make sure to measure your ankle where you intend to actually place the holster. Galco offers a boot extender, as an additional accessory, that adds 1 to 5 inches to the circumference of the band and is useful for those who wear boots higher than the ankle or have larger ankles.
The Ankle Lite offers different models to fit different groups of similar sized guns. For example, my particular holster is designed to fit a Ruger LCP, Diamondback DB380, Kahr P380 and 2 different models of Kel-Tec. They also offer options for wheel guns, offering the same quality concealment although the retention strap may cause issues with some revolver models that do not have external hammers.
A new leather holster is stiff so a little breaking in is the first thing that should be done before attempting to carry a firearm in the holster. Instructions are included with the holster and the process is fairly simple and straightforward. After making sure the gun is unloaded, check it again. Then, wrap the gun in two or three layers of plastic wrap or a plastic freezer bag. Gently attempt to holster the gun as far as it will go without forcing it. Gently twist the gun about 1/16-inch each direction while gently pushing the gun into the holster. Once you can fully holster the gun, let it sit in the holster 15-20 minutes. You might have to repeat this process a couple times to get a good fit.
The Ankle Lite has a retention strap that will also need broken in by gently twisting the strap at a 90-degree angle counterclockwise and clockwise and pulling on the strap to stretch it over the firearm to the snap closure. Again, the breaking in process is just that, a process that may take time. My holster has gone through this breaking in process and daily carry, but it still a tight fit for holstering. Holstering the gun during this break in process is easier when not actually wearing the holster. Holster the gun and then put the holster around your ankle.
I’ve often heard it said that part of carrying a defensive firearm can be sacrificing some personal comfort, but I’ve found the Ankle Lite to be more comfortable than I expected. I’m able to wear it a full day without needing to wear heavy socks for padding underneath. The neoprene is comfortable against bare skin, but if you have sensitive skin you may want to wear something underneath the holster to create a layer between it and your skin. I wore the holster empty for one entire day with no issues. Once I added the weight of a loaded firearm, the holster did slide down a little lower from where I had placed it. A quick adjustment to the holster strap stabilized the holster and I had no more issues. When wearing an ankle holster, a little thought has to be given to making sure it’s not obvious you’re wearing a concealed firearm. Crossing my legs, at the knee or at the ankle itself, has probably been the biggest adjustment for me.
Ankle holsters are typically worn on the non-dominate opposite side of the body from a waist-carried firearm, on the inside of that leg so it can still be drawn with the dominant shooting hand. So, since I am right handed, I carry on the inside of my left leg, with the gun situated so that most of the bulk of the gun is behind the center of my calf. Once wearing the holster, there is a noticeable, but comforting, weight on that leg. Skinny jeans and an ankle holster this size doesn’t work well together. Boot cut pants would be an excellent option, as are many cargo style pants. Long dresses or skirts would also be an option for the ladies.
Other optional accessories available for the Ankle Lite are the Ankle Glove Calf Strap, which helps keep the weight of the gun from pulling the holster down to the top of your shoes, and the Cop Ankle Safe, which is designed to allow you to carry accessories on your ankle.
Every holster has some drawbacks and the Ankle Lite is no exception. Although I find it comfortable, it may not work for those with sensitive skin. It’s only concealable if you’re wearing pants or a skirt/dress so it may not be an option for those in warmer climates. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to draw while moving and any move to draw has the strong possibility of drawing attention to you unless you’re already sitting down (e.g. driving). The location limits use to smaller guns with a lower round capacity. However, when a larger gun or an alternative holster is not an option, the Galco Ankle Lite should be in every gun owner’s box of holsters.
What is your go-to holster? Tell us the make, model and what you like about it in the comment section.
Lori Winstead is a co-owner/instructor at Equality Arms LLC, based in Fishers, IN. She is an NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA Basic Pistol Instructor and Refuse to be a Victim Instructor. She is a chapter leader for The Well Armed Woman as well as Co-Chair for her county’s Friends of the NRA Committee.