I’m wearing and typing something I never thought I’d do. I’m wearing an ankle holster, and I’m typing that I don’t hate it. The ankle holster in question is the Alien Gear Shapeshift Ankle Carry Expansion pack. This is the first Alien Gear ankle holster ever, and its unconventional but well thought out design makes it a standout in the ankle holster arena. I went into this review a little bit of a jaded view on ankle holsters if you can’t tell.
The Alien Gear Ankle Holster and Unconventional Design
Traditionally ankle holster are pretty simple items. They feature a band that wraps around the ankle and maybe an upper support portion that attaches to the top of the calf. That’s typically the end all be all to ankle holsters. The new Alien Gear ankle holster is a two-part system. One part is a pseudo sock that wraps around the bottom of the foot and up the ankle. This sock has a small pocket that is there to house the actual holster rigid support arm.
The support is inserted into the pocket and the holster sits on top of the little pseudo sock. The holster is the injection modeled polymer system that all ShapeShift holsters are made from. The holster sports an upper strap that is then wrapped around your holster and secured via hook and loop.
Comfort in Carry
My only experience with ankle carry has been less than stellar with less than stellar holsters. They never fit right, they slide, rub, and move. It always felt saggy to me, and needless to say I didn’t ankle carry often.
The Alien Gear Ankle Holster The majority of the system is made of CoolVent Neoprene. This material feels amazing against the skin and prevents you from getting all sweaty down there. It doesn’t rub or chafe the ankle, but you should still wear tall socks with it. The support arm doesn’t an amazing job of keeping the holster from sliding up and down as well as spinning left to right as you carry.
The Polymer holster features an adjustable tension device for passive retention. I found the factory setting perfect. My gun of choice was the always excellent S&W Shield 9mm. The polymer frame fits it perfectly and in a few weeks of carry, I never felt it slip and risk retention.
The Shield is probably the biggest gun I’d carry ankle style, and a lighter gun would likely make this holster easy to forget. That being said the only time I didn’t like wearing it was when I stepped in a puddle that looked a bit deeper than I thought. It got the gun wet and the holster moist. The neoprene material does a good job of drying fast…once it was out from under my pants.
I really had to learn how to draw from an ankle rig, and to do so I spent a lot of time practicing the best methods I could think of. To me, the safest and most secure draw was to take a knee, pull the pants up with one hand and retrieve the gun with the other. This also already makes me a smaller target and since this isn’t a quick draw carry location I’d already be behind cover.
Another benefit is being locked into a sitting position. It’s very easy to draw this gun when you are driving, or stuck in traffic. I find it easier to draw from the ankle than I do from the waist when seated in a car.
Lastly, there is always the folks who carry a backup gun. A backup on the ankle is certainly one way to open up your variety of carry options. Having multiple guns in different locations opens up your options for drawing in different situations.
The Shapeshift System
The Alien Gear Ankle holster is simply one cog in a large machine. That machine being the Shapeshift system. The Shapeshift system is currently at 7 different holster combinations and expansions. You can purchase the Alien Gear ankle holster separate or as an expansion pack.
Ankle carry may never be my primary carry method, but in reviewing the Alien Gear ankle rig I found it to be a solid, and comfortable holster. Its slightly bulky so tactical hipster skinny jeans may not be the best choice for concealing the system. Standard jeans, khakis, and such are perfect though.
Adjustable ride height
Custom-molded holster shell
Breathable, wicking strapping
Two piece design for stable carry
Made in USA with lifetime warranty