RECENTLY, a friend brought to our attention the fact that he had read an article in a mainstream “knife publication” about how to draw a knife quickly from an ankle holster. This reminded us immediately of a classic book on handgun shooting (i.e. Handgunner’s Guide) by the late Chic Gaylord. Gaylord was a highly regarded holster maker who flourished during the 1950′s, in New York City. He crafted holsters and recommended handgun modifications, ammo choices, etc. to law enforcement professionals in the various city, state, and federal agencies. Gaylord’s book, recently offered for sale in reprint by Paladin Press, illustrated in one of its chapters how to draw a handgun (presumably quickly) from an ankle holster. It was not the high point of the book.
Ankle holsters are extremely useful and valuable — much more so for handguns than for knives. The latter are better worn concealed in more convenient places than the ankle, and they can be, rather easily. The configuration of a good fixed-blade boot or small fighting knife makes it highly concealable in much more readily accessible places than on the ankle.
Be this as it may, the idea of quick draw under combat conditions of either a handgun or a knife from a concealed ankle holster is frankly not too bright, in our opinion.
One carries a weapon in an ankle holster for maximum concealment, and mainly as an emergency arm, to be accessed when one’s primary weapon has been neutralized or confiscated. One might also employ an ankle holster as we ourself once did: because we simply could not appear to be armed, and no other concealment option was practically feasible due to prevailing weather and dress conditions. Also, the possibility of anyone brushing up against us and encountering a sidearm worn inside-the-pants and under our shirt could not have been chanced.
Ankle holsters are for carry in an optimally concealable position on the body, not with an eye to having speedy, instant access via quick draw, in a combat situation.
Please reflect on the following:
• Drawing an ankle-holstered weapon requires that one assume a completely vulnerable position for a relatively long time — before one has any chance of his weapon — or of himself — being positioned effectively for close combat.
• Drawing from an ankle holster must be done while you are stationary. I.e. You cannot simultaneously draw your weapon while seeking cover (handgun) or draw while launching blows of the hands and feet and/or evading an incoming attacker (handgun or knife).
Proper tactics for the real world as opposed to the shooting range or unarmed combat practice studio, mandate not attempting a quick draw when an adversary is directly in front of one, without simultaneously striking him in the eyes, throat, or nose, while accessing one’s sidearm, and stepping back. This can be applied readily when a weapon is worn in the high-hip, or even in the crossdraw or shoulder holster mode, but not when one’s weapon is in an ankle rig, under one’s pant leg!
If the tactic of striking and moving back described above is not feasible, then common sense dictates that one must rely upon unarmed combat, or upon the immediate employment of anything that one might happen to be holding in one’s hand at the time, in order to strike a blow. Until the distance, time, and space has been established, no attempt to draw should be made.
If there is distance between oneself and an attacking enemy, then one gets to cover before drawing one’s holstered weapon and firing it (handgun) or engaging the enemy hand-to-hand (knife).
The whole notion of mastering a “quick draw” from an ankle holster is — for actual combat confrontations — a superfluous if not a ridiculous skill to strive for.
There is a greater likelihood that you will end up on your butt, helpless to defend against your attacking enemy, if you try a quick draw from an ankle holster, than there is that you will have any chance of stopping him with your weapon.
Ankle holsters are excellent and valuable — when properly understood, and when kept in their place. We recommend them highly. What we do not recommend is that anyone spend time developing, or permit himself to be misguided by any advice that training to “quick draw” from such a holster, is desirable.
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