A Brief History of Gun Holsters

Gun HolstersHolsters have been around longer than you might think – almost as long as Cher has been parading around wearing doilies. In fact, holsters actually pre-dated guns. Do you really think bands of wooly mammoth hunters carried spears and rocks in their hands? After all, they couldn’t invent important things like fire and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts with their hands all full of weapons.

While we don’t have the space to cover all of the many interesting and important developments in the history of holsters, we can touch on some of the highlights.

11th Century BC
Future King of Israel, David, popularizes the concept of holsters by toting around large round stones with which he kills big bullies. This earliest form of holster is known, from careful study and translation of ancient texts, to be called a ‘sack.’

William Wallace, otherwise known as Braveheart, popularizes the SmartCarry holster design – then known as a sporran. Sporrans were, and continue to be, worn on most fashionable kilts. As guns were not yet invented, historians believe that Wallace carried spare breath mints and a copy of his film rights agreement in his sporran. Wallace’s aggressive attitude prompts officials to ban sporrans in New York City.

Europeans discover that kangaroos were designed with natural inside-the-waistband carry holsters when James Cooks’ ship Endeavor runs aground off Queensland, Australia. Kangaroos are immediately banned in New York City.

Western style pommel bags serve as carry devices for multiple large handguns. They quickly fall out of fashion when Clint Eastwood refers to them as ‘man purses.’

Historians believe that French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invents a predecessor to the FlashBang Bra Holster, as evidenced by many portraits showing him fondling a derringer underneath his blouse.

From careful frame-by-frame analysis of period documentaries like Blazing Saddles, historians have learned that belt holsters became fashionable for single shot pistols and early revolvers.

Leather sixgun holsters become popular when a series of low budget spaghetti western films are produced like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Early design ideas are scrapped when it is determined that spaghetti does not ride well in leather holsters. And it makes many holsters soggy.

Richard Gallagher founds The Original Jackass Leather Company in Chicago, IL. When he discovers that few Jackasses carry guns, the company is renamed to Galco Gunleather and relocates to Phoenix, AZ. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg immediately bans Jackasses from carrying concealed. And the state of Arizona.

Man purses become fashionable, primarily in Europe. Otherwise known as man bags or murses, they are still just purses. Some men, concerned about their metro-masculine image, encouraged folks to call these bags ‘satchels’, but let’s face it – if it looks like a purse, and acts like a purse, it’s a purse. While seemingly a great concealed carry holster innovation, the fad rapidly lost popularity when European men realize that handguns are banned in most of their countries.

Inspired, and scared probably scared witless, by his pack failing and dumping “a ton” of gear into the middle of an Iraqi minefield, Navy SEAL Mike Noell founds Blackhawk!

EDITORS NOTE: We do not recommend or condone dumping your gear into an enemy minefield. Always hurl your gear into enemy minefields from a safe distance. For example, from central Idaho.

One of Blackhawk!’s successes is the Serpa retention holster designed to secure a handgun against accidental release or removal by evil d00dz. In a launch publicity stunt, illusionist David Copperfield attempts to escape from a 23x scale Serpa Holster.

The Kydex revolution begins when Blade-Tech founder Tim Wegner melts several toaster ovens in his kitchen in early attempts to make Kydex knife sheaths. Wegner’s wife gently and lovingly encourages him to move the budding business to the garage – where companies are normally started. When associates point out to Wegner that one shouldn’t bring knives to gun fights, the business begins to focus on Kydex holsters for guns.

Addressing concerns that holsters can make one’s butt look big, Lisa Looper invents the Flashbang bra holster. Apparently it’s better for one’s, umm, chest to look big. Ok then, moving on…


We hope you have enjoyed this preview from our forthcoming book, My Gun Culture’s Insanely Practical Holster Book.

Our free Insanely Practical Guide PDF is available here. While it contains a fraction of the information that is covered in the full book, there’s plenty of useful stuff in there, and it’s free, so check it out.

Holster Review: 10 Things You Can Do While Carrying A Gun With The Galco Ankle Glove

Holster Review: Galco Ankle Glove Holster

First Impressions

Galco Ankle Glove Holster with Ruger LCR Revolver

The Galco Ankle Glove Holster with a Ruger LCR .357 Magnum Revolver

The Galco Ankle Glove is the Cadillac of ankle holsters. As if anyone could ever make that analogy. The foundation (the part that actually wraps around your ankle) is made of thick neoprene material. This is the same material that’s used to make wetsuits for divers and cold water surfers. It’s thick, cushy, durable, and comfortable. Our first thought was to take up combat swimming, but common sense prevailed and we figured the leather holster pouch (and gun) may not fare as well in 65 feet of salt water. Baywatch lifeguards could use this piece of equipment as they rarely seem to enter the water.

Heavy-duty velcro closes the strap around your ankle.

MGC FUN FACT: Gunwriters often refer to velcro as “hook and loop.” This helps pad the word count of many interesting articles.

According to Galco, it will fit ankles up to 13” in circumference. We tried to eat 47 boxes of Butterscotch Krimpets and a pizza to test that claim but were not successful in growing our ankle size in time for publication.

A customized leather gun holster is stitched onto the outside of the neoprene band. The fact that the holster is stitched to the outside of the band is actually a big deal. Other ankle holsters integrate the gun pouch and band so the bulk of the gun presses material in both directions – outside and inside of the band. This causes the hard metal gun to press into your ankle.  With the Galco design, the gun is forced away from your lower leg – not into it. The holster also features a leather retention strap made active by a snap.

Galco Ankle Glove Holster Sheepskin interior lining

The sheepskin lining of the Galco Ankle Glove holster makes a huge difference in comfort

Galco makes the whole shebang a tad small on purpose so you can fit your particular gun to the holster according to your preference. Read the instructions. Oh, and there’s a huge pad of fuzzy sheepskin between your ankle and the your gun. It’s a great system.

Moral Support – The Calf Strap Option

While the Ankle Glove works great on its own, we highly recommend an optional accessory – the Galco Ankle Glove Calf Strap.

Technically, this is an accessory to either the Galco Ankle Glove or Galco Ankle Lite. It’s a wide strap made of neoprene-like material that mounts above top of your calf muscle. It has a vertical canvas strap that attaches to either the Ankle Glove or Ankle Lite. The purpose is to hold your ankle holster in the whatever vertical position you choose and prevent the holster rig from settling lower on your ankle. You can run, you can hide, you can even do the Hokey-Pokey, but your ankle holster will not slip down. In fact, we made of list of things you can safely do while carrying a gun with the Galco Ankle Glove and optional calf strap.

Galco Ankle Glove Holster in use with optional calf strap

Galco Ankle Glove Holster in use with optional calf strap

10 Things You Can Do While Wearing the Galco Ankle Glove with Calf Strap

  1. The Hokey Pokey. You can put your right foot in. And out.
  2. 4 quarters of 1 on 1 basketball with Michael Jordan. The Ankle Glove will not improve your free throw percentage.
  3. Drive a car, truck, or golf cart and have easy access to your handgun.
  4. 173 jumps with a pogo stick. We’re sure the Ankle Glove will go more than that, but we pogo’ed into a mailbox attempting number 174.
  5. Audition for So You Think You Can Dance. Tip for success: Wear long pants. Scaring the judges will cost you style points.
  6. Perform the famed Iron Lotus pairs figure skating move.
  7. Shop for hours on King Street with two women.
  8. Wear pants with a one full size smaller waist than your actual size. Who in their right mind wants to admit they’re getting portly in the midsection?
  9. Wear boots, provided they’re not too tall. Our Justin Ropers worked just fine with this rig.
  10. The Cupid Shuffle. Or The Dougie.

Closing Arguments

This is a fine piece of equipment. We got the evaluation holster and calf strap months ago, but did not want to report on it until we had the opportunity to use it for several months in the humid swamp otherwise known as South Carolina. We’ve been carrying a Ruger LCR .357 Magnum with this setup nearly every day. It’s still just about picture perfect. The leather holster pocket has not deformed or stretched. The neoprene band looks brand new and is seemingly unaffected by water, sweat, and wear. During our interview with the cast of American Guns, we got to talking with Rich Wyatt about the Galco Ankle Glove. He’s been using one for years and is equally impressed. And he’s on TV.

Highly recommended.

Our Rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! This is a solid and comfortable piece of equipment. The only thing we might change is adding a tad more length to the strap. But then again, maybe we just have fat ankles.
Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters – available at Amazon.com! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Buyers Guide: Galco Ankle Glove Holster

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

galco-ankle-glove-holsterIt pays to buy quality. We’re about to publish a full review on this model as we’ve been using it regularly for about 3 months now. The sneak preview commentary is that this is one well constructed holster.

The entire band is made of a thick neoprene type material that’s approximately 1/4” thick. Not only is it comfortable, but its strong and does not lose it’s shape or elasticity. A sheepskin pad behind the holster shields the weight and shape of your gun from your leg.

The holster portion is leather and is very slightly undersized. This allows you to adjust the fit around the gun and tension of the thumb break exactly to your personal preference. After we actually read the instructions, we produced a short video that shows how to size the holster and thumb break.

We recommend it.

Available Here Galco Ankle Glove Holster

Rockin’ Video Preview: Galco Ankle Holsters

We’re doing an exhaustive torture test of three Galco ankle holster products:

Galco Ankle Glove

Galco Ankle Lite

Galco Ankle Glove Calf Strap

While that’s going on, we thought we’d post a quick video preview set to a hoppin’ Elvis theme song. This video will:

  • Prevent you from making a fool of yourself when you call Galco
  • Eliminate the need for you to read the enclosed instructions
  • Show you my sexy leg

More to follow in the written review. In the meantime, enjoy the video!

Galco Ankle Holster roundup

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters – available at Amazon.com! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

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