Best Ankle Holster for 38 Revolver:  Top 8 Picks 2023

New shooters and even professionals looking to conceal carry choose the .38. It’s the ideal concealed carry weapon because it’s relatively small and yet it’s powerful to shoot. The J frame gun may also remain functional over the years and offers much firepower, particularly when chambered for the .357 magnum.

On many counts, this concealed carry gun offers any shooter plenty of advantages. That is why it needs the equally reliable best ankle holster for 38 revolvers. This holster will conceal a backup gun or small revolver effectively and make it ready when your primary gun fails in a given scenario.

It is also a comfortable holster that will prove more useful to those who sit most of the time and wearing a waistband holster would cause discomfort.

However, not all ankle carry holsters are created equal. Some are simply better than other ankle holsters for features like minimized printing, durable materials, slim profile, and good firearm retention. Read on for our recommendations of the best ankle holsters, key features to look for, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Key features to consider in for 38 Revolver

.38 Revolvers have become among the most popular choices for concealed carry and emergencies. To find the right ankle carry holster for it, here are the key features to look for.


Other than materials and style, you must ensure it can sit flush against your skin without chipping it.  Take into consideration the weight of the gun and that it doesn’t rub against you when you walk.

If you need to wear the holster for long periods, you must consider how comfortable it will be.

Comfort can also have to do with the material. For example, a breathable neoprene band and soft backing of the holster can improve this a lot.


Retention is all about how well the holster can hold the gun. This factor is all about security.

The handgun should not move while you are running or moving erratically but also not be too tight that you struggle to take it out of the holster.

Purchasing an ankle carry holster with adjustable straps or components can help your holster have better retention.

There are two types of  retention – passive and active retention. 

Passive retention pertains to the type that is when the shape/design of the holstering device is what prevents the gun from slipping out of the holster.

Sometimes, passive retention can be aided by friction.

In a passive type of retention, the user doesn’t have to activate or engage with anything in the holster to unlock or draw it.

Active retention is when you need to engage or release a device built into the ankle carry holster before you can access your gun or draw from it.


The first thing you will want to look for in a holster is how well it can blend in with your body. This is attributed mainly to how adjustable your holster strap can be.

There are ankle holsters that have a thin profile, so you just wear and forget it. This feature can ensure that your holster would remain out of sight; thus, it can help improve your safety as well.

Many ankle holsters are relatively small and made of lightweight materials, so printing really is not a common problem.


Always inspect the materials used when buying a holster.

It has to be comfortable and durable. Three primary materials are used in making holsters: nylon, kydex, and leather.

Nylon is exceptionally comfortable and is on the budget-friendly side for pistol holsters. The downsides are that it isn’t very durable.

Nylon holsters are also not the most accurate, so sometimes, even if you purchase a holster made for the .38, it may be too loose and sit the gun too deep. It also is not the best for quickly drawing the gun as the nylon has no structural integrity.

Kydex is a plastic material heated and placed on a mold to have the correct fitment. It is highly customizable and does not wear down. It is one of the materials that have gained popularity for holsters because they are a nice fit and highly durable.

The only downside to this item is that it can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods.

The last material is leather, which is classic and commonly used. Leather offers a great fit and has good retention. You will only have to worry about the material breaking down or warping over time without proper maintenance.

8  Best Ankle Holster for 38 Revolver: In-depth Reviews

1. Fobus Ankle Holster Conceal Carry Case

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This Fobus ankle carry holster is custom molded for a small gun, improving firearm retention and ensuring your gun won’t slip out of it even with constant movement.

This passive retention in the holster also allows for quick draw when an emergency arises or if you need a backup weapon as your primary gun renders useless.

The right-hand draw holster is made of Cordura pad that is lined with suede material. The padding in it can improve comfort even when wearing your holster for long hours. It also increases the stability of your weapon inside the holstering device.

To secure the holster is an adjustable Velcro strap that also offers the right fit for different ankle sizes. The elastic retention strap also ensures that your holster will not move up and down or make unnecessary movements, keeping your weapon secured in place.

In addition, this concealed carry ankle holster is lightweight in that you won’t notice that you have it on you. So if you’re someone on your feet for many hours and need to wear your ankle holster, you won’t have to worry about any discomfort.

Overall, this comfortable ankle holster is for those looking for a lightweight and reliable product for their handgun. Its features like Cordura pad with suede lining promote comfort when it’s worn and it’s not bulky to cause printing issues.

Its suede lining offers protection on the surface of the gun, preventing scratches and damage to it.

There is just so much to like about this well-made Fobus holster, although it sometimes tends to pull socks down a little. Maybe a calf strap, if available, would help?


  • Cordura-lined suede material
  • Perfect for small backup guns
  • Lightweight and not bulky
  • Adjustable Velcro closure keeps it in place
  • Comfortable padding


  • Pulls socks down a bit

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2. TAGUA Leather Ankle Holster

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For an overview, this Tagua leather ankle holster for small handguns is made of premium materials, features a reinforced thumb break for positive snap release, and has a soft backside for all-day comfort.

It is for the J-Frame and guns with 1-7/8 to 2-1/8 inch barrels for right hand draw shooters.  It is available in one size and is specifically designed for 38 specials with the mentioned barrel lengths.

The HOLSTERMART Tagua premium holster is part of the deluxe line, so one can expect quality craftsmanship and materials in it.

In addition, the dark brown ankle holster fits most leg and ankle sizes because it is large enough and highly adjustable. This concealed carry holster is about 16 inches long.

When it comes to comfort, there is nothing more to ask from this good ankle holster because it has a soft knit fabric backside versus many ankle holsters. Its interior is of faux sheepskin to further enhance comfort for all-day wear.

However, this leather ankle holster can be stiff initially, and it needs breaking in for the right fit. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t take a lot of time for the retention strap to loosen up and feel nice.

You also only need to adjust it to achieve the right fit, and you will find that the leather strap would be staying perfectly in your legs.

The leather retention strap may feel warmer on the skin than a neoprene strap.

Overall, the holster for snub nose revolvers is one of the best ankle holsters on the market because it’s durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Those who are old school and want a classic cowboy holster may want to choose this dark brown holster. It’s also comfortable for all-day wear and secures enough not to slip out of its place.


  • High-quality leather material
  • A soft backside promotes user comfort
  • Moisture wicking material
  • Large enough for different ankle sizes
  • Reinforced thumb break


  • Needs a bit of breaking in

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3. Houston Gun Holsters Ankle Holster

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Available in a right or a left handed model, this concealed firearms holster is compatible with most J frame guns, making it the top choice for a lot of small gun owners.

The ankle carry holster is relatively small for the perfect concealment. It is suitable to carry all day and won’t cause any printing issues. Just make sure to wear large enough pant sizes for further concealment.

This holster for the right or left leg is also made with reinforced stitching for added strength so that your holster will last for a long time.

And for comfort, its added padding makes it comfortable for daily activities and it is sweat-proof as well.

To protect your gun from damage, scratch, and abrasion, this ankle rig has a suede-lined interior, too. So aside from keeping your handgun well kept in place, its finish can remain as smooth and scratch-free as ever.

In addition to being comfortable when worn, these ankle holsters also have a passive retention system, allowing for a speedy draw when the situation calls for it or when your primary weapon fails to deliver. Thus, it can offer you safety when faced with an attacker because it allows you to quickly draw from it.

This high-performance holster has these primary and other features to meet the demands of busy gun owners, whether right or left hand users. It is not only comfortable to wear, but it also works well in concealing one’s weapon and making it ready when the need arises.

It is also versatile enough to fit different thigh sizes, can accommodate even users with larger legs, and is made of easy-to-clean nylon material.


  • Durable and easy-to-clean nylon material
  • No printing issues
  • Excellent design for a quick draw
  • Suede lined interior protects the gun finish
  • Available for right or left hand users


  • Stitching could be improved to avoid ripping

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4. BlitzShot Ankle Holster for Concealed Carry

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Superior comfort is important and this one from BlitzShot offers just that. It’s designed with a breathable and soft neoprene strap or band for comfort.

This longer retention strap also offers a nice fit for any ankle size. Not to forget, this best ankle holster is made with a buckled additional strap, ensuring it will stay secure to your leg all the time.

This ankle holster has a 9-inch retention strap or band that can fit leg sizes up to 17 inches, making it versatile enough for a lot of users.

The upgraded version is also suitable for XDS 45, Glock models 42, 43, 19, 26, and 36 as well as Ruger LCP, LC9, and LCR. It is also compatible with Sig Sauer P365 or P238, M&P Shield Bodyguard 380, and other similar small handguns with an overall length of fewer than 6.5 inches.

This pistol holster is also ambidextrous, so either left or right-hand users can use it and features hook and loop closure type.

It also has a buckle, a safety strap, and a snap button and comes with a pocket for accessories like a knife or spare magazine.

Moreover, it has a straightforward design and doesn’t have any elements that will hinder your drawing.

I also liked that it keeps the gun securely in place, with no jitter or extra movements, adding to the safety of use. It also has soft pads that further comfort and allows wearing on bare skin.

Overall, the universal holster is one of the best ankle holsters for a small firearm. It can be for those who are looking for a more secure ankle holster that doesn’t cause the slipping of the gun out of it.

In addition, shooters that are looking for comfort can rely on this holstering device that has soft pads and is made of soft knit fabric.


  • Easy to wear and comfortable even for many hours
  • Perfect concealment for a lot of subcompact handguns
  • Comes with soft padding for added comfort
  • Can be used either on the left or right side
  • Doesn’t jitter or make unnecessary movements


  • Fitting issues for some guns

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5. Pro-Tech Outdoors Ankle Holster

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The Pro-Tech Outdoors ankle holster is one of the most comfortable holsters for the 38 revolvers that you should check out.

It has an elastic leg band that ensures comfort for daily use and that is versatile enough to accommodate different leg sizes.

The holster can also promote user comfort further with its foam padding, although a thicker one would have been better.

This right-hand orientation holster has double stitching of strong bonded nylon for added durability, ensuring it will last you for a long time. It also means that you can save money by not having to replace it sooner when compared to most other ankle holsters that might not be as durable.

When it comes to added comfort, the nylon holster is also designed with a vinyl vapor barrier, keeping sweat and moisture away from your handgun.

The outer layer of this holster is made of Cordura ballistic nylon which is strong enough to handle abuse and daily use pressure.

The tightly woven nylon yarns that make up this material can offer long-lasting performance and high resistance from abrasion.  It is also a resilient material to punctures and tears, making this holster super durable for frequent use.

The edges of this holster are also turned to protect against fraying.

The Pro-Tech holster is also easy to clean and maintain and doesn’t require any special cleaning products unlike most ankle holsters made of leather.

Overall, it’s an easy-to-use and clean ankle holster for those who don’t like high-maintenance leather holsters. This holstering device is also very affordable, so newbie shooters who don’t want to spend a lot on their first holster might want to take a look at it.


  • The vinyl vapor barrier keeps the sweat off your firearm
  • Durable Cordura ballistic nylon
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Adjustable elastic band
  • Fits most ankle sizes


  • Shorter warranty

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6. HOLSTERMART TAGUA Leather Holster

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This time we’ve reviewed the Tagua right-hand leather holster in black color. Just like the other we reviewed earlier, this Tagua ankle holster offers a lot of excellent features.

For one, it can fit most ankle sizes, making it versatile enough to accommodate even larger users. It is about 16 inches in length, which is just enough for a lot of users.

This leather ankle carry holster is compatible with small semi autos, Ruger LCR revolvers, and most guns with 1.87 inches of barrel length.

The ankle rig is made from genuine and quality cowhide leather, giving it a classic look and feel. If you want to wear a cowboy-style of holster in terms of material, then this one may be what you’re looking for.

It is also designed with a reinforced thumb break that works perfectly as a safety device, preventing the unintentional drawing of your weapon. This nice feature can improve your safety.

For comfort, this ankle glove can promote comfort for its soft faux sherling backside, so you won’t feel uncomfortable even if you wear it for many hours while in the field, at the range, or sitting all day long.

A perfect fit is another feature of this holster.  It conforms pretty well to the shape of your gun, ensuring it will stay in place even with movement.

You can wear it on the outside of the right ankle for a right-hand or choose the other option, which is inside the left ankle for the right-hand cross draw.

Overall, this ankle holster may be for you if you want to conceal your backup firearm securely and you’re most of the time in a seated position all day. It is comfortable to wear and offers effective concealment.


  • Quality leather material
  • Reinforced thumb break
  • Comfortable to wear even in a seated position
  • Aesthetically pleasing and classic color
  • Works well for an effective concealed carry


  • A bit expensive

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7. DeSantis Apache Ankle Holster

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The Desantis Apache holster is compatible with different types of weapons that also include the Colt Cobra 2 inches,  Kimber K62 2 inches, S&W BODYGUARD 38 2 inches, and J frame 1 7/8 inches to 2 1/4 barrel lengths, to name some.

It is made specifically for small to large frame semi auto guns and small-frame revolvers.  The models for a semi auto handgun have an adjustable thumb break.

On the other hand, all holsters for a revolver and semi autos are made with a snap thumb break and sheepskin lining.

There are also optional calf straps available to accommodate a revolver or semi auto holster model.

This holster is also lightweight at ‎0.24 pounds in that it will not cause any discomfort when worn for many hours daily.

It is in the right-hand orientation holster and has a snap type of closure.

To keep the firearm securely in place even with movement, this holster has a VELCRO thumb break.

For added comfort, the ankle holster also has a padded sheepskin lining.

Moreover, this particular model is designed with an elastic band that can prevent rocking or shaking movement even if you move casually throughout your day a lot.

The unisex holster is in black and is one of the best ankle holsters for a lot of men and women for its compatibility with different handguns and its performance.

This DeSantis holster has a slim profile that works well in keeping your gun out of sight and preventing anyone from detecting you’re carrying a firearm.

However, the ankle holster has some edges that might be able to come in contact with pressure points. It may feel uncomfortable when walking a lot.


  • Lightweight at ‎0.24 pounds
  • A slim profile eliminates any printing issue
  • Padded sheepskin lining
  • Velcro thumb break keeps firearm secure
  • Wide elasticized band


  • Rough edges may feel uncomfortable when walking

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8. TOPMEET Ankle Pistol Holster

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Available in colors and sizes, the Topmeet ankle pistol holster is one of the best ankle holsters for a 38 pistol because it does offer a lot.

For one, it is made of breathable and moisture-wicking neoprene material that doesn’t feel as warm as leather on bare skin. It is an excellent feature that makes this a very comfortable holster.

It is ambidextrous, so it can be either on the left or right leg.

Aside from versatility, the holster is also compact and has a slim profile, which can help conceal your gun effectively.

It is designed with an adjustable and elastic band that can accommodate both men and women users.

Speaking of design, the universal holster also has double anti-slip features to ensure that it will stay in place and not move up or down when you run, walk, or do casual movements.

More so, the unique and modern-looking holster for revolvers and small to large handguns offer more comfort with its thick foam and additional pad. Both can protect your ankle and thigh.

You won’t also hear any strange noise when its metal snap replaces the retention strap’s Velcro closure.

This particular model is a large size that will fit users having from 11 inches to 16 inches leg size. If you’re wearing this with your boots, choose the 18-inch band size.

This gun holster can fit compact and subcompact as well as full-size handguns and is also compatible with guns like Ruger, Kimber, and Glock. Be sure to check your gun model and read the description before buying, though.


  • Can accommodate even large users
  • Compatible with different small handguns
  • Comfortable to wear daily
  • Elastic neoprene band
  • Breathable neoprene material


  • Not the most comfortable for running

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Can an ankle holster accommodate different barrel lengths for .38 revolvers?

An ankle holster can most likely accommodate different barrel lengths for your .38 if it was made to be adjustable.

The adjustable type of ankle holster will usually have an adjustable system that will allow the user to tighten or loosen the holster straps as they see fit around different barrel lengths. If your barrel is on the longer side, the ankle holster may hold it, but you will need to place it higher up on your leg.

However, some ankle holsters were made to only fit a specific type of firearm with a set barrel length. These ankle holsters won’t be of use with different barrel lengths due to their specificity.

It is, therefore, essential to check the specifications of an ankle holster you’re considering purchasing to ensure that it is compatible with your gun and barrel length or to make sure that it can be adjusted accordingly.

Can I wear an ankle holster with a .38 revolver on either leg?

Generally, most ankle revolvers are manufactured and designed to be on either leg. It is usually up to the preference of the user which pant leg to wear the ankle holster on, depending on whether they are right-handed, left-handed, or which one is more comfortable for them.

It is usually up to the person who will be wearing the holster which leg they place it on, but many ankle holsters in the market were made to be flexible enough for either leg.

If you’re not sure which leg to place it on, some individuals choose to place it on their dominant leg, making it easier for them to draw their handgun with their dominant hand.

However, others also choose to place the ankle holster on the inside of their non-dominant leg so they can bend on their dominant knee and draw the gun with their dominant hand. This ultimately lies in the user’s preference.

But care should be taken before buying any ankle holster, as some were specifically designed to be on the right or left side.

How secure is the retention of an ankle holster for a .38 revolver?

Different ankle holsters will have a variety of retention mechanisms to secure your firearm in place.

A common feature to increase retention in an ankle carry holster is a strap that can hold the firearm securely. Some ankle holsters also have passive retention, which means it takes the shape of the firearm to keep it in place.

Other ankle holsters employ two or more of these retention mechanisms to further increase the security of the firearm.

But generally, an ankle holster with a well-designed retention system should keep your gun in place even with lots of movement.

Despite this, it should be noted that the retention of an ankle carry holster is not as good as that of the other types of holsters like those in the waistband or shoulder.

This is because, despite the different mechanisms set in place to secure your weapon in place, the firearm can always shift, move, or slide while you’re moving.

Final Thoughts

The right ankle holsters for .38 revolvers are comfortable, concealable, and cost-effective and are with an excellent design to ensure your gun stays safe well in place while not causing you any discomfort even when you wear it for many hours daily.

Consider important features like retention, materials, concealability, and comfortability

Before picking the best ankle holster, compare the top picks and their features, materials, and performance to help you arrive at the right decision.  Take your time and study your options well to ensure you’ll be getting a comfortable holster with a simple design for easy access while providing you with safety.