BUGBite Ankle Holster Review

By Sam Weitzner
Posted in #Gear
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BUGBite Ankle Holster Review

September 23rd, 2022

7 minute read

Ankle holsters have long been an extremely popular option when it comes to concealed carry. They have a versatility to them that has fueled their usage among law enforcement officers and armed citizens alike.

Review of BUGBite holster
The BUGBite rig offers a different take on the ankle holster concept. Does it work? Read on to find out what the author thought of it. Photo: Sneaky Pete Holsters

One major strength of the ankle holster is the fact that it allows a second firearm to be carried if one is already occupying a space on a belt or in a pocket holster. This proved especially useful for law enforcement in the era in which revolvers, with limited ammunition capacity and a slower reload, were the predominant service weapons.

Today, many civilians make use of ankle holsters for a variety of reasons. Some may want to carry when wearing clothing that is not conducive to situating a holster at the waistline. Others may just be looking for a very non-intrusive method of carry.

testing the Bugbite holster with a Springfield XD-S
For a secondary or back-up gun like this Springfield XD-S, an ankle holster can make a lot of sense.

Whatever your reasoning, if you’re interested in ankle carry, it’s important to find a set-up that works for you. Many of the ankle holsters on the market today suffer from oversights and issues that make them less effective for everyday use. Many of the complaints about ankle holsters stem from poor build quality and design.

Among the biggest concerns of those who carry on the ankle are weapon retention, comfort, storage space and the ability to access the weapon reliably when needed. All of these factors appear to have been taken into consideration in the design of The BUGBite Holster.

Wearing the BUGBite

The BUGBite is a neoprene holster brace that is slipped over the foot and onto the ankle and calf. The design of the brace covers not only the ankle where the holster is, but also the calf. This proves to be far superior to more common ankle holster design that sits only on and just above the ball of the ankle.

wearing the Bugbite holster
While longer than some ankle holsters, the BUGBite keeps a gun and spare magazine well concealed on the lower leg.

The brace sports a holster on one side and a compartment with Velcro strap on the other for spare magazine storage. After spending some time with the holster, it’s apparent that the BUGBite was not designed with a gimmick in mind, but rather was designed to do all the things required of an ankle holster — the right way.

Weapon retention is an issue of great importance to those who carry with an ankle holster. When carrying on the hip, one has their pick of various levels of retention depending on their holster selection. When carrying on the ankle, most holsters will feature either a clingy material pocket for the gun to sit in and/or a strap across the top of the firearm to keep it secure.

The problem with these nylon straps is that they’ve been known to cause issues during the draw. Depending on the structure of the holster, in some cases, it is possible for the strap to find its way into the trigger guard of the firearm. In others, faulty snaps or buckles can delay or deny access to the firearm.

Bugbite Holster
When the proper size BUGBite is matched to your pistol, it is a stable platform that is unlikely to allow the pistol to bounce around.

Unfortunately, not all holsters without a strap are much better. Many lack the tightness or rigidity of shape required to keep the gun in the pocket of the holster. The BUGBite holster, ordered in the correct size, is able to avoid these pitfalls by ensuring that the entire brace is fastened tightly in place. This allows the pocket that the gun sits in to remain stable during movement. The clingy material stretched around the gun will press it in towards the calf, and the calf will support the gun and keep it straight in the pocket.

Hands-On with the BUGBite Ankle Holster

In practice, this system works quite well. I tested retention primarily by taking trips up and down several flights of stairs. Each time I would vary the speed of my movement. Even when moving up the stairs at a jog, the firearm remained stable in the pocket, with minimal shift. I didn’t feel at any time during the test that the firearm or the spare mag carried in the holster would fall out or shift dramatically. The size of the firearm carried will play a role in this. While the Compact XD-S Mod.2 9mm I was using felt quite secure, a smaller subcompact like the Springfield 911 would be an even better fit for the BUGBite.

drawing pistol from Bugbite holster
The author tested the BUGBite with the XD-S. Other guns like the Hellcat and 911 would likely work as well.

While it’s good to have solid retention in an ankle holster, many are prone to issues accessing the firearm when it’s needed. If a firearm is wedged too tightly into a holster, it can often be difficult to retrieve it smoothly. Some holsters make use of excessive rubberized padding for added retention. This often leads to an abundance of tension on the firearm when the holster is placed over the ankle or calf.

The BUGBite holster features small, rubberized bumps that help retain the handgun, without hampering the process of drawing it. The holster did not prove difficult to draw from in the least. However, one should always be cautious about how they position a firearm in the holster pocket. If a small subcompact firearm is wedged into the pocket with most or all of the grip obstructed, there will likely be difficulty when it comes time to draw it.

At the range, the BUGBite provided easy access to the Springfield XD-S Mod.2 9mm during shooting drills. There were no instances of tension being an issue during the draw. Access to the spare extended magazine during reload drills was also quick and plenty smooth.

Bugbite ankle holster magazine pouch
A storage pocket allows for the carry of a spare magazine. A folding knife or flashlight could also be carried in this pocket.

The storage area and holster pocket of the BUGBite were designed with versatility in mind. The holster will fit a variety of firearms of varying sizes. For the purposes of concealment, the XD-S Mod.2 9mm is about as large a firearm as you would want to hide under a pantleg. Using the flush-fit magazine baseplate, the XD-S hides comfortably in a normal pair of jeans and exceptionally in any pants that are bootcut.

drawing from Bugbite ankle holster
The author appreciated the holster’s build quality and weapon retention characteristics. He also found the draw to be reasonably easy.

The storage pouch also works for a variety of other items. Rather than stashing a spare magazine in it, as I did for the duration of testing, one could pack a tourniquet, knife, flashlight or other small item in the compartment.

Possibly the most critical aspect of an ankle holster is comfort. This is because if an ankle holster is completely uncomfortable, it’s probably not going to get used at all. For me, the biggest strength of the BUGBite is how comfortable it is. The neoprene material is relatively breathable and did not cause discomfort — even when worn for a full range day in above 90-degree weather.

Bugbite ankle holster
One of the best features of the BUGBite was its comfort. The author found it to be an easy carry, even in hot weather.

The holster makes use of a zipper and Velcro strap at the ankle to ensure a secure fit. At the top, a large Velcro strap can be adjusted for tightness around the calf. The BUGBite is easy to remove and slip on. That being said, it sits very securely with all fastenings in place. This is also helped by small rubber bumps on the inside of the brace.

The BUGBite does a great job of balancing the weight of your gear and avoiding that awkward, clunky feel for which many ankle holsters are known. The trope of a holster being “so comfortable you’ll forget it’s there” is thrown around an awful lot. The BUGBite is one of only a few holsters I have ever used that comes close to fitting that description.

BUGBite Review: Final Thoughts

The BUGBite seems to be an excellent option for those who carry on the ankle. The build quality of the holster is good, the weapon retention and access work well, and the comfort of the holster is sure to impress. Fit and finish is what I would describe as above average, with clean stitching throughout.

I look forward to seeing what future iterations of the holster might bring. The current offering satisfies all of the conditions for a good ankle holster, but I would like to see future models with upgraded Velcro straps for even more security and longevity.

If you’re looking to add a quality ankle holster to your everyday carry toolbox, the BUGBite certainly deserves a look!

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Sam Weitzner

Sam Weitzner

Sam’s interest in guns began at an early age with a love for military history. During high school, Sam began taking classes with Renaissance Firearms Instruction. Over several years he learned everything from basic gun safety to advanced competition shooting techniques. Years later he continues to work with Renaissance as a firearms instructor and content creator. He has a fondness for all guns and shooting disciplines, but especially enjoys handguns. He is currently pursuing a career in law enforcement.

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