About the Author

Woody is a 10 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review of the Raven Concealment Vanguard Holster

So I've had the chance to utilize the Raven Vanguard 2 for about a month now, and I'm impressed.  You should seriously evaluate this holster if you are looking for a versatile system that allows for IWB, or off-body carry.

The Vanguard system is very different from your typical holster.  Really, you can hardly call it a holster - it's more of a trigger cover.  The molded plastic only covers the bare minimum needed, ie, the trigger and trigger guard.  It attaches to you in two possible ways: via a belt loop for IWB carry or via 550 cord or other lanyard.  This means that bulk is reduced to an absolute minimum.  When I wear my G19 IWB, it almost feels like I've just got the gun shoved in my pants.  The solid fit of the holster, however, means that it is far safer and more secure than if I actually just shoved it in.   Surprisingly it's still very comfortable, even more comfortable than some hybrids I've worn, again with significantly less bulk than your average IWB.

One of the biggest uses I think this system presents is for carrying off-body, especially for the ladies.  A lady I know used to carry a Glock in her purse.  Being a fashionable young lady, she wasn't really interested in buying a purse designed for carry, so she bought a cheap Uncle Mike's at the store, put the Glock in it, then put the whole conglomeration in her purse.  Couple of problems with that - draw time is dramatically increased and it takes up a whole lot more room.  The other option (or so she thought) would be to just place the gun in the purse bare.  I probably don't have to point out the issue with that, but I will; with a Glock (or some models of M&P, the other gun they make Vanguards for), the only thing between you and boom is the trigger safety.  Spend a little time on YouTube, and you'll see how well that works out for people.

The Vanguard answers that problem.  Simply place the Vanguard on your gun, run the lanyard (or a piece of leather, or a fashionable chain, whatever) through the grommet and a hard point on your purse, like where the straps mount, and you are ready to go.  Just make sure the lanyard is strong enough to take the pressure of your draw by dry firing at home.

There is one big disadvantage of the Vanguard - getting the gun in it.  Your gun has to be placed in the Vanguard before you put it in your waistline or your bag.  There is no re-holstering with this gun.  This could present an issue if you were to draw your firearm and then need to put it back for some reason.  A little bit of practice and problem solving ahead of time should easily mitigate that particular issue, but I do point it out for your consideration.

Overall, this is definitely a system you should consider if your needs call for a simple IWB or bag carry solution.  And at $35, it's a great solution at a great price.

Image copyright Raven Concealment

Train hard, train safe, do work.


Raven Concealment

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reply from Sen. Mark Warner

Dear Woody,
Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on legislative efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States.
On September 16, 2013, twelve innocent men and women lost their lives at the Washington, DC Navy Yard at the hands of a gunman who, reports show, had a history of violent tendencies and serious mental illness. This shooting was one of the latest in a string of recent gun-related tragedies that continue to shock our communities. In the aftermath of this recent shooting and tragedies such as those in Newtown, Connecticut and at Virginia Tech, we need to take meaningful steps that will help us best avoid these kinds of mass shootings in the future. The status quo is not acceptable.
I own firearms and am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. However, I also recognize that, like with many of our constitutional rights, our Second Amendment rights are not without limits. During the spring of 2013, the Senate considered the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 (S. 649) in an effort to address issues contributing to gun violence. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) attempted to amend this bill with a reasonable, bipartisan proposal to strengthen background checks.  The Manchin-Toomey amendment would have closed the gun show loophole and prohibited the commercial sale of guns to those who are seriously mentally ill or have a criminal record while also upholding Second Amendment rights. I voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey proposal but, unfortunately, the amendment received only 54 votes in support when it needed 60 votes for passage. Furthermore, its failure, which occurred one day after the sixth anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy, essentially halted consideration of the underlying gun safety bill, which included my bipartisan CAMPUS Safety Act.
There was also significant debate over proposals to ban certain types of weapons and magazines. I voted against those bans because, after talking to numerous experts, I believe the most effective action we can take to reduce gun-related violence and keep guns out of the hands of those prohibited by law from possessing them is to pass a strong background check law. This proposal is strongly supported by the American people and I believe that the Senate should continue to work to pass effective measures that will help to keep our children and communities safe and to improve our mental health system so we can provide help to those with dangerous mental illnesses before it is too late.

I appreciate you contacting me. I will keep your opinion in mind should the Senate address this issue or other relevant legislation. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at http://warner.senate.gov .

United States Senator

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dream rifle

My Dream gun as I imagine it.  Now to start saving...

Faxon Firearms 12.5" complete upper w/BCM flash suppressor
Aimpoint Micro T-1 2MOA w/Larue mount
Aimpoint Magnifier w/Larue mount
Surefire Scout light
BCM Gunfighter Foregrip
Troy fixed front sight
Troy folding rear sight
Gem-Tech HALO suppressor

Rainier Arms lower
Colt small parts
Geissele SSA trigger
KNS trigger pin set
BAD safety lever
BCM Gunfighter grip
MagPul trigger guard
Mil-spec receiver extension and castle nut
MagPul CTR stock with 1/2" - 3/4" riser
MagPul mags