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

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