Friday, September 20, 2013

Raven Concealment Vanguard 2 Initial Impressions

Today we will be reviewing the Ravel Concealment Vanguard 2 holster. I saw their earlier version some time ago; while I thought it was a great idea for carrying a fully loaded (vs mag full chamber empty) Glock Mexican Carry isn't my thing so I never got around to buying one.

Basically Version 2 is the cup around the holster piece with a piece of plastic kydex screwed into the holster piece to which is attached a soft belt loop. It looks like this.
The plastic piece covers the trigger guard rendering the gun safe and retaining it securely.
I was sort of on the edge of buying one. Needed a good holster and figured for $34 why not give it a shot. That was an excellent decision. Onto the usual format.

The Good: Just about everything. My dealing with the company were quite pleasant. They sent status updates when it cleared another hurdle in the order process which was nice. I think from order to shipping it was 4-5 days then another 3 to my mail carrier (who mucked it up for 5 days but that is not the companies fault). They charge a very fair $6 for USPS shipping which was nice.

The holster is well made without some of the rough/melted/misformed edges or lines that can occasionally happen in kydex stuff. Retention is excellent, it passes "hold by holster, the turn upside down and shake" test. Granted there are the inherant limitations of a friction type retention system so this is not the holster for jumping out of planes, scuba diving, bronc riding, etc all but for a normal person walking around doing normal things it is more than sufficient. I also appreciate the audible click when the 'holster' sets into place.

Personally I am carrying a small Glock Appendix Inside Waistband (AIWB) with this setup. I like Appendix a lot for security/ retention and speed of access. John Mosby talks the benefits of AIWB better than I can. IIRC he also uses this holster for whatever that's worth.

This holster is simply the smallest/ thinnest and probably lightest way to make safe and retain a Universal Service Pistol (Glock, M&P, etc) currently available. It also comes at a price point where if you don't like it taking the soft loop off and using it when you occasionally carry in a kit bag, as a backup holster or whatever, is a valid option.

This is an excellent setup because it does not put more stiff, pokey, pointy stuff inside the already full space of a person's pants. It is much more comfortable (well as comfortable as AIWB gets) than other holsters I have tried without compromising on retention. Also it is compatible with all Gen 3 and 4 Glock 9/.40/.357sig/.45gap pistols which is pretty handy for somebody with a big Glock collection. Best of all since it doesn't cover the side/ barrel it is compatible without the bulk of the biggest possible gun's dimensions.

An added side benefit of the Vanguard not covering the frame/ slide is that you can load or unload a pistol with it in place. Granted if you can't safely do that you prolly shouldn't be carrying a gun, in fact you should just give it to me, but that is another story. A nice option to have anyway.

The one belt loop design is very comfortable with plenty of give to fit how your body wants which is handy for AIWB. Also that it is adjustable for belt size as well as cant and depth is excellent. That gives a lot of options to play with in order to get the holster fitting just right. Personally I adjusted the depth up a notch because the factory setting was excellent for concealment but too deep to get a good firing grip on the draw. Tweeked with the cant but ended up adjusting it back to strait up and down.

The Bad:
As per the manufacturer it is not safe to reholster with the holster inside your pants. I am initially inclined think that is probably more a factual safety issue than a legal liability thing. [If anyone wants to chime in from real world experience with this holster I'd like to hear about it.] Then again given this holster's concept of use is for concealed carry/ self defense not range fun or competition so the issue is negligible. I just keep the belt loop attached, lift the holster piece out of my pants, reattach the weapon and return it to it's normal position. Really only an issue when doing dry fire practice.

Well that's really the only bad part about this holster.

I'll try to remember to get back to you after a few months of carrying it to share my thoughts but as of right now The Vanguard 2 is a strong buy in my book. I'm not sure there is a more compact and comfortable AIWB holster out there and am pretty sure if there is it's a lot more than $34.

To those who own a Vanguard 2 I'd love to hear your thoughts.

2 comments:

Jack said...

I have their Phantom holster and really like it for IWB behind the hip carry. I'm ordering the Vanguard 2 now for AWB carry.

BTW, they do have a LE/MIL discount.

"we are happy to provide a 10% discount for LE/MIL customers. Please use coupon code “2222” when ordering, and use your official email address for the order."

2heavyb said...

I believe it was mosbey that brought this to my attention. Have used it over a year and love it. It's the most comfortable retention device for ccw I have ever worn. With the humidity in Texas the lack of extra materials is a plus. Nothing to pick up sweat. Everyday situations like getting in and out of the vehicle, removing and securing when entering a restricted area or even a public restroom is no problem. As you mentioned I switch it between different Glocks with no problem. Because of the adjustability I can allow for different clothing and levels of concealment. I wear a wife beater under all my shirts and personally that's just enough material to keep it directly off my skin for comfort and to reduce some of the sweat on the weapon. It works and is priced right.

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