Back at SHOT Show 2012, our friends at Raven Concealment unveiled the latest incarnation of their Vanguard Holster. For those not familiar, the original Vanguard was a minimalist holster design that eliminates the bulk of traditional holster designs, but still provides the safety of a holstered pistol. The original design was essentially just a trigger guard cover with a paracord lanyard to act as a static line.
The Vanguard 2 is the logical evolution of the original Vanguard design. By using state of the art molding technology, Raven Concealment was able to mass produce the body of the “holster” and offer it at a competitive price. In addition, a strut and soft loop was attached to the holster to allow it to be used like a standard in-the-waistband holster. It is tuckable, and ambidextrous.
Since I first tweaked my back about five years ago, the Glock 19 replaced my steel framed 1911 for off-duty carry and it quickly became my favorite concealment gun. I previously carried it in a Milt Sparks Summer Special, which was comfortable and stable. As soon as I returned home from SHOT 2012, I began using Raven’s Vanguard 2. I haven’t looked back since. It is extremely low profile and light weight. It’s versatile and can be carried appendix in-the-waistband or standard strong side IWB as well.
For the past 15 months, I’ve been carrying a Glock 19 in that Vanguard 2 holster. It is comfortable and durable. There is no material to add any bulk to the sides of the pistol, and really it is like tucking the pistol right into your pants except it stays put and is far safer. With the Vanguard 2, is no worry about maintenance or rot (other than maybe checking the screw that attaches the strut to the holster body.
Some people have noted that the Vanguard system prevents you from re-holstering one-handed. That is true. The price of having such a low-profile, lightweight, and simple system is that you will have to use two hands to reattach the Vanguard system and then tuck it back into your pants. I don’t find this to be an issue for me but your requirements will vary. Like with any piece of gear, check your requirements and select your equipment based on those requirements.
At SHOT 2013, the Raven guys unveiled their prototypes for their M&P model of the Vanguard 2. I predict this one will be a home run as well. Keep your eye out on their website for launch information.