The Vanguard 3 from Raven Concealment Systems is a minimalist holster that indexes off of the weapon’s light and covers the trigger guard. The result is an extremely low profile and low print holster that is easily configurable to a variety of different situations. For those of you who carry a variety of weapons or for those who carry with optics it’s time to rejoice.
One of the nice things about the Vanguard 3 is that because is indexes off of your weapon’s light as opposed to the shape of the weapon you have many options regarding what handgun you’d like to use. In the case of the model I bought, which indexes off of a Surefire X300U A/B model, it will fit anything from a Glock to a Walther PPQ (plus many more). For those of us who like to carry different handguns depending on the situation or weather, we no longer have to buy 5 different holsters. The downside for this particular holster is that you need a weapon light in order to carry.
For those who have not carried a handgun with a weapon light attached, you may feel intimidated. No need to fear; I feel little difference between carrying a slick Glock 19 vs a Glock 19 with a monstrous Surefire x300U. The hardest part of carrying a weapon in my experience has been the butt of the gun, the front end is quite easy to conceal. It’s also a good idea to have a weapon light as you never know the type of situation that you’ll find yourself in.
I carry using this holster at the 1 o’clock position / appendix carry. I found it easy and comfortable to carry. With the right pants I experienced no shifting of the holster, however your experience may vary depending upon the quality of belt or the sizing of your pants. Drawing can be tricky depending on the weapon you’re carrying. In the case of my Glock 19 with Trijicon RMR I had to have suppressor height sights installed in order to co-witness through the optic. Since there is nothing covering the front sight, when you draw there is a chance it could get snagged if your pants are not squared away before hand. Lower profile sights may be a better option if you don’t have time to sew things down / trim things up where you carry weapon will be to ensure nothing snags.
I think this minimalist holster is a good design, I’m sure there are others similar to it, but I was struck with the craftmanship of the Vanguard 3. This will be my go to holster for the forseeable future until something comes along to change my mind. As with everything ensure that you practice with this holster to ensure there are no surprises when a situation presents itself.