Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Raven Concealment Systems: Phantom Holster Review

As you get into certain hobbies or tasks that involve equipment to go along with them, you often have to spend some time and money along the way to find what works for you.  Having been through that process, I learned quickly to do plenty of research before buying certain types of products.  That research led me to Raven Concealment Systems to buy a holster for my second pistol.  With the first one I had gotten a "Serpa" holster and realized that was not the answer.  So I got a Phantom to fit my HK 45C.  The quality and fit of the holster was perfect.  So perfect that I stuck with Raven's products and didn't look elsewhere until recently.  I decided to venture out and look at some other holster manufacturers, and all I really found were companies attempting to mimic the Raven product.  Some do it well, some not so much.  What I found is that you can go out and get "regular joe's kydex" to create you a kydex holster using some plastic and his oven, but if you're serious about your holsters, look no further than Raven Concealment Systems.  Let me caveat that statement with acknowledging that I've only had my hands on a handful of different manufacturers holsters out there, and there are tons of guys out there making kydex holsters these days it seems like.  The point is, I've tried several, and in my opinion and experience there aren't any that match up to the quality and features of the Phantom.

When looking for a holster for my Smith and Wesson M&P9 fullsize I had one other consideration, which was the Surefire X300U weapon mounted light(WML).  When looking for holsters with WMLs the selection gets even slimmer.   The choice was easy when picking the Phantom Light Compatible holster from Raven.  Again the quality and fit was perfect for my M&P with X300U.  The gun "clicks" in and out of the holster with just enough "snugness" to retain the gun safely, but not provide excess wear on the finish of the pistol.  The smooth edges of these holsters make them easy to deal with when carrying IWB or OWB and in any position you might find yourself.  They fit tight to your body and do not have lines that print easily.  Obviously you have to dress appropriately with any pistol in order to carry it concealed, but the Raven holsters make that easier.  The thickness of the holster material is just enough to hold it's shape and not collapse like most leather holsters will.  If you've followed my posts or talked to me you know that I place importance on holsters holding their shape and providing the capability of being able to holster the firearm quickly and easily.

With these holsters you have several mounting options, but they come standard with injection molded OWB belt loops.  Other options are pancake wings, soft mount loops, IWB soft loops and tuckable loops, as well as their newest option the OWB Quick Mount Straps that I hope to get and tryout soon.  These holsters are built for concealed carry and so the mounting options only go that far.  Despite the material they're made from they are decently comfortable carrying concealed even for someone of my slim build.  They're not built for mounting like a drop leg holster or on molle attachments like "war belts".  With a little work you can make it happen, but that's not what they're built for.

Bottom line, if you're looking for a concealable holster I would recommend you try a Raven Concealment Systems Phantom.  The price on them isn't the highest, but also not the lowest.  I would say the price is right online with the quality and priceless when it comes personal protection.  Word on the street is that RCS has a new holster line coming out next year of the injection molded type.  I can't wait.

HK45C left - M&P9 w/Surefire x300U right

So for those of you that follow my blog you know that I also reviewed the Griffon Industries holster for my M&P as well.  So you might be wondering which one do I like better, and that would be the Raven.  The sticking points on the Griffon is that they are much pricier, but not better in my opinion.  In fact, I wasn't happy with the fit of the Griffon.  It was clearly wearing on the finish of my pistol every time I drew it, but you can see the pictures and read more about that in my review.