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Thread: Comparison overview: Mic holster vs Raven Vanguard (1) for AIWB

  1. #1
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    Jul 2008
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    Comparison overview: Mic holster vs Raven Vanguard (1) for AIWB

    MIC holster vs Raven Vanguard (1), a comparison for AIWB.

    Disclaimer: I was not paid by either manufacturers for this comparison/brief review. I did not see much reviews on these kind of holsters for AIWB, so I figured
    I'd do a quick comparison of the two for those potentially thinking of using these. I also explain my rationale for using older designs over the newer designs such as the Vanguard 2.

    This is more of a quick comparison between the two holsters and not designed as a scientific review (as there's nothing really scientific to it).
    I have been using appendix carry with my G19 the last two years because of concealablity and better access for me.
    However, there aren't very many suitable holsters for AIWB that worked well for me.
    I used a Blackhawk nylon IWB holster because it was the thinnest holster I have used, but what I also considered not very safe (because it's not rigid).
    I have also used a Galco stow-n-go holster, a Smart Carry for deep concealment (although usually a last option because of the slower efficiency of drawing),
    and have tried a Blade Tech Nano. These were all for the front appendix carry. Other Kydex options were too thick
    or had the gun riding too high and wanted to tip outwards for AIWB .
    When I saw Raven release the Vanguard 2 at Shot show, I started to rethink the idea of a minimalistic holster.
    While I liked the concept of the Vanguard 2, was slower to reholster because the user had to remove the holster off the belt
    to get the gun back in, then reclip it back to the belt. While this is not a game stopper, I ran across Raven's
    Vanguard 1 holster and the Mic holster, which were the more simplistic kydex trigger guard covers and functioned for enhancing "mexican carry" use.
    Although they lack the flexiblity of the Vanguard two (no adjustable belt loop), they could be used for AIWB by looping the retention chord through the belt.
    With the MIC and Vanguard 1, the holster is outside waistline after drawing, but is retained on the belt via a retention cord. Although reholstering is done outside of the belt loop (hanging by the retention lanyard), it is still a step less in comparison to Vanguard 2, where the user still needs to unclip the holster off the belt then re-clipping it back on.
    Both holsters could also be used as a standard 'trigger cover' for night stands and glove compartments. The user anchors the static chords to something. A tug of the firearm with the chord tight will unholster the weapon.

    Because I had no experience with this type of minimalistic kydex holster, I bought a MIC holster from a local GT Distributor to test the concept before ordering the Vanguard directly from Raven.

    [edited 5.28.12, removed statement of one manufacturer's claim of being the original designer because of fact checking, check out Tom's (from Raven) statement below]

    MIC Holster:

    The holster did not come with directions.
    After doing some dry runs with it and then getting range time with it, I liked the this type of holster as it's very fast.
    Although reholstering takes two hands, it occurs outside of the pants (and away from the family jewels) since I know the probability of having an AD caused by a foreign object (ie: clothing) is lower. However, the user's going to need to take into account reholstering with both hands in the event one arm/hand is injured
    or it is being used to hold/grab onto something else in an actual shooting event.

    After twp weeks of using the MIC holster with success in both dry and live fire, I decided to place an order for the Raven Vanguard 1 for my other G19.
    Raven Vanguard:

    This holster came with directions and Raven Concealment Decal. On my invoice, "Erica" handwrote "Thanks for your order" on it.
    Although not necessary, that left a good customer service impression on me (even though I have yet to use it yet).

    A few days after placing the order for the Raven, a crack developed on the MIC hoslter. This was not due to operator error, as I followed the instructions off of Glocktech's Youtube video on clipping it on the gun.
    I took the holster to the store I bought it from and had it exchanged without questions asked. It's important to note that I bypassed Glocktech and went straight to this distrubtor for the exchange,
    so I can't comment on Glocktech's customer service.
    According to MIC's designer in his video, he said that he only had
    "6 holsters come back to him broken because of improper use." I don't know if this was a design issue or a quality issue with the kydex used, but this was
    unacceptable to me. The new MIC replacement feels subjectively the same as the first one I had.

    I will test it out to see if it the same crack will develop or not, but the Raven had become my primary carry holster once I received it.
    The MIC holster currently rests on my back up G19.

    It is also worth noting that both holsters were designed to have enough retention for the gun to stay holstered if it were to fall out of the pants (ie: it hangs upside down). Both holsters feel (subjectively) as if they have about the same amount of retention.

    One of my G19 has a thinned trigger guard, and retention (ie: draw, or clamping it on) is not affected, although it is not as snug as the stock/unaltered trigger guard.

    Pictures of the holsters for visual comparison:

    MIC on top, Vanguard on bottom.
    Note that the Raven has an eyelet where the parachord runs through the holster. The MIC does not have this.
    The raven's parachord loops is also longer, which accompanies wider belts better as well.

    Underside of the holsters. MIC on top, Vanguard on bottom.

    Inside of the holsters. They're both slick on the inside.
    MIC on top, Vanguard on bottom.
    MIC holster:

    Holstering is done by snapping the holster from the front (as instructed by Glocktech).

    MIC holstered

    Although I didn't have a picture of the first MIC holster that cracked, I drew in where the crack occurred in red.

    Rave Vanguard 1:

    Holstering with Vanguard is clamping it from the bottom to top as per their instructions.

    Vanguard holstered.

    Draw and use:

    This is a compilation of pictures extracted from a video of me using the MIC holster. The draw time/video was similar with the Raven Vanguard.
    Note that as I extend the G19 forward, the holster snaps off and is retained on the belt.
    The time from draw to sight alignment and fire was ~1.30 seconds. Not as fast as some external holsters (as shirt has to be lifted, etc), it is still reasonably fast.
    Reholstering is quick as well, as the user just snaps the holster over the trigger guard and quickly tuck the weapon system into the pants. I find this faster than re-clipping a holster through the belt loop.

    These are not holsters for the novice CHL user. It's a niche product for a specific application and may not applicable to some users. However, when employed properly, it is quite fast and safe.

    MIC holster's cracking is something to be curious about. I don't know if it's a sample size of one, but it's a consideration to look at.
    The Raven appears to have a cleaner 'finish' (with eyelet, etc) and has not exhibited cracking yet. If it were to occur, I am pretty sure the people of Raven would take care of it without issues.

    Both are functional holsters (when not counting manufacturing defects) within its designed parameter.

    I'll update this thread as I continue using both holsters.

    I'll try to answer any questions that come as well.
    Last edited by Kilo 1-1; 05-28-12 at 12:59.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
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    49 (100%)

    I didn't see this mentioned in your article (maybe i over read it) but one advantage of the raven holster compared to the GT. the front raked end on the raven allows a user to remove the holster from the gun if for some reason the paracord rips/breaks or the gun is on a table/chair/what have you. You can run it off of your pocket/arm/leg and the trigger guard cover will come off.

    I think this is a huge added benefit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by willowofwisp View Post

    I didn't see this mentioned in your article (maybe i over read it) but one advantage of the raven holster compared to the GT. the front raked end on the raven allows a user to remove the holster from the gun if for some reason the paracord rips/breaks or the gun is on a table/chair/what have you. You can run it off of your pocket/arm/leg and the trigger guard cover will come off.

    I think this is a huge added benefit.
    You are correct, I forgot to mention that in the review.
    Thanks for the bringing it up. Like you said, it is a big advantage for one handed operation (if not from IWB).

  4. #4
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    Jan 2011
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    Thanks for the review.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Hi gents,
    Tom Fineis (from Raven) has brought to my attention of faulty information regarding who was 'first' in coming out with these kind of holsters. I went ahead and made edits above to the original review.

    I'd like to thank Tom for pointing this out to me as I never intended to misinform the viewers of this comparison/review.

    Originally posted by Tom Fineis:
    I do my absolute best to stay out of review threads that feature our gear, or gear that is direct competition to us. I feel it is best for the end users to discuss the viability of the gear in question without the conversation being tainted by a clearly biased party.

    However, I'd like to provide some input on one point.

    Originally posted by Kilo 1-1:

    Supposedly, Glocktech's MIC has been out longer than Raven's, so I also was curious about the holster from the "original designer."
    Our VanGuard was brought to us by Shay VanVlyman from Mindset Lab (Hence "Vanguard") in early 2008 and was posted for sale on our website that same year. Shay originally developed the idea in early 2007 and has email traffic as well as a provisional patent filing at that time.

    There have been other companies making a similar product, some claiming to have been selling them longer than RCS has.

    Nobody is able to provide any proof of this, and the website making the claim wasn't even on the internet until 2010.

    If anyone knows RCS, they know we have been copied and cloned more than nearly any other holster manufacturer. Our claim to fame has always been pushing new ideas out and setting the trends, not copying them. I can assure you we did our due diligence prior to launching our VanGuard, and nothing similar was commercially available. We have the date stamps and provisional patent going back to 2007, and so far nobody has been able to prove a sale of their items prior to that date.

    We licensed this idea from Shay. We could have easily looked at his prototype, made our own, and sold them on our website telling him to pound sand. We didn't, we are not in the business of taking ideas from others without compensating them for it.

    Regarding usage of these items-
    Ours is designed to be installed from the bottom, eliminating any possibility of a foreign object (finger, shirt tail, etc) getting caught in the trigger guard and discharging the pistol unintentionally. Additionally, the "nose" of ours is sloped in a way that allows one-handed removal of the Vanguard should the cord break, or you have one arm injured/busy and pick the pistol up from a table or other location with the VanGuard installed. It can be caught on a pocket, table, arm, leg, etc and removed from the pistol. This is something most of the other items are missing and one we feel is extremely important for real-world use of our VanGuard.

    I'll duck out now, I just wanted to provide a bit more of the story. Apologies for derailing the topic.

    Tom Fineis
    Last edited by Kilo 1-1; 05-28-12 at 13:04.


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