Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kydex Part IV

Raven Concealment Systems
(yet another installment of my kydex reviews)
One of the deciding factors when I decided to buy my Sig was the fact that it came with night sights and an accessory rail, so a white light was easy to add.  This here's a fightin' gun! (I've done some low/no light force on force without these, and needless to say, I'm convinced you need them on a carry gun, but that's another post for another time.)

Of course the sights are always there, but when you need the light, there's probably not going to be time to clip it on the rail and tighten up the screw.  It's a huge benefit to have the light already attached to the gun as soon as you clear leather, er, plastic. So the search ensued to locate a holster maker that had a system that would accept my particular light/pistol combo.  As I mentioned in the Blackhawk! review, there's not too many makers out there offering SigPro holsters, let alone a SP2022 with a Streamlight TLR-1 attached.
Then I picked up the Magpul Dynamics "Art of the Tactical Carbine" series of DVDs, which feature a few of the offerings (primarily Kydex AR mag holders) from Raven Concealment Systems, available through The Malabar Front.  I went over to their online shop, poked around a little, and found that they do in fact offer a SP2022 option for their Phantom Light Compatible Holster line, and they're customizable for a pretty good number of light options.
I ordered up a Tan one for my particular combo, plus their "paddle attachment," and sat back and waited.  And waited.  Apparently after "The Art of the Dynamic Handgun" everybody and their dog was ordering Raven holsters.  While I waited, I also inquired as to getting a mag pouch, since I didn't see the SP2022 as an option, and they responded with an address to send in a mag to get a holder molded up and sent out with my holster.
After about 50 days or so, my stuff finally came in.  Not bad really for a currently heavily overworked custom kydex maker.

Both items consist of nicely molded Kydex halves either chemically glued or welded together, and reenforced with rivets.  The rivets also work as attachment points for the various belt options(and boy are there plenty of options!) Their tan is a little darker than Blackhawk's tan, closer to "coyote."
The back of the holster is cut with a nice high sweat shield, and there is a rough pebbled texture over the entire outside of both, and a nice smooth interior.  The exterior finish should keep most scuffs and scratches from showing, although I haven't managed to cause any on mine yet, although there is a smudge of blue paint on the holster(right by the light switch area) that I need to take a brush to... sometimes I'm clumsy and bounce into the wall carrying my laundry back upstairs.

Both came standard with belt loops, and I ordered the "paddle" hooks for the holster.  Completely blanked on the hooks for the mag holder though, so now I'm doing the waiting thing again.  While not a true paddle, the hooks attach at the top and have a nub(for lack of a better term) that catches the bottom of your belt.  Overall the holster is nice and wide, and the hooks stick out from the side even more, spreading the weight out quite well.  Occasionally they do dig into my side a little though, something a more traditional rounded paddle seldom does.  They do accomplish the mission of keep the holster on your body when you draw, yet being easily removable without taking off your belt.  The hooks also make this the highest riding of the three examples, which I guess could help in concealment, and it does snuggle in nice and tight.

The downside however is that it is easily the least secure feeling of any of the holsters, as far as retention goes.  There is no real form of retention for the gun aside from the fit of the holster and gravity, and there is no tension adjustment.  It hasn't been a problem for me yet, and the Magpul guys are quite often running around doing quite "dynamic" movements and don't have their guns falling out that I've seen, so for now it's just a "would be nice" but not necessary change I guess, but I wouldn't mind an unobtrusive screw on there somewhere to tighten things up a little.
Conversely, the mag holder is the most secure I've had other than a full flap pouch.  There's a little dimple pressed into the kydex on the back side that catches in the mag catch hole.  Oddly enough the first time I reloaded from this pouch on the range it was possibly the smoothest and quickest reload I have done on a pistol. No doubt that "custom" mojo rubbing off.  I guess what I'm getting at is that while being very secure, this setup does not hinder your mag draw, so long as you use a sharp and deliberate pull.

Overall, it's a decent rig, and the number of attachment options definitely make it worth looking into.  I'd also highly suggest it if you're running a light (and if you're gun has a rail and you're not, you should really think about it).  Of course there's also the added cool points of having what is currently the hottest holster in the market and making people jealous at the range.
Their custom services are also fantastic, if you want a kydex holder for just about anything, they can do it (guns, mags, knives, flashlights, batteries, etc...)

Next up will be some more in-depth comparisons between the setups.

Part II - Fobus Holster and Mag Holder
Part III - Blackhawk! Serpa Holster and Mag Holder

Part V - Conclussions