Photos by: John McQuay
There are so many Kydex holsters on the market that choosing one can be mind boggling. Do you want an outside the waistband or inside the waistband model? Do you want clips, straps or belt loops? Which models allow for weapon mounted lights? What if you don’t have or don’t need a light? Raven Concealment Systems makes this extremely easy.
The Raven Concealment Systems Phantom Modular Holster can take care of all of your needs. The Phantom holster is a pancake style Kydex holster. Two pieces of durable plastic are heat molded to the shape of your handgun. The outside edges are folded in to mach the contour of your body then the whole thing is permanently riveted together. The retention of the holster is controlled by the molding of the Kydex.
Raven Concealment Systems offers a very comprehensive ordering website. On their site you can select from standard or “Light Compatible” holsters. Then select your model of handgun. Once you are on that page you are given a list of drop-down menus to select the specifics of your holster and method of mounting to your body.
The beautiful thing about the Phantom Modular Holster design is that the body of the holster has a “universal” set of mounting holes. If you order your holster to be an “inside the waistband” model, but later decide that you prefer “outside the waistband” carry, you can order the replacement loops and screw them on at home. No need to have your holster re-worked or order a new one. The same holds true if you want to switch from standard belt loops to soft loops. It makes it very simple to tailor one holster to a number of applications.
I have been using our Phantom Modular Holster for my Glock 17 for several months now. The G17 is equipped with a Surefire X300 Ultra weapon light. This is an excellent combination for a general purpose handgun. During my time with the Phantom I have used it for range training, IDPA competition, Steel Challenge and daily carry. The Phantom Holster distributes the load of the G17/X300 combo well when used with the standard belt loops and a 5.11 web belt. I combined this with a Dual Modular Pistol Mag Carrier on my support side to balance out the weight of the handgun.
I am used to carrying a heavy duty belt for work, so the loaded G17 and two spare 17 round magazines was a flyweight in comparison. However the Raven Concealment rig kept the handgun and magazines in place and kept me from having to shift or reposition the load. This is very important. Constantly adjusting your weapon is a pretty big “tell” when you are out in the world in civilian clothes. Granted, carrying a full-size handgun like the G17 requires some specific wardrobe choices. I found that in the cooler days it disappears under a sweatshirt or light jacket. It takes a little more work to conceal under a large t-shirt, but with a black or dark colored shirt and a conscious effort not to bend forward at the waist, it does fine.
Out of the box the retention on the Phantom Modular Holster was great. I had no concerns with the handgun coming loose. After putting several hundred draws on it, the retention lightened up a bit. If I inserted the G17, loaded with the X300 attached, then inverted the holster, it would retain the handgun. However if I shook it, the handgun would dislodge. I do realize that placing the holster on the belt will slightly increase the tension and may prevent this. Just know that if you happen to carry while you are performing your circus act-hand stand, you may loose your pistol. In future models I would like to see some kind of adjustable tension screw incorporated into the design.
During my evaluation I used the Phantom Modular Holster for IDPA and Steel Challenge shooting. In both competitions the rules do not allow for weapon lights. I was happy to see that the Phantom Modular Holster does hold the G17 steady when the X300 Ultra is removed. This does cause you to loose most of your retention, but at no time did I have a concern of the handgun falling out of the holster. In these competitions you usually start holstered and draw as soon as time starts. Most movement is accomplished with the handgun in your hand. Without the X300 attached the draw is extremely smooth.
I ordered our Phantom with the full body shield. This is the portion of the holster between the weapon’s slide and your body. I have found that when using a holster inside the waistband, a short shield makes it more difficult to holster the handgun. On those of us who may have spent a bit too long at the dinner table and not long enough on the PT field, those “love handles” can get in the way. The full body shield allows for quicker holstering and less chance if pinching yourself if you run the Phantom IWB. An added advantage is that it keeps sweat off the weapon and carbon/gun oil off your shirt.
The Dual Modular Pistol Mag Carrier uses the same mounting options as the Phantom Holster and works extremely well. The Mag Carrier is adjustable for tension using a single screw. It is simple to turn the screw to adjust to the tension you need. I quickly found the balance of tension that allowed for quick magazine draws, but solid retention when running.
If you are a fanatic about scratches or wear on your gear, you should be aware that the Phantom Modular Holster hugs the curves of your handgun. After numerous draw repetitions you will start to notice some finish wear on your handgun and light. This will only be magnified when grit from the world finds its way in there. This is a fact of life for a working handgun. My handguns are tools. Even the ones that ride in a suede lined holster suffer from holster/draw wear. If you are crazy about keeping your stuff “like new” then don’t use it and definitely don’t carry it in a holster. The X300 Ultra has a rather sharp strike bezel and it continues to shave little bits of Kydex off the holster and show some wear on the anodizing. It will eventually stop when the Surefire and the Phantom cease their attempt to occupy the same space. Until then, I just don’t care. I have been working with this pistol/light combo enough that I am actively trying to wear the finish off of it by training. When I succeed, it will just be a reason to send it off to Cerakote.
Overall the Phantom Modular Holster and Dual Modular Pistol Mag Carrier from Raven Concealment Systems worked exactly as advertised. They are quality products that will serve you for a long time.