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Photo by Jody Lewis, Crossfire Photography

Setting the Standard for Concealed Carry

Steve Coulston reviews the Phantom Light Compatible Holster from Raven Concealment Systems


olsters are just as personal as the firearms and equipment they are intended to carry. There are a wide variety of holsters that will accommodate any firearm of your choice and if it doesn’t exist, you can have one custom made for you. We expect a lot from our holsters. They need to securely hold our guns, magazines, lights and other equipment while providing easy access to said equipment when needed. They need to be durable, able to withstand the constant abuse of every day carry. The holster needs to also distribute weight well. Let’s face it; strapping a piece of steel to your side all day, everyday can play hell on your body. This is often overlooked as a holster needs to be comfortable to wear. If it isn’t, you will leave your gun at home.

As a responsible armed citizen I carry concealed daily. I have carried a variety of firearms throughout the years in an even wider variety of holsters. My current gun of choice is the M&P9 or an M&P9c depending on the way I am dressed. This time of the year in the Pacific Northwest the weather turns cold and wet, which means more layers and coats. This allows me to carry a full sized M&P9 with a dedicated weapon mounted Surefire X300 outside the waistband without printing. The holster I trust to secure my gun is made by Raven Concealment Systems (RCS).

Photo by Jody Lewis, Crossfire Photography

Raven Concealment Systems began manufacturing handmade holsters in 2005. Since then, the company has matured and evolved into one of the most respected names in business when it comes to making modular equipment holsters. The holster I use is their Phantom Light Compatible Holster. This holster is molded out of Kydex-T specifically for the gun I carry. It is basically a custom holster that has been manufactured for mainstream consumption. RCS website offers a plethora of options when ordering your holster. You get to choose, the type of gun, left or right handed, cant or no cant, color, belt loop size, hardware selection, model of light, thumb safety options and body shield or not. You can also specify if you want the holster to accommodate a threaded barrel for suppressed use. Mine is set up this way. Regardless if you plan to run suppressed, the Phantom is cut to accept higher suppressed sights.

I wear mine on my outstanding Ares Ranger belt which is 1.5” in profile. Combine this with the 1.5” belt loops the holster stays secure and doesn’t shift around, even after a full day’s work. Optional hardware is available should you prefer to carry in the waist band. Using their Eclipse hardware system the holster can be configured to over 20 different styles of OWB and IWB carry.

Photo by Jody Lewis, Crossfire Photography

The holster construction is outstanding. It is solid, without feeling clunky. It has a very thin profile that hugs my side and it is made in the pancake style in order to distribute the weight of the gun. The holster is made of two pieces of KYDEX® that are riveted together. The edges are then melted together eliminating the seam and creating a smooth glossy finish. This is the attention to detail RCS has become known for.

Keep in mind, RCS specifically makes holsters for concealed carry as suggested in their name. These holsters do not have thumb breaks, levers, buttons or any other security retention measures that one would find on a LEO utility belt or other load bearing equipment. They are designed for fast and efficient equipment presentation when fractions of seconds can mean the difference between a good day or a really bad one. That being said, holster retention is solid, without being overbearing. I have worn holsters in the past that were cut too tight which resulted in the KYDEX® being stripped out every time I drew the gun. This made the draw feel “sticky” and resulted in inconsistent draw and presentation. This doesn’t happen with the Phantom. The draws are silky smooth and re-holstering is confirmed by an audible click. It should be noted, the light compatible holsters retain the gun by grabbing the light. Do not carry a gun in these holsters without the light as the retention will be greatly reduced which could result in the loss of your firearm.

Photo by Jody Lewis, Crossfire Photography

As mentioned earlier, comfort is paramount. I can wear my full sized gun all day long without over burdening my low back. For example, I today, I wore it to church, then drove home and sat down for a football game while chasing kids around the house between plays. Later, I spent an hour raking leaves, then played a little softball with my daughter and unloaded the groceries from my wife’s car. Throughout the running, sitting, driving, lifting, raking and playing, I had my firearm securely and discreetly on my person without any discomfort or concern about retention. This speaks volumes about the versatility, wearability and concealability of the Phantom holster. I have found this to be true with my RCS pistol and rifle magazine carriers as well.

Raven goes above and beyond what is required and sets the bar very high. Their designs are unique, functional and original. Their holsters can be made for most popular guns and accessories and can be adapted to just about any individual body style. On top of that, they back their products 100%. They have proven themselves as a top tier manufacture and their holsters have been proven in real world use.

Photo by Jody Lewis, Crossfire Photography

I have only one issue with RSC and it is minor. Because their products are in such high demand (because they are awesome), there can be a wait time. I bought my first holster from them about 3 years ago. I ended up waiting about six months for delivery. Fast forward 3 years and they have dramatically reduced the wait time. For their popular models and configurations they will now ship in 1 to 5 days. For more custom items, the wait can be longer. The wait times will be listed at the top of their home page. I got my latest order in about 4 weeks due to the quantity of product I had made.

If you are in the market for an outstanding light compatible holster, or any other holster for that matter, check out Raven Concealment Systems.

The cost of the Phantom Light Compatible Holster will depend on what features you specify, however it can be had for right around $100. In my opinion, this is an outstanding price for a custom holster that will serve you very well for years to come.

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