Vanguard GH-200 pistol grip head

The Vanguard GH-200 pistol grip head is another variation on the traditional ball head, albeit one with a handle like that of a gun. This makes it extremely easy and comfortable to reposition the camera. By simply pulling back a large circular switch, you can twist the pistol grip into a horizontal position or even upside down. At the rear of the handle you’ll find a friction control, and on the front is a large button running along the length of the handle that releases the head from being locked so it can be repositioned.

Vanguard GH-200 pistol grip head

Vanguard GH-200 pistol grip head

The Vanguard head is extremely comfortable to operate but lacks the manoeuvrability of a traditional ball head. On the plus side it’s much more comfortable to use so you have to weigh this difference up when choosing a head. With two circular spirit levels on the top and side of the head, it’s quick and easy to achieve a level composition. Panning takes place just below where the plate attaches rather than at the bottom of the head close to where it attaches to a tripod. There’s a small amount of resistance so the plate can be rotated smoothly, and a clicking scale shows the degree of rotation.

The small Vanguard plate is gripped by the head using two ‘pincers’ that are controlled using an easy to turn dial. The mount thread is the screw type without a small handle – instead there’s a slot for a coin to tighten it.


The Vanguard GH-200 pistol grip is a very comfortable head to use thanks to a well thought-out design. However, it lacks the full range of movement you’d get with a traditional ball head so this has to be considered. Movement is enough for the majority of subjects though.


  • Price: £89.99 (As of June 2016)
  • Folded height: 10cm
  • Extended height: 11.5cm
  • Weight: 810g
  • Swivel: 360
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This review was first published in the February 2013 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.