Not really, sadly. I love the Vanguards armour and I love the blaster rifles. The only problem for me is the Ion Pulse. I just hate the noise and animation it makes. If my Powertech could have a blaster rifle it would be perfect.
It is not weak it is the tanking spec. If you not familiar with the term Tank means the role in which goes into the fights and makes the enemies concentrate on him while the damage dealers kill them. The vanguard is actually a very viable tank and going shield will very much be useful.
I'm going to assume the OP was meaning that it's weak as in dealing damage. Most new low level players solo PvE which is decent tanking, but very slow kills. Even more so at low levels.