As anyone who carries a concealed pistol knows, not all carry holsters are created equal. A good CCW holster must keep the gun secure, accessible, and concealed, while still being comfortable enough to wear all day.
Over about a decade of carrying a gun I’ve tried many holsters. In that time I’ve come up with a short list of designs which I return to over and over again.
One of my personal favorites for inside the waistband concealed carry, especially for larger pistols, is the Milt Sparks Versa Max 2.
The Versa Max 2 is a dual purpose leather IWB holster. The holster can either be attached to the belt with two snap loops or attached directly to the waistband of the pants with a set of optional Kydex clips that allow the shirt to be tucked in over the holster.
In my opinion the key design feature of the VM-2 is the position of the snap loops (or clips if installed). The attachment points are placed on the “outboard” edges of the holster, instead of directly behind the holster body. This reduces the overall thickness of the holster and has the added benefit of distributing the weight of the pistol over a wider area. The result is a holster that is both concealable and very comfortable.
The holster is designed for strong side carry only with the gun held in the butt forward “FBI cant.” The holster mouth is reinforced with metal to allow for easy one-handed re-holstering. Each holster is made for a specific model pistol and is molded and boned to provide a secure fit. The VM-2 does not have any retention devices so the tight fit is essential to retain the handgun. A leather sweat guard on the back of the holster protects both the gun from perspiration and the user from the sharp edges of the gun. The VM-2 is available in either horsehide or cowhide with Shark trim available as an extra charge option. The snap loops can be made for belts ranging from 1” up to 1 ¾”.
To switch from the snap loops to the Kydex clips (or back again) use a hex screwdriver to remove and reinstall the hardware. The Milt Sparks website notes that while the clips are designed to be attached directly to the pants, a proper gun built should still be worn to help support the pistol’s weight and to disguise the clips.
I have two examples of the Versa Max 2. I liked the first one I purchased for a CZ-75 so much I later bought a second one for a Browning High Power. In use I’ve found the holster to be both comfortable and concealable. The snap loops work well to keep the holster in place on my belt while still allowing me to remove or replace the holster without having to unthread my belt from my pants.
I mainly use the holster with the snap loops worn under a light jacket for concealment. The butt forward cant puts the gun’s grip in place for an easy, smooth draw. I especially like the fact that the holster design lets me get a firm firing grip while the gun is still holstered. The reinforced mouth does keep the empty holster from collapsing to allow one-handed re-holstering.
Although I have tried the Kydex clips, I always wind up reinstalling the standard snap loops. I found that while the clips do allow the shirt to be tucked in, the holster does not conceal as well for me in that mode and the gun’s weight does not seem to be supported as well. This may just be personal preference as other VM-2 owner’s online report that they are satisfied with the Kydex clips.
The VM-2 is available for a wide selection of guns for $122 for Cowhide or $124 in Horsehide. The Versa Max 2 can be ordered directly from Milt Sparks Holsters through the contact info at their website.