May 06, 2022
By Joe Kurtenbach
In this age where gun owners buy more Kydex and plastic holsters than leather, Milt Sparks’ Versa Max 2 (VM-2) with RMR cut represents a future-proofed rendition of classic American gunleather. The VM-2 is a winged inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster molded for a specific firearm.
The vaunted Boise, Idaho-based leathermaker is often associated with bespoke Model 1911 rigs, but a call to company manager Jim Wall confirmed that Milt Sparks has the large semiautomatic market well in hand. “We’ve got 95 to 98 percent of the popular guns covered,” Wall said. “All of the double-stacks and micros including the P320, P365, Glock, Hellcat, VP9 — you name it. And of course, those Staccatos that are all the rage right now. Anything that comes ready for an optic, we can probably make a holster for it.” If there is a question about gun fit, ordering is done primarily by phone so confirmation is a quick call away.
The VM-2 holster has the hallmarks of a classic carry rig, but with tasteful upgrades. The holster’s stitching is tight, dye perfectly uniform, and the edges are so clean and smooth that seams are nearly invisible. The molding is so precise that the holster’s features and outlines for a specific firearm are distinct and identifiable. This level of quality is expected from custom-grade leather goods, and Milt Sparks delivers.
Added enhancements,some of which might be overlooked, are where the company separates itself from competitors. For example, the mouth of the VM-2 is reinforced with an encased metal band. This feature ensures that the leather holster stays open after the firearm is drawn, which makes reholstering easy. This was a trait once exclusive to a Kydex or plastic holster’s feature list. A shooter’s eyes can stay focused on the target and environment rather than their waistline. For the VM-2 RMR, the reinforced mouth is dipped on the leading edge to make room for a slidemounted optic. The holster retains its traditional and elegant styling, but it ensures that a pistol’s red-dot sight will not obstruct the gun from seating properly within the holster’s pouch.
Another feature worth noting are VM-2 RMR’s pair of robust, 1-inch-thick, leather belt retention loops. Loops are sometimes preferred versus clips for their added security, and Milt Sparks designers went a step further by including one-way or “pull-the-dot”-style security snaps.
When I jumped out of airplanes as a soldier in the U.S. Army, my kit made extensive use of snaps like the ones on the VM-2 RMR. If they’re good enough for parachute work, they’re good enough for a holster. And if snaps and loops aren’t your thing, no problem! Snap loops can be had for 1-inch up to 1 3/4-inch belts, but self-closing magnetic loops and Kydex tuckable clips are also available.
Finally, despite its extra and upgraded hardware, the VM-2 RMR offers a completely metal-free backside. All the screws and fittings are concealed within the holster’s leather layers so that the only thing in contact with the wearer’s skin is the smooth exterior. Standard configuration for a VM-2 RMR is black-dyed cowhide, but other color and material options are available including exotic leathers. (Upcharges may apply.) If you are curious about what is possible, give Milt Sparks a call: 208-377-5577. The members of the company’s team are good at what they do; and they love talking shop with customers.
For evaluation, I ordered a VM-2 for a Shadow Systems MR920 with a Trijicon RMR installed. This pistol has an almost identical profile to a G19 Gen 5 with RMR mounted. The fit was snug, but little break-in was required before I was able to draw instinctively. Compared to other leather holsters I’ve evaluated, I think the VM-2’s outstanding out-of-the-box fit can be credited to the metal-reinforced mouth.
Comfort against my body was excellent. The extended wings successfully spread the weight around my waist. There was no sag and no need for readjustment; it carried just right. Concealment was also good, facilitated by the built-in 15-degree cant. The cant is nonadjustable, though, and is accomplished by the offset position of the belt loops. The “FBI-style” design helps angle the pistol’s frame forward, which reduces the gun’s profile when concealed and presents the grip for a fast draw when worn behind the hip. A loose-fitting t-shirt sufficed for a cover garment, but most will prefer an untucked button-down shirt, light jacket, vest or sweatshirt to avoid printing.
On the clock and beneath an open-front vest, the VM-2 was as fast and reliable as they come. In more than two months of carry, I also noticed how stable the holster was while sitting, standing, >walking or driving. I enthusiastically endorse Milt Sparks’ VM-2 RMR if you carry with a pistol-mounted optic and love the look and feel of gunleather.
Milt Sparks’ VM-2 with RMR cut is a custom-molded cowhide holster for inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry that relies on friction fit for firearm retention. As the “RMR” designation implies, this model features a recess at the mouth to accommodate a slide-mounted optic. The holster’s winged design helps to spread the weight of the pistol to avoid sagging. Sturdy leather belt loops use one-way snaps for additional security. $175
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