The Milt Sparks Versa Max II
Though I have only owned this holster a mere 4 days I feel I am up to the task of giving a full on review for all that have to know why this gets the Academy Award. So here is a quick impromtu review.
The holster out of the box was brand new. It was an eBay purchase and I paid what I would have paid Mr. Milt himself. It appeared exactly as I thought it would in my mind's eye. The Finish on the leather is extremely nice and boning done to the contour of the firearm is very nice as well. There is no obvious double stitching anywhere on the holster but the stitching present is done with good thick waxed white nylon thread.
Upon examining it further it appeared the snap belt loops would be too small for my 1 1/2" Belt Man. It is a very tight fit and this is something I have read about before. Milt Sparks holsters have belt loops and slots that are fitted to the company's own belts. Other manufacturers will have slight size differences so my experience cannot be unique. As it is I cannot put the holster on with my belt already done up. I have to thread my belt through it as I would a normal belt holster or a holster without the snap loops. The one way snaps are tough and this is to my liking. I dont generally do things the easy way as can be seen by my choice of carry weapons, the BHP.
Most would consider the loop situation unacceptable I dont really though. First I think the loops with stretch and break in over time as I wear it more. Second I think it gives the hoster a more secure feeling on my belt and in my waistband. Third, I am used to OWB belt holsters and there is not quick on or off without taking your belt off too. I dont think this is really any slower than unsnapping some straps and finnagling the thing out of there.
The reinforced mouth seems to be a big deal among those here. I dont really see it as an advantage or a disadvantage. I like my holster mouth to stay open be it by spring steel, kydex, or layers of leather.
Upon trying it on I was astounded at the comfort and the concealability under a medium weight T shirt. The holster pulls the grip of the pistol back to better conform and rest into my love handle. The muzzle rests lightly in the fleshiest part of my gluteus. Upon sitting the muzzle shifts to the lower point of my pelvis, which on me is still quite fleshy and the muzzle only exerts light pressure. I found this to be more comfortable in the sitting position than my OWB PWL holster for my P7 is in the standing OR sitting postion.
Another gripe about it is that there is a sight channel formed in this holster to accomidate the totally obnoxious adjustable sights that are found on Hi Powers. It is unfortunate this feature is on this holster but it does not jeopardize the integrity of the holster in any way. It is just a little groove formed in it and still supports the entire gun regardless.
The back of the holster is waxed as well which could make some think it will slide around and they are half right. It does not slide around but rather allows your leg and hips to slide around IT. This makes walking and sitting much more comfortable.
There is boned in impression on the back side that allows for the protrusion of the slide stop lever as there is another on the other side of the holster for the end of the pin of the slide stop lever. Attention to little details like this set this holster and it maker apart from the rest. It does not however have a boned in area to accomidate the extended MKII and MKIII style safties found on Hi Powers such as holsters by Tucker Gunleather. Though that feature is nice and it shows attention to detail by skilled craftsmen, I find it to be unnecessary since the safety has not bumped off at any time since I have been carrying it. I tend to think the safety will wear itself a little area where it nestles.
One more gripe. The forward belt loop is attached to a double thickness penninsula of leather. This is to accomidate the reinforcing band. That piece of leather likes to flap in the breeze so to speak. However, this only bothers me when the holster is off. As of yet I see no disadvantage to this it just bugs me psychologically. If there were some reinforcing material added between the layers there it may help but it also may just be a solution to a problem that does not exist as Milt has been making holsters for years and this is a highly regarded one at that.
Overall this holster does one heck of a job supporting the 2+ pounds of wieght a fully stoked Browning Hi Power brings with it. The belt loops do a fantastic job of spreading the weight. Add that to the fact that I am wearing a reinforced double thickness bullhide belt offered by Belt Man and it makes a fine carry package indeed.