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Seeking reviews on two Milt Sparks Hosters

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by RetiredUSNChief, Jan 26, 2015.

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  1. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    I'm in the market for another IWB and have been looking online off and on for several months, now. Currently I have a Galco N3 IWB for my Colt 1991A1.

    I've been seriously eye-balling two from Milt Sparks: The Criterion and the Versa Max 2.

    I'm pretty much settled in on the Criterion and would very much welcome any comments on these holsters from anybody who has one. (I've already read one well posted thread on the Versa Max 2.)


    Keep in mind that I've already researched and narrowed down my choices quite a bit over the months, so this isn't the typical generic "I'm looking for a holster" kinda question. What I'm honestly looking for is information on these two specific holsters. I'll look into other personal holster recommendations from members, because you never know when something great might come of it. But I'd like to focus mainly on these two.

    Here are a couple links to the holsters in question:

    http://www.miltsparks.com/Criterion.htm

    http://www.miltsparks.com/VM-2.htm
     
  2. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    The VM2 is a great holster and one I carry my 1911 in. Would buy another in a second if I needed one. Just a very well made and comfortable holster. The Criterion I know nothing about.
     
  3. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I found the ultra thin Watch 6 holsters to be a fantastic value, and very durable holsters. The top of the line models would be that much better:) If you have patients to wait 2-4 months, congrats!
     
  4. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Well, like I said, I already have a Galco N3 IWB, so it's not as if I NEED a holster right now. I can afford to wait a few months!
     
  5. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    I do not own a Criterion,I'm sure its a great holster like everything Milt Sparks makes. Versa Max 2 I do have for a HK P7 PSP and another on order for a BHP. It is a great holster and fits me well and I find it very comfortable. I always look to Milt Sparks first for IWB. Great company with great products that understand gun toting.
     
  6. tmoore912

    tmoore912 Member

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    For a Goverment sized 1911 the biggest difference in the two MS holsters is Cant and Ride height on the belt. So the decision is where are you planning on carrying the gun? VM-2 is well suited for right behind the hip carry with it's 20 to 19 degree cant for your average body type individual.

    If you plan on carrying further back (4 to 5:00), then the Cant (25 degrees) and lower ride height of the Criterion will help in concealment and still allow you to reach the grip to draw.

    I prefer not to wear my gun so far back, so I prefer the VM-2. Good luck.

    IMG_0989.jpg
     
  7. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I have a VM-2 for my OACP and like it quite well. I've finally lost enough weight that I can actually use it, and have been wearing it a lot lately. When I was still heavy it didn't work so well for me, I couldn't wear it comfortably.

    Tmoore912 - 34 inch waist? Really? Jeeze.....
     
  8. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    No experience with the Criterion, but I've been carrying a SIG P-228 or P-229 in a VM-2 for years, and it's the only IWB that is at all comfortable for me. Some folks find SIGs a tad chunky, but in a VM-2, they're easily carried. I've worn the VM-2 for up to 18 hours at a stretch with no issues.
     
  9. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    No experience with the Criterion, but I have 3 VM2's now. Excellent holsters and they wear like iron. My first on is about 15 years old now (time flys!) and I use it nearly daily. Excellent holster and still my favorite. My other two are when I need to switch guns which is rarely.
     
  10. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    I plan on wearing the holster in the 4 O'clock position, just behind my right hip. This position is extremely comfortable for me and requires no adjustments or fidgeting with anything whenever I get in and out of my car. I think both holsters will be perfectly suitable for this. Further back and the gun is between me and the seat.
     
  11. WYO

    WYO Member

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    The Criterion was not offered for 1911s until the beginning of November 2014, and for Glocks, mid-November 2014. Aside from the 30 or so pre-made 1911 Criterions that Sparks sold at the time of the initial rollout, most people are still waiting on theirs. I should have one for my Glock within a couple of weeks.

    I do not have a VMII for a 1911, but I have tried it with other guns. Personally, I do not like the ride or cant if the primary object is summertime concealment. (It is very comfortable, though.) Glocks especially are tricky because of the blocky rear of the slide. I try to carry as close to 3 o’clock as possible for retention purposes, and the ride and cant of the VMII reveal the telltale bump under an untucked Polo shirt. I had moved to a Crossbreed Supertuck for the gun because I customized it with a low ride and more steep cant to make the Glock disappear under the untucked Polo. I then ordered a Milt Sparks Nexus as soon as it became available, and it gives me the same thing as the Supertuck in a much nicer holster. Unfortunately, the Nexus did not meet my needs because of the lack of reinforcement around the mouth. Because the Criterion is supposed to be like a Nexus with reinforcement, I am hoping the Criterion works out. But, I will not know until I get it. For now, if you are interested, you can see my comparison of the VMII versus the Supertuck versus the Nexus at http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/8746676/Searchpage/1/Main/598175/

    If you can swing it, I would order a VMII and a Criterion and then sell the one that doesn’t work. There may just be a place for both in the stable.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. tiamat

    tiamat Member

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    I can really only echo pretty much everyone else's comments, in that I consider the VM2 the gold standard that I judge all other IWB holsters against. Bought one used for my Sig P239 and it's been great. Still needs a good belt to hold it all up firm and tight though.
     
  13. farscott

    farscott Member

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    I have a Criterion for a Commander and several 1911 VM-2 holsters. The biggest difference between the new Criterion and the VM-2 is the increased cant of the former. I was not sure I was going to like it, but the transition was smooth. Highly recommend the Criterion.

    I also like the magnetic closures on the Criterion as it makes it very easy to position the holster where you want. Those started on the Nexus, which I do not like as much due to the lack of a reinforced opening. The Criterion is a huge improvement over the Nexus.
     
  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    I have a VM-2 for a .45 STI Guardian, and I like it.

    I find an OWB holster more comfortable.
     
  15. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    I'm also considering an OWB holster, as well, so I'd welcome inputs there for my next planned purchase.

    Carrying IWB has it's issues, mainly with comfort, increased difficulty in re-holstering, and having to deal with the whole fit thing with respect to pants/belt.

    I haven't looked too much at the OWB holsters yet. After I make the decision on which of these two and get my order in, I'll start looking at those.

    For an OWB, I'm leaning toward strong-side (right hand), fairly high riding, and a forward cant. I'm also partial to leather as opposed to Kydex.

    I did some research on holster cant and discovered that there's a huge difference between body dynamics for those who shoot many competitions as opposed to the dynamics involved when the body goes into defensive/offensive postures. Based on this, I'd prefer a forward cant holster.
     
  16. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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  17. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Oh, and I haven't already said it, but thank you to those who have posted links to their online reviews. I have been reading them and they are very informative!
     
  18. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    UPDATE:

    Keep the comments coming, but I ordered the Criterion a little bit ago. Looks like 10-14 weeks until delivery, but I already knew that. It'll be fitted for my Colt 1991A1 (5 inch). When it comes in, I'll update with my own review and pictures.
     
  19. tiamat

    tiamat Member

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    Assuming that the use of an IWB holster is mainly for the purposes of concealment, how is increased difficulty in re-holstering really that big of a deal? How often are you drawing from concealment that this presents a problem? This is a serious question, as I may be misunderstanding something.
     
  20. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Good question.

    I submit to you, though, that the inherent value of such a capability is heavily weighted towards training.

    The one time in a blue moon I may have to draw my weapon for real means the one time I may have to reholster it afterwards. However my TRAINING time far, far exceeds that "one time in a blue moon".

    The fact is that we will holster and unholster our firearms for normal everyday use/training far more than we will ever do so in a real-life self-defense scenario.

    When I carry, my gun stays in the holster unless I need to remove it for something, like cleaning. It's otherwise transported, donned, and removed during my daily routine while remaining in the holster. When I practice, re-holstering is part of the training. Trying to wedge a firearm, especially a loaded one, back into a leather holster can require an amazing amount of twisting, pushing, and levering which both increases the chances of a mishap and is also very distracting. Hence the need for a re-enforced holster.

    And from a human behavioral standpoint, a holster that is a pain in the keister to use is something that will make training less desirable and therefore something that we'll not want to do.


    Your question is a good one...and the answer really does involve more than just a "comfort" thing.

    :)
     
  21. WYO

    WYO Member

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    Training is a consideration. More important, for a person who is in public and not in uniform, it is a really good idea to reholster as soon as the threat is resolved, lest one be confused for a bad guy by responders or other armed citizens. In some situations, reholstering is not a two-handed, leisure time pursuit, and it should be done while keeping a danger scan. Forcing the gun into the holster when one cannot see what is going on is really dangerous, because it forces one to disregard sensory input that could be a sign of trouble, such as a foreign object jammed in the trigger guard.
     
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