Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 IWB Holster

By Mike Humphries
Posted in #EDC #Gear
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Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 IWB Holster

August 24th, 2020

4 minute read

When it comes to EDC, you have to choose the right firearm as well as the right accessories. Picking out your preferred firearm is obviously important — selecting one that is powerful enough to stop a threat, but also controllable and “carryable” for you — but getting the right gear to support it is just as important.

And one of the most important accessories that you can get for your carry gun is a good holster. If you’ve committed to buying a good gun and want to carry it effectively, you must select a high-quality and well-designed holster that will securely retain it, while also making it quickly accessible.

The Versa Max 2 from Milt Sparks is a high-end IWB holster that is ideal for discreet carry of a defensive firearm.

If you want to carry a reasonably powerful gun in as discreet a means as possible, a good choice is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. These give you good concealment combined with ready access.

I recently was chatting about this with one of Springfield Custom’s pistolsmiths, Jeremy Sides, as he was looking to acquire a leather holster for his personal, custom-built EMP carry gun. For those not familiar with the Springfield Armory EMP, it is a very unique little 1911. Not only do they have compact slides and frames, but the gun itself is also designed specifically for the 9mm cartridge rather than the longer .45 ACP round. The result is a frame that is shorter fore to aft than a standard 1911, making for a smaller, more “grippable” and even more compact 1911.

Constant Partner

Sides told me that since his carry gun is a 1911-style pistol, he wanted something classic and made from leather — and he decided upon the Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 IWB holster. Anyone who knows about revered IWB leather holsters no doubt knows the name Milt Sparks.

Selecting a high-quality pistol is just one part of developing a capable carry system. A good holster is equally as important.

The Versa Max 2 is offered in cowhide or horsehide in a choice of black, tan or cordovan, and is an extremely concealable IWB design. The widely spaced belt loops keep the holster as flat as possible against the body, and the slim nature of the 1911-based EMP makes it a really good match for this this holster.

The holster’s metal reinforced mouth makes one-hand reholstering easy, and an extended back flap keeps you from getting “gun bite” against your body. All Versa Max 2 holsters (even the cowhide ones) have horsehide construction on the body side to protect against sweat.

For those not familiar with horsehide and its moisture-repelling qualities, it has a very dense cell structure that limits its porosity. It’s this quality that makes it so effective for use inside the waistband. On the other hand, cowhide’s porosity allows it to more evenly absorb dye and finishing materials in the holster-making process.

I’ve personally used a Versa Max 2 for the past 15 years and think it’s easily one of the finest IWB holsters available. As a result, I think Sides made an excellent choice with this one for his EMP project. It carries very flat due to the widely spaced belt loops, particularly with a slim and trim 1911-style pistol. Round that out with one of their excellent gun belts and a spare mag pouch, and you have an amazing CCW system. But, fair warning if you want a Versa Max 2 for yourself — current demand has customers facing a six-month wait. If you ask me, it’s well worth it.

Milt Sparks also offers support gear such as belts designed to support the weight of the gun and also magazine pouches.


The most important aspect of selecting the right holster for your needs is, selecting the right holster for your needs. If you’re a uniformed officer or a competitive shooter, an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster is probably the right choice for you. Or, also if you are an armed citizen living in an area with a climate that calls for regular wear of heavy outer garments.

However, if you’re looking to carry a decently sized and powerful firearm for self-defense and need it to be as discreet as possible, an IWB rig is probably a very good choice. And if you want one that is well-designed, masterfully made with exceptional materials and craftsmanship, and from one of the most respected holster makers in the industry, then a Milt Sparks model is an excellent choice.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Mike Humphries

Mike Humphries

Michael Humphries is editor of The Armory Life. He has worked for nearly two decades in the firearms industry, serving on the editorial staff of American Rifleman with the National Rifle Association as well as holding editorial positions with publishers such as FMG Publications and He currently lives in Iowa with his family and enjoys trying out new guns and gear whenever possible.

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