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I recently received my new Milt Sparks Versa Max-2 holster for my Springer 1911 in the mail. I also have a COM 3 by Eric Larson of H. B. E. Specialty Leatherworks for my XD-9. I am very pleased with my COM 3 but wanted to try the VM-2 to see if all the high opinions of the VM-2 on this forum and others are justified. Now that I have tried both, here are my thoughts on these specific samples from these two great holster makers. I have both held in place with a 1 ¼” Gunners Alley belt which is also a great product.

Design – Both are very similar in configuration with the belt loops held away from the main body of the holster. This distributes the weight of the gun better than more closely spaced belt loops. The sweat guard is double thickness on the VM-2 while only a single thickness on the COM-3. The VM-2 has the smooth side out on both front and back. In contrast, the COM-3 has the smooth side out on the outside portion but is rough side out on the inner portion. This helps prevent any movement of the holster while it is being worn. Point to the COM-3.

Appearance – The VM-2 is the more refined of the two overall. The stitching is a bit finer and the way the leather is connected and wrapped around the mouth to reinforce it is a step above the COM-3. The finish on the COM-3 is a bit glossier than the VM-2 but which you’d prefer is definitely a personal preference. The nod goes to the VM-2 here

Quality of Leather – The VM-2 has a horsehide inner layer with the outer side made of cowhide. The entire COM-3 is cowhide. The leather thickness appears to be the same. Both use high quality leathers IMHO and the finish of both is excellent. I can’t imagine wearing out either of these holsters as long as they are properly maintained.

Boning – Both are extremely well done. There is no significant difference here.

Gun Fit– Again, both are top-notch in this area. Putting the respective pistols in a plastic bag and letting it sit in the holster overnight makes for smooth drawing holster that still retains the weapon perfectly.

Comfort - I can detect no discernable difference in comfort between these two fine holsters. Both are of similar design. I can easily wear either all day.

Functionality – Both holsters meet my functionality requirements extremely well. They are easily concealed, support the weight of the gun well and retain the gun in any position. The COM-3 has a slight advantage due to the inner panel having the rough side against my skin. As noted above, this makes for a more secure mount. It also makes for a little easier draw since there is one smooth side on the inside of the pouch. The COM-3 wins this one.

Flexibility – The COM-3 can only be used with an untucked shirt. However, there are optional Kydex clips that can be purchased for the VM-2 at $15 that allow a tucked shirt approach. I haven’t tried these so I can’t offer an opinion on them.

Concealability under Untucked Shirt – Both are very good. There is no winner here which is to be expected since the two designs are so similar.

Price - I ordered the VM-2 from Lightning Arm Sports because I did not want to wait 10-12 weeks for either another COM-3 or a VM-2 directly from Milt Sparks. It ran me $139 to my front door. If I had ordered the same model directly from Sparks and been willing to wait three months, I could have saved about $40. On the other hand, my COM-3 came in ten weeks for only $79. Clearly the COM-3 is the less costly of the two even when an apples-to-apples wait is considered.

And the winner is…. the VM-2! Err, on second thought, the COM-3! Aw, jeez, how do you pick? The VM-2 has slightly better finish, looks better and is more flexible in that it can be used with a tucked in shirt. However, the COM-3 is about 80% of a comparably VM-2, is a little more secure when in place and has a slightly better draw. There certainly is no loser here!

These are only my impressions and considered judgment and YMMV. However, I believe either of these great holsters will perform well for you and both look like they will easily outlast me.
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Well thanks for the Comparison. Good information about the Com 3, it is Inspired by the VM2 by Sparks. I just did a couple of twists that I thought would make it different and work as well.
Great read..........Thanks alot. Eric /HBE
 

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I have 4 VM-2s, one for a hi-power, a Glock 19, a CZ-75 PCR and one for a Kimber Custom CDP 45. All are wonderful holsters. I'm about to order another for my XD-9. Lots of good choices out there but the products that Sparks makes are some of the best! Buy it, you won't regret it.
 

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Paladin - Is it possible to post pictures of these holsters with you wearing them? I am curious about the wider loop arrangement and would like to see it being worn.

-Mike
 
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