New Sparks IWB

Discussion in '1911 Gear' started by Sneaky One, May 19, 2019.

  1. Sneaky One

    Sneaky One Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2016
    I have always been an OWB carry guy. I have a few AIWB I would use for a quick trip to the store . I decided to try IWB with one of my 1911 5". I had Warbird leather make it and found it very comfortable at 330-4. I decided to try a commander length and got a steal on a lightly used Sparks SS2 on another forum. IMG_3893[1].JPG I carried it today with my Wesson CCO and it is a great holster. I was watching for a VM2 but the SS2 was available. Has anyone carried both of these ? Wondered what your opinion may be between the two Sparks ?
    Songcatcher, Dub, Soundwave and 6 others like this.
  2. gun_fan111

    gun_fan111 Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    In my opinion, most SS2 style holsters print less as they tuck in the grip better but most VM2 style holsters are more comfortable. Always a trade off, right?

    No real experience with VM2, I am judging by Criterion I have.
    Dub, ronin11 and Sneaky One like this.

  3. gps man

    gps man Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    I have the Summer Special and the Criterion for Commander size 1911, which are my most carried guns.

    The SS is a very nice holster and while it does hold the butt if the pistol in tight, for ME, it prints a bit more.

    Now, I wear it at 3 o’clock and I’m an easy keeper, not some skinny a$$ millennial.

    With the loops over the holster body, it’s thicker.

    I do like how it is a smaller footprint inside my pants.

    Now, the Criterion is the most comfortable IWB holster I’ve ever worn. I think it prints less as the loops are outboard of the holster body.

    I think it conceals very well, and I love the magnetic snaps.

    Congratulations on the SS2.

    My dos centavos, worth exactly what you paid!
    Manki77, Dub, gun_fan111 and 2 others like this.
  4. gun_fan111

    gun_fan111 Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    SS2 is thicker, so I can definitely see how it would stick out a bit more at 3 o’clock. Part of the reason I ended up with kydex version of it as my most used holster.
    gps man likes this.
  5. AZ Husker

    AZ Husker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Oct 14, 2017
    Comfort, concealability, and quality are my must haves. I was a huge fan of Sparks VM2's and had one for every pistol size I own. Then along came the Criterion and now I am switching over. The wide spread stable platforms of both compared to the SS or SS2 is far superior to me. And the added bulk over the top of the pistol is another benefit of the wider models.
  6. WhoIsJohnGalt?

    WhoIsJohnGalt? We Are! Supporting Addict

    Feb 20, 2018
    I’ve had both SS2s and VM2s for Commanders (and today have same for Government Models) for a few years now. My personal preference is the SS2 for its overall smaller size and general comfort. I keep a VM2 set up with Sparks’ proprietary Kydex clips to allow for IWB-tucked carry (not my favorite approach for a 1911, but I’ve gone that route from time to time).

    When I owned a CCO-sized 1911, that gun in an SS2 was just a fine combo IMO. Pic shows a Dan Wesson CCO and a Sparks SS2, a special one in cordovan with bison trim.

    I have not yet tried the Criterion for a Government Model but am interested in them, having read so many good comments about them over time.

    cwoods, Jollyroger1, ronin11 and 7 others like this.
  7. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017
    I have a SSII that works really well. It's also in commander length.



    I ordered a Milt Sparks Criterion for 3" 1911 and was really pleased with the comfort level upgrade this amazing holster provided.


    The magnetic loop snaps alone are worth buying a new holster. Really easy to put on or reposition.

    I'd sorta chalked up the improved comfort of the Criterion vs my SSII due to the 3" format. Turns out it's more than just that one difference. I wound up ordering one for one of my most carried guns, my G19.

    The gun simply disappears from thought when in there.


    The Criterions proved to be so dang comfortable that I went ahead and ordered one in 5".




    It makes the larger 1911's disappear from thought, too.

    Very well made holsters that were worth the short wait.

    Retention is great on each, yet there was no "break in" required.

    Reholstering is a very smooth and easy process due to the reinforcement. I have some cheaply made leather OWB holsters I bought new from eBay....that look the part and get the job done on carrying the gun.....but suck outright on reholstering. They are worthless for any type of drills or other. The Milt Sparks leather I have doesn't share that weakness.

    As stated already....the magnetic snaps on the Criterion models are worth their weight in gold. I wish all my holsters had them. Bigtime development, in my opinion.

    A few rounds of steroids and being lazy recouping has my fat arse needing to lean up to make the IWB more comfortable once again. :bang:

    In the meantime, I'll be using the cheap non-reinforced OWB eBay stuff and being resigned to the fact that it'll be a pain to reholster. For running errands, it's hard to beat the Simply Rugged OWB belt slide holster. I'll put the gun in the glovebox or console when driving and into the holster when leaving the vehicle.

    When I was at my fighting weight and wearing the Criterion holsters, I never bothered to remove any gun from them when seated in the matter the length of the drive. The are super comfortable under all conditions.
  8. InstiGator

    InstiGator Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2019
    I tried a SS2 when I first started carrying a 1911. It's a nice holster but it wasn't for me. I prefer the VM2 style.

    I've settled on a Criterion for EDC. I love how the offset snaps support the weight of the gun, and I also find they print less for me than the SS2 did. For pure comfort I'll take a Nexus, but the easy re-holstering with the reinforced Criterion gives it the edge by a nose.
  9. 1L26

    1L26 Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    Love my Criterion for my 5" DW 1911. It's an every day carry gun and holster. I have an SSII for a Glock 30S and it's quite good but my Criterion is my favorite.
    Dub and Sneaky One like this.
  10. Bloodhound

    Bloodhound Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2018
    From the information givin' on this thread, it sounds like I need to get my hands on a Criterion.
    Great info!
    Dub likes this.
  11. uncommonsense

    uncommonsense Active Member

    Apr 14, 2018
    I haven't carried with it yet, but when I tried on my Criterion with a 5" gun it seems like the cant was too much and the muzzle was poking out the rear too much.

    I'd carried a 4.25" gun in a VM2 and thought the 5" would be similar but it seems like the increased cant might not work as well for me, which I didn't anticipate. This is at about a 4 o'clock on the belt.

    That was just my first impression and since none of my 5" guns for carry have been vetted yet I haven't carried them.

    Anyone have any similar observation?
    Dub likes this.
  12. AZ Husker

    AZ Husker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Oct 14, 2017
    The Criterion definitely has more cant. With a 5" pistol the VM2 might work out better. Nice thing about it is you can easily sell the Criterion and buy a new one from Top Gun Supply with no wait.
    Whiten, Dub and WhoIsJohnGalt? like this.
  13. hperea

    hperea 1911

    Jun 17, 2013
    Guys I have never try a CRITERION, but all my IWB holsters for my STI Ranger II, my M&P shield and Glock 26 have been from TTGUNLEATHER. Check it out at and you will not be disappointed. I love them and the price is very reasonable. Let me know.:happy:
  14. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017

    I haven’t worn my 5” IWB stuff in several too dang fat and swapped over to OWB leather.

    I refuse to buy new bigger clothes and am shaving off the weight now.

    I did wear a G19 IWB for 12 hours on I’m making progress, lol.

    Gotta get back to using the Criterion leather again. They work extremely well on my little Colt Defender. The 5” Criterion worked well for me, too, at 3:30.

    My SSII does super at that location for me as well.

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