I have Rosen's ARG and just recently received a GWH from the illustrious Mr. Burns. I've never worn the VM-2, so I can't help you there.
I wanted the ARG for years before I decided to buy one. After a 4 month wait the holster finally arrived. It was beautiful! The workmanship was wonderful, the lines were clear...cool! I put it on and looked in the mirror and thought..."I just wasted $150."
For me, the ARG looks good on paper, but I couldn't conceal it for anything. The leather, though of high quality, was too thick. It held its shape, alright, but it stuck out from my side like a tennis ball. The gun butt wasn't held in to the body like I would have preferred, and the holster wasn't very stable on my belt. Some people like some movement while sitting and bending, but I don't like adjusting the rig every time I stand up or bend over. It certainly isn't a bad holster, just not for me.
The GWH is at the other end of the spectrum. The last year or so I've been a kydex fan for a couple of reasons: the thin material allows for better concealment, and the ridgidity aids in re-holstering. Add a second point of connection to the belt and you have great stability.
Well, I've been carrying guns for 20 years, and I've always preferred the idea of leather, so I thought I'd try the Burns/Alessi GWH. I got the holster 2 days after an email to Dane, and I'm not looking back! This holster has had some thought put into it, a lot of thought. The design is built around concealment, comfort and durability. The way the individual peices of leather are cut and sewn together attest to the fact that both Lou Alessi and Dane Burns have a good idea how a holster should be put together. Instead of one peice belt loops that add thickness to the overall holster, the belt loop is made and sewn from 2 seperate peices of leather and inserted between the 2 layers that make up the mouth. This keeps the rig amazingly thin and also adds stability on the belt due the loop being so flat and wide, fitting the belt very tightly.
The molding tecnique used on the GWH seems more exact than Rosen's. The lines of the gun are duplicated perfectly. There is even a depression for the safety in the sweat shield, something usually only seen in kydex holsters. This feature assures that the safety will remain on during any type of movement. Speaking again of kydex, this holster is actually thinner than the standard sheet of kydex. That was one of the main reasons that I went to plastic to begin with. Now I guess I've been re-converted.
Over all, I think the Burns/Alessi GWH is the finest holster available for IWB carry of the 1911. The materials, craftmanship and experience shown in the design and manufacture of this holster will not be found anywhere else.
Jesus, it sounds like I should be getting paid for this spiel, but to the contrary, the GWH is one of the smartest purchases I've made.
No trouble at all, Dane. Hoser asked and I was happy to give my buck-n-a-half. I have literally well over a thousand dollars worth of leather that just collects dust. Every time I look in that drawer I think of what I could have bought with that money. Maybe a good down on a BCP? Damn, that's depressing.
Anyway, I believe that if there's something out there THAT GOOD, people should know about it, and there is no better way to distribute information than word of mouth. Why go through the trial and error process and spend the extra money when you can go straight to the top of the pile?
Hmm, can't help you with a comparison with Rosen gear. It's always been a tad pricey for me. I do, however, have both a GWH and a VersaMax 2.
In my opinion, the GHW cannot be directly compared to the VMax2. They're two very different holsters. The VMax is a somewhat high-riding semi-pancake with loops fore and aft. The GHW sits very deeply in the waistband and has a tunnel loop on the front of the holster body.
Both are excellent holsters. The VMax is great for thinner pistols, but not as great for thicker guns. I have one for a Glock 23, and that's about the outside limit of what I'd put in a VMax. The design just works better with a thinner slide. You're working counter to the design if you try to put anything too hefty in it. The loops fore and aft keep the gun extremely stable and minimize the overall thickness of the holster. The VMax does ride a little higher than I'd ordinarily like. But then again, I like my holsters to sit as deep as possible. The boning on the VMax is extraordinarily detailed. I've never seen anything like it.
The GHW is actually closer, in my opinion, to the Sparks Executive Companion, which has always been my favorite holster. The EX sits very deep and has a flange around the holster body to distribute weight and break up the outline of the gun. The EX is probably the most comfortable holster going. I've worn a BHP.40 in an EX day in and day out for several years. You can go entire days without it becoming unpleasant or digging into your hip. The one problem with the EX is the very large double belt loop mounted on the front of the holster body. It's too big.
The GHW sits as deeply as the EX and has a very small flange along the back edge of the holster. The boning is on par with the EX, but not as detailed as the VMax. The GWH is about as comfortable as the EX, which is saying a lot. The belt loop tunnel is very thin and very discreet. It's the best mounting system I've seen on a holster so far. Deceptively simple and nearly perfect. My Kimber just about disappears in the GWH. I haven't put the GWH through the paces that I have the EX, but in the short time I've owned it, I'd put it in the same league. The leather may be a bit thinner on the GWH. It's beautifully made and nicely rigid without being too hard. Lou obviously spends a lot of time picking his hides. Fit and finish is absolutely top notch.
In short, you can't go wrong with either Sparks or Alessi gear. Both are great shops to work with. If you're planning on toting a 1911, my nod would go toward the GWH.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-10-01 17:13 ]</font>
As an addendum to my previous post, I realize that the GWH design is closer in looks to the Sparks Summer Special or Bruce Nelson Legacy, but I compared it to the EX for two reasons:
1) Neither the SS nor the Legacy is anywhere near as comfortable as the Executive Companion. The GWH is. Granted, I haven't spent much time with the SS or Legacy -- mainly just tried them on. That was enough to convince me to stick with the EX. The GWH is the only holster I've found that matches the level of comfort and concealability of the EX.
2) I considered (up until I received my GWH) the Executive Companion the finest holster available. I have holsters from many of the top makers -- Sparks, Kramer, Alessi, Galco, etc. -- and found the EX to be unmatched in design, comfort and (important to me) depth of seating in the waistband. So when a holster like the GWH comes along, the only thing I can really compare it to in terms of quality and functionality is the EX. It's that good.
Oh, and the GWH smells better.
Of course if Dane & Lou wanted to send along a GWH for a BHP.40, I could do a more in-depth, long-term comparison -- purely in the interest of science, of course :wink:.
Thanks Chad..I'm with you in that I like an IWB holster to ride as deep as possible. I don't like the feeling of the holster 'squeezing' up out of my pants, and constantly having to push it back down.
Wow, sounds like Dane and Lou have an IWB that I would love to own. I was checking out the GWH at Dane's site, I noticed he recommends also buying his belt, he gives the impression that this is a complete system and my gun belts won't work. Problem for me is, I can afford the holster and mag carrier, but not the belt. Any one tried their GWH with your own gun belt? Maybe I'll have to continue saving up. ps. What does GWH stand for? Thanks, Sam
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Sam on 2001-10-02 21:55 ]</font>
I have two, soon to be three VM-2 holsters, each for different sized guns. I can't say enough about them. Milt Sparks makes a quality product, which is nice, but the design of the VM-2 is very stable, produced more of a low wide lump as opposed to a thin lump. As such, it tends to disguise a little better than some other holsters. It is very comfortable.
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