Exclusive: Milt Sparks 55-BN … Classic Leather

By Tank Hoover

Considering imitation is the highest form of flattery, Bruce Nelson’s “Professional” holster design is a winner. Touted as one of the most popular holster designs for savvy-armed individuals in the know, several makers use his design extensively.

Milt Sparks received permission to use Mr. Nelson’s design in the early 70s, helping fulfill demand during Bruce’s law enforcement career.


The BN-55 features several practical traits for a combat/law enforcement holster. One first notices the heft and strength of the BN-55 as soon as it’s picked up, exuding quality and confidence. Its high definition well-boned features give it rugged good looks, providing excellent retention characteristics when worn.

A stitched leather strap reinforces the holster mouth, promoting one handed holstering and drawing abilities. Milt later added a metal band, providing further strength for the “open” mouth virtue.

The combination double belt loop consists of a traditional stitched loop with punched rear slot, for a secure anchor system, which pulls the holster and gun-butt tight against the torso, aiding in concealed carry and providing a print-less look.

The BN-55 has a front sight channel built into the holster to prevent drag during drawing. It consists of two strips of leather stitched into the holster for a sturdier, more prominent channel, rather than a boned-in channel provided by other makers.

Fit and finish of the BN-55 is top rate! Edges are burnished and coated, the stitches prominent and neat.


Traditionally, the Bruce Nelson “Professional” was designed as a crossdraw holster, for ease of presentation by reaching under the coat rather than sweeping it back during strong side carry. When carried strong side, the forward cant aids in drawing and provides comfort by preventing belt ride-up when sitting.

Test Sample

My Milt Sparks BN-55 holster was made for an S&W 2.0 Compact. The fit was perfect. When holstered, it could be turned upside down and shaken vigorously without falling out. The forward cant is comfortable and the combination loops do their job keeping the holster body tight against my torso.
Drawing and re-holstering are a snap. The modern polymer-framed striker-fired pistol carried in classic traditional leather just adds to the coolness factor. Add some new NovX ammo and I have a classic up to date carry rig.

When something is still thriving after 50 years, it must be good. When several makers still mimic the style, it must be even better. The Milt Sparks BN-55 is a top quality holster, which I plan on wearing … I’ll wear out before it ever does! I also plan on ordering a couple more for different guns, they’re that good!

The Milt Sparks BN-55 has an MSRP of $110 for cowhide and $120 for horsehide.

For further info, go to: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/milt-sparks-holsters-inc/

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