August 08, 2019
By Stan Trzoniec
One of the most handsome and fully functional Government models to come into my studio of late is the Nighthawk VIP Black. For the deep-pocketed aficionado of fine handguns, this pistol might be your cup of tea.
So what justifies the $8,000 price tag? For one, the gun is virtually hand-built, with most parts made right there in Nighthawk’s Berryville, Arkansas, facility.
Deep hand-engraving executed by master engraver Bertram Edmonston is found on the slide, frame, slide-lock lever, thumb safety lever and even around the magazine release. Overall, I would consider it quarter coverage.
The metal is then given a black DLC (diamond-like coating) finish for both good looks and durability. The finish extends to all the moving parts. The five-inch barrel is crowned.
The VIP’s lines are clean, and all the edges are sharp but burnished or “melted.” The rear sight assembly is a Heinie Black Slant Pro, adjustable for windage only. Twin Allen screws allow this assembly to move left and right within the dovetail. The back of the blade, and the area of the slide just below it, are hand-serrated to eliminate glare. At the muzzle end you’ll find a Patridge- type blade complete with a 14k solid gold bead.
Both the slide-lock lever and single-side thumb safety have been enlarged and extended outward for better control. The slide-lock lever is bowl-shaped for a better grip when releasing the slide, while the safety lever is serrated and oversize for a better purchase. As I mentioned, both parts feature hand- engraving.
The magazine release has been checkered and surrounded by a small amount of engraving, and pressing the button ejects mgs without hesitation. And these aren’t just any magazines. The two provided eight-rounders are jeweled.
The frontstrap features vertical grooves, as does the mainspring housing. The magazine well is beveled for easy loading. The beavertail safety is blued and finished flawlessly and fits the contour of my hand like it was made just for me. The hammer is skeletonized and serrated, while the trigger is your typical Government model profile but serrated and adjustable for overtravel.
To finish off this masterpiece, the gun is equipped with a set of giraffe bone grips, and Nighthawk wisely left off any logos that would detract from these good-looking grips. They’re perfectly fitted to the frame and polished. The gun comes with a custom walnut hardwood presentation case.