NightHawk Custom Dominator

NightHawk Custom Dominator

Hard chrome--an industrial-strength, long-lasting finish with a natural lubricity--makes a superb firearm finish, which is why Nighthawk Custom chose it for the frame of its new Dominator, a full-size 1911 in .45ACP that is topped off with a black Perma Kote-finished slide and accented with laser-engraved cocobolo grips.

It faithfully follows John Browning's original 1911 design, with the now familiar improvements including a skeletonized hammer, extended magazine release, serrated and oversized slide catch, extended thumb safety, beveled and blended magazine well, match grade barrel, match-grade trigger, beavertail grip safety and the removal of sharp edges.


Nighthawk Custom has been around only a few years but has some old hands with a lot of experience making 1911s, and their craftsmanship is obvious in the Dominator. Started in 2003, the four-year-old company has grown by offering a line of fine 1911s that can be customized to order.


The front sight blade contains a green tritium dot and the rear square notch has two yellow tritium dots, making the sights easy to acquire not only in daylight but also in low light. The rear sight is also fully adjustable.

NIGHTHAWK DOMINATOR

Manufacturer Nighthawk Custom, www.NightHawkCustom.com, 877-268-4867 Type 1911 semiauto Caliber .45 ACP Capacity 8+1 Barrel Length 5-in. match grade Overall Length 8 5/8 in. Weight 40 1/2 oz Sights tritium three-dot adjustable Trigger single action Grips cocobolo laser engraved Frame dehorned, front and rear cocking serrations, 25 lpi checkered front strap and mainspring housing, extended beavertail safety. Hard chrome slide optional. Finish hard chrome frame, black Perma-Kote slide Price $2,775


Those custom alterations can be as simple as substituting a blued finish for the standard Perma-Kote to specifying another manufacturer's hammer or trigger. While Nighthawk Custom uses excellent parts, the staff appreciates that some shooters just like other maker's parts better so will substitute them if specified.

Nighthawk will also chamber your 1911 in 9mm Luger, 9x23mm or .40 S&W instead of .45 ACP if that is what you want. All you have to do is ask. With 20 gunsmiths on staff, some with well over 20 years experience and Master Gunsmith ratings, this company can handle about any 1911-related request.Nighthawk also has some 'smiths that can wield hand tools pretty well, so if you want real hand checkering, French borders, serrations or a special part fitted you can get it at Nighthawk. All this expertise along with attention to detail and closely monitored tolerance standards results in accuracy that runs on the average of one-inch groups at 25 yards. Of course, that assumes the shooter is up to the task or a mechanical rest is used.

Returning to the gun itself, the front and back straps are skillfully checkered at 25 lines per inch and there are no rough edges on the gun to abrade clothing or skin. The barrel and slide are carefully hand fitted so there is little play, and the barrel crown is chamfered at a straight angle so that the end of the barrel is absolutely flush with the barrel bushing.


The Dominator has a beveled and

blended magazine well that aids in quick insertion of magazines when under stress.

Note the cocobolo grips and the fine checkering on the front strap.


The slide has cocking serrations cut at the front and rear and the top of the slide has straight grooves extending its length to reduce glare. The magazine well, besides being beveled and blended, is extended for fast reloads.


The dovetailed front sight blade has a green tritium dot while the dovetailed rear is a fully adjustable square notch with two yellow tritium dots making for quick sight acquisition in dim light. This brings me to my only criticism. Since the rest of the gun is finely beveled, I would like to see the rear sight beveled so those sharp edges won't cut when racking the slide.

Nighthawk using quality steel components--no metal injection molded parts. The Dominator weighs 40 ounces, is 8.75 inches long, 5.5 inches in height, 1.8 inches wide and the barrel is five inches long. The trigger on the sample broke cleanly at 3.9 ounces with no takeup or overtravel.

The barrel crown has a straight-bevel that ends flush with the hard chromed barrel bushing and gives the business end of the gun an interesting look that contrasts with the black slide and recoil spring plug.

Like the other Nighthawk Custom 1911s, it comes in a green nylon carrying case with a gold embroidered Nighthawk Custom logo, two eight-round stainless steel magazines and an instruction manual.

ACCURACY RESULTS:
Nighthawk Custom Dominator

.45 ACP Ammo Type Bullet Weight (gr.) Avg. Velocity (fps) Avg. Group (in.) Hornady TAP/FPD +P 230 915 2.02 Federal HST +P JHP 230 962 2.20 Hornady TAP/FPD +P 200 1,023 2.35 Black Hills grain JHP 230 889 2.47 Notes: Velocity recorded 10 feet from the muzzle with Oehler 35P chronograph. Accuracy tested off a sandbag rest; results are the average of three five-shot groups at 25 yards.

The sample gun came with cocobolo grips that really enhanced the gun's appearance, but don't be fooled. This gun isn't just another pretty gun-rack queen; it really delivers in the accuracy and reliability department.

At 25 yards off the bench and using Crimson Trace Laser Grips to compensate for aging eyesight, all ammunition turned in accuracy figures much better than needed for self-defense applications with the best average of three five-shot groups being 2.02 inches with the Hornady TAP FPD +P 230-grain load. Switching to the iron sights for some fun at varying distances with offhand drills both one- and two-handed in controlled and rapid fire, the gun handled well. Recovery from recoil was rapid and the gun pointed naturally.

No matter what ammo was used or whether the gun was well lubricated or run practically dry, it functioned perfectly throughout the test. Besides being naturally slick, the hard chrome made cleaning the frame easy. I just wiped it down with a cloth.

An option is to order the gun with a hard chromed slide, which I think is an excellent idea not only for looks and durability but also for ease of cleaning.

Shooting facilities provided by Scottsdale Gun Club, www.scottsdalegunclub.com

Recommended for You

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most parts in just minutes.
Instead, the curtain-rod engineer with a Accessories

8 Popular Drop-In Glock Mods

Dusty Gibson - July 17, 2013

While some modifications require an experienced gunsmith, the average shooter can install most...

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low price tag. Compact

Ruger Security 9 Compact Review

J. Scott Rupp

The Ruger Security 9 Compact 9mm (model # 3818) is a shootable, dependable gun with a low...

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo with these 10 low-priced pistols. Compact

10 Cheap Guns Under $250

Evan Brune - September 24, 2015

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in Pike Industry

Kahr Arms Breaks Ground on New Pennsylvania HQ

Handguns Online Staff - June 04, 2014

Kahr Arms officially broke ground on their new headquarters in Blooming Grove Township, in...

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit against 2nd Amendment

Judge Postpones Oral Arguments to Stop California Microstamping Law

Handguns Online Staff - May 07, 2014

According to a recent report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a lawsuit...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

See More Stories

More 1911

Dan Wesson's ECP is an excellent  example of the Commander- size 1911 pistol. 1911

Review: Dan Wesson ECP - A Bushingless 1911 Commander in 9mm

Jeff Chudwin - February 13, 2019

Dan Wesson's ECP is an excellent example of the Commander- size 1911 pistol.

Kimber's new Aegis Elite Custom OI combines functionality, modern styling and a pre-mounted optic. 1911

Review: Kimber AEGIS Elite Custom OI

Brad Fitzpatrick - September 20, 2018

Kimber's new Aegis Elite Custom OI combines functionality, modern styling and a pre-mounted...

The Ed Brown FX1 RMR is fun to customize and even more fun to shoot. 1911

Review: Ed Brown FX1 RMR

James Tarr - March 13, 2019

The Ed Brown FX1 RMR is fun to customize and even more fun to shoot.

See More 1911

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.