September 24, 2010
By Greg Rodriguez
My 1911 .45s have served me well, but I've always longed for a bit more power...
By Greg Rodriguez
My 1911 .45s have served me well, but I've always longed for a bit more power. I had been contemplating building a 10mm for some time when Nighthawk's Craig Gholson called and asked if I wanted to take a look at its new Heinie 10mm Long Slide. How could I refuse?
The Heinie Long Slide, as its name implies, was designed by renowned pistolsmith Richard Heinie. Like all Nighthawk Custom's pistols, the Long Slide is built on one of the company's excellent forged steel slide and frame sets. Its frontstrap and flat mainspring housing are machine checkered at 25 lines per inch. The lines are flawless, and the points are sharp.
A high-swept beavertail grip safety with a speed bump is nicely fitted. Other frame parts include a slightly oversize tactical thumb safety; an extended magazine release; and a slide release with a slightly oversize shelf. All the controls engaged smoothly and positively.
The Long Slide's long trigger is a skeletonized, aluminum unit that is adjustable for overtravel. It breaks at three pounds, six ounces with just a hint of takeup and a modicum of over-travel. The hammer is a Commander-style part.
The Heinie gun's forged slide is, thankfully, devoid of the forward grasping grooves that are so in vogue. The six-inch slide houses a stainless steel match barrel. The barrel and oversize bushing are fitted perfectly. The recoil spring guide rod is my favorite—a standard GI-style setup, allowing me to disassemble it without a bushing wrench.
The adjustable rear sight is beautifully fitted and sits very low on the slide. It and the dovetailed front sight have three-dot tritium inserts with white outlines, a combination that performs well in almost any light.
The sights, slide and frame are completely dehorned for carry. The rear of the slide and grips are adorned with Heinie's distinctive logo. The slide, frame and checkered aluminum grips are finished with a beautiful camouflage Perma Kote that is tough and corrosion resistant. I tried to find a fault in the intricate pattern, but the sexy, complicated finish was applied perfectly.
Few folks will purchase a six-inch 1911 for concealed carry, but the Long Slide is ideally suited for fishermen, hunters and ranchers who routinely wear a handgun afield. It would also be a great carry gun for hikers who frequent our national parks now that we can legally carry guns for self-defense in them (but check state, local and park regs first!). Its 10mm cartridge is ballistically similar to the .41 Magnum and is a satisfactory choice for bear defense.
I started out my testing with some 10-yard slow-fire to get a feel for the pistol's sights and trigger. The first thing I noticed was that recoil with Cor-Bon's 180-grain BCSP load was quite snappy, but the accuracy I got with it was terrific. The hole in the target just got fatter and fatter as the Nighthawk hammered one 10mm slug after another into a big, ragged hole.
The 10mm Long Slide proved an excellent performer on the range, punching 1.5-inch groups with Cor-Bon ammo, and in the field, where it accounted for a deer and a hog.
The author's 10mm Long Slide test sample featured Aluma-Grips. Adjustable skeletonized trigger, extended mag release and and 25 lpi checkering are standard.
Next, I moved back to the 25-yard line for some proper accuracy testing with the Cor-Bon Hunter load and Federal's 180-grain Hydra-Shok load. Both shot exceptionally well, with the Cor-Bon load averaging nearly 1.5 inches. The Nighthawk fed, extracted, and ejected both loads flawlessly throughout my evaluation.
I carried the Nighthawk Long Slide for much of the 2009 deer season. I practiced with it regularly out to 100 yards, breaking clay targets, eggs and rocks with it whenever I did my part. In the field, I used the 10mm to drop an ornery boar at three steps and to cleanly kill a heavy cull buck at 41 yards. The powerful, flat-shooting 10mm cartridge and the Heinie gun's long sight radius, doubtless, had much to do with my success.
Nighthawk's new 10mm Long Slide impressed me greatly. It is reliable, accurate, powerful and cool. Who wouldn't love that?