May 20, 2022
By Stan Trzoniec
From its proprietary antiqued finish to its conservative, exquisite engraving pattern, Nighthawk Custom’s VIP (Very Impressive Pistol) would be a great investment for a collector or saved in a pristine condition as a future heirloom piece. On the other hand, if you want to shoot the gun, it’s a fully functional Government-size 1911 in .45 ACP.
The antiqued nickel finish is outstanding, not only adding class to the gun but durability as well. Smooth to the touch, it has the worn look of guns made years back, and on this gun, the finish surrounds the pistol on all surfaces.
A floral pattern is deep hand-engraved by a master engraver to what I would call about a 50 percent coverage, continuing from the slide all the way down and around the frame. Nighthawk prides itself on its “one gun, one gunsmith” ethos, and close inspection reveals the smaller engraving details around the ejection port, the forward end of the slide and around the magazine release—showing off the individual master engraver’s touch.
While all this can be expected on a big-ticket gun (it’s $7,999), there is a lot more than meets the eye. The rear of the slide and ejector housing have been hand-serrated to match the same pattern on the forward sloping notch on the Heinie Black Slant Pro rear sight assembly.
Nighthawk has installed its own version of an 18-karat gold bead front sight, and the barrel is crowned. A fully machined one-piece mainspring and magazine well are included, with additional attention given to the vertical serrations to the frontstrap and mainspring housing.
If you find the plain barrel hood too plain for your tastes, a fluted-hood barrel is offered as an option for $75 more. The gun has a skeletonized hammer, extended magazine release and custom-designed oversize thumb and slide releases—all with their own little bit of engraving. Working the slide shows the inherent quality of a well-built, custom-made gun in smoothness of operation and a superior trigger pull.
Nighthawk includes a set of Power Mag magazines from Chip McCormick with an engine-turned design and a rubber bumper. You also get a premium set of genuine giraffe bone grips—all put together and shipped to you in a custom walnut display case with a fitted interior.
Looking over the list of guns might not be for everyone—especially when it comes to the pricing—but to me, Nighthawk Custom guns are the best around when it comes to the 1911 platform. You owe it to yourself to take a look at its offerings.