Nighthawk 1911 (Predator Custom .45)
Is the Nighthawk 1911, the custom of all custom 1911’s from a mainstream producer? One of them for sure. The Nighthawk 1911 Predator Custom .45 from Nighthawk Customs, is about as customizable as a gun can be. It’s got some incredibly unique features, too, that will contribute to your enhancement as a defensive shooter.
As you select your options for the weapon with a Nighthawk Custom’s representative, or on their website, make sure you realize that custom guns take time and effort to build, so don’t be surprised by a several month wait (or more) or the custom price tag of $3150 (or more). It’s part of the deal. You want a one off Nighthawk 1911 built to exacting standards with incredible custom parts, finished as one cohesive and fully functional tactical weapon: expect long lines and higher prices.
Perfect lockup on the Nighthawk 1911?
The key feature to this pistol is the ultra custom barrel which starts out as a piece of 416d Stainless steel, and ends up as a tough looking custom piece of tactical genius with an integral “bushing” in the form of a ring at the end of the slide which does a few things. Firstly it adds weight for a quicker follow up shot. Secondly it adds a custom touch which allows for a very unique pistol, and last but not least it allows for perfect lockup to be achieved, whereby the flat against flat (the back of the barrel ring and the front of the slide) mate perfectly o index the barrel into its optimum lockup position at two ends. Well that’s a misrepresentation really: the barrel locks up on the conical barrel front end and at the rear lugs, and the flat against flat just seem to be mating, as you cannot tell there is a gap between the two pieces. Either way, it proves that the barrel fit is impeccable, and at the highest tolerances able to be achieved. The Gun is actually not able to be shot in several competitions, as the barrel, according to the governing bodies, gives the shooter a “distinct unfair advantage”. It allows for quick follow up and has multiple points of lockup to improve indexing, which will result in better fast firing accuracy and more comfortable shooting for the user. The end of the barrel is beveled/crowned to give distinct looks and excellent bullet exit characteristics. The full length guide rod establishes perfect torsional rigidity and facilitates smoother cycling.
Other calibers available on the Nighthawk 1911 platform
The gun I have shot is made in .45, but the Nighthawk Predator Custom is available in 9mm, 10mm and .40 S&W as well as the standard .45 ACP. It gives those lovers of these calibers even more options. Essentially Nighthawk customs is the king of options and choices: there are 45+ different configurations when selecting a build make up on their custom pistols.
It’s hard to tell you about the different customization options as they translate to the shooter, except that if it can be done, it can be done on a Nighthawk 1911
I have built extremely high end custom 1911’s for years and years, but there were a few things that impressed me heavily for a “factory custom”, and that is that it was distinctly “non-factory”. Sure they push out a lot higher volume than I could ever do, but they managed to do it at essentially the same level of competence and it truly is a CUSTOM weapon. It’s subdued, and the style is very “tactical” and dark. It’s not a flashy custom like some of the makers pump out, it’s a custom; built for defensive handgunning. It’s got a distinct feel to it, very tight and very heavily sprung. I shot normal hardball loads through it when I did shoot it, as we were breaking in a friend’s new toy, but I would imagine it would take a while before it worked well with lighter loads, or some hollowpoints. Such is life with custom 1911’s and custom guns in general, they are built on one specification, and you need to work with it to find the optimal load for it. The Nighthawk Predator custom .45 is a clean version of everything you want in an ultra custom, and there aren’t a lot of excess frills. It’s almost worth the price for that simple factor. Nothing is extraneous or unusable.
Nighthawk 1911 Predator Custom .45 “standard” features
- Lo mount Novaks with tritium inserts
- A beautifully finished “Perma-kote” finish
- A very nice 3.5+/- lb trigger pull
- An all checkered rear slide face for reduced glare
- Rounded edges but not tumbled out like most “carry” guns
- Extended safety
- Extended slide stop
- Custom mag well extension
It still has the classic styling, nothing too “racy” about the Nighthawk 1911
The Nighthawk 1911 Predator custom .45 has an 8+1 capacity and a real congruous feel and look; it just seems to flow together. It’s built solidly and shoots incredibly well.
If you had to pick a builder for an ultra custom from factory, Nighthawk customs and their Nighthawk 1911 Predator custom .45 is right up their with the best of them, especially if you want the looks subdued, and the focus: tactical.
I have shot several Nighthawk customs, but only this singular Nighthawk 1911 predator custom .45, they all exude the talents of the gunsmiths in their custom shop, and they beg to be picked up time and time again to be shot. This thing is no safe queen, it’s a defensive carry .45 made to do it’s job. OK, if you want to, you can make it a safe queen, it’s pricey and pretty enough for the title, but it would be wasted in that capacity.
The real benefit to working with a company like Nighthawk Customs, is you can guarantee the quality, and the timelines are pretty reasonable, not to mention, they already have a real following of converts to their builds, they aren’t just some guy who claims to build things without any real proof. That’s not to say a normal gunsmith cannot build a gun as accurate or tight as a Nighthawk 1911 Predator Custom .45, but they may not be able to persuade you as easily as one look or feel of this gun can. Furthermore, the normal gunsmith can’t produce a barrel like this one on a timeline like Nighthawk Customs, can. The price is there for a reason.
The final word on the Nighthawk 1911 Predator Custom .45
The final word: The Nighthawk predator custom .45 is built well, and actually justifies its price tag, unlike many other “custom” 1911’s.