The frame has three sets of Picatinny rail slots cut into the underside of the dust cover for mounting a laser or white light illuminator. Controls consist of a slide stop and magazine release button located of the left-hand side, ambidextrous safeties and an extended beavertail grip safety with raised contact pad. The trigger exhibits about 1/8” of designed take-up at an average pull weight of 1 lb. 2 oz., followed by about another 1/16” of very slightly creepy trigger movement, and a clean break at an average total pull weight of 4 lbs. 14 oz.
The Perfect 10 was an enjoyable gun to shoot. The balance point with a loaded magazine was right at the trigger finger, so there was no perception of the gun being either muzzle heavy muzzle light. The tall grip frame provided plenty of real estate for a two-handed, thumb-over-thumb grip, with no crowding of the top thumb that can sometimes cause a 1911 shooter to bump the safety up and on under recoil. Empty magazines were ejected forcefully, but we had to break our firing grip to reach the magazine release button. The oversize maw of the extended magazine well made inserting magazines a complete no-brainer, even the pitch black dark of night (a/k/a “hog hunting light”). The combination of the hand-filling grip frame, front and back strap checkering and deeply checkered grip panels provided outstanding grip traction.
As noted above, the Perfect 10 exhibited the lowest perceived recoil and least muzzle rise of the three pistols tested, and every one who shot it felt it was also the most comfortable and controllable of the lot.
During function and reliability testing on our Salute Products steel plate targets, we encountered no failures to feed, fire, extract or eject with any of the three brands of ammo noted above. Accuracy testing was conducted from the bench at a range of 25 yards, and the results were impressive.
The STI’s favorite load proved to be the Federal 180-gr. Vital Shok, with a best 5-shot group measuring a mere 0.92”. Group sizes with this pistol were amazingly consistent, and there’s no question that overall it shot the best out of the three pistols tested. The largest group was just over 2.5” with no failures of any kind. See the Perfect 10 at your firearms retailer, or for more information contact STI International, Inc., Dept. OT;
Tel.: (512) 819-0656;
Nighthawk Heinie Long-Slide
At the top of the heap price wise is the Heinie Long-Slide 10mm from Nighthawk Custom. This single-stack, 6-inch barreled 1911 isn’t cheap ($3,795), but its got all the right stuff for harvesting medium game at practical handgun range. Its long slide provides a longer sight radius (7.75”) for increased precision, and its fully adjustable Trijicon night sights make low-light hunting a reality.
The Nighthawk Heinie Long-Slide pistol is truly a work of 1911 art. It begins life as a set of steel forgings, which are machined to inhuman tolerances at Nighthawk’s Berryville, Arkansas facility. The 6-inch, match-grade barrel is machined from stainless steel and hand fitted by Nighthawk’s expert pistolsmiths. Barrel fit is the most critical element in 1911 accuracy (precision), and if the barrel doesn’t lock into battery exactly the same way every time, accuracy suffers. Unlike “drop in” 1911 barrels that are machined to minimize hand fitting, Nighthawk barrels are machined oversize, and their pistolsmiths remove just the right amount of steel from the barrel hood and bottom lugs by hand to achieve precise lockup.