Nighthawk adds a high-performance big-block option to its custom 9mm 1911’s

For those who know and appreciate 1911s, the name Nighthawk Custom is both familiar and much respected. This is because Nighthawk makes some of the best—maybe the best—and most aesthetically pleasing 1911s on the planet, in addition to customized Browning Hi-Powers, Remington 870 shotguns, revolvers and knives. One of their latest offerings is a custom double-stack 1911 in 9mm, which is now a $650 upgrade-option on all of Nighthawk’s current-production government model 9mm single stack pistols.

After two years of fine-tuning, Nighthawk has added a line of double-stack models worthy of carrying the name. For an extra $650, all of Nighthawk’s current Government model 9mm 1911s can be had in the new double-stack, 7075-aluminum frame, and each will ship with two 17-round stainless-steel STI magazines. The widely-flared magwell only slightly increases the grip circumference at its base, offering both speed and concealability.

For competitive shooters, or those who just want more rounds onboard your 1911-style auto for defensive purposes, this sort of pistol fits a definite niche in the Nighthawk lineup. For our testing I received a Nighthawk GRP (Global Response Pistol), which handily lived up to the Nighthawk Custom reputation in fit, finish, form and function.

The single piece grip reduces the overall circumference, making this high-capacity 1911noticeably-slimmer than others with traditional removable grip panels. The texture dimples wrap 360-degrees around the frame and give a solid non-slip hold. The squared-off high-cut trigger guard helps position your strong hand as high up on the pistol as is possible for increased control under recoil.

Before examining the pistol in question, it is important to understand just what “custom” means in this case. Imagine a conclave of very serious, dedicated artisans making katanas in a small village of feudal Japan, then take that concept about 500 years forward to the United States with 1911 handguns, and you will sort of get the idea. Each Nighthawk Custom firearm is personally hand-built by an expert gunsmith at their facility in Berryville, Arkansas. In this case, hand-built actually means built by hand, and “an expert” actually means one of Nighthawks talented ‘smiths builds the gun from start to finish, eliminating potential inconsistencies of various parts being fitted by various hands. Every part is custom made or hand fitted to the firearm, with the initials of that particular ‘smith placed on each and every gun he makes. The result, like a meticulously blueprinted, high-horsepower racing engine, is truly a functional work of art.

A serrated, single-sided thumb safety, smooth slide-stop and smooth, extended magazine release round out the controls. The standard equipment Heine Ledge Straight Eight night sights are fitted with one Trijicon Tritium vile per— the rear of which is ideally shaped for gaining traction on nearly anything for single-handed slide racking.

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