Nighthawk Custom Predator
By Dan S. Defense
Nighthawk Custom makes high end model 1911 handguns.
Nighthawk also make tactical rifles and shotguns, but
most sales revolve around self defense handguns. The
Nighthawk Custom Predator is a single stack, single
action 1911 handgun. The Predator is an accurate,
reliable and expensive self defense handgun. But is it
worth a base price of $2824 (before tax, shipping and
transfer fees)? That's the question we'll aim to answer
in this article.
To that end, we will look at data and specifications and
then add objective information from several range
reports, to build an accurate picture of the Nighthawk
Predator and its capabilities. Finally, we'll summarize
the information and offer our view on the price to cost
benefit of the Nighthawk Predator.
To get a Nighthawk Predator, customers have two options,
which will affect cost and delivery time. They can visit
one of Nighthawk Custom's dealer, in person or online,
to get a pre-configured Predator, or, they can call
Nighthawk Custom directly, and have a custom gun built
to their specific requirements. We bought Nighthawk
Custom handguns in both manners, and the end result is
the same--You'll deal with professional and polite
people and get what you asked for. The Predator reviewed
here was purchased from a dealer . The Nighthawk Custom
Predator came pre-configured with a hard chrome frame,
black slide and Novak night sights. It came in a
Nighthawk Custom green bag, which is seen in one of the
pictures and two magazines.
When you disassemble the Nighthawk Custom Predator you
see that it's as elegant on the inside as it is on the
outside. Parts are well made and expertly fitted. Fit is
excellent and there are minimal friction points. The gun
is cleaned and oiled before being shipped, and it seems
that Nighthawk Custom prefers to use light oil. Putting
the Predator together again, highlights the attention to
details and the slide stop pin, which protrudes a bit
from the side, makes both assembly and dis-assembly
easier. Still, with a gun at this price range, we'd
expect Nighthawk to offer a slide stop which is cut
flush with the frame.
A close examination of the Nighthawk Custom shows that
the fit-and-finish is impressive. There are no sharp
edges, the hard chrome frame is done to perfection and
the slide, with its serrated is done just as well.
Measuring the weight of the trigger, we fount that it
consistently broke at 3.5 pounds and it's as crisp as a
trigger can be. It's superbly done and we had to think
hard of triggers that would be in this category. We
found two, The only trigger that matches it, is one made
for us by Robar and the only one that feels smoother, is
the one we have in the Wilson Combat Tactical Super
After admiring the handgun and working on a few dry fire
drills, we took it to the range for live fire testing.
What we write here covers several range sessions. We
will look at the Nighthawk Custom Predator and focus on
accuracy, reliability and handling.
We took the Predator to the range with several boxes of
American Eagle practice ammunition and then a few boxes
of Winchester Ranger T-Series(230gr) , Federal HST +P
(230gr) and Speer Gold Dot (185 gr). We wanted to test
with the best 45 ACP ammo we could find. The Nighthawk
Predator liked everything we fed it. It loaded, fired
and ejected each and every round. We had no failures at
all, in any of the sessions and all types of ammunition.
That's very impressive and noteworthy in a handgun built
for self defense. Accuracy was impressive. We were able
to create several large, one hole groups at 15 yards and
do so consistently. The Predator shot to POA (Point of
Aim), which some expected variation with the different
We took with us a Les Baer SRP, which sells for an MSRP
of $2490 to see how it compares to the Nighthawk
Predator. You can read the Les Baer review for more
info, but the bottom line is that the Baer is
exceptionally accurate. After some testing we agreed
that both were superb in the accuracy and reliability
departments, but that the Les Baer SRP was a bit more
accurate and slightly easier to shoot in our hands.
The Nighthawk Predator, in its full size 191 form factor
is easy to shoot and control. The Novak sights are
excellent and the serrated slide top helps with glare.
The grips that come from Nighthawk Custom are handsome
and functional. The trigger guard can take a very light
glove and we mentioned before that the Nighthawk Custom
Predator had an excellent trigger. When combining all of
these, you get a picture of a fine model 1911 handgun
that works well in self defense as well as competitions
that require accuracy.
In summary, the Nighthawk Custom Predator is a well made
model 1911 handgun. Its accuracy is far beyond what's
needed for self defense and its reliability is superb.
The handgun is handsome and well made, with excellent
fit-and-finish. So, is it worth a base price of $2842?
That is up to you to decide, but in our view the answer
is not so much.
This handgun is solid but it isn't exceptional. It does
all that you'd expect but unlike the Nighthawk Custom
Enforcer (old Larry Vickers model), or the Wilson Combat
Tactical Supergrade or Les Baer SRP, self defense
handguns that manage to exceed very high expectations.
We'd say that this is a great gun to buy used for a good
price, or at an auction but "as is" we think you can get
a handgun that will exceed and not just meet your high
Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!
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© Rational Self Defense, 2010