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Nighthawk Custom Predator
Gun Review

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 Grade.

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 loads.

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 expectations.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!

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