Nighthawk's and other high end 1911's

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by Yunus, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Yunus

    Yunus Active Member

    What separates these 1911's from say a Taurus or RIA or even a Colt or Springfiled or Kimber?

    I know that this is a subjective question and some will say they are not worth the money but for those that feel they are worth the money (JD I'm looking in your direction) what do they bring to the table or do better than the other available brands?
  2. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

    First off thew fit will be much better. The less slop in the parts the more accurate it can be. You can see things like hand fitted barrels and slides hand fitted to the frame. Barrel bushings fitted so that the barrel (yup..Also hand fitted many times) have no slop. Tighter lock up can get you better groups.

    It all boils down to just how well you want the thing to perform. Bare in mind though that sometimes this does not work as well as expected.But with most the makers that have been around a while making custom guns they have worked through the growing pains and are putting out a weapon that can stand apart from the herd. Makers are always looking for ways to make something better. From fundamental design to what the parts are made from and how they are produced. Any high end 1911 if it's going to really be worth the money are all hand fit. This is a double edged sword though. You'rte not going to find replacement parts (if needed) at midway or the like. And unless you are a pretty decent gunsmith you will be sending the thing back in to be serviced.

    Just like the people that seek out their dream 1911 the ways they are manufactured can vary a great deal. Me personally am not one that sees the benefit of a custom pistol built for me. But that might also be the poor man in me saying that :eek: I can do most all the work to my pistols myself.I don't think I would be so quick to want to take down and rebuild a Nighthawk. But if I did have one maybe that would not be as important. Meaning if I was in a position to buy one then sending it off to get serviced would not be unrealistic. For my shooting I've not seen enough of an improvement to make a custom build cost effective. But I can honestly say holding one is an awesome thing. I can only imagine holding one that I owned being that much more great.

    Bottom line think about it like this. You buy an RIA and get 4" groups at 35 yards if you're doing your part. Then yo go get a nice upper shelf Colt and see those groups tighten up to 3" or under. Now put a hand fit pistol in your hand and if you are steady you are making ragged holes. You can get a decent weapon and not be a custom job. But there is a reason they make them. A well fit 1911 is a thing of beauty. A perfect fit 1911 with everything being fit to that specific weapon is all that and much more.

  3. gunsavy

    gunsavy New Member

    Buying a more expensive version of a firearm and having the cheaper one work better is something i have always been afraid of.
  4. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    I had a SA Mil Spec as my first 1911 and it was a good pistol. It was an excellent first 1911.

    I then had a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special and it was the tightest 1911 I ever fired. There was a huge difference in fit and finish.

    Somewhere along the line I sold the Baer and bought a Dan Wesson Commander Bobtail. It felt better and shot better than the Baer for considerably less money.

    I then bought a RIA Tactical and it had feeding problems. I never felt comfortable with it because I felt I couldn't trust it. So I sold it.

    My next 1911 was my 1927 Sistema. It went to the gunsmith to be made into my ideal 1911. It has everything I want and nothing more. It is not as tight as the Baer or the CBOB was, but I shoot it instinctively and well. It will stay with me until I take the dirt nap.

    The CBOB is the only one I miss. It was a perfect combination of fit, finish, accuracy and excellent feel. However, I can't justify the new higher price to replace it.

    I currently also have a RIA 1911A1 and it too has feed problems, just like the Tactical model. I am waiting to get some type of solution to the problem from Armscor and then I'm going to get rid of it. I will never again buy a RIA.

    I realize this thread is about higher end pistols, but that's my experience with a range of variously priced 1911's.
  5. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    I've got RIA, Taurus, Springfield, Fusion, Dan Wesson, and Ed Brown.

    There is a difference in quality "felt" at you go up the line. The Springer shoots groups like the Ed Brown, but the Springer was used in competition for years and has years of tweaks applied to it.

    Always buy the best you can afford.
  6. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    Why I gots to be all singled out and shi*ite?? :eek:

    I need time to formulate a really well thought out answer for you Yunus and I am packing for SHOT this evening, so I don't have the time to mic everything and show you some detailed pictures with arrows and big flashy circles.

    The short answer is they are worth it for the hand fitting of each and every part. It makes a WORLD of difference in how the weapon feels, how it handles, how it lacks "rattle" and finally how it shoots.

    I just posted a couple of targets from my Nighthawk AAC and those were the first few rounds I ran through the weapon. It was DEAD ON accurate and there was no break in period, no "getting used to the ammo" or anything else that you hear in the cyber world about 1911's.

    This thing went from case, to smoking with both Winchester White Box and PMC Range crap without any notice in accuracy and the targets speak for themselves.

    Bottom line, a top of the line 1911 is hand fitted and it will run circles around a production run 1911 "out of the box". That doesn't mean that ANY 1911 can't be tuned, or that they are not better than every other pistol out there :p.

    It just means that stone cold, a well built 1911 is like a Ferrari or a high end Porsche. You are paying for performance and when you turn the key, it's more power/handling/style and ability ( or in this case accuracy, fit and feel ) than you are capable of putting to use. It gives you as a shooter room to grow into the weapon instead of having to tune the weapon to what you want it to do.

    As Shi said "Buy the best YOU can afford" and go from there. Parts, tuning and shop time all cost money. You can spend it up front, or you can spend it in pieces tuning it to what you like.

    I buy Nighthawk pistols because I met 3 of the co-founders at SHOT a few years ago and they impressed the hell out of me with their mission statement, their passion and their products. I appreciate that kind of passion and love for a product in this age of ship it overseas and put our name on it, screw the customer and who cares about customer service age we are living in.

    That's about the best I can offer other than inviting you out West for a weekend and letting you see for yourself. ;)

  7. Yunus

    Yunus Active Member

    That's why I singled you out, I know some others have Nighthawks but I couldn't think of any of them off the top of my head. I'm trying to convince a guy to get a 1911 and I want him to go high end so I can try it :)
  8. JonM

    JonM Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    it depends on your personal philosophy on 1911's.

    if my 1911 doesnt rattle i think there is something wrong with it. as long as the barrel to bushing to slide lock up tight the slide can rattle on the frame all it wants. the sights are attached to the slide not the frame. long as the barrel is solid in battery every cycle in the same relationship everytime thats all that matters to me.

    will my rattle traps reach out to 50 yards from a machine rest with the same precision as a handfitted tuned 1911?? prolly not. but i am not capable of shooting to such a degree. mine are fun range guns and self defense guns or a collector pieces with historical value.

    for me the price isnt worth it.

    for you, dunno. if you want one and can afford one they are very fine guns and superb shooters. ive fired a few and they are sweet and worth every penny if thats what fits you. i may add one to my collection at some point but that is purely a wish item. there is a class 3 m16a1, a 1903a3, and a nice super grade 30-06 ahead of it.

    HOSSFLY New Member

    In my limited exsperence its mostly price :eek:
    I've had RIA's that out shot Colts - Heck i've had Llamas that outshot Colts :eek:
    Not sayin quality don't count - MOST times quality cost-
    Just sayin a $1500 hooker might not be better than a $150 one :rolleyes:
  10. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    I've owned scores of 1911's, in all price ranges, over the years.

    The high end guns are worth the money because they have people building them that actually know what they are doing, and care about the finished product.

    You won't find Nighthawks, Les Baers, Wilsons, STIs, etc with cosmetic blems and mis-fit parts. They are built to exacting standards, by people who take pride in their work. Artisans.
  11. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

    JD's just a freaking gun snob. :D

    In all seriousness, the comment by dan_fl "buy the best you can afford" is good advice. I'd also add "that meets your needs" to the statement. None of mine are high end as while I can afford them I just didn't need them. My Springer's serve me well and I'm very satisfied with their performance. For me, the custom shop guns are more like works of art than tools - and I just prefer tools. Iff'n I bought one I'd probably keep it sealed in the safe for fear of scratches...
  12. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    Don't believe JD yunus.

    It makes your vonsluker much bigger.

    It is proven time and time again all over the interwebz.
  13. Ubergopher

    Ubergopher New Member

    The internet never lies.
  14. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    This is how I feel about it.
  15. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    I look at firearms as an investment to some extent. They are one of the only toys I know of that can actually hold or increase in value over time while I play with it, and that's a really good thing.

    If you buy a $500 Callaway driver or a $400 Scotty Cameron putter, they're each worth about maybe $150 the minute you walk out the door with them.

    We all know how much cars depreciate, in general, after you drive off the lot.

    Some photo equipment can retain value pretty well, but most doesn't.

    I doubt that high-end 1911s will appreciate at a higher rate than the others. With either one, at least you're not going to LOSE a ton of money after you put the first round through.

    So, if you can afford one or more of the expensive 1911s on the front end, you sure have something nice in your hand that you're not going to take a beating on in the future.
  16. Yunus

    Yunus Active Member

    That's a good point and something I had not considered. Although I would think that if you truly customize a gun to be built for you then the value might be higher to you the person it was built for than someone you are trying to sell it to, but I guess it would depend on what type of customizing you have done.

    Well that's it, I'm sold :D
  17. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    Wasn't really talking about "custom-built." Two of my 1911s have the word "Custom" in the name, but I've kept them stock other than the grips and the magazines.

    Not sure if making your own custom changes to a pistol would help with the resale or actually maybe hinder it.....?
  18. JonM

    JonM Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Depends on if your famous or notorious. In general customized(non-reversable kinds) are far more difficult to sell so they don't hold value well. There are tons of ww2 1911 out there that were customized and lots of series 70 colts that are worth far less than lesser well used samples that had not been.

    Production guns from a custom shop hold value so long as they haven't been personalized.
  19. BombDoc

    BombDoc New Member

    I had this same question. I have several 1911s. I finally decided to buy a high-end 1911 after I saw what was being developed for the USMC. I tried to buy a Unertl MEU-SOC 1911. $3K was just a bit too much for me, not because of price but because that's just crazy. I asked around and found out who they got their parts from. A call to Caspian and Wilson and a nice Military discount and I was on my way to make my own. So, minus the green finish I built my own and had a 'smith check it as I went. It's not perfect by any means. I'm still learning.

    My point is, I built it like most people build any hot rod; piece by piece. All in all it ran me just over $1K. I should have went with a different barrel but it's a learning process. It's worth nothing to anyone else but that's the beauty of it being mine. I never buy firearms for the purpose of holding value. To me, that's like buying nice work boots because they have a better brand name. They're only worth anything to the person using them.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  20. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    Kinda like adding a swimming pool to your house. You would think that it would add to the value....but if you go to sell it, you find that you've effectively shrunken the market.