When only the best will do.

Author:Anderson, Dave

Nighthawk Custom makes some of the finest 1911's on the planet and there are models to suit most any needs. Nighthawk can modify packages to suit specific requirements; if you prefer, and don't mind waiting, they can build a 1911 exactly to your order.

Since its introduction in 2011, the Falcon has been one of the most popular models. A few Commander-length models were made on special order. They proved so well liked they have been added to the regular lineup.

One of the more interesting handgun developments has been the seemingly insatiable demand for premium quality, hand-fitted 1911 pistols. Just as interesting is the fact that such high-end pistols are even available. It wasn't always so.

When I began shooting practical pistol matches back in the late 1970's, if you wanted features such as a beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safety, beveled mag well or better sights and trigger, custom work was the only option. It was both expensive and time-consuming. I remember the months it took to get even basic work done.

Pistolsmiths in those days didn't start work until you shipped them a Colt, Springfield Armory or Caspian frame/slide and specified the work you wanted done.

The first US Nationals I ever competed in was in 1985. Among the guys in my squad were Richard Heinie and Les Baer. Also competing were Bill Wilson and Ed Brown and I enjoyed meeting them all. It was darn near 30 years ago.

Over the years, several 1-man shops evolved into the custom shops we know today. One objective was to increase production while maintaining quality standards. Bill Wilson was one of the first to train additional pistolsmiths and build guns on spec rather than to specific orders.

In 19861 bought a Wilson .38 Super built on a Colt Series 70, at the time a state-of-the-art racegun. It cost $1,875, a lot of money now and a lot more then, but at least it meant no waiting!

A second goal was to have complete control. Being dependent on others for parts is a tricky business. To make up. an example, if your supplier of grip safeties starts cutting corners on fit and finish, customers will blame you, not the supplier.

Even when quality stays high, parts can just disappear. No one made a better adjustable rear sight than the Bo-Mar BMCS. For decades it set the standard of excellence. Then Bob Korzeniewski died in 2006, his son Norbert was killed in an accident the following year and the supply of BMCS sights ended.

How a shop or company could make their own high-quality parts was the question, and...

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