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Old January 30, 2019, 02:38 PM   #26
DPris
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No way I'd spend that kind of money on a defensive 1911.

A GOOD custom pistol, maximized, but not overboard & silly, can be done easily for less than half that.

I just did a head-to-head shootout comparison between my old Cylinder & Slide Colt Commander rebuilt in 2006, and a brand new Smith M&P 2.0 Compact.

Both same size, same .45 ACP.
The Colt had not been fired in several years.

In 2006, C&S did $2500 worth of work on the pistol, not counting the initial cost of the gun.
I got the original frame & slide back, but C&S pretty much replaced everything else, with quality components.

In the shootout, with 8 different loads & three different bullet weights, the Colt was fractionally more accurate at 25 yards with best 5-shot groups on 6 loads, tied with the Smith exactly on one load, and lost to the Smith in one load.

The Smith ate up everything without a single malfunction of any kind.
The Colt failed to chamber the first round (slide would not close initially) on three loads with exposed flat-nosed lead jacketed bullets. It functioned fine once the first round WAS chambered.

The Colt has everything it needs.
BarSto barrel, Ed Brown parts, C&S parts, hand-fit parts, de-horned, hard-chromed.

It didn't cost $4000 then & would not cost $4000 today, to get that level of work done.
And it is NOT necessary to spend four grand on a 1911 to get a pistol to bet your life on.

I have two full-sized 1911s here that were maximized by my local guy.
$1500 in after-buy money rendered both perfectly fit for carry, one of which was carried confidently for several years.
No bling, just what was needed to maximize.

In the Commander/M&P shoot-out, incidentally, it was nice to re-visit an old friend in the Commander, and Cylinder & Slide did a magnificent job on it, but I consider the Smith to be the winner.

Totally acceptable performance in both accuracy and reliability, same size as the Commander, carries two more rounds, lighter, simpler to use (no thumb safety).
And you get all that for $450, as opposed to $2500+.
Smith comes ready to go, Colt needs all sorts of work done.

I value my 1911s highly, but if I were going to go back to a .45 it'd be the Smith.
And I'd cheerfully bet my life on it.

The 1911 does need work, but spending four grand on one because you think it's "necessary" to get one that's "good enough" is wrong-think.

If you have the money, it's your money.
But aside from bragging rights, much of that money's wasted.
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Old January 30, 2019, 03:19 PM   #27
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I finally bought a nice colt 1911, mostly "OK, been there, done that." Am I going to start a big collection of them like I might with revolvers, lever guns and AR's? Nope--just don't feel the love that much.
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Old January 30, 2019, 04:55 PM   #28
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And it is NOT necessary to spend four grand on a 1911 to get a pistol to bet your life on.
So far I haven't heard anyone saying that you *must* spend thousands of dollars to obtain a reliable self defense pistol. Its simply an option. That apparently, enough people indulge in or these custom smiths would have went out of business long ago.

I would love to afford one such custom gun. Heck, I'd love to afford dozens of custom guns. I would also love to afford a luxury vehicle, a mansion, and a wing of that mansion dedicated solely to expensive wines, meads, and scotch.

But just because I cannot afford all that doesn't mean I will talk disparagingly of those who can afford it.

Either I am just more relaxed in my way of thinking that many of you, or many of you are just holding in a tremendous amount of jealousy and its making you all grumpy.

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Old January 30, 2019, 05:20 PM   #29
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Jealousy ain't got spit to do with it.
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Old February 2, 2019, 12:16 PM   #30
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Ok what makes a Nighthawk Custom gun worth $3500?

Well there is two ways of looking at that. One is to figure the actual cost of production; materials, labor, overhead, shipping, etc. plus the rate of profit on top of that. I suspect the latter is hefty.

The second way is what a person is willing to pay for it. That goes beyond it's immediate utility.

If you are looking for a gun for CC or home defense millions of folks can cover that base beginning about $300-$400 bucks.

Beyond that you get into the the needs and wants dept. We may want/need a gun for hunting, or competition, or we want a gun that can shoot 2" at 50 yards, etc.

Right now I have 3 older S&W M41's in 22 l.r. I have 6 different slides for these. They've piled up over the years. Do I need that? I don't know but I got 'em. I never paid over a grand for any of them, btw.

Most of us here likely have more than 20 handguns. Do we need all that? Well I judge what I need. or want. No one else.

If a person wants to pay $3500. for a custom gun that fits them particularly I have no jealousy, gripe, resentment or contempt.

I've been to places around the world and seen beautiful things. I spent good money on that. Did i need to do it? Yeah.

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Old February 3, 2019, 11:42 AM   #31
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Jealousy ain't got spit to do with it.
I believe that is true of you and for many others. There are a few, however, that seem to get angry that someone would spend that much of their own money on a nice pistol. Go figure.

BTW, I mentioned I own a Nighthawk but when I carry a 1911, it's a Dan Wesson. Right now, I'm mostly carrying a SW Compact or Shield, or sometimes a Ruger LCR in 9mm. It's definitely not necessary to spend $3,500 for a good handgun, even a good 1911.
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Old February 3, 2019, 02:13 PM   #32
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I don't care if you want to spend your money on a Nighthawk.
It's your money.

The original question was "What makes a Nighthawk worth $3500?"
And to me the answer is nothing.

I do not & never have cared about bragging or show-off rights.
I rarely show anybody anything I own, and when I do it's more likely to be something out of the ordinary, like a Class III shotgun, or a fun Mare's Leg.
None of those are very expensive.

I do have several custom handguns that ran from a couple grand each up to $3000 each, those include three custom Colt Peacemakers, three custom 1911s, three custom Ruger Reds, a custom Ruger GP, and a custom Smith 686.

Those were each done to "maximize" a particular gun beyond what the factory did.

Only one included any unnecessary "bling", the engraved Red I did as a mid-life crises gift to myself at age 50.
The rest were simply refined, rebuilt, and reconfigured to make them more efficient in filling the niche they were acquired for.

Duping the three 1911s today would around $2500-$3000, and frankly I would not do it again today.
There are simply other choices that do the same job more reliably, cheaper, and with less maintenance.

I do not knock the pistol, or anybody who choses it.
I admire & respect the platform, I'll hang onto mine.
I just don't carry one anymore.

And anything above $3000 in a 1911 is just ego.
I could, if I wanted to get into a good one set up for reliable carry function, today do that for $2000.
That'd include the gun buy and aftermarket work.

I would not carry one in stock factory form.

I'm not angry at anybody spending $3500 on a Nighthawk pistol, I'm just answering the original question.

I am not jealous of anybody spending that much on a pistol.
If I wanted to shift some inventory, I could easily acquire one.

I've worked with high-end pistols from Wilson and C&S, and they were works of art.
Those companies put out a spectacular product.
But I was not tempted to keep one sufficiently to buy one.
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Old February 14, 2019, 12:53 AM   #33
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my personally modified sr1911 and les baer UTC feel like the same gun in hand, things change when you shoot them... the les baer practically shoots itself, the ruger...not so much :P
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Old February 14, 2019, 09:09 AM   #34
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Oh those 1911’s

Face it, gun fanciers spend a lot of money on guns. And maybe not one gun in particular but if you own 2 or more, you’ve probably spent enough to buy a Baer.
3 or more, a Wilson and so on. So the real issue comes down to quantity v. “quality” or artistry for that matter. Performance is another issue. You can argue about it till you’re blue in the face but the fact remains that 99% of the shooters alive today will not be able to shoot those exclusive customs any better than they might a top shelf Colt or Springfield that’s “mass produced.” So if you value the artistry of a Guncrafters or Wilson or Cabot more than those dusty things sitting in your safe, get rid of the damn things and go get one. You won’t be sorry!! And if you have the bucks, get one anyway!
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Old February 14, 2019, 11:52 AM   #35
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I ought to say that I can't bring myself to spend $3500. on a single gun. It's not worth it to me, even on lay away.

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Old February 14, 2019, 08:35 PM   #36
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I ought to say that I can't bring myself to spend $3500. on a single gun. It's not worth it to me, even on lay away.

tipoc





I can just because I've shot some world class pistols and like them. Everyone should be able to express their opinion and not feel shame for it. Myself I have always thought NHC was a little questionable. When just about all the founding members have bailed the company for greener pastures that should make you wonder.


Wilson is another one that just baffles me, they think all their products are made of gold. If you can get some sucker to pay $3200 for your "entry level" 1911 God bless you, or pay $65 for their premier 1911 mag.


But as always deep down they both are great companies with employees who speak English and we should support them. I still have a range bag full of 47Ds even if the springs are a little weak in the long run.

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Old February 15, 2019, 01:32 PM   #37
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You don’t buy a custom 1911 because it necessarily shoots better! You buy it because you think it’s asthetically pleasing and that is more important to you than the cost.....end of story! It’s a personal decision, no objective factors, and no comparisons matter if that’s your choice!
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Old February 15, 2019, 02:01 PM   #38
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It like choosing the woman you marry.....
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Old February 15, 2019, 02:06 PM   #39
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Myself I have always thought NHC was a little questionable. When just about all the founding members have bailed the company for greener pastures that should tell make you wonder.
NHC went through a bit of a rough patch. When I bought my NH Falcon I considered a Wilson Combat. I spoke to a seller of high end pistols and he confirmed what I had been seeing in forums and elsewhere --- that NHC had really stepped up its game and was as good as, if not better, than Wilson (excluding their Super Grade line). I could not be more pleased with my Nighhawk. The Falcon may be my favorite shooter.

BTW, I also own 1911s from Brown, Wilson, Baer, Dan Wesson, Colt, Springfield, and others. I only mention this so readers understand that I'm simply not a NHC fanboy. I've had experience with other top grade 1911s and middle-of-the-road 1911s.
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Old February 15, 2019, 05:11 PM   #40
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Personally, I can't justify the cost of one. I could use the $3k+ to purchase several other nice pistols, and get custom work on them to perform even better. I like 1911's, but I'd be more happy with 2-3 Dan Wesson's over 1 NH.
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Old February 15, 2019, 05:29 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim
BTW, I also own 1911s from Brown, Wilson, Baer,



I would be interested in how you rate the four of them. I've shot two or three NHCs but not more than a couple hundred rounds though.
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Old February 16, 2019, 11:38 AM   #42
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I would be interested in how you rate the four of them
When you get to this level, a lot of it is just subjective opinion. I think I like my Nighthawk the best and one of my Browns just a little behind --- I had both customized a bit by the makers before I bought them. Just behind these are my one Wilson (an older one) and two other Browns. Finally are two Baers, but only because they are cosmetically not as nice (fit very tight but finish is just okay). They shoot great and I carried my Stinger (a CCO-sized gun) for years.

BTW, I'm a fan of Dan Wesson 1911s. Good guns for the money. I've had a minor issue on two of mine but DW fixed them each within a week.
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Old February 17, 2019, 10:42 AM   #43
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I would like to own one myself just don’t have clue which is Best Buy only having shot NH. I do have a couple DW great guns only ones close to semi custom level.
Thanks for insight on all 4 semi custom pistols NH Wilson Brown Baer.
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Old February 17, 2019, 11:38 AM   #44
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"You are not outshooting a $3500 gun, the the operator of that gun"


My first thought exactly
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Old February 18, 2019, 05:54 PM   #45
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In the gun world there are "Pretty Guns"
........Pretty Good Guns
and...........Pretty Expensive Guns.

I like the ones that go bang when I squeeze the trigger.
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Old February 22, 2019, 07:55 AM   #46
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And then there's this... https://www.gunsamerica.com/digest/k...comment-238170
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Old February 23, 2019, 11:18 AM   #47
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Bottom line...for some the Nighthawk Custom at $3500. is worth it, for others not.

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Old February 25, 2019, 07:24 PM   #48
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It like choosing the woman you marry.....
I'd be packin a Hi Point
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Old March 12, 2019, 01:34 AM   #49
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I tend to like Nighthawk for all of the variety the offer -- more than some of the other 1911 makers in terms of finishes, design etc.

that being said as others have mentioned it's subjective and past a certain point what are you getting in terms of function is little.

Why did I buy a nighthawk ? because they make a 10 mm commander and would make it in stainless for me with scalloped front strap and MSH. Great gun. Would I buy it in 45 or 9mm? no way have lots of options at less coin from any of the big 4 or 5 1911 makers out there new or used. That combo and a T4 in 45 opened my wallet. It's all about relative value and price.
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Old March 13, 2019, 09:42 AM   #50
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What kills me is that people talk about Nighthawk, Wilson, GI etc... using the term "custom" gun. Most of the guns people are referencing are not really custom guns. They have predetermined configuration which you slightly modify or pick from a list of add ons then you purchase it. The vast majority of them leave in the "Stock" configuration. You might call them semi-custom guns because at Nighthawk and many other high end 1911 builders there is one smith that builds your gun. This however does not make it custom. It does not make them better or worse than a true custom gun but there is a difference. IMHO

When you look at a NH like the GRP which is their base model you are getting a lot of gun for the money. It is a well built pistol that would serve any 1911 shooter well. Is it worth $3000+ for me it isn't but that does not mean it is not worth it to someone else or that it is over priced. For me I don't care for Nighthawks aesthetics. To my eye they just don't work and that is completely subjective.

Will it outshoot a nice production gun like a Dan Wesson? The answer is sometimes... Dan Wesson is still the king of production 1911s but they are losing their way. IMHO. They are getting too high in price and have pushed themselves too close to semi-custom houses like NH. You can see this in the weak sales on the Valor pistol which lead to it being discontinued. When it was a $1500 pistol people loved it when it push north to $2000 they lost their market.

I understand why NH and others cost what they do. They quality of materials, the amount of labor, the overall fit, feel and function of the gun all lead to the price which they are able to charge for it. I do not feel that they are overpriced they are just not my cup of tea. The same can be said for many of the semi-custom pistol builders. Wilson, Baer, GI, NH, Ed Brown etc.... The same can be said for Dan Wesson, Colt, SA and other production 1911s too. They will appeal to some that have value for some but not to others. You might like GI but not Ed Brown. To each their own and more choices is better than less choices.

For me personally if you are going to spend over $3000 on a pistol I prefer to use single person one man shops. I like working with a single individual to build the gun I want not the gun they want to make. I like to be able to pick up the phone and call the shop and have the owner, gunsmith, secretary, biller etc... answer the phone and talk to me about the gun they are building me. I want to talk about the details, the parts, the features I want vs the what the gun already has. I want advice about what "needs" to be replaced to get it to function better vs what I "want" to replace. I want to talk about individual modifications to make the gun beautiful to my eyes. In the 1911 world for me I want it to be functional and elegant and there are times I am willing to pay for it.

I want to talk to guys like Don Williams, Ted Yost, Jim Garthwaite, Karl Sokol, Ned Christiansen, Jason Burton, Stan Chen & John Harrison to name a few. I have also had great conversations with C&S, Novak, Robar, APW Cogan and other larger shops. I have worked with some of these smiths and hope to work with the others some day. These guys are true custom shops. You can have them build you a gun the way you want it. Sometimes their guns will be less than a NH sometimes more.

When you get into the truly custom world of 1911s it is a subjective process where the "value" proposition no longer applies. You are getting a functional work of art by a master craftsman depending on who you choose. If you are paying for it then you see value but that value may or may not translate to anyone else and personally I don't care because I do not plan to ever sell my custom guns. When I am worm food hopefully someone else will see some value in what I had build and compensate my wife or other family members who out live me for them. I just hope my wife gets more than I "TOLD" her I paid for them.

If I want a duty defense type gun a lot of the aesthetic stuff will get skipped. I would send a 70 Series Colt to Don Williams and have him do about $1000 to $1500 worth of work and have an street ready pistol set to my specs. That role doesn't call for more but that gun will still be custom and it will perform on par with a $3000+ Nighthawk.

The highend world of true custom 1911s is a rabbit hole which most people have never really gone down. For most people on this board the big Semi-custom houses are considered the pinnacle of the 1911 world when in reality they are not. Guns like these are. I do not own these guns they are just examples of true custom guns. Some people will see value others will not but these guys have wait lists that last years and some like Burton and Chen's books are closed and they are not accepting new orders.:

John Harrison Peerless



Jason Burton CS Signature



Ted Yost Pinnacle Signature Grade Commander



Stan Chen

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