Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911: The Dark Knight’s 1911?

If Bruce Wayne wanted to buy a 1911, he’d want the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911. Granted, Batman doesn’t usually use guns. But, if someone were in the the financial position of Bruce Wayne – that is, price wasn’t an obstacle and high quality and performance were of the utmost priority – this Nighthawk Custom 1911 would recommend itself well.


At 5.68in tall, and 9.22in long, the Nighthawk Custom AAC, is a full size 1911. This dark beauty comes out of the box with ultra thin aluminum grips, featuring the Nighthawk Custom logo, however the model reviewed in this article has had the stock grips replaced with a set of G10 VZ Alien grips. Even with the replaced grips, the pistol’s grip is still fairly narrow (for a full size) at 1.3in wide while maintaining the 1911′s reputation for fitting a wide range of hand sizes and ergonomic grip angle. In lieu of standard grip checkering, both the rear and front strap of the grip feature Nighthawk’s proprietary cuts. As expected of a full size steel 1911, the Custom AAC is hefty, weighing in at 39oz unloaded. This Custom AAC has an 8 round magazine, bringing its capacity to 8+1 rounds of .45 ACP.


The blacked-out match grade trigger is one of the pistol’s strong points. Characteristic of a 1911, it features a short travel (less than ¼ inch) with a clean break. Using a Lyman trigger gauge, the pull weight (averaged over 10 pulls) measures 3lbs 13oz. The light, predictable, crisp trigger notably contributed to maintaining precise groupings; I never had to “find” the break for each pull.


For those who are unfamiliar, AAC stands for Advanced Armament Corporation, a company that, among other things, produces suppressors. As Nighthawk’s AAC 1911, it’s fitting then that the 5” match grade barrel comes threaded for a suppressor (it ships with a thread protector for shooting without a can mounted). The AAC branding extends beyond that functional design element: behind the rear cocking serrations (the Nighthawk Custom AAC includes both rear and front cocking serrations) the slide bears the Advanced Armament Corporation’s logo on either side.
It’s the attention to detail that sets high end 1911s, like the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911, apart. The overall fit and finish of the firearm is highly polished (not literally speaking; this 1911 sports a black Nitride finish). The Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911 also includes weight reduction cuts on the top of the slide, cuts in the same style of those on the rear and front strap, and the whole slide is de-horned for concealed carry. The action of the pistol feels snug and precise. The result shows at the range; the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911′s accuracy and reliability is remarkable.


The Heine Ledge Straight-Eight Suppressor night sights are Nighthawk Custom exclusive. The straight “ledge” of the rear sight is to better facilitate one-handed chambering, while the tritium inserts in the front and rear sights allows for sight alignment in regular and low-light environments. Conveniently, the sights are raised. So, whether or not one shoots the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911 with a can, the sight picture remains constant.


Standard for a 1911, this Nighthawk Custom features both a grip safety and a manual thumb safety. When engaged, the grip safety prevents the rearward movement of the trigger. The thumb safety (right-hand only on this pistol), when engaged, prevents the sear from moving.


This Nighthawk Custom is a fine looking example of John M. Browning’s classic design, but where this pistol really shines is at the range. The footage in the video I’ve embedded demonstrates that well. The full size frame is weighty, which helps both with aiming it steadily, and with reducing perceived recoil. The recoil feels as though it pushes back into the shooter, rather than snapping. The low muzzle flip and low perceived recoil aid in maintaining sight picture between shots. The precision of the fit, match grade barrel, and light, crisp trigger all contribute to making the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911 an exceptionally accurate pistol.
One of my carry guns is a Kimber SIS Pro 1911. The largest contributing factor in my decision to carry that pistol is because, in my hands, it out shoots any other handgun I own. However, the Nighthawk Custom AAC puts my Kimber to shame. It is more accurate, has less perceived recoil, and has a notably lighter trigger (with a shorter travel) out of the box. And, despite the Kimber SIS Pro’s inch shorter barrel, it only saves two ounces of weight compared to the 39oz Nighthawk Custom AAC. When one compares the Custom AAC to another premium 1911, such as the the Bill Wilson 1911 from Wilson Combat, the gap in performance between the two is smaller. The Bill Wilson is more on par with the Custom AAC, but the Nighthawk runs a little smoother, and groups a little tighter, with more crispness in the trigger.

Is It Worth the Money?

Here’s the million dollar question, or, more specifically, the $3,300 question: is the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911 worth the money? In a word, yes. For those of you mentally shouting, “Destinee, you’re crazy! $3,300 for a 1911 is obscene!” let me tell you why I have that opinion. The Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911 is a custom, high-end firearm. If you’re looking to pick up any custom/high-end gun, you’re going to spend a pretty penny–notably more than your run-of-the-mill $600-800 1911s. Inside and out, the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911 has all the high performance features of a custom 1911, shoots like a dream, and is suppressor-ready straight out of the box. From the Nighthawk Custom AAC 1911′s sleek looks to its quiet-ready accuracy, this pistol would be right at home in Bruce Wayne’s arsenal. But first, someone needs to tell Batman to work on his trigger discipline.


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