Skip to main content

Nighthawk Falcon Commander Review

This year sure feels like the year of the Commander, what with all the new Commander-style 1911s that have been introduced. One that Shooting Times is first to review is the brand-new Falcon Commander from Nighthawk Custom. Getting right to the point, this new 1911 is a premium pistol in every sense of the word.

Features

The heart of this new semi-custom 1911 is the upper. Its features include a 4.25-inch, match-grade barrel (precision crowned and available in either stainless steel made by Nighthawk or in carbon steel made by Kart) and Nighthawk's distinctive Falcon-style slide. The Falcon slide's trademark styling is the recessed areas on both sides where front serrations would be located. Other nice touches to the slide include three full-length ball-radius cuts on top of the slide (designed to direct the shooter's eyes to the front sight), unique rear cocking serrations made up of eight ball-radius cuts per side, and 40 lines-per-inch serrations on the rear of the slide that match the serrations on the face of the rear sight.

Speaking of the rear sight, the Falcon Commander comes with Heinie's Ledge rear sight. It was designed to allow one-hand racking of the slide by pushing the rear sight against something sturdy, such as a door frame or your belt. The rear sight has one dot, as does the front sight, but they are slightly different in size and make the familiar figure eight that Heinie sights are known for. The sample pistol's dots have tritium inserts.


Another key component of the Falcon Commander is the new one-piece, fully machined mainspring housing/magazine well. According to Nighthawk, the piece is cut from a 2.5-inch block of tool steel, and its base is rounded for comfort and to reduce printing through clothing if carried concealed.


The G10 grips have what Nighthawk refers to as a "golf-ball dimple pattern" and come in coyote tan, black, or olive drab green with or without the Nighthawk Custom logo. Our sample has the OD green grips.

MSRP starts at $3,295, and the review sample came with the optional ambidextrous safety upgrade, which adds $120 to the price.

Performance

When I examine a 1911, I always check the trigger pull and how tightly the slide and barrel lock up. In these respects, the Falcon Commander ranks very high. Trigger pull was extremely crisp and clean and consistently broke at 3.5 pounds. There was very little variance in the five times that I measured it with my gauge — 0.5 ounce to be exact. And the pistol's slide barely moved at all from side to side when in battery, and the barrel didn't budge even a tiny bit when I pushed down on its hood.


As for its accuracy, the Falcon Commander did not disappoint. In our recently published newsstand special publication the Complete Book of the Model 1911, Bart Skelton wrote that he is of the mind that defense and duty 1911s should be more accurate than the old standard of 4 inches at 25 yards. Well, this new Commander-style pistol is all that and a lot more. With the five factory loads I put through it for this report, the Falcon Commander's overall combined average was just 2.81 inches at 25 yards. That was with bullet weights ranging from 185 to 230 grains. The results are listed in the accompanying chart, but quickly, the most accurate load on average was Winchester's 230-grain SXT, which went 2.50 inches for three, five-shot strings.

No doubt about it, the Falcon Commander is a fine 1911. Expensive, yes, but premium in every other way, too. To my way of thinking top-notch accuracy, fantastic fit and finish, distinctive styling, and well-designed features make the Falcon Commander a great gun.

Unique features of the Falcon Commander include three ball-radius cuts on the top of the slide, 40 lines-per-inch serrations on the rear of the Heinie Ledge rear sight and the back of the slide, eight ball-radius cuts on the sides of the slide, and 25 lines-per-inch checkering on the one-piece mainspring housing/mag well.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Pinging Steel At Over A Mile Away

Big bore semiauto or a lever gun? We look at the futuristic .450 Bushmaster and how it compares to the tried and true .45-70. ISS Prop House gives us the rundown on the guns used in Enemy at the Gate. We ping steel with a .300 WinMag at over a mile.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Bushnell Prime 3-12X 40mm riflescope is not the company's newest offering, but it is a relatively lightweight (17 ounces) and short (12 inches) scope.Bushnell Prime 3-12X 40mm Riflescope Optics

Bushnell Prime 3-12X 40mm Riflescope

Steve Gash - January 05, 2021

The Bushnell Prime 3-12X 40mm riflescope is not the company's newest offering, but it is a...

Starting in the late 1950s, the .338-bore size gained considerable traction — thanks to the .338 Winchester Magnum. Why? Because hunters are often after game bigger and tougher than whitetails. Here's a list of the .338-caliber greats in chronological order in which they were introduced.11 Great .338 Caliber Rifle Cartridges Ammo

11 Great .338 Caliber Rifle Cartridges

Payton Miller

Starting in the late 1950s, the .338-bore size gained considerable traction — thanks to the...

Improved bullet ballistic coefficients lead to greater performance and accuracy downrange without upping blast and recoil. Here's why.Improved Ballistics a Key to Accurate Long-Range Shooting How-To

Improved Ballistics a Key to Accurate Long-Range Shooting

Rick Jamison

Improved bullet ballistic coefficients lead to greater performance and accuracy downrange...

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270 caliber (6.8mm) rifle cartridges  have not been introduced.5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges Ammo

5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270...

See More Trending Articles

More Handguns

The Springfield Hellcat is also available in the OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) version, which has the same open sights as the standard model but a 0.190-inch-deep mortise machined into the top of the slide is a snug fit for a micro red-dot sight. It comes with a removable steel plate that fills the mortise, giving the user the option of using the gun with or without a red-dot sight. Embedding the optic allows the open sights to be viewed without having to make them uncommonly tall.Springfield Hellcat OSP Review Handguns

Springfield Hellcat OSP Review

Layne Simpson - June 18, 2020

The Springfield Hellcat is also available in the OSP (Optical Sight Pistol) version, which has...

The new Springfield SAINT Victor .308 AR pistol is built for defense.First Look: Springfield SAINT Victor .308 AR Pistol Handguns

First Look: Springfield SAINT Victor .308 AR Pistol

Joel J. Hutchcroft - April 28, 2020

The new Springfield SAINT Victor .308 AR pistol is built for defense.

The Smith & Wesson Model 57 N-Frame .41 Magnum—a favorite of sixgun superstars—refuses to go out of style.Smith & Wesson Model 57 N-Frame .41 Magnum Review Handguns

Smith & Wesson Model 57 N-Frame .41 Magnum Review

Payton Miller - May 20, 2020

The Smith & Wesson Model 57 N-Frame .41 Magnum—a favorite of sixgun superstars—refuses to go...

Just by looking at the Kimber Rapide 1911, you can tell it is built for speed. It has all the bells and whistles that a hot-rod 1911 needs for fast function, and its fit and finish are superb.Kimber Rapide 1911 Review Handguns

Kimber Rapide 1911 Review

Joseph von Benedikt - June 29, 2020

Just by looking at the Kimber Rapide 1911, you can tell it is built for speed. It has all the...

See More Handguns

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Shooting Times App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now