April 25, 2019
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Photos by Michael Anschuetz
Building top-notch Model 1911s is more than a job to the craftsmen at Nighthawk Custom. It’s a passion. And it shows in the fine work they turn out. One good example is the 9mm Falcon Double Stack pistol I’ve been shooting.
The 9mm Falcon Double Stack has a 7075 aluminum frame, a steel slide with a 5.0-inch match-grade barrel, and a steel bushing. The barrel has an inverted crown, an extended feedramp, and a fully supported chamber.
The pistol has Nighthawk’s trademark Falcon-style “Hi-Power” slide with recessed areas on both sides where front serrations would be located. The slide has three full-length ball-radius cuts on top that are designed to direct the shooter’s eyes to the front sight. The rear grasping grooves consist of eight ball-radius cuts per side. The fine horizontal striations on the back of the slide match the striations on the face of the rear sight. And the slide’s ejection port is flared and lowered.
The Falcon Double Stack wears a Heinie Straight Eight Ledge rear sight with a single tritium dot that’s dovetailed into the slide. It’s drift-adjustable for windage, and two setscrews hold it in place. The front sight is made by Trijicon and has a tritium dot. It, too, is dovetailed to the slide.
The frontstrap, the sides of the wide-body grip (the circumference measures 5.75 inches just above the mag well), and the mainspring housing have scallops for 360-degree texturing that helps the gun stay put in the hand while shooting it. And the integral magazine well funnel makes for snag-free reloads.
The pistol also has a square trigger guard; an integral frame rail with one cross-slot; a slightly extended and striated thumb safety; a beavertail grip safety with speed bump; a Commander-style hammer; a smooth, extended magazine release button; and a striated trigger surface. Speaking of the trigger, according to my RCBS trigger scale, the solid, flat trigger on the Falcon Double Stack pulled a consistent 3 pounds, 8 ounces with 2 ounces of variation from pull to pull. A flat trigger became popular among USPSA competitors years ago partly because it is thought to be less sensitive to finger placement.
The entire gun wears a black protective coating of salt bath nitride, which is renowned for its metal-on-metal wear resistance. It’s also applied to the bore of the barrel, and that is believed to make cleaning easier and increase accuracy life.
About the pistol’s accuracy, after firing 68 rounds offhand just to get a feel for the Falcon Double Stack (that amounts to fully loading the two magazines twice each), I fired five, five-round groups at 25 yards from the bench. As can be seen in the chart, three out of five of the factory loads averaged less than 2.0 inches at 25 yards. The other two loads averaged less than 2.5 inches. Clearly, that’s excellent.
After shooting for groups from the bench, I fired another 68 rounds of ammo at a stationary steel silhouette, a swinging steel plate, and a bouncing-ball target, much of it in rapid-fire mode. In addition, taking a cue from ST writer Layne Simpson, I also fired the Falcon Double Stack left-side down, right-side down, and upside down, and it functioned with 100 percent reliability throughout my entire shooting session.
Nighthawk offers the double-stack option for all of its 9mm Model 1911s for an additional $650, and to put it simply, the 9mm Falcon Double Stack has everything anyone would want in a 1911: fantastic accuracy, easy-to-acquire sights, impeccable fit and finish, tremendous firepower by virtue of its high magazine capacity, and total reliability. On top of all that, with its 9mm chambering and wide grip, this is one of the softest-shooting 1911s I have ever fired.
Falcon Double Stack Specs
- Type: Recoil-operated autoloader
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Magazine Capacity: 17 rounds
- Barrel: 5.0 in.
- Overall Length: 8.58 in.
- Width: 1.40 in.
- Height: 5.58 in.
- Weight, Empty: 39 oz.
- Grips: Integral to frame
- Finish: Black nitride
- Sights: Heinie Straight Eight Ledge rear, Trijicon tritium dot front
- Trigger: 3.5-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Manual thumb safety; beavertail grip safety with memory bump
- MSRP: $4,295
- Manufacturer: Nighthawk Custom, nighthawkcustom.com