The author had an opportunity to evaluate probably the most expensive revolver on the market today. His thought was revealing.
Haters are going to hate!
Ok, let’s get the hate out of the way now! The Korth Mongoose sells for close to $5,000! I have no doubt that this may be the most expensive revolver ever covered by GunsAmerica. Yes, you can buy three and a third Pythons for the cost of the Mongoose. I get it! It’s not something most of us will ever buy. I’ll readily admit that it’s not a pistol I would ever consider buying. So, this review is much like having the opportunity to drive a friend’s Ferrari Roma, knowing you will never own one! You do it because it’s fun and interesting.
That out of the way, a little background is in order. Willi Korth started the company in the mid-fifties with the goal to make the best revolver in the world. Based in West Germany, the Korth represents the best in German engineering and quality. Think of it as the Mercedes of the wheelgun world. At the 2016 SHOT Show, Mark Stone, Nighthawks CEO, met with Martin Rotuman, Korth’s CEO. A friendship developed from that meeting and that resulted in a business relationship. Korth wanted to expand their market to the U.S. but, as with other European companies, Korth did not have an understanding of the market. At the same time, Nighthawk was looking to expand to Europe. To quote Stone, “It is a near perfect relationship and friendship. They are great people and it is more than just guns.”
Nighthawk now carries ten different models of Korth revolvers, the latest being the Mongoose Silver. I found the moniker interesting in that the Mongoose is a snake killer. Nighthawk is known, not only for their quality but their “one gun – one gunsmith” business model. Each gun is built, finished, and tested by a single gunsmith. If you own a Nighthawk 1911, you will find that gunsmith’s initials stamped on the frame, under the grip. Korth uses this same process. When Korth revolvers are received at Nighthawk, they undergo a complete technical and quality control inspection by a Korth trained gunsmith. Each revolver is then test-fired, re-inspected, cleaned, and boxed for shipment.
Mongoose Silver Details
So, let’s get to the details of the Mongoose Silver. The Mongoose is a medium frame, double action, revolver that is chambered in .357 Magnum with an optional 9mm cylinder. With its 4.25” barrel, full underlug barrel, and clean lines, it is hard not to compare it to the Colt Python. The Korth uses a coil mainspring and has a roller action for one of the best double actions I have ever felt. The accompanying photo shows the lock work and the enclosed mainspring. The double-action on our test pistol averaged 9.7 lbs. while the single action averaged 3.7 lbs. The finish on our test pistol is a durable silver DLC coating. This finish adds a considerable amount to the cost of the pistol.
Externally, the Mongoose is a very clean looking pistol with attractive lines. The barrel is void of any markings and the frame markings are tastefully done. The full under-lug barrel is reminiscent of the S&W L frame. On the left side of the frame is the Korth logo while on the right side is the Nighthawk logo, the required ATF markings of the company name, city, and state, and the serial number. Because the Mongoose is a multi-caliber revolver, the caliber designation is located on the barrel in the ejection rod recess. The top of the frame is contoured to flow to the barrel and features serrations that flow to the top of the barrel. The barrel is deeply crowned and polished.
The trigger on the Mongoose is fully adjustable and is radiused and the face is nicely polished. Interestingly, the only machine marks found on the Mongoose are on the sides of the trigger. The hammer has a unique shape with double recesses. The cylinder release is a traditional shape but the release moves at a 45-degree upward direction. The front sight is a ramped post that has a domed gold bead while the rear sight is a square notch blade that is fully adjustable. The front sight blade is retained by a retention screw above the muzzle and is easily replaced. The stocks are Turkish walnut that are large target models and are perfectly fitted to the pistol.
On the range, the Korth was very pleasant to shoot. Magnum loads were managed by the weight of the pistol and the stocks. Federal .357 Magnum 158 grain Hydra Shok averaged 1,319 fps and rang the steel targets with authority. We also shot Speers .38 Special 125 gr. Gold Dot and their 125 grain TMJ range load. The Gold Dot averaged 696 fps while the TMJ load averaged a very mild 917 fps. The Korth is capable of far better accuracy than I am. That said I still managed several sub-two inch groups when shooting off a bench at 25 yards. Unfortunately, our test pistol did not come with a 9mm cylinder. It would have been interesting to compare the two calibers.
To open the cylinder, the release is moved forward and upward at a 45 degree angle. For shooters accustomed to a Smith & Wesson style release, this did not take any real adjustment.
Unlike most assignments, I was able to have three experienced shooters evaluate the Mongoose. The testing was conducted on separate range trips and each shooter evaluated the Korth without any knowledge of the other shooter’s scores. The Korth scored very well and, in general, the scores were very consistent. All three shooters were impressed with the Mongoose, especially with the sights, action, and stocks. Even with the hottest Magnum loads, the Mongoose was comfortable to shoot.
Like many projects, our evaluation period was not as long, nor as extensive, as we would have liked. The round count was more limited due to the ammunition shortage. In addition, after my second range trip, I received a call from Mark Stone saying he needed my sample returned as soon as possible. There was a requirement for another project and my pistol was the only one available. All of the others, that had been imported, had already shipped to dealers. I guess that is a good problem to have. However, my test drive was over!
During my discussion with Mark Stone, I asked if the Korth partnership had met his expectation. While specific sales numbers are confidential, he stated initial sales met the projections. Since that time sales have grown, with some months exceeding projections by 100%. One reason for the success is Nighthawk’s extensive dealer network and loyal customer base.
As I said at the beginning of this review, the Korth is not for everyone. Still, there are those firearm enthusiasts that have the disposable income to buy high-end products. It could be a Rolex, a King Ranch Ford F150, or a Korth. While I am not in that category, I do appreciate the opportunity I had to evaluate the Mongoose for this publication. If nothing else, you can always just window shop on Nighthawk’s website.
|Nighthawk Custom/Korth Mongoose Silver|
|Cylinder Capacity||6 rounds|
|Sights||Adjustable Rear/Gold Bead Front|
|Stocks||Turkish Walnut Combat|
|Finish||Silver DLC Coating|