Nighthawk Custom Delivers Slick Colt Series 70 1911

Nighthawk Custom makes a very nice Colt. (Photo: Nighthawk)

Nighthawk Custom is putting their own spin on the classic Colt Series 70 to make an all-around beaut of a 1911. The Custom Colt Series 70 is a retro-styled carry gun that looks great but is still built for everyday use.

Starting with a Colt 1911 Classic, Nighthawk Custom overhauled the fire control group with an all-new short match-grade solid trigger and fully machined disconnector, hammer strut, sear, and pin. They also polished and tuned the ejector and extractor as part of their complete action tune.

The Custom Colt Series 70 has a dovetailed rear sight by Harrison Design with a dovetailed Nighthawk Custom solid 14-carat gold bead front sight. Other upgraded components include a spurred hammer, custom mainspring housing, beavertail grip safety, tuned magazine release and slide stop and match-grade barrel bushing.

While it looks like a well-loved 1911, it’s all-new and completely tuned for today’s shooters. (Photo: Nighthawk)

Nighthawk Custom also tightened the slide-to-frame fit, undercut the trigger guard, serrated the front strap with vertical cuts to match the mainspring housing and tuned the barrel for improved reliability. Tuning the barrel includes cutting a target crown, reaming and polishing the chamber, polishing the barrel throat and re-cutting and polishing the feed ramp.

Along with the chamber and feed ramp work, Nighthawk also polishes the breech face on these Colt Series 70 pistols. Small, aesthetic but pleasant touches include a French border along the slide and the Nighthawk Custom logo on the frame in small print along the dust cover.

Most of the changes are subtle and completely functional. (Photo: Nighthawk)

Wrapping things up the Custom Colt Series 70 gets a 17-pound recoil spring, a 19-pound mainspring and a brushed smoked nitride finish. The smoked nitride finish combines the look of an aged blued finish with the benefits and protections of a modern nitride finish.

Otherwise, this is a very traditional 1911 chambered for .45 ACP, with a 7+1-round standard magazine capacity, a full-size 5-inch barrel and slide and Government frame. It has standard-width diamond hardwood checkered grips and standard serrated safety and slide release levers. Unloaded it weighs 39 ounces.

See Also: Going Out in Style: The Last 50 Hi-Powers by Nighthawk and Turnbull

The Nighthawk Custom Colt Series 70 is a gorgeous .45 that’s not just retro, it’s timeless. The changes are major but hardly visible at a glance and mostly improve the function and reliability of the pistol. With its tuned performance, highly visible sights and durable finish, this really is an everyday carry handgun, even if it looks like an heirloom piece.

Of course, neither Nighthawk Custom’s work nor the pony stamp come too cheap, and the Custom Colt Series 70 has a base price, as shown, of $2,599. Other add-ons and upgrades are available for a bit more, and may not be all that necessary. This is a solid package as-is.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

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  • David Gerba July 28, 2020, 10:54 pm

    The part in this article about slide-to-frame tightening is incorrect. I contacted NHC and they said they do not enhance slide-frame fit on these Colts.

    Those who dont understand (or accept) the price of this gun have never sent their 1911 out for custom work. This pistol was not produced for Colt fans. It is for the 1911-enthusiast market (folks who buy Les Baer, Ed Brown, Dan Wesson, Wilson Combat…and yes, Nighthawk) who appreciate the work that goes into custom-tuning a 1911 for accuracy and reliability.

    This pistol offers an opportunity to get a NHC-enhanced 1911 without the hassle (or significant wait) of sending your own pistol in for custom work. The downside to that is, you have no choice in configuration (sights, trigger-length, etc). But when you consider the base Colt pistol is $800, and a reputable gunsmith would charge you another $2000 – $2200 for the work that they performed on this pistol, it’s a bargain at MSRP…and it can be found for less through proper sources.

    Since I had not yet added a Colt (or a Nighthawk) to my collection I ordered one of these, and paid less than MSRP. Cant wait for it to arrive.

  • Ronnie Pigg January 2, 2020, 7:48 pm

    If Colt had told the real reason they quit selling AR to the general public they would have save what few loyal customers they still have. The real reason regarding Colt decision was they are slowing loosing military contracts to Sig’s M400. Sig will soon dominate most of Military contracts. My statement has no regard to who build a better firearm. Money does.

  • horse December 28, 2019, 3:47 am

    if its not a colt all others are imatations I have a 1937 and a stainless colt gov xse stainless and they both work great

  • Kalashnikov Dude December 21, 2019, 10:28 am

    I’d rather see these customs being done on quality non Colt 1911’s. I’m not playing Colt’s high priced games anymore. I always wanted to, but after never getting the original Colt 1911 .45 because it was out of mt price range, and not getting the Colt Delta Elite 10mm because it was out of my price range, and not getting the Colt Delta HBar AR15 because it was out of my price range, instead getting a Norinco model of the 1911 compact, and and Norinco Mak 90 AK’s, and finding out how reliable, and and quality of production those guns are. I just won’t play Colt’s game anymore after they decided not to sell AR’s anymore because they had to be competitive with other manufacturers in their pricing. I go out of my way to look for something else. Enjoy your Nighthawks and Colt’s. I’m going 80% and making what I want for myself. No reason not to anymore.

  • Ken December 20, 2019, 2:53 pm

    I have an Auto Ordnance 1911 that’s as close to the GI version as I’ve found in a new-production pistol. If you’re into Kimber, Wilson Combat, or other tricked-out 1911s, that’s fine. Making a “retro” 1911 for that price just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Flak December 20, 2019, 12:04 pm

    Just buy a Colt Series 70 Gold Cup and save a thousand dollars.

  • Archangel December 20, 2019, 10:55 am

    Maybe I’m just too old but to me the only true 1911 is a series 70!
    I’d not even consider buying a series 80.
    And don’t even get me started on those Glick/glock plastic rocks.

  • Russell December 20, 2019, 10:32 am

    Max is always ahead of trends and a great writer in the gun world. Thanks Max !

    • Max Slowik December 21, 2019, 9:46 pm

      Thank you and have a great weekend!

  • TONY M December 20, 2019, 9:42 am


  • Lloyd Dumas December 20, 2019, 8:32 am

    I have a basic out of box Springfield 1911 with no training wheels on it. The one I have is very accurate I can take the nuts off a gnat at ten yards, it never FTF no matter what I feed it. I have much respect for Mr.John Browning he believed in making it strong enough then double that, it’s hard to improve on perfection.

    • Mark N. December 22, 2019, 2:20 am

      Ditto. I have a Springfield 1911-A1 that I bought (slightly) used for $500. Great, reliable shooter.

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