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GUNS Magazine July 2011 Digital Edition - Page 10
• C L I N t S M I t h • P h O t O S : h E I d I S M I t h • NIGhthAWK 1911 & thE tI-rANt Shooting quietly and for a good reason. ighthawk 1911 pistols need no introduction from me, N as the Nighthawk are considered by many to be an industry standard and they are known for being well built, stout and functional handguns. The Nighthawk/Advanced Armament Company fusion of products combining the AAC TiRant suppressor and Nighthawk 1911 pistol typifies both companies high-quality products. This quiet system is built on a full 5" pistol, as it should be for a pistol designed for such a serious application. The 1911 wears fixed Heinie Slant-Pro sights, which are “taller” than normal to allow for the sights to be acquired and used effectively over the top of the can when it is in place on the pistol. Without the suppressor in place, the only visual oddity of the pistol is the slightly extended threaded barrel that projects a nominal 3/4" beyond the barrel bushing. This slight addition to the barrel allows for the AAC suppressor to be screwed onto the barrel. If the suppressor is not in place, a knurled thread protector is provided for standard firing applications. For best results across the board the pistol uses slightly different recoil springs, although it will fire and function with either spring weight for emergency uses. Best-case scenario the pistol uses a 15-pound spring with the suppressor and a 17-pound spring without the can in place. Subtle but effective details for the 1911, for both operation and esthetics, are a thinned frame and mainspring area with milled ball cuts on the slide that replace the bland serrations often seen on the top half of these types of pistols. Both targets were fired with the suppressor installed (right) and without (left). It’s important to note the can was removed and then replaced for each string of fire at each of the four ranges. Accuracy and repeatability is not an issue. the ti-rant This can is very cool and nifty and very quiet; with its sound signature a nominal 133 decibels with 230-grain ball ammunition. The AAC Ti-Rant specs consist of a suppressor made of titanium grade-9 materials making for a weigh-in of 11.5 ounces, a size just short of 9" in length and a diameter of less than 1-1/2". The finish is a moly-anodized trademarked under the name of SCARmor. The can mounts on the threads of the barrel as mentioned before and the twisting of the can when mounted in place allows for a clutch or ratchet-like action that allows for adjustment of the bullet strikes on target. The lightweight suppressor is stunningly repeatable and in all the range testing, I shot groups that were Adding the Advanced Armament Corp. “can” to the Nighthawk 1911 does make for a long, large, imposing .45 ACP pistol—and a very quiet one. fired with the can off and on. In all firing—the can off or on—the pistol was consistent and repeated the previous projectile placement down range. Frankly, if you get one of these pistols, it’s not a big deal but the addition of the suppressor does require an ATF tax stamp, so if you’re interested after reading this you’ll need to make sure where you live allows ownership of suppressors. This again is not a big issue, but you do need to be aware of these paperwork details. I think if you needed, wanted or choose a handgun for defense this is probably from a technical sense a great concept. I could pick up the handgun and deploy it inside the home with minimum concern over sound interference in a conflict. The reduced signature in flash and sound would be a good thing for the shooter and make for a pretty effective way to defend yourself. The .45 ACP is as effective as any handgun cartridge can or would be. I mention later on a light may also be an asset to this concept. Bluntly, if you shoot in defense mode in builtup areas the noise is greatly reduced, if you shoot at the range for practice the handgun is actually pleasant as there is little noise per se. Without ear protection, sound generated by firing the pistol is not an issue. I used 230-grain ball for test firing at ranges of 5 to 50 yards. The pistol 10 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JULY 2011