First Look: Nighthawk Custom Interchangeable Optic System

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posted on January 30, 2019
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Nighthawk Custom built on the company's experience in constructing cutting-edge firearms with the launch of the all-new Nighthawk IOS interchangeable optics system. This new setup allows owners of pistols equipped with this unique slide cut to quickly and easily change optics without losing zero. Don't want a mounted optic? The system returns to irons just as easily.

“We are recognized for producing the finest quality 1911s in the industry. When considering this new project,we knew nothing but a groundbreaking new optic system would suffice,” said Mark Stone, owner and CEO at Nighthawk Custom. “This system is reliable, adaptable and seamlessly blends with the pistol.”

The secret behind the Nighthawk Custom IOS setup is the use of a tapered cut located at the rear of the slide. When either iron sights or red-dot optics are mounted in this tapered cut, they're secured into place with a pin and set screw. To remove the unit, simply loosen the set screw, push out the retaining pin and slide the plate off. The tapered nature of the slide cut ensures that mounted optics return to the same exact spot in the cut every time, preventing any loss of zero while swapping optics. The entire process can be completed in less than 30 seconds, ensuring owners can get back into action with any sighting system they want without spending extra time mounting or re-zeroing their optic.

Three separate mounting-plate options are included in the Nighthawk Custom IOS, designed for use with the Trijicon RMR, Viper Vortex or the RMSc Shield. Once mounted, the optics provide a lower 1/3 co-witness mount that lines up with a standard-height front sight. Each of the rear mounting plates that fit into the tapered slide dovetail include fixed rear sights along with the electronic-optics mount, so shooters have a backup sighting solution built into the IOS design, should their primary optic go down.

With a standard round top and fixed rear sight, the top plate weighs 2.1 to 2.7 ounces, depending on the optic selected. The height over the slide measures .560-.575 inch. Each Nighthawk Custom Integrated Optic System retails for $350, and each sight-specific mounting plate costs $150.

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