Firearm: Nighthawk Custom Agent 2 (MSRP: $4,499.99)
Let’s address the elephant in the room right off. Yes, this is an expensive pistol. Look at it as something to aspire to own, or a “someday” gun, or maybe a goal to work toward. Nighthawk Custom’s Agent 2 pistol, crafted in conjunction with Agency Arms, offers a modern take on the timeless 1911 design, an astonishing fighting pistol that is as beautiful as it is functional. Available in both Government and Commander configurations, we’ve opted for the slightly shorter Commander model today.
If you’re a fan of the 1911, you recognize that, even among high-end models, the Agent 2 is a standout. Custom features cover the gun from muzzle to beavertail, with a match-grade barrel, contoured magazine release, custom Nighthawk/Agency collaboration trigger and Railscale G10 grips just a few of the upgraded components. Agency Arms produces the slide, with aesthetic side windows and useful cocking serrations both fore and aft, while Nighthawk’s frame includes an extended magazine well, undercut trigger guard and accessory rail as part of the functional improvements.
Simply charge the pistol and you start to understand the level of workmanship that goes into this collaborative effort. There is something nearly mythical about the way the slide moves, seemingly frictionless, to charge the Agent 2. Function isn’t just great, it’s next-level, like the rest of this handgun. While, yes, it is definitely one of the priciest offerings we’ve chosen for “I Carry,” it’s also one of the best-handling. This isn’t just a beauty queen, this is a pistol you could take to a weeklong class at Gunsite and be confident in its operation.
Some quick specs on the Agent 2: It’s available in .45 ACP and 9 mm, with an optional upgrade to 10 mm for an extra $100. Overall length is 7.85 inches with the 4.25-inch barrel of the Commander, with weight at 38.6 ounces and capacity at 10 rounds for the 9 mm we have today. Standard rear sight is a Heinie black ledge with a red fiber-optic pipe front sight, and the finish is Nighthawk’s proprietary Smoke Cerakote. Also included with the Agent 2 are two Nighthawk Custom 1911 magazines, a new addition to the Nighthawk line.
Note that this model has Nighthawk Custom’s Interchangeable Optics System (IOS), which is a custom-machined dovetail that Nighthawk cuts into the slide. Rather than mill the slide for a specific optic, the IOS allows one of three optics-specific plates to be swapped for the rear sight. This particular model is obviously cut for the Trijicon RMR footprint, and includes a back-up rear sight milled forward of the optic. This system allows optics and iron sights to be interchangeable with no disruption in zero for either method.
Holster: Milt Sparks Axiom outside-the-waistband (MSRP: $235)
If you’re aiming for a high-end pistol like the Agent 2, you want an equally durable and attractive holster to carry it in. Enter the Milt Sparks Axiom outside-the-waistband holster. Designed to both tuck the pistol in close to the body for optimum concealment while allowing rapid attachment or removal of the holster, the Axiom uses dual snap closures to keep things secure. The Axiom features a 20-degree cant for presentation, and the offset belt loops help distribute weight for greater comfort.
The Axiom is available in cowhide, not horsehide, and with several different trim options. The holster we have today features shark trim on the mouth and belt loops. Custom trim options do incur additional cost over standard cowhide, and there is a multi-month wait currently. Axiom holsters are available in black and Cordovan (dark brown) for both right- and left-handed shooters.
Accessory: Garmin Tactix Delta – Solar Edition with Ballistics (MSRP: $1,399.99)
While it’s unlikely you’ll need a ballistic calculator for a 9 mm handgun, it’s possible that you might be the sort to enjoy long-range pursuits. If so, what could possibly be handier than having a ballistic chart right on your wrist? Garmin’s Tactix Delta Solar Edition with Ballistics makes use of Applied Ballistics Elite software to both calculate aiming solutions and provide ballistic profiles at a glance. You can also set up range cards for different firearms and/or bullet weights.
In addition to the ballistic capabilities, though, the Tactix Delta is an amazingly powerful smartwatch. GPS allows it to track a wide range of activities for fitness updates, topographical maps, navigation and even turn-by-turn instruction on your watch. Features such as GarminPay allow you to link your watch to a credit card to make touchless payments, the Delta can stream music to Bluetooth-enabled headphones and a wide variety of health features can be tracked and managed. The Garmin Tactix Delta smartwatch is an incredibly potent survival tool on many levels.