The Thunder Ranch Combat Special is a 1911-style pistol born from a very special collaboration between Nighthawk Custom and Thunder Ranch, one of the best firearms training facilities available to civilians in the U.S. for over 25 years.
President and Director of Thunder Ranch is Clint Smith, a Marine Corps veteran of two infantry and Combined Action Platoon tours in Vietnam, whose experience includes seven years as a police officer during which he served as head of the Firearms Training Division as well as being a S.W.A.T. member and precision rifleman of two infantry and Combined Action Platoon tours in Vietnam.
Smith is also a 1911 expert of course, and from his extensive experience the Thunder Ranch Combat Special was developed: together with Nighthawk Custom, he “finalized this design as his ultimate version of a handgun”. Smith explains what he means in the video below.
Video: Clint Smith and the Thunder Ranch Combat Special
“One Gun, One Gunsmith”
First of all, the Thunder Ranch Combat Special pistol is a full-size, all-steel 1911 built following the “One Gun, One Gunsmith” approach, meaning that each gun is built start to finish by a single gunsmith.
Besides the most classic U.S. caliber of all, the .45 ACP, it is also available in 9mm, and features newly designed front and rear cocking serrations, a lanyard loop mainspring housing, a “GI-Style” nub thumb safety, custom engraving.
Fine 25 LPI checkering can be found on the front strap and main spring housing, for a safer grip.
The Thunder Ranch logo is proudly displayed behind the rear cocking serrations. Scale grips are green linen/micarta.
The match grade barrel is 5” long – as you would expect from a 1911. If mechanically speaking the Thunder Ranch Combat Special is very faithful to the archetype, two nice aesthetic / functional details are worth of note: first, the gun sports a unique Smoked Nitride finish – which gives the gun a pleasant “worn” look; the other nice detail is the 14k gold bead front sight. Rear sight is a Heinie Black Ledge type.
As you may have guessed, Nighthawk Custom's Thunder Ranch Combat Special is not just “another 1911-style gun”: this is a solid yet refined creature, and the price – $3,799 – reflects this.
Nighthawk Custom Thunder Ranch Combat Special specs and price
|Calibers: ||9 mm/45 ACP|
|Barrel Length: ||5"/127 mm|
|Overall Length: ||8.60"/218 mm|
|Weight (Empty): ||41.3 oz/1,170 g|
|Sight Radius: ||6.49"/165 mm|
|Magazine Capacity: ||8 rounds|
|Rear Sight: ||Heinie Black Ledge|
|Front Sight: ||Gold Bead|
|Finish: ||Smoked Nitride|