First Impressions – Hands on with the Nighthawk Customs Agency Arms Agent1 Pistol

“…As soon as I saw this gun, first impressions the slide cuts, the serrations, the ergonomics, everything.” – Happy Canuck

Words by: Wally F.     Photos by: Wally F.


I had the opportunity to spend several hours handling and truly gawking at the first Canadian edition of the Nighthawk Customs – Agency Arms Agent1 1911 pistol in the private hands of a friend of mine who is an avid shooter.  He works in the gun industry in Canada and I’m dubbing him Happy Canuck.  He is just that, a very happy Canadian in possession of a very rare, well thought out, and elegantly designed pistol.

Personally, I’m sure as many firearms enthusiasts are, they have a secret or not so secret love affair with the 1911 platform.  Yes, it’s an old patent, yes, it’s had it’s share of problems, and yes there are more recently designed pistols on the market *cough*Glock*cough*.  None of that really matters to a true believer right?

Here’s the conversation I had with Happy Canuck about his Agent1 after our shoot.

Wally F.: So Agency Arms Agent 1. First one in civilian hands in Canada test fired today.  What’s your first impressions?

Happy Canuck: So as soon as I saw this gun first impressions, the slide cuts, the serrations, the ergonomics, everything, it’s just smooth polished, amazing.

HC: Pre-shooting, the Agency Arms front and rear slide serrations are just bar none, you can get any kind of purchase you want [on the slide], if you wanna rack at the back or the front…

HC: Getting down to the grips themselves the grips are RailScales so they’re quite nice very bumpy and grippy, it’s kind of a VZ mix of a Hogue grip with their golf ball Piranha grips… very grippy very nice.

WF: Front and back straps?

HC: Serrations, if you’ve ever held a Springfield in your hands, it’s gonna be the same thing these serrations are quite aggressive… …they are probably a little bit more kind of cheese grater like, because the front is crossed and checkered in the middle so it’s quite easy to actually get a nice grip on both sides so even if you have a lot of sweat [on your hands] or anything it’s simple and easy to hold.

HC: The rear is little bit more serrated on the main spring housing it’s quite bumpy… On the main spring housing they put a lot more texturing on the rear.

HC: The undercut under the trigger guard is amazing.  You can get your middle finger up there so anyone who has had issues holding Glocks or anything, here you can get your finger up as high as you can.  The beaver tail is quite smooth, very nice purchase hold, easy to hold easy to use.

HC: When you’re actually using the safety, the safety [has] very audible clicks.  The trigger itself bar none.

HC demonstrates working the safety, it has crisp positive movement and a sharp click when engaged.  He cycles the slide and tests the reset.  Even on a basic 1911 trigger resets have always been good, the Agent1’s is that much better.  The take up and travel is predictable and smooth like the shaved head of a Marine.

HC: The Heinie sight at the rear very nice notch, no actual dots on the rear sight but [it] makes all the difference on your front sight because it has a fiber optic on this so… easy easy [to use] because if you have any eye issues or astigmatism or anything else this picks up quite quickly which is great.



HC: The barrel, amazing, it’s a bull barrel with a fluting, it’s not so deep where you see massive cuts but you can tell there is a little bit of a recess in different spots.  You have a reverse crown on this bull barrel so you need no bushing, so for any of those guys who have OCD they’ll like this because there’s no extra material it’s all just beautifully reversed, nice and shiny, just [an] amazing match barrel on that 9mm there.

HC: The first trigger pull on this was unreal.  It’s was predictable, it was nice, it was crisp.  It doesn’t recoil that much, you just gotta get use to the bit of grippiness and that’s all, this gun stays in your hands the entire time… some people won’t like how grippy it is but for me it felt really nice and smooth to shoot the recoil was flat and didn’t feel like it wanted to buck up really hard. It just felt nice and straight and easy and the shot placements were tight.


HC:  Just having a Canadian [edition] one… just kind of brings a little Canadian pride because all of the American ones will have just [NHAA] the number on there.  This [one] is number 8 so closest to one but probably a few other people who have a lower number, but whatever I have one it doesn’t matter.

WF: Brilliant.

Even though there is no bushing on this 1911 because of the bull barrel you’d think that field stripping this gorgeous machine would be a snap, but in order to remove the captured spring and guide rod you need an L shape allen key to prop the spring before you can remove the rod out and then the barrel.  It’s not field expedient but it’s a small price to pay in my opinion.  This isn’t a pistol you would deploy with to a conflict zone anyways.  You’re going to take your time with the pistol the same way Agency Arms and Nighthawk Custom took theirs in crafting this pistol.

On the barrel in edition to NHAA etched to the right hand side of the slide CANADA is also on there as well instead of the numbering of the pistol.  The number for this Canadian version is right at the front of slide ahead of the serrations.

There is a single 1913 rail slot to mount a light to.  It’s placed in the same spot as it is on a Glock.  The magazine well is tastefully flared to make mag changes smoother.  It’s not exaggerated like a ZEV Tech mag well but it functions the same and doesn’t draw the eye away from the rest of the design.  Like HC was saying, the Heinie rear notch sight combined with a nice fiber optic on the front made target acquisition very easy and smooth to line up.

The RailScale grips are just the right amount of texture, style, function, and art all in one package.  No amount of fancy stippling on your plastic gun can compete against a well crafted set of 1911 panel grips.  A great little Easter egg with the grips is if you look on the back side of the grips inside the magazine well you’ll see the logos of Agency Arms, Nighthawk Customs, and RailScales etched into them.  It’s that type of detail that you’re paying for.  Hillbilly 223 does the custom Cerakote finish on this Agent1.  It’s not quite black not quite grey, it’s a pleasant-makes-you-look-twice kind of paint job.  It’s understated but very nice to look at.

Shooting the Agent1 is exactly what you expect from a well crafted high end 1911 in the same category as Wilson Combat and Dan Wesson.  A predictable recoil, fast follow ups, and smooth action.  The weight of the pistol is well balanced with just the right amount of punch when you’re shooting.  The Agent1 lets you know it can get a little wily if it wants to but it won’t because it’s a refined gentleman.

With only 50 of these limited edition pistols made, they are pretty much all but spoken for.  That being said if you contact Wanstalls in Vancouver, Canada they may have the HOOK-UP you might be looking for.

For your regular cravings in the firearms world in Canada and beyond be sure to follow TV-PressPass on Facebook and myself Wally F. on Instagram for more exclusive photos of the Canadian Edition of the Nighthawk Customs – Agency Arms Agent1 1911.

Reporting for TV-PressPass

Wally F.

Staff Writer and Reporter for TVPP. Background in Broadcast News Operations, Journalism, Criminology, and Firearms. An Infantry NCO for over fifteen years in the Canadian Army and still counting. Spent 8 months in Iraq working on my tan. I love my country, family, brother-in-arms, shooting sports, and positive responsible promotion of firearms and everything that surrounds it in Canada and beyond.