The Nighthawk Custom Thunder Ranch Combat Special is a unique collaboration between two legendary companies in the firearms industry. Nighthawk Custom is well known for building the finest 1911 pistols, using their “One Gun, One Gunsmith” approach that means each individual gun is built start to finish by a single gunsmith. Thunder Ranch, led by Clint Smith, has been the premier training facility for all types of firearms training for over 25 years.

Clint Smith, a 1911 expert, selected Nighthawk Custom to build his ideal pistol. After multiple discussions and prototypes, Clint finalized this design as his ultimate version of a handgun. This model features newly designed front and rear cocking serrations, a lanyard loop mainspring housing, a “GI-Style” nub thumb safety, custom engraving, and a gold bead front sight. The gun is finished with a unique Smoked Nitride finish and green linen/micarta scales.

The Thunder Ranch Combat Special is a 5″ Government model, available in both .45 ACP as well as 9mm Luger. It is available with or without an accessory/light rail.

This is the Ultimate Baseline Platform for self defense. Browning would be proud, I am.

-Clint Smith

It is important to note, Thunder Ranch is a training school, and not a firearms dealer. You cannot purchase the Nighthawk Custom Thunder Ranch Combat Special from Thunder Ranch, contact Nighthawk Custom directly and their team of experts will get you sorted out.

After five decades of teaching, my desire for the refinement of the 1911 pistol has lead me to Nighthawk Custom. It’s a gun I am betting my life on to pass onto you.

-Clint Smith

Every detail was discussed and considered and final features and specific components were all deliberately chosen.

In Clint’s words:

“The gold bead front sight is historically used on African safari rifles, as gold is an excellent light gathering material. The large cut cocking serrations are effective, but not overstated, they get the job done without a lot of foolery. Smoked nitride has an eclectic, somewhat used appearance, but it’s a hardcore finish that looks good and isn’t shiny. I think it’s a good way to go. Pistols you fight with should have lanyard rings, and these do. The thumb safety, made specifically for me, it’s not off the wall, it’s just exactly what I want, a functional piece for fighting.”

The Thunder Ranch Combat Special is a custom 1911. If there are specific details or any additional modifications you prefer, such as an ambidextrous thumb safety for example, these can be specified during the order process at Nighthawk Custom. Contact them via their website at or over the phone at: (877) 268-4867.


  • Custom Front and Rear Cocking Serrations
  • GI “Nub-Style” Thumb Safety
  • 18k Gold Bead Front Sight
  • 25 LPI Checkering on Front Strap of Frame
  • Lanyard Loop Mainspring Housing With 25LPI Checkering
  • Medium Solid Trigger
  • Smoked Nitride Finish
  • Linen/Micarta Grips
  • Thunder Ranch Logo Behind Rear Cocking Serrations


  • Frame Size: Government
  • Accessory Rail: Available with or without
  • Caliber: .45 ACP or 9mm Luger
  • Height: 5.85″
  • Overall Length: 8.60″
  • Width: 1.30″
  • Slide Width: 0.92″
  • Grip Thickness: Standard
  • Empty Weight: 40.8 oz.
  • Sight Radius: 6.49″
  • Barrel Length: 5″
  • Magazine Capacity: .45 ACP : 8 / 9mm : 10
  • Rear Sight: Black Serrated Heinie Ledge
  • Front Sight: Gold Bead