Nighthawk Strikes!

Nighthawk Custom offers knives
befitting their mighty fine 1911s

Model K550

If you’re a fan of tricked out 1911s you’re already familiar with Nighthawk Custom, but you may not know they offer some mighty fine cutting steel to boot. Located in Berryville, Ark. just north of the Ozarks’ highest peaks, Nighthawk Custom happens to be in a hotbed of excellent custom knifemakers — one in particular going by the name of Keith Murr. A seasoned knifemaker, Keith was raised just down the road from Berryville in Huntsville, Ark. and began making knives in 1987.

Small town life and good old-fashioned Southern hospitality being what it is, Murr got to know some of the folks at Nighthawk Custom and, as the old saying goes, a deal was struck. According to Keith, “A couple of guys from Nighthawk Custom knew me and appreciated the quality of knives I built. We’re located just a few miles apart and knew a partnership would be great for each of our companies. In 2007, I started making knives for Nighthawk Custom with both the Murr and Nighthawk Custom logo on them. It’s been great for us both.”

Model K675

Synergy Built In

Knives and guns have always had symbiotic ties. When firearms were introduced and became the popular mode of procuring food and self-defense, the knife became a valued back-up and was still the prime candidate for field chores. They both serve those essential roles today, side-by-side after hundreds of years. What makes Keith Murr such a great fit for Nighthawk Custom is his ability to create and offer knives both traditional and modern. In his line you’ll find classic bone-handled knives sitting next to high-tech tactical fare.

“My favorite handle would have to be Stag Bone, which is cow bone that is jigged and dyed to resemble Sambar Stag.” Keith tells Handgunner, “It’s my favorite because it’s the closest you can get to real Stag, which has become more expensive and harder to get your hands on.” He also offers Buffalo, Ram and Elk horn for traditionalists, plus G10 and Micarta for those who wish to go the black tactical route.

“The two types of steel we offer are D2 tool steel and Damascus. D2 is my favorite because it holds an incredible edge and is super durable. It’s semi-stainless, which keeps the rust away.” D2 has enough Chromium to qualify as a stainless steel, but its high carbon content technically prevents it from being classified as such. Having owned dozens of knives made with D2 steel I can honestly say I’ve never had one rust. Murr’s knives with Damascus blades are for those who prefer a higher end custom look. This exquisite patterned steel dates back to the 13th century and is still a top choice for custom knife buyers today.

Model K515

Model K650

Model K325

Super Selection

We asked Keith to tell us about the Nighhawk/Murr Collection, starting with their hottest seller. “The most popular model is the K325 with Damascus blade and Ram horn handle.” Keith states, “I believe the reason is because it’s an all-around knife. This a perfect skinner and utility knife with a 3.5″ Drop Point blade. The handle is very comfortable and natural feeling to most people. It’s so useful to people it’s sold a lot of our other models as well.”

Murr’s Stag Bone knives are also a hit with Nighthawk’s customers. “The K650 is the ultimate carry.” Keith notes. “The short Drop Point blade is D2 steel and the Stag Bone handle gives the knife a rugged and classic look. The overall length is 7″ and blade length is 2.5″. This comes with an ambidextrous horizontal leather sheath outfitted with snap-locks and a leather lanyard. The K675 is a longer version of the Model 650 with a Trailing Point 4″ blade.” Murr adds, “Along with the Model 650, it has mosaic handle pins that set it apart from other knives. Its overall length is 8.25″ and the K675 comes with a beautiful leather sheath and leather lanyard.”

As mentioned above, if you’re into stealthy black tacticals, Murr has you covered. Those who like to play with the big boys will appreciate the K515. “This knife is a reminiscent of a WWII fighting knife with a new take on high quality materials and craftmanship.” Keith relates. “The blade is D2 with a Black Nitride finish and the handle is Black and Gray Micarta, or you can get it in Black G10. The K515’s overall length is 10.875″ with a blade length of 5.75″ and comes with a hand-formed Kydex scabbard with a Tec-Lok.”

Want bigger? The K550 is a tactical juggernaut. “This is a hard-use knife for those with hard-use needs.” Keith explains. “It has an overall length of 12″ and blade length of 7″. The Black Nitride coated Clip Point blade is D2 and the Black and Gray Micarta grip has a built-in lanyard hole — and a hand-wound black Nylon lanyard is included. It also comes with a custom Kydex sheath and is accessorized with a Tec-Lok for ease of carry.”

There are many more Murr models to be had on the Nighthawk Custom website. If you’re into classic 1911s one of Murr’s traditional models are sure to fill the bill, or for those who like the company’s state-of-the-art, high-tech offerings Keith has you covered in spades. All of Murr’s knives are pure-bred customs with the quality craftsmanship and fit ’n finish you’d expect from a handmade. Prices range from $345 for the knifemaker’s standard D2 models to $475 for a higher end fixed-blade with Damascus steel, or Keith can custom build one according to your specifications. Keep in mind Nighthawk Custom also offers revolvers and shotguns if you’re so inclined. These folks aim to please!

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