I purchased an early Nighthawk based on my good experience with a 110 and a 112.
The design had an intuitive appeal to it, as well.
When it arrived, the handle and machine shaping of the blade looked and felt great.
In fact the blade had such symmetry I suspect a machine made it.
The edge, however, looked and felt like a very unconcerned and untrained person had put it on with a grinding wheel.
It had much more metal removed from one side than the other, which had moved what passed for an edge off of the centerline.
I used my GATCO sharpening kit to put a correctly centered and multi-chined bevel on the blade, used ceramic rods in a V base to further refine the edge, and finally used two steels and a single freehand ceramic rod to burnish and "roll" the edge.
It has become the sharpest edge I own.
I have not done any hard work with the blade, only messing around with cardboard, leather, paper and soft wood, and it has held an unusually sharp edge, but admittedly without much in the way of abuse.
It steels right up to razor sharpness with one or two passes of the steel.
I have found that long term storage tends to dull the edge, which surprises me given the baldes purported corrosion resistance.
Again it pops back with two passes, but nonetheless it surprises me that storage would degrade the edge, since I understand from posts on the old Mad Dog forum that Buck had designed this knife as part of a military competition.
According to Mad Dog (please forgive me if I don't remeber correctly), the knife did well ergonomically and in salt water tests, but broke in a bending test.
The breaking would not surprise me.
I believe the BuckMaster, or whatever they called the Ramboesque Buck which preceeded the Nighthawk, had a reputation for breaking in bend tests.
I attribute that breaking to a relatively low carbon content of the steel, and a heat treatment optimized for edge hardness.
To me, relatively low carbon, high chrome and high hardness equals brittleness.
I have no objections to brittleness in a knife of this type.
It feels first and foremost like a self-defense type of knife.
It has super ergonomics, and someone should win an award for how good this knife feels in the hand.
Because of its brittleness, assuming brittleness, I would not see it functioning well in a tactical situation where a person might need to abuse it, say as a sharpened crowbar.
It comes with a throw-away sheath: nylon with a necessary plastic liner.
A good design but not rugged enough.
I made a leather slip sheath for mine.
I understand Buck has a new method for applying the final edge.
I also understand Buck may have changed the steel over the years but I cannot say either way.
Mine does not react to fingerprints, moisture or oils, and it has a hard, hard, sharp edge.
The feel and the design inspire confidence.
Much, much more knife than anyone has any right to expect for the money.
Luke 22:36, John 18:6-11, Freedom
If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself.