Gun Review: Korth Mongoose .357 Magnum
This high-end revolver from Nighthawk Custom is the Lamborghini of wheelguns, and it shoots like one too.
Whenever someone reviews very expensive firearms, there’s usually a Lamborghini lurking in the text. As in, a Lamborghini and sub-compact will both get you to work in the morning, but some people want to drive the best and can afford to, while many do fine with that used Toyota Yaris. Frankly, the Lambo comparison is apology, a plea to the reader not to hate the writer because the writer is reviewing a firearm the reader most likely can’t afford. And plenty of readers get upset when they finish a review only to discover the gun in question costs more payments on their house than they’d care to admit. So, upfront: the Korth Mongoose, available from Nighthawk Custom, is one fine revolver, retailing for a damned hefty $3,499. It holds six rounds of the powerful .357 Magnum, sports a three-inch barrel, and is a fine choice for concealed carry. But is it worth that large chunk of change? Not my call. I barely can figure my own finances beyond, “I could use more money,” so I have no place judging what another person’s idea of worth might be given his or her income, assets, and preferences about firearms.
All I can say for sure is the Korth Mongoose is the best revolver I have ever had the pleasure to shoot. The gun’s fit and finish place it far above other revolvers on the market today. It is very accurate. Mine preformed without a hitch, the action so very smooth I fear the triggers on most other revolvers are going to feel like rusted ratchet wrenches from now on.
The Mongoose is made by Korth Waffen of Germany, with help in the United States from Nighthawk Custom. Korth has been a fixture in competitive shooting circles in Germany since the mid 1950’s, making custom, one-at-a-time revolvers. Nighthawk takes the same custom approach with 1911 pistols and, from its headquarters in Berryville, Arkansas, produces some of the best 1911’s on the market today.
The two companies partnered to offer Korth revolvers to shooters in the U.S. Korth does the actual manufacturing, with design input from Nighthawk, and Nighthawk also handles marketing in the U.S.
I must admit, I was hesitant to even shoot the Korth Mongoose. Aesthetically, the hard-black finish is beautiful, and given what the revolver costs, I kept thinking, What if I drop it?
But it’s a handgun and handguns are made to be used. For my testing, I used three types of .357 ammunition: Aguila Ammunition firing a 158-grain semi-jacketed soft point bullets; Remington Performance Wheelgun with a 158-grain semi-wadcutter projectiles; and Winchester Super-X Personal Protection with a 158-grain jacketed soft point bullets.
I spent at least five hours, over the course of several days, shooting the Mongoose with zero misfires. Every round went off as expected, and every spent brass case cleanly ejected with a light push of the cylinder rod ejector.
Loading was very easy. A push on the cylinder release and a quick twist of the wrist and the cylinder popped right out.
With the three-inch barrel, I treated the Mongoose as a concealed carry handgun when it was time to determine accuracy. I set up my targets at seven yards, which I consider a mid- to slightly-longer range for actual self-defense scenarios (the often-cited distance for most law enforcement gun fights being three yards and under). I shot standing, using both hands and no rest, and the accuracy was very impressive.
Firing the revolver in the double-action, which is the recommended way to shoot a revolver for self defense, my best five shots were a .723-inch group with the Remington Performance Wheelgun, and a 1.00-inch cluster with the Aquila. In both cases, a flyer among the six bumped up the grouping of the whole cylinder to 1.25-inches. The Winchester Super X pegged groups right around 1.4-inches.
The Korth Mongoose can also be fired single action, with the shooter thumbing back the hammer and then firing. Just a light squeeze sends the round downrange. In single action, any target at 10 yards and under should be a bullseye hit. If not, it’s you, not the Mongoose.
Of course, trigger pull weights varied between single- and double-action firing. In single action, the Mongoose averaged just 2 pounds of trigger pull, while the double-action pull measured in at an average of 6 pounds, 5 ounces. Both readings were gauged with a new Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge.
Trigger pull can be easily adjusted via the screw hammer main spring in the butt. However, the Mongoose felt solid right out of the box, so I preformed no trigger tinkering.
Yes, the Korth Mongoose can be a handful to fire, especially for the novice shooter. With the handgun’s weight mostly in the middle and rear, plus the short, three-inch barrel, the muzzle does indeed rise when the Mongoose is fired. And the mighty .357 magnum round is a lot of cartridge all by itself.
You need a firm grip—not too tight or the wobble will start, yet very firm. The wrap-around Hogue grip was a big help here, the grippy rubberized material and the finger grooves providing a very steady anchor for my shooting hand.
Sights and Features
The front sight features a gold dot, while the rear sights are adjustable for elevation and windage. The skeletonized hammer sports deep grooves that lined up perfectly with my thumb, making one-handed cocking of the hammer very easy.
Chambered for .357 Magnum, the Mongoose will also use .38 Special loads. I didn’t try .38’s. Yes, .38 SPL is less expensive and presents less recoil, and many people like to practice with .38 rounds in their .357’s. Yet, for me, there’s little point is having a magnum revolver if you are going to use non-magnum loads. Practice may be easier, but the lighter loads really don’t prepare you for using the gun at full power.
I carried the Korth Mongoose around for three days as my everyday carry handgun, using a Galco Silhouette High Ride Holster (SIL 104). With the Galco holster, I found I could carry the Korth comfortably while wearing a jacket/coat or a roomy, large flannel shirt.
The revolver will also fit nicely into a purse or a center console on a vehicle, though first make sure these carry options are legal under your state’s laws.
Korth/Nighthawk also offers the revolver with a 4″, 5.25″, and a 6″ barrel, for larger price tags, and they can perform all sorts of phenomenal engraving, at additional costs.
For some crazed reason, Korth/Nighthawk sent me serial number 0001 of the Korth Mongoose three-inch model. If there was any way in the world I could lay out the necessary cash, Korth Mongoose 0001 would be mine, and my grandchildren’s for many decades to come.
But I have to satisfy myself with knowing the Korth Mongoose has set my own personal standard for revolver quality and aesthetics. When asked about a new revolver I’ve used, I will likely find myself saying, “That revolver worked pretty well. Of course, it’s not a Korth Mongoose…”
And I won’t be making car comparisons!