July 2017 – Ready or Not, Here We Come.

On or before Monday July 17 (2017), we will post pictures of one or more of the several prototypes of the still-under-development Ranger II, which represent the culmination of almost two years of our development efforts. I expect the pieces will closely resemble a gun. In my wildest dreams, it will be a functioning piece, maybe even a reliable one.

It’s no secret that these efforts have been plagued by mistakes and missteps along the way which have contributed to the delay. While we’re not out of the woods yet, we believe that most of that interruption is behind us.

What you won’t see or read about at this unveiling is any reference to cost or availability. This will come in due course, but if I were a betting man (which I’m not), I’d say under $500 and before Christmas seem likely at this point.

As more information becomes available, we’ll share it.

June 2017 – A “Slight” Delay

Those of you who read last month’s Soapbox were probably expecting to read an update on our progress with the Ranger II in this one.  The progress we were expecting and the news we were hoping to report has once again been deferred to next month.  I share your disappointment and ask that you not lose hope in our ability to deliver this long-awaited product reintroduction; I will state unequivocally that we are one month closer to our shared goal.

Like virtually everyone else in our industry, we have seen a softening of demand for our products (which has had no impact on our product development budget/efforts).  Fortunately, the decline in the rate of incoming orders for NAA has been fractional to what others are reporting for a variety of reasons, many of which I outlined in the March ’17 Soapbox, and we continue to enjoy a modest backlog.  It’s not only possible but likely that some in our industry will not survive as we transition to a new “normal”.  While it’s unfortunate for some, this change in our industry and landscape simply reflects the ordinary passage of time and lies at the heart of capitalism – survival of the fittest/most competitive.

While a lot of uncertainty exists in the firearms industry, and notwithstanding my aversion to sticking my neck out and making promises I can’t keep, I give you my assurance that NAA will be one of the industry’s survivors AND that when we’re ready to unveil the Ranger II, you will feel that it was well worth the wait.  That’s my story …

Enjoy your summer.

March 2017 – We’re Waiting For You

Since the surprising results of last year’s presidential elections were announced, many manufacturers, distributors and retailers have anticipated, and are now beginning to see in fact, a general softening of sales in the shooting sports industry.  While the foreseeable future looks very bright in terms of the industry’s ability to conduct commerce in a relatively unthreatened environment, the buying/selling climate is no longer driven by that greatest of market movers – the threat of adverse public policy: “assault” weapons bans, magazine capacity restrictions, additional restrictions on the availability and use of lead ammunition, general obstacles to purchasing anything (additional background checks, waiting periods, etc.), a possible review/reversal of favorable 2A decisions, etc.  The political future of the firearms industry is as cloud-free as it has ever been.  Indeed, there seem to be opportunities for gun owners’ interests to actually be advanced.  Legislation has already been introduced which would allow national reciprocity for concealed carry rights, the removal of suppressors from the NFA list to name two. [Note: this more moderate climate is specific to the federal landscape.  I recognize very well that certain states/communities will continue with their own regional, misguided and unsuccessful efforts to make effective contributions to public safety.  Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, anyone?

One outcome from this softened demand is that the retail customer should expect to see some attractive near-term buying opportunities as some in the distribution chain make frantic efforts to correct their failed gamble of stocking up in anticipation of the worst (President Clinton).  Orders are being cancelled, inventories slashed and prices will be discounted in an attempt to bring balance to the marketplace.  Unfortunately, no one should expect any such bargains to be had for NAA products.  We continue to operate with a modest backlog and expect incoming orders to remain strong.  Why us?

Research shows us that much of the boom of the past several years was caused by the entry of brand new shooters – people purchasing firearms for the first time.  Certainly there were old shooters who continued to make additions to their arsenal (who owns just one gun?), but much of the surge in demand came from newcomers to the market who, for a variety of reasons, finally reached the tipping point and made the transition to becoming new gun owners.  As it has for the past “several” years, the category of concealed carry/personal protection led the way.

Nothing in the new post-election environment has made anyone feel that it’s getting safer out there.  Concealed carry classes continue to swell as law-abiding, responsible but fearful adults have decided that it’s better to be armed than not and, guided by the advice from some that “bigger is better” and anything less that 9mm or 38ACP is entirely inadequate, have gone on to purchase a wide range of steel/polymer and leather products with which to face an uncertain world.  And then a funny thing happens; they realize that comfort and ease of carry count for more than just a little and what they’ve recently purchased, from a 1911 to a full-frame-sized revolver to even a mid-size fill-in-the-blank (Glock, S&W, Ruger, Sig., etc. etc.) isn’t as easy to carry/conceal as they at first thought it would be, and they begin to downsize to something more comfortable and easy to carry.  And that’s where we come in.

Make no mistake about it, from the standpoint of personal protection, you would be well advised to carry the largest caliber platform with the greatest ammunition capacity that you will carry.  Ballistic science and the incapacitating effects of gunshot trauma in humans &/or animals is very quantifiable and predictable.  That said, it’s similarly unarguable that the NAA 22 mini-revolver in my pocket is an infinitely more effective personal protection weapon than the 50AE Desert Eagle – or any other platform – in your nightstand, glovebox or wherever.  You can’t shoot what you don’t have.  And my customers tend to carry my guns.

Idiots who make ignorant, macho-sounding comments like “you’ll just piss someone off with that little thing” show themselves to be just that – idiots.  A reasonably placed 22 caliber bullet fired at a self-defense range will drop someone dead like a sack of bricks.  And in a great number of circumstances, simply brandishing a weapon will change an assailant’s behavior.  I don’t care what the caliber, I don’t want to be shot by any gun.  I would love an opportunity to show some of the aforementioned naysayers just how much I can piss them off; make my day, azzholes.

So, why does our future remain bright?  Because of these recently new but now slightly more experienced shooters who are just beginning to recognize and appreciate the value of “Convenient, Reliable, Effective”.  We’re not embarrassed to acknowledge that we’re nobody’s idea of a first gun and so many of these new shooter haven’t found us – yet – but, trust me, they will.  After all, who owns just one gun?

May 2016 – New Website

It’s almost certain that you’ve noticed that the NAA website has gone through a dramatic overhaul. Based on the few early comments posted on a recently created thread http://naaminis.com/smf/index.php?topic=7082.0 on our Message Board, which is now called “Forum” at the top of the Home page, the reaction has been mixed – as we anticipated. Some of you are happy with our efforts to “freshen” our presentation, while others are perplexed/disappointed with our having “fixed” something that didn’t appear broken. There’s a lot to be said for the comfort of familiarity, even if the old doesn’t work as well as the new; that describes my feelings much of the time about lots of things, so I’m sympathetic to anyone feeling annoyed.

What originally drove this project was the shopping/ordering architecture, which on our old site was “dated”. I’m told that how we collect data and distribute it throughout the rest of our accounting and order fulfillment systems has improved greatly, as has the security and efficacy of the payment and tracking process.

It’s my initial, casual observation that a lot yet remains to be done. Poor formatting and coding, broken links, etc. riddle the site. Please do us the great favor of identifying any and every mistake you uncover as you wander around and share your observations with my Sales & Marketing Manager, Kenny Barlow (Kenny@NorthAmericanArms.com), who is managing this project. Please feel invited as well to offer your comments, criticisms and any other feedback you would like to share with the factory. We have a lot to learn and we recognize that, particularly with this new effort, there’s a lot we can do to improve upon it still. We’d appreciate your help.

Fortunately, the Message Board a.k.a. Forum appears to have remained unchanged. F.Y.I., my habits are to review ALL of the posts in the “Products” group EVERY day. Until yesterday when I began to conduct my audit and I was feeling particularly nosey, there were several groups I had never visited, particularly the “Politics and Religion” group – it scares me the carnage and vitriol I might find in there. I was surprised to see several posts in the other categories “addressed” to me. Let me once again make my practice clear: I will not respond to ANY posts in our Forum. Notwithstanding, I will respond to EVERY email that is addressed to me personally Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com. I would be very happy to hear from you.

Ranger II? We’re still working on it when we have the time. Admittedly, it’s not our first priority.

For those of you attending the NRA Convention in Louisville the weekend of May 20th, please stop by the NAA booth (5732) and introduce yourself. We look forward to meeting you.