July Soapbox – Company Longevity and Niche Markets

I read with keen interest and some amusement two different threads on our Message Board which were created last month relating to the above captioned subjects.

As some of you may know, I read virtually all the posts in the NAA Products section every day.  I feel I need to hear what you’re thinking and saying and to react to it when/where appropriate.  The NAA community input is of great importance to me and helps inform many of my decisions.

Anyway, I am interested in the subject of niche markets; NAA’s existence is based on addressing and serving a niche market, one which we value and do everything in our power to satisfactorily serve.  If you want a gun like a Rugar LCR, Kel-Tec P-38T, SCCY, etc. etc. or a similarly compact 9mm, there are a bazillion choices, many/most of which compete largely on $.  Other than doing a modest business in small caliber semi-auto pistols, which we started because Seecamp was so negligent in serving their market, We Are Mini-Revolvers(BTW, some people continue to prefer an all-steel pistol, weight notwithstanding).

Since the departure of Freedom Arms from the mini-revolver market almost 20 years ago, it’s been ours alone, although some ill-advised attempts have been made to take a piece of our pie.  [For the record, FA was formed afterNorth American Arms.  Dick Casull (RIP) started FA with Wayne Baker after he left NAA.  FA continues to manufacture extraordinary single action revolvers, the foundation of which was based on the eponymous 454 Casull cartridge.]

It’s been our practice to do everything possible to deserve our privileged position by making quality products, supported by 2nd-to-none customer service.  We are appreciative of the (generally) good reputation we enjoy and are committed to do everything in our power to secure and enhance it.

On this Independence Day, I’m proud to be an American, running a “Made in America” country.

 

– Sandy Chisholm

Amelia’s Soapbox

Hello, to all of the Sandy Soapbox Readers. My name is Amelia Pullman and Sandy has invited me to take over the Soapbox for this month. I know we will all miss his update for this month, but he will be back next month, I can assure you of that. If you find yourself missing him too much, you can come to Dallas and see him (and the rest of our team) at the NRA Annual Exhibitor show from May 4th-May 6th. We would love to see you all there, and I can speak for Sandy on this, he would love to see you as well.

As for myself, some of you may know me, as for others this may be an introduction of sorts. I am the Marketing Manager here at North American Arms, and my staff includes myself. I am a marketing team of one, so I’ll put this out here now, if you have any news, ideas, comments, questions, concerns, etc. I would be happy to personally take care of them or listen to what you have to say. You can email me directly at amelia@northamericanarms.com. I would love to hear from you.

I have worked for Sandy at NAA since April of 2017, making this my one-year mark. Most of you have been around for much longer than that, I know. I have loved working for this company and hope to stay here for many years. I was born and raised in Utah, and although I have lived in several other places, I always seem to come back to beautiful Utah. I graduated from Utah Valley University in Communication and am currently working on a graduate program. The most common question I am asked from all of you is which of our firearms is my favorite and I would have to say The Sherriff. I actually own my own Sherriff. I love the classic old-timey look of this gun and I have the engraved boot grips to match.

A final fun fact about myself, I won’t be Amelia Pullman for much longer. I’ll be Amelia Thorn in just one month. I am getting married this coming June and I couldn’t be happier. I am registered on Amazon.com if anyone wants to speak now or forever hold their peace. I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

Once again, if you have any comments, ideas, things you want to see, or thoughts for me, I would love to hear them. Maybe if you would like to see a NAA gun giveaway, or more companies spotlights, etc. I appreciate this community that you have all built here at North American Arms. I think it’s something that most companies today are missing, and don’t have the opportunity of having. You all add to the legacy that is North American Arms. I hope to see you all this week in Dallas. Please stop by our booth # and say hello. I would love to meet you or see you again for anyone that I had the pleasure of meeting at NRA last year.

Until then,

Amelia

 

April Soapbox – Things Are Getting Better, Across the Board

It appears to me that the cosmetics and reliability of our currently produced Rangers is improving to where it is now virtually on a par with that of our other guns.  My impressions are based on several different inputs: primarily reports from the factory, both qualitative as well as quantitative, but also to include reactions from our end customers, which I receive directly as well as anecdotally from our user community (Message Board).  There is a whole slew of reasons for this improvement: engineering and assembly tweaks, better vendor performance as well as a better understanding of this gun and its idiosyncrasies by the factory technicians – these all contribute to a better product.

I’m also pleased to report that we’ve made improvements to our Hoglegs, Earls, Sidewinders, Pugs, etc. etc.  In fact, it’s our goal to make every gun we manufacture better than the ones we manufactured the day before.  Sometimes those “improvements” are more substantial than others (e.g. MM and BW cylinder pins), but most are incremental and almost indiscernible.  Notwithstanding, our goal always remains the same – do better and make a better product.   That’s our mission.

As always, I promise a personal response to a personal inquiry to either Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com or 215-385-2315.

March Soapbox – The Debate Continues

I hesitate to enter the debate about gun violence control measures, such as which ones should be adopted, etc.  I think I have an informed perspective, but it’s simply my personal opinion.  I could talk at length about a range of issues, but to the extent that anybody cares to hear anything I believe, I offer just a couple of my thoughts.

What has to/will pass?

FixNics legislation, which is named after the National Shooting Sports Program of the same name http://fixnics.org/#&panel1-4.  The program was begun years ago by the industry in support of efforts by DoJ, FBI, ATF, etc. for the betterment of a critical service (background checks).  The only reason that the legislation hasn’t passed unanimously is because it’s been attached (in the House) to companion legislation supporting national reciprocity of concealed carry licenses.  Left on its own merits, it’s a no-brainer.

What shouldn’t/won’t pass?

Raising the age limit to purchase a firearm to 21.  The age limit to purchase a handgun is 21.  If 18-21 year olds cannot purchase a firearm of ANY type, they have been arbitrarily stripped of their constitutional rights.  That there are politicians who are willing to discuss this possibility, let alone vote in favor of it, should make you VERY afraid.

On another note, sometimes I agree with Rex Tillerson, who reportedly called Trump a moron.  “Take the guns first, go through due process second”.  Really???  That’s as ignorant as it is moronic, and just another reason to be afraid.  I fear this presidency is not likely to end well.  Sigh …

~ Sandy Chisholm

February Soapbox – Off but not Quite Running

I’ll admit to being disappointed, but not entirely surprised, that our introduction of the Ranger II has been something less than flawless.  Unfortunately, I’m very surprised that in a number of instances it’s been as unsuccessful as it has been.  There have been several reasons for this.  Despite our best efforts to anticipate and address all the contingencies that surround a new product introduction, sometimes you simply “don’t know what you don’t know”.  We’ve also found that we’ve made some mistakes we don’t usually make.

Just one example of our struggles has been with regards to the flow of component parts.  Poor purchasing decisions, in conjunction with or prompted by a seemingly never-ending list of ongoing tweaks intended to further enhance performance or production (many of which make existing inventory obsolete) compound some output issues.  The other models in our line no longer require tweaks.

Curiously, we’ve suffered some challenges with relatively simple tasks like the reaming of cylinders, a process which we have done generally successfully on millions of parts over the past 40+ years.  I am every bit as confounded as many of you over some of these missteps.  Sometimes, we are slow to implement new process or adapt to other changes in what has otherwise been a fairly simple world for us, where most model changes have been purely cosmetic.  Re-engineering the Ranger II has been a much bigger challenge.  That a company of the size and with the resources of Remington would face similar struggles (R51 pistol) doesn’t provide us any comfort.

That said, one assurance I can give you is that we will overcome these obstacles and that we will make “right” any and every mini-revolver we have ever manufactured.  This is who we are.

It should go without saying that this factory (or most others) recognize quite well the economic benefits of doing the job right the first time, particularly in our case where the factory bears the brunt/entirety of the expense of fixing problems.  We’d be foolish indeed to send out a gun which we have any reason to suspect may be returned to us for repair/warranty issues – particularly when we warranty virtually everything that happens to any gun that we have ever manufactured/branded, even guns that have been abused by a previous owner.

We test fire every gun that leaves this factory with at least five rounds of a wide variety of commercially available ammunition.  Could we do it with 20 or 100 or more rounds to assure greater certainty?  Yes, we could, but you likely wouldn’t want to pay for that and most (reasonable) people don’t expect us to do that.  If during the process we see any evidence of a problem, we address it before the gun leaves the factory, otherwise we know it costs us substantially more to have the gun later returned to us – we’re not that stupid.

Why does some ammunition seem to work well and some others don’t?  I’ll admit I don’t have any idea but I’m aware that it happens, in our guns as well as others.  The problem is even more confounding when many people report contradictory experiences (A works well, B doesn’t in one case, and B works well but A doesn’t in another).  We invite our customers to try a wide range of different brands (other than Anguilla) in our guns to identify any idiosyncrasies.  Notwithstanding, it remains our mission to manufacture guns that work reliably with all ammunition all the time (but we don’t guarantee it) and we attempt to remedy problematic cases through our warranty service.  Lastly, please be mindful that in all cases, the problem is not always with the gun.

While it’s disappointing to you (and us) if a newly-manufactured gun needs repair service, we offer that service cheerfully and attempt to deliver it quickly.  If any of our Ranger II Early Bird customers have lost confidence or patience in our company &/or this products and would like to act on our offer, we are quite willing to have you return your gun to us for a full refund.

– Sandy Chisholm

 

 

January Soapbox – The Year is New, but the Resolutions are Old

While we met our goal of introducing the Ranger II before the end of last year, the introduction was not as successful as either the factory or our customers would have liked.  While I’m disappointed, I’ll admit that I’m not entirely surprised.  Our best efforts notwithstanding, we faced some glitches which effected both our output as well as apparent quality issues (sticky brass).  I’m confident that we have successfully addressed those issues

Based on what I read on our Message Board (which includes virtually every post, every day), to this point our customers have been, for the most part, tolerant of our shortcomings, confident – as they should be – in our commitment to make things right.  I reaffirm our commitment to making things right the first time but, admittedly, we occasionally come up short.  We know very well that there are costs to both our reputation as well as well as our pocketbook when we have to recover and rework a gun.  It continues to be our goal to avoid these unnecessary, avoidable costs.

Despite Jessica’s very best efforts, which were substantial, I am very sorry that we have disappointed some of our best customers by failing to ship all of our Early Bird orders before Christmas.  I would be upset if I were one of them.  I hope they’ll accept my apology.

So, we enter 2018 with the same resolution that we’ve had every year since I’ve been in business: to do/be better.  While I believe we’ve achieved that most years, there’s still so much more that we can do and it’s our commitment to do it.  I thank you for your business and your support.  Please feel welcome to contact me directly Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com with any complaints or advice you may want to offer.  Happy New Year.