2013 2012 2011


January 2013 – Gun Control
February 2013 – No soapbox
March 2013 – NSSF Legislative Action Center
April 2013 – NRA Annual Meeting and Product Expo
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013 – CDC Study
October 2013
November 2013 – No soapbox
December 2013

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January 2012 – Happy New Year!
February 2012 – Hint of something new
March 2012 – The Sidewinder
April 2012 – More Sidewinder
May 2012 – An Update
June 2012 – Sidewinder Earlybird
July 2012 – Sidewinder Delay
August 2012 – Brief Update
September 2012 – “Here they come!”
October 2012 – A Small Delay
November 2012 – New Message Board
December 2012 – Sidewinder Update

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January 2011 – Happy New Year
February 2011 – I just wanna’ act big
March 2011 – Production of Ranger stopped
April 2011 – NRA National Convention and Product Expo
May 2011 – National Shooting Sports Foundation
June 2011 – No Soapbox this month….Gone Fishing.
July 2011 – Caught My Limit
August 2011
September 2011 – No Soapbox
October 2011 – National Right-to-Carry
November 2011 – No Soapbox- Happy Thanksgiving
December 2011 – Happy Holidays and Many Thanks!Back to top

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Sandy’s Soapbox January 2013

January Soapbox – Gun Control

I call your attention to today’s editorial http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/features/226903 written by Jim Shepherd (editor/publisher of The Outdoor Wire) regarding the national “discussion” we can look forward to having regarding gun control. You can be certain that the debate will be protracted, contentious and emotional – not necessarily the best ingredients for the formulation of thoughtful national policy. It is imperative that you let your voices be heard by those who represent you but, given their recent track record regarding the “fiscal cliff”, a battle soon to be repeated regarding the looming debt ceiling, I have exhausted any hope of their making a reasoned decision. We deserve better leadership than what we have been shown by the idiots we presently have. No words can adequately describe the contempt I feel towards most of those who govern us.

I’m told that we fulfilled our promise of satisfying all Early Bird orders for The Sidewinder by the end of last year. If there are any “issues” that remain, you should bring them to the attention of our Customer Service Manager, Jessica, at 800-821-5783. Contrary to some of the speculation and erroneous reports I’ve read on our Message Board, virtually every one of our distributors is aware of and has placed orders for this product. Similarly, I can assure you that we will manufacture this product every month (and probably every week, starting with this one) going forward. Unlike The Ranger, we have made the commitment to make this a key part of our product line. Notwithstanding, we expect demand for this product will outstrip our ability to satisfy it in the near term. Current orders we’ve already received approach our scheduled production for 2013, and the product has not yet been officially launched (planned for the SHOT Show 01/15). We will make as many “good” pieces as our time and resources allow and apologize in advance for the disappointment many of you may suffer in your wait.

We wish you a very Happy New Year.

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Sandy’s Soapbox February 2013

No Soapbox this month

Have a Happy Valentines Day!

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Sandy’s Soapbox March 2013

March Soapbox – NSSF Legislative Action Center

I’ve recently returned home from several days of meetings held by the Board of Governors of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. As some of you know, the NSSF is the trade association of the shooting, hunting and outdoor sports industry and the hosts of the annual SHOT Show. The board comprises 18 individuals including representatives of some of the industry’s biggest brands such as Ruger, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Remington/Freedom, Winchester, Federal, etc. etc. and, of course, that titan of industry, North American Arms. The meetings tend to focus on budgetary discussions, determining funding levels for the litany of programs that the NSSF supports through revenues primarily derived from SHOT show booth fees. These programs include Project ChildSafe, the nation’s largest firearms safety program that gives away safety kits (locks) in concert with local law enforcement across the nation and Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, an anti straw-purchase public awareness initiative conducted in concert with BATF. Additionally the association publishes a wide variety of magazines and newsletters, conducts and provides research data for retailers and range operators, maintains directories of shooting and hunting locations, has a huge library of practical shooting tips (how to zero your scope, getting started in cowboy action shooting, range etiquette and safety, etc.).

The NSSF also has a strong public policy agenda as it relates to fighting all the various gun control measures that have resurfaced across the country. Briefly, while it was the consensus of the Board that none of the national initiatives (“assault” weapons ban, magazine capacity restrictions, “universal” background checks) were likely to be successful – with the possible exception of an effort to make the National Instant Check System more effective by increasing the inclusion of more mental health records (“Fix NICS”, which we strongly support) – the threat posed by individual states is seen to be far greater and more imminent. Witness NY, where great damage to gun owners’ rights has already recklessly been done and which will be difficult to repair. Right around the corner lurk similar threats in CO, CT, NJ, CA, MD, etc. etc.

You will find on the lower-left corner of our website a button “Protect Your Rights!” which links to the NSSF Legislative Action Center. I strongly urge you to visit this site. Here you will find a wide array of resources , including Fact Sheets, Legislation Trackers, directories of both federal and state elected officials and the ability to send prewritten email correspondence to any/all of them with one click (of course there is also the opportunity to compose your own message). Please use this resource to let your voices be heard: “Speak now, or forever hold your peace” – and risk losing your rights.

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Sandy’s Soapbox April 2013

Please come visit us at the NRA Annual Meeting and Product Expo in Houston May 3-5. Booth #2755

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Sandy’s Soapbox May 2013

May Soapbox

As I write this, I’m down in Houston with several others of the NAA team, assembling our booth in preparation for the opening (tomorrow, Fri. 05/03) of the annual NRA Show and Product Expo. We invite any of you who plan to attend to stop by our booth (#2755) as I’d enjoy meeting you.

We expect this to be a very busy show. Houston/Texas tends to be a very friendly gun environment. The NRA roles have reached all-time highs of nearly five million members, many of whom have been reinvigorated by the recent debates about gun control, and most are feeling very energized by the “success” of having thoroughly squelched any legislation that was under consideration. Unfortunately, some of the good ideas were lost as well – stricter penalties for straw purchases, compelling states to timely add critical data to the NICS database, allocating $ for better staffing and response time of the “instant” check system, and a further examination of all facets of our mental health programs (how we can identify and treat those who represent a threat to society). These initiatives, too, failed to overcome the hurdle of Senate passage.

Along with about 50 other industry executives, I was in Washington D.C. the week that the legislation was brought to the floor. As most will agree, the political process is an ugly one and is growing increasingly divisive. The acrimony, distrust and gamesmanship that describes the process is sickening and costs all of us good governance, and we can probably look forward to more of the same as other issues come to the forefront (the national budget, immigration policy, the implementation of Obamacare, etc.). It makes many of us sad and angry. Please continue to make your voices heard, both in your representatives offices on a regular basis and at the ballot box on election day.

I have seen several misprints regarding the MSRP of the Sidewinder w/conversion cylinder. That number is $419.

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Sandy’s Soapbox June 2013

Gone Fishing

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Sandy’s Soapbox July 2013

I’m happy to be given the opportunity to write a guest entry for Sandy’s Soapbox. July is an important month in American History. July 4th is the day the Nation celebrates the American Colonists adoption of the Declaration of Independence. This magnificent work spearheaded by Thomas Jefferson and aided by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin not only announced our separation (with our list of reasons) from Great Britain but also carried with it the universal decree that among our inalienable rights are the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It is an easy jump to make that the fundamental instrument to secure those rights is an individual’s right to defend themselves. To protect ourselves from any who would seek to harm us. The secured right to a well-armed populace was an often-articulated argument from America’s more “moderate” founders in John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to Her more “radical” founders like Jefferson and Samuel Adams. These arguments were then codified into the Bill of Rights as our 2nd Amendment.

Today, it is just as important as ever that we utilize our vote and our voice to continue to secure those rights. Remember to vote for strong supporters of our rights at all levels of Government. This year, in most parts of the country, is an election year for town, city, county, and other local offices. Make sure go to the ballot box and elect pro-2nd Amendment mayors, city council members, and sheriffs so that we can continue to enjoy the rights that belong to us.

I wish all of you a wonderful Fourth of July (and rest of the summer) filled with barbeques, fireworks, and loved ones.

Kenny Barlow – Sales Manager

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Sandy’s Soapbox August 2013

Gone Fishing

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Sandy’s Soapbox September 2013

CDC Study

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, one of the executive actions undertaken by the Obama White House was to commission a study to be conducted under the authority of the Center for Disease Control. The unabashed intention of the study, available in its entirety here http://www.nap.edu/download.php?record_id=18319 was to examine the role of firearms in violent crime in America. The presumption was that the study would “prove” that “guns are bad” and that no good ever could or would come from their use and that publication and wide dissemination of this study would help move the debate towards to anti’s goal of reducing/restricting the use of firearms in America. Instead, publication of the study was a sterling example of “don’t ask the question if you’re not prepared to live with the answer”.

If you were to Google “CDC Gun Study”, you would find several scant references to and summaries of the document I referenced above, including the following from the Canada Free Press http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/56191. Several of the study highlights are compelling and unassailable, including the finding that guns are used effectively in a defensive mode at least as often as they are used aggressively, and possibly at a rate of ten time as often for self-defense as for the commission of an assault or other crime. Further, firearms were found to be unarguably the most effective self-defense tool in terms of the reduction of death or injuries suffered by the attacked, as compared to other self-defense strategies, including yelling, fists, knives and/or flight.

No kidding. Stop the presses.

Did you happen to see this reported on ABC, CBS, NBC et al. or read about it in the NY Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal? I didn’t. If the left-leaning liberal media takes such offense about being labeled as such, they shouldn’t continue to behave in a fashion that does nothing more than to support the criticisms levied against them. “A rose by any other name …”.

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Sandy’s Soapbox October 2013

October Soapbox – “Shutdown”

In respect of the U.S. government, this month’s Soapbox has been shutdown.

Is there anyone who is as disgusted with the behavior of our elected representatives as I am? I bet most of you are. I encourage you to show your displeasure in the loudest, most visible, non-violent terms possible.

P.S. Please look for us to expand our social media presence in the near future. We’re small and slow, but we eventually catch-up.

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Sandy’s Soapbox November 2013

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Sandy’s Soapbox December 2013

As 2013 comes to a close and we enter a season of reflection and thanks, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank our North American Arm’s customers. You have truly helped make this year another successful one.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to let everyone know that as the end of the year draws near we are continuing to operate at increased capacity to ensure that we are getting you the great convenient, reliable, and effective product in as timely a manner as possible given our current backlog. We thank you for your patience and continued support of North American Arms.

We wish all of you a happy, festive, and safe holiday season from the NAA Family to yours.


Kenny Barlow
Sales Manager

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Sandy’s Soapbox January 2012

January Soapbox – Happy New Year!

I’m pleased to announce that NAA enjoyed a “successful” year in 2011 and is looking forward to more of the same in 2012.

The biggest measure of that success has been the flow of orders we’ve enjoyed, particularly over the past several months, which has generated a backlog as we enter the new year.   The concealed carry segment continues to be the driver in the shooting sports industry as more people assume responsibility for their own personal protection (“Have a gun!”).  States continue to enhance opportunities to receive a CCW license (where required) and the Feds have begun to address the issue of nationwide reciprocity.  And of course we are entering an election year (have you noticed?) which, for a variety of reasons, tends to drive firearms purchases.

We have begun to increase our capacity in an attempt to meet the demand but the increase is not as easy as “cracking the whip” harder.  There are supply issues from our own vendors who, similarly, cannot always quickly turn on the faucet in response to our requirements.  While many of our employees enjoy the financial benefits of overtime, there are obvious limits as to how much and for how long we can keep the pedal to the metal.  Despite the general availability of labor in this market, NAA is very discriminating in who we hire and we invest heavily in training before we entrust production to the hands of a new employee – our customers demand nothing less.  And we don’t just hire to meet a spike in demand (our last tenure calculation showed the average level of experience at NAA exceeded 16 years).

“Success” also means that we can make investments in new products.  Admittedly, most of those recent “new products” have been simple cosmetic iterations of our existing line.  However, at the risk of being considered a tease, but for the purposes of assuring you that we are attempting to make our line even more attractive, I will admit that we are developing something that we believe will be as well-received as The Ranger.  We will share more at an appropriate time in the future.

We wish you all a Happy New Year and extend our wishes that, for us all, the coming year will be our best ever!  For those of you lucky enough to attend the SHOT Show, we extend an invitation that you come by for a visit.

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Sandy’s Soapbox February 2012

Well, it wasn’t (really) my intent to generate all the speculation I’ve seen expressed on our Message Board regarding the configuration of an imminent new product, but I had to know it would come. It WAS my intent to indicate that we aren’t simply sitting on our hands, instead that we are trying to move ideas through the pipeline, albeit slowly.

I’m happy to confirm that the hinted-at new model is a substantial new design, and nothing that we showed at SHOT. It is not an accessory, like the under-barrel laser (which is interesting and something which I’m certain we’ll pursue) nor a finish (but I was very impressed with the samples of case-hardened minis – we’re pursuing this too).

It’s very helpful to see the “wants” expressed by our community. Obviously, they are many and varied, some of which we may yet pursue. The actual configuration of the new gun was identified (by chance, not inside info) in one thread (but I won’t tell you which one or who posted it).

As some of you will have seen from posts on YouTube, SHOT was a success this year. Buyers and sellers both seem enthusiastic about the coming year. I’m sure my Customer Service Manager, Jessica, is flattered by some who noticed her cameo appearances in one video clip.

Like many, I continue to be amazed at the growing content on the Internet. There are now dozens of NAA reviews on YouTube, as well as a bunch of individually hosted blogs that discuss our products. I think we are reasonably socially engaged with our community, particular through the exchanges on our Message Board, but we’ll continue to try to identify ways that we can connect even better with our audience.

I can hardly wait for the unveiling at the NRA Show.

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Sandy’s Soapbox March 2012

Rather than holding you in suspense for several more weeks, – just because I can – there seems to be no reason not to share with you the general characteristics of our new project.  The Sidewinder will be a single-action mini-revolver built on our magnum frame, whose cylinder is mounted on a side-releasing crane, just like the overwhelming majority of all the other revolvers out there.  This is our attempt to join the fold of “convenient loaders”.

We understand the appeal of having the cylinder remain affixed to the gun and so have responded with this attempt to mimic some of the “performance” of The dearly-departed (but not forgotten) Ranger (FYI, we still have a couple of Rangers left, which we have set-aside to donate to our industry-related associates (NRA, Boy Scouts, 4H, USOC, 2nd Amendment Foundation, etc. etc) to use for their fundraising purposes).

At this point, I can’t tell you how it will be priced, because I still don’t yet know what it will cost, but The Sidewinder should be slightly less than The Ranger.  There are still some engineering tweaks that we expect to perform but we remain committed to showing a piece(s) at the NRA Product Expo in St. Louis in April.

I’m happy to confirm that, at the point we feel ready to produce the piece, we will offer an Early-Bird Special.  There really aren’t any other details to share at this point.

I’d like our Message Board community know that I have, and will continue, to follow all the various threads on our Board, especially about this topic.  I pay close attention to every post that’s made, and I value your feedback more than you may imagine.

I also want to draw attention to a recent post I made. http://www.naaminis.com/smf

There are dozen’s of good, generally-objective and informative gun product review sites out there; we think www.RandyWakeman.com is one of them.

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Sandy’s Soapbox April 2012

>I’ve recently returned home to Philadelphia from one of my regular trips to the factory in Provo, Utah. I make these visits at roughly a rate of once a month. As I (understandably) have virtually no role in the daily operations of the facility, these visits are a “relationship” exercise, where I go to: show a general, continuing and sincere interest in my employees and their conduct of my business, kick some butt, pat some butt, and otherwise satisfy myself that the mice aren’t running away with my cheese. As most of my team of Managing Mice (ably led by Head Rat, Ken Friel) have been at their posts for the nearly twenty years that I’ve owned this company (HR-KF for more than 30), the relationships are fairly solid and my trust that they will continue to successfully fill their roles is great.

The highlight of this trip was my review of our progress in the development of The Sidewinder, our newly-designed mini-revolver where the cylinder is mounted on a sideways-moving crane, not unlike the vast majority of other revolvers in the market, but a significant departure from the remove-the-pin-and-the-cylinder-falls-out modus operandi of the entirety of our line, save the short-lived and dearly-departed breaktop version we christened The Ranger.

With The Ranger, there was a lot of enthusiasm expressed by those who were delighted to see a reincarnation of an attractive older style of firearm. Additionally, however, I was very strongly impressed by the reaction of those who, while very attracted to our line for a litany of reasons (“Convenient, Reliable, Effective”, small, etc.), were off put by the requirement to “disassemble” it into several pieces which they might mishandle in order to load and unload it. It seemed a natural pursuit to overcome that aversion by making a Sidewinder-type product. It has, however, proven to be yet another example that making a small gun is substantially more difficult than simply reducing the size of the components of a big gun. Like The Ranger, this product has presented engineering and manufacturing issues that, at first blush, were not readily apparent to us and may not be to you as well. Notwithstanding, I believe we have met – and overcome – these challenges.

Those who visit our booth next month at the NRA Convention & Product Expo in St. Louis will, as earlier promised, have an opportunity to see a couple of the “first-draft” prototypes which we are assembling as I write this. What you will see are rather rough prototypes that, while perfectly functional (I hope!), will not show any of the several cosmetic modifications I have told my team that I’d like to see made before this is offered to the public.

We will doubtless learn more when we have an opportunity to fire these pieces and I anticipate further tweaks may/will need to be made, but I’m confident at this point that this model will enter production at some point in the summer.

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Sandy’s Soapbox May 2012

Next month in this space, we will announce the details of the promised Early Bird program relating to The Sidewinder, our newest product introduction. While we have yet to make a formal announcement introducing The Sidewinder, we have shown it casually and it is discussed in some detail on our Message Board http://www.naaminis.com/smf as well as in earlier Soapboxes.

For all intents and purposes, the engineering and development for this product have been completed and we are now largely subject to the whims and scheduling of our vendor partners, who typically quote 8-10 weeks before introductory production quantities are delivered. Despite their best efforts, however, their commitments often slip – to our detriment. Notwithstanding, I’m confident that we can/will begin deliveries from NAA on or before August 1st. If I learn of a substantial delay, I’ll share news of it.

I feel like we can do a better job of presenting our Curious, Custom and Collectible program https://northamericanarms.com/firearms/ccc.html , which we intend to do shortly, and to include our new color-case-hardened finish for our LR and M mini-revolvers (which has also been discussed somewhat on our Message Board).

As always, I appreciate the feedback that my (potential) customers offer and continue my promise to respond to every e-mail addressed to me at [email protected]

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Sandy’s Soapbox June 2012

I’m happy to present the details of our latest Early Bird program and the information how you, our friends and members of the NAA community, can obtain the first pieces of the newest model of the NAA product line, the Sidewinder.  This new product has been described in several earlier editions of my Soapbox (since Jan 2012) and has been discussed at some length on our Message Board, for example http://www.naaminis.com/smf . It is important to note that the production piece will look like the solid model drawing at the right of this message, and not the earlier posted photos of a prototype.

This program will begin 06/01/12 and conclude at midnight on 06/30/12.

Orders must be entered online at https://northamericanarms.com/earlybirdsw, or sent by facsimile to 801-374-9998.  The information you provide us must include: the type of card used to pay for the order, card number and 3 or 4 digit security code, expiration date of card, name on the card, billing address, phone number.  Personal checks will be accepted but these orders will not be eligible for the “random draw” (below).  We will only charge credit cards 2 days in advance of anticipated ship date, and deposit checks two weeks in advance of expected ship date.  We will send an email confirming receipt of your order.

Sidewinders offered in this program will be those with 1″ barrels.  As production increases (after the conclusion of the EB program), we will build models with 2.5″ and 4.0″ barrels; we expect the 4″ models will be exempt from the CA “not unsafe” registry.

Orders can be placed for as many as two pieces, for which we will charge $349.00 ea.  Long rifle “conversion” cylinders will be available for $79.00 each.  Sales tax will be charged to those orders shipped to a UT address.

Guns ordered through the Early Bird program will be serialized with a special prefix and the sequence will start with 0001 (ie. SWEB0001).  All orders received by midnight Mon. 06/04 will be entered into a pool; the entries will then be randomly drawn to determine the sequence.  Orders received on 06/05 and thereafter will be sequenced in the order received.  No custom or reserved serial numbers will be available during this program.

Guns cannot/will not be shipped until we receive a current FFL where the ordering individual will receive the gun.  The buyer will be responsible for any transfer fees the selected FFL may charge.

We expect to begin shipments on or about 08/01/12.  We expect it will take several weeks for all of our vendors to ramp-up production of some components we will use for the Sidewinder.  We promise not to ship these pieces through our ordinary distributor network until all EB orders have been fulfilled.

In the event there is additional information I need to share regarding the EB program, I will do so through a post(s) on our Message Board.

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Sandy’s Soapbox July 2012

I’m disappointed to report that we anticipate a one-month delay in the delivery of the first of the Early Bird Sidewinders. Where we earlier “promised” August deliveries, that date has now slipped to September.

This is due to a delay in our receipt of cylinders from a long-term machining partner. While we last year invested in new equipment that enabled us to make “most” of our cylinder requirement, recent market demand for our mini-revolvers has outstripped our internal capacity. We have made (as yet undelivered) machine purchases which will allow us to become self-sufficient for both “ordinary” cylinders as well as (very similar but different) Sidewinder cylinders, but we don’t anticipate that capability being in place before the end of the year. As such, unfortunately, we’re still dependent on the performance of others.

Some of you who have followed our growth will recall that, for the first several years of Guardian production, we had what once was a successful – but ultimately unreliable – relationship with Kahr Arms to machine the major pieces (frame and slide) of that gun. Ultimately we found ourselves forced to invest in both the machinery and the people to operate it so that we could become the masters of our own fate. While it was an expensive and time-consuming process, we were ultimately successful and, in terms of manufacturing what we want, how we want, and when we want it, we are a better company for the transition. This is very similar to what we are facing presently, except that we already have the talent and experience of making these pieces so we expect the transition to be much easier once the equipment arrives.

While we don’t anticipate ever being entirely self-sufficient (I don’t expect us to build an investment casting foundry, or to make grips, springs, holsters and the like), we continue to reinvestment in our company to enhance our ability to manufacture fine firearms to our standards and on our schedule, to the ultimate benefit of our customers. I appreciate your patience and your understanding.

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Sandy’s Soapbox August 2012

Sorry for the delay. Summer tends to make me a little lazy(ier than I normally am!).

Fortunately, no one (well, almost no one) at the factory is lazy and I feel confident that we will ship our first pieces of the Sidewinder on or before September 1st. With the start-up and ramp-up of production pieces from our manufacturing partners, I expect it will takes us several weeks to complete the delivery of all the Early Bird orders which were placed, which I have promised to do before we begin general distribution to our wholesale partners. As we confirm/tweak several modest dimensional issues, build manufacturing and assembly fixtures and become more practiced with building these pieces, I expect we will begin manufacturing these “in volume” before the end of the year, but we still anticipate a backlog that most new firearms generate. When we have finished production pieces, we will post pictures.

I’m also told that we will soon receive both Magnum and Long Rifle versions of the long-awaited “skeleton” version of the belt buckle, which should be available to purchase before the end of the month. Photos and pricing information will be posted (and noted on our Message Board) as soon as they become available.

I wish you all a continued relaxing (and lazy) summer.

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Sandy’s Soapbox September 2012

OK, here’s what I know (or at least what I’ve been told).

The production-grade knurled cylinder release pins are expected early this week. Not having them is what’s precluded us from presenting pictures of a completed piece. I will advise you later this week when/where to find these photos.

Otherwise, the first twenty pieces are finished. I believe Jessica will charge (some) credit cards on Thursday and we will ship these pieces next Mon. or Tues. (10/11). We will be spending the next week going over these pieces to assure ourselves – and you – that they work flawlessly and meet/exceed your expectations. Notwithstanding these efforts, we’re prepared for “glitches” and fully expect you’ll tell us – and the rest of the word – when you find one. We’ll repair and return them promptly. Early Bird Sidewinders come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

In the meantime, we’ve made some minor tweaks to our investment casting tool and hope to receive the next batch of frames in a week or so. Assuming all goes well, we will complete another one or two batches of Sidewinders before the end of September and slowly ramp-up to greater production. I expect that we will complete deliveries of all Early Bird pieces before the end of October.

Similarly, I’m told we expect delivery of the first batch of skeleton belt buckles this week. I’ll advise you when they arrive and will post photos shortly thereafter.

I appreciate your patience. I assure you, I’m anxious/eager, too!

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Sandy’s Soapbox October 2012

I’ve recently learned that we don’t expect to ship the second batch of Sidewinders until the very end of this month. While we bear some responsibility at the factory for this slip, we are suffering a supplier who’s not particularly responsive to our needs. In the meantime, we wait (while he certainly can be replaced, it’s a process that itself takes several months to complete so there is no immediate light on the horizon).

We are also aware of the time cost to get it right.

Like many of you, I feel some anxiety, disappointment, anger and frustration with this delay. I know how eager you are to get this important new piece. Like many of you, I’d hoped we be further along in the process. I assure you that we’re similarly eager to introduce this to a market beyond the few visitors to this Soapbox.

Like none of you, I feel a little embarrassed about my occasional ability to hit date targets for this project (I’ve heard that’s happened to some other manufacturers in years past). Stuff happens.

I’m eager to meet your needs/wants, and request and appreciate your patience.

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Sandy’s Soapbox November 2012

Hey everyone, Steven here (webmaster). Sandy asked me to do the soapbox for the month, and the theme: message board. I sat down with Sandy and he had questions on the new message board. After going through and showing how it all works, and what things are, he thought it would be a good idea if I were to write up something on it, from and informational and educational standpoint. So here goes:

The reason we migrated over to the new message board:
We migrated to this new message board for quite a few reasons. The company that made the old message board is no more, and with that goes any kind of support. My fear on it was that if the message board site crashed, we would not be able to recover it, because there are no instructions that I have been able to find anywhere on the net, and I was not here when it was originally configured. We are hoping to migrate our website to a faster server and with that migration we would have lost everything from the old message board. We decided it would be better to migrate over to a new message board and keep as much of the previous board as possible. This new message board has a lot of support and a lot of supporters, which also means more capabilities and future expandability. The type of programming used to build the board it also gives me a lot more flexibility on what I can do with it as well and I can customize it to fit our needs.

New message board features:
More text options, better image handling, more overall information, are a few of the new features. New ranking feature the shows user levels calculated by post number as follows:
Probational user. (no bullet images) This was set up to block spam and for the first 10 posts you will have to put in the scrambled characters. After the first 10 that will stop. At 15 posts you move up to
Gun Fumbler. (one bullet image) This is where you are still a newbie and getting the hang of things. At 50 posts you move up to
Sometimes hits target. (two bullet images) At 100 posts you move up to
Outer ring. (three bullet images) Outer ring as in targets, still working up to the center ring. At 250 posts you move up to
Middle Ring. (four bullet images) Getting better. At 500 posts you hit the top and move up to
Bulls-eye. (five bullet images) You’ve been around long enough to see it all.
There are too many other things to post about on here. I am going to be putting together a little “cheat sheet” of sorts that will help you to understand the icons, images, and new terminology.

The old message board is still there, but anything posted on there will not be moved to the new message board, and will be lost when the old message board is taken down. The old message board will be there for a while, but I can’t say for certain how long.

I know that not everything transferred completely, but the majority of it did and whatever has not transferred is there to stay. As for post numbers, I have had a few ask me about those. If your post number is incorrect and you would like it adjusted, please let me know and I will adjust it to what the old message board reflects. If you have any questions, concerns, comments, please feel free to let me know. I am open to reasonable suggestions and to help with whatever I can. Email Steven

To get to the message board click here or click the Message Board link at the top.

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Sandy’s Soapbox December 2012

Over the past 18+ months we have made substantial purchases of machine tools and the like and we look forward to increasingly enjoying the benefits of those investments. These benefits include gaining better control over the cost, quality and timely availability of most of the parts we need to build a gun. This includes the additional demands caused by the introduction of the Sidewinder. Ultimately, you are the beneficiaries of a better product produced at a reasonable price.

The update on the Sidewinder is that we expect to have made all deliveries to satisfy the Early Bird subscription before the end of the calendar year and we will enter ordinary production on 01/01/13, delivering guns into the system before we make the gun’s formal introduction at the SHOT Show, at which point we can tell any interested parties that they are available immediately (notwithstanding the possibility of an early backlog). I don’t see any good reason that we won’t offer 2.5″ and 4.0″ (CA “legal”) barrel length models before the end of the first quarter.

I hope we get some orders. Other than our community who visits us here, nobody knows about this new product. There have been no articles written or announcements (widely) made. Our distributors have placed some orders in good faith. We have committed to sharing a few pieces with some writers so that we can introduce the Sidewinder to the retail customer in magazines in the near future. We hope someone buys one or two.

Some of you have shared this “birthing” experience of the Sidewinder with us at the factory. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. We’ve tried to be timely and candid on describing where we were and how things were going – good & bad – during the development. As always, things never are as easy or as timely as you think they should be, but I feel we’re “there” and I appreciate your patience.

Should we do it the same way next time (whatever/whenever that may be), or should we just shut up until “it’s soup”? Let me know.

[email protected]

Addendum: Well, I could make a few remarks about the election but I won’t. It is what it is. Simply, our job, as both a business and as individuals, is to perform to the best of our abilities in the environment in which we find ourselves. That’s what you can expect of NAA/myself.

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Sandy’s Soapbox January 2011

“Happy New Year”

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Sandy’s Soapbox February 2011

“I don’t wanna’ be big, I just wanna’ act big”.

A couple of weeks ago, a team from North American Arms travelled to Las Vegas to participate in the 50th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoors Trades (SHOT) Show.  Several of you know this because, from what I read on our Message Board, you were in attendance.  I also read that others learned this after calling NAA and being greeted by a telephone recording announcing the same.  Understandably, most who received this greeting were not pleased/impressed.

At the show, we had a modest (but adequately sized, at 20” X 20”) booth, staffed by myself, my General Manager Ken, my Sales Manager Kenny, my Customer Service Manager Jessica, my Office Manager Margo and my Purchasing Manager Dennis.  For the most part, we were kept fairly busy attempting to answer the questions and listen to the stories from our share of the crowd of 57,000 people.

To the surprise of some, this small group represented most of the front office staff from Provo, and almost 20% of our entire roster of employees.  Like our booth, the size of our company is modest.  Left behind to manage the phones were Tami (on the shop floor), my Controller Harold, juggling our books and our former Receptionist Lisa, juggling her infant son as well as some of Jessica’s and Margo’s unrelenting tasks.  Despite an admonishment from me, phones were nobody’s priorities.  Shame on us.

We go to great lengths to delivery extraordinary service.  From what I read/hear, more often than not we succeed, which is one reason that when we fall so painfully short as we did that week, the sound of the “thud” echos loudly.  I, too, get incensed when I call a customer service number that rings incessantly, only to be ultimately answered by a machine (particularly at my own company – yes, it’s happened to me, too!).

Please don’t consider this explanation as an excuse but rather an apology.  Please keep the bar, and your expectations, high; it’s our responsibility to meet – and exceed – them, and I depend on you letting me know when we don’t.  We don’t mind being a small company, we just don’t want to act like one.

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Sandy’s Soapbox March 2011

It is with a great sense of disappointment that I announce that NAA has decided NOT to enter into regular production of The Ranger.

As I’d earlier indicated (and as I believe those who’ve seen one would attest), manufacture of The Ranger required some extraordinary machining skills to achieve the required very tight tolerances, as well as an inordinate amount of hand fitting to make the gun function reliably.  Similarly, I’d indicated that it was a very costly piece to build and that we were making NO $ on the 500 pieces to which we had committed.  It was our hope that, during this first phase we would be able to identify engineering and process modifications which would allow us to enjoy substantial savings such that we could bring the production pieces to market at a target MSRP of $399, which we felt was an appropriate and achievable price point.

Unfortunately, we didn’t and we can’t, so we won’t.  In fact, in response to our request to quote on a commitment of 5000 pieces, our manufacturing partner increased our cost by 25%, clearly indicating to us that they weren’t making any $ either.  Notwithstanding our decision, we (and they) will continue to honor the pricing for the balance of the original lot of 500 pieces, which we expect to complete in the next few weeks.  Pricewise, after the guns leave the factory, free market forces take over and we can’t anticipate how our distributors or their FFL customers will market these pieces, although we anticipate that the price is likely to increase.

This announcement is not a marketing ploy. While we are free to revisit our decision in the future, we don’t expect to.  Most of those who will read this Soapbox will similarly have read about our early-bird offer (Sep. 2010) and hopefully took advantage of the opportunity to purchase one of these special pieces.  For those who didn’t, there’s always the secondary/resale market.

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Sandy’s Soapbox April 2011

Please come to visit us at The NRA National Convention and Product Expo, held this year in Pittsburgh PA on Friday April 29th through Sunday May 1st.  We’ll be in booth #1445.  Hope to see you there!

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Sandy’s Soapbox May 2011

I’d like to introduce you to a hunting and shooting resource which many of you may not be familiar with.The National Shooting Sports Foundation (www.NSSF.org) is the trade association whose mission is, simply, to “Promote, Protect and Preserve Hunting and the Shooting Sports”.  The organization is probably best known as the owners and producers of The S.H.O.T. Show, the largest hunting and shooting industry trade show in the world.  While the NSSF, its programs and its members are typically “industry-grade”, e.g. manufacturers, service providers, dealers/distributors, media, etc. representing those businesses engaged with firearms, they have increased their focus on programs and productions of interest to the individual. One of these is a new initiative called “Pull the Trigger” http://www.nssf.org/PullTheTrigger/

One of the most interesting sections is the library of videos which have been created and which address a broad variety of different subjects, including: trigger control, scope mounting, minute of angle calculations, pheasant recipes, speed reloading, drawing a handgun from a holster, analysis of recent Supreme Court decisions, smithing opportunities for Modern Sporting Rifles (AR-15 style), etc. etc. and include presentations by some widely recognized talents, including Jerry Miculek and Mitch Schultz and Doug Painter.There is something there for everyone; please take a moment to explore this site/section.

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Sandy’s Soapbox June 2011

Gone Fishing, See you next month…..

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Sandy’s Soapbox July 2011 – Caught My Limit

Back from fishing.  I wish you a happy Fourth of July and my hopes and wishes that you’re enjoying a relaxing, comfortable summer.There’s not too much to report, but I feel compelled to say something to those who regularly visit this page looking for some pearl of wisdom or explosive announcement.  Those same people have doubtless learned by now that they’re entirely unlikely to find either here but they return anyway.  I appreciate their loyalty, interest and the triumph of hope over experience.From an industry perspective, many of you are doubtless familiar with the Project Gunwalker/Fast & Furious ATF operation (Google any of those terms to learn about the illegal government-directed sale of several thousand weapons to the drug cartels in Mexico), which is just starting to gain popular attention and which, unfortunately, may ultimately prove to be the death of the agency.  From the perspective of many of the agents, the stain of this conduct will ultimately exceed that from either Ruby Ridge or Waco.  The agency has for several years been run by an “Acting Director” (Melson), whose days are truly numbered, with no confirmable replacement to be found.  Conventional wisdom has the regulatory function being removed to the FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security, or God only knows where else.  Many in industry are concerned about the uncertainty of the future, feeling “better the devil you know than the one you don’t”, but we’ll just have to wait and see; it’s just not good for business or the national psyche, this continuing success of our government to shoot itself in the foot – we really should change our point of aim.At NAA, the status quo continues to march onward with a reassuring sense of regularity which, for the most part, is a very good thing.  We do make incremental improvements to our products, typically slowly but surely and we are determined to do so.  Many seem to think that what we do – manufacture small firearms – is easy: just take a large gun and cut the dimensions in half, for example.  The simple response is “were it that easy, there would be a lot of people doing it”, but it’s not and there aren’t.  As we have aged and grown, we have made changes for the better.  Over the years, we have filled our shop with a great collection of fancy new machines – but others have better. We have improved our process, our methods and controls – but others do better.  With our modest resources and capabilities, we attempt to do the most/best we can with what we have.  Many times, we’re successful but sometimes we miss the mark with some failed prototypes, lastly (our first, but not last, attempt at) a 32 caliber mini-revolver, or we set the bar too high, like our too-expensive-to-produce The Ranger, but that doesn’t stop us from trying.One of the things that I believe makes NAA special (and I think we are) is our people, and the time they’ve served with us and the experience they bring to the manufacture of our product, and to the creation of our style, our culture.  Man-for-man (and woman-for-woman), I’ll put our team up against any in the industry.  Their ability to know what’s right – and if it’s not, how to make it right – either in products or processes, is unsurpassed in the industry and is a function of not just their talent or their training, but their experience.  In a group of a little more than 30 individuals, more than 20 have been at NAA for over 10 years, more than 15 – half – have been here for at least 20 years, and five (including Ken at 31 and Carl at 35) have been here for more than 30 years.  Their experience, product knowledge, and a commitment to our business is priceless, and is the biggest thing that makes NAA special.  I couldn’t be prouder or more appreciative.We’re far from perfect and we make too many mistakes too often.  We certainly can get better and we will but the attempts are easier and more likely to be successful when you’re working with a team like ours.BTW, we’re currently working on a new gun of a design not frequently discussed on our Message Board, but I’ve already said too much.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2011

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2011

Check back later for Sandy’s Nov Soapbox

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2011

National Right-to-Carry

North American Arms handguns are designed specifically for concealed carry, to serve a mission of personal defense.  They are not intended to be hunting products, unless your prey is a serpent or a squirrel; they are not intended for marksmanship, unless your target is a can or other such casual object.  They are intended to be effective tools in defense of self &/or others in close proximity.  They are effective not because the rounds they fire have overwhelming terminal ballistics; other guns that fire more, bigger, faster bullets have an unarguable edge there – but only a fool would discount the potential lethality of even a .22LR round.  NAA firearms are particularly effective because they’re a gun and most people don’t want to be shot with a gun of ANY caliber.  They are especially effective because, being small, light and unobtrusive – easy to carry – they ARE carried with great regularity and are infinitely more effective than anything else that’s: at home, in the car, etc. etc.

As many of you are doubtless aware, the market for concealed carry weapons has grown substantially over the past several years.  States that had never allowed their citizens an opportunity to carry have begun to do so (there is now only one – Illinois – with no such opportunity [yet]), and those that had the allowance have now liberalized it (“Shall issue”).  This tsunami of policy change is almost entirely due to the simple, indisputable fact that CONCEALED CARRY IS AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF VIOLENT CRIME (the benefits of which accrue even to those who choose not to take advantage of the opportunity).

While gunowners can never become complacent in the fight to protect their rights, they can take comfort in the general tone of the discussion regarding those rights, highlighted by the symphony that was two recent Supreme Court decisions regarding those rights, as well as the recently introduced National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/2375-National-Concealed-Carry-Bill-With-Broad-Bipartisan-Support-to-Get-First-Ever-Hearing-

which, amongst other things, will compel each state to recognize the gun-carrying rights of the citizens who have been licensed in others.  For those interested in securing their right of self-defense, the future looks bright.

Remember Rule #1 of  personal protection through concealed carry:

Have a gun!

North American Arms

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2011

No Soapbox this month….

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2011

December 2011 Soapbox –  Happy Holidays and Many Thanks

Another year is coming to a close for North American Arms and we find ourselves entering yet another holiday season.  A season of gratitude and goodwill.  It is in this season that we take time to reflect and be thankful for the success NAA has enjoyed.

I believe that our success is due to the overwhelming support of our customers, our loyal message board members and all those who have been introduced to our product over the years.  You have spread the word about NAA to your friends, relatives and even strangers.  You have taken the time to stop and speak to us at the NRA Expo and SHOT Show, contacted us by phone, email, fax and written letters to provide us with advice and feedback on product and marketing, and whether positive or negative, we have taken it in and used it to make our company, products and ultimately our customer’s experience with North American Arms better.

I recently had my 5-year anniversary with North American Arms and as I reflect on my personal experiences with the company I can say that I am truly grateful to all the customers of North American Arms.  You have made my experience so far at NAA rich and fulfilling.  I am grateful to be with a company that puts customer satisfaction, customer input and quality products at the pinnacle of its business model.  As we enter a new year I can assure you that there are more quality products to look forward to in the coming year and years to come!

Thank You and Happy Holidays.

Kenny Barlow
Sales Manager

Happy Holidays!

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