Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2010

Happy New Year !

NAA is preparing to attend the SHOT SHOW.  “The SHOT Show is the world’s largest showcase of firearms, hunting and outdoor products. It provides a forum like no other for the industry to show off its newest products that will adorn the shelves of gun and sporting goods shops in the coming year.”  This is where NAA will formally introduce “The Earl” to the entire firearms industry.

NAA is increasing our production once again to help meet the current demand for our firearms.  Rest assured, the firearms will still be of the same quality (if not better) that you have come to expect from NAA.

Additional personnel has been added as well as equipment to assist with the current sales requests.

Remember, our employees are always willing and able to assist you with any questions or concerns that you may have. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-821-5783.  Our hours of operations are: Monday- Thursday 8am-4:30pm and Friday 8am-12pm.  We look forward to talking with you this year

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2010

Gone Ice Fishing? Lot’s of snow here in PA.

Regards – Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2010

I’d rather be here than in Philadelphia!

It’s a popular but false legend that this is W.C. Fields epitaph. He was known to have made several disparaging remarks about The City of Brotherly Love (his birthplace as well as mine, and presently my home) but, according to his entry on Wikiquote, this is not one of them (instead his headstone simply and conventionally recites his name and the dates of his life). However, ol W.C. never faced a winter where the snow accumulation reached 80 , which is what we ve received so far, only half way through the season and over 50 in the month of February alone. Stop already! I ve had more than enough. Move over, W.C. I d rather be in there beside you than here in Philly. BTW, the arguments for McDonald vs. Chicago (see January Soapbox) before the Supreme Court are scheduled to be held on Tuesday. A decision is not expected until June. Cross your fingers.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2010

I’ve recently had my attention drawn again to a photo essay created by an individual named Zed Nelson.  It’s entitled “Gun Nation” and is described on the book’s home page, http://www.zednelson.com/?GunNation , as “a disturbing reflection on America’s deadly love affair with the gun – is widely considered to be the definitive body of work on the subject”.
Nelson’s simple, black and white images have been assembled, first, into a gallery exhibition; they have subsequently also been published in a book.  The exhibition has been shown in major galleries throughout the world.  I have personally seen the exhibition and heard it described in broadcast reports on NPR and 60 Minutes, for example, as well as reproduced in issues of TIME and GQ (British edition).  The exhibition has won a litany of important awards, including first prize in the World Press Photo Competition (date uncertain).

The photographs depict a variety of fairly undistinguished and unspectacular locations/events/people, including a ladies tea party in Memphis, the floor of an emergency room, an adolescent handling display pieces at an NRA convention, a man showing his prosthetic leg, a bullet riddled car, a stunningly handsome major firearms manufacturer’s CEO (image #26), etc. etc. all of which have a gun-related theme.  As you might imagine, the depictions are not necessarily meant to present positive impressions of the American gun culture.  While I don’t know when the collection was first presented, I do know that at least one of the photos was taken about 15 years ago.

It’s very coincidental that this dated collection of photos has recently again come to my attention through both my Sales Manager as well as a recent thread on our Message Board.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2010

No Soapbox this month,

See ya next month!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2010

BREAKTOP

Yes, I’m happy to confirm the poorly kept secret that NAA has been slowly but diligently working on the development of a .22 caliber breaktop minirevolver.

I can also confirm that we have made a commitment to manufacture a “limited production” (see note below) lot of up to 500 pieces.  We anticipate the first of these

should become available around September 2010, but we’ve made projections like this before and haven’t come close; that might happen again.

Yes, we will likely offer an “Early Bird” program, giving friends of the factory/our Message Board community a limited opportunity to purchase one of these 1st Editions.  Custom serialization will not be available.

No, it will not be available for sale in CA unless/until we manufacture a 4” barrel model (on a production basis, if we reach that), obviating the requirement of dealing with that state’s expensive and moronic regulations regarding “not unsafe” firearms.

Yes, it will be more expensive than other pieces in our line, but not “ridiculously” so (<$500, we believe).  Because we are so confident that most will recognize and appreciate the quality and value of these pieces, we will offer a 30 day money back guarantee.  Of course, these pieces will also enjoy the standard NAA lifetime guarantee of reliable functioning.  One reason for the expense is that these pieces take minirevolver engineering to the next level, with fit and finish moving even closer to the standard of “watch-like”.

Generally speaking, the piece will be dimensionally “identical” to the 22M.   It will be manufactured on the magnum frame only, with the possibility of replacing the cylinder with one fitted for LR cartridges.

One of advantages to the breaktop is that you don’t need to remove the cylinder to load/reload.  While this process will be appreciably quicker than with our current models and require almost no manual dexterity, reloading will not be “fast”.  Because the cam-operated cylinder star extends only about 3/8”, the cartridge cases will not be fully extracted.

Limited Production should NOT be confused with Limited Edition.  It is our hope that this new model will become a regular offering from our factory, based on the level of interest and sales success this first batch enjoys, but it may not.  Contrary to some suggestions, we do NOT know what these pieces will ultimately cost us; we have made thoughtful estimates and have some experience from the several iterations of prototypes we’ve already made, but we’ve “been fooled” before.  We obviously expect to learn a lot from the manufacture of this first edition.  With the exception of the internal components, which are common with our existent minirevolvers, the entire piece of these first editions will be machined from barstock.  If we decide to go into ordinary production, we will then make the investments in molds/tools/dyes/fixtures/et al., which investments are substantial but which will help to reduce the costs of manufacture, we hope, and may allow us to reduce the sell price of the “next generation” of production pieces.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2010

McDonald and Freedom, and Blogspots

You’ll have read/heard about the recent Supreme Court decision (McDonald vs. Chicago) that found that states/cities/communities cannot “unreasonably” infringe on the individual right to bear arms decided in the Heller vs. DC case. The result is generally a positive one and was expected by all who followed the debate. The decision did recognize that “some” regulation is reasonable but the Court made no effort to describe “some”, the result of which is to spawn a spate of individual suits which will begin to answer the question (is registration, a user fee, a purchase limit, a waiting period, a handgun board, microstamping, user recognition, etc. etc. “reasonable”?). These are questions that I don’t anticipate being resolved in my lifetime but it appears that, while the landscape for gun ownership is not likely to get immediately better, nor is it likel to get immediately worse. That’s a victory, I guess.

I also draw your attention to another resource for learning more about NAA and its products. Visitors to our Message Board will have “met” NAAlover (Reggie Paulk), who has recently started a blogspot featuring our products http://naaminis.blogspot.com/. I’ll admit that I’m not very familiar or practiced with this type of site/social media but am delighted that someone is willing to give our products some attention. As I dug further, I discovered another such blog created by a guy named BR. His can be found at http://br-naa.blogspot.com/ (if your browser doesn’t allow pop-ups then you may have to hold the CTL button when you select this link, because it opens in a new window.) As another point of information, I encourage the NAA community to visit and participate in these sites. Please note that these are not operated or sponsored by the factory and we cannot take any responsibility for their content, they both appear to be very professionally prepared and offer some valuable information and feedback on our products – check them out!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2010

Curious, Custom and Collectible 

The following is a draft of a press release which describes a new customer-direct selling program which will include a variety of customized offerings.  These offerings will be made available on an irregular basis and will remain in the CCC shop until the batch is exhausted; these are NOT “Limited Editions” and another batch may be produced at the whim/discretion of the factory.  The program will officially launch “shortly” and we expect to make the first few offerings available before the end of the month and will announce their availability with a post on the Message Board.

I would be particularly happy to get your feedback/suggestions for this program; please address your notes to Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com

PS  Look for an announcement of the Breaktop Early Bird Program in the September Soapbox.

North American Arms is pleased to announce the opening of their “factory-direct” custom shop named “Curious, Custom & Collectible”.  Through this new program, customers will be offered a variety of limited-production*, uniquely designed minirevolvers and customized Guardian pistols.

We’ve found that there is a group of consumers who look at our products as collectible items, beyond their utility as “Convenient, Reliable, Effective” handguns.  We feel that there are a variety of opportunities to take advantage of what is admittedly a novel design (our minirevolver) and further enhance its unique appearance with a variety of machining and finishing embellishments.

With few exceptions, we’ve found that our distributor network and many dealers are hesitant to add additional SKUs and inventory of other than our core catalog offerings because of the extra costs of financing and marketing and, frankly, I can’t fault them for that decision.  But it’s disappointing to our customers (and us!) to be unable to satisfy their appetites for some of specialty additions we’ve been asked to create; we think this is the answer.

While retail customers will be able to place these orders directly with the factory, they will still have to complete the transaction through a cooperating federally licensed dealer (FFL).  We’ve found that the customary charge for completing a transaction averages about $25, and so we will include a check made payable to the FFL with each firearm sold from the factory to an individual.  This transaction expense is included in the published product price.

Each edition will be sold at published MSRP plus $20 S&H for 2nd Day Air delivery (“to defray an unfortunate extraordinary expense imposed on the industry by the delivery companies”), or via USPS for $10 S&H.  This cost can be eliminated entirely by charging the shipping directly to a customer’s common carrier (UPS, FedEx) account.

For those dealers who carry our line and would like to include some of these pieces in their showroom, we offer an appropriate, attractive discount.  Please call the factory (800-821-5783) for details.

*limited-production means that the factory will manufacture small batches of a given style, but over time may repeat these batches at their discretion, and is not the same as a specific quantity “Limited Edition”.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2010

Break-Top Early Bird Program

Please refer to my earlier description of this new offering at Sandy’s Soapbox June 2006

I am pleased to announce that we are offering such a program for this first prototypical batch of 500 pieces.  Let me add some additional details.  This edition will be priced at $499.00 MSRP, but pieces will be offered to our Message Board community at $449.00 ea., limit two (2).  Shipping will be additionally $20 via UPS 2nd Day Air or $10 via USPS Priority Mail (total, for one or two pieces).  These pieces will be shipped to the FFL whose signed license accompanies your prepaid order.  We accept checks, money orders or credit cards.  This offer is good for all orders received up to and including 10/15.  We now expect to begin making shipments on 10/15.  We will not charge credit cards nor deposit money orders until we make shipment (we will, however, deposit personal checks).  Early Bird purchases will enjoy a 30-day “satisfaction guaranteed or money back” (ex. shipping) offer.   Custom serial numbers will not be available, but sequential serial numbers will be available.

Please call the factory at 800-821-5783 with any questions.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2010

No news!

Too busy making breaktops!  Check back next month.

In the meantime, look for early reviews on our Message Board after 10/15.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2010

Many/most who will read this Soapbox have read earlier editions.  Similarly, many/most also participate on our Message Board.  At the risk of being redundant, let me bring you up to date on a “new” project.

At long last, we have made the first few deliveries of a 22 Magnum-chambered break-top (or top-break, if you will) minirevolver which we first hinted at when we hosted the “1st Annual” NAA convocation and factory visit about a year ago.  We have named it The Ranger, for no particularly good reason other than that my General Manager, Ken Friel, has a fondness for naming things.

The design and construction of that first prototype began over 18 months ago (which will give you a sense of our admittedly glacial development cycle), and we have not yet committed to full production, but it remains our intention to satisfy our commitment to manufacture 500 prototypical pieces; we have so far built 200 and expect to build the remaining 3 lots of 100 pieces each before the end of this year.

In As earlier indicated, we are using these first 500 to fine-tune our engineering and our production processes, as well as attempt to gauge market interest before we make the necessary investment in tools and production equipment to make these more efficiently and with a lesser cost (and commensurately lesser market price – our target is $399.00 vs. $499 for the current edition of 500).  This is admittedly still not “inexpensive” but I continue to be surprised by the number of people who think that what we do is as easy as taking the bigger version and simply reducing the dimensions.

The Early Bird “Early Adopters” have been given a 30-day money back guarantee although we haven’t gotten any indication that anyone wants to take advantage of this.  We will, of course, process any returns through the ordinary channels for the others, as we do for all our products presently.  And all of these pieces are covered by our standard “lifetime” warranty.  Please visit the Message Board where you will find voluminous comments about this new piece.  I’m pleased to see that most recognize and enjoy the engineering and quality that make The Ranger particularly special.

So far, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  As always, comments/questions addressed to me personally at Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com will receive a personal response; Message Board posts will not.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2010

Breaktop/Ranger – An Update

As of December 1st, we had manufactured and shipped approx. 200 pieces from the prototypical batch of 500 we have promised to deliver.  Having made several small dimensional changes to some of the components we cautiously manufactured in the first several small batches, we are now going forward “full steam” on the remaining 300 pieces; we expect to complete and ship these before January 31st.

We are pleased to report that we easily sold the entire allotment to our network of distributors (and several dozen pieces during our Friends of the Factory campaign).  We anticipate that each of these distributors will also easily sell their allotment to their dealer/FFL customers, and (we hope) that the dealers will find similarly eager retail customers.

Where can you get one?  Specifically, I don’t know, as we don’t sell these guns directly to dealers.  We will be very happy to tell you &/or your favorite dealer (call the NAA factory at 800-821-5783, ask for Kenny) which distributors have received recent shipments.  Depending on the demand faced by each distributor, he may or may not be able to satisfy the request from your particular dealer.  As a reminder, MSRP for these early pieces is $499.

As we mentioned, we will use our manufacturing experience as well as all the market feedback available to us to determine if the breaktop/Ranger will become a standard product offering, at a target price not to exceed $399.  We look forward to your reaction and experiences.

Remember, ALL NAA minirevolvers make GREAT stocking stuffers!  Happy Holidays to you all.!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2009

Happy New Year to you all. 

NAA is preparing to attend the SHOT SHOW.  “The SHOT Show is the world’s largest showcase of firearms, hunting and outdoor products. It provides a forum like no other for the industry to show off its newest products that will adorn the shelves of gun and sporting goods shops in the coming year.”  This is where NAA will formally introduce “The Earl” to the entire firearms industry.

NAA is increasing our production once again to help meet the current demand for our firearms.  Rest assured, the firearms will still be of the same quality (if not better) that you have come to expect from NAA.

Additional personnel has been added as well as equipment to assist with the current sales requests.

Remember, our employees are always willing and able to assist you with any questions or concerns that you may have. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-821-5783.  Our hours of operations are: Monday- Thursday 8am-4:30pm and Friday 8am-12pm.  We look forward to talking with you this year.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2009

I apologize for my absence last month.  Like many of you, I tend to become distracted during the holidays.

Today is Monday January 19th, the day following SHOT ’09, the firearms industry’s preeminent trade show, and the day before the presidential inauguration.  Most of the exhibitors at SHOT to whom I spoke felt that it was a reasonably successful show, although Orlando regularly produces lighter attendance than those shows held in Las Vegas. Consensus was, however, that the quality of the attendees was still high, and that “guests” of dealers and other peripheral types of people tend to inflate the Vegas numbers.

Most in the industry (like us at NAA) are enjoying very robust business due in large part to two reasons I’ve spoken about earlier; one is the sense of anxiety that many gun owners feel about the anticipated anti-gun agenda of the new administration, which is prompting them to make purchases of items they feel may not be long available in the retail market.  Tactical weapons in particularly are in high demand.  Another reason is the general sense of angst, anxiety, anger, fear, uncertainty, etc. that many feel about their /our economic future.  As I?ve said before, an unsettled society tends not to be a polite society, which sense contributes to the activity in the concealed carry/personal protection market.

The weak economy notwithstanding, sales of firearms is among the very few categories that has not seen a sales decline.  Indeed, it’s not been since the confluence of events – the inauguration of the Clinton administration and the anarchy which surrounded the Rodney King tragedy some 15+ years ago – that firearms sales have been so strong.  Having enjoyed, and then suffered through, this steep sales cycle before, I keep nervously glancing over both shoulders, looking for a chair so that I will have a seat when the music stops, as it inevitably will.  This market frenzy will not last forever.  Fittingly, in Orlando, it feels like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Consensus is that the priorities of the incoming administration do not include gun issues.  Even the most virulent of antigunners would have to admit that there are a whole host of problems that require our government’s time and attention before guns float to the top of the pile, but when they do – as the NRA cautions/guarantees us that they certainly will – a reintroduction of the “assault weapons” ban is a safe bet (see tactical weapons, above).  Given the quantifiable effectiveness of concealed carry, it’s our sense that this market is one of the less threatened segments.  Notwithstanding we will not let our guard down.

Over the past year, NAA has invested well in excess of a million dollars in new machine tools and other resources, which has had several beneficial effects.

  • It has enabled us to increase our output of product in an effort to better address the strong demand we’re enjoying.
  • It enables us to control and increase the quality of our product; people have rightly come to expect near-perfect quality and flawless     reliability in NAA products, which we pursue and attempt to improve upon every day.
  • It enables us to better maintain a consistent flow of product by relying less on the performance and delivery of others.

We’re flattered by the demand that exists for our firearms and are committed to meet it and the needs of our customers.  In the meantime, we greatly appreciate the patience of those not yet satisfied; I assure you that you will feel the wait has been well worthwhile.

It’s now inauguration day.  Swaying palm trees have been replaced by snow-covered pines here in suburban Philadelphia.  Like millions of others, while I’m troubled by the prospect of many of the difficult challenges we expect to face in 2009, I’m buoyed by a sense of hope that accompanies the promise of change which has been made to us all.  I belatedly wish you all a Happy New Year and the wish that this will be one of our best years ever.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2009

Sorry, no time to write … I’m busy making guns!

I apologize for the delays many of you may be suffering as we attempt to address a heavy backlog of orders, and I appreciate your patience.  I can tell you with absolute assurance that, when you finally do get your NAA firearm, you will feel that the wait was well worth while!  Thank you for your business and your confidence in NAA.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2009

As hesitant as I am to talk prematurely about our product development efforts, I did want to share with you a project that has been in progress for several months.  Late last year, we were fortunate enough to attract the attention/interest of Larry and Aaron Moore, the principals of LaserLytehttp://laserlyte.com/ .  As Larry’s background indicates, he has been a major force in the design and development of innovative laser sighting devices  (LSDs) for the firearms industry and he was willing to tackle the challenge of creating a product specific to the NAA minirevolver line.  As his first YouTube video illustrates http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wz-CP4oSshE , Larry has made considerable progress in the past several months.  There is a second video which Larry created http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh8OPweSXUU&feature=channel and, while the results of his shooting are not perfectly clear, it can’t be beaten for its production value.

Many of you will be familiar with my enthusiasm for LSDs, particularly for our guns, for the several reasons which I outlined in our press release for the Crimson Trace Guardian grips; the same arguments/features/benefits hold true for LSDs on our minirevolvers.  This combination is not simply a novelty but a very practical, effective tool for personal protection Sandy’s Soapbox Nov 2007  We’re very aware of the shortcomings of our present “sighting system” and, while we will never suggest that our minis are capable of target grade accuracy, we are very confident that when mini and LSD are matched (calibrated), many (like Larry) will be pleasantly surprised with the consistency of shot placement these guns can deliver.

We’re told that these LSDs can be mounted on the S/LR/M series of minirevolvers but not (yet) for the vented-barrel Pug/BW/MM series.

We’ve been advised that the LaserLyte/NAA LSDs will start to ship within 90 days.  Given the extraordinary pace at which the development effort has progressed, we’re confident that this schedule can be met. Indications are that the MSRP on this device is (slightly) less than $100.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2009

How/where can I get an NAA firearm?

It’s been over a year since I began addressing inquiries regarding the availability of NAA firearms (in fact, the first mention was in April 2007). The heightened demand for our products began well before the spurt for the industry in general, which “curiously” coincided with that time when our government showed a strong shift towards a left-leaning, liberal (Democratic) direction (11/08).

Since April 2007, in response to the demand and as a defensive reaction against balky suppliers, we have made a substantial investment in equipment and personnel and have increased our output by approx. 50%. We are now making more guns than we ever have in the history of our company.  While I recognize the present situation is frustrating to many of customers, I promise you it’s no less disappointing and frustrating  to us at the factory not to be able to satisfy your needs & wants immediately.

Similarly, it’s more than a little disappointing, but not surprising, to learn that some retailers (FFL) have been charging  more than MSRP for our (and others) products (about a year ago, NAA announced a price increase of approx. 3%, the first increase in over three years).  Federal law prohibits us from fixing the price that our selling partners charge for our products – the supply/demand relationship is as American as apple pie and cuts both ways.  Right now, it’s not to the benefit of the end consumer, unless he’s a seller.

I see this morning that there is a great variety of NAA firearms and accessories that are available on www.gunbroker.com which is an Internet-based market.  While many/most sellers are charging a premium for most products (see “supply/demand”, above), it does represent another option for a particularly eager customer.

Because we sell through a network of wholesalers, we have no knowledge of which specific dealers may handle or have in inventory any NAA products.  Access to NAA products is entirely based on where any given dealer buys his supply, and his relationship with his supplier.  While we cannot identify what dealer has what gun, we can tell you to which distributors we have made recent shipments; you can then share this info with your dealer.

Please come to visit us at the NRA Convention and Product Expo in Phoenix later this month (05/15-17).  I would be very happy to meet and talk with you personally

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2009

Gone Fishing again!   Sorry no Soap Box this month.

Regards – Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2009

It’s with a great sense of disappointment that I announce the departure of NAA’s Customer Service Manager, Jennifer Plante. Jennifer has been given a wonderful opportunity to move closer to her family and complete her college education. While I’ m delighted for her this very positive transition in her life, I feel a great sense of loss for my NAA team.
Jennifer arrived at NAA a little more than five years ago to become our receptionist, filling a spot left vacant by Heidi McKnight, the then CSM. After a couple of years gaining product familiarity and becoming attuned to our company culture, Jennifer replaced Heidi when Heidi departed for greener pastures. Those who remember Heidi may recall the enormous (figuratively) pair of shoes Heidi left for her successor to fill. I’ll admit I was apprehensive.
Jennifer lived the NAA goal of not only meeting but exceeding expectations. Jennifer has always shown herself to be a quick learner, a self-motivated individual who made contributions to the growth of our company that far exceeded her official role, an effective administrator of her CS and accessory sales fiefdom, a sympathetic listener and an eager problem solver. Like Heidi before her, I wonder how NAA will fill the void.
Enter Jessica Boyd, who is leading a remarkably similar career path to Jennifer. Jessica, too, arrived to fill the role of receptionist and was soon afterwards added to the Customer Service Team. In addition to her frequent, daily contacts with many of you over the phone as well as offering daily support to Jennifer, Jessica has attended several SHOT and NRA Shows and has gracefully and successfully survived those trials by fire, having made the transition from “raw” to “medium-rare” on the experience continuum. Jessica can continue to count of the support of the remainder of the NAA CS team, including Sales Manager Kenny Barlow, General Manager Ken Friel and myself.
While Jessica has enormous shoes to fill, I have every confidence in her capability and training. After all, she learned from the best. We’ll miss you, Jennifer.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2009

I’m delighted to note the grassroots enthusiasm that the NAA Message Board community has shown for a factory visit/tour, and I am very pleased to extend an official invitation to one and all who may want to participate in what’s been called an NAA Convention.

At this Convention, NAA will offer a thorough, no-holes-barred tour of the complete facility and will provide an opportunity for all to talk at length with our entire management team, including our gunsmiths and production supervisors. Additionally, we will “borrow” a commercial range where we will present examples of all NAA models and provide ammunition for your shooting enjoyment, we will cater a lunch, and offer “deep” discounts on all NAA accessories for all participants.

We ask simply that the MB community identify a firm date at least 45 days in advance so that we can adequately prepare ourselves to ensure that this will be the best experience we can make this for you.  Be it six or sixty guests, we will be very happy to be your hosts and demonstrate that our commitment to you is at least as great as your commitment to us.  Obviously, spouses, companions, children &/or other family and friends are all welcome

Can we make this happen?  I bet we can, and we promise you our best hospitality and a day you won’t soon forget.  Let us hear from you.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2009

This month, Sandy has decided to take a much deserved break from the Soap Box and pass the honor on to me.  I thought I would take a few minutes and say just a few things concerning the rest of the year.

Currently, we are continuing to enjoy a healthy backlog of gun orders. I want to thank our loyal customers whether they are long-time admirers or first-time owners.  Thank you for your continued support of our company.  We are working diligently to fulfill the needs of our customers. I also would like to thank you for your patience as we continue to work towards quelling our backorders and getting guns into very patient hands.

We are excited for a few new product additions that will be taking place this month.  The first being our newly designed compact Long-Rifle Holster Grip, which will be a running change that will take effect this month. For more information follow this link.  The second exciting product is a laser, LaserLyte, built specifically for our Mini-Revolvers which is slated to be available by the end of the month. For more information please follow this link.

Last of all, we are looking forward to our first, of hopefully many, North American Arms Conference on October 8th.  Where we give our customers an opportunity to tour our factory, see our process first-hand, meet our employees, pick our brains and test out some of our products.  This will be an exciting event for us.

As always, we appreciate your business and please check back for Sandy’s return in the October Soap Box.

Kenny Barlow
Sales Manager

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2009

I’m disappointed to have learned from our Message Board community that there have been problems with the focus of the beam in the first batch of lasers designed to fit (most of) our family of minirevolvers.  We, too, have experienced these same problems (as well as some others) during the course of our extensive testing of the production pieces.  We (and partner LaserLyte) had earlier extensively tested the preproduction prototypes without experiencing any such problems and we have since learned that the root of the problem was a bad batch of laser modules, an anomaly from an otherwise experienced and trusted supplier to LaserLyte.  Imagine that … a glitch in the transition into production; we’ve never experienced such an unpleasant surprise (tongue-in-cheek !?!?!).

While unfortunate, it bears noting the immediate and proactive response made by LaserLyte when the problem became know to them. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, “stuff” happens.  What’s important here is the action from our partner, acknowledging and alerting our/their customers to the issue and committing to fix it promptly and to the satisfaction of the customer.  As is evident by the remarks in that MB thread (above), most have found this a satisfactory response, and one which is consistent with NAA’s standards.  I apologize for the interruption and remain convinced that, once resolved, this accessory will prove to be one of the most useful ever offered for one of our products. (I draw your attention as well to the informative and well-produced installation instructions found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHKEbpN_Jeo).

In one week’s time, we’ll enthusiastically host a cast of (thousands?, hundreds?) a couple dozen NAA enthusiasts who will travel to Provo Utah for a factory tour, lunch, Q&A session and 2010 briefing, and an afternoon of shooting any-/every-thing NAA has to offer.  We respect and appreciate the interest and efforts made by those who will attend (particularly those from out-of-state) and sympathize with those others who would have made the trip but for a whole variety of legitimate excuses.  Attendee or not, we have a great respect for those who are part of our Message Board community, and whose voices we hear particularly clearly and equally, whether relating compliments, criticisms or simply offering feedback (this gathering is a direct result of your suggestions).  There is still time and opportunity for any who would like to attend (Thursday 10/08).  We ask only that you advise our Sales Manager, Kenny Barlow (Kenny@NorthAmericanArms.com, 800-821-5783) of your interest.  We promise to do everything possible to make your trip well worthwhile.  I look forward to seeing you!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2009

“Thanks for complaining!”

As we begin to tally the results for October, it becomes clear that this will be a very good year for NAA, as it doubtless will be for most in the firearms and ammunition industry.  Actually, it was clear several months ago and most people have read the litany of media reports indicating the same.  Particularly in the face of such otherwise gloomy economic circumstances, the success that our industry is enjoying is extraordinary.  Whether it be a general sense of anxiety caused by a change of control in the government or by a more individual sense of fear that an unemployed, despondent, hopeless society is not a polite society, demand for firearms has been a record levels in 2009.  And it’s our job, as a business, to satisfy that demand as best we can.

Unfortunately, I still hear complaints that some are having a difficult time finding our products.  Be it for Pugs, Earls, Guardians or any other item in our line, our ability to supply has not yet been entirely adequate to address the demand.  We have every expectation that market conditions will “normalize” early next year.  In the meantime, during the course of this year we have made substantial investments in machines, fixtures and tooling and other processes that have both increased the capacity of our plant as well as improved the quality of the product we are delivering.  Tolerances are tighter, finishes are better, process repeatability has improved, all of which contribute to making a more consistent and more reliable product.  Notwithstanding, I hate complaints about lack of supply.  I continue to offer my assurances that we are making as many good guns as we can and that, one you get the NAA product you’ve wanted/ordered, you’ll feel the wait was well worthwhile. I love, however, complaints about how/where we’ve screwed up.  While my team and I are flattered when we receive compliments, complaints give us actionable items/issues to address.  We’re always trying to do/get better and your complaints help give us a better sense of where we should focus our attention.  You can complain in any of several forms; you can call the factory (800-821-5783) and ask for the individual by name (you’ll find a list of most of the people you might want to talk to at http://www.northamericanarms.com/contact-us ); depending on that person’s availability, you may be asked to leave a message.  Or you can send an email to the person (the contact page has a hotlink to each person’s email address); every employee is expected to respond promptly and thoughtfully to every email (s)he receives.  Or you can make an entry on our Message Board http://naaminis.com/smf where you’re invited to share your remarks and experiences, good bad or otherwise to the entire NAA community.  You’ll find that we publish – unedited – any and all posts that are made and while the factory rarely responds to those posts, many of us (most particularly myself) review virtually every post that’s made.  I never cease to be amazed by the wealth of experience and generosity of our Message Board regulars who offer a wide range of tips and advice.  Last, but not least, you can address your complaint directly to me, either by phone to my office in Philadelphia (610-940-1668) or by email to Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com; I will timely respond to every message I get, and that’s a guarantee.  I’m listening..

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2009

No Soapbox this Month, Have a Merry Christmas!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2008

Missing in Action….will find asap

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2008

Soapbox Review

You will have noticed that this website has recently undergone a facelift, to include some fresh graphics and a few modest modifications to the navigation structure. We expect to continue making some tweaks over the next several months. Please feel invited to make suggestions about how we can improve it as, ultimately, this site exists for your benefit.

Prompted by the transition, I’ve begun to review every page on our site, in no small part to remind myself of the wealth of information that the site includes, and to see if there’s a better way to organize and present it. This has included a review of each of the Soapboxes I’ve written over the past seven+ years. It was like taking a trip down memory lane.

I’m amused with the array of things I written about. Some of these Soapboxes have been interesting, some helpful, some prescient, some of interest to almost everybody, some of interest to virtually nobody and some not worth the space on our server or an entry on the archive list. My purpose for this particular Soapbox is to give an indication of the diversity of information which can be found in previous editions and to highlight those which I believe are worth bringing to your attention on an FAQ basis.

Several Soapboxes have addressed political issues. I’m a known whiner regarding some regulations that we attempt to deal with, some legislation that we struggle with, some which we’ve supported, and some of the legal battles in which we’ve been involved. Several Soapboxes have addressed our on-again-off-again romance with the CA and MA markets (07/01, 08/05, 09/06). In some, I’ve expressed anxiety about the decision due from the Supreme Court regarding the Second Amendment that I hoped would one day come (09/01), and I’m disappointed by the loss of some personal liberties we’ve suffered in the name of “security” and the wake of 911 (10/01).

On the product front, I’ve used Soapboxes to discuss a variety of development projects, including the shelved .32 H&R Magnum, the suspended .17 HMR mini revolver line, the development of the proprietary .25/.32 NAA calibers, etc. I’ve attempted to give the “how and why” that these decisions were made

Some Soapboxes have served as mea culpas. I hope most will agree that we’ve been very candid in times of trouble, acknowledging/describing a variety of design and productions issues we’ve faced during the period and the plans we had and the actions we took to address/solve the problems.

Sometimes we’ve asked for civility from the participants on our Message Board (03/06, 12/07). Sometimes we argue in support of the use of our products as personal protection tools (10/04) and about the lethality of small calibers (05/07). Sometimes we talk about how we conduct our business, including our approach to customer service (10/03), product testing (02/01) and pricing (10/00).

Some Soapboxes talk about engineering issues and highlight product advisories (05/04) and some are a random collection of answers to FAQs (09/00). One even included photos from my wedding (find it yourself).

Rant or rave, informational or simply amusing (or sometimes neither), I remain appreciative of the interest of the NAA community that gives me the opportunity to stand on this platform. I encourage you to browse the archives.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2008

National Shooting Sports Foundation

I spent several days last week in Ft. Lauderdale attending a series of meetings of the Board of Governors of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF is the trade association representing the shooting sports industry and the Board of Governors comprises the titans of the industry to include the senior management of Smith and Wesson, Beretta, Sturm Ruger, Taurus, Remington, Winchester, Browning, etc. etc. and while I’m not a titan or member of the Board, these folks are my friends and I consider myself fortunate to “watch the sausage being made”.

While the NSSF is best known as the host of the annual SHOT Show, the association also produces a very wide range of programs in concert with a similarly wide range of partners in support of both the industry as well as the user community . The NSSF is the umbrella organization supporting the Nat’l. Assn. of Firearms Retailers and the Nat’l. Assn. of Shooting Ranges. The NSSF publishes SHOT Business, a monthly trade magazine as well as Bullet Points, a weekly e-newsletter. It compiles a wealth of data which it publishes in regular reports (e.g. hunting demographics and expenditures) as well as offering more tailored research. Safety and conservation are two areas of particular interest to the NSSF, which creates libraries of videos and printed materials; perhaps the best known project is Project Childsafe where, with a federal grant, the NSSF has toured the nation giving away over 50 million gunlocks over the past 5 years. Education is conducted in concert with regulatory agencies such as BATF with “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy”. Hunting programs include Step Outside, Families Afield and the Hunting Heritage Partnership in concert with the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus. Shooter development programs include First Shots and the Scholastic Clay Target Program, to name only a few.

As you might expect, as the voice of the industry, the NSSF has a variety of data bases and other fact-based research it shares with the media and other interested groups in an effort to correct/influence public opinion and policy. Similarly, it monitors legislative activity on both state and nationwide platforms. Two particularly disruptive legislative thrusts which are being made across the land include “Microstamping” and “Bullet Serialization”, position papers for which can be found at http://www.nssf.org/GovRel/. The NSSF website is a comprehensive, authorities source of information on a whole variety of issues and is worth a visit.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2008

No Soapbox; no foolin’!

See you next month…

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2008

NRA Show in Louisville, KY

May is the month when the annual NRA Convention and product exposition is held. This year, it is being held in Louisville May 16-20 and NAA will be in attendance. I personally look forward to this show, which is the only “retail” show where NAA has a factory presence. We come with a full staff and our complete product line, as well as some “ideas” for new accessories and product derivatives. The feedback that we get from our customers is of tremendous value and plays a big part in many of the decisions we make. Please make it a point to visit our booth and introduce yourself to me.

Although many of you will be unable to attend, I strongly encourage you to support the NRA by becoming a member. NAA is pleased to be an active participant in the current membership drive. The NRA is unarguably the strongest and most effective group in securing and defending the rights of gun owners and deserves your support.

I hope to see you in Louisville!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2008

Sorry no soap box this month,

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2008

The Supreme Court

Sez the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms.

Who didn’t know that?

Sez some measure of governmental regulation does not infringe on this right, such as requiring background checks or creating lists of “prohibited persons” (e.g. convicted felons).

Who didn’t know that?

What is likely to follow – who does know? Over the next “several” days, you are likely to hear “some” discussions and read “some” debates about the ramifications of this decision, parsing exactly what words the justices used and how they used them, in an attempt to see what existing laws are constitutional as well as to see which ones are ripe for a challenge, such as those which prohibit or restrict concealed carry, or those which describe what a “good” gun can look like (“black”/assault guns). For example, the decision speaks very clearly about the utility of a handgun for personal protection in the home (emphasis added) but not regarding concealed carry.

While it’s not entirely clear just how great the impact of this decision is likely to be, what is very clear is that we approached a very important, dramatic fork in the road, and the Court has led us down the right tine/path. Hallelujah!

written and posted on June 28, 2008

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2008

Sorry no soap box this month,

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2008

“Where can I find your firearms?”

The question of the day: “Where can I find an NAA?
I’m looking for any model.
I’ve checked with all my dealers and no one seems to have them in stock.”

That conversation is one that I have with our customers consistently. I answer at least twenty of these types of calls in any given day. I thought this month would be a good time to let you know what’s going on at NAA.

Thanks to our customers, NAA’s sales has increased dramatically over the last few months. While always steady, NAA has been doing brisk business these days. We owe our good fortune to our customers and to all the employees who work behind the scenes to produce the masterpieces that end up in your hands.

With that, I do realize that it has been hard for some of our customers to locate the firearms that they want.Rest assured, NAA has taken several proactive steps to ensure that your wait is not too long. We have added additional personnel and more hours to our labor force. NAA has increased our production and shipping by twenty percent. However, our goal is to still provide you with a quality firearm, and you shouldn’t rush perfection. Know that we are working hard every day for you.

A few of our customers have reported that their dealers have checked with the distributors, only to find that our firearms are not in stock. That is because every firearm we are sending to our distributors right now is already sold. Our suggestion is that you have your dealer place a back order with their distributor. The dealer will then be on the distributor’s list and you will receive your firearm quicker. Your dealer should be able to contact any of the distributors on the list and place an order with them.

Again, NAA would like to thank all of our customers. From those who have been with us since we began, to those tryin gour firearms for the first time. Remember, your firearm is backed by a lifetime warranty and the best customer service/repair team in the business. We are always happy to talk to all of you. Wishing you great shooting—-Jen

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2008

An Uncertain Future

I’m pleased to share with the Soapbox community that NAA has recently made a substantial investment in machine tools to increase both our manufacturing capacity as well as the quality of our product.  When the installations are complete, NAA will manufacture all of our pistols in their entirety (with the exception of springs, grips, etc.).  As I’d earlier disclosed, we have suffered, in terms of reliable delivery and the quality of work, by relying on several outside vendors to support our manufacturing.  The success we’ve enjoyed over the past year has given us both the confidence and resources to reinvest in our company in order to better respond to demand with the best products we can make.  Admittedly, we are still limited by the supply of skilled craftsmen we can train, which is the most important component.

We are still working with a modest backlog and I don’t see any reason to anticipate a decline in orders – and see several  that would suggest, instead,  an increase.  If I were a bettin’ man, I’d bet that following the upcoming election the administration will turn Democrat and the Congress become more so.  The relative security offered by the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the meaning of the 2nd Amendment notwithstanding, I expect the Democrats will continue to explore the meaning of “reasonable” regulation, even to the extent it becomes “unreasonable”.  The assault on the rights of gun owners and efforts to limit the general availability of firearms? handguns in particular – is likely to be greater than it has in a decade.

Similarly, I believe that financial catastrophe we are facing will have effects which we’ll suffer through for the next several years.  Additionally, I believe these effects will   have as great and debilitating an impact to our “social economy”and public safety as they will to our financial economy.  Widespread unemployment, diminished/lost savings, little credit, unaffordable healthcare, limited opportunities, etc. etc.  have not historically been the ingredients for a “polite society”.  While I’m not forecasting anarchy, I don’t feel the sense of security and personal safety which typically accompanies more prosperous times.  I hope I’m wrong.

In any event, we’re making moves which will enable us to make more-and better-guns than at any time in the past and you, our customers, will be the beneficiaries.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2008

The Earl – a dream finally realized

Tomorrow, my team and I will travel to Atlanta for the first trade show (www.NASGW.org) of the new (’09) year.  This is the occasion where/when manufacturers present their sales and marketing programs to their distributor partners, as well as introduce new products for the coming year.

It is at this show that NAA will at long last introduce our new offering, “The Earl” – an 1860s-style minirevolver.  You may remember that this design was first addressed in one of last year’s Soapboxes soaparc#2009-01 , which delay speaks volumes about both our production demands as well as the glacial pace of our product development.

Similar to the BW/Mini-Master varieties, The Earl is simply a cosmetic variation on a theme.  The Earl style will be available on both LR and Magnum frames and each frame will be available in two barrel lengths.  An LR conversion cylinder will be available for the magnum frame models.  Pricing for the magnum frame model is expected to be $289.00 MSRP.

This gun will be offered on a limited production basis – NOT to be confused with limited edition.  We continue to enjoy a backlog which we are attempting to address on largely a FIFO basis, first satisfying the requirements of the oldest orders.  We will fit this gun into our production schedule as best we’re able but advise that – like most new products from most manufacturers – we expect that they will be difficult to find in the near future.  Limited editions may become available in the future but they will clearly be identified as such, with the edition size clearly noted.

At the point that we have satisfactory photos of The Earl, we will post them.  Similarly, we will post a copy of the press release and product specs which we will prepare for next year’s SHOT show.  ” We will introduce no gun before its time”.

BTW, VOTE!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2007

What Makes a Company Successful?

It is reported in the 01/01/07 edition of Firearms Business newsletter that Sturm, Ruger & Co.:

  • has budgeted 3 million to buyout 150 senior employees of the organization,
  • has budgeted an additional $7 million to recognize “excess and obsolete inventory, inventory valuation and fixed asset impairment”,
  • has changed their fundamental manufacturing system, from island based to cellular production, and their employee pay system from piecework to wage based, and
  • has identified additional land and art assets it intends to liquidate to raise additional funds,

Much of which is doubtless caused by production drops of “about half” from peak levels of the early 90s.

Ruger is one of the largest, most innovative and resource-rich firearms manufacturers in the world. As a publicly-traded company (RGR), its performance and standing is clearly available for everyone to see. The judgement of the market, based on its share price over the past decade, has not been very kind.

The purpose of these remarks is not to stick my finger in the eye of an industry icon, whose people and products I have the greatest respect for. Instead, it is to suggest that there are a variety of ingredients in the recipe of managing a company in the best interests of all its stakeholders – owners, employees, customers, etc. While innovation is an important element, one in which NAA often lags, it is not the only one. The point, instead, is to suggest that there are a variety of other initiatives that the NAA management has undertaken. Foremost amongst those are last year’s commitments to production and quality improvements and improved financial management, which are similarly important to sustaining the health and longevity of a company, but which tend to be far less evident to the general public.

As we’ve said so often, ours is a small company with limited resources. Our goal, however, and one I believe we are achieving, is simply to outperform our size towards the end of maintaining a balanced and healthy business operation. Innovation is something important and a goal we will continue to pursue, but it is not everything.

We are examining the future of the 32H&R project, which I will report on next month. Happy New Year to all.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2007

Update on the 32 H & R Magnum Mini-Revolver

As promised last month, I’m writing to advise the NAA community of the status of the long-running 32H&R project.

At this point, we are suspending our efforts on the continuing development of this proposed new product. This does not necessarily mean that the project is dead, but only that it is no longer a priority. There is no schedule or anticipation it will be revived in the foreseeable future.

Notwithstanding the substantial time and effort which has already been invested, we have determined that it would take still a great amount of both in order to make this product “market-ready”. In reaching this decision, we feel that we may have made a mistake in our analysis of the market and that further investment would not be time or money well spent. Pretty simple. We apologize for whatever disappointment any of you might feel and appreciate the encouragement and support that many of you offered in this pursuit.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2007

New Capability Realized

It is with as much relief as it is satisfaction that I can announce that NAA has begun to ship our small-frame (32ACP/25NAA) Guardians made on frames which we have machined in-house. This is a significant step for our company; creating this capability has required a very large investment of time and money and has also required substantial personal growth in the people charged with making this happen. They have been challenged and, with few missteps, have successfully responded to the call. We now have far greater control over our own destiny with regards to both the quantity as well as quality of the parts which we use to make our guns. Most of the improvements which we can now adopt would be considered subtle but, taken as a whole, simply result in a better product, a process which we expect will be ongoing. At this point, we have begun to receive a somewhat more steady supply of the large-frame (380ACP/32NAA) pistols but anticipate recovering production of those pieces as well. We would expect that transition to take a relative fraction of the time required by the 32ACP.

As it may be of interest to some of our customers, I would like to draw your attention as well to a product recall issued by Winchester regarding certain rimfire ammunition www.winchester.com/news

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2007

More Good Guns

This month, Sandy has asked that I provide a guest editorial for the Soapbox.

This month marks my sixth month with North American Arms and more importantly, my sixth month in the firearms industry. It has been an interesting and exciting six months. I have gotten to meet and work with some of the nicest people I have ever worked with in any industry and I am sure that it will continue to be an amazing year.

As Sandy said last month, our production of .32 and .380 ACP has improved and our overall production has increased. I just wanted to take a second and reiterate that our focus at North American Arms has not changed. The trend with other industries has been that when production increases the quality decreases. This is not the case with NAA. Even though we are striving to make more guns, we are still striving to produce GOOD guns. Over the rest of the year you will see increased availability of our products and can rest assured that these are still quality North American Arms products.

Kenny Barlow
Sales Manager
North American Arms

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2007

The Lethality of the 22LR Cartridge

I’ve recently returned from the annual NRA Convention, Annual Meeting and Product Exposition. This is a show that I look forward to attending; it is the only “retail” (open to the general public) show where NAA has a factory presence and it represents the best opportunity for me to get some face-to-face product feedback from the gun community at large.

It’s somewhat ironic that it again comes in such close proximity to another school shooting tragedy. Some of you may recall that the show in 1999 cancelled, as it was scheduled to be held in Denver one week following the Columbine event. One can only imagine the reception the NRA audience would have met there had “the show gone on”. At least VA Tech occurred after the show and so the shooting was not a subject of discussion during the show, although such a discussion would have been of some value in certain respects, as explained below.

A frequent part of the feedback I get at NRA shows are remarks like, “What are you going to do with that little thing?” or “That’s only going to piss somebody off!”. I’ll admit that remarks like that piss ME off, speak volumes to the ignorance of those who would utter them, and are met with an answer from me which (depending on the time of day, the day of the show, the phase of the moon, and my particular patience to deal with these fools) can range from persuasive, indignant, disdainful, logical, disgusted, to just plain rude (I’ve before mentioned in a Soapbox that I’ve been known to make a flip remarks suggesting that the I-only-carry-a-big-gun types are desperately trying to compensate for something even smaller than a minirevolver).

I usually reply that I don’t care what the caliber is – if someone were to point a gun at me, it would absolutely change my behavior. I don’t care what size the hole is, I don’t want to get shot and start bleeding. If any gun is pointed at you and it doesn’t change your behavior, then you’re a fool. That’s my pleasant, persuasive approach.

I further point out that we don’t argue that a minirevolver has as much stopping power as a 1911; in most cases and given an even comparison, it doesn’t. A minirevolver affords the possessor an enormous advantage over someone who has NO gun, however, which is how we market our products: “Better than nothing. What are you carrying?”. “Well, I left it in the car/at home, wherever, blah blah blah, and besides, we can’t bring one in here anyway”. I will tell you that it takes more fingers and toes than a normal human has to count the number of minis I was shown on the show floor; other than the duty weapons carried by the visiting police, nobody showed me any gun other than an NAA. People carry NAA firearms.

I also suggest that lethality/stopping power is far more than just a matter of caliber and one should consider, amongst other thing, bullet placement. A 22LR in the head or another “vital” organ has far greater stopping power than a 45 in the leg.

Similarly, I feel that the 22 caliber round doesn’t enjoy the widespread reputation which it is due. I am not a bullet ballistician and can point to few authoritative sources to back the anecdotal stories I’ve heard, which, if true, are very compelling indeed. One includes the “fact” that more people die from wounds caused by 22 caliber bullets than any other caliber. Another is the tale that 22 caliber rounds are preferred by the CIA, KGB, and other international assassins. I don’t know if either of these is true. I know with some certainty that Bobby Kennedy was killed by a 22 caliber bullet. Consider the fact that mouseguns are typically used at very close ranges which, incidentally, is a prime requisite for the legal/acceptable use of a firearm in self-defense and which would positively impact placement. Consider, also, the internal trauma suffered as a small bullet careens around a chest cavity. These all have a great impact on lethality. It would be very interesting/instructive if our Message Board community would start a thread with references to credible sources that discuss the lethality of 22 caliber rounds.

At least one very “successful” killer respected the 22 caliber round, Seung-Hui Cho, the murderer who wrecked havoc on the VT campus and the sensibilities of our nation and the world. His weapons of choice were two: a 9mm Beretta and a 22 caliber Walther. I have not seen it reported how many people were shot with which guns, but I’ll bet the Walther was responsible for several deaths.

That, unfortunately, should end all arguments about lethality and stopping power of a 22. It’s a very sad way to make a point.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2007

Gone fishin’

Taking June off – see you next month!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2007

Gun Tests

The July ’07 issue of Gun Tests includes an article entitled “Pocketable .22 Mags: Three Guns We’d Take a Pass On”. My first reaction upon learning that two of the three guns reviewed were manufactured by NAA (the 2″ barrel Black Widow and the 4″ barrel Mini Master – the third was a 4″ barrel Taurus) was enthusiastic – we love “ink”. Obviously, however, the title suggested that the review was not likely to be positive, and I was eager to learn the criticisms of the Gun Tests staff.

After I read it (several times), it seemed clear (to me) that the biggest criticism noted in the article was directed more towards the ammunition rather than the gun, particularly the rounds’ effectiveness against “all and sundry predators” that one is likely to encounter (in the wilderness, it is presumed). Regular readers of “Sandy’s Soapbox” will have recently seen our position about the lethality/stopping power of the .22 WMR round (May 2007 Soapbox) . We’ll readily admit that there are some animal predators out there that require even greater stopping power than a human. Similarly, we’ll also stipulate that there are no non-human predators which are likely to be deterred by someone simply brandishing a gun (unlike most human encounters where presentation itself is usually very effective). Notwithstanding, we continue to argue the very simple, intuitive premise that any of our guns is infinitely more effective than no gun and that our guns are so popular because they are so easily/comfortably carried where others may not be so. Bigger guns carrying more bullets with bigger/more powerful ballistics will unarguably be more “effective”, but ONLY if they are immediately available to the person – not stored in a safe/display case or left behind in the car/truck. Our customers carry our guns.

I’m pleased to note that the writers made some very accurate/flattering remarks about our products, using words/phrases such as “the workmanship, finish, and appearance were all excellent”, the trigger was “decent”, “fine balance”, “handy size”, “the lockwork felt precise”, “more accurate than we thought it would be” (although they didn’t care for the balance or size of the MM). I agree with all of the above.

We continue to attempt to draw people’s attention to the intended purpose of our products, which purpose does not depend on either the ballistics nor accuracy one requires for serious hunting or competition. We “major” in concealed carry/personal protection with a “minor” in plinking/recreational shooting; for this curriculum, we have earned an A+.

Back to fishin’ (golf, actually).

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2007

Some Thoughts on Upcoming Political Events

It’s entirely possible that the firearms culture in the United States will undergo the most profound shift in the history of the country within the next 18 months – or not.

I’m disappointed to acknowledge that I feel the prospects that the next team to occupy the White House will likely be a Democratic one. The dissatisfaction I sense with the current administration is great as is the palpable sense of need to change direction. I’m not sure the Republican party can field a candidate who is adequately strong or different enough to fit the bill.

The evidence has repeatedly and convincingly demonstrated over the past dozen years that gun control issues are political losers and the streets are littered with politicians who have misread the public’s attitude about/appetite for additional gun purchase/ownership restrictions. As a result, in most communities in America, there have been very few new gun laws introduced/passed in the last several years and, indeed, some earlier ones have actually been repealed (see Assault Weapons Ban). Notwithstanding, there still is a very strong anti-gun community which mistakenly believes that additional restrictions on gun availability/ownership are reasonable steps to take in an attempt to curb violent crime. Living in suburban Philadelphia, where the murder rate has risen to more than one/day, the clamor is as loud as the efforts are misguided. Fortunately, the rest of the state has a more sober attitude about that issue. There are, however, other societies within our nation, where the clamor is similarly as great as it is incessant, enough so to remind us that legislative threats still exist and are all around us: Kalifornia or New Jersey, anyone? Think Hillary (and some of her strongest allies, such as Sens. Schumer and Boxer) would try to interfere with/interrupt any new gun control initiatives? For that matter, how about Gulianni – the industry is still struggling with the remnants of NYC vs. Smith & Wesson et al., a suit brought under his leadership. Think he’s a friend of the industry/firearms community?

While this battle is typically waged in the legislature, it has recently been moved to the judiciary, this time the U.S. Supreme Court. Some of you will have read that, having lost two separate appeals to the Circuit Court, the mayor/city has made the penultimate appeal of Parker vs. the District of Columbia. While it’s not certain that the Court will accept the appeal, if it should do so, the stakes are enormous. The earlier decisions (very favorable to Second Amendment enthusiasts) are broad and strong and if the Supremes decide to act, so too will be the effect of their decision. To say that this could be the most important decision regarding firearms ownership made in the history of the country is not hyperbole. Stay tuned.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2007

Earl Hubbard 1961 – 2007

It is with a profound sense of disappointment that I announce the recent, untimely passing of Earl Hubbard, an assembly technician at NAA. Although a relatively “new” hire by NAA standards (less than 2 years), Earl’s personality and skills (he was a trained gunsmith) made a strong, positive impression on his coworkers and contribution to our business. Earl’s legacy at NAA will likely be the design of a Remington New Model Army 1859 – style mini revolver which he was prototyping before his death, which efforts are being continued by another of our technicians, his son, Dustin. We hope to have something to show our audience before year’s end.

Conversely, I am happy to announce the arrival of Talon Tew, son to our accounting clerk, Margo. Though not yet trained as an NAA employee, he (like his slightly older brother) will doubtless make a strong “impression” at NAA, my conference table becoming his changing table and my sofa his (and his mother’s) resting station (when I’m at home in PA).

The cycle of life: live for the moment

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2007

No More .17 Caliber Mini-Revolvers

I’m writing to announce that NAA will no longer produce any mini-revolvers chambered in either .17HMR or .17 Mach 2. There are two reasons for this decision.

The first is that we could not make the revolvers work reliably. Because of the bottle-necked shape of the cartridge (and, hence, the cylinder chamber), the brass was driven forcefully rearward when the cartridge was ignited. While a similar force also occurs with ordinary .22 caliber rimfire ammunition, the internal forces cause the case to expand into the sidewall of the chamber and friction keeps the brass from backing-out of the chamber. With the .17s, however, the angle of the neck makes for additional rearward – vs. outward – forces. While the brass is largely secured by the firewall in the cylinder pocket, and the cylinder will continue to rotate for the next two shots, it protrudes just enough to interfere with the mechanisms when the spent case tries to rotate back inside the frame.

This phenomena is not specific to the .17 HMR/Mach 2 cartridge but is also exhibited with other bottle-necked cartridges used in revolvers, such as the 22 Hornet. Nor is this phenomena specific to NAA revolvers; we have personal experience of this occurring in both Taurus and S & W revolvers.

Attempting to solve this problem has been a particularly frustrating exercise. Not only have we spent a lot of time and money in the effort but we have found that the problem/solution is not repeatable. One batch of revolvers will work just fine while another, seemingly identical (as best as we can measure) batch will not. We have received a lot of advice and suggestions, virtually all of which we have tried, but to no avail. While I have no doubt that we’ll receive more further still, I don’t expect we’ll try any of it as we have more important projects on which to spend our precious and limited resources than to try to chase this ghost any further.

The other problem we faced with this cartridge was the erratic bullet flight which is, unfortunately, a simple function of trying to fire this rifle cartridge from this small platform. Not only do our revolvers not offer anywhere near the length of barrel required to impart the twist to successfully stabilize this boat-tailed projectile, that same short barrel means that the bullet loses much of the motive forces of the cartridge explosion – the bullet has already left the barrel while there is still a substantial amount of gunpowder as yet unburned. This greatly reduced velocity further compounds the lack of stability in flight. The combination of these two factors severely compromise accuracy and allow the bullet to tumble in flight, the results of which can be seen in tears in target paper, as compared to crisp, circular, wadcutter-like holes. Were we every able to solve problem #1, we would never have been able to solve problem #2.

The expectations people have for the performance of mini-revolvers sometimes exceeds our capabilities and sometimes exceed reason. Rather than present a product which, in all likelihood and for a variety of reasons, will fail to reach people’s expectations and achieve their satisfaction, we will not offer that product. It’s disappointing to both us and possibly/probably you as well but we’re convinced that it’s the right decision.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2007

Crimson Trace Laser Sight for Guardians

For Sandy’s November Soapbox, here is the press release for the new Crimson Trace Laser Sights for NAA’s 380 and 32NAA Guardians

UPDATE: The Guardian 380 with the Crimson Trace Grips is now available. Have your firearms dealer contact Bangers, Camfour, Ellett Brothers, or Sports South to order.

NAA-380-CTCMSRP is $620.00
Part Number is NAA-380-CTC

North American Arms is pleased to announce the availability of Crimson Trace laser grips for their large-frame .380ACP (and .32NAA) Guardian semiautomatic pistol.

“This promises to be the most important accessory that we’ve ever offered for this pistol”, claimed Sandy Chisholm, NAA’s president. “I’ve long promoted the value of a laser sighting device (LSD and I’m delighted that, after years of incessant nagging, the team at Crimson Trace has finally responded”.

“I feel strongly that LSDs are particularly appropriate on a pocket pistol platform for a variety of reasons”, Chisholm continued. “The first is that the pistol’s small frame size offers minimal space to attach traditional iron-type sights. Another is that, even attached, the small size of the pistol and short length of the barrel offer a very limited sight radius. Additionally, most attached sights create protrusions on the pistol that compromise the concealability of the pistol and which tend to snag in clothing when the pistol is drawn. Lastly, the circumstances for drawing a pocket pistol don’t tend encourage steady, arm’s-length, deliberate sighting required of iron sights; when the pistol is drawn, the shooter needs to know – immediately – where the barrel is pointed. Defensive shooting is frequently done “from the hip” or other circumstances where iron sights are of little use or value.

“For these reasons, we’ve offered several different types of LSD, typically add-on units that attach to the pistol’s trigger guard. While “better than nothing”, these units added substantially to the bulk of the pistol and their accuracy – representing a bullet’s expected point of impact – was very poor; the units tended to shift on the frame and there was no way to adjust them. As the shooting community is by now familiar, the Crimson Trace LSD is integrated into the pistol’s grips, adding minimal girth to the grip frame and offering a rock-solid point of attachment. Best of all, this laser sight can be easily, accurately and permanently calibrated to present the shooter with a reliable, repeatable point-of-impact. These are the most user-friendly, accurate sights available for this pistol”, claims Chisholm.

While the grips can be easily attached to pistols already in the field, NAA is making an introductory offer of factory installed grips at a substantial discount over the individual price of grips and pistol separately. Pricing details and distributor participation will be available on the NAA website www.NorthAmericanArms.com by December 1st 2007. Deliveries are scheduled to begin by December 1st 2007.

NAA is pleased to offer the Crimson Trace grips for the 380ACP and 32NAA as an after-market item as well. Please visit our Guardian Accessories page to purchase.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2007

NAA Website

I am pleased to announce that the home page of our website is getting a facelift, the results of which should be presented to you before the end of the month. I don’t believe much else will change, but we thought it was about time to put a little lipstick on the lady.

There are three threads which spawn from this topic. The first is a reminder to our community that North American Arms was the first firearms manufacturer to host an Internet Website. This was based on the initiative of an early Accounting/MIS Manager, George Miller, who was far more prescient than I (and most of the others in the industry). Our site may not be the best, but it was demonstrably the first. This spirit of innovation will be on display in 2008 as we introduce “new” technologies and groundbreaking process to the manufacture of our minis. When we are prepared to say anything further about this, we will.

The second thread is to ask, if we aren’t the best, why not? How can we make the site more helpful &/or easier to use? While we certainly don’t have all the time, talent and/or resources to implement all the good suggestions I hope this invitation will prompt, we will certainly listen and use them when and as we can. Please address your remarks to Webmaster@NorthAmericanArms.com.

The third thread, unfortunately, is to once again request reason, restraint, self-discipline, civility, etc. amongst those who are members of our Message Board community. Despite occasional requests to do so, we have neither the time nor interest in holding ourselves out as arbiters of fairness, good taste or good sense. I am entirely unwilling to “decide” who’s right and who’s wrong or who’s good and who’s bad. Some of those who complain the loudest are, not surprisingly, those against whom many of the complaints are lodged. Our community is, for the most part, educated, experienced, thoughtful and sober and it is clear to most when someone is out of line.

This board has been managed as an unedited forum for discussion, presumably (but not exclusively) about NAA products. In an attempt to maintain its “legitimacy”, we deliberately avoid editing of any kind, although we have removed profanity. You’ll have seen that our products, our policies &/or our customer service, too, suffer the slings and arrows of some disgruntled individuals; sometimes the complaints are accurate and well-founded, often times they are not, yet we let the remarks stand as posted. You will almost never see me or anyone from the factory respond to any of them, except to occasionally correct a point of fact. I hasten to point out, however, that there’s not a single comment or complaint that’s been made directly to me which hasn’t received a personal, generally timely reply; send your notes to Sandy@NorthAmericanArms.com – which is how you should communicate with me if you want to hear from me.

I continue to suggest that the “offended” simply ignore the perceived slight. If you want to continue to fight, exchange email addresses and “take it outside” as the odds are very great that no one else cares or wants to be bothered by the noise – and if you are, for some reason, bothered – simply go to a different thread.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2006

Happy New Year!

Lots o’ news in the pot (new laser sights, 17HMR progress, 32H&R progress, boot grip availability), but “it’s not soup yet”! Sorry to tease, but it’s not like we’re doing nothing – though at times it may appear that way.

Nothing left to say other than Happy New Year!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2006

New Gun, New Videos

As promised in my 01/17/06 message board post, I’m happy to post a couple of pictures (see below) of the prototype of our 32H&R Magnum-chambered single action Mini-Revolver. These should give you some idea of the state of our progress and the size of the piece. Dimensional information was provided in my 12/05 Soapbox and we have since been advised that the approximate weight of the piece is 16 ozs. We’re encouraged with what’s been accomplished so far.

I would also like to draw your attention to several videos we’ve recently posted on our site. The one I find most interesting is listed on our NAA in the News page under November 2005 – NAA Black Widow featured in Guns and Gears television show (video) features Johnny Rowland (the good stuff starts 1:30 into a 9:00 clip). While I’ve been somewhat skeptical of some of the shooting stories I’ve read on our Message Board (maybe because I’m such a poor shooter myself), this clip give startling evidence to what some shooters can accomplish with a 22 Mini-Revolver. While I’ll admit that every piece we manufacture may not be capable of such performance – and it should be noted that we make absolutely no claims as to the accuracy of our pieces – it’s impressive to see what a talented shooter can do with one out-of-the-box 22BW. Enjoy!

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2006

NAA’s Message Board

Our Message Board has been a valuable resource to many of you and a sounding board for problems, solutions, and opinions. It is an active on-line community with many regular contributors who offer, for the most part, valuable advice that is very helpful to our customers.

A number of you have contacted us recently regarding the message board. Many of you are concerned about the lack of manners and “flame” wars that seem to be breaking out more often. Some of you have suggested that it’s getting so bad that it may be time to discontinue this service or to create stringent guidelines. In an effort to keep this resource available and to avoid excessive rules or censorship, we would like to offer the following advice and suggestions:

1. NAA does not monitor the message board. As time permits, NAA employees help customers on the board quite often, sometimes publicly, sometimes via personal emails. If there is a problem on the board, we usually find out via email or phone from upset customers. If you see a problem starting, please don’t assume we’ll see it – let us know about it.

2. The thread is yours. If you start a thread or a new topic, it’s your’s and if you feel it’s done it’s purpose or is getting out of hand, you can ask that the thread be deleted. Email webmaster@naaminis.com for this, as this email account is checked more frequently than the moderator’s email account. If a topic disappears, this is usually why.

3. If you do screw up, tell us and we’ll fix it. If, in the heat of the moment, you post a brilliant, slashing reply that cuts someone else’s opinion, personality, mother, etc. to shreds – and then realize that you’d rather not have done that, email or call us and we’ll delete it – hopefully before it gets ugly. The same applies to all questions or comments that you didn’t intend to post or made an error in.

4. Please keep to the subject. Many of you have complained that good information is buried in topics that start out about something entirely different. Make it easier for others to find and read your comments and advice by starting a new thread or topic when things get too far off track

We deeply appreciate the many customers who care about this forum and have worked towards making it a valuable resource. We hope to be able to continue offering this resource to you, our customers, for years to come. We ask that you treat others with courtesy, and on those occasions where someone on the board or NAA, for that matter, deserves a good slap upside the head, that you’ll do it with politeness and kindness.

Thank you
NAA Management

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2006

Exciting Times at NAA

I’ll admit that I’m smarting a little from a recent article in Gun Tests magazine (04/06), where the writers judged our .380ACP Guardian to be a “Don’t Buy” (an “honor” we shared with the S&W-manufactured Walther PPK; their choice, the substantially larger Beretta 85 Cheetah was rated “Conditional Buy”). The essence of their complaint regarded accuracy, or lack of the same, which they seemed willing to attribute to our heretofore manufacturing partner, Kahr Arms. In all fairness to both Kahr and ourselves, the general workmanship on the pistol was characterized as “pretty good”. Other comments regarded the stiff trigger pull (of which we’re aware and which we also know smoothes out considerably after firing a couple of hundred rounds), as well as some complaints about handling the pistol due to its small size, which is the specific design goal and primary feature of the Guardian. You can’t please everybody. I believe the accuracy issue was an anomaly, but it’s one which in any event we’re addressing (below). I have generally high regard for the writers of Gun Tests (they’ve written quite favorably about several of our products, including Guardian pistols, in earlier editions) and am sorry they had such a disappointing experience with a non-representative gun. Besides, I choose to follow the advice of the old LA Dodger coach, Tommy Lasorda, who advised against ever picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.

I’m also writing to advise our audience that we are phasing out our long standing relationship with Kahr, due to a variety of issues. Unarguably and unfortunately, they seem to have neither the time nor the interest in satisfying our requirements. Their deliveries have become irregular, causing us an ever-increasing backlog for our pistols. After an exhaustive search and qualification process, we’ve chosen an ISO 9001-certified, aerospace-oriented outfit in the mid-West. We continue to have high regard for the Kahr product and wish the company well and thank them for their years of partnership. Similarly, we are very excited about the possibilities presented by our new relationship and the improved product we expect to deliver to the marketplace.

Shortly after this Soapbox is posted (on time, for a pleasant change), I will be in Houston to take delivery of our recently completed prototype of the .32H&R revolver. Next step will be to review/recreate the engineering package, to include some solid modeling, and to build a couple of additional prototypes from this engineering before we begin to build manufacturing tooling and molds for production. It’s a very exciting time and, though we are still several months way from having a product to take to market, the development pace is quickening.

Our manufacturing capability is poised to take a gigantic leap forward, due to the purchase of some extraordinary sophisticated new machines as well as some significant changes in our production techniques, details of which I’ll look forward to describing at a later date. In contrast to our history of running a bay-full of tired hand-me-down machines (which only serves to highlight the efforts and craftsmanship of our assembly and finishing team), our new acquisitions are both the “latest and greatest”, which we expect to be reflected in the product we bring to market.

It’s an exciting time to be part of NAA.

PS – I’m pleased to announce that we are now offering rosewood Boot Grips as factory-available accessories. Call 800-821-5783 to order yours.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2006

Thoughts about the Upcoming NRA Show

Another month, another (late) Soapbox – sorry. I think I “emptied my cylinder” last month, and you all know that speed reloading is not one of the minirevolver’s strong points (shoulda’ used a Guardian pistol!).

Just a note on the progress of the 32H&R: it is now sitting in a pile of disassembled pieces with an engineering firm in Baltimore MD. Direct Dimensions has been engaged to create solid models and engineering drawings so that we can begin to procure suppliers and write machining programs for the manufacture of this piece. I’m very confident that the components will be returned to us in the next week or so, such that we can put it back together and continue to test its function as well as take a variety of photos that I hope to present in the June Soapbox.

In the meantime, we are preparing for the NRA Show, to be held in about two weeks in Milwaukee WI. This event, not surprisingly, prompts me to consider the political landscape our industry faces. Similar to most people I’ve asked on the subject, I expect the Republican party to take a whipping in the upcoming midterm elections (possibly losing control in either or both houses of Congress). While it’s still far too early to get any clear signals, it would not surprise me to see the bleeding continue in the presidential elections two years later. Hillary for president – could I be that lucky? Allow me to explain.

It’s my experience that nothing drives people into the market as quickly as the threat that the availability of firearms may become limited or extinguished, which is unarguably part of the personal platform of the Clinton Clan. Bill’s years, the early 90’s, were the Golden Age of the modern firearms era. Admittedly, Bill was helped by Rodney King; the fear of anarchy is another strong motivator for firearms purchases and Bill and Rodney together created the Perfect Storm – we couldn’t build guns fast enough.

I believe, however, that the Democrats learned very well during the balance of the 90’s that railing against guns is a losing strategy and I wouldn’t expect them to make that mistake again. But I’m also certain that my sense represents exactly the sort of complacency that I’ll be warned against in Milwaukee, a warning that I’m happy to share with you.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2006

Update on the 32 H&R & the NRA Show

“Imagine a handsome, compact, innovative small gun …”

Notwithstanding the carrot I dangled last month, I’m disappointed that I’m unable to post any photos of our much-anticipated 32 H&M magnum midi-revolver. The engineers/draftsmen are still working on the drawing package and were unable/unwilling to return the pieces to us as they’d earlier promised. I’ll admit that I get very frustrated making commitments to others (like you) based on failed commitments that were made to me.

The NRA Show was yet again well attended and provide a lot of traffic to those of us exhibiting. Despite the recurring threats of an overwhelming uprising of anti-gun activists, the biggest controversy this year (of which I’m aware) was the annual recognition of the oldest and youngest life members in attendance at the annual meeting. The oldest was a perennial favorite whose name, I believe, is Clyde Willoughby (sp?). While in years past the youngest had reached the advanced age of two weeks, this year an expectant father frantically pointed to the belly of his pregnant wife while waving the membership card he had purchased on behalf of his as-yet-undelivered daughter. The “judges” huddled and ruled that all candidates must be visible to the naked eye, or some such silliness. There are some very “enthusiastic” members.

This is also a time to note the passage of another Memorial Day, which always seems particularly poignant during a time of war.

In the meantime, we continue to enjoy robust business and offer our thanks and reassurance to waiting customers that we continue to make great strides in filling the orders which you have so generously placed with us.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2006

Reflections on NAA’s History

The following is taken from a yet-to-be-published interview with Randy Wakeman and answers inquiries I get routinely about the history of NAA.

“North American Arms was a Phoenix-like reincarnation of the short-lived Rocky Mountain Arms, which was begun in the Fall of ‘71. NAA was created a couple of years later to continue the development and manufacture of several firearms designed originally for RMA by the legendary Dick Casull. Dick’s pieces stretched the single-action revolver handgun envelope in both directions (&quot:world’s largest and smallest”) and included a diminutive 3.5″ revolver chambered in .22 short and a hand cannon chambered in 450 Magnum Express.

In the early 80s, NAA became a subsidiary of Talley Manufacturing, an aerospace manufacturing company which had both a captive investment casting foundry as well as substantial precision machining capabilities. NAA began production of their firearms at the Talley facility in Newbury Park, CA and then relocated to Spanish Fork, UT when Talley built both another machining center and casting facility in that small town just south of Provo. The Talley transition marked the departure of Dick Casull who, along with Wayne Baker, traveled north to the Star Valley in Wyoming where they largely recreated an almost identical product line with the formation of Freedom Arms. Some several years afterwards, NAA stopped production of the large-frame gun which, with Dick and Freedom’s development, became the 454 Casull; similarly, Freedom quit the manufacture of minirevolvers.

In the late 80s, Talley was acquired by Teleflex Inc., a diversified manufacturing business looking to expand its aerospace portfolio. Shortly after the acquisition, Teleflex chose to sell the nonstrategic and somewhat threatening (liability) small gun company that had come along in the deal. Enter moi.

I was a 10-year employee of Philadelphia-based Teleflex serving in an M&A role on the corporate staff and had been closely involved in the Talley acquisition. Similarly, after the dust settled, I was charged with the NAA divestiture. It turned out to be a difficult sale; NAA was profitable and not requiring any time, attention or other resources from the parent, who was rather stubborn on both price and terms. During the two-year period I attempted to market this business on behalf of Teleflex, I saw first-hand the capabilities of the management team and the opportunities available to the business, given just a modest investment of time, “love” and money. So, in a Victor Kiam/Remington moment, I chose to leave the corporate world and become a small business owner, which occurred in November of 1991.

Shortly after the purchase, I built a new home for the business just up the street in Provo, where it has remained ever since, while I have remained in suburban Philadelphia for the past 25 years. During my two year marketing exercise, I gained a great amount of respect for and confidence in Ken Friel and his team and their ability to responsibly and successfully make almost all the operational decisions regarding the business. I felt that I could add my value of focusing on the professional (legal and accounting) and strategic planning issues while I remained remote from the facility. 15 years later, I’m satisfied that things have worked (uncharacteristically) exactly as planned. It’s interesting to note that with remarkably few exceptions, both the management team and work force are exactly as I inherited them 15 years ago.”

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2006

32 H&R Magnum Update

I’m happy to report that our visit with the designer of the 32H&R Magnum, Keith DeHart, was a great success. We are now examining and firing the gun and reviewing the prints before we send them off to our chosen suppliers. I’m happy to provide several pictures of the gun (and Keith) for your consideration. I refer you to the Dec 2005 Soapbox for dimensional data.

You should know that there will be several cosmetic changes to the production model. These include the profile of the hammer and the shape of the trigger guard, for example. I will look forward to reading your comments on the Message Board for any other critiques our community might offer.

Our plan is that this product will enter production before the end of this calendar year.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2006

Update on CA and MA

We’ve received a number of requests for information on the availability of NAA firearms in various states. At the current time, neither the Guardian nor the Mini-Revolvers are available in the state of Massachusetts. Although some of the recent changes in this state are encouraging (see MA Governor Signs Pro-Gun Legislation Into Law!) we’re waiting to see.

This attitude of ours is not surprising, given our recent experience with California. After expensive testing and a time-consuming process of jumping through numerous hoops, a version of our Guardian pistols with the ILS was approved. The engineering changes to incorporate the ILS into the Guardian were also expensive.

Several months after approving the Guardian for sale, they changed their minds – See Sandy’s Soapbox, August 2005 for more information on that. The NAA-22LR and NAA-22M (1 1/8″ barrels on both) have been approved in California and are still available for sale, but the Guardians are no longer available for purchase in California.

So, given the California state government’s history of acting in a capricious manner, we’re waiting for a little more stability in this state before spending significant amounts of time and money on getting our other Mini-Revolvers approved. The same is true in Massachusetts – we’re encouraged, but not yet convinced enough to invest significant amounts of time and money.

Unfortunately, this applies to new 32H&R Magnum Mini-Revolver as well. We’ve decided to wait a bit for things to stabilize in California before even attempting the approval process. When that happens, we’ll let you know on our website.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2006

Firearms Testing

It may come as a surprise to some of you to learn that this Soapbox was written over a week ago. Since then, it has been forwarded to Legal, Marketing, Engineering, etc. so that all can make relevant inputs. Following that, it was presented to a focus group to see how it “played” before I was ready to present it here.

Testing, tweaking, more testing, etc… – where/when does it end? To some, such is the question surrounding our products; while we believe we have struck an appropriate balance between product design, engineering, materials and in-house testing, which every one of our firearms is subject to, you will have to be the final arbiter between cost and reliability.

We are attempting to bring to market products that are both reliable and salable. We recognize the compromises we make (yes, we could test each piece with over 1000 rounds but choose not to) and are satisfied that our efforts are appropriate and our business model is sound.

You, the customer, are invited, encouraged, compelled, obligated to complete your own training and testing to determine to your satisfaction the reliability of the weapon you carry. If you feel there is an issue with your gun, we will jump through hoops to resolve it. This is how we operate and we sincerely believe it serves both us and you well.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2006

“Good” Times Ahead

Even if you wanted to, which so many of us desperately do want, you could not avoid being overwhelmed with the noise which surrounds an upcoming election. The good news is that it will be over soon; the bad news is, not soon enough.

It comes as no surprise that the war in Iraq seems to be the dominant issue in this campaign. While not many of us are qualified to assess the conduct of the war, we all can (and do) have an opinion about the apparent outcome. No one, including those charged with describing/defending the actions of the administration, is satisfied with the results. This is just one of a myriad of reasons that suggests, according to the conventional wisdom, that the governing party – Republicans – is about to take a whipping. That’s the good news and the bad news both.

Good news because, as I’ve earlier indicated, nothing stirs up the gun-buying marketplace like the threat of adverse legislation from a new, Democratically-controlled Congress. Notwithstanding an almost unblemished history that shows firearms restriction issues are legislative losers, there is a contingent of politicians, typically from liberal strongholds such as California, New York and Massachusetts, which feels compelled to chase this agenda. I have every confidence that they will try (but fail) and successfully unsettle enough people to cause industry sales to be at least as strong next year as they have been this year.

The bad news, obviously, is that there is a whole host of other mischief that these Democrats tend to create, not the least of which is profligate spending (unfortunately they don’t tend to spend it on NAA firearms!).

Addressing our internal manufacturing capability to meet this demand is one of several reasons, however, that we are making very slow progress with the development of the 32H&R revolver project. We are just beginning to receive quotations from vendors, the results of which are not all encouraging, regarding what it will cost us to manufacture this piece. While a final decision has not yet been made, it should not be considered a foregone conclusion that this product will enter production. We will continue to keep you posted.

In the meantime, I hasten to remind you to vote; even if the outcome is not to your liking, without voting you have absolutely no standing to say anything else. And from anyone’s perspective, that’s bad news.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2006

A Visit with a Military Hero

This afternoon (11/30/06), I had the privilege and pleasure of visiting with Tommy Franks, retired 4-star general and Commander in Chief of United States Central Command, the man responsible for conducting the initial, devastating and successful invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The purpose of my visit was to present General Franks, and his wife Cathy, each with a highly embellished (compliments of our partners at Baron Technologies) .380ACP Guardian. This was intended as just a very small way that NAA and I could show our respect and appreciation for General Franks’ leadership and career of service to our country.

While I would like to say that the general and his staff approached us to express his interest in obtaining an NAA firearm, that wouldn’t be wholly accurate. Notwithstanding, the interest shown by his wife and staff officer, Col. Hayes (who was responsible for orchestrating this presentation) was initiated on their end. I couldn’t be any prouder of the honor bestowed on me and my company of the general’s time, hospitality and the flattering remarks he made about our product and initiative.

The general was as gracious, charming and engaging as you might expect from a man so accomplished and so successful, charged with leading countless thousands of men (and women) into battle. Regardless of your politics or your level of dissatisfaction with the war decision or the current state of affairs in Iraq, no one can reasonably criticize the effective execution of the battle plan that General Franks, his team and our allies crafted.

I left his office with an autographed copy of his recent book, “American Soldier”, as well as a solicitation for the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum which will be built in Hobart, OK, a presidential library of sorts. More information can be found at www.tommyfranks.com. For those of you not “fortunate” enough to own a gun company which makes presentation-grade firearms, and/or to be invited to express your appreciation and admiration in person, a generous expression of support of this project would be well received.

A press release, as well as photos of the gun and the presentation, will be posted as soon as they become available.

Click Here to see a photo of the presentation

Click Here to see a close up photo of the guns

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2005

Family and Firearms

Like many of you, I had the opportunity to spend time with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Due to the distance, I only see my family once or twice a year, and, working at NAA, I usually try to bring one or more of our guns with me to show them. This year, I brought a 25 NAA Guardian that I had just purchased. Everyone agreed that it was a very “cool” little gun.      On Saturday, we went out of town to shoot. We took one of my nieces and my son with us. Both kids had been shooting before and were eager to shoot the 25 NAA. As the kids got ready to shoot, they realized that there’s a big difference between shooting a .22 Mini-Revolver and semi-auto pistol.     Too many of us have learned the hard way why you don’t put your finger, thumb, or any part of your hand near the slide, esp the back of the slide. After we cycled the slide a couple of times, both kids got the idea and kept their hands & fingers away from the slide.     The long trigger pull on the Guardian was too much for my son. After watching him try to aim and pull the trigger, we helped him shoot. My niece got it after a while, but the trigger pull and the anticipation of the recoil are both very different from a .22 and took some getting used to.     We did the usual yelling at the kids to “stand way behind the shooter”, “always assume it’s loaded” and “don’t point”. Kids learn by repetition – but they also learn by example. We’re around firearms so much that it’s easy to get comfortable and careless. While shooting that day, I resolved to be more careful around firearms to avoid setting a bad example.     While reloading, I asked about some of the places we used to shoot and was sad to learn that the area where my father taught me to shoot was no longer available to shooters. A big part of the problem was the mess people were leaving behind, especially broken glass and shredded cans. We talked with the kids about why we clean up after we’re done and had them help us pick up our targets.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable trip. We spent time with our children instilling in them a love and respect for firearms, in much the same way that our father did with us over 20 years ago. My holiday wish for you is that you’ll have similar opportunities to pass on your love and respect for firearms to your children and grandchildren.

Guest Editorial from David Telford, NAA IT Manager
Look for Sandy’s comments next month

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2005

Another February, another SHOT Show.

NAA’s new product entries this year will be the availability of .17 caliber chambering in our entire minirevolver line, in both 17HMR as appropriate (in magnum-framed guns) as well as the more recently introduced 17 Mach 2 (LR size).      Admittedly, this is not earth shattering, nor has it been without some degree of difficulty. We continue to work with the ammo manufacturers in designing the proper reamers for the cylinders. It’s been our observation that the cases in any/every 17 caliber revolver tend to back-out of the chambers upon ignition, occasionally impeding the rotation of the cylinder (most recently reported by Gun Test regarding the Taurus product). This is an issue we intend to overcome.      Similarly, as discussed earlier, not all these bullets punch crisp holes through the targets. This is a function of several factors, including the barrel length of our guns and the design of both the bullet and cartridge. While we will continue to experiment with different tweaks to this issue, it’s not one we expect to resolve entirely. Customers should recognize the inherent limitations of these small firearms and establish appropriate, reasonable expectations.

Behind the scenes, we have been working with Titanium casters and machiners in an attempt to deliver a somewhat lighter, affordable pistol product (Guardian) to the market. Similarly, we continue to both work with existing suppliers and identify new ones, in an attempt to reduce the costs and improve the function and reliability of our firearms, not very glamorous or necessarily newsworthy, but all part of our commitment to continuous improvement.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March/April 2005

Update on the 17 Mini-Revolver & Feedback from Law Enforcement

It’s disappointing to report that we have not yet overcome the problems we’ve been facing with the reliability of our 17 caliber minirevolvers. The issue is that, when fired, the brass tends to deform and the case backs its way out of the cylinder, such that brass interferes with the smooth rotation of the cylinder. We’ve spoken at length with the ammo manufacturers, reamer designers, gunsmiths and other revolver manufacturers (who report suffering the same problem, but who still put the product in the field nonetheless). Until we determine that we’ve found a ‘fix’, these guns won’t leave the factory. I read with interest the recent thread on our message board about the use of NAA firearms by law enforcement. I can refer to hundreds of anecdotal instances when I’ve been advised by LEOs of their use of Mini-Revolvers and Guardians which they personally purchased and carry, notwithstanding their official departmental policy. Additionally, I can refer to dozens of agencies which have purchased NAA firearms for departmental issue (one of the first, and largest, orders came from the MA Highway Patrol; ironically, MA is the only state in the union where (new) NAA products are unavailable to the citizenry in general).      In addition to admissions regarding carry, I regularly receive reports about NAA firearms actually being used by LEOs (as well as civilians) for personal protection. I offer the following as an example which I received only last night:

Dear Mr. Sandy

In the firs place excuse my bad english. I actualy am brazilian.

Well, i am the police cheaf of my local town, here in Brazil. And on saturday, (26/february), at obout 2 o’cock in the morning, i recived an anonimous call, dinouncing where a 23 year old kid, wich had executed 8 pepole, and his gang (another 2 bandits) where hiding out.

Because of the lake of reforces, i got my bullet proof jacket, my Glock 22, and my N.A.A. mini-revolver (.22 LR), and went by my self.

After obout 10 minutes of intensive shoot-out, my .40 S&W bullets ran out. So one of them went and got me at gun point. He said that they were going to execute me. While 2 of them where looking in my car for guns, the oder one was beeting me up, until one of them found a unloaded F.A.L., rifle in the trunck of my car, and yeled to cal the oder one (that was beeting me) for a look. When he looked oround, I grabed my mini-revolver, wich was hiden in my under pants, and punched 2 shots in him. As he fell to the ground, i grabed his Ingram (sub-machinegun). After being shot once in the shoulder by a .38 that one of them had, I shot the 2 remaning bandits.

Concusion: There are less 3 bandits in the world, and the most important, I OWE MY LIFE TO AN N.A.A., .22 LR, MINI-REVOLVER.

(name withheld by NAA)

Furthermore, I have seen at least one story about the actual use of NAA firearms saving the life of the author in every firearms magazine title I have ever read.      By the way, there has never been an NAA-related email sent by anyone to me which failed to get an answer of some sort.

Now I’m off my Soapbox.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2005

Update on the 17 Mini-Revolver & Feedback from Law Enforcement

It’s disappointing to report that we have not yet overcome the problems we’ve been facing with the reliability of our 17 caliber minirevolvers. The issue is that, when fired, the brass tends to deform and the case backs its way out of the cylinder, such that brass interferes with the smooth rotation of the cylinder. We’ve spoken at length with the ammo manufacturers, reamer designers, gunsmiths and other revolver manufacturers (who report suffering the same problem, but who still put the product in the field nonetheless). Until we determine that we’ve found a ‘fix’, these guns won’t leave the factory.      I read with interest the recent thread on our message board “Mini-Revolver = No Value in Police Work” about the use of NAA firearms by law enforcement. I can refer to hundreds of anecdotal instances when I’ve been advised by LEOs of their use of Mini-Revolvers and Guardians which they personally purchased and carry, notwithstanding their official departmental policy. Additionally, I can refer to dozens of agencies which have purchased NAA firearms for departmental issue (one of the first, and largest, orders came from the MA Highway Patrol; ironically, MA is the only state in the union where (new) NAA products are unavailable to the citizenry in general).      In addition to admissions regarding carry, I regularly receive reports about NAA firearms actually being used by LEOs (as well as civilians) for personal protection. I offer the following as an example which I received only last night:

Dear Mr. Sandy

In the firs place excuse my bad english. I actualy am brazilian.

Well, i am the police cheaf of my local town, here in Brazil. And on saturday, (26/february), at obout 2 o’cock in the morning, i recived an anonimous call, dinouncing where a 23 year old kid, wich had executed 8 pepole, and his gang (another 2 bandits) where hiding out.

Because of the lake of reforces, i got my bullet proof jacket, my Glock 22, and my N.A.A. mini-revolver (.22 LR), and went by my self.

After obout 10 minutes of intensive shoot-out, my .40 S&W bullets ran out. So one of them went and got me at gun point. He said that they were going to execute me. While 2 of them where looking in my car for guns, the oder one was beeting me up, until one of them found a unloaded F.A.L., rifle in the trunck of my car, and yeled to cal the oder one (that was beeting me) for a look. When he looked oround, I grabed my mini-revolver, wich was hiden in my under pants, and punched 2 shots in him. As he fell to the ground, i grabed his Ingram (sub-machinegun). After being shot once in the shoulder by a .38 that one of them had, I shot the 2 remaning bandits.

Concusion: There are less 3 bandits in the world, and the most important, I OWE MY LIFE TO AN N.A.A., .22 LR, MINI-REVOLVER.

(name withheld by NAA)

Furthermore, I have seen at least one story about the actual use of NAA firearms saving the life of the author in every firearms magazine title I have ever read.      By the way, there has never been an NAA-related email sent by anyone to me which failed to get an answer of some sort.

Now I’m off my Soapbox.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2005

.32 H&R Magnum Mini-Revolver

What happened to April?

I’m pleased to announce that NAA has engaged a firearms designer and charged him with the design of a ‘as-small-as-possible’ .32 H&R Magnum single-action minirevolver.

Some of you will recall that we conducted just such an exercise a couple of years ago. The results were very disappointing; the prototype was big, heavy, ungainly and something which we felt was ‘not ready for prime time’.

What’s different this time? A new designer. Any promises? No, just lots of anticipation, expectations and anxiety. When? No clue. Why? Because we listen to you. Stay tuned.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2005

June 2005

.17 Mini-Revolver Update

I feel a sense of obligation, as well as embarrassment, to report that we have not yet resolved the problem we’ve reported with the 17 caliber minirevolvers where the firing of the shell causes the case to ‘back out’ of the cylinder, thus interrupting its rotation and the gun’s continued operation.

I assure you, our failure is not due to a lack of effort. We have enlisted a great variety of industry experts (as well as some not so expert) in an attempt to resolve this perplexing issue, but to no avail. It would be more accurate to report that we actually have, in fact, solved the problem, but have similarly created an equally unacceptable one: making it difficult/impossible to remove the spent brass. These fixes, some of which have been mentioned on our Message Board, have included roughening the cylinder chamber and machining a Seecamp-like expansion ring in the cylinder, the effect of which is noted above.

I never would have believed this would be so troublesome had I not lived through it. While we have not given-up on this project. I’ll admit we’re frustrated and running out of ideas.

On a more positive note, we receive regular feedback that our designer continues to make progress on his development of a 32 caliber minirevolver. I don’t yet have any specification to share with you but will do so whenever they become available. Based on some feedback I’ve received since our earlier announcement, I hasten to attempt to downplay expectations. Despite our interest in doing so, we cannot deliver in a platform in the size of our 22LR a minirevolver that fires five shots of 45 Long Colt (with no recoil, thank you very much). Please understand, also, that reducing the capacity to four (or three, or two) does nothing to reducing the (safe) minimum diameter of the cylinder). We’ll continue to keep you posted on our project.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2005

Firearms and the Boy Scouts of America

By way of introduction, my name is Harold Adams. I am the controller here at NAA and have been a volunteer scout leader for over 15 years. I am actively involved with scouting locally and on the national level. Both scouting and using firearms are interests that consume a lot of my time. The combining of the two has been fun and exciting – to see how it affects lives and helps youth gain self-esteem and knowledge.

Many people probably wonder if there are any connections between Scouting and the firearms industry. This question mostly arises from the fact that the BSA has recently taken great steps to try to recruit scouts from urban areas where there is little chance for youth to handle firearms. The BSA has long known that firearms are an important and integral part of growing up in the United States. We have two options as scout leaders: Teach youth how to safely handle and use firearms or allow them to learn from neighbors or friends with no safety factors in play.

Within the youngest programs of Scouting – the Cub Scout program has firearms safety and use as a part of the learning and growth program. Cub Scouts are often given the chance to use BB-guns at their summer day camps. The instructors at the day camp go through firearms training and use a NRA style course to teach firearms safety and use. Each boy is given instruction on safety issues involving firearms before any guns are allowed to be used. After completing safety instructions, the boys are allowed to shoot at “sounding” targets and paper targets to learn how the guns work and to help build self-esteem. It is interesting to note, that the shooting range is probably the most popular attraction at most day camps. If you ask most Cub Scouts what they look forward to – they will reply – the shooting range. This pent up demand, can only be met at day camps for the Cub Scout aged boy. Only Day Camps that have completed a strict inspection are allowed to offer the BB-Gun belt loop for Cub Scouts.

All shooting sport activities are based on an age-based scale.

  • Cub Scouts are allowed to use BB-Guns at qualified day camps.
  • Boy Scouts are allowed to use .22s and shotguns at Scout camps and NRA certified ranges with NRA certified instructors as range masters.
  • Varsity Scouts are allowed to shoot shotguns and Black Powder rifles with NRA certified instructors as range masters.
  • Venture Scouts are the only age group that are allowed to use handguns, and only under the supervision of NRA certified instructors.

It is interesting to note that in the Boy Scout program there are merit badges for shooting. At the upcoming National Jamboree to be held at Ft. AP Hill in Virginia, there will be over 45,000 boys given the chance to shoot as part of their experience. Shotgun shooting and Black Powder shooting are big hits. Lines are often over two hours long to participate in these activities. The NSSF will play an integral part in the programs this year. The NSSF will be providing the instructors and range masters for these activities. In the recent copy of Scouting Magazine, there were several pages describing the association and the activities involved. There is indeed a true demand with this country’s youth to learn and have the opportunity to use firearms safely. The limiting factor seems to be qualified instructors and opportunities for these kids to participate. Any and all NRA certified instructors could contact local BSA scout units and offer their services. I can’t imagine that there would be any units that would turn away an offer to go shooting.

As an aside, my Varsity Scout Team has taken the opportunity to go shooting whenever we can. During the last year, our boys have had the chance to shoot Black Powder rifles, shotguns, a .50 caliber BMG single shot rifle (they were able to take the casing home to show their parents) and to even do a Sporting Clays course. The boys have earned their Shotgun Shooting merit badge and are constantly looking for more opportunities to go shooting.

If you are a certified NRA instructor, take the chance to share your talents with BSA units in your area and teach these youth the proper way to handle and shoot firearms. The look on their faces and the thanks that you will get in return will be pay enough for your time. This is kind of like watching a young person take their first deer. The self-esteem and growth in these youth is clearly evident after the activity. As you think of the future, you will know that you have had a part in the growth of those youth, but you will also know that you have made the future safer, by correctly teaching youth how to handle and shoot firearms. After all, is that not the desire of all of us. To this end, please either donate your time or means to help these youth become well informed leaders of the future.

Harold Adams
Controller, NAA
Team 7205 Coach

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2005

California Update

I hope the citizens of California feel better protected and well-served by the regulators which make decisions such as these (click the link to letter below), as well as the legislators who are attempting to protect the community by having individual bullets serialized, as only the most recent example. Be concerned.

Click Here to read the read the cover letter we have sent to our distributors

Click Here to read the recent California DOJ Letter to NAA

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2005

Relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina

For the month of September, the entire gross revenues for all retail accessory sales will be forwarded weekly to the American Red Cross.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2005

Update on Red Cross donation

I understand that our accessory sales amounted to approximately $10,000 which we have forwarded to the American Red Cross for the benefit of those whose lives were disrupted by the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes. We hope this gesture will help bring a measure of comfort to some of the people who have suffered so greatly.

Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise to learn that sales of firearms have rocketed in that region as well. Where/when the fabric of our society becomes torn and the threat of enforcement disappears, lawlessness is a frequent result. We heard a number of reports of the free-ranging of gangs and of unprovoked personal assaults. In an environment of survival of the strongest, the innocent weak are at a frightening disadvantage, but one which can be countered by the possession of a weapon, typically a firearm.

In any disaster scenario, be it hurricanes, other flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc., prudent families have a plan of emergency preparedness. Where/when weight and space impact the decision of what firearm to carry, the small concealable handguns from North American Arms are frequently the answer.

North American Arms, because any firearm is always better than no firearm. Be prepared.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2005

No Soapbox this month….

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2005

Update on the 32 H&R Magnum Mini-Revolver

I’m happy to be able to provide some very preliminary and intentionally vague information regarding the new revolver project on which we’ve been working for the past several months.

The gun is being chambered for 32H&R Magnum. I understand that there are a variety of less powerful cartridges which it will safely fire.

It is a single-action configuration, like the minis, but will sport a full trigger guard.

It is a break-top design.

With a barrel of 1 5/8″, overall length is approx. 5 1/4″; different barrel lengths will doubtless be available. As a point of reference, this is approx. the same length as a 22WMR mini (with the same size barrel).

Overall height is approx. 3 5/8″ allowing for at least a three finger grip. As a point of reference, this is approx. ¾” higher than a 22WMR mini.

The width of the piece is slightly greater than 1 1/8″. This dimension is driven entirely by the geometry of a 5-shot configuration and the material properties of 17-4ph stainless steel. Otherwise, the frame width is approx. ½”, which will be increased by the girth of the grips, likely to the 1 1/8″ dimension (above).

At this point, we’re unable to determine the weight of the piece. Both the designer and those few who have monitored its progress describe it as “very innovative”; as such, we may find opportunities to use exotic (titanium) materials to reduce the weight of certain components.

With respect for, and at the request of, the designer (Keith DeHart of Houston, TX), we’ve pledged not to disclose any photos or drawings which would illustrate any of several potentially patentable design elements of this piece. As some of the parameters I’ve identified would suggest, this is a very aggressive and sophisticated engineering exercise.

Several of the components have already been “fired”. A completed, working prototype is targeted for delivery in early February (to allow us to discreetly demonstrate our progress to several important constituencies at the SHOT Show). Thereafter, we will have to complete and tweak production drawings and make commitments to the manufacture and construction of several tools/molds. Production pieces may reach the marketplace late in the Summer of ’06.

I hope this gives you some sense of our progress and a reasonable idea of where we’re going and when we expect to get there.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2004

Happy New Year!

There are two things we’d like to bring to your attention.

First, I’ve attached, in its unedited entirety, Ed Sanow’s report of the ballistic performance of the 25NAA (click to read Ed Sanow’s report). As most of you will recall, this is a new cartridge which we have designed in partnership with CorBon and which is designed to be fired from a Guardian identical in size to our 32ACP model. Ed Sanow is now editor of Law Enforcement magazine and, in partnership with Evan Marshall, has written several of the most highly regarded books on firearms ballistics. You can expect to see photos as well as a press release which we will prepare shortly.

The second is to introduce a product upgrade for our Mini Master and Black Widow models. This upgrade relates to the cylinder release pin, which has undergone a substantial design change. The purpose of this change is to make the pin easier to operate. These photos (click for a larger view) will help illustrate the new principal, which has the pin body filling a recess milled into the frame. This new pin will be incorporated into new production going forward. It is available as an upgrade for those with older models who wish to change configurations; the price of this upgrade is $20 + $15.00 S&H. While we consider it an improvement, we remain committed to supporting the older system with pins with ‘plungers’. We further advise that, if your pin assembly works properly, don’t change.

I wish us all health, happiness and great success in the coming year.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2004

25NAA & Senate Bill S659 Updates

It’s February, which means the beginning of trade show season. One of the first, and certainly the most important of these, is the SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades). With over 1500 exhibitors spread over 517,000 square feet presenting their wares to an audience approaching 20,000 people, it is easily the largest of its type in the world.     NAA will be introducing a couple of new models, including the recently described 25NAA Guardian. Built on the small 32ACP frame, this Cor-Bon manufactured bottleneck cartridge sends a 35 gr. Hornady XTP bullet downrange at 1275 f.p.s and delivers over 125 ft.lbs. of energy. (click to read Ed Sanow’s report) We invite you to draw comparisons with any other similarly sized pocket pistol for ballistic performance.     Additionally, “word on the street” has it that a major ammunition manufacturing company will introduce another new cartridge which is particularly well suited to the NAA family of firearms, and which we are already prepared to produce. My commitment to confidentiality precludes me from any more descriptive teasing, but we expect their announcement and this cartridge will draw a lot of attention.     We continue to consider the design of a firearm substantially different from those mentioned above. As our engineering and capital resources are limited, this has been (unapologetically) a very deliberative process. It’s important that you recognize the value we place in the comments which you offer us, most of which we consider very seriously. As a generally well-informed group, those of you who visit this site have a lot to offer and we respect your input (notwithstanding the slew of suggestions for a light recoiling 7-round semi-automatic 454 Casull weapon built on a no-obtanium alloy frame the size of our 32ACP Guardian – don’t those idiots know the 454 Casull is a revolver cartridge? Sheesh!). You get my point.     On the public policy front, S659 (Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act, is scheduled to be reintroduced this spring. You may recall that this bill protects gun manufacturers from liability from suits brought for the criminal misuse of their products (much akin to suing GM for a drunk in a Corvette running down a pedestrian). NAA was named in eight of the approx. 30 state/municipal suits filed over the past several years, including the infamous NAACP vs. everybody , the out-of-pocket cost of which has exceeded $500,000 for us alone (the cost to our underwriters was about twice that; think that had any effect on our premiums?). How much product innovation might that have cost us (see “Limited Resources”, above)? While justice may ultimately prevail, it comes at a ruinous price. Of course, this doesn’t address those idiots who can’t properly/safely handle a firearm, injure themselves and then figure we’re an easy touch. Please let your voices be heard during this particularly important election cycle.     On the other hand, you should be as lucky as I am, to have found a beautiful, supportive life’s partner. At George’s goading and notwithstanding her/our interest in privacy, I’m happy to offer the photos below. I’m flattered by your interest and continually grateful for your support.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2004

Ammunition

With the exception of a smaller, sporting goods chain buying group show (Worldwide), the trade show season has come to an end. All that remains is the NRA Annual Convention (and product exposition), this year held in Pittsburgh over the weekend of April 16; I want to issue a very sincere invitation to all of our friends and customers who go there: please come by and take a moment to (re)introduce yourselves! We’d be particularly happy to put a face to a name/handle of those who regularly participate on our Message Board.     As many of you guessed (or at least, came close), the new ammunition introduction, by Hornady, I alluded to was a .17 caliber rimfire based on the Long Rifle case, as opposed to the 17HMR introduced last year, based on the Magnum case. Much to our chagrin, our guns will be ready well in advance of the ammunition, which is currently expected to hit the shelves in the early fall.     I want to be very candid with all who might want to purchase one of our minis which will be chambered for this round. Our experience with the 17HMR has shown that we have great difficulty in stabilizing this round, and there’s no reason to think that we’ll have much better luck with the newer, as yet unnamed version. While we have tweaked and tested a variety of different twist rates and machining dimensions and tolerances, many of the rounds we fire hit their target at an oblique angle to the line of fire, resulting in a ‘keyhole’. This can be frustrating to those looking for a crisp concentric circle. While we will not stop trying any ‘fixes’ which we might learn (I’ve been advised of a new one we’re working right now), we have been advised that there are probably several fundamental issues we’re unlikely to overcome, our best efforts notwithstanding. These include

  • an apparent inherent stability issue with the particular boattail design of these bullets; while it may contribute to ease of production/loading, I have been told that it is anathema to efforts to produce straight, stable flight, the fact that our barrels tend to be very short (typically 2″ or less), which gives us a very limited opportunity to stabilize the bullet before it leaves the barrel, and
  • the fact that our barrels tend to be very short, which means that the bullet frequently can’t absorb all the explosive energy (particularly from a magnum shell) – and generate the velocity which would go a long way to enhancing bullet stability.

These are my understandings and neither I nor my team are ballistics experts. I imagine this will generate at least a little discussion on our Message Board, which I will watch with great interest. And then, there are those of you who will argue that tumbling bullets are far more effective personal protection rounds . . .

I hope to see many of you next month.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2004

Recent Article regarding the 32 NAA Cartridge

I hope this will help address any questions regarding reports in the recent Gun Tests article.

I welcome questions and comments. – Sandy


Mr. W. Todd Woodard, Editor
Gun Tests
1510 Eldridge Pkwy. (Ste. 110-163)
Houston, TX 77077

Dear Todd,

I was pleased and flattered to see that Gun Tests had chosen to include the North American Arms 32NAA Guardian in a recent (03/04) article comparing pocket pistols (p. 5-10). As usual, I found the reporting to be generally sober, fair and accurate. Your publication enjoys a well-deserved (in my opinion) reputation of being unbiased and authoritative, presenting fact as such and identifying opinion when/where it exists. I feel, however, that article contains a mischaracterization which, if uncorrected, threatens to blemish that reputation.

As the article accurately reported, the purpose of our partnership with Cor-Bon Ammunition and the consultancy support offered by Ed Sanow was to design and develop a pocket pistol/cartridge combination of extraordinary power and performance (“a mean little caliber with bad intentions” is a reasonable characterization). The test results you reported suggest we were quite successful – the 60 gr. JHP 32 NAA round dwarfed every other 32 ACP round you used and exceeded the average of all the 380 ACP rounds by 54% in muzzle velocity and 49% in muzzle energy. Recognizing that the use of a pocket pistol inherently compromises the degree of available fire power, we’re aware there’s a market eager to “get the most from the least” which we believe this pistol/cartridge combination effectively delivers.

Notwithstanding the expertise engaged in the design and development process, we then took the time and pains to present the engineering package which describes this (32 NAA) cartridge to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, of which both NAA and Cor-Bon are members). As you may be aware, SAAMI was created in 1926 at the behest of the federal government, and whose raison d’etre includes the compilation of technical data with specific consideration given to design parameters and other factors affecting safety. The Technical Committee comprises the senior staff of each of the major (and not so) domestic manufacturers of arms and ammunition, including, Federal, ATK, Remington, Sturm, Ruger, etc., etc. Their specific function is to maintain the standards which currently exist, as well as to exhaustively and critically vet those which are presented for inclusion in their library. The 32 NAA cartridge withstood that year+ long process and subsequently received the group’s acceptance. Characterizing that or any cartridge which is manufactured to the approved engineering package as “dangerous” or “too hot” would seem to contradict the accumulated expertise and legitimacy of a professional industry group which has decided otherwise.

I feel that some of your other remarks about the value and/or usefulness of the sighting system you selected or any of the other custom shop options which we make available is perfectly on point and the grist for some entertaining and occasionally useful debate, of which we’re happy to be a part. Hinting about the safety, or lack of , relating to one of our products is not. I suggest you owe your readers and your reputation the acknowledgment that those comments missed the target.

I will be in Pittsburgh exhibiting at the annual convention of the NRA next month and would be happy to discuss this further if you’re inclined.

Sincerely,

Sandy Chisholm, President
North American Arms

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2004

PRODUCT PERFORMANCE ADVISORY BULLETIN

This Product Performance Advisory Bulletin is issued for the benefit of NAA’s customers, owners and users of its .22 caliber revolvers. NAA has recently learned that the use of PMC .22 caliber ammunition (Magnum and LR) may affect the performance of its revolvers. Specifically, NAA has become aware of a phenomenon where an inadvertent, double-discharge (two rounds simultaneously discharging, one aligned with the barrel and the other out of battery) may occur when PMC Brand ammunition is used in NAA .22 caliber revolvers. These double discharge occurrences have been investigated by NAA and, based on the results of our investigation to date, it appears that the inadvertent, double-discharge has only occurred with PMC Brand .22 caliber ammunition, both in magnum and long rifle. However, NAA has not learned of any confirmed double-discharge occurrences involving any other brand of manufacturer’s ammunition.     At this time, NAA recommends that its customers, owners and users of NAA .22 revolvers DO NOT USE ANY PMC .22 CALIBER ammunition (Magnum and/or LR) in any model of NAA revolvers. As with all of its firearms, NAA encourages its customers to exercise the utmost caution and care when using its products, including always wearing appropriate eye and ear protection and following all of the Basic Rules of Firearms Safety.     NAA takes tremendous pride in its finely crafted products. Its products have been certified by independent testing laboratories to meet or exceed every published firearms standard for safety, performance and reliability. All of NAA’s products are warranted for a lifetime and its customer service and technical teams are ranked among the best in the industry, serving its more than 500,000 customers over the past thirty years.     NAA appreciates that, among other things, its products are purchased and used as back-up weapons for law enforcement and for personal protection. As such, NAA recognizes that its customers should be supplied with any information that may affect the safety, performance and reliability of its products.

If you have any questions concerning this Product Performance Advisory Bulletin, please contact us at (800) 821-5783 or write us at North American Arms, 2150 South 950 East, Provo, Utah 84606-6285, Attention General Manager.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2004

Announcing the New 17 Caliber Mini-Revolvers

I’m pleased to announce that NAA now offers both of the new 17 caliber rounds (17HMR and the 17Mach1) across the entire line of our minirevolvers. Similar to our 22 caliber conversion cylinders, we offer a second cylinder to allow safe firing of the 17Mach1 in Magnum frame guns (FAQ #2 at faq_22). Please note also that our cylinders have been designed so that 17 caliber cylinders will not fit 22 caliber guns, and vice versa.     We have successfully resolved the rifling challenges we earlier faced and are confident that ‘most’ of the rounds fired from our minis will fly true without tumbling. Please note that we cannot address the bullet design, bullet velocity or barrel length issues which also greatly impact the stability of this round; if you want a guarantee of perfectly crisp holes on your paper target, buy a rifle. Otherwise, plink your little hearts out with these fun, new cartridges.

Wide availability of the 17Mach1 cartridges is anticipated for September 2004.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2004

Gone Fishing – Enjoy the start of Summer.
Regards – Sandy

Note from Webmaster:
Look for Sandy’s Soapbox (and maybe a few fish stories) on August 1

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2004

Announcing The Stocking Dealer Program.

North American Arms Inc. is pleased to announce the creation of a Stocking Dealer Program.     “We’ve had relationships with hundreds of dealers that have lasted for better than 25 years” said Sandy Chisholm, NAA’s president. “We were looking for a way to show appreciation for their efforts – to offer them a program which further increases the profitability of the NAA line – without interrupting the critical relationship we’ve enjoyed with our network of wholesalers since our inception,” Chisholm added.     NAA looked at a great variety of similar programs from major manufacturers and attempted to adopt the best points that we observed. Rather than offer a complicated formula or chart of selections (one from column A, two from B, blah blah blah) or restrict the order to certain ‘specials’, our goal was to make the program very simple – place an order for $1500 comprised of any selection of guns you chose. The program also represents real value: you receive the greatest discounts ever offered for NAA products, as well as generous factory incentives which increase the value of the order.     In addition to ‘best ever’ pricing, the factory sweetens the offer with free accessories or Custom Shop services – of the dealer’s selection – equaling up to 20% of the value of the stocking order. NAA’s wide variety of accessories are designed to take maximum advantage of the unique characteristics of their small firearms. The belt buckle/holster is an NAA exclusive carrying option for production guns, as is the collapsing holster grip (“My favorite”, says Chisholm. “It offers both a substantially improved grip on the revolver, as well as a whole new range of concealed carry opportunities”). The NAA Custom Shop also offers a great variety of products and services which further enhance the already superior finish and workmanship on their line of pocket pistols. “Specifying this factory work at the time of purchase save a couple of very expensive shipping charges”, he notes.     Similar to other factory programs, NAA also offers Stocking Dealers factory direct pricing for range guns as well as generous employee discounts.

The NAA Stocking Dealer Program – simple, flexible and offering a real value – is proudly presented to qualified dealers by some of the best sales representative firms in the industry, including The Evans Group, Jones and Company, Pestilli & Associates and Wild West Marketing. See our “http://www.northamericanarms.com/dealers,” or call Heidi at the factory (800-821-5783) for further details.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2004

MAG-NA-PORTed Guardians, the 17 Mach1 Mini and more…

We’ve been busy this summer. Here’s what is new and/or up and coming at NAA.

July 2004

NAA teamed up with MAG-NA-PORT® to reduce the felt recoil on the 32NAA (See Photo). With a suggested retail of $524 you can purchase the Guardian 32NAA with a MAG-NA-PORTed barrel reducing the felt recoil by 20%. Although we are not producing them at this time, the remaining Guardians will be available with MAG-NA-PORTing upon request. (This is not part of our Custom Shop and is not being offered on existing guns.)

Item NumberMSRP
NAA-32NAA-MNP$524
NAA-380ACP-MNP$534
NAA-32ACP-MNP$487
NAA-25NAA-MNP$487

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2004

Better than Nothing

I’m aware that there are several articles which will be published in the general firearms press in the next few months. These articles will feature our family of minirevolvers. I’m usually amused by how the writers describe these guns, their utility and their effectiveness. I’d thought I’d share my thoughts.     These guns are personal protection weapons. They are not hunting grade, nor are they target grade. I am happy – and proud – to characterize them by the title of this month’s Soapbox. I would never argue that these guns are manstoppers (though in a surprising (to me) number of well-documented instances, they have proven to be). I strongly suggest that if you have the opportunity and inclination to carry a handgun of higher power and greater capacity, that you do so (by the way, the Guardian series of pocket-sized semiautos are very popular alternatives).     If, however, the small size and ease of operation of the minis enable/prompt you to carry a defensive handgun where/when you might otherwise not carry, I offer you my personal assurance that having one at hand is infinitely better than not having one at hand. While unlikely to fell a drug-crazed or otherwise irrational individual, an NAA minirevolver will certainly impart a measure of deterrence that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have the gun at hand. In the overwhelming majority of confrontational events, a defender needs only brandish a firearm to stop the threat.     I’m chagrined by individuals who dismiss the threat that a minirevolver represents (“Who’re yu gunna’ hurt/scare with that little thing”). I would desperately love the opportunity to look into the eyes of one of these idiots were I to point a loaded mini aimed at their face from five feet away; I guarantee you, if someone did that to me, it would change my behavior, and I imagine it would for most of you as well.     I have heard a slew of stories about the lethality of .22 caliber bullets and the way they tend to rattle around inside a human body; I would be interested in seeing some discussion about this on our message board. Lethality notwithstanding and in any event, I simply prefer not to leak. Coincidentally, a movie presently in the theatres, Assassination Tango (Robert Duval), prominently features an NAA mini (a 22MS, I believe).     Additionally, people who complain that they’re unable to group head shots at 50 feet clearly don’t understand the purpose of this gun – or the laws regarding self-defense.

To mini or not to mini; that is the question. I hope I’ve helped provide the answer; to mini – it’s better than nothing.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2004

Election Edition

Early this (Wed. 11/03) morning, it appears that President Bush has won re-election for a second term. As most of my small but ‘thoughtful’ audience will appreciate, this is a great win for sportsmen and supporters of the Second Amendment. According to information that has been shared with me, the victory extends to the legislative branch as well, to wit:

  • Of the 18 candidates for the U.S. Senate endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the NRA-endorsed candidate won in 14 of these racesNet gain of four pro-gun seats in the U.S. Senate with gains in Florida, Lousiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and South Dakota, and a loss in ColoradoOf the 251 candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association for the U.S. House of Representatives, the NRA-endorsed candidate won in 241 of these racesThe 109th Congress will begin with Members with the following ratings: 235 “A”-rated, 27 “B”-rated, 15 “C”-rated, 17 “D”-rated, 138 “F”-rated, and 3 “?”-ratedIn Senate races, the Brady Bunch supported for reelection Senator Tom Daschle and targeted for defeat Senators Kit Bond and Arlen Specter, and their endorsed candidates lost in all these Senate racesIn House races, the Brady Bunch targeted for defeat Congressmen Rick Renzi (AZ-1), Bob Beauprez (CO-7), Mark Kennedy (MN-6), Heather Wilson (NM-1), and Jim Gerlach (PA-6) and supported Virginia Schrader (PA-8), and their endorsed candidates lost in all of these House racesThree anti-gun Republicans — Doug Bereuter (NE-1), Amory Houghton (NY-29), and Jim Greenwood (PA-8) — will be succeeded by pro-gun congressmenPro-gun upgrades in Senate seats: anti-gun Senator Bob Graham is succeeded by pro-gun candidate Mel Martinez, unreliable Senator John Breaux is succeeded by pro-gun congressman David Vitter, anti-gun Senator John Edwards is succeeded by pro-gun congressman Richard Burr, and anti-gun Senator Fritz Hollings is succeeded by pro-gun congressman Jim DeMint, and anti-gun Senator Tom Daschle was defeated by pro-gun former congressman John ThunePro-gun freshmen in the Senate will include: Mel Martinez (FL), Johnny Isakson (GA), David Vitter (LA), Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK), Jim DeMint (SC), and John Thune (SD)
  • Pro-gun freshmen in the House will include: John Salazar (CO-3), Connie Mack (FL-14), Tom Price (GA-6), Lynn Westmoreland (GA-8), Mike Sodrel (IN-9), Geoff Davis (KY-4), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), Virginia Foxx (NC-5), Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Dan Boren (OK-2), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Bob Inglis (SC-4), Louie Gohmert (TX-1), Ted Poe (TX-2), Mike McCaul (TX-10), Mike Conaway (TX-11), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Thelma Drake (VA-2), and Cathy McMorris (WA-5)

Victories in both the Executive and Legislative branches bode well also for the Judicial branch, where a whole slew of appointments – including several to the Supreme Court – will likely reflect a conservative, Constitutional tone.

Congratulations and thanks to all those who helped make this possible.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2004

Family and Firearms

Like many of you, I had the opportunity to spend time with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Due to the distance, I only see my family once or twice a year, and, working at NAA, I usually try to bring one or more of our guns with me to show them. This year, I brought a 25 NAA Guardian that I had just purchased. Everyone agreed that it was a very “cool” little gun.      On Saturday, we went out of town to shoot. We took one of my nieces and my son with us. Both kids had been shooting before and were eager to shoot the 25 NAA. As the kids got ready to shoot, they realized that there’s a big difference between shooting a .22 Mini-Revolver and semi-auto pistol.     Too many of us have learned the hard way why you don’t put your finger, thumb, or any part of your hand near the slide, esp the back of the slide. After we cycled the slide a couple of times, both kids got the idea and kept their hands & fingers away from the slide.     The long trigger pull on the Guardian was too much for my son. After watching him try to aim and pull the trigger, we helped him shoot. My niece got it after a while, but the trigger pull and the anticipation of the recoil are both very different from a .22 and took some getting used to.     We did the usual yelling at the kids to “stand way behind the shooter”, “always assume it’s loaded” and “don’t point”. Kids learn by repetition – but they also learn by example. We’re around firearms so much that it’s easy to get comfortable and careless. While shooting that day, I resolved to be more careful around firearms to avoid setting a bad example.     While reloading, I asked about some of the places we used to shoot and was sad to learn that the area where my father taught me to shoot was no longer available to shooters. A big part of the problem was the mess people were leaving behind, especially broken glass and shredded cans. We talked with the kids about why we clean up after we’re done and had them help us pick up our targets.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable trip. We spent time with our children instilling in them a love and respect for firearms, in much the same way that our father did with us over 20 years ago. My holiday wish for you is that you’ll have similar opportunities to pass on your love and respect for firearms to your children and grandchildren.

Guest Editorial from David Telford, NAA IT Manager
Look for Sandy’s comments next month

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2003

Computers

Computers can be very interruptive to your ordinary existence at least mine. Because they can enhance productivity and create such opportunities when they work properly, it’s easy to become very reliant on them, but at the expense of great vulnerability; when something in the system fails, the interruption in your o.e. (above) can be very rude indeed.

In my personal case, it’s the loss of high-speed Internet service (2-way satellite). I won’t bore you with the details, but the customer service (or lack of) experience has been very unsatisfactory, and most people who are reading this can imagine what they would feel like if they could no longer ‘connect’. Thank goodness I have a local office I can go to bridge the gap but, admittedly, I enjoy being able to do as much as I do from home. Such as monitoring the message board on this site. Which I can’t (at the moment).

Computers (systems) have struck me ­ and you ­ again, compliments of the presumed failure of Shooters.com. This loss of hosting service to NAA has temporarily (I think) affected our e-commerce and permanently (possibly) the data we (you and I) have accumulated on our message board. I recall that we’ve posted a notice to this effect on our home page. As I indicated in an earlier post, we will attack this hosting problem as aggressively as possible to minimize the interruption to you.

Similarly, I was disappointed to learn of the demise of TheFiringLine.com, which was a popular on-line shooters forum. I visited there frequently and learned a lot, as I do from our own message board. Readers should know that there’s not a post made on our message board that I don’t read (I believe most of our factory does as well), and the feedback that you provide is invaluable. I make very few posts on my own (notwithstanding my recent blurb regarding NAA’s new Integral Locking System, below), and would prefer you send a direct e-mail (sandy@naaminis.com) if you expect a response (which every direct e-mail gets). I’ve resolved to get a laptop in the new year so that I can maintain my responsiveness when away from home. I continue to be amazed and disappointed when people fail to call the factory at 800-821-5783 for immediate answers to any pressing questions ­ please do so!

Not yet ready for news

There are still some outstanding issues to which we don’t yet have answers regarding the Integrated Locking System. I expect that the ILS will be the subject of next month’s message board. We’re also hoping to be able to post a diagram (possibly an animation) which should go a long way to help illustrating the operation of the system. It is sure to open a healthy debate regarding firearms design and public policy issues.

BTW, it’s the ILS which has allowed our pistols to return to CA. You should expect to see the 380ACP Guardian on the ‘not unsafe’ (hysterical nomenclature, no?) list next month, as we’ve received certification from the local testing house.

I wish all a Happy (and healthy) New Year. I appreciate your business and your interest in NAA.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2003

Message Board

I am pleased to announce that we have completed our transition to a new webhosting service. In addition to simply transferring data files and page formats to another server, the transition has included the adoption of new e-commerce and Message Board software.

While I havenít had much experience with (NAA) on-line purchasing, I am an active participant on our message board. The new format appears to offer some distinct advantages over the old, and as we become more familiar with any new opportunities which it presents, such as segregating discussion areas or enhancing search capabilities, weíll introduce them to our audience. I appreciate your patience during the changeover, and solicit your feedback, much of which youíve already shared with us, as we move forward.

Disappointingly, we have been unable to recover useable data from the last board. You helped us accumulate a treasure trove of experiences, information, entertainment which will be difficult to replace, but which we ask you to help us try.

Ron Graham’s Custom Leather

We are happy to announce that we have established a new relationship with Holstermaker Ron Graham. Over the past few years, we have seen on our Message Board the raves about his products, as well as some remarks about his deliveries. As a customer myself, and having had an opportunity to review a dozen additional samples, I can attest to his materials and craftsmanship. Weíre pleased to have made a stocking commitment which will allow Ron some better planning, cash flow, scheduling, etc. and which we hope our/his customers will appreciate.

Integrated Locking System

As weíd earlier mentioned, weíve begun incorporation of the Integrated Locking System (ILS) into some of our production of Guardian pistols, specifically those destined for the California market (Iím happy to report that both the 32ACP and 380ACP versions of this pistol have qualified and been listed as ënot unsafeí for sale in this market, as well as the 22M and 22LLR versions of our minirevolvers). The ILS is a Taurus-designed system which attaches internally/unobtrusively to the frame of the pistol and which, when actuated (by a 90 degree turn of a specially-sized hex key) rotates a lever which interferes with the free travel of the hammer. The accompanying illustration may be helpful to your understanding (ILS Animation – 11MB). A similar system will soon be available on the minirevolvers (whereby the locking device is located in the base of the hammer, with the lever rotating into the frame).

At this stage, we will offer these pistols in both ëwith ILSí and ëwithoutí models. We expect this feature to add $50 (MSRP) to the cost of this pistol. Additionally, we will be happy to retrofit this feature into existing inventory at a cost of $75 (which includes return overnight shipping). As this requires outside services, we will batch process all returned pistols on (or about) the first of each month, with an expected turnaround of 10 days (or less); please consider this schedule when you return your pistol to us. Please feel welcome to call the factory at 800-821-5783 for answers to any additional questions about the operation or availability of the ILS.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2003

March, 2003

New Accessories

I can’t imagine communicating with you without first expressing appreciation and offering prayers on the safe, swift return of our fighting forces.

I’m happy announce the availability of the Pocket Slipper laser sight for the 380ACP model Guardian. This is an item which our vendor has struggled to make reliable. We have recently tested one for several hundred rounds of the 32NAA model Guardian (same frame and you cannot find a more severe test platform). While we do not recommend attaching one to the 32NAA (which it will fit perfectly), our experience indicates the Pocket Slipper is now adequately robust and reliable for us to offer it for sale for the 380ACP. I hasten to add that it, as well as any other accessory, is covered by our policy of “satisfaction guaranteed ­ or the product will be replaced or your money cheerfully refunded”.

In the same vein, I’m also happy to announce the availability of extensions for both 32ACP and 380ACP NAA Guardian magazines. These will begin shipping April 15. These extensions can be easily retrofitted onto existing magazines, and offer an additional 4+ round capacity, for a total of 10 ­ the most allowed by law. These extensions provide a substantial increase in the purchase (gripability) of your Guardian (admittedly at the expense of concealability). Please note: despite our best efforts, as well as those of our magazine design partners, MecGar and Wolff Springs, we cannot assure reliable feeding of JHP bullets and recommend they be used only with FMJ (ball) ammo. Extension Kits featuring a set of 2 extensions and springs are priced at $25.00 and are easily installed. New magazines with the extensions installed and a flat plate are $30.00. Click here to order

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2003

New Accessories!

I can’t imagine communicating with you without first expressing appreciation and offering prayers on the safe, swift return of our fighting forces.

I’m happy announce the availability of the Pocket Slipper laser sight for the 380ACP model Guardian. This is an item which our vendor has struggled to make reliable. We have recently tested one for several hundred rounds of the 32NAA model Guardian (same frame and you cannot find a more severe test platform). While we do not recommend attaching one to the 32NAA (which it will fit perfectly), our experience indicates the Pocket Slipper is now adequately robust and reliable for us to offer it for sale for the 380ACP. I hasten to add that it, as well as any other accessory, is covered by our policy of “satisfaction guaranteed ­ or the product will be replaced or your money cheerfully refunded”.

In the same vein, I’m also happy to announce the availability of extensions for both 32ACP and 380ACP NAA Guardian magazines. These will begin shipping April 15. These extensions can be easily retrofitted onto existing magazines, and offer an additional 4+ round capacity, for a total of 10 ­ the most allowed by law. These extensions provide a substantial increase in the purchase (gripability) of your Guardian (admittedly at the expense of concealability). Please note: despite our best efforts, as well as those of our magazine design partners, MecGar and Wolff Springs, we cannot assure reliable feeding of JHP bullets and recommend they be used only with FMJ (ball) ammo. Extension Kits featuring a set of 2 extensions and springs are priced at $25.00 and are easily installed. New magazines with the extensions installed and a flat plate are $30.00. Click here to order.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2003

Something Totally New

Friends – Sorry for the delay. Rather than publish my diatribe about the NAACP trial and the pending Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act designed to deflect such lunacy, I offer the following new product development tease:

Coming Soon! 32NAA barrels for Makarovs. Pricing, ballistics and other specifications to follow.

Click here for the Makarov Discussion Site thread on these barrels.

Thanks for your business and interest.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2003

Going Fishin’

A couple of weeks ago you may have heard/read about the ‘conclusion’ of the NAACP vs. Everybody trial, about which I commented on our message board. I’ve since learned that we were one of the 28 defendants found fully and absolutely ‘not liable’. Now the only thing left is to wait for the judge’s final decision, due in a couple of weeks. It would seem difficult for him, in clear conscious, regardless of his radical inclinations, to controvert the resounding decisions reached by, at minimum, a 9 to 3 vote from the ‘advisory’ jury ­ but we’ll see.

Wasteful, exhausting, expensive battles such as these could be precluded by the passage of the Lawful Commerce in Firearms legislation, which awaits passage by the US Senate. Your voices can be very helpful here; they’ve certainly heard mine.

And now, I’ve gone fishin’.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2003

32NAA – New Developments

In an effort to find/support new platforms for our 32NAA cartridge, we’ve had barrels chambered for this new cartridge built to fit the very popular Makarov pistols. These barrels are presently being marketed/sold by

Makarov.con, Inc.
21 Saint Andrews Dr.
Hurricane, WV 25526
Ph&Fax: 1-888-625-3925
http://makarov.com

Recent postings on the 32NAA Mak. (all open a new browser window)

General/comments:
http://www.gunboards.com/forums/UltraBoard.cgi?action=Read&BID=42&TID=31385&SID=1378550

Range report/ammo:
http://www.gunboards.com/forums/UltraBoard.cgi?action=Read&BID=42&TID=31177&SID=1378550

32NAA Accuracy test:
http://www.gunboards.com/forums/UltraBoard.cgi?action=Read&BID=42&TID=31180&SID=1378550

The feedback, as represented by the above, appears very favorable. Additionally, we continue to support the efforts of other manufacturers who might be interested in chambering this round; several have shown sincere interest. CorBon continues to promise us ‘practice’ grade ammunition; you’ll know when we know.

25NAA ­ Progress Report

This project continues to advance, albeit very slowly some times. CorBon is awaiting the delivery of sized 32H&R cartridges, which would be the foundation of the 25NAA. Look for another report in 90 days.

I’m also happy to announce that we’ve finally recovered our trademarked name “North American Arms” as a site name; we can now be reached at www.northamericanarms.com (which means nothing to those of you who have us bookmarked, but it’s nice to have).

Enjoy the summer.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2003

Hello?

What would happen if Sandy didn’t write a Soapbox? Would anybody notice/care? Send me an e-mail (sandy@naaminis.com) and I’ll send you a Mini-Revolver lapel pin. Is anybody out there?

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2003

Well, summer’s over and it’s time to get back to work.

I want to acknowledge and thank the tens of thousands (actually, a few dozen) of you who were kind enough to respond to my inquiry about Soapbox readership. All of the comments I received were favorable/flattering, no doubt prompted by the bribe of an NAA trinket.

I’m happy to report that practice-grade .32NAA ammunition is now available from Cor-Bon, either directly from the factory (www.corbon.com (though at this writing I haven’t seen it posted on their site) or 605-347-4544) or from the network of distributors who ordinarily handle Cor-Bon product. It is somewhat less expensive and appreciably less powerful, to allow for extended range time (71 gr. FMJ, 1000 f.p.s., 50 ea. = $23 MSRP, I’m told). Conversely, I’m sorry to report little apparent progress with the .25NAA round, as the brass manufacturer is delayed in meeting our requests.

Similarly, we have little to show (so far) for our efforts in the development of a .22 caliber Guardian. We have no in-house design capability for this project and so rely on attracting the time and attention of those on whom we depend for assistance. We expect to go forward, though our timetable here continues to slip as well.

We have received reinforced faux mother-of-pearl grips in black and white from our grip supplier, Hogue; these have been designed to better withstand the forces of shooting and will not crack from recoil.

Please note the link on our home page which identifies several iterations of pre-customized Guardians, each of which is available only from the specified distributor ­ tell your dealer where to find them!

Once again, I ask for your attention and efforts to assist in the passage of SB 659, the proposed federal statute which would preclude the filing of lawsuits against manufacturers, such as NAA, because of the criminal misuse of our products. Passage depends on an affirmative vote in the US Senate. The bill enjoys a majority of co-sponsoring senators, but one which is not yet “fillibusterproof” (ie. 60+). Your voices, particularly from those in states whose senators have not yet come on board, are critical.

In that same vein, and highlighting the need for such legislation:

despite the recent conclusion of a 4+ year federal trial, conducted by the most Brady-supportive judge that could be found, which cost the industry in excess of $10 million to defend, and whose defendants were overwhelming found not guilty/negligent/liable ­ is anyone surprised that an appeal has been filed? Who will stop the madness? When? I’m pissed; how ’bout you? Tell someone.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October/November 2003

How We Fix Things

Occasionally, I read threads on our Message Board where customers take issue with the ‘out of the box reliability’, or lack thereof, of our products. This condition invariably refers to our pistols; most revolvers, including our own, typically function without a hitch ­ first time, every time. Because of their design and operating nature, most pistols benefit from a break-in period, which typically lasts from one to two hundred rounds. During this time, the varied metal surfaces which contact each other (e.g. slide channels and frame rails, components in the trigger mechanism, etc.) have an opportunity to wear against each other and form a compatible fit with its mate, like a foot in a shoe. In those cases where the initial operation is deemed ‘rough’ ­ maybe one in ten, a break-in period will, in most cases, resolve the issue. Even when the gun worked perfectly from round one, the feel of the gun will continue to improve as the parts interact and wear with each other. If the break-in does not solve the reliability and feel issues, then additional attention is required.

Before NAA ships any gun, it is fully loaded and fired into a metal box designed to trap bullets. Our interest here is in function and not accuracy (it should be noted that NAA does not have a firing range per se. We cannot, nor do we claim to, sight-in any gun, even those on which we’ve installed adjustable sights. Additionally, we don’t suggest that any of our guns is target-grade; that some people with some guns can shoot remarkable groups at remarkable distances is a great plus, but not a capability we promise our customers. In any event, shooting an individual at a distance of greater than 20 feet is arguably not self-defense). Any gun which does not function perfectly is set aside, reworked and retested.

People familiar with guns will recognize the particular challenge which NAA has undertaken in both designing as small a pistol as is (safely) possible, as well as one which will reliably digest any ammo of a specific caliber. There are significant difference between hollowpoint and FMJ cartridges, including (but not restricted to) length and bullet profile, both of which have a major impact on the design of the feed system. This created some monumental challenges for our engineering team, which they have successfully met. If it were easy, a lot more people would be doing it.

Repairing guns is an expensive proposition, not only in terms of time and dollars spent by both the factory and the customer, but in terms of our reputation as well. We aim that every gun which leaves the factory is the best product we can make; unfortunately, that sometimes isn’t the case. The number of returns to NAA is so small that we’re able to give each one an exhaustive review and overhaul, as has been frequently recognized and noted on our site by our customers. It is inconceivable that a gun would ever leave our factory a second time with a problem unresolved. If a customer notes a condition which we’re unable to replicate, however, there’s precious little we can do to ‘correct’ the phantom problem. I certainly am not suggesting that these problems are simply a figment of someone’s imagination, only that there may be other factors involved in the gun’s performance, most notably the handling of the gun by the individual shooter.

As proud as we are of the reputation we have earned for customer service, we know that it is fragile and can be easily spoiled. I am certain that my team gives every repair situation its unqualified best effort, and we continue to promise that we will go to almost any length to achieve a customer’s satisfaction, regardless of the issue or the cause.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October/November 2003

How We Fix Things

Occasionally, I read threads on our Message Board where customers take issue with the ‘out of the box reliability’, or lack thereof, of our products. This condition invariably refers to our pistols; most revolvers, including our own, typically function without a hitch ­ first time, every time. Because of their design and operating nature, most pistols benefit from a break-in period, which typically lasts from one to two hundred rounds. During this time, the varied metal surfaces which contact each other (e.g. slide channels and frame rails, components in the trigger mechanism, etc.) have an opportunity to wear against each other and form a compatible fit with its mate, like a foot in a shoe. In those cases where the initial operation is deemed ‘rough’ ­ maybe one in ten, a break-in period will, in most cases, resolve the issue. Even when the gun worked perfectly from round one, the feel of the gun will continue to improve as the parts interact and wear with each other. If the break-in does not solve the reliability and feel issues, then additional attention is required.

Before NAA ships any gun, it is fully loaded and fired into a metal box designed to trap bullets. Our interest here is in function and not accuracy (it should be noted that NAA does not have a firing range per se. We cannot, nor do we claim to, sight-in any gun, even those on which we’ve installed adjustable sights. Additionally, we don’t suggest that any of our guns is target-grade; that some people with some guns can shoot remarkable groups at remarkable distances is a great plus, but not a capability we promise our customers. In any event, shooting an individual at a distance of greater than 20 feet is arguably not self-defense). Any gun which does not function perfectly is set aside, reworked and retested.

People familiar with guns will recognize the particular challenge which NAA has undertaken in both designing as small a pistol as is (safely) possible, as well as one which will reliably digest any ammo of a specific caliber. There are significant difference between hollowpoint and FMJ cartridges, including (but not restricted to) length and bullet profile, both of which have a major impact on the design of the feed system. This created some monumental challenges for our engineering team, which they have successfully met. If it were easy, a lot more people would be doing it.

Repairing guns is an expensive proposition, not only in terms of time and dollars spent by both the factory and the customer, but in terms of our reputation as well. We aim that every gun which leaves the factory is the best product we can make; unfortunately, that sometimes isn’t the case. The number of returns to NAA is so small that we’re able to give each one an exhaustive review and overhaul, as has been frequently recognized and noted on our site by our customers. It is inconceivable that a gun would ever leave our factory a second time with a problem unresolved. If a customer notes a condition which we’re unable to replicate, however, there’s precious little we can do to ‘correct’ the phantom problem. I certainly am not suggesting that these problems are simply a figment of someone’s imagination, only that there may be other factors involved in the gun’s performance, most notably the handling of the gun by the individual shooter.

As proud as we are of the reputation we have earned for customer service, we know that it is fragile and can be easily spoiled. I am certain that my team gives every repair situation its unqualified best effort, and we continue to promise that we will go to almost any length to achieve a customer’s satisfaction, regardless of the issue or the cause.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2003

Seasons Greetings

As said many times, we have some very wonderful news, and some not so wonderful news to share.

Let’s begin with wonderful news from the NAA family. The great day finally arrived, and on November 28th, Sandy and his beautiful companion Greta, finally decided to tie the knot. With family and friends, and in the beautiful tropical setting of the Virgin Islands, Sandy and Greta became man and wife. Please join us in congratulating Sandy and Greta on this glorious match, truly made in heaven. (You cannot imagine the contribution Greta has made, with the enthusiasm and goodwill Sandy exhibits in running NAA and the success we enjoy.)

And now for the not so good news. You’re all stuck with me for this Soapbox installment. (Sorry.) Nonetheless, we do have additional good news to share.

Let’s start with the 25NAA Guardian. As Sandy mentioned in the November installment, the new casings were received. These casings are not the standard 32 ACP casing necked down to a 25 caliber. We tried that. Didn’t work. The problem with these rounds is that they became too short and with the semi-rim the 32 ACP casing has, we experienced feed problems, commonly referred to as rim-lock. (This was the delay)

Our good friends and partners at Cor Bon, (Peter Pi) came up with the solution. Utilizing the 32 H&R Magnum casing, and turning the rim down to make it a truly rimless case, greatly helped with the rim-lock concerns. As an added benefit, this new casing allowed .125 to be added to the overall casing length. This increase not only enhanced feeding, but also gave Cor Bon more room for load developments. (As Peter mentioned, more room, more powder, more power.)

This new round did however require us to re-chamber the prototype Guardians to accept the longer cartridge. Once this was done and the first proof rounds from Pete were received, I’m thrilled to report the 25NAA Guardians worked flawlessly. (This will be the carry gun to have.)

Unfortunately, (as is always the case) a nasty little delay did crop up in ammunition production. Due to the unique rim size, re-tooling was required. (It is in process, unfortunately at the time of this writing the lead-time has not yet been given.) In the meantime, a small quantity of 25NAA rounds will be hand produced, with the intentions of forwarding these rounds along with a 25NAA Guardian out for various ballistic evaluations. (We believe the overall results will be impressive.) These results will be posted upon completion of the testing.

For those of you interested in the 32NAA, NAA will become an additional source for your Cor Bon 32NAA ammunition needs. (We still encourage you to support your local dealer for all of your ammo needs. If however you should have any trouble locating 32NAA ammo, we’ll be there.)

Available in ether a 60gr. JHP, or a 71gr. FMJ, with pricing and shipping information made available and posted within the next few weeks. (Shipping restrictions and costs are currently being reviewed.)

On the Black Widow & Mini Master front, the new cylinder pin design for these models has been approved, prototypes made and we are expecting delivery of the various components within the next few weeks. This new design replaces the gravity (required) pin introduced several years ago. You can look forward to seeing photos’ and description on our web site shortly. The ability to retrofit this new pin on existing BW & MM revolvers will require your revolver to be sent back for minor machining. Information on the retrofit will be made available, along with photos by the end of the month.

Last (worth mentioning) but not least, we have received several requests to produce a double action, top break revolver similar to the old break top S&W models. (S&W 32 a.k.a. Lemon Squeezer) Keeping the size as much as possible to our magnum framed mini revolvers. (Chambered in 22 Mag and 22LR.). Please let us know your comments, suggestions and/or any concerns you may have on this subject.

I thank you for staying with me, and allowing me to ramble on. In looking at the bright side, Sandy will be back next month for a year-end summary and sharing his visions for 2004. Until then, please join us in celebrating Sandy & Greta on their tribute to all the joy and benefits, each will receive from having a better half.

From all of us at NAA, we thank you for your support, and wish you and yours a safe and joyful holiday season.

Ken

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2002

This month I want to share with you a couple of our plans for product development programs which we’ll be working on in ’02.

One includes the incorporation of a Taurus-type internal locking feature. Simply put, a hex-headed key rotates an internal lever that fixes (locks) the hammer in place; it also interrupts the trigger pull in the autos. It should be noted that this project was conducted with the cooperation and support of Taurus itself; we appreciate their sharing much of their engineering with us.

On the minis, this locking device will be located on the ‘base’ of the hammer, with the lever rotating into the frame. On the autos, it will be located on the upper end of right-side grip. On the autos, for those guns destined for CA, MA and the like, in addition to providing a key, we plan to affix a safety lever which would rotate the shaft similar to the hex key, which condition we believe will satisfy the regs. regarding a ‘manually-operated safety’.

We will introduce this into production later in the Spring, I estimate. Our ability to retrofit this ‘system’ into existing guns is uncertain, as yet. Without editorializing on the value of such a system, one can’t help but see where many public policy decisions are taking us.

Another project in which we’re involved is the development of some specialty cartridges for use on the Guardian platform(s). We are working collaboratively with Peter Pi at Corbon and widely regarded and published ballistics expert, Ed Sanow (now Editor of Law Enforcement magazine). I’d like to tell you more but, if I did, I’d have to kill you (and I’d have nothing to write about for Feb. [;)].

I look forward to, and hope we all enjoy the promise of, a successful new year.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2002

Due to the scheduling of the 2002 SHOT Show (02/02  05/2002) in Las Vegas, and the general sense of chaos which typically precedes it, I’ve been instructed to put ‘pen to paper’ far earlier than I would otherwise; I hate to be rushed.

Anyway I’m happy to attach much of a press release I’ve prepared (and which may yet be rewritten) which describes the new cartridge project to which I alluded last month. I’ve also learned that Peter Pi is working furiously to generate that data in answer to questions you might reasonably pose (speed, energy, pressures, price, etc.) and to which I don’t yet (01/20/02) have any firm answers. Peter assures me that, come showtime, it will be ‘soup’ and ready to be served – far sooner than I imagine. Be assured we’ll make all this available at the first opportunity.

“Enclosed (in a plastic envelope), please find several ‘dummy’ loads representing two new cartridge designs/designations: the .25NAA and the .32NAA. Both of these have been designed/developed in a collaborative effort between: internationally recognized and published ballistics expert, Ed Sanow; Peter Pi of Cor-Bon Bullet Co., manufacturers of premium grade high performance ammunition for self defense and law enforcement, including the Glaser Safety Slug, and North American Arms (with additional assistance offered by J.B. Wood and Hornady Manufacturing).

In essence, the .25NAA is a .25 caliber bullet seated in a ‘necked-down’ .32ACP case (a la .357SIG), designed to be fired from a slightly reconfigured .32ACP Guardian. Similarly, the .32ACP stems from a ‘necked-down’ .380ACP cartridge, designed to be fired from the .380ACP Guardian. It is our expectation (and has been our limited, preliminary experience), that each of these cartridges with certain bullets will deliver quantifiable ballistic results (velocity, transfer of energy, penetration, expansion, Fuller Index, etc.) superior to the original cartridge from which they were spawned. We further expect that the shooting characteristics of the firearm (felt recoil) will reflect the smaller caliber of the bullet being fired  in other words, ‘better than’ .380 results with ‘less than’ .32 feedback.

While we appreciate the challenges associated with the introduction of a new cartridge, we expect the ‘system’ will be very attractive to those shooters who are looking for the maximum performance from the minimum platform  an admittedly small but influential niche including law enforcement professionals, security details and other enthusiasts.

While these cartridges remain ‘developmental’, we thought we’d take advantage of the SHOT Show opportunity to bring this project to your attention. It is our expectation that copies of the ultimate shooting system (cartridges and firearms) will be available for your examination and use within the next 90 days. Additionally, we plan to provide the chronograph and raw wound ballistics data (bare gelatin, heavy clothes), macro photos of the recovered bullets and photos of gelatin wound profiles, etc. for your consideration. We would encourage you to conduct any tests of your own for purposes of corroborating our results/claims.”

I hope this whets your appetite and that you’ll share your reactions with me.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2002

My apologies for not giving this column the attention that it’s due; I was travelling and, admittedly, didn’t plan ahead well enough. But I’ve been dragging my heals for other reasons.

While much has happened since I disclosed our new cartridge project last month, there’s little to report. I’m confident, however, we’ll soon able to provide a very thorough presentation (photos, data, specs., etc.) of the performance of this round ­ possibly <30 days.

We’re continuing the pre-production clean-up on the way towards integrating the Taurus-style internal locking device into our product line, which has a major impact on our ability to return to CA. But it’s not ‘soup’ yet, either.

We’ve installed the equipment that will allow us to apply black (and other) color coatings on all our guns ourselves, instead of outsourcing. We’re thrilled to have better control of the time and quality than we’ve had before with this process, and will advise you when we’re up and running with it. Soon

Our website is undergoing a significant overhaul, first with the navigation system, and then we’ll focus on the content. It’s my plan that these changes will begin to take effect within a month. We’ll see

Anyway, there’s a lot going on, but very little that I can point at today. I apologize for the delay and look forward to having more to report next month.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2002

Bullets, Ballistics & Stuff

In the dozen or so years I’ve been affiliated with NAA, I’ve begun to learn a bit about BB&S (above). As I come form a gun-ignorant background, I started with a clean slate. As seems to happen so often (for me) when I develop a new interest, the more I came to learn, the more I appreciated how much more complicated the science was than I had first imagined; I soon became ‘impressed’ with how much didn’t know. When I knew almost next to nothing, everything seemed so simple. I know a little better now.

When NAA began to build pistols and chamber for cartridges other than .22, my interest in BB&S grew. As a way to grow our company, when we first began consideration of a novel cartridge design, my interest became greater still. There’s much to learn in this field, as many of you know, far better than me. But with the help of several knowledgeable and talented collaborators, I think we’ve developed something very special.

I’m interested to read the occasionally spirited and frequently knowledgeable threads/comments about BB&S that occasionally (re)appear on our Message Board, most recently post #3393 etc. ­ One Shot Stops. Some interesting experiences are shared, as is also more than a little good advice and instruction. Like many sciences, however, there are often many meaningful points worthy of debate, and different schools of thought supporting dramatically different techniques/approaches. In that vein, it probably comes as no surprise that I argue in support of the ‘light and fast’ vs. ‘heavy and slow’ school of bullet selection.

(I was very happy to see a number of you recently draw proper attention to what I believe is unarguably the most important but oft overlooked ‘performance’ element of ballistics ­ placement. A .22 that enters the torso or skull cavity is infinitely more lethal than a 9mm in the hip/ass, or a .45ACP that strikes a whole lotta’ nuthin).

Those who read my February Soapbox will recall that Ed Sanow has been an important part of this development team. Ed has a very distinguished and experience-rich background. Admittedly, he is not universally revered (who is?) but while you might challenge his preferences/conclusions, you can’t deny his expertise. Friday night (03/29), Ed got his first opportunity to test a ‘production’ batch of .32NAA cartridges from our development partner, Peter Pi at CorBon. We finally have some preliminary results to share with you.

Earlier, Peter shared with us that this new cartridge generated 21,500 p.s.i. and pushed a 60 gr. Hornady JHP 1453 ft./sec. from a 4″ test barrel, 1222 from the Guardian itself. Based on this weekend’s tests, Ed has indicated is that expansion is ‘outstanding’. While the bullet comes-up fractionally short of 9″ in bare gelatin, both expansion and penetration through heavy denim are particularly impressive. You can probably expect this to be our story line. While there may be some incremental tweaking between here and there, when we’re finished with the tests, you can expect us to publish all the results and photos, and you can make your own comparisons and reach your own conclusions.

While what I don’t know about BB&S fills a book, I do know that ­ for people seriously committed to carrying the highest performing cartridge in the smallest package ­ the .32NAA is arguably, and quantifiably, your best choice and worth your serious consideration. We expect to make our ‘official’ introduction at the NRA show in Reno later this month, with supplies of both pistols and cartridges available immediately thereafter. You can expect to read more about this ‘shooting system’ as we make samples available to the press, but I thought you’d want/expect to hear about it here first.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2002

The .32 NAA

The .32NAA – not much to tell that isn’t said elsewhere. Click here for details.
Firearms and ammo are being shipped to ‘the press’ as you read this and full production will begin in two weeks.

The results are being discussed on our message board as well as elsewhere
and ‘professional’ stories will begin to appear in the trade press in a month or so. I think you’ll be impressed with this new firearm/cartridge combo.

Yes, in addition to further developing the .25NAA, we will also be experimenting by chambering some of our guns for the .17HMR from Hornady. Lots to keep us busy during the summer, and for you to look forward to. We appreciate your interest.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2002

RBCD Performance Plus, Inc.

Earlier this year, we received a couple of letters from Roscoe Stoker, CEO of RBCD (www.RBCD.net). Excerpts from the first (dated 01/10/02) are as follows:

” Please be advised that to date we fired 4,287 round(s) of our standard 32 ACP ammunition in your Guardian 32 ACP, along with 108 high pressure loads. The only problem we encountered was by our test of the high pressure load. We loaded test round(s) to the point of brass failure. Which finally blew into the magazine well and broke one of the grip panels. Some of the final loads developed over 32,000 psi in our test barrel. The high pressure loads were fired at numbers 3,588 to 3,696 in the life of this gun. However, please note that the gun is still in service at this time. This is one heck of a gun.” (which recently (03/02) exceeded 10,000 rounds).

The second letter is attached in its entirety. Click here to read. I bring this correspondence to your attention for two reasons:

The first – we’re happy to offer Roscoe’s experiences as anecdotal but compelling evidence of the solid engineering and durable construction of our Guardian family of pistols. Please note that we continue to insist that only commercially loaded ammunition, which meets recognized industry standards, be fired in our guns. Notwithstanding, our gun’s outstanding performance under the extraordinarily abusive conditions described above speaks volumes, we believe, about the expected life of the pistol and its components.

The second ­ we should have clearly specified that performance comparisons we made about the recently released .32 NAA ammunition are being made against conventional hollow point lead JHP bullets, and not against some of the exotic/frangible rounds which exist.

The ballisticians amongst you are doubtless familiar with the debate entitled “Stopping Power: which is the more dominant/appropriate characteristic to consider – Energy (speed-driven) or Momentum (mass-driven)?”. Those familiar with the debate tend to have a strongly-held point of view. My ballistics guru, Ed Sanow, advises me that the Energy side of the debate seems to be enjoying favor currently. My intent is not to enter the fray, but to recognize that one exists.

As energy is related to the square of velocity, a comparatively small trade-off in weight returns a substantial increase of energy (but at the expense of momentum, which is directly related to mass; penetration suffers as well). This appears to be the chosen strategy at RBCD. We know that RBCD manufactures ammunition which travels at remarkable velocities (37 gr. 32 ACP = 1800 ft./sec., 45 gr. .380 ACP = 1500 ft./sec.). Each of these rounds delivers in excess of 250 ft.lbs. of energy, which exceeds that delivered by the .32 NAA by better than 25%. We feel that RBCD ammunition delivers extraordinary performance and we thought you’d like to know.
E-Mail Sandy about this Soapbox

Read Dave Spaulding’s Review from Law and Order Magazine

For updates on the .32 NAA:

For additional information, contact:
Sandy Chisholm at NAA 610-940-1668
Peter Pi at Cor-Bon 800-626-7266
Ed Sanow 765-869-5815

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2002

New Site and no new guns.

If you have been to this site before today (07/01), you will notice that the ‘look’ has changed dramatically. The purpose of the change is twofold; the first is purely cosmetic ­ to give it/us a ‘fresh’ look. The second is an attempt to improve the navigability (if there is such a word), meaning that you can get where you want to go with fewer clicks. Otherwise, there are very few content changes (though some are in the works). It’s our hope that these changes will prompt you to tell us what you like (or not) and offer us suggestions how we might improve the content and accessibility of the information we’re providing. In the words of Dr. Fraser Crane, “We’re listening”.

It’s disappointing to announce that we’ve temporarily suspended shipments of our new .32NAA Guardian due to a few instances of product component failures which have been noted by some of the writers who we asked to put this gun through its paces. Specifically, we’ve had reports of blown extractors and broken triggers. Neither of these problems is unsolvable and they can be corrected simply by ‘beefing up’ certain surfaces/dimensions of these parts. The effect of this ‘product improvement’ is to delay satisfying the hundreds of orders for retail sale. We hope you’ll agree that the disappointment we’ve created by taking the time to make this product ‘right’ is a small price for us to pay, in exchange for assuring our customers that the products we ship are totally reliable and the best we can make them. We ask for your patience and offer the promise that these product improvements will find their way into the entire family of pistols.
E-Mail Sandy about this Soapbox

Read Dave Spaulding’s Review from Law and Order Magazine

For updates on the .32 NAA:

For additional information, contact:
Sandy Chisholm at NAA 610-940-1668
Peter Pi at Cor-Bon 800-626-7266
Ed Sanow 765-869-5815

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2002

The N.A.A.C.P. and Me

Please accept my apologies for being late in preparing this month’s edition. I spent much of last week preparing for, and delivering testimony at, a deposition conducted by Ms. Elisa Barnes, counsel representing the plaintiff in N.A.A.C.P. vs. American Arms et al. (which includes a laundry list of approx. 50 firearms manufacturers and distributors).

This suit, claiming negligent/criminal distribution and marketing, etc. is similar to the spate of city suits about which you’ve probably read (most of which have been summarily dismissed), and is being tried by the same attorney who originally met success in Hamilton vs. AccuTek et al ­ in front of, coincidentally (?), the same liberal, activist federal judge (Weinstein) who, it is widely assumed, has already reached a conclusion and written his opinion.

Much of the day was spent answering questions about what I/NAA was doing to stem the flow of blood in our streets, a la “when did I stop beating my wife”? Groan

I feel certain that by this time next month we will have resumed deliveries of our .32NAA Guardian. The component fixes I described last month have been effected and are being evaluated as I write. I’m sorry for the delay but am heartened by the unanimous supporting comments I’ve received since we made this decision.

Similarly, next month I expect we’ll announce deliveries of our Mini-Master chambered in the new .17HMR. I’m looking forward to reviewing the chronograph results and making this new little plinker available.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2002

NAA: Niche Marketers

The good news is ­ I’ve been able to look forward and, realizing that I’d just be returning from a family vacation at the end o the month, I’ve chosen to write my monthly message early instead of late (as I’ve done much too often in the past). The people who visit this site deserve the respect that timely postings would indicate.

The bad news is ­ we are still not prepared to release the earlier promoted and eagerly (based on our backlog) awaited .32NAA Guardian. Our sense of disappointment is great. We simply haven’t found successful ‘fixes’ for the variety of issues which such a powerful cartridge presents to such a small frame. Based on our defining commitment of ‘not until it’s ready’, the decision is as easy as it is painful. Understand that resolution of this problem is our #1 priority.

The good news is ­ we will shortly make some small batches of the Mini-Master and Black Widow chambered for the 17 grain polymer-tipped Hornady Magnum Rimfire cartridge. Similar to the .22 Winchester Magnum cartridge, these rounds were designed to be fired from a rifle-length barrel. Fired from our shorter barreled minirevolvers, much of the powder remains unburned after the bullet has left the gun, and so the ballistics are seriously compromised. Our chronograph test revealed velocities similar to the CCI Maxi Mag +V, reaching in excess of 1500 feet per second. We recognize the novelty of this gun, but believe they would make a wonderful companion particularly at those times when you’re playing with a similarly chambered rifle. We also believe this is the first handgun so chambered, which is consistent with the NAA niche orientation.

I expect the first example of these will be sent to our major distributors such as Sports South, AcuSport and RSR before the end of September. Please feel welcome to call the factory at 800-821-5783 if you would like assistance in locating on of these pieces.

Calling the factory is always a good idea if you have and questions, particularly those which need fast answers. Our Message Board is also a good place, particularly if you’re looking for unvarnished opinions from real users. We enjoy an active community who seem more than willing to offer their knowledge and experiences, good, bad or otherwise. We value and respect the regulars and the advice they offer those new to our ‘family’. As always, I’m also very happy to respond to you directly, either to phone calls at 610-940-1668 or e-mails to sandy@naaminis.com.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2002

.32 NAA

It is with a sense of both relief and satisfaction I announce that NAA will begin on (or about) October 15 to resume deliveries of our 32NAA Guardian after a delay of several months. The relief is based on our newfound ability to begin satisfying the demand that we’ve seen for this ‘shooting system’ (gun/cartridge combo.); in the face of an otherwise anemic market, it’s a real treat to have a ‘hot’ product. The satisfaction stems from our having been able to solve some very difficult problems. The 32NAA is an extraordinarily powerful small cartridge which generates forces that few pocket pistols will be able to withstand. This project has been a high priority for us, and our team deserves to feel proud for finding the solutions to make this product ‘right’.

Only a couple of dozen pieces reached the marketplace before we halted production. All of the reliability (broken component) issues which caused us concerns came from the batch of pre-production pistols which we shared with writers and other ‘early bird’ customers. As I earlier indicated, we have made engineering modifications to several pieces. F.Y.I., we have increased the size of several dimensions on our extractor, extractor pin and trigger. Additionally, we have modified the heat treat and hardness specifications on those pieces as well as the draw bar. All of these improved components will ultimately be included in all of our pistol production.

It is reasonable to assume that these pieces will be limited in their availability for the next several months, despite our best efforts to meet demand. While MSRP is $449, and despite the fact that handguns typically sell at a discount from the ‘suggested’ price, some may try to take advantage of the tight supply. I call you attention to an earlier Soapbox on pricing. We will set aside a small amount of our production for ‘pre-customized’ pistols.

We appreciate your patience while we’ve worked to meet extraordinary and unforeseen challenges and feel confident we’ve acted in a manner consistent with earning your trust and respect.

Read Dave Spaulding’s Review from Law and Order Magazine

For updates on the .32 NAA:

For additional information, contact:
Sandy Chisholm at NAA 610-940-1668
Peter Pi at Cor-Bon 800-626-7266
Ed Sanow 765-869-5815

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2002

November, 2002

Product News

It’s with apologies that I’m again late. I haven’t much to say.

32NAAs are shipping but we’re enjoying a small backlog, so it may take some time for these to be widely available. Any FFL can take your order for one, or you can have him order a pre-customized version directly from the factory.

Our 32ACP model recently completed ‘qualification’ for CA; I expect we’ll be added to the ‘not unsafe’ list and begin to make shipments to that market in the next 30-60 days. The 380ACP Guardian should follow shortly thereafter.

The 17HMR minis are still on our production list and they should become available in the next 30-60 days as well.

As always, if you’d like to pose a question to me personally,

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2002

Product News

It’s with apologies that I’m again late. I haven’t much to say.

32NAAs are shipping but we’re enjoying a small backlog, so it may take some time for these to be widely available. Any FFL can take your order for one, or you can have him order a pre-customized version directly from the factory.

Our 32ACP model recently completed ‘qualification’ for CA; I expect we’ll be added to the ‘not unsafe’ list and begin to make shipments to that market in the next 30-60 days. The 380ACP Guardian should follow shortly thereafter.

The 17HMR minis are still on our production list and they should become available in the next 30-60 days as well.

As always, if you’d like to pose a question to me personally,

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Sandy’s Soapbox – January 2001

The .380 Guardian Inaugural Edition

Based on a suggestion offered by several ‘regulars’ to this site, I’m pleased to announce that NAA will offer a limited number of early production .380 Guardians to them and other regulars following this simple notice. We appreciate, and would like to recognize, their (your) interest in our business and this eagerly awaited new product. This program will give our ‘special’ customers both early availability of a ‘hot’ ­ we hope ­ new product, as well as a ‘first-edition-type’ serial number (see details, below). This ‘sneak peak’ sales program is rather simple, as follows.

NAA will accept prepaid orders for one pistol per individual. Price to the retail customer will be $379. This is MSD(ealer)P, vs. $449 MSRP (please note my earlier Soapbox about NAA’s general pricing policies/practices). This ‘order’, presented in any reasonable facsimile to the factory (i.e. there are no special forms to fill out), must be accompanied by a check, money order, credit card info., etc. This offer is limited to the first 100 orders. Guns will be distributed in the sequence in which orders are received; however, we will reserve places on the distribution list based on e-mail or telephone reservations (payment must be received within 10 days or you lose your spot in the cue).

Additionally, your order must be accompanied by an originally signed FFL from the dealer to whom we will ship the pistol and who will complete the lawful transfer. In exchange for his cooperation, we will include a $30 check made payable to the dealer in the shipment with the firearm. We will also offer him the opportunity to purchase (also prepaid at MSDP $379) one Guardian .380 for his own inventory.

We commit to ship these pistols on or before March 15th, or we will compensate you for your patience with ‘some’ consideration (e.g. extra magazine, gift certificate, etc.).

These guns will be serialized ‘BCXXXX‘; “B” is for our 2nd pistol (.32 ACP = 1st = “A”), “C” represents ‘machined by Kahr’ (our third – and current – machining vendor for the .32), and the numeric sequence will begin at ‘0000‘ (why Ken started the .32s at ‘5000’ is still a mystery to me!). Expect the factory to retain the first 20 or so.

As always, questions can be answered at the factory 800-821-5783, or by me personally at 610-940-1668

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Sandy’s Soapbox – February 2001

The State of Some States

Another Soapbox, another month closer to delivery of the .380 Guardian! Our scheduled ship date of 03/15/01 still looks good (fingers crossed). Click here for photos, specs, and a press release describing this exciting product introduction. Click here to review the ‘early bird special’ we’ve made available to visitors to our site (limited to the first 100 orders).

Unfortunately, these hot new pistols, as well as the rest of the NAA product line, will not be available for sale in MA and CA – with doubtless more states to follow as time passes. Under the guise of enhancing public safety, state legislators have taken another tack in their race to outlaw firearms. It is very important to note that our ‘disqualification’ for sale in certain locations IN NO WAY reflects our firearms’ inability to pass any of the tests identified to date, either through national standards groups such as ANSI (where such tests exist), or those newly created by the ‘wise’ legislators/AG’s on the state level. The simple fact is that, wherever safety/drop and performance test standards have been introduced, we have submitted our guns (ex. minis in CA) and ‘passed’ with flying colors. We have been prohibited ­ or chosen not to ­ do business in certain states due to other issues, such as our guns’ lacking a second serial number, a manual safety, the wrong color box, ad infinitum.

On another front, manufacturers are facing a variety of inconsistent/contradictory requirements relating to ‘ballistic fingerprinting’ (including spent shell casings for state ‘registration’) such as are currently in place in MD and NY. This trend shows signs of spreading across the country. There is evidence, albeit it painfully scant, that this is a useful crime fighting tool (though I can’t remember a gun crime where revolver casings were left ‘at the scene’ for forensic examination). To the extent that states are willing/able to adopt a common standard, we will comply with it. While that trend seems to be spreading, it is now proposed (in RI and CT) that manufacturers also include recovered discharged bullets for further cataloging as well as the case. That is another example of such an onerous requirement as would cause us to abandon conducting business in any state where it was adopted.

We appreciate your confidence in our company, and offer you our assurance that our choosing not to do business in certain places is no reflection on the ‘safety’ or quality of our products.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – March 2001

Where’s the .380?

As of 03/01/01, we have received first article samples of machined frames and slides from our development and manufacturing partners at Kahr Arms. As I’d indicated on a post on our message board a couple of weeks ago, our schedule has been slightly retarded due to delays from our casting vendor, Pine Tree (Ruger). We have taken these (four sets of) two pieces (slide & frame) and, along with production pieces which we have already received from our other vendors (springs, magazines, small metal pieces (e.g. trigger, hammer, etc.)), assembled complete guns for our further testing. Initial results are very positive.

Based on this experience, we have made several small changes to the machining program for the frame/slide that we expect Kahr can accommodate very rapidly. We have asked for a batch of 100 pieces from them, which we expect to receive within two weeks. These will be the pieces that we then will forward to our early-bird orders and the press. We expect these will ‘prove’ the engineering and production setups, and would expect to begin ‘full’ production immediately thereafter, based on our partner’s/vendor’s ability to meet our demands.

All things considered, I believe we’re ‘on track’.


Whazzup with the Message Board.

In my last post to our old board (which you may have missed because it was up so briefly before we transitioned), I shared your anticipation and anxiety about the change in format. I, too, had been very comfortable with the old one, and saw no reason for a change. Notwithstanding, I’ve been advised that the trade-offs weigh to our (your) advantage, and to deal with it ­ please join me. Please, also, be assured that it’s still our space, which should not interrupt the sense of community and familiarity to which we’ve become accustomed.

Anyway, I’m planning to join Ken and Bob in Germany later this week. I’m scheduled to leave Phila. Tomorrow (Mon.) afternoon ­ think that’s going to happen?!@#%

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Sandy’s Soapbox – April 2001

It’s here.

While I had been hoping that a few deliveries of our long-anticipated .380 Guardian would have been made before week’s end (F03/30), it was not so. I have been assured, however, that Darvell can retrieve his pistol from the factory as soon as he presents himself on Monday (04/02) and that deliveries to the rest of our Early Birders will begin to be made on a regular, albeit limited basis. Our primary suppliers, such as Kahr, are familiarizing themselves with this project, and deliveries from NAA can be expected to improve over the next several months as our capacity grows. As with any popular (we hope) new product, availability will likely be tight in the early months (please note in the October, 2000 Soapbox our inability to control retail market prices).

F.Y.I. I attach a copy of the letter which is enclosed with each of these first models. I’m looking forward to the feedback. I imagine many of you will hear/see it as soon as I do; stay tuned.


Dear Early-Bird Customers,

Thank you for your interest in this new pistol offering from North American Arms, and congratulations on your purchase of the .380 Guardian! We feel very confident that you will be happy with your purchase.

You’re doubtless aware that these are the very first of these pistols to reach the market ­ beta versions, if you will. As such, we’re depending on hearing from you about your experiences. While we’ve run thousands of rounds through several pistols, we feel that your experiences will be very helpful if we find any ‘fine-tuning’ is necessary. You, more than most, know that we’ve tried to build our business/reputation by jumping through hoops, if necessary, to do everything in our power to ‘guarantee’ your satisfaction with NAA and its products.

We’re also counting on your sharing your these experiences ­ good, bad, or otherwise – with others of your friends and acquaintances, either personally or through the ‘Net via. our Message Board or rec.guns, for example. While we hope/expect the reviews will generally be ‘rave’, we’re prepared for ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’.

Thank you for your confidence and enthusiasm to become ‘the first on your block’ to have this exciting new firearm. Let us know how you like it. I can be reached either at sandy@naaminis.com or at my office in Philadelphia at 610-940-1668. I look forward to hearing from you.


Whazzup with the Message Board.

In my last post to our old board (which you may have missed because it was up so briefly before we transitioned), I shared your anticipation and anxiety about the change in format. I, too, had been very comfortable with the old one, and saw no reason for a change. Notwithstanding, I’ve been advised that the trade-offs weigh to our (your) advantage, and to deal with it ­ please join me. Please, also, be assured that it’s still our space, which should not interrupt the sense of community and familiarity to which we’ve become accustomed.

Anyway, I’m planning to join Ken and Bob in Germany later this week. I’m scheduled to leave Phila. Tomorrow (Mon.) afternoon ­ think that’s going to happen?!@#%

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Sandy’s Soapbox – May 2001

May, 2001

A couple of weeks ago, NAA began production of the highly-anticipated .380 Guardian. Several hundred pieces have been manufactured and delivered to the public at large.

People who are familiar with my Soapbox will have followed this pistol’s gestation over the past year or so when we first hinted it was in development. You have begun to see a collection of posts ­ reviews – to our Message Board (link), as well as several on rec.guns (Darvell vs. Dean Speir). Fortunately, most are very flattering. As several of these early pistols have been shared with writers, we expect you will begin to see the .380 Guardian mentioned in firearms publications, also.

I hasten to call your attention to an earlier Soapbox (October, 2000) item discussing pricing and availability of our products, over which we have limited control. We have felt some pent-up demand for this product, and ask for your patience as we try to match production to meet market requirements.

Custom Shop services and pricing for this pistol will generally duplicate those already available for the .32 Guardian, as will accessories. These should be available ‘soon’ and will be announced on this site.

I understand we’ve been suffering some e-mail difficulties with our system and apologize for any apparent lack of responsiveness to your messages.

Last week, there was a significant ruling in the ‘Hamilton’ case. If you have not already heard this, or about this, you can expect to read about it at length in countless industry publications (check the National Shooting Sports Foundation web site for any updates). Remarkably, an appeals court determined that I (for example), as a manufacturer, am not responsible for the criminal misuse of one of my products, e.g. if one person murders another with a gun that I’ve made, it’s not my fault. What’s particularly remarkable is that a lower court had earlier ruled that it WAS my fault (awarding in fact several hundreds of thousands of dollars against the curious collection of Taurus, Beretta and American Arms, selected defendants). This decision is expected to take a large measure of the wind out of our opponents sails. Amen.

It’s interesting to note that we have just filled a sizeable (several dozen) order from the Massachusetts State Police. It’s unfortunate that we can’t conduct business with the citizens which they serve. Until June…

Don’t forget to stop by Booth 311 at the NRA Show in Kansas City May 18-20.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – June 2001

I’ve been advised that the factory is now prepared to conduct Custom Shop work on the new .380 Guardian. I expect offerings and prices will mirror those of the .32.

Please be sure to check out the newest accesory for our .22 LR Mini Revolver. It is a new belt buckle holster featuring push button release and shiny aluminum grips. While the grips are required for the buckle to work properly, I think they look pretty good even without the buckle. Find this new product in our Custom Carry section.

Is my ‘editorial’ missed? What would you like me to discuss/share?

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Sandy’s Soapbox – July 2001

In this month’s column (did you miss me last month?), I will address NAA’s decision not to conduct business in California, and other issues on the horizon.

On January 1 2001, new legislation became effective in CA requiring all new handguns to achieve ‘certification’ for sale in that state. This process includes not only conducting ‘safety’ (drop) and ‘performance’ (reliability) tests, but also mandates a review of arbitrary size, engineering and design features (e.g. manually operated safety), the absence of which (as well as other similarly ill-advised requirements) largely disqualifies our entire line of guns. [It should be noted that our guns have successfully passed every state safety and performance test that has been designed, including CA]. We’ll miss the CA market. If you’re from California, get a new government. If that last law was the only obstacle to conducting business in that state, we might reconsider our position and effect the mandated changes, but it’s not. More to follow.

Some may have noticed that we don’t conduct business in Massachusetts, either. Most manufacturers have abandoned this state, but this time due not to laws enacted by poor-thinking legislators like those in CA, but due instead to regulations unilaterally promulgated by the state’s Attorney General, under the guise of ‘consumer protection’. Several challenges to this one-person assault on the sale of handguns have been launched and all have failed. Do you think any other state’s AG (e.g. NJ, CT ad nauseum) has noticed this successful tactic? Hmmm?? Watch what happens on this front.

‘Consumer protection’ facades provide some remarkable new fronts from which the antis are beginning new assaults. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Cmsn., while expressly disallowed from passing review on firearms per se, has now embraced the opportunity to certify the effectiveness of firearms locks, which now must be able to defeat not only the unintended/inadvertent exposure of firearms to curious children, but also the assault of 16 year old juveniles given ten uninterrupted minutes and a collection of household tools (including hammers, chisels, crowbars, pipe wrenches, hacksaws). This same standard now being drafted by the CPSC already exists in CA (surprise!), which will become effective January 1, 2002. Presently, almost no locking devices exist which will pass these tests, effectively eliminating all firearm sales in that state in six months. While it’s likely that several companies in the industry will file suit against illegal restraint of trade and interstate commerce, lawsuits are lengthy, expensive protracted processes. I can’t wait to see what comes out of CA for 01/01/03.

The sexy new crime fighting technique being chased these days is “ballistic DNA”, a digital examination system which matches spent cases to specific guns, conceptually similar to the same matching of fired bullets to specific guns. Several states now require these spent cases to be supplied by the firearms manufacturer, which are then forwarded from the dealer to the State Police at time of sale, registered to the individual which just purchased that gun. A remarkable database of handgun purchasers and photos of case brass are being accumulated in several states (MD, NY) with many more to come. While it’s a tragically flawed (technically speaking) program, and more than a little pain in the butt to administer (from everybody’s perspective), several states are now further calling for the inclusion of useable, captured, fired bullets from every firearm manufactured for the same purposes. Imagine including that task in the production process. This is not a ‘crime fighting tool’ but a deliberate attempt to impede the sale of firearms.

Where will this foolishness end? Notwithstanding our new federal government, did you really think the industry – like us, and our customers ­ like you ­ would enjoy any relief from these loons? Now is not the time to stop fighting; remain vigilant. [I’m sorry; am I whining? So be it; it’s my space. Let me know what you think].
Download a PDF file of this Soapbox

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Sandy’s Soapbox – August 2001

It would be difficult to avoid acknowledging some of the disappointing experiences which some of our customers have reported on our message board, specifically those relating to reliability issues with our new .380 Guardian. I’ve seen similar remarks in other forums and am aware that some upcoming articles in the firearms press, while generally flattering, are not without reservation.

Ouch.

An apology, some explanations … but no excuses.

It’s disappointing to the customer and the company both whenever anybody suffers a bad experience with an NAA firearm. If your NAA firearm has ever failed to achieve your complete satisfaction, I offer my personal apology and promise that we will do everything possible to remedy the situation if it still exists.

As many of you know, we offer a ‘lifetime warranty’ on all our firearms – to return to ‘like-new’ service any firearm we’ve ever made, at no charge to the customer (it used to be at no expense until the various delivery services raised their charges, or simply refused our business, because of the criminal misconduct of their employees). We do this because of our commitments to our brand and our customers, and because we have tremendous confidence in our products.

In the case of the .380 Guardian, we have spent a substantial amount of time and money to develop this pistol. We believe our Kahr Arms partners have engineered this to be the smallest, most durable and well-made product of its type (though we recognize that others may feel otherwise). It has been designed very closely to the smallest physical limits required for a firearm to safely discharge the cartridges for which it was intended (it’s easy to build a big gun), without limit or restriction to the brand or style of the ammunition used (it’s also easy to design around a single cartridge type) – only that it be .380 ACP. In the design and development of this pistol, several pieces of the original configuration were successfully fired several thousand times, following which stage we began production. We have selected the best vendors the industry offers, including Pine Tree, Hogue, Wolf, and Taurus and have relied heavily on their advice and expertise in each of their respective areas.

Our best efforts in the development process notwithstanding, we recognize that improvements are always possible (we continue to explore for improvements on our 30-year-old minirevolver line). Unfortunately, the requirements for most of these modifications don’t become apparent to us until some time after the production process has begun. Prototyping can only reveal so much, and the production tolerances of parts and machined surfaces are not the same as the prototypes. We could have prototyped and tested this firearm for the next three years without learning what we have during production. We now have had the experience of about 1000 pieces in the field.

While most of the changes we’ve made so far have been so incremental as not to be noticeable, we believe that the recently received new magazines from MecGar (with .075 longer feed lips) will address 90% of the reliability failures this gun has encountered (the other 10% represented by a machining burr or other equally unacceptable oversight). You may recall similar issues when the .32 was first released; magazine design is a challenge, and it appears that some earlier advice and decisions were not the best ones. We are very happy to exchange these newer magazines for older ones. As always, we promise prompt, charge-free attention to those firearms returned for our examination/repair.

The overwhelming majority of the guns we have delivered have found secure homes with satisfied customers, but we recognize that our record is not (nor likely ever will be) perfect, although that continues to be our goal. We have every expectation that we can improve upon the out-of-the-box reliability of this gun, just as we did with its precursor, the .32 ACP Guardian, whose debut also was less than satisfactory; similar tweaks were made early in production, after which Gun Tests reported that the piece “functioned flawlessly”. We expect to achieve the same with the .380 and will promise that same reliability to both new and old customers alike.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2001

I’ve just returned from having spent several days with my family in Jamestown and Williamsburg, VA, the cradle of American civilization. It’s re-energizing to be reminded of the fundamentals of our society and our heritage. It’s necessary and welcome that the overwhelming majority of the legal decisions being rendered today (most recently from the US Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit in Hamilton v. Accu-ek et al) are supportive of companies like NAA conducting legal business with legal products. Notwithstanding, I particularly look forward to the day when the Second Amendment itself is debated. Could be 2-3 years; bring it on. Regards to our NAA visitors.

Sandy

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2001

September 11 and our Rights

The soapbox for this month is MIA. It will be found and updated asap.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2001

This month, I’ve reviewed several of the most recent posts to our bulletin board and offer some additional comments ‘from the factory’.

Out of the box reliability. This is our goal, and we succeed 90% of the time. A further 9% of the time, the pistol reaches that point of reliability after about 100 rounds and a good cleaning. Dave Spaulding, in Law & Order magazine, reports that a break-in period is the rule, and not the exception, for most stainless steel pistols. Before any gun leaves the NAA factory, it is fully loaded (5 rounds minis, 6 rounds Guardians) and test fired for function ­ we do not attempt to break them in. Any pistol that even hints at a hiccup is reworked. Guns that are returned to us are reworked immediately and several magazines of different ammo are cycled through the gun before they are returned, promptly and cheerfully. There have been occasions where we have been unable to replicate alleged problems.

Stopping power/cartridge effectiveness. I’ve repeatedly acknowledged that our firearms are not necessarily man-stoppers. In the overall scheme of the science of ballistics, the rounds they fire are relatively small and deliver commensurately limited amounts of energy. It’s my firm belief, however, that stopping power is more a function of bullet placement, than caliber. There are countless stories, several of them published, of people who have been killed with .22 bullets from NAA minis. While it won’t stop a deranged person in his/her tracks, a round of snakeshot in the face is very unpleasant and incapacitating. It’s further my belief, supported by countless studies, that merely brandishing a firearm will have the desired deterrent effect (even if you felt it wouldn’t kill you, would you willingly be shot by a .22?). Finally, it’s my suspicion that the people who bluster the most about the size of their guns are the same people who brag about their sexual exploits (and who, typically, have the least to brag about).

California markets. Depending on the locking standards and how ‘certifiable’ locks apply to our firearms, despite my earlier protestations, you can expect to see NAA products back in California, and probably sooner rather than later. (Those bastards!).

Magazine releases for .32 Guardians. Upon the introduction of the finger extension on .32 magazines, we found that the downward forces applied to the magazine simply by gripping the pistol would occasionally, upon firing, sufficiently jar the catch causing the magazine to release. This release was subsequently ‘beefed up’ and has been included in production since it became available. New/replacement releases are available free of charge from the factory upon request for anyone who still might face this problem.

Magazines for the .380. Similarly, we found in production that reliability was improved greatly by a lengthening of the lips on the .380 magazines. We effected this change as soon as it became known to us and included these new magazines on guns after BC1100. We have, and continue to offer, these as free replacements on request. It should be noted that we relied on the engineering of our design partners and could have further tested the prototype configuration of this gun until the cows came home before we had the data and experience provided by the field to make this change. We feel we’ve been both very honest and forthcoming about the process, as well as apologetic and responsive to those early customers. We continue to enthusiastically support, free of charge, any product ever manufactured by NAA.

Aguila test ammo. We expect to receive samples of several types of this specialty ammunition and will post the results as soon as they become available.

.32 H&R mini. As we mentioned earlier, we have heard – and responded to ­ your interest in such a product. We engaged an engineer to design this product and thereafter built a firing prototype. Despite your expectations (and ours), it was not an attractive extension to our product line (it was very heavy and ungainly) and we elected not to pursue it any further.

Company stock. Your interest is flattering, thank you. NAA is privately held (wholly owned by myself). This company sports a well-recognized and respected brand, built by skilled workers who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence. Notwithstanding, the company competes in an ever-softening market and faces extraordinary insurance and legal expenses, as well as generally hostile public policy. As a financial investment, it’s not one I would recommend.

Sandy

 

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2001

During the holidays (as throughout the year), NAA minirevolvers make great “stocking stuffers” – or pocket stuffers, boot stuffers, etc. Available in S, M, L, right- or left-hand models, and in a variety of colors (as long as it’s silver)!

I offer the extended NAA ‘family’ warm best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.

Sandy 

 


 

Guest Editorial from Keeva – part of the NAA Web Team

Since Sandy was kind enough to extend me the opportunity to add my own words here. I wanted to use that offer to thank all of the folks that visit this web site. Many people send me e-mails commenting on the site, and pointing out typos and the like. I appreciate all of that, even the error reports. Actually, I kind of like the error reports, since they contribute to a better site. It makes this not just a job, but as Sandy says up there, a family of sorts…and the good sort, I might add.

I would only ask that this season, as we sit down to the holiday meal with our loved ones, we take a brief moment to remember the thousands of empty chairs at holiday meals, and be thankful for what we do have. Carole and I wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday season and a bright and plentiful new year.

Keeva

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Sandy’s Soapbox – September 2000

Question Time

After reviewing our message board content of the recent past, there are several items discussed which I would like to address ‘from the factory’. I expect that these remarks will begin to form the basis of (an admittedly overdue) FAQ library.

Should I be concerned about ‘last round spent case’ stovepipes in the Guardian?
Frankly, not at all. Yes, we are aware of, and understand the causes of, this condition. Yes, it is not an uncommon occurrence. No, we do not believe it represents a performance failure and do not intend to try to ‘correct’ the condition.
The design of this pistol does not include an ejector (not to be confused with an extractor), but relies on the action of a fresh cartridge, as it is moving up the magazine stack and towards the chamber, to push the spent extracted case out of the breech. When the magazine is empty and there is no remaining cartridge to exert this pressure, the spent case may simply be trapped by the slide returning forward (the slide is not designed to remain open after the last round).

When a full magazine is inserted to replace the empty one, the slide must, in any/every event (stovepipe or not) be re-racked to chamber a fresh round. During this process, the spent case simply falls freely out of the breech and the pistol returns to battery ­ as though the condition had never existed. (Please note that we are not attempting to excuse any stovepiping of a live round. If that condition exists with any of our pistols, we will be happy to rework the gun to eliminate that failure).

I’m annoyed by my grip screws shooting loose. Is there a fix?
We have enjoyed, encouraged and appreciated a wide variety of solutions proposed by our family of customers. Up to this point, our best advice was to suggest blue LokTite as we searched for a solution. As our Engineering Manager, Scott, indicated on our message board, we believe that we have found a screw/washer combination which will solve this annoying and surprisingly difficult-to-solve problem. This free hardware is available by calling the factory at 800-821-5783.

Help! My magazine tends to drop unexpectedly when I use the finger extension floorplate.
We (and, unfortunately, several of you) have found that the downward pressure on the magazine increases substantially with the use of the finger extension. This additional pressure, along with the shock of firing the pistol, caused our original catch to occasionally release inadvertently. We have redesigned/strengthened this catch; a free replacement (which can easily be installed by the user) is available on request to the factory.

Are NAA products available for sale in Massachusetts?
Not any longer. The recently enacted regulations are, from our perspective, so unreasonable and burdensome that we have certified our products as ‘noncompliant’ and elected to abandon this market. This is not a reflection of the safety, reliability or performance of our firearms but of other administrative &/or design requirements the state has imposed. To the residents of MA, all we can say is “Congratulations on your government”.

What’s become of the wallet holster?
The wallet, in and of itself, is a benign piece of folded leather. The minirevolver is a time-tested, high-quality small firearm but, when you join one with the other, watch out! ­ you’ve just created what ATF defines as ‘any other weapon’, a rather nefarious classification which includes pen guns, cane guns and other disguised weaponry. While legal to own, AOWs require registration and payment of special taxes similar to those for fully-automatic weapons. Possession of an AOW without meeting these requirements subjects the holder to a felony charge (which further exposes us to the liability of a lawsuit).

The distinction between the WH and the folding holster grip or the belt buckle, as it has been explained to us, is that the WH weapon is operable from its disguised state (no need to remove it from the wallet in order to fire it). Both the HG and BB require that the gun be additionally manipulated (opened, removed) before it is functional, and so suffer no ‘special’ classification.

The WH was a very popular accessory and it’s a great disappointment that we’re unable to offer it for sale.

I’ve read through the rest of your rambling. Will you throw me a bone and give me some insight on the development of the rumored .380 Guardian II?
Sure. With the assistance of our talented development and manufacturing partners at Kahr Arms, we are putting the finishing touches on the engineering package. The gun will look almost identical to the existing .32ACP, with almost unnoticeable increases in the envelope size. The two generations of prototypes which have been built have shown very impressive performance. From here we are beginning to build molds, tools and other fixtures that are necessary to bring this product into production. As with the existing .32, Kahr Arms is also our primary manufacturing partner. We plan to begin making delivery early in the new year but, as we all know all too well, ‘stuff’ happens which could retard that schedule.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – October 2000

Pricing ­ How NAA Plays the Game.

Shortly, you may begin to notice at retail the effect of a price increase NAA announced (effective 09/15/00). This is our first increase in nearly two years and averages approx. 5% across all models. I’d like to say a word about our pricing practices.

First and foremost – the only prices which NAA can control are those we charge to our immediate customers, the distributors/wholesalers. While we can ‘suggest’ what the dealer and retail pricing should be thereafter, we cannot set or enforce these ‘guidelines’ (we publish MSRP price lists ­ Manufacturers Suggested Retail Prices) and we know that they are frequently disregarded. Our pricing tiers typically include +20% margins to both the wholesaler and dealer, which allow these sales intermediaries the opportunity to make a profit in their own business. If either/both elect to discount these suggestions, that is their business.

Some people have suggested that we eliminate one of these selling partners. While we could deal directly with dealers and eliminate one tier of margins/profits, we choose not to; we feel that our distributors provide us a valuable level of service which we’re happy to ‘pay’ for. By using a traditional (for this industry) two-step selling system (first to the distributors, second to the dealers), our direct customer base remains very (and necessarily) small (approx. 30 accounts) and manageable for a business like NAA. Distributors deal with a team of salesmen (we have one) who have contact with and make shipments to thousands of customers, and bear substantial expenses in marketing, inventory, shipping, administrative and credit costs. Were we to attempt that ourselves, our expenses and staffing would increase astronomically (well beyond what we currently ‘pay’ and our coverage would shrink to a fraction of what it is presently). Similarly, dealers provide a valuable service but require a profit margin for themselves so that they can remain in business.

Not unlike other retail environments, some outlets run more efficiently than others, or have lesser costs (rent, labor, furnishing/fixtures, other overhead, etc.) or enjoy greater volume, or deliver a lesser degree of ‘service’ (like the giant X-marts). When goods are widely available these factors enable some to sell products at a discount to MSRP and work with smaller margins, which is a great benefit to the end consumer in many cases, assuming a free supply of goods. Conversely, in times of restricted supply and great demand, selling partners may charge a premium over the suggested prices, knowing that someone is willing to pay top dollar. Such was the case when the Guardian was originally introduced, and such will probably also be the case with the Guardian II/(.380). As this illustrates, the retail price of our products can range widely and is well beyond our ability to control.

While management of costs is very important to us and something we believe we do reasonably well, some are ­ again ­ beyond our control. These include not only increases from other vendors (including health insurance underwriters) but to our own workforce who understandably are trying to improve (or at least halt the deterioration in) their lifestyle as they, like you, see ordinary living costs increase. While NAA has been able to some degree hold the line on our costs and our prices by making continuous improvements in productivity (doing more for less), we, too, are stretched. This is typical to most business/industries.

What is not typical are the slew of additional, new extraordinary costs which are now being incurred that have a tremendous impact on our business. These include the costs of new processes (such as collecting spent casings for MD and NY, for starters, and a litany of testing and labeling requirements). Further is the cost of defending lawsuits which, to this early point has amounted for NAA (and others) hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do not assume that insurance is available for these, either. In any event, if NAA is to remain a viable business and provide product to the marketplace and jobs for our employees, these expenses must be met.

While I would rather not raise prices, I am unapologetic about the necessity of doing so. If anyone believes, as some have been foolish enough to suggest, that this simply further lines the pockets of manufacturers and is a good, easy way to make a lot of money, I’ve got a gun company I’d like to sell you.

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Sandy’s Soapbox – November 2000

Thoughts for November

#1 – Vote
#2 – Vote

#3 As many of you are aware, North American Arms was the first manufacturer of firearms to establish an Internet presence. Those of you who visited this site in the beginning have seen a lot of growth and changes we’ve made to our website over the past several years. Admittedly, I was more than a little skeptical as to the use of this media, as well as our ‘leadership’ role, when we began six years ago but I had an enthusiastic staff, and the time and expense required to explore this new way of communicating were relatively modest.

I’ve since become a strong proponent of the technology and how it allows us more immediate, responsive contact with our customers. I check our Message Board daily. Despite some of the recent posts, I find the questions and general tone of the discussion to be positive and thoughtful. You’ll notice that our board has limited responses from the factory, particularly related to posts expressing opinions. Occasionally, one of us in management will offer a factory input, but for the most part our frequent/experienced visitors offer their own ‘answers’ (go to the page and review some threads to see what I mean). While the board is a wonderful way to share experiences and feedback, it’s important you know that people at the factory are always available to answer questions personally.

You’ll find on our ‘Contacts” page a photo and job description of most of the people associated at NAA, as well as a link to contact them directly. Additionally, everybody at the factory can be reached via 800-821-5783. Because my home is in suburban Philadelphia, you can reach me at 610-940-1668. When it comes to a matter of fact or factory policy ­ product specifications or engineering issues, how to return a gun for repair or check on its status, customization or accessory orders, etc. – calling someone directly at NAA will get you the right answer immediately. If you want to share your personal experiences &/or opinions, good or bad, or pose other sorts of questions, the message board is just another way you can stay in touch with NAA enthusiasts, and we welcome you.

#4 I’ve been told I can announce the pending availability of a folding holster grip for magnum-framed guns (previously, this option was available only for long rifle-framed minis). Despite its almost identical appearance to the LR model, there was a great deal of additional engineering invested in this new accessory, much of which was provided by our manufacturing partner for this project, Hogue Grips. This grip can be easily retrofitted to existing guns. We expect these to start shipping by Thanksgiving, and would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for Christmas! Photos, pricing and other details will be posted shortly.

#5 ­ Vote
#6, ..

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Sandy’s Soapbox – December 2000

It’s Not Over…Regardless of Who Wins.

I interrupt this soapbox with a new product announcement! NAA is thrilled to offer a holstergrip accessory designed to fit all magnum-framed minirevolvers, including Black Widow and Mini-Master models. <“http://www.northamericanarms.com/accessories/mm-accessories/mm-grips/ghg-m.html”>Click here for photos. $38. Immediate delivery. Call the factory at 800-821-5783 to order. Sorry for this crass commercialism; anyway …

When asked by someone, who I favored in the presidential elections, no one was surprised by my choice – Gov. Bush. Regardless of how supportive he may or may not be of my industry and interests (and notwithstanding the boasts of the NRA), he was unarguably a better choice than the alternative. At this point (11 p.m. 11/30), the governor would appear to have a decided advantage as we hopefully approach a conclusion.

Considering the ‘stalemative’ composition of Congress, I don’t anticipate any credible legislative threats to the industry or our customers (or meaningful accomplishments of any nature, including but not limited to SS, healthcare, tax relief, etc.) for the next two years, regardless of the outcome of the Executive contest. I do, however, recognize and appreciate the value of three likely Supreme Court appointments. Similarly, I appreciate the tone a Republican administration would set in the cabinet and regulatory environment (DoJ, Treasury/ATF, FTC/FCC, HUD (see ya’, Andrew).

What some did find surprising, however, was my sense of resignation and prioritization that, in terms of institutional (governmental) Pains in my Ass, the Feds come in a distant third. First in this category are the municipalities who are suing my business (because all the sins of the world, particularly those involving a firearm, are my fault !@#?) and, secondly, is the increasing number of the 50 individual states which are enacting laws describing business practices which are, simply, contradictory (e.g. conforming with labeling/packaging standards in certain states makes our product non-conforming in others – another giant leap for public safety).

None of this, of course, considers the ordinary run-of-the-mill suits filed by people who claim that NAA is to blame because they mishandled a firearm and injured themselves. What’s happened to any sense of personal responsibility in our culture I’m sorry for whining.

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