North American Arms, more commonly referred to simply as “NAA,” is what I’d call a niche firearms manufacturer. They’re best known for their series of Mini Revolvers — TTAG reviewed the standard .22 LR offering here and the .22 WMR / .22 LR convertible Sidewinder here — but they have a bit of a cult following for their Guardian semi-auto pocket pistols as well. While south of Salt Lake City I found myself in the neighborhood of Provo-based NAA with no more than ten minutes to spare, so popped in for the speed dating version of a factory tour.
A representative of nearly every product line in the NAA catalog is on display in the reception area and can be handled by visitors (cylinders are not bored out so cannot accept live ammo). Seen above is the smallest revolver NAA makes, the .22 Short model.
Mike of CMPR marketing draws a bead with the .22 Short.
Although the high polish, deep blued .22 LR Mini above is pretty spectacular as well. Grip choice aside.
“The Earl” is pretty cool. Available in .22 WMR or in .22 WMR with a .22 LR conversion cylinder, and in various barrel lengths.
I asked if I could borrow a Guardian in one of NAA’s own calibers, the .32 NAA (a .380 ACP necked down to .32 caliber), for review, but neglected to photograph them in the lobby there, hence the stock photo above. There’s a tiny version available in .32 ACP or in .25 NAA (.32 ACP necked down to .25 caliber), and a darn small version available in .380 ACP or in the aforementioned .32 NAA.
They’re straight blowback pistols machined from stainless steel. While most of the market has moved to polymer frames for micro/pocket/mouse guns, NAA is effectively keeping it old school — keeping it niche — and is making what’s known to be a highly-reliable, soft-shooting pocket pistol at the expense of them being a little heavier and wider than the plastic wonders that have filled shelves of late. I’ve never shot one of these, but hope to rectify that soon.
Exiting the lobby puts you into a huge room surrounded by offices and filled with large cubicles, and passing through that room and out the back lands you on the factory floor (above).
CNC machinery abounds and is used to make nearly every part in an NAA firearm.
These are laser engraving machines, used for engraving serial numbers and other markings into frames, cylinders, and more.
One of the assembly and inspection areas. There’s a not-insignificant amount of hand fitting and careful inspection that goes into every gun.
Every firearm is test fired.
Cylinders awaiting fitting to a frame and finishing.
Each frame is inspected and hand finished.
At some point, a cylinder or cylinders is “married” to a specific frame and they proceed through the fitting and finishing process together. In the photo above and below I removed the sheet of paper with bar codes for each serialized firearm so we could see the guns, but those papers can be seen on top of the trays in the rest of the pictures. In each finishing and inspection step, this allows NAA to track an individual gun’s progress and relevant notes.
Speed walking through the production floor, I was happy to find my photos didn’t have too much “action blur” haha. It was definitely cool to see where one of my favorite firearms (my .22 LR Mini Revolver) is made. One day I’ll upgrade that thing to a color case hardened model.