North American Arms Offers Second Guardian in .25 NAA
by John C. Krull
Gun Week Production Manager
When I first received a sample of the new .25 NAA Guardian I wasnt exactly sure how I was going to go about testing the gun and what results I hoped to find. This is the second wildcat cartridge that North American Arms (NAA2150 South 950 East, Dept. GWK, Provo, UT 84606; phone: 801-374-9990; on-line: www.naaminis.com) has introduced for their compact semi-automatic Guardian pistol.
The .25 NAA is a necked down .32 ACP case loaded with a 35-grain, .24-caliber bullet. To the best of my knowledge Cor-Bon (1311 Industry Rd., Dept. GWK, Sturgis, SD 57785; phone: 800-626-7266; on-line: www.corbon.com) is the only one presently producing factory ammunition in this caliber. Also North American Arms is the only firearms manufacturer who is producing a pistol chambered for this cartridge.
On two previous occasions I have written articles on my NAA .32 ACP Guardian. The first article had been on the gun in general and then a few years later I sent it back to the custom shop to have a few changes made including a tritium gutter sight. So it just didnt seem like the right thing to do to just go over the same old stuff.
I asked myself, Self, why did NAA decide to venture into wildcatting ammunition? It seemed pretty obvious to me that they knew they had a good gun, but that the two calibers that it was available in left a little bit to be desired.
A couple years ago NAA introduced the .32 NAA, a necked down .380 ACP case loaded with a .32-caliber, 60-grain bullet. I wasnt too impressed with this caliber and never did do an article on it even though I did shoot it some.
So, based on the above assumption that NAA wanted to create a caliber that would perform better than the .32 ACP and .380 Auto, then the .25 NAA should perform better than other small caliber pocket guns.
Does it? A most affirmative Yes.
At first I did the usual firing at the outdoor range from distances of 3 feet, 3 yards and 7 yards. Of course, as I got further away the groups opened up as expected, but I was still hitting the target. Remember this isnt a target pistol; its a point-and-shoot type of gun using what little bit of sights you might have to save your life.
I shot it. My son shot it. My daughter-in-law shot it. Even my 7-year-old grandson shot the Guardian.
At first the others had to get used to a double-action-only (DAO) feature of the Guardian. Being DAO the trigger pull is more than it would be with other types of autos. But once they realized the amount of pull that the trigger required, they shot better.
The only real problem was with Kyle, my grandson, who kept getting hit in the forehead with the brass.
We had targets with the center so shot out you couldnt count the number of hits.
So, we have determined that the gun fires reliably and that at a reasonable distance it is as accurate as should be expected from a short-barreled belly gun. But, does it perform any better ballistically?
I dont have any ballistic gelatin so I decided to use a couple of phone books for my testing.
I took two brand new phone books and rubber-banded them together with a plain piece of white paper on the top. I then shot three rounds of the .25 NAA, two rounds of .32 ACP, and one each of .22 LR, .22 Mag, and .25 ACP into this target.
Each Shot Marked
Each hole was marked as they were shot, so that when I started opening the pages to measure the depth of penetration Id know which was which. This turned out not to be a problem. Each bullet was recognizable for what it was.
The first bullet that I came to was at page 691, only 7/8 of an inch into the phone books. This was surprisingly the .22 Mag. We shot PMC (12801 US Hwy. 95 South, Dept. GWK, Boulder City, NV 89005; phone: 702-294-0025; on-line: www.pmcammo.com) Predator 40-grain Jacketed Soft Points. This round did mushroom the most of all the calibers shot. We used an NAA mini-revolver to do the shooting.
At 1-inch into the phone book, or 843 pages, I found the .25 ACP round. There was little distortion and some really fine rifling on the bullet. It would easily be identifiable to the New York State CoBIS ballistic database system. This also happened to be PMC ammo. The bullet was a 50-grain Full Metal Jacket. The gun used was an imported gun of some make from Spain.
The third bullets that I came to were the .32 ACPs fired from another NAA Guardian pistol. Both were quite deformed and had penetrated to a depth of 902 pages or 1-1/8 inches. This ammo was produced by Cor-Bon. Acceptable?
The .25 NAA rounds were found at a depth of 2&Mac249; inches or 1,809 pages. All three were quite deformed and mushroomed. I had fired three of these rounds because I was concerned with the consistency of penetration and bullet deformation. Okay 2&Mac249; inches, not bad. Actually the best so far.
Finally, I came to the last bullet in the phone book. This was at 1,858 pages or a depth of 2-3/8 inches and much to my surprise this was the .22 LR. The ammo was Winchester (427 N. Shamrock St., Dept. GWK, East Alton, IL 62024; phone: 618-258-2000; on-line: www.winchester.com) .22 Hollow Point High Velocity shot from an Iver Johnson TP-22. The cheapest ammo from the least expensive gun penetrated the most and expanded reasonably.
While I had expected the .25 NAA to perform well I was surprised to see that it did penetrate twice as much as the .22 Mag, .25 ACP and the .32 ACP. But I was really surprised to see the .22 LR perform so well.
The Guardian weighs only 14.8 ounces loaded. The manual that comes with the Guardian says that it weighs 13.5 ounces empty. Its length is just 4.36 inches and it is just 3.23 inches in height. The magazine holds six rounds for a total of seven with one in the chamber. The Guardian has a nice trim and flat profile. It is less that .85-inch in thickness. All these features make for a small, compact, reliable carry gun.
The sights are low profile fixed. Of course, I dont believe the sights are a major factor on a firearm of this type. This is a gun that youre going to point and shoot. The low-profile of the sights is an advantage because they cannot hang up on your clothing while drawing the pistol. The Guardian is made of stainless steel and should be low maintenance. However, stainless steel has never meant that you dont need to keep your guns cleaned and oiled. The trigger pull is about 10 pounds. It takes a little getting used to but is not unmanageable.
The Guardian comes with its own carrying pouch. It is a clip-on, zippered pouch that holds the gun and an extra magazine secure. Drawing from this zippered pouch wouldnt be fast, but the pouch allows you to carry the gun concealed with few people knowing what it is until you need it. The pouch is an ideal way to carry during the summer in hot weather, because the pistol is concealed and also protected from your body sweat.
The retail price of the Guardian is: $402.
Ive already mentioned carrying your Guardian in an ankle holster, but there is another way that I really prefer and that is in an Alessi (Alessi Holsters Inc., 2465 Niagara Falls Blvd., Dept. GWK, Amherst, NY 14228; phone: 716-691-5615; on-line: www.alessileather.com) pocket holster. The holsters from Alessi are in general a work of art besides being extremely functional. The pocket holster hides the shape of the gun while in your pocket while protecting not only the gun, but also you from any sharp edges. Of course it also protects your clothing from getting wear holes in the pockets.
The pocket holster is probably the easiest way to quickly arm yourself. Just pick it up and put it in your pocket. There is no messing with getting the holster on your belt or attaching the holster to your ankle. And better yet, you can draw your Guardian without anyone knowing that you are going for a gun, like could be the case with a belt holster and definitely with an ankle holster. The retail price is $45.
I definitely own more holsters made by Alessi than any other company. Their quality is good and their holsters are some of the most functional that I have used. I still dont have a good way to carry extra magazines for the Guardian; Im going to have to talk to Alessi about that.
Ammo for the .25 NAA is sometimes hard to find. If your dealer does not carry .25 NAA ammo, you may order it from North American Arms. They can ship ammunition by UPS Ground only. They can ship to any state in the continental United States, except DE, DC, IL, MA, NY, and OH. Please consult your local laws before ordering. For a box of 20, 35-grain JHP cartridges youll pay about $11.
So did we test a gun or a caliber? Well, I guess it was both because the gun only exists for this caliber and this caliber isnt chambered in any other firearms.
I guess I should mention here that I am almost always carrying one of my NAA pistols, whether it be a mini-revolver or a Guardian, but this is usually as a backup piece to my .45 or 9mm pistols, or a .357 revolver. At times, depending on how I am dressed, I will possible carry two NAA firearms because of their size and concealablity. The Guardians are nice to carry in an ankle holster for those riding motorcycles; otherwise I use a pocket holster for all my NAA firearms.
Remember when contacting any of these manufacturers to tell them that John at Gun Week sent you.
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