The Mouse-Gun that Roared.

(Published in SWAT Magazine September 2002)

SWAT Magazine recently put out a fine article on the NAA Guardian.  Since that article was published, NAA pulled a fast one on us.  They came out with a new one. 

What they did was create a new caliber called the “.32NAA”.  What they did was simply neck down the .380ACP case to accept a 60 grain, .32 caliber JHP bullet.  This is one of those simple little kinds of alchemy that really does produce pure gold.  These loads are being rolled out by Cor-Bon.  The guys at Cor-Bon are very good at wringing out all the speed you can get out of a cartridge.  As a side effect, NAA has created a new genre of small handguns.  You can’t call the .32NAA Guardian a mouse-gun.  It’s just too vicious to be a mouse-gun.  It’s more of a rat-gun. 

The Guardian it’s self is a slight modification of the .380 Guardian.  This is a good thing, even for a .32 caliber pistol.  The slightly smaller .32 Guardian is in my opinion too small.  The .380 size fills the hand enough to get a good firm grip.  When you touch off one of these little bottlenecked mini-magnums, you will appreciate the size and heft of the larger framed gun.  The gun is quite snappy.  “Brisk” is a good word to describe it.  Other words that come to mind are “Angry” and “Rabid”.  It's loud. It spits a big fireball. It hurts your hand. The round it’s self looks and shoots like a miniaturized .357SIG.  That can only be a good thing for a personal defense cartridge.

Opinions from those who I showed the gun and cartridge too were "That is so AWESOME", "Interesting, very interesting", and "Whoa."  Needless to say all the impressions were positive.  Including the comment "Oh, that's cute, the Japanese miniaturized the .357 SIG."   Compared to a regular .380 Guardian, the recoil pulse feels about the same, but “sharper”. But not quite as sharp as Pro-Load’s hot .380ACP offerings.

Our chrony was reading some different numbers than what was quoted to my by NAA and printed on the box… We observed a 1250 FPS average, with about a +/- 5FPS spread. A couple shots were approaching the 13 mark. These higher numbers were probably due to the higher altitude where were shooting at.  These velocities are similar to standard 9MM loads.  We only had a limited number of Cor-Bon factory loads, so we carefully crafted some handloads.  Our reloads couldn’t match Cor-Bon’s at only 1,000 to 1,125 FPS. We didn’t want to push it any more that that so we stopped there.  All the shots fired were accurate and the gun was perfectly reliable with all the factory loads.  The Cor-Bon boxed said the velocity was 1,200FPS, but I didn’t record a single shot that slow.  After a good shooting session, my hand was red and sore.  Here I sit at my computer 5 hours later, and my right hand is still quite sore... even my wrist.  In fact, my wrist feels like it's jammed.  Ouch.  The Advil hasn't kicked in yet.  This isn't a gun for extended shooting sessions.    It's meant for a more serious purpose.  The defense of your life. 

NAA told me that these loads have a calculated Fuller Index of 62% One Shot Stops.  This is a very interesting claim, as at 62% the .32NAA is doing better than a .380ACP loaded with Golden Sabers which only reach 52%.  But who’s counting Fuller Index anyway?  It’s a rather flawed methodology for making comparisons.

I use a simple calculation to compare handgun loads.  I call it the Defensive Power Factor, and it’s a slight variation of a classic that most readers may recognize. Bullet weight in grains, X Caliber, X Velocity in FPS, divided by 1000.  Running these numbers, we see that this load is superior to all .32ACP loads and just as good or better than many .380ACP loads.  The DPF formula favors big heavy bullets, as do I.  It also doesn’t try calculate expansion.  I have always figured expansion as a bonus and not something to bank on.  The .32NAA load does however expand quite well.  Every shot fired into the Fackler Box we used for testing expanded nicely.  Not all the .380s we fired expanded, and none fragmented.  Some of the .32 slugs showed signs of fragmentation.  Some slugs seemed to have virtually exploded.   This may have caused a lot of grins in those observing the tests, but is a debatable quality in a defensive bullet.  It will be interesting to see the .32NAA loaded with slugs such as the Gold Dot, and Hydra Shok… loads that I didn’t have on hand at the time of testing.

Please remember, this is a pocket pistol.  This is what you carry when your not carrying your gun.  You can drop this little gun into a pocket.  It as every advantage that a small gun has, just with more power.   I've carried the Guardian for a week using various methods.  The pocket carry method is fast and easy.  With a leather jacket, it's almost natural.  You forget it's there.  In the front pocket of a pair of jeans, it's fast and easy, but you never forget it's there.  It doesn't look like you have a gun, your just happy to see everyone.  This could be a good thing in the right crowd.  But I digress.  The provided method of carry with the De Santi pouch is sometimes awkward.  The pouch carries the gun nicely, and never really attracts any looks.  You forget its there.  The strong metal spring clip latches onto the belt nicely and holds it very secure.  It's just sometimes a pain in the rear echelon to remove. 

I’m really not one for mouse-guns, I’d rather pack a small 9MM.  However there are times and places where even a small Nine is too big.  In those cases, the .32NAA Guardian is perfect.