NAA Guardian owners, I have a question


May 28, 2010, 08:45 PM
I have been planning on buying a small pistol for the wife, so I was inevitably looking at all of the 380's out there. I was leaning heavy toward the Guardian. Then I found THIS article, ( on their site no less? Now I am reconsidering.

Anyway getting to the point, apart from the malfunctions he had which also causes me concearn, he also said the last round out of the mag almost always jammed, stovepipe I think. With a little reading I found that this common with the Guardian. NAA more or less dismisses it as a non-issue, saying on their web site

Last round (

I have read/experienced that the case from the last spent round occasionally gets stuck between the slide and the frame. Is this a product 'failure'? Should I be concerned?

No, 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 we 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 following 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 following 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 stovepipe 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).

So my 2 basic questions for the folks that have first hand experience with this issue is, should this keep me from buying the gun? Apart from this issue is the gun reliable?

Also remember this gun will be bought for my wife who will shoot it rarely, and isn't very familiar with clearing jams. If it get complicated at all she just gets frustrated and then she has nothing to do with the gun, you know the $400 paper weight.:banghead:

Thanks in advanced for the help.


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May 28, 2010, 08:53 PM
I have one and apart form that last round not popping out by design yes it is reliable.

I hate shooting it, but it *is* mechanically reliable. Want mine? It's for sale. Only 50+1 rounds through it.
It's uncomplicated insofar as it doesn't have a safety and well, if you're in a situation and using it ... and it jams, I'd go into Combatives mode anyways, right after throwing it.

Like I said, it's most definitely not a range gun. But in an adrenaline fueled struggle I think it'd pop the rounds off, no problem.

P.S. Oh yeah, by the by, I have the .32 ACP variety, not the .380.

May 28, 2010, 08:57 PM
Although not a .380, I had a heck of a time when I got my .32 Guardian with feeding issues such as this. At first they sent me a new mag. When that didn't correct the problem I sent the gun back to NAA and it was returned with a great deal polishing in the feed ramp and chamber area. I don't remember what else they did but in any event it cured the problem and it has run fine since then. I have shot a few varieties of JHP and FMJ and the only ammo that it absolutely will not function with is S&B.

May 28, 2010, 08:57 PM
Its not a problem.

The round will eject when a new mag is inserted and the slide racked.

It functioned very nicely.

The slide is fairly tight, though.

My wife was not able to rack the slide on it easily and we decided to trade it.

May 28, 2010, 09:17 PM
I have the NAA Guardian in 32 ACP. Mine has never malfunctioned with either hollow points or FMJ. I have shot between 250 and 300 rounds through it. Its a great little gun when concealment needs outweigh other considerations.

I looked at the 380 - but it was a little to bulky for my needs. I also like the lighter recoil of the 32 on the smaller frame.

dogtown tom
May 28, 2010, 09:59 PM
I highly recommend that you (not your wife) shoot the Guardian first. I've shot a lot of handguns and the Guardian .380 was the most unpleasant gun I've ever shot. While very well built, it is a straight blowback design and will beat your hand to death. I rarely shot more than twenty rounds at a single session. the trigger is the heaviest of any handgun I've ever used- NAA believes that to be a safety feature.

Once I bought a Kahr CW9 (and shortly thereafter a Kahr PM9), I sold that NAA Guardian as fast as I could.

I've owned a number of different .380 pocket autos over the years and while the size of the Guardian is great for pocket carry- it is a solid block of stainless steel and waaaaay to heavy for pocket carry.

I currently have a Kahr P380 and could not be happier. I can easily shoot it all afternoon. The Kahr is a locked breech design, has a fantastic trigger and real front and rear sights.

May 28, 2010, 11:15 PM
Thanks for all the info. I will say I am trying to find someone that has one so I/she can shoot it before buying. Honestly I am starting to rethink the Guardian. She would be just as well suited with something else, we just have to decide what.

Thanks again

May 29, 2010, 10:16 AM
I own the .32 ACP Guardian. In my opinion, it is not a good wife's gun. The trigger pull is fairly heavy, the blowback action makes it have more felt recoil than an equivalent locked breech gun (Kel-Tec .32ACP), plus the trigger has a hard "snap" when it releases the hammer which some people actually find painful on the trigger finger.

I'd recommend something like the Ruger LCP (locked breech) over the Guardian .380 for most people. The LCP is lighter and has about the same felt recoil as the Guardian .32ACP *. The trigger is easier to pull through as well. Although, if you want a metal framed gun, the Guardians are pretty nice.

*I know this from firing LCPs next to my Guardian.

May 29, 2010, 12:46 PM
What they said, definitely fire one first, also ... don't pay 400 bucks for it. I paid 250 for a brand new one. There's no need for that kind of waste.

The Lone Haranguer
May 29, 2010, 01:25 PM
The design of this pistol does not include an ejector (not to be confused with an extractor), but relies on the following 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 following 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).

Sometimes design compromises are necessary to make a gun little. The Seecamp also does this.

May 29, 2010, 03:43 PM
I was leaning heavy toward the Guardian.

Heavy is the operative word. Speaking only for myself here, the only reason I carry a .380 for self-defense is for the times the social situation, weather (mode of dress), etc. makes carrying anything else impractical. For me, the aforementioned "times" mean I will be pocket carrying a lightweight, compact .380 and the Guardian is simply too heavy to tote regularly in the pocket. I want nothing heavier in my pocket than a pistol weighing not much over nine or ten ounces (i.e., the KelTec 3AT, the Ruger LCP or the Seecamp).
If your wife is planning on carrying in a purse instead of a pocket, the extra weight of the Guardian becomes less important but the heavy weight of the trigger pull, especially in the hands of many, if not most, women rears its ugly head. Before choosing the Guardian for your wife, have her dryfire it first. My guess is after she tries tugging on this atrocious trigger, you'll be opting for something else...

May 29, 2010, 05:04 PM
I had the .32acp version. It was as small as .25acp's built 60+ years ago. It was also as heavy or heavier. After 150 rounds I never could get more than maybe 6-8 shots through it without a failure to feed. From a collector stanpoint I think they are neat and may someday buy another. I traded it in for a p32, holster and extra mags and do not regret it one bit.

The p32 is a few ounces lighter with a crimson trace laser attached, holds two more rounds, locks back after the last shot in a mag (easier for the ladies to reload because of this and being locked breach), and has been flawless since round one. Also the .32acp guardian kicked harder than my .380acp p3at. There is a huge difference between locked breech and fixed barrel. I like NAA, I think these are well made but I personally feel that fixed barrel on a short-barreled pocket pistol is a flawed design. Fixed barrel is great for accuracy, which works in 4" plus barreled handguns (enough rifling and sight radius) but in stubby barreled autos, the lack of the above mentioned factors negate any gains in accuracy and increase recoil too drastically.

Ymmv, but there is one man's opinion.

May 29, 2010, 05:39 PM
These very small blow back .380's are NOT the best choice for anyone. There are a couple of small locked breech .380's out there that are far better. The old Colt Pocketlight (if you can find one) or the newer Sig P238 are much better pistols and far more pleasant to shoot.

May 29, 2010, 05:48 PM
I used to own a .380 Guardian. I highly recommend against it as a primary carry for anyone, male or female, unless you absolutely require deep concealment, and have a very high pain threshold. Heavy trigger, tiny sights, very heavy for the size, and a kick like a mule. On the other hand, mine would never jam as long as it was clean. It also never did the last round stovepipe thing (which was good, because I reload).

For deep cover or as a backup piece, the tradeoff compared to a Kel-Tec are that the Guardian is heavier, but smaller.

I'd recommend (to either sex, once again) a Kahr CW9 instead. Same weight, real sights (though less aftermarket options than a standard Kahr), much lighter trigger, almost twice as powerful, and less felt recoil. Much less recoil. 115 grain standard pressure ammo in a CW9 kicks about as hard as a baby bunny.

May 29, 2010, 10:52 PM
All the women in my house Have choose the KelTec P-32. I carry the P 32 or the 380KT
Their smaller lighter and better trigger As mentioned slide locks back and recoil min. I really think BG won't know difference between 32 or 380 from these small guns.

May 30, 2010, 09:56 AM
NAA 380 Guardian= Bad juju.

The blow back design will make you give up shooting. BTW. I own a S&W 500 mag. I'll take that over the NAA.

I have a Sig P238 and a Kahr P380. Both are great to carry and shoot

May 30, 2010, 10:49 AM
What they said, definitely fire one first, also ... don't pay 400 bucks for it. I paid 250 for a brand new one. There's no need for that kind of waste.
where are you buy a naa 380 for 250???

May 30, 2010, 11:08 AM
I own and carry a .32 NAA and have found it to be utterly reliable. Relative to the last round 'smoke-stacking', I'd guess that occurs about every other mag. or so, but it really makes NO difference!.............I can't imagine that anyone would need a quick reload after seven rounds in a defensive circumstance..........if you do, then you ought to have grabbed your shotgun to begin with!. Besides, that SS'd round is a quick indicator that you've just ran her dry!

In terms of accuracy, I have found the thing to be exceptional...true the sights are minimal, likely one'd be better off not having them anyway and I've only used mine to bounce tin cans or shoot paper. In real life its point and pull anyway and one NEEDS, repeat that NEEDS to practice with the gun to gain both familiarity and confidence.

Overall, its a good gun constructed with first class materials and enjoys really good support from the maker........hell, they rebuilt mine to as new for nothing and threw in two new magazines to boot.........You cannot beat that sort of customer support.......given the fact that the gun was a gift to me, used and had considerable mileage on it at that!

LCP's/Kel-tec's et al are lighter, work ok, but they are still just plastic and I suspect that the NAA's will be around a lot longer.

May 30, 2010, 11:35 AM
where are you buy a naa 380 for 250???

At a pawnshop in Oregon. 8)

May 31, 2010, 12:28 PM
Having owned a Guardian 380 for several years (about 5 years I think) I found it reliable and well built but I only shot it well with the magazine with the finger extension.

It is heavy for its size like a Seacamp

One day I was walking out of the health club and a couple of gangsters (probably real but possibly posers) put the eye on me and my daughter. I realized that a 9mm was in order. Traded the NAA for a Kahr PM9. Same basic size, more firepower.

If I was still happy carrying a 380 I would still have the Guardian.

May 31, 2010, 03:53 PM
Thanks for all the input. I/we have basically ruled out the Guardian now she seems to be leaning toward an
Air Weight J-Frame, she changes her mind like a woman. A friend of mine has one and she seemed to like it when she shot it.

Guillermo Just how much bigger is the PM9 than the Guardian? I have a PM45 but have never even laid eyes on the PM9. I would like for her to take a look at the PM9. She seems to be a bit worried about something being slow to draw with tight pants on, I think that (easier draw) combined with the "Bigger Bullet" is what she likes about the J Frames.

June 1, 2010, 08:49 AM
I own the .32acp version (a little smaller than the .380 version). What folks have already said is true for me as well. I also own a ton of various pocket pistols with which to provide some personal comparisons. I love my Guardian, it is a jewel.
My Guardian functioned 100% out of the box. It has cycled everything I've put through it and is fairly accurate out to 50 feet. I found the one comment about Sellier & Bellot not functioning in someone's gun interesting, as S&B and Fiocchi are my go-to brands for .32acp.

I bought mine just to have one. They are cool looking and jewel-like...and I just love pocket pistols.
With all the locking barrel pocket pistol designs out there these days, the straight blow-back pocket gun design is a bit dated (yes, Seecamp also). I mean, compare the NAA Guardian .32acp to the Kel-Tec P-32;
P32 holds 7+1 rounds, NAA holds 6+1
P32 weighs 6.6 ounces unloaded, the Guardian weighs 13.5 ounces unloaded (a pound loaded!)
Guardian's sights are worse than an LA Fury! NAA should not have bothered putting any on it.
P32 has a slightly larger footprint, but is thinner than the Guardian.
P32 has a slightly longer barrel and the barrel is locking. The P32 has less felt recoil and a tad more oomph.
The P32's pre-loaded hammer makes it's trigger pull and stroke quite light, smooth, and nice. The Guardian's straight double-action is heavy, long, and gets amazingly stiff just before the hammer falls. The trigger on the Guardian is so stiff and the trigger curved such, that (on my first range outing with it) I had two blisters form and pop on my trigger finger in only 130 rounds of shooting. And most shots I have to consciously remind myself not to pull the gun down on the hammer release. Kel-Tec's P32 and P3AT triggers feel like target guns by comparison.

In short, while I do not regret buying an NAA Guardian to have in my collection; it does absolutely nothing that the Kel-Tec P32 doesn't do better, for $120 less, with more capacity, and at half the weight.

June 1, 2010, 06:41 PM

If your wife doesn't shoot much, I strongly recommend a Smith and Wesson 642 or 442 revolver. The battery of arms is very simple, and these models are easy to carry. Get an Uncle Mike's pocket holster and you're set. :)

The Guardian is a sweet-looking, well-made, all-metal machine, but I think you can do better for every-day carry. It is a HEAVY gun.

Edit: I wanted to add my other piece of standard advice: Let Her hold and shoot whatever you plan to buy for her... it is important for it to fit her hands and for her to like it.


June 2, 2010, 01:08 AM
The pocket .380 with the lightest slide, trigger, and recoil is almost indisputably the sig p238 HD, but it is SAO with a manual safety. As long as she practices she should be able to operate it just as well as anyone else.

July 9, 2010, 09:26 PM
I've had two .380 autos and neither were reliable. Those being a Taurus tcp and a kel-tec. The tcp went back to the factory twice and it still fails often. I keep going back to my .38 snub nose. Much more reliable and not much weight to it. Plus a bit more knockdown. A bit of thickness due to the cylinder but when I drop it in my front pocket i pretty much forget it's there. If your wife is going to carry it in a purse I would think she would like the .38

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