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Old July 8, 2002, 09:58 PM   #1
Spirex288
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Kel-Tec P32 or NAA Guardian 32?

Of the two, which is proven reliable and has the better build quality?
Considering one of the two for backup carry.
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Old July 8, 2002, 10:25 PM   #2
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The Guardian is definitely the better quality gun, but they are both reliable. The Guardian will stand up longer than the Keltec if you are planning to fire thousands of rounds through it. The Keltec is thinner, lighter and cheaper. I personally carry a Keltec and feel just fine about it. My other guns are a few Glocks, a Walther P99 and a Kahr P9, so I am not into cheapo guns. But my Keltec is great for when I can't carry one of my other guns and has been 100% reliable at the range.
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Old July 8, 2002, 11:53 PM   #3
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Dunno about the Guardian.

My P-32 is a total pleaser and sweetheart. Since it's got a 100% warranty, you'll always have a 100% P-32 whether or not you send a million or two rounds downrange. I can't buy the statement that the P-32 is of lesser quality since it gets as many stars as there are in judging that, IMO.

The design and implementation of the Kel-Tec pistols is absolutely ingenious, and the tiny size and ultra light weight of the P-32 is remarkable.

Reliability doesn't get better than 100%, and that's what mine is. It gets gigged as an "up close and personal" mouse gun, but I can consistently make aimed shots "between the eyes" from 50 feet.

There's no higher recommendation I can give to the P-32. You should probably arrange to shoot each one, maybe side by side, to form your own opinion.
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Old July 9, 2002, 03:16 AM   #4
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I own both but personally like to carry the P32. The Guardian can sometime feel "too heavy" when I really need to "travel light"

Like Traithe mentioned, both are reliable guns but the Guardian is a bit more well built.
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Old July 9, 2002, 04:20 AM   #5
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I agree with Blackhawk ..... You cannot beat the P32!

Outstanding design coupled with 100% reliability and a life-time guarantee. It's extremely light weight and dimunitive size will ensure it is within reach when you need it.

You cannot go wrong with the Kel-Tec!
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Old July 9, 2002, 06:44 AM   #6
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If you don't mind heavy and expensive - go for the guardian.

If you want affordable and easy to carry - go kel-tec.

I really enjoy my little P-32 - its a fine back-up to my .357.

My youngest daughter is getting married next March, and I'm thinking about getting her a P-32 in baby blue as a wedding gift...

something old, something new,
something borrowed, something Kel-Tec...

sounds about right to me!
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Old July 9, 2002, 08:08 AM   #7
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On appearance alone......

the NAA Guardian has it all over the Kel-Tec P32. However, that's not the rest of the story. When I was looking for a mouse gun to replace my Berette Mod 21, I checked them both out thoroughly. The Guardian looks like a REAL GUN; the P32 looks like a kid's toy.

Workmanship and materials? The NAA is constructed of stainless steel and North American Arms give a lifetime warranty. Although I've not owned a Guardian, I've owned THREE of their mini-revolvers and they are little jewels.

In just about every other category, I found the P32 to have advantages over the Guardian. I personally consider the P32 to be just about the most brilliantly designed and advanced small semi-auto ever made. Here are my reasons why I bought a P32 and have not regretted it:
1-weight: 9 ounces LOADED. Nothing in it's class touches this
2-thinness: 3/4"....again, the absolute small-width champ
3-capacity: holds 7+1 with a 10 round mag as an option
4-Locked breech design for less felt recoil, strength, and velocity
5-Amazing 5 lb trigger pull
6-diamond-shaped slider excellent for point-shooting
7-Will shoot any ammo in .32 auto
8-Excellent lifetime warranty like NAA
9-Availability of aftermarket accessories
10-Price - quite a bit less expensive than it's competitors: Guardian, Beretta Tomcat, Seecamp.
11-Total reliability, thus far, and a much tougher little gun than detractors say it is.

The Guardian looks sexy but being a straight blow-back design, it lacks an extractor and users report getting stovepipes on the last round (not a serious problem, just annoying) the trigger on the Guardian is stout, in the neighborhood of 12 lbs for a small pistol. It holds 6+1, less than the P32.

In summation, the P32 is a brilliant, original design while the Guardian is probably going to last longer and be more durable.
You probably can't go wrong with either of these; they're the class of the mousegun category to me.
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Old July 9, 2002, 08:26 AM   #8
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Be forewarned, not all P32's are reliable out of the box. It may take a few trips back to the factory to get it running right. Bought mine a little while back and it was not running right out of the box. Sent slide and barrel back. Came back and it still was not running right, plus it had a new problem. You can see some of the details of my delimma at

http://www.ktog.org/vbulletin/showth...&threadid=2002

It's a little annoying to have to send it off twice, but if mine is running right when it gets back from the factory, I'll be happy considering the advantages of this little gun.
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Old July 9, 2002, 08:30 AM   #9
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Highly recommend the Guardian.
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Old July 9, 2002, 09:53 AM   #10
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We've owned both.
Both needed trips to the factory.
We now have two P32s.
The Guardian is gone.

The Guardian weighs too much in my opinion.
For the same weight, similar size, the Polymer Kahr 9mm, or the KelTec 9mm come to mind.

The P32 is actually fun to shoot.
The Guardian was uncomfortable to shoot.
(Yes, it is the same caliber, and you would think the heavier gun would be eaier to shoot. Not so. Maybe the Polymer absorbs recoil, I don't know.)

The P32 has a much better trigger, so it is more accurate.
The Guardian would blister your finger if you shot it too much.

The Guardian wins in the looks department.
The P32 is a homely pistol.

The Guardian can be customized, and beautified.
Not much you can do to a P32.

The .32 is not an ideal fight-stopper, but if I choose to carry it, I want the smallest, lightest, launcher.

By this point in the production cycle, both are probably reliable.
(I was on waiting lists to get an early Guardian, and an early P32.)

Remember, the hunt is half of the fun.
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Old July 9, 2002, 09:57 AM   #11
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I checked out the KTOG boards and it seemed to me that the P32 needs "tweaking" before it is fully reliable. Any truth to that? I'm looking for an out of the box shooter. No "fluff and buff".
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Old July 9, 2002, 10:58 AM   #12
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Guardian all the way

I had the same dilemma a few months ago. Yes, the Guardian is heavy... but it's utterly reliable and has a *much* lower failure rate (per 100 guns) than the P32. I don't want to spend $200 on something that I'll have to ship back to the factory at least once (maybe on my dime, maybe not) to get working perfectly. So, as you probably figured out by now, I bought a Guardian. I got mine NIB for $275, and it has been perfect with a bit over 100 rounds thru it so far. The only thing I would change is the sights. IMHO, the gun should either come with the gutter snipe tritium treatment or none at all (a la seecamp). A good stiff belt and a back pocket holster are all that you need--this thing is about the size of a wallet, so it looks like one when its being carried.

When it comes down to it (for the most part), owning the Kel Tec is a labor of love and the NAA Guardian just works.
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Old July 9, 2002, 11:16 AM   #13
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backup

Kel Te P32 in the best choice for backup or for carry when you need deep concealment. Always test any pistol for reliability and make any changes req'd
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Old July 9, 2002, 11:31 AM   #14
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just curious......

QUOTE:

"... but it's utterly reliable and has a *much* lower failure rate (per 100 guns) than the P32."

Teombe: Can you share with us where you got the above statistic? I'm just curious because access to that sort of data would be vital to making an intelligent handgun purchase.
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Old July 9, 2002, 11:41 AM   #15
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I had a Guardian 32 and it IS a nice looking well constructed gun....however....it's alittle on the heavy side for me. If I'm going to get that heavy, I might as well step up a caliber, which is what I did...I traded it in for a Colt 380. All that being said I am going to get a p-32 sometime in the near future...larger capacity, thinner, and lighter. I have a p-11 and I think K-T is putting out some fine weapons, especially for the money.
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Old July 9, 2002, 12:21 PM   #16
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Spirex288,
Quote:
I checked out the KTOG boards and it seemed to me that the P32 needs "tweaking" before it is fully reliable. Any truth to that? I'm looking for an out of the box shooter. No "fluff and buff".
New P-32 a few months ago, SN 72xxx. No tweaking done, and no F&B needed at all. 100% reliable out of the box.

However, I did do two things to it. I spent about 10 minutes supergluing a small piece of eraser to the grip behind the trigger to take up most of the trigger overtravel after it releases the hammer. I just "don't like" overtravel, but I'm weird.

Secondly, I used a piece of 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to dull the checkering on the grip a little because the points were too sharp for extended use comfort. No big deal.

Result: from 50 feet, I can confidently and consistently get POA=POI "between the eyes." That amazes onlookers because they "know" a gun that small with that short a sight radius isn't good for hitting anything more than 10 feet away. Then I show them how to do it, and they get about as excited about the P-32 as a 16 yo with his first car -- one that he wanted....
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Old July 9, 2002, 01:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
but it's utterly reliable and has a *much* lower failure rate (per 100 guns) than the P32
Yes, if you're gonna post claims like this, you gotta back 'em up with numbers... I seriously doubt that it's the case though. I've read just as many unhappy NAA Guardian owners' posts as I have P32 here and elsewhere.

I had a NAA Guardian on layaway ($275) until one of the guys behind the counter handed me a P32. with the $200 I already had on the Guardian, I took the KT home with me and it's run ball and HP, standard and +P without any problems. My 10 year old son says it's his favorite of all my pistols, and he too has never made it hiccup.

I'm certainly not saying the NAA is a lesser gun, 'cause it sure is pretty... But I think the KT is a little better for carry. If I want a 14 oz mouse gun, I'm buying a Kahr P9 or Roarbaugh (when available).

BTW, 100 rounds is not a good judge of a gun's reliability.
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Old July 9, 2002, 01:04 PM   #18
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teombe,
Quote:
Yes, the Guardian is heavy... but it's utterly reliable and has a *much* lower failure rate (per 100 guns) than the P32.
Nonsense!
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Old July 9, 2002, 01:06 PM   #19
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I must be lucky! I've purchased a p11 & p32 - neither has given any trouble. No jams, no failure to feed or extract. Both are as accurate as expected, both fairly comfortable to shoot. The addition of the trigger shoe really helps the P11, but I've had to do nothing for the P32. Both get a thumbs up from me.
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Old July 9, 2002, 02:31 PM   #20
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Just to let you know, the new Kel-Tecs can have issues too. Mine is a 79xxx serial #.
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Old July 9, 2002, 02:33 PM   #21
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The quality control on the Keltec P32 is somewhat variable. I had one and it worked fine until I sent it in to get the hard chromed slide installed. It never worked right again, even after two more trips back to Keltec. I threw in the towel when the $35 per shipment UPS overnight charges got to one half of the cost of the pistol. It was a neat little gun, but I just got tired of the grief and sold it. The Guardian is a much better product, but it certainly is heavier. I finally went with a 380 Guardian. It is a little brick, but it packs a bit more power and works perfectly. YMMV. Watch-Six
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Old July 9, 2002, 03:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
Nonsense!
You've gotta be kidding me. I'm not saying that KT has a 90% return rate or something, but you gotta admit, the P32s have had many more problems that required returns than the Guardian has. If you think I'm dilusional, do a search on this board for 'Guardian problems', and compare it to a search on 'P32 problems', and you'll see a 10-1 ratio there. Do you really believe that 10X more people on this board own Kel-Tec P32s than Guardians?

If you still think I'm just a nut, then refer to ktog.org and let me know how many people are bitching about their P32s on that site.

I don't have anything against the P32. I personally like them. But just like you, I have a preference. My preference is influenced solely by the wide range of teething problems Kel Tec has had with this particular gun. Maybe after a few years when they get everything worked out on the production side, I'll make the switch and relegate my Guardian to "jewelry" status. Heck, I'd even gladly pay $300 for a perfect one. But until then, I'm giving the mousegun nod to NAA.
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Old July 9, 2002, 03:34 PM   #23
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Well, I have a Kel-Tec P-32 and an NAA Guardian .380 (not quite the same as the .32 but probably representative of the class.)

The Kel-Tec has the definate advantage in weight and price. And I'll give its sights a slight advantage.

The Guardian has the advantage in most other respects, especially in terms of perceived attributes. ie: the Guardian DOES look more like a "real gun." The P-32 is the gun that I'm most scared of my grandchildren playing with (and NO, they don't have access to my guns) because it does look so toy-like. And molded plastic parts are no where near as classy as stainless steel with a nice set of Hogue grips.

I won't comment on reliability. Both have had their share of problems and I don't think comparing the number of complaints on the board is of any real value in determining reliability. For one thing, I suspect there probably are 10 times more Kel-Tecs out there than Guardians. Sales tend to drop exponentially with price increases.

All that said, if I didn't own a .32 and wanted one, I'd do exactly what I did all over again. I'd buy a P-32. And if I wanted a gun that was roughly the same size and had roughly twice the muzzle energy I'd buy a Guardian .380.

BTW, I might point out that while the Guardian is a lot heavier than the P-32, it's still roughly the same size. (The Kahrs are considerably larger.) I carry both my P-32 and my Guardian .380 in rear pocket holsters. PocketHolsters.com As far as concealability, both guns are dead even.

Tom
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Old July 9, 2002, 03:35 PM   #24
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teombe,

Any idea how many NAA Guardian 32s are out there?

==================

I have a P-32, and you don't.

You have a Guardian, and I don't.

In my first post on this thread I said I "dunno" about the Guardian, and I don't.

Fact is, you're only relating your conclusions about second hand anecdotal information about P-32s since you apparently have NO personal experience base with them. That's why I said "nonsense."

If I used your method to evaluate Glocks, I'd think they were ugly, trouble prone, dangerous, and prone to kaboom. I'd think that Taurus products should be sent back to Brazil, and that several other brands will NEVER give anybody any trouble at all. All of that would be nonsense too.
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Old July 9, 2002, 03:54 PM   #25
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Teombe: A word of caution......

I notice you are fairly new to TFL and you're welcome here.

However and a BIG however, the reason I called attention to your unsubstantiated statement a-ways-up-on-the-thread is that this is the wrong place to try and blow smoke up someone's ass.

Someone else claimed that P32's needed some coaxing or tweaking to make them reliable. I don't buy that either. Mine is an early serial (035xx) and it is BOX-STOCK with about 800 rounds through it. Reliability is 100% thus far.

I like these threads....sorta like Ford -vs- Chevy. I suppose I'll be seeing a car window decal of some kid urinating on a P32 in the near-future!
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