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NAACOBrigadier
Country of origin
  • United States
  • Belgium
  • Designer(s)

    North American Arms Corporation (NAACO)

    Production began

    1959

    Weapon type

    Pistol

    Caliber

    .45 NAACO

    Action

    Single Action

    Overall length

    245 millimeters

    Barrel length

    140 millimeters

    Weight

    1 kilogram

    Magazine/Cylinder capacity

    8 rounds

    Cyclic rate

    Semi-automatic

    Muzzle velocity

    490 meters/second (9 mm)


    The North American Arms Corporation, 1480 Birchmount Road, Toronto, Ontario (NAACO). In September 1959 Major General Chris Vokes was elected to the Board of Directors of the new corporation. The Brigadier pistol was developed to meet Canadian requirements for a service handgun in the aftermath of World War II. It was based largely on the FN GP35 Hi-Power self-loading pistol of 1935, but scaled up significantly. Whereas the Hi-Power used the 9 mm Para cartridge, the NAACO Brigadier used a new long-case .45" round of much greater power than the then-standard .45 ACP. With a standard 230-grain (15 g) bullet, the .45 NAACO cartridge could produce muzzle velocities of up to 1,600 feet per second (490 m/s), or almost twice as fast as the .45 ACP. In order to keep weight down, the pistol used an aluminium slide, but still weighed more than four pounds, unloaded. Its box magazine could carry eight rounds of ammunition. A removable trigger module allowed for a fully automatic configuration, complete with an attachable butt-stock. This would produce a sub-machine gun configuration called the Borealis. Gunsmith Robert Herman and Designer Russell Sutherland spent a year developing the prototype. The company also produced the .308 caliber Grizzly and Homestead rifles, along with a 12 gauge pump action shotgun, the Mallard and La Salle. NAACO's President was R. J. Cavanagh. On December 18, 1962 the assets of the bankrupt company were sold at auction by J. Spadafora and Company on the Birchmount Road premises.

    In the end, the project fell victim to NATO standardization, and the company folded in 1962. Only one prototype was built, and the weapon never entered service; the Brigadier's rarity makes it pricey on the gun market. It is unlikely that it would have seen much success in any event, as military doctrine of the day would have roundly criticized the adoption of such a heavy service sidearm. However, given the success of the Desert Eagle in recent years, it may be that the Brigadier was simply before its time, and presented to the wrong market (besides, the heavy recoil would have made impractical as a military side arm). The .45 NAACO cartridge sank into obscurity, but was revived in the 1970s by Winchester as a long-range target round. Ballistic performance was nearly identical to the original, and the cartridge was christened .45 Winchester Magnum. It has since been used in a number of handguns.

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