Ammo for the .32 NAA has been very limited, with very few companies loading for the niche cartridge. However, Hornady is expanding their Critical Defense line of ammunition to include a .32 NAA load.
The new .32 NAA ammo will feature the Hornady FTX bullet, which is a hollowpoint tipped with a polymer insert. The polymer helps to prevent hard materials from clogging up the hollowpoint cavity, and also helps the bullet expand when encountering flesh. The FTX design has proved to be both effective and popular.
The load uses an 80-grain bullet that makes a respectable 1000 fps at the muzzle for 178 ft-lbs of energy. MSRP is $25.85 for a box of 25 cartridges.
The .32 NAA cartridge is a design developed by North American Arms (NAA) with gun writer Ed Sanow and ammunition manufacturer Corbon. NAA is known for their mini-revolvers, but the company also makes semi-auto pistols that fall into the pocket gun category.
The .32 NAA is a necked down .380 ACP case loaded with a .32-caliber bullet (closer to 0.31″ actually). The idea is to obtain velocities higher than either the .32 ACP or .380 ACP can manage, plus gain the additional reliability that bottlenecked cartridges seem to have.
Original tests of Corbon loaded ammo used a 60 grain Hornady JHP which made more than 1450 fps from a 4″ test barrel. From an NAA Guardian pistol with a 2.49″ barrel, the same load made 1222 fps.
Before the addition of the .32 NAA to the Critical Defense line, I believe Corbon has been the only significant company loading ammo in this caliber. Currently, Corbon offers the original 60 grain JHP rated for 1200 fps. They also make a 71-grain FMJ in their match line (1000 fps) and a 55-grain frangible load in the Glaser line (1250 fps).
The Hornady Critical Defense offers a significant bullet weight increase when compared to the Corbon offerings. This suggests that the Hornady load will penetrate deeper than either of those loads. Adequate penetration is a valid concern when talking about lightweight, low-powered rounds.
Hornady has not published any penetration test information on this load, but I know in previous testing showed the 60-grain Corbon load going to about 9″ in gel. I would expect that the Hornady load would go a touch deeper yet still provide good expansion.
As a side note, I believe NAA is the only company currently making guns chambered for the .32 NAA cartridge. However, I do know that several conversion barrels do exist, including one from Diamondback for their DB380 pistols. Previously, companies have made conversion barrels for the Makarov and Ruger LCP pistols, but I do not believe they are made any more.
These new Critical Defense .32 NAA rounds were being shown for the first time at the 2012 NASGW in Orlando, FL. The cartridges should start shipping in early 2013.