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The Narrow Naroh Arms N1

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The number of Americans with concealed handgun permits has grown exponentially throughout the 2000s — over 17-million people had permits in 2018, according to a study by the Crime Prevention Research Center. Moreover, this doesn’t include all the states that don’t require permits to carry or those that don’t report data on issued permits. Therefore, the actual number is even higher. So, it’s not surprising that manufacturers have tooled up to meet the demand, resulting in an increasingly crowded market for concealed carry pistols.

Naroh Arms was formed in 2013 and manufactured a wide variety of gun parts for other manufacturers for several years, with a dream to one day build its own guns. A few years ago, the company ramped up its efforts with its own design for a subcompact carry gun, with a number of alumni from Knights Armament Company in its ranks. The Naroh Arms N1 is the result of all that hard work — a double-action-only hammer-fired pistol similar in size to the Glock 43, while boasting lighter weight, one additional round of capacity, and a Picatinny rail.

The Long Pull

Designed, engineered, and manufactured in-house (except for magazines and polymer parts), the Naroh Arms N1 isn’t your typical striker-fired, not-a-Glock-Glockish handgun. Instead, it has an internal hammer, shrouded in the rear of the slide. The look-at-me red, skeletonized, curved trigger operates in double-action-only mode, retracting the hammer as you pull the trigger — though the slide must cycle to reset the system and partially cock the hammer, and it doesn’t have second-strike capability. We don’t mourn that too much, as most shooters these days would perform an immediate action malfunction clearance drill with a semi-auto pistol rather than try to press the trigger again. 

naroh arms N1 field strip

The Naroh features an embedded aluminum frame with full-length slide rails. It’s dead-nuts simple to fieldstrip, with no need to pull the trigger.

A firing pin safety gets cleared by the trigger bar when you press the trigger, making the gun drop-safe, but there are no external safeties or even a nub on the trigger shoe. Like other double-action pistols, that long, deliberate trigger press is the primary method of ensuring that the user really intends to discharge the weapon — and there are plenty of proponents of this type of system for a carry gun.


Naroh Arms N1 lower

In another departure from the other plastic-fantastics out there, Naroh embedded an aluminum frame with full-length slide rails within the polymer grip. While the grip can be replaced, Naroh intends this to be a gunsmith operation. The aluminum is hard anodized 7075, and the stainless steel slide glides smoothly across those long rails. The slide is available with a brushed stainless or black nitride finish, featuring attractive lightening cuts and slide serrations at front and rear. It comes fitted with plastic three-dot sights, compatible with Glock 43 sights.

Naroh Arms N1 upper

The polymer grip is thoughtfully designed and has all the niceties that shooters look for these days — undercut trigger guard, texturing on all sides of the grip as well as forward index points on the frame, scallops on the sides aft of the trigger, and a beveled magwell. The dust cover also features a short Picatinny light rail. None of the weapon lights we had on hand would fit; even the stubby SureFire XC1-B didn’t work because its crossbar is too far forward. Naroh advises that the even stubbier Streamlight TLR-6 is currently the best fit for the Naroh Arms N1.

Magazines are metal and of Naroh’s own design, holding seven rounds with either a flush-fit or extended pinky-friendly floor plate.

Naroh Arms N1 magazines

Naroh N1 magazine on left, compared to Glock 43 and SIG P365 magazines.

Fieldstripping the Naroh Arms N1 is simple. Ensure it’s unloaded, then lock the slide to the rear. Rotate the take-down lever clockwise, release the slide, and push it forward and off the frame. Remove the dual recoil spring assembly, pull out the barrel, and you’re done.

Shaking it Out

We initially had a preproduction gun, which was later replaced with a production sample. In either case, you’d be hard pressed to tell that the N1 is an inaugural effort of an in-house design from a first-time gunmaker. Naroh’s lineage producing OEM components for firearms shines through. The Naroh Arms N1 feels comfortable in hand and is nicely machined.

That trigger, though. A few testers, who typically shoot and carry striker-fired guns, really didn’t like the trigger. It didn’t help that the first preproduction gun had a 7-pound-plus break and wasn’t particularly smooth. And the trigger reset behavior was unusual and somewhat unsettling. After the action cycles, the trigger clicks twice (technically, three times) before resetting — as you release the trigger, there’s an initial audible and tactile double-click as the trigger bar steps onto the hammer block. But at this point, the trigger hasn’t fully reset. Keep releasing the trigger until it’s almost all the way forward, and you’ll be rewarded with the final click. Then, the gun can go boom again.

pocket sized pistols Naroh Arms N1

These small guns are easy to conceal, but much more difficult to shoot.

When running the gun, especially at speed, you’re unlikely to notice it. But shooters who like to ride the trigger reset might — including one of our testers, who kept complaining about it. The others got used to it.

Additionally, we discovered that our preproduction gun would drop the hammer and discharge the next round if we pressed the trigger after the first click position. We began to question whether we had misunderstood the multi-click reset behavior, since it was nice to have that short reset, but confirmed with Naroh that it wasn’t designed to do this. They explained that a batch of faulty preproduction trigger bars caused these problems. 

Naroh shipped out a new pistol from their production run, and it behaved as expected. In fact, we were pleased to find that the production gun had a much nicer, smooth, 6-pound trigger pull with a hint of grittiness — the type of DAO trigger that we’d be comfortable with in a carry gun. It acquitted itself just fine in various courses of fire testing speed and accuracy at the range. As you’d expect, the extended magazine is much more pleasant to shoot than the flush magazine, but we got bit by the short grip when doing reloads, ending up with blood blisters on our firing hand.

We shot the Naroh Arms N1 side-by-side with a SIG P365 and Glock 43. While the N1’s bore axis isn’t that low, its recoil impulse felt comparable to the Glock and snappier than the P365. For us, the SIG remains the most enjoyable to shoot. 

Shooting the Naroh Arms N1

STREAK ammunition from Ammo Inc. is non-incendiary with a phosphor material on the rear of the bullet that glows while zipping downrange.

The best groups we shot were with Blazer aluminum-cased 115-grain FMJ, 2.5 inches at 15 yards. It chronoed at 1,096 feet per second out of the N1. Ammo Inc 115-grain TMC was a bit faster, at 1,115 fps, while Winchester Ranger SXT 147-grain HP dawdled along at 919 fps. 

We put more than 500 rounds of this ammo as well as a hodgepodge of other training ammo through the preproduction and production guns. We experienced two nosedives in the first gun, where the next round dug itself into the base of the feed ramp. They happened with preproduction magazines with white followers. The production magazines with red followers had no such issues, and after we swapped out the white followers for updated red ones, neither did the original mags. The only other malfunction was a single failure to eject in the second magazine we ran through the brand-new production gun. It never happened again, and the production gun had no other problems. Of particular note, the hollow-point defensive and duty ammo that we tested functioned reliably. One of our testers would periodically experience failures of the slide to lock back when empty, caused by his fat mitts hitting the slide stop on the little blaster.

Naroh Arms N1 barrel

There’s a reason that the plastic sights Glock ships on their pistols are often derisively referred to as slot fillers — because you should immediately replace them with proper metal sights. The same applies to the Naroh; somehow we managed to break the plastic front sight on the first gun during a range session. We here at RECOIL and CONCEALMENT always seem to be gifted at breaking things. We break ’em so you don’t have to.

As the N1 is designed for concealed carry, Naroh took care to ensure there would be support from holster makers from day one. Several have started making N1-compatible holsters; we used ProTEQ’s Micro holster, with their Kybrid design. Many hybrid holsters have Kydex on one side of the gun and leather on the other. Instead, the Kybrid features Kydex on both sides of the gun to ensure proper retention, along with a horsehide leather backer for comfort — business in the front, horses in the back. The N1 is less than an inch thick and conceals very well.

If You Build It, Will They Come?

We love seeing scrappy young companies make their mark in the firearms industry. We salute Naroh for going for it with an impressive effort. They jumped right in the deep end of the pool, though, as the concealed carry market is crowded and competitive. 

Naroh wanted to introduce a slim and light subcompact 9mm pocket pistol that would be a premium product at a very affordable price. Looking at the timeline of their development process, you can get a sense for the thought process. The Glock 43 was the big dog, and the P365 hadn’t been announced yet. Compared to the 43, the Naroh N1 is about the same size, but lighter, holds one more round, can accept a weapon light, and is much cheaper. When SIG unveiled their 10- and 12-round magic tricks, Naroh had already finalized their magazine and grip design. Compared to the P365, the N1 is only lighter and cheaper, while running a deficit on magazine capacity.

Naroh Arms N1 inverted

So, whom might the Naroh N1 be for? Its most distinct trait is its DAO operation; the other frontrunners are striker-fired. That long double action pull may appeal to you, especially for a small pistol that you plan to carry right above your junk. Goofy reset notwithstanding, the Naroh has a solid DA trigger and good ergonomics. Plus, it’s light, narrow, and easy to carry concealed. You may also appreciate how much bang you get for the buck. 

However, the biggest challenge is that, by definition, your life may depend on your carry gun. And no matter how nice the N1 may be, it’s a brand-new gun from a new manufacturer. It’s an easier choice to go with an alternative with an already-proven track record, even if it costs more or if you have to buy used instead. We hope folks give Naroh a chance, though. They have more models in the works, and we look forward to Naroh building their own track record. 

Naroh Arms N1

Caliber: 9mm
Weight Unloaded: 14.4 ounces
Magazine Capacity: 7+1 rounds
Length: 6.1 inches
Height: 5.2 inches
Width: 1.3 inches
Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
MSRP: $400
URL: n/a at this time.


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