NAACO Brigadier

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NAACO Brigadier
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of origin Canada
Production history
DesignerRussell Sutherland
ManufacturerNorth American Arms Corporation (NAACO)
  • 1896 g (66.9 oz)
Length245 mm (9.7 in)
Barrel length140 mm (5.5 in)

Cartridge.45 NAACO (later renamed .45 Winchester Magnum)
Actionmechanically locked, recoil operated (DA/SA)
Muzzle velocity1600 ft/s (490 m/s)
Feed system8-round detachable box magazine
SightsIron sights

The North America Arms Corporation 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 (never constructed). Gunsmith Robert Herman and Designer Russell Sutherland spent a year developing the prototype.

Collapse and aftermath[edit]

In the end, the Brigadier 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.

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.

See also[edit]


  • Hogg, Ian & John Weeks. Pistols of the World: The Definitive Illustrated Guide to the World's Pistols and Revolvers, 3rd Edition. DBI Books: Northbrook, IL, 1992. ISBN 0-87349-128-9.
  • ".45 Winchester Magnum." Sierra Handloading Manual, 4th Edition. Sierra Bullets.