Honor Guard 9mm Review

Our sister blog All Outdoors our good friend Jon Stokes reviews the  Honor Guard Robar NP3 9mm pistol

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t follow the gun scene at all, you’ve heard of the Honor Guard. This is an American-made (actually, veteran-made) single stack, polymer-framed, striker-fired 9mm pistol in the $400 range that boasts a number of features found on more expensive guns.

There has been a fair amount of hype around the Honor Guard, to the point that there’s also some backlash. The backlash mostly comes in two flavors: 1) why are the words “HONOR GUARD” etched on the left side of the pistol large enough for a blind person to read them?, and 2) *yawn* another plastic single-stack 9-mil.

Regarding the former criticism, I actually agree. They need to dial the branding way back, because that giant engraving is just too much. But the branding is pretty much the only thing I’d change about this gun, which brings me to objection #2: gun writers are gassed about the Honor Guard because it brings a lot to the table, especially for its price range. It’s also a great shooter, but more on that later.

Full review here.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Scott Tuttle

    reminds me of the story about 2 guys running into a bear in the woods. you dont have to run faster than the bear, just faster than your friend. does the honor guard do anything better or cheaper than the other striker fired pistols that are out there?

  • 22winmag

    Nice gun, but not nice enough to tear me away from my PPS.

  • valorius

    Apparently i’ve been under that rock. o.O

    The two tone stainless looks pleasing to the eye, the all black one is fugly though.

  • valorius

    How much does the subcompact model weigh?

  • I handled one at the store, and it has the best factory texturing of any handgun on the market, bar none. It’s similar to high end stippling, without being hideous and having the occasional sharp spot. I hope this style of grip texture becomes an industry standard.

    But the branding on the slide will keep me from buying one. It’s just way, way too large. I called the factory last year to suggest they reduce the size, and explained they would sell more of them without the branding, but to no avail.

    • M

      Did they explain why they had to have the billboard? I’m curious as to why

      • I talked to a really nice guy who was in the sort of ground level of the company. We talked for about 20 minutes and it came down to that they were well aware of the complaints, but some guy higher up in the company thought it looked good / was good marketing and so it remains.

        I mean, it is very effective for getting the word out, it’s just that in the process it’s actively repelling some potential buyers (myself included).

        • Mad Marsupial

          They could at least make it an option to order without the big branding (even with a small charge) and see what the market says.

      • Gary Ramey

        Hi Mark,
        I am with Honor Defense and thought I’d respond.

        The reason is we started with Product Advisors that carry a gun for a living.
        Honor Guard pistols are designed as tools.

        In everyone’s view, a firearm for needs some texture on that side of the firearm.
        (If you’ve ever needed to rack with right over top with blood on your hands, you want some texture there. Every little bit helps.)

        And we needed to comply with ATF marking regulations.

        Not to mention a brand name with 10 characters and a space in between.
        Having said that, we are listening to you.
        We are assessing a different font and size for future production.

        What do you think about us having a “Brand design for a Slide contest” and win a firearm? We could kick that off later this year.
        Good idea or bad idea?

        • pantsless_santa

          You’d be much better off investing in an independent professional graphic designer. Most gun folk aren’t designers, but they sure do know nice when they see it.

          Or just make the branding really small and unobtrusive like it is on most guns.

        • Barry Gaddis

          I must admit I find all the turmoil about Hornor Guards branding and font size on what is a magnificent Handgun comical. Being an “old guy” I can attest while being down range and “in it”, branding and/or font size never came into my awareness. Should an adversary be lucky enough to be close enough or at an angle to view the branding, I would not be typing this post today. I feel pretty confident today’s “operators” and/or the average Joe or Jane defending themselves or family could care less also. One may not particularly like the large font, yet rest assured you want the very best operational tool in your hand. I can attest in owning and using the Honor Guard, touring their operation and meeting Gary, the family and all the uber talented Vets creating their firearms, they craft what I feel is today’s very best compact single stack 9mm. My only regret is I couldn’t strap one on thirty years ago. Gary….please keep it up and many thanks to you and your group. SemperFi.

          • Paul Eiden

            I agree 100%. Right on target, why care about a font size when it has nothing to do with handling, safety or reliability…..

    • Hugo Stiglitz

      Good info about the texturing. I personally don’t care about the branding. I would like to know if it offers anything that I can’t get from my XDs or LC9s pro.

      • What I like about it is the texture, the factory sights were nice (and it can use the very common Glock 43 aftermarket sights) and that it’s available in a “longlside” 3.8″ barrel version. The trigger also felt nice.

        Really, it’s just the branding that’s holding me back.

    • TechnoTriticale

      re: I called the factory last year to suggest
      they reduce the size, and explained they would sell more of them without
      the branding, but to no avail.

      Crossbreed seems to have the same posture, although in their case it might to deliberately discourage sales to members of a certain medieval cutthroat cult, who, like vampires, are repelled by their icon. I do wonder about some of the uber patriot brands as well. Perhaps they see those who object to their branding as product liability risks. SI, on the other hand, just didn’t think it through.

      But in the present instance, I don’t see a problem. The safe doesn’t care. The holster doesn’t care. The threat doesn’t care. Your family probably doesn’t care. Everyone else at the range probably doesn’t care either, but at least they won’t be bugging you about what you’re shooting, and it may well bring the brand to their attention for the first time, which I suspect is the marketing plan here.

  • Don Ward

    I wonder if they’ll come out with models called the Crossing Guard or the Sneeze Guard in the future?

    • El Duderino

      Naw, a waterproof one. Called Scotch Guard, of course.

      • Nashvone

        Probably not for Trade Mark reasons.

        • El Duderino

          Erm…this a funny ha-ha joke thread here.

  • mmyers08

    The ridiculously huge branding turned me off, as well. Of course, I feel the way about some Rugers. Has anyone seen the GP100 “Match Champion”? Guilty of the same.

    Subtle is the way to go.

    • At least Match Champion is kindof an OK phrase that is relevant to the design of a Match pistol.

      Honor Guard denotes a ceremonial, largely useless but ornamental military force, such as the guys outside Buckingham Palace. Or, as a secondary interpretation, the pistol is a “Guard of our Honor” aka it allows us to “put some respek on our name” and shoot someone over a slight to our honor. Neither are good connotations.

      It’s too late to change the product name, but please, if Honor Defense is reading this, reduce the type face to something tiny. The M&P Shield doesn’t have S H I E L D across 40% of the slide.

  • DMQ

    The branding isn’t much worse than most of STI’s guns. The important point is if it shoots well and has a good ratio of price to quality.

    • Holdfast_II

      Especially since “STI” had an alternate, non-flattering meaning.

  • ForkTailedDevil

    For an English speaker from the other side of the Atlantic it is particularly galling to seeing a word written large and spelt incorrectly as well, there should be a “u” in there 😉 . Anyway, regardless of spelling, the various weird/inappropriate connotations of the name and size of it is rather off-putting and non-desirable. It’s up there with an XDMs “gripzone” in pointless and ugly firearm markings.

    • Gary Ramey

      You forgot to mention how we spell “Defense”.
      Please inform everyone over there that it is not “Defence”.

      Sorry you find it off-putting and non-desirable.
      That’s also how we feel about living under monarchy.
      Yankees can be a rebellious group.

  • Sulaco5

    Be warned if you go to the site to watch the Stokes review video the ads are loud and can not be shut off.

  • Joel C

    The branding is what got me interested in this gun. I’m on the Honor Guard for my agency so I like it.

  • Captain Obvious

    The problem with all these “me too” pistols is that the end of day will they still be around after 10 or 20 years? I collected a bunch off brand, otherwise good, sometimes cheap, pistols over the years that 1. you can no longer get service or parts for and 2. nobody knows about or wants, thus you can’t even get your money back out of them. As good or as inviting as some new guns are, I’ve come to the conclusion that except for collecting curiosities it’s probably better to stick with the mainstream makers.

  • Dickie

    Grip zone yo

    • survivor50

      I had an ” E ” added to mine just to accommodate all that “GRIPED” about it…
      And I enjoy poking at all the guys at the range…GRIPE ZONE… it just has a ring to it…

  • Jimmy Wayne Williams Jr.

    My wife decided she needed my Shield more than I did, so I picked up an HG just to check out something “new”. I had already spent a bit more on “upgrades” for the Shield, so the lunch money more I spent on the HG wasn’t that big a deal. It weighs a bit more, but to me balances better. I am right eye dominant/left handed, so I shoot with both hands rather proficiently, and the TRUE ambidextrous magazine release (as opposed to one that can be swapped to either side) is great. The factory sights are way better than any other pistol I have. I have around 1000 rounds through it now, and never one hiccup. Here’s the thing about the billboard: it’s hidden in my waistband. If it shoots well, is of good quality, and reliable, it could have a Prince purple frame and I wouldn’t care. Add that it is modular, and the options to change frames and slide lengths just makes it better. If you want a pistol that doesn’t need an aftermarket upgrade out of box like a Glock or a Shield, you may find the HG meets your needs. If all you want is pretty, Hi Points do look cool…..

  • BigR

    NEVER HEARD OF IT!!!!

  • supergun

    Perhaps present 2 different mock ups before releasing to the general public. That way, you get valuable feedback before you manufacture thousands and lose millions.

  • Lyle

    Someone needs to learn about “depth of field” in photography. The one thing you complain about is so out of focus it can barely be seen at all in the photo.

    Also, this trend toward aversion to branding has gone too far. How many of you pull the logos off your cars and trucks, or your kitchen appliances? How many complain about the big ole slab of logo on a S&W revolver? I’ll allow that the “read me files” on a Ruger are a bit much though.