This work analyses the production of Al based composites with particulate reinforcement, via mechanical alloying. Composites were produced by mixing Al and NbAl3 powders by high energy mechanical alloying, under liquid nitrogen atmosphere, followed by cold pressing and hot sintering; and by controlling NbAl3 phase precipitation in liquid Al (in situ formation of the reinforcement). Results on composite produced from powders showed better distribution and incorporation, besides finer dispersion of particles in the matrix when mechanical alloying is employed. In this case, high dispersion on particulate phase was found despite predominance of small particles; there are no evidence of interface formation. When composites are produced by in situ formation of NbAl3 intermetallics, results showed that the formation of the reinforcement directly from the liquid matrix and the peritectic reaction between NbAl3 and liquid Al, provide a perfect reinforcement/matrix interface. Products showed good mechanical properties, good wear behavior and reduced thermal expansion.