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Sidewinder

Sidewinder
This Widely Popular Deep Hideout Pocket
Revolver Now Has A Swing-Out Cylinder.

When North American Arms plays with the design of their finely made little .22 revolvers, I’m always very pleased. A while back, they had a limited run of a beautiful top-break. Now, they have a swing-out cylinder, appropriately called the Sidewinder. It’s in .22 WMR, but there’s also an optional .22 LR cylinder assembly.

When North American Arms plays with the design of their finely made little .22 revolvers, I’m always very pleased. A while back, they had a limited run of a beautiful top-break. Now, they have a swing-out cylinder, appropriately called the Sidewinder. It’s in .22 WMR, but there’s also an optional .22 LR cylinder assembly.

Even so, at the classic encounter distance of 7 yards, with a 2-hand hold, the Sidewinder did well. It kept five shots well centered in the 8-inch black of the Champion VisiShot targets, with the measurements of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Trigger pull was a bit stiff at first, but soon settled to a clean-let-off at an estimated 5 to 6 pounds. This is from my educated finger, as the hook of my Lyman Electronic Gauge wouldn’t stay on that little spur trigger.

The NAA Sidewinder shot well with a 2-hand hold at 7 yards
using the new CCI .22 WMR Gold Dot Personal Protection ammo.

The NAA Sidewinder is a deep hideout personal-defense revolver
in .22 WMR and can be had with an optional .22 LR cylinder.
Photo: Robbie Barrkman

The felt-recoil was moderate, even with .22 WMR loads. The standard laminated-wood grips give a good hold, even though there is room for only one average finger on the frontstrap of the frame. The hammer spur has good upward projection, and cocking for the next shot is easy.

If you have the optional .22 LR cylinder unit, changing the assembly is easy. You just take out a single screw at the front of the frame, switch units, and put the screw back. Don’t try this out in the field. If you drop the little screw, you’ll be making a frantic call to NAA. (And no, this didn’t happen to me.)

The ejector of the Sidewinder has a very short stroke, with only about a 1/4 inch of travel, so it just gives the fired cases a start. However, with the barrel pointed upward, some of those nice nickel-plated Speer Gold Dot cases just fell out. I was using their “Short Barrel-Personal Protection” load, designed for handguns. To open the cylinder for loading or ejection, you just set the hammer on its first notch (“half-cock”), pull forward on the ejector, and push the cylinder out toward the right.

The Sidewinder shares with the other NAA revolvers an infallible safety system that allows you to carry it with all five chambers loaded. Set the hammer nose (the firing pin) in one of the small notches between chambers, and there you are. To be sure you do this right, the Sidewinder also has guide notches in the left recoil shield on the frame. Align the wide and narrow recesses, and you’re set.

In the June 2013 issue of the American Rifleman, there is a good article by Richard Mann on the question of using the .22 WMR for self-defense. I agree with him on several points. No goblin wants to be shot with any gun, and shot placement is important. My back up, in the phone pocket of my jeans, is the smallest NAA revolver, in .22 Short. Hmmm. Even though the Sidewinder is a bit larger, it will also fit in that phone pocket, and it speaks with somewhat more authority.
By J.B. Wood

The front sight is a simple round-topped post.

The cylinder, unlike most revolvers, swings out to the right. Note the
safety notches between the chambers to capture the hammer so all five
chambers can be loaded.

The ejector has a short stroke, but flicking out the empties is easy.

Align the narrow and wide cylinder notches with their mates
on the recoil shield, lower the hammer and you’re on safe.

Sidewinder
MAKER: North American Arms
150 South 950 East
Provo, UT 84606
(800) 821-5783
www.gunsmagazine.com/naa

Action: Single
Caliber: .22 WMR (tested), .22 LR
Capacity: 5
Barrel Length: 1.4″
Weight: 6.8 ounces
Length: 4.8″
Height: 2.8″
Width: 0.85″
Price: $349; $389 with extra .22 LR cylinder

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  1. I would like to purchase a sidewinder with extra cylinder,however, dealers I’ve talked to can’t seem to get the gun?? So why even advertise it if you can’t buy it? I’m confused!!!

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