Seriously? Yes

North American Arms Mini-Revolvers Are
Superb Deep-Concealment Arms,
And Fun To Shoot As Well
; .

The North American Arms mini-revolvers are dwarfed by these already diminutive
.380 pocket pistols from (top left to right around Colt,GLOCK, Walther, Taurus and S&W).

I recently reconstructed a gentleman’s left hand after he had an unfortunate encounter with a belligerent canine. The dog’s owner arrived before things got truly out of control but it still took quite a few stitches to make the hand in question look human yet again. While I was diligently undoing the mess the dog had made, the gentleman fished into his pocket with his good hand and retrieved a tiny stainless steel revolver. He explained the little gun was his constant companion and he was moments away from using it on the dog when the hound’s owner intervened. That conversation got the juices flowing.

In a real defensive encounter you want a large caliber handgun, a pair of spare magazines, a top-end tactical flashlight, a proper knife, ceramic body armor, and a half hour head start. Truth be known, what you really want is a full auto M4 replete with M203 grenade launcher and Tac Air stacked all the way up to the moon. However, both times I have actually needed a gun for real it was a complete surprise injected unexpectedly into an otherwise normal day. The endless debate over caliber and downrange effectiveness notwithstanding, the gun you actually have on you is infinitely better than anything locked away in the gun box back home.

I know, I know. The serious gunman prepares responsibly, trains regularly, and carries everything he or she might need if life really goes sideways, to include spare magazines and a flashlight, on their person every time they leave the house. However, have any of you ever enjoyed an August afternoon in the Deep South? The temperatures can be north of the century mark and the humidity is such you can tear a piece of air off and gnaw it. In such an environment it is a legitimate challenge to pack all your requisite gear underneath a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, particularly if you are getting in and out of a vehicle or moving through crowds. I freely admit at times like that I sometimes just drop a compact pistol in my right front pocket and call it good.The gun market today offers a veritable cornucopia of compact lethal contrivances spanning the spectrum from .25 ACP pocket guns costing less than a meal out with the family at McDonald’s up through big name automatics setting you back as much as a low-end black rifle. Accessories abound as do carry options. And then there is North American Arms.


NAA revolvers make carrying a gun literally painless. Loading the North American Arms mini-revolvers
involves removing the cylinder axis pin via a spring-loaded detent and dropping out the cylinder. Cartridges
are then loaded separately and the gun reassembled. It takes less time to do than to describe. Mid-chamber
notches allow the gun to be carriedsafely with all five rounds loaded.

The gun market today offers a veritable cornucopia of compact lethal contrivances spanning the spectrum from .25 ACP pocket guns costing less than a meal out with the family at McDonald’s up through big name automatics setting you back as much as a low-end black rifle. Accessories abound as do carry options. And then there is North American Arms.

NAA guns are unique in the marketplace. Cut from surgical grade stainless steel and built to a level of quality to rival the most rarefied high-end 1911 race guns, NAA mini-revolvers are available in a bewildering array of flavors. Full-figured variants sport vent ribs and oversized stocks yet still remain small enough to get lost in your palm. The smallest version chambered for .22 Short looks like it was scaled to fit your kids’ action figures. Common features include crisp single action triggers, unique mid-chamber hammer notches so the guns can be carried safely with all five chambers loaded, and a common manual of arms. To service the little guns you simply extract the cylinder axis pin via a spring-loaded detent and remove the cylinder. The pin then renders splendid service poking out empties. Load the cylinder separate from the pistol and reassemble to make it ready for firing. You won’t be doing it tactically but the process is easier to do than to describe.

These tiny pistols come chambered from .22 Short through .22 Magnum. There are several convertible options with separate cylinders for both .22 WMR and .22 LR cartridges. However, isn’t a .22 too small for personal defense? I have met a few folks at work who would disagree.


With the holster grip folded the .22 Magnum mini-revolver hides in the front pocket of your jeans looking
like nothing more than a ubiquitous folding knife. The holster grip deploys in an instant to offer proper
purchase for even this diminutive handgun.Unfolded, the pistol handles like a much larger gun.

Our hero was 17 when the drug deal he was working went south. His opposite number chose a .22 pistol to express his displeasure with the terms of their agreement and shot the young man in the left eye before leaving him for dead. The round penetrated at the medial aspect of his eyeball, tracked along his skull base, and exited just to the left of his spine. While the shot took him out of the fight immediately, the young man eventually recovered sufficiently that I treated him for a sexually transmitted disease some six months later. The wayward young man remained healthy enough to procreate and even retained his vision so I suppose the story has a happy ending. The point is a .22 pistol remains quite demonstrably effective if skillfully wielded. The round in this case passed all the way through the young man’s head. A .22 in the right hands will just barely kill you.

Isn’t a pistol this tiny way too small for accurate employment? The sights on NAA pistols are fixed notches cut into the top of the frames. The sights on the .22 Short version are actually occluded by the hammer in both the cocked and relaxed positions. This little gun sinks so deeply into the hand the sights aren’t really visible anyway. Regardless, I still kept all my rounds in a pie plate at reasonable ranges without trying too hard. You’ll not be ringing steel at half a kilometer with these little guns but they shoot plenty straight for typical up-close defensive engagements.

This deep into the Information Age aren’t revolvers obsolete? There’s no more reliable point and click defensive interface than the revolver. Short of an ammunition failure, a proper revolver will shoot every time, anywhere, no matter what.


The tiny North American Arms mini-revolvers are small enough to be adorable. The smallest of the
lot is the .22 Short version (right). The convertible variant (left) comes with separate cylinders for .22
LR and .22 WMR loads.

We reviewed the smallest gun in the stable chambered for .22 Short as well as a convertible version with separate cylinders for both .22 LR and .22 Magnum rounds. The .22 Short version is almost too small to hold but its lack of recoil means it can still be fired safely. This tiny gun is inexpensive and makes a very cool addition to any properly seasoned gun collection. I wanted one because it was just so darn adorable. Available options include synthetic pearl stocks and a variety of holster options. If you want to pack the gun while out and about it will hide in the front pocket of your blue jeans and you’ll never know it is there. Laying the weak hand thumb alongside the grip and grabbing both in the strong hand helps to stabilize this tiny little heater on the range.

By contrast, the convertible gun has real tactical applications. With practice the gun can be retrieved and put into action safely and quickly without much thought. Even shooting .22 LR the muzzleblast and recoil will surprise you. In .22 Magnum the gun feels very powerful. If stoked with Winchester’s high-tech PDX1 Defender expanding rounds this gun is a legitimate threat downrange. PDX1 Defender rounds employ low flash powders and push carefully designed bonded bullets that deploy little razor sharp petals when fired into something soft. The results are intuitively nasty.

Pocket holsters are available as are replacement grips with a built-in micro laser sight. An optional set of pivoting stocks fold to cover the trigger and deploy for a grip large and substantial enough to suit shooters with big hands. Holster options will pack the gun in a pocket, inside the waistband, at the ankle, or around the neck.


Compared to the massive Desert Eagle .44 Magnum the North American Arms mini-revolvers
are almost childlike. Despite their small size, they still pack a respectable wallop.

No, NAA revolvers will not typically be your first choice for a defensive arm whenever there is something larger or more powerful available. However, like my friend with the dog bite stated, buy one of these little guns and it will soon become your constant companion. Use the gun as a backup or as a backup to your backup. It is essentially weightless, hides painlessly in a typical pocket, and yet remains hugely preferable to your bare hands and foul language in a violent encounter. It is the gun you can legitimately always have on you.

In addition to dozens of accessories, calibers, and variations, little NAA revolvers in cap-and-ball black powder versions be shipped freely without the hassle of an FFL. Incorporating the same features of NAA’s other quality mini revolvers, these black powder versions come with an ingenious external loading tool and shoot .22 caliber balls available from NAA. A handy powder scoop ensures consistent powder charges and their stainless steel construction means cleanup is easy.

North American Arms revolvers are precision instruments executed sufficiently well to bet your life on. They are rugged, reliable, simple, and remarkably powerful for their size. In addition to all that they are just cute as can be. You can add one to your collection at a pleasantly reasonable price and literally never find yourself unarmed again. Mine is indeed my constant companion.

North American Arms, 2150 South 950 East, Provo, UT 84606,
(801) 821-5783

LaserLyte, 30 N. Alamos Drive, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
(928) 649-3201

Winchester Ammunition, 600 Powder Mill Road
East Alton, IL 62024, (618) 258-2000

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