Not Just Toys: NAA Mini Revolvers Have Many Practical Applications
I’m sure you’ve seen those NAA mini revolvers. North American Arms has been making these little single-action, stainless steel rimfire handguns for years. But does anyone really take them seriously? I do.
First, let me be clear. For regular concealed carry purposes, I prefer handguns in the Glock 19 pistol or Smith & Wesson K-frame revolver size range. I normally choose to carry a gun chambered in 9mm Luger, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP or 10mm.
However, in specialty roles, I believe these well-built, American-made little five-shot handguns can be quite useful.
Practical Uses For NAA Mini Revolvers
At home. Let’s be realistic. I’m not going to patrol my house, shotgun in hand, whenever I’m relaxing at home. I do have guns I can get to a few steps away, however. Still, what can it hurt to tuck a NAA mini revolver in a DeSantis pocket holster into the pocket of my jeans? If it doesn’t dissuade an intruder all together, it might just slow him down enough for me to get to a larger gun in the next room.
Second gun. If I need to go out to run some errands, most likely I will carry a larger gun in an inside-the-waistband holster on my right side.
In doing so, I’ll move the NAA revolver I’ve been carrying at home to a left-side pocket in a jacket or my pants and it becomes a lightweight backup gun.
Shedding pounds. Despite what the experts tell you about the importance of carrying your primary handgun all the time, sometimes it isn’t practical. If I’m trying to shed a few pounds, the first weight I’ll drop is the Commander-sized 1911. If I’m trying to get some exercise — out for a jog or riding a bicycle — I might bring one of my NAA mini revolvers along.
Dress code. I’m no slave to fashion. I believe it’s better to choose your clothing based on what you need to conceal your chosen handgun. There will always be exceptions to the rule. Tucked in a boot, carried in a buttoned shirt pocket, strapped to your belly under a T-shirt, an NAA revolver is one gun you never have to leave home because of clothing restrictions.
You might be even more creative about where you’re hiding one. But don’t tell me. I don’t need that image in my head.
Hauling heavy stuff. If I’m lugging a rifle over a mountain during a hunt, backpacking or portaging a canoe, I might take notice of every ounce I choose to carry.
Those times, a NAA revolver at around seven ounces might be the only handgun I’m willing to tote.
Emergency kit. I’ve always believed it’s important to include a firearm in a survival kit for both defense and procuring small game for food.
A NAA mini revolver and a 50-round of ammo don’t take up much room and weigh very little. I’ve practiced shooting these revolvers at paper targets of squirrels, rabbits and birds. Short ranges – up to 15 yards or so – is realistic for these little guns on small targets.
Just for fun. These revolvers are fun to shoot. Take one along whenever you’re wandering the woods for some possible plinking opportunities.
Less painful. Because of injury or other infirmity, some people find it difficult to operate the slide of a semi-auto or find it painful to fire a gun with much recoil.
Rather than go defenseless, a NAA revolver can still provide you with a measure of protection.
Hey, lots of folks carry a .380 Auto, which often results in poor penetration. A .22 Magnum, even out of a short barrel, can reach more than 1,100 feet per second in muzzle velocity.
North American Arms makes a wide selection of small handguns. But the models I’m highlighting here are the models with which I have the most experience:
Sidewinder: Mini With Swing-Out Cylinder
Speed-loading is not going to be a strong suit for any of these NAA mini revolvers. Then again, that’s fine for a gun intended for last-ditch defense or for use in a backup role.
When North American Arms introduced the Sidewinder a few years ago, it did make loading and unloading the handgun more convenient. The Sidewinder’s cylinder swings out to the right side – opposite with most revolvers.
My particular Sidewinder with 1.5-inch barrel came with two easy-to-swap cylinders.
One is for .22 WMR (.22 Magnum) and the other is for .22 Long Rifle, which is less expensive to shoot.
I’ve got a set of Laserlyte grips (with red laser) on mine. With a shallow rear notch and a tiny front bead for aiming, a laser really makes sense on this gun.
Unfortunately, it looks like Laserlyte isn’t make these grips currently.
Black Widow: An Easy To Shoot Mini
The Black Widow is one of the easiest NAA mini revolvers to shoot accurately. That’s due largely to its over-sized rubber grips and Marble Arms three-dot sights.
My Black Widow is chambered for .22 Magnum, has a two-inch barrel and has a discreet, matte black PVD finish.
A model is available with an additional .22 LR cylinder.
The Black Widow has a heavy ventilated ribbed barrel and an unfluted “bull” cylinder.
To reload the Black Widow, you must remove the cylinder pin and cylinder and poke out the empties. It’s really not that much of a chore after you’ve done it a couple of times.
The Ranger II: Easiest Mini To Reload
I have two NAA Ranger II models. One has a 1.63-inch barrel and the other has a 2.5-inch barrel. The Ranger II is a top-break revolver design.
Flick back the latch that also houses the rear sight and the barrel tilts down, exposing the rear of the cylinder. A star extractor automatically pops the spent casings partially out.
This NAA mini revolver is available in .22 Magnum alone or with the additional .22 LR cylinder. I have rosewood bird’s head grips on both of my Ranger II revolvers.
Safe To Carry With All Chambers Loaded
The cylinder on every NAA mini revolver has five safety notches located in between each of the chambers.
By lowering the hammer so that the firing pin rests in one of these notches, the revolver can be carried safely while fully loaded. There’s no worry about an accidental blow to the hammer causing the gun to fire.
The Sidewinder has a MSRP of $350. The Black Widow is $318. And the Ranger II lists for $479 with 1.63-inch barrel and $519 with 2.5-inch barrel. Models with the additional .22 LR cylinder are a bit more.
NAA Will Always Be In The Lineup
No, a NAA revolver won’t fully replace any of my other defensive handguns.
But the ones I have will stay in the lineup as designated hitters whenever I need them to do what my other guns can’t.
For more information, go to www.NorthAmericanArms.com.
Steven Paul Barlow is a retired sergeant/station commander and former firearms instructor with the New York State Police. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and enthusiast with all things related to firearms, knives, and survival. He has been writing on outdoor topics for more than 35 years. His collections of outdoor humor stories are available at www.BriarHillBooks.com.