On a whim bought one of those little revolvers I am always seeing in the case at my LGS. I actually found a very low price for them on their web page that was a mistake, but they honored it for me.
The pistol is a North American Arms mini-revolver in .22 long rifle. They also are made in .22 short and .22 magnum. While not the most effective caliber for self defense, A gun is better at having NO gun! This is a niche firearm, that niche is deep, deep concealment. This gun is roughly 4" long by 2" high and weighs about 5 ounces loaded with 5 .22lr rounds. By purely "box" dimensions, it's about as big and weighs as much (empty) as my iPhone 4, which I usually have on me every waking moment of the day...so would this little pistol be carried as envisioned by the designers.
The manufacture and finish are excellent on this little gun. It's made in Provo, Utah...a state with a long and illustrious firearms tradition. It s is really well made with attention to detail being evident. It is a single action only rimfire revolver with an exposed hammer. The instruction manual outlines the proper way to unload and load this pistol which includes having to cover the muzzle with your hand as well as lower the hammer manually into safety notches on the cylinder - READ IT!! I have absolutely no complaints about its design, save for one which I will discuss shortly.
Took the gun out to my friend Otto's to shoot and and was...how do I say this...disappointed. Accuracy is not the strong suit of this pistol and I knew it going into the purchase. However, at about 5 paces I was struggling to get one out of 5 rounds into a 12"x12" shoot-n-c square. Part of this is due to te one design flaw I found. The sights are fairly small on any gun this size, however on the mini .22 when cocked, the hammer spur obscures the use of the tiny rear notch to even try and align them. This combined with the small grip - which I do not consider a flaw, it's small dimensions is why you would buy this pistol - make accuracy very hard with this gun. Now, some will say that this is a last ditch, belly gun for those up close and personal "get off me!" Moments..to which I reply that I don't intend to allow someone to get that close, let alone 5 paces if I can help it and would prefer a weapon I feel confident at using at that range.
Speaking of grips, I did find the small smooth wood grips to be difficult to use but they do offer different grips on their web site including rubber pebble grips and a folding grip (that actually fills the hand) that may help control the weapon better.
I have also heard that these are good "snake guns" when loaded with shot. I tried out some #12 .22 shot shells at the same distance and they did pepper the paper well. However, when fired at an old plastic bleach bottle fills with water at the same distance the shot failed to penetrate the plastic bottle, and in fact a good amount bounced back and hit me without any damage! (Yes I had eye pro on!)
So overall, while I feel lot his is a well made product and certainly does have a niche application at some level, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I often carry a Ruger LCP in .380 which I think is about as small as a platform I feel comfortable carrying. I applaud NAA for their craftsmanship on this pistol though, and would be interested to see what they could do making a bigger, full sized gun with that level of quality.
(That actually took two days and about 10 minutes but oh well!)
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