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By ShootingTheBull410

I’m a big fan of revolvers. I know the common wisdom is that they’re outdated, they’re ancient, they’re old, they’ve been surpassed… but … there’s something about the craftsmanship, the functioning, the mythos and the history of the revolver. Nothing against semi-autos, but the revolver has a certain…soul to it. To me, revolver vs. semi-auto is like Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Han Solo would have carried a revolver. Malcolm Reynolds carried what looks like a revolver. Dirty Harry carried a revolver. So my revolver collection has been growing out of control, but there was always a gap – the North American Arms mini-revolver . . .


We’ve all seen them, we all have marveled at how tiny they are, and many of us scoff at their potential effectiveness, while others overinflate their might. But I never bothered to actually get one until recently. There’s always been some reason or other – first, it was that there were too many models, so how do you know which one you want? The Pug, the Wasp, the Black Widow, the Earl, the Magnum, the Short, the .22 Long Rifle, not to mention the various barrel lengths, whether you want one with a conversion cylinder or not, the grip holster or not.

It’s a fairly well-documented sociological phenomenon that too many choices can paralyze the chooser. We say that we want a choice, but when faced with an overwhelming list, we frequently just walk away. Which is what I’d done, for years. But the fire was rekindled when I borrowed the boss-man’s Black Widow for some .22 Magnum defensive round testing. Spending time with it, it really is a well-crafted, specific-purpose little pistol. And I got the itch again.

But the Black Widow, as fine a pistol as it is, was just too big for what I wanted. To me, if I was going to get a micro-revolver, I wanted the emphasis on “micro”. I wanted a small one. Well, the smallest one, if possible; the .22 Short model would have been fun, but it’s only occasionally made and is currently not offered.

So for just a little tiny increase in size, I could step up to the .22LR model with 1 1/8” barrel. It’s almost as small as the .22 Short (4” overall length, vs. 3.75” overall length, and same overall height and width) but it’s a lot more flexible in terms of ammo; it can fire .22LR as well as .22 Short (and .22 Long, if you were ever to find any of those). Seemed like the most practical choice, for a tiny micro revolver.

Why not the .22 Magnum? It’s a significantly more powerful cartridge, so why not get that instead? A few reasons; first, going to .22 WMR (aka .22 Magnum) would mean a noticeable jump in size. The Magnum revolver is 4.75” long, vs. just 4.00” long for the .22LR. And the Magnum is half an inch taller too (2 3/8” vs. 2 7/8”). Yes you get more performance with the .22 Magnum, but how much more, really, when we’re talking about a barrel that’s barely more than an inch long?

Magnum rounds really need longer barrels to extract their full capability, and in a 1” barrel I doubt that there would be that much difference between the two (other than more muzzle flash and noise from the Magnum, since much of the powder is likely to burn outside the barrel). Of course, the rebuttal is “well, you could get the longer-barrel .22 Magnum, they have one with a 1 5/8” barrel…” True, but – now we’re talking about an overall length, stem to stern, of 5.25”, vs. the total length of just 4”. That’s about 1/3 larger – and the point was to get a tiny pistol, right?

Seriously, if I wanted a more powerful pistol, a pocket .380 provides way more punch, in a more shootable package, for not all that much more size, so – please understand, the driving motivation here wasn’t about getting “the most powerful pistol,” it was about getting a micro-revolver, and the .22LR with 1 1/8” barrel seemed the most practical choice.

Plus, there’s another good reason I didn’t get the Magnum – and that’s the NAA Sidewinder. The Sidewinder is a variation on the Magnum that adds a swing-out arm to the cylinder, making it operate much more like a conventional revolver. That thing has staked a serious claim on my wallet, and I’m stuck forever waiting for it to come in stock. It offers the performance of the .22 Magnum, and is almost the same size (just 1/4” longer). So getting a conventional .22 Magnum didn’t seem to make the best sense, when I could shave off a lot of size by going to the .22LR, or gain a lot of convenience by waiting for the Sidewinder.

So with that decision finally made, I shaved a few dollars off the price at Bud’s with the “make offer” button and had a North American Arms .22LR on its way.

Jeremy S. recently reviewed the mini-revolver and I will echo many of the things he said. I recommend reading his review for a great overview in general. For my part, I’ll just say this – I love this thing. It’s tiny, it’s well made, it’s fun, it’s highly concealable, and it just puts a smile on my face. To me, that’s an across-the-board “win”.

But my main point in wanting to do a review was to focus on the ballistic capability. This is, after all, a firearm. It’s not a toy, it requires an FFL and a NICS check to get one, and it’s capable of deadly force. So…what can it really do? How does .22LR ammo really perform, from a barrel that’s barely longer than one inch? Is it accurate? What’s it like to shoot? How deep can the bullets penetrate? Those were the questions on my mind.

And after a lot of testing, I have some answers. First – shootability. It’s not bad. I mean, considering that your entire grip consists of one finger on the tiny bird’s-head grips. And that it’s a single-action. And that you take the revolver off target to cock it and then have to re-aim. And that there’s no real rear sight. And that it has an incredibly short sight radius.

I mean, let’s be real here – a lot of things were sacrificed on the altar of making it small. It’s not like shooting a GLOCK or Springfield XD-S or even my Taurus TCP. This revolver is focused on tiny size first and foremost, and on making it as shootable as possible while clinging to the tiniest form factor possible.

Have they succeeded? I believe they have. I can shoot it reasonably quickly, with reasonable accuracy. And if I slow down and do careful aimed fire, I can get a 2” group at 5 yards (15 feet). That’s not bad at all! But it’s not nearly as shootable as a modern semi-auto, even a pocket pistol like my TCP or XD-S. If you need to put a lot of lead downrange quickly, it’s much easier to do so with a larger pistol, no doubt. The miracle here is that a revolver can be made this small, and still shoot as well as it does.

The grips are really small. Really small. Bordering on uncomfortably too small. Part of the reason the Magnum is bigger than the .22LR mini-revolver is that the Magnum has a larger grip. Some people advise trading in the .22LR’s grips for the “Boot Grips” as found on the NAA Earl. Others say to go to the Black Widow for its big fat beefier handle. Others say to use the folding Holster Grip.

All of those are viable options, and all of those will make it easier to shoot – but they will also all make the little revolver bigger. At which point, it’s no longer the smallest revolver. Accordingly, I wasn’t really interested in taking those steps – and, if you make any of those modifications, it will no longer fit in the NAA Belt Buckle holster, and hey – if you’re sporting an NAA Mini-Revolver, what could be neater than carrying it in the Belt Buckle Holster, right? Of course, you’ll have to check your state laws to see if openly carrying the revolver in the Belt Buckle Holster is legal or not.

North American Arms makes many models of small revolvers, each of which address (in some way or other) the shortcomings of the original .22LR revolver. They make a .22LR with a longer 1 5/8” barrel. They make the boot grips. They make the .22 Magnum for more power. They make the Pug which has real sights on it. They make the Earl and Black Widow that both have better grips and sights. There are a wide variety of options, but there’s only one original, there’s only one “smallest revolver”. I fully recognize and acknowledge that these different variants may be viewed as “better” by some people, and hey, if you like them, go for it. In my evaluation I was trying to take the .22LR mini-revolver as it stands, and evaluating it on its own merits.

Accuracy can be an issue, and it can be fixed. Quick draws and point-shooting don’t always deliver great accuracy over distance (or, depending on the shooter, maybe it’ll deliver lousy accuracy even at very close range). If you want to quick-draw and point-shoot this little revolver, you’re going to need to be really close to the target which, considering the nature of this revolver, is probably one of the best ways to employ it. This is primarily an emergency/backup/“get off me” gun.

As morbid as it is to think about, this little revolver would really excel if it were shoved into a nostril, or an ear, or into belly, and if you’re in a desperate scramble for your life, this tiny revolver might be the gamechanger that lets you walk away from the encounter. At point blank range, accuracy isn’t an issue. If you want to plink with it or do some target shooting, that’s a lot more challenging. It can be done, but it’s more work with this tiny revolver than it is with any larger gun.


You need to carefully and precisely aim up the front sight with the notch from the hammer. Since there’s no rear sight, I use the notch as a substitute rear sight and really, really work to control any trembles or hand shaking. The tiny sight radius means any minor movement of the gun can result in significant deviation from where you wanted the bullet to go. If you practice a little, you can be rewarded with remarkably usable groups – here’s a 2” group I shot, freehand, from five yards.


It’s fun to shoot in a retro kinda way. It’s definitely a different experience at the range, and the ammo is cheap (when you can find it, but hopefully that’s a temporary situation). And if you want a conversation starter, this little revolver is it. Every time I show up with this mini-revolver at the range, people immediately want to see it, want to ask questions about it, and want to try shooting it.

Is it a serious defensive weapon? Well, that’s a loaded question, so to speak. It is, first and foremost, a gun; and the first rule of gunfighting is “have a gun.” But simultaneously, it’s one of the least powerful guns on the market. It uses a low-power cartridge (.22LR) in a tiny barrel, so…it’s simply not going to deliver the kind of hits that a full-sized weapon would deliver.

But, get this: with the right ammo, it actually is capable of delivering a very deep, penetrating wound. In fact, with CCI Mini-Mag 36-grain hollowpoints, it’s almost capable of meeting the FBI requirement for 12” of penetration. But you really need to pay careful attention to your ammo selection, because with the wrong ammo, it’s remarkably weak. Something like an Aguila Colibri may only penetrate two inches and, depending on how heavy your attacker’s clothing is, I could imagine that the Colibris may not even result in breaking the attacker’s skin.

So ammo selection is crucial if you’re going to be relying on this revolver for your personal defense. I’ve tested 25 different types of ammo from this revolver, and catalogued and organized the results in the following video:

Quick summary: get the CCI 36-grain Mini-Mags, not the 40-grain Mini-Mags. The 36-grain version travels much faster and penetrates much deeper than the 40-grainers do when fired from the tiny 1.13” barrel this revolver has. With CCI 36-grain Mini-Mags, the tiny gun can penetrate well over 11” with each and every bullet, and that’s saying something.

Hollowpoints simply do not expand from this tiny barrel, so any bullet you get is going to deliver a small icepick style wound. Hollowpoints will act like FMJs. And you just can’t predict how the ammo will perform, you have to test the velocities for each and every type of ammo. Sometimes the “high velocity” or “hyper velocity” rounds were actually slower and weaker than “normal-velocity” rounds. High velocity rounds sometimes use slower-burning powders and need a longer barrel to really get up to speed, whereas some standard-velocity rounds use faster-burning powder and result in a higher bullet speed out of the short barrel than some hyper-velocity rounds do!

As an intriguing example, the Aguila Interceptor I tested is rated at 1,470 fps and the Aguila SuperMaximum is rated at 1,700 fps. However, from the .22LR mini-revolver, the Interceptor was faster than the SuperMaximum – despite the Interceptor being a 33% heavier bullet than the SuperMaximum!

I’ll keep testing other rounds as I find them; I didn’t have any CCI Velocitors or Stingers or Remington Yellow Jackets to test. The results of my testing are posted on my blog and I’ll update them as I get new rounds to test.

Now, granted, you’re still only going to be getting tiny little wounds from these tiny little bullets. So even though they penetrate deeply, I still wouldn’t classify the mini-revolver as a manstopper. Then again, all handguns are known to be lousy manstoppers. When you can have a case of someone being shot in the face and neck five times from a .38 Special, and he walks away, gets in his car and drives away – it really puts it into context that handguns, overall, aren’t some ultimate death ray of destruction.

Even so, the bigger and more powerful your handgun is, the more potential it has for causing damage and potentially stopping a threat. I would not want to rely on the mini-revolver as my primary or sole defensive weapon; I think a prudent course of action would be to carry the most powerful, biggest weapon you possibly can. However, sometimes, in some scenarios, maybe the .22LR mini-revolver may be the biggest, most powerful weapon you can carry. And in that scenario, it’s comforting to know that with precise shot placement and the proper ammo, the mini-revolver really does have the capability to punch deep enough to cause an incapacitating wound.

With exquisite shot placement, the .22LR mini-revolver could indeed be a one-shot stopper. After all, a hit to the brain stem or spinal column will drop any person, immediately, whether the hit comes from a tiny .22 or a gigantic expanded .45. The difference is in that the .45, being a much larger bullet, is going to hit and destroy more tissue than the .22 will.


That’s just a simple ballistic fact. So with the .22LR, you have to try harder to hit a vital structure if you are going to count on the bullet itself being what forces the attacker to stop. Then again, many times an attacker will stop just at the sight of their intended victim pulling out a gun, or from hearing a gunshot go off, or from feeling the pain of getting shot and seeing themselves bleed, regardless of the caliber of bullet. And in those scenarios, the .22LR mini-revolver can do as well as anything else.

If your attacker is likely to be stopped by those actions, the .22LR can get the job done. Or, if you manage to score that elusive hit on the spinal column or brain stem, the .22LR mini-revolver will be as effective at stopping an attack as any other gun would. Those scenarios are, however, quite unlikely and probably not something on which you’ll want to gamble your life.

If you’re facing a determined attacker who won’t stop no matter what, and you’re relying on the force of the bullets themselves to destroy the attacker’s vital structures, you’d definitely be better off with a bigger handgun launching bigger bullets than the mini-revolver can. I believe the mini-revolver is best employed as a deep-concealment backup gun. If your mag is empty or your semi-auto jammed and now you’re engaged in a life-or-death hand-to-hand struggle, I can imagine that it would be extremely comforting to be able to pull out and deploy that hidden .22LR mini-revolver.

To sum up, I like it a lot. I do keep in mind what it is, what it’s made for, and I don’t try to make it out to be something better than it really is. I think it’s a marvel of craftsmanship, I think it’s a tremendous collector’s item, I think it’s a great conversation starter, and I think it’s the ultimate extreme-deep-concealment backup gun. I wouldn’t advise it as a primary defensive weapon, but even if you did have to employ it in that capacity, it’s nice to know that (with the right ammo) it may actually be able to deliver the lead necessary.

I wish I could say that finally getting this mini-revolver has slaked the thirst I’ve had for it, but I’m afraid that all it’s really done is ignite a fire to get more of them. Now that I’ve explored this mini-revolver, I find myself REALLY wanting that Sidewinder…


Caliber: .22LR
Capacity: 5 rounds
Barrel length: 1 1/8″
Overall length: 4″
Width: 13/16″
Weight unloaded: 4.5 oz.
MSRP: $209


Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * *
The mechanical accuracy of the mini-revolver is surprisingly good. I bet it’d do fine if bolted into a Ransom Rest. But for manual accuracy and the ability of a human to place the shot on target, well, that’s really up to you and your patience level. If you take the time, the gun can do its job, but it takes more time and effort than larger guns would.

Ergonomics: * *
Okay, let’s be fair here — the point was to make the smallest revolver, and unfortunately ergonomics do have to suffer in the quest for littleness. The grips really are just too small, and it’s tough to get a good solid grip on it. And I have smaller hands; for those with dinner plates for mitts, it might be even harder. If you want a more ergonomic experience, spring for some bigger grips.

Reliability: * * * * *
This is a solidly made little revolver. It fired every time I asked it to — and that’s with rimfire ammunition, which in and of itself isn’t the most reliable. But the gun does its part.

Customize This: * * * * *
The mini-revolver has a ton of available replacement grips in different styles and shapes, holsters, even a laser and a bayonet.

Concealability: * * * * *
This is the ultimate in concealability; in terms of overall size and weight it clocks in at about half the size and less than half the weight of a Taurus TCP. The choice for holsters is nearly unlimited, and the tiny size means it can be concealed when other firearms couldn’t.

Overall: * * * *
I’d like to give it five stars, but the ergonomics knocked one off. Within the context of what this is designed to be (a tiny, ultra-concealable gun), I think it hits a home run. As a plinker or as a defensive weapon, obviously there are shortcomings. But I’m not reviewing this as a general-purpose weapon. I’m reviewing it in the context of what it was designed to be — a specialty/niche firearm, and in that context I think it accomplishes what it sets out to do very well.

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    • Yeah, something that has been used for over a hundred years is totally a gimmick.

      Nothing against revolvers, find them cool but they are the weapon of a pro in my opinion. The kind of pro that needs only 5 shots yet loads six shots as a safety if the SHTF that particular day. I am a good shot and fast, but I am nowhere near being pro enough for a revolver.

      Give me a double stack auto any day over a revolver, though that is my opinion and everyone is entitled to one.

    • “Smart” guns are a horrible idea, but if anyone needs proof of why they would never succeed, here you go. The first semi-autos were developed at the turn of the 20th century, and there is a significant number of people who think they’re too newfangled.

    • I’m very curious to know. In the article Dan mentions that he can shoot the mini fairly quickly, but how quickly is fairly quickly. Assuming that you don’t do aimed fire and you use both hands, what is the fastest time in which you could fire off all 5 rounds from the mini? None of the ranges near where I live have even heard of the mini, so I have not been able to test this out for myself.

  1. “Why not the .22 Magnum? It’s a significantly more powerful cartridge, so why not get that instead? A few reasons…”

    Ah, Grasshopper, you have forgotten the first rule of buying guns: “If you cannot decide between two guns, buy them both. Or all three, or four, ….”

    (Warning: Severe financial pain and possible marital discord could result from taking this prescription. Your results may vary.)

    • I “inherited” an NAA 22lr from my parents, along with other firearms over the years. I have to smile when I talk with fellow gun-owners about sizes.

      Years ago a retired FBI friend said there are only a couple of points to really consider for a concealed-carry weapon:

      (1) the fact you have a gun, any gun, in the first place. No one wants to be shot.

      (2) If that gun has a laser sight, the usefulness and power of the weapon is magnified tenfold. An aggressor, seeing that red dot on his gut, will definitely give pause.

      (3) A 22lr round, especially a hot round, can easily kill, even with a 1″ barrel.

      So I concealed-carry this little 22 all the time. It has a laser so it is no longer a “hit the barn door if you’re lucky” situation. I load CCI segmented stingers. This is a deadly round, regardless of caliber.

      Anyway, when my friends talk about their fancy pistols I just ask them if they carry them in their pocket every day. No one does. I do. That’s the whole point of CC.

    • I’m of the opinion that .22 mag offers little more performance in such a short barrel. I’m not even convinced that .22 mag is worth it for any handgun. But, with some .22 lr ammo causing quite a noticeable jump when fired in the NAA I doubt I would even enjoy shooting it in the magnum platform. If I dislike shooting any certain gun, I get rid of it because it’s not the gun for me.
      One other note on buying an extra cylinder so you can have a spare for quick reloading. For what the extra cylinder costs plus doing without the gun while the second cylinder is custom fitted, I think I’d be inclined to simply buy a second mini if you want 10 shot capability.

  2. Gun guys like revolvers and lever-actions for the same reason car guys like manual transmissions. There’s just something intangibly special about them.

      • Excuse me, but a manual transmission is much better than an auto. Much more reliable and easier to fix, also it is more common.

        • Can’t agree with you here, lolinski. First, manual transmissions are NOT more common in the united states. In fact, and oddly enough, on some vehicle models you have to pay extra for the manual because it’s more or less a special order item. It used to be the case that manuals were more reliable, but I really don’t think that holds up these days. Automatic transmissions from most manufacturers will go hundreds of thousands of miles with no maintenance other than fluid changes and many modern ones are actually sealed for life. On the other hand, it’s still not abnormal to require a new clutch or at least clutch disk every so often (even if it’s like every 90k miles, it’s more often than most modern automatic trans need anything). The vast majority of people wouldn’t do this themselves and you’re looking at a very large bill to have a shop do it, as dropping the transmission on most cars is a huge amount of labor.

          Manuals are also absolutely not “better” in many cases, such as modern high performance floppy paddle systems that do launch control and automatic double clutch downshifts and millisecond upshifts, etc, and always turn in better performance times (drag strip, road course, etc) than the manual. Even from an economy perspective, some automatics now beat manuals for MPG thanks to having like 8 gears and locking torque converters, etc etc. People (like me) STILL buy the manual because of what Jim R said.

          At any rate, absolutely none of this has anything to do with the intangible pleasure of a manual action, whether that’s a revolver, lever-action, or manual transmission in a car. I totally agree with the sentiment Jim R expressed. Enthusiasts will always be drawn to this regardless of whether it’s “better” or “worse.”

        • Most of the world it is more common. I remember now reading about a mercenary saying the most important skill for a merc was driving left handed (British cars) and driving manual transmission.

          I get that in the US the auto transmission is much more common. I am gonna learn driving soon and I am going with a manual, simply because that is the most common in my areas and also because if you are qualified for a manual you are also qualified for a auto, though not vice-versa.

        • Not in the US, true that. Then again, I ain’t in the US.

          Edit: How do I use my Gravatar account to post here? I just made one.

        • Again, more or less common has nothing to do with Jim R’s comment. Enthusiasts like a manual transmission because of the experience, not because it’s more common or less common where they live. Indeed, this is demonstrated right here in our discussion by the fact that you say they’re more common where you are and we know they’re less common in the U.S., but in both instances your real car enthusiast is going to choose the stick regardless.

          Technology may be at a point where there are no truly justifiable reasons to use a revolver or lever-action, but they still hold a great deal of appeal to a collector and shooter and ‘gun guy.’

        • Way off topic, but the only advantage of a manual trans is that an auto uses power to run(up to 20%). However, the torque converter on an auto gives a 2x gear reduction on takeoff. The power robbing effect only matters on small engines, something we don’t suffer from in the states. I’ve broke 3 manuals, they are expensive to buy parts for, if you don’t grenade the whole case. In contrast I’ve only lost one auto, wasn’t the transmissions fault(a bent drive shaft broke the bellhousing at a 120mph). Autos are cheap and simple to rebuild, just keep the fluid clean and they outlast the vehicle. We only use manuals here for fun, or a truck requiring a pto.

  3. “Malcolm Reynolds carried what looks like a revolver.”

    ShootingTheBull410 is a Firefly fan? Love it. Love everything about it.

  4. As mentioned before during the previous review, if you own one of these guns, and get a miss-fire, DO NOT rotate the cylinder until you have waited at least one minute!
    The problem is that there is no recoil shroud on the sides and to the rear of the frame, A couple of years ago I read the story and saw photos of what happened to a guys hand after he cocked his gun, thinking he had a miss-fire. It wasn’t, it was a “hang” fire, and the round went off when the cylinder rotated.
    Nasty consequences!

    • Doesn’t the new Sidewinder version have a recoil shroud? I know the other versions don’t – excellent safety tip.

    • Really? Han Solo strikes you as elegant and refined?

      Han Solo would have carried a Glock, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where is counts.”

      • Well the DL-44 was one of the most powerful hand held blasters on the market at the time but was limited by thelow capacity of its power pack. Sounds to me like a S&W Model 29….plus its got 44 in the name. So come one.

    • Solo’s blaster was BASED on a C96, but I’d argue that, pushing the character into the modern day, he’d probably prefer a Tokarev. Maybe a GLOCK 20, but the base price of Soviet surplus, along with worldwide available ammunition, he’d probably favor 7.62×25.

  5. “others overinflate their might.” Ain’t that the truth. If you want to start a flame war, suggest that the 22 in inadequate. You’ll get, “I’ve carried a 22 for the past 40 years and have never felt unarmed!” or my favorite, “you want to get shot with a 22? I didn’t think so!”

    Similar sentiments apply for 40 owners and 45 adherents.

  6. Nice work on the review, and the practical limitations of this little revolver. I must admit, I want one – maybe the 1 5/8″
    barrel in .22 LR for a little extra velocity and “sight radius.” This would make it pretty easy to carry 2 guns.

  7. “It’s not like shooting a GLOCK…”
    Really?!? It’ not a GLOCK? A G-l-o-c-k-I-t-y GLOCK-GLOCK?!?

    Only the most awesome friggin’ pistol since James Yeager took a dump & and out came a GLOCK?!?

    THAT one?

  8. “I do keep in mind what it is, what it’s made for,…”

    I love firearms as much as the next guy, but the only practical use for a weapon like this is to assassinate someone.

    Approach concealed, deliver a lethal head-shot from arms reach, retain brass evidence in cylinder, easily hide or destroy ultra-cheap firearm.
    Mission complete.

    • Or for the fun of having a novelty gun to shoot.
      Or for a last-ditch hold out weapon that can be used on the bad guy who’s taken you to the ground.
      Or for carrying anywhere, when a larger gun isn’t practical (Rule 1: have a gun). I could see this being something a distance runner or cyclist could easily carry.

      • This is a hold-out pistol IMO. Carry it when you can’t carry anything else, either due to clothing restraints or because of pat-downs (hide it in…your underwear, hammer down of course).

        Would love one, would make a good sleeve gun. Especially since it is single-action.

    • …and the only practical use for an AR-15 is to kill lots of people as quickly as possible. Better ban both of them.

  9. Wow, great review, STB410. Going to have to go back through this later. And heck if you didn’t get some good groups there, bud! Only thing I would add is that you should at least try the Pug. It’s really hardly a shade bigger and the grip is notably better. It’s still plenty tiny enough to put just about anywhere. And you get a hair more ‘punch’ from the WMR (with more flash too of course). Sidewinder is cool, but honestly, I wouldn’t ever plan on reloading this thing in a firefight. That’s not what it’s for… Anyway, thanks as always. Love your reviews.

  10. Great review! I just wish you had included a line or two in there addressing why you chose this particular model of NAA revolver… 😉

      • Yeah, I know… He spent like eight paragraphs explaining it. That’s why I went with the gentle jibe, and the winky smiley guy there. I was tryin’ to be funny.

  11. Han Solo pistol based on the C96 Mauser… Harrison Ford however did carry a revolver in Radiers of the Lost Ark (classic scene with swordsman!)
    Anyway I do not think a revolver is obosolete. If all you semi-auto fans have a different opinion so be it but most folks still have a revolver (or two) because they remain a viable alternative and are often easier too shoot. FYI I’m still looking for a semi-auto that can equal my 454 Casull in an equally sized package. The Wildey ain’t getting it…
    I also don’t think you could make and market a semi-auto .22 as small as this.

    • How is a revolver easier to shoot? They have grips that make the gun pivot easier and take ages to load, also forget ambi use. If you are ambi with a revolver you are screwed.

      .454 casull is cool but if .44 mag/460 Rowland (with the right ammo) ain’t stopping it fast enough then .454 won’t help much. Will rather have 15+1 of .460 Rowland than 5-6 shots of .454 Casull. Then again I like my wrists.

  12. I have the earl 22mag with a folding grip and love it.I keep it loaded with 3 rat shot and 2 of whatever else I have sitting around. Stays in my pocket when I’m working around the yard and I carry it everyday(I have a great boss) I even wear it swimming at the river/lake. Been 2 years(and no less than 8 snakes) and no rust and no malfunctions.

  13. +1 Idaho Pete. My wife announced she wants a handgun. She said we don’t need another shotgun-I replied “why not both?”She said “sure”. I love my wife of 25 years.

  14. I own a number of handguns ranging from .45 cal 1911’s down to the tiny NAA .22LR revolver. The greatest advantage to carrying this weapon is definetely the small size. When I’m sitting at home watching t.v. In nothing but shorts and suddenly realize my dog needs to go out before bedtime I often grab the NAA .22LR…..I can conceal it simply by curling my fingers around the entire frame. I say again, I Don’t Even put it in my pocket! The little devil is already in my hand as I stand on the sidewalk waiting for my dog to do her business. Many, many times I’ve spoken with people or had them walk past me and never once did they notice that my fist was closed and had a firearm within it. If they saw anything at all they’d simply think I was holding my keys in my hand (or whatever). I have medium sized hands for an adult male. To deploy, cock, and fire this weapon would be so rapid if I ever needed it that it’s almost inconceivable! Okay, second shot, not so much, but my point is that the weapon is already in my grip with thumb on hammer and no one can tell. I don’t like to carry it when I am in a place where a “real” gunfight could occur, however, there’s nothing quicker for a late night walk. I encourage people to go to your local gun store and just cup one of these rascals in your hand as mentioned……you’ll become a believer!

    • + 1. Aint gonna replace the G19 anytime soon, but it sure is handy. And that means, many times instead of nothing, you got something.

    • You go out and walk your dog with nothing but your shorts and your mini? No wonder they don’t notice the gun in your hand!

  15. I’ve carried one for 37 years as a LEO, wether I was carrying an off duty or on duty weapon. They will wear out or break so I’m on my fourth one and have a new one in the safe. I always looked at it as a last resort weapon or let go of me weapon, so could retrieve or get to my better weapon. Early in my job I had occasion to have to destroy a possum hit by a vehicle shot while it was moving at twenty feet with the AFF 22LR made more of a believer. I Carry the CCI ammo too after a lot of research, I just drop mine in my front pocket where I can keep my hand on it while talking to someone. It’s one of the top three things I check before leaving the house even before my cellphone and money

  16. I should mention in fairness that on several occasions I’ve set this gun down in the house and had trouble locating it later… is just that tiny! I’ve never lost a firearm but this would be the one I’d lose if I ever did. Simply because you can set it on a coffee table and then set the mail next to it or on top of it and it’s like the thing disappeared. I don’t have children but if I did that could cause a catastrophe. Be careful where you put it. Once I set in down and a diner plate slid over it enough to hide it from view. It took me almost 24 hours to locate it. Stupid I know…but they are just that minuscule.

  17. Star Wars was better (I think because of the aspect of greater autonomy?)


    Definitely fill that “gap” man.

    : )

  18. When I wear my pink thong and bunny-tail they don’t even notice the dog!! It’s south florida …….. Sometimes I don’t even wear the shorts!

  19. Some place, I still have the piece of paper my DW used as a target the year I gave her a Black Widow. We improvised by drawing a circle around a quarter, then measured off a precise 50 feet. She got 5 rounds through the circle; three would have been “head shots” had we left the quarter in the middle.

    It is her most common “carry” gun. When one is built like my Bride, most anything larger “prints” — even through winter clothes 😉

  20. Mr. Shootingthebull,

    In your ammo testing, I noticed the target above indicated keyhole strikes. Do you think that tumbling bullets was a factor in the poor penetration for some rounds, and perhaps more stabile bullets have results like the 36 g mini mag? With such a short 1″ barrel, just wondering if bullet stabilization was the key factor in the results.

  21. To me its more like gadget than practical firearm – caliber aside, its just too small to be useful – try to hold to this with two fingers when someone is throwing punches at you. Barrel will point at weirdest things but the assailant and the single action only trigger system wont help you with fast shooting especially when you are seriously distressed and mugger is closing on you. Back the in the “belle epoque” these type of guns were sold to well off burghers to fend off dogs and some really lousy and cowardly pickpockets – they were just a gadgets even then – check out the video on belgian SA/DA mini revolver at man would be really better off carrying a dagger than this crap in XIX century Paris or London.
    IMHO this NAA revolver is just a token gun that provides some psychological advantage for the owner and not much else – it maybe be better than nothing and thats about it. Its just as those two barreled single action derringers of Davis type. A range toy, birthday gift or conversation piece based on some XIX nostalgia and nothing more.

  22. I have an NAA Mini 22 Short and love it. It has a boot grip on it. Of all the mini revolvers the short looks perfectly proportioned. That said, it is definitely the wrong tool for self defense. I also have the black powder magnum version which is also inexpensive and fun to shoot. Plus their service on them is amazing.

  23. Did you have a chance to try some Aguila “Sniper Subsonic” 60gr rounds in this one? I know it goes contrary to your tests where faster penetrates better, but I’m thinking that 60gr is going to have some punch due to extra weight alone, and then the fact that bullet is larger means that it spends more time in the barrel, too. It won’t stabilize for sure, but at this distance stability should not be a concern, and might actually positively contribute to bullet tumbling.

    • I did indeed. Check the second video for the results, but … yeah, Aguila SSS was a big disappointment. It’s fantastic from my 3.5″ semi-auto and my 18″ rifles, but from the 1″ barrel it barely got moving at all, it was less than 600 fps, and it was a poor penetrator. The Aguila Interceptor and Supermaximum were both much better penetrators than the SSS.

  24. Very informative article. Thanks for the insight. I have carried an NAA revolver in my pocket or boot since 1996. It is always with me, which is the most important point about carrying any firearm. It don’t matter what ya got if it ain’t with ya. Next is being able to hit your intended target with said firearm. One difference with my mini revolver though is that it is the cap n ball black powder version, the magnum companion. I bought it direct from NAA and received it parcel post in my mailbox. It is legally not a firearm. Loading each cylinder with 5grains of ffffg/4fg, which is flintlock pan primer made from triple 7, under a 21 grain round ball sized to .225 will punch a hole clean through both sides of a steel 55 gallon drum at around 900fps. I’ve had the laserlyte laser sight mounted on it since they came out a few years ago which makes it even more accurate and deadly. Unlike many who own and carry similar tiny revolvers mine has been tested thoroughly against live animal flesh and found to work very well. It is my goto gun when dispatching varmints who have tried to murder and eat my chickens. One well placed shot is all it takes for even the largest coon or dog for DRT performance. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the need ever occurred my mini revolver would dispatch a 2 legged varmint with equal prejudice and effectivness. I have well over a hundred handguns and this is the one I carry.

  25. A young gal brought one of these she affectionately refers to as her “hookers special” to shoot at my place this past weekend. I have to agree with everything in this review. Ballistics data is provided on their site… … real world penetration testing is always better though to see how the bullet design performs in a given gun at it’s velocity.

    As for the debate on it’s usefulness… My best friends LEO brother just recently had been assaulted by a bad guy with a knife, he required 10 rds center mass from his 45 acp using hollow points to stop his attacker. I don’t know the specifics of the altercation, but I doubt he would have got all 5 rds from this gun in center mass, let alone 10 in the same time frame.

    On the other hand the 22lr has been proven effective by the OSS in WW2 with suppressed pistols. I’m sure when the element of surprise and stealth were comprised they likely transitioned to a sten or Browning HP though.

    My personal experience is only small game and testing. My father however, who earned expert qualifications on every weapon he was trained on in the service, only ever owned a REM semiauto 22 rifle. His 77yrs included farming, cattle truck driving, and stockyard & slaughter house operations. He put down hundreds if not thousands of head of livestock, sometimes at ranges of a 100yds(it can be difficult to get close to an injured animal).Neighbors also called on him to put theirs down. A single rd of 22 lr between the eyes of a cow is all it takes for an instant kill.

    My father wasn’t under attack or duress, and he had a long bbl semiauto rifle not an extremely unergonomic minipistol. After shooting this gun I’d say it’d need to be almost pressed against the attacker to make hits while fumbling with its awkwardness. In this capacity segmented rds such as quickshock would be effective to the chest, minimag or stingers to the head or throat.

    The revolver vs auto? I’ve got both, yes auto may hold more and it may take that many to end the fight. Compacts, that you’re more likely to have with you when needed, don’t have a real capacity advantage and are usually in less powerful chamberings. When being attacked it’s natural to have one hand occupied by the attacker. If you have an awkward grip on an auto you may limp wrist it causing a malfunction, now your 15rd auto is a single shot. A revolver, if it needs to be cleared needs only another squeeze of trigger, unlike racking a slide requiring 2 hands.

  26. As some have stated, it’s better than an empty hand. No one wants to get shot with anything. (Unless they’re jacked up on something) I have both the 22lr & the 22 mag minis. Both have been flawless at the range as expected. Nice to always have one in a pocket anytime. Just working in the yard or watching TV at night. At least you can offer fire while retrieving ‘big gun’. Every firearm enthusiast should have one. You’ll be surprised how handy they are. Peace.

  27. An up date: After almost a year of carrying my .22 mag in a pocket holster in either front pants or inside breast pocket, I broke out the Dremel tool! Took an 1/8 inch off each side of grip. Big difference in printing & no change in handling. The laminated grips really lent themselves to guiding the amount of wood removed. Little finger full of gun oil brought back the grain. Grip is better too on the little gun. Not as slick to hold. Definitely a worthy modification. Grips are now exactly the same width as cylinder. Easy to do a nice job, about 20 min.s. Now it’s a perfect deep cover BUG.

  28. Recently ordered & received a Stellar Rigs kydex neck holster for my LR mini. Nice product! 4 days from phone call to front door. This holster holds gun about 30 degrees muzzle up from horizontal. Not at your head! Under any type of shirt it disappears. Plus frees up a pocket. LR around neck & magnum IWB feels really good. 10 rounds on hand. Draw from neck rig very quick as well.

  29. Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “2006 CA DMV DL 44” to fill out?

  30. This got me thinking, in the article Dan mentions that he is able to shoot the mini fairly quickly, but what is fairly quickly? Assuming that you don’t aim and use both hands to fire the mini, what would be the fastest time in which you could empty all 5 rounds?

  31. .22 LR with the shorter barrel: I’ve found that adding the folding holster grip adds barely anything to the real overall size, helps disguise its outline in a front pocket, protects the trigger from accidental bumping (though the hammer has never cocked itself even the slightest bit), and greatly improves accuracy due to having a bigger thing to hold onto. I carry mine with a holster grip. Also I put a homemade sleeve made of thin cardboard and duct tape around the barrel. Just to keep lint out and reduce fabric abrasion. As far as anyone else can tell, maybe it’s a keychain in my pocket. The hammer spur print does sort of resemble a house key. I often forget it’s even there.

    Holster grip isn’t perfect of course. It’s not as pretty in a neo-Victorian sort of way as the original wood grip panels. But y’know what? I bought my NAA mini to carry discreetly, not to show off to the neighbors. Get a holster grip for yours if you haven’t already.


    • Anticipating the question of “how do you draw with all that stuff on it” — The duct tape pouch falls off with the slightest pressure while reaching into my pocket. Draw upward, press barrel back against top of pocket, flick open like a pocketknife. With practice it’s maybe a second from snug in pouch to muzzle on target. I’d rather carry a pocket auto in a caliber that begins with .3 or .4, but hey… For the overall size and concealment factor my mini works pretty well.

  32. I’ve carried a NAA Mini Magnum with the folding grip clipped inside the back pocket of my jeans every day, and I do mean EVERY day for many years. It’s usually a backup to my 9mm or .357, but some times it’s my only gun, depending on my day’s activities or dress code. How many of you can say they have carried EVERY day for years. Sometimes a (real gun) is just too bulky, too cumbersome, or too much trouble. My opinion- any gun is better than no gun.

  33. I have had a .22lr with folding grip for a couple years, and its the type of firearm that you can carry when you can’t carry anything else. I can wear this gun while mountain biking in gym shorts and no one is the wiser.
    I have found the accuracy to be shit, however, my friend did shoot out a nickle size target at 20 feet after 20+ rounds. I feel that this gun will only be effective if you place it on an attacker and then fire.

  34. We have rapidly fallen in love with our .22lr short barrel model…cannot say enough good things about the sturdiness, reliability, and concealability of the gun…we practice at 5-10 feet, the goal two quick shots…the. favorite practice ammo is cci cb shorts or cci quiet, the softer recoil easier on our old hands…carry ammo is velocitors…and we practice, and practice some more, these guns demand it…the gun is not our EDC, but there are occasions it is the answer…as we practice some more, we are thinking about acquiring another one, maybe a different model…the one thing I don’t like is the missus shoots it better than I do…😁

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