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With Apologies to North American Arms

Life is a learning curve. And then you flat-line. Sometimes you flat line, mentally, in the middle. This is an example. Just to update you, I’ve practiced and practiced and practiced the loading process for the North American Arms Black Widow .22 at home and gained proficiency. My forthcoming review will reflect a more, uh, practiced approach. Meanwhile, I have to say I’m developing a genuine fondness for the firearm—much as I did for Rubik’s cube back in the day. As for the laser, well . . . you’ll have to wait and see. So to speak.


  1. avatar gherkin says:

    If one is videoed looking that inept, one should destroy said video.
    Wow- that was hard to watch.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Tell me how you really feel.

      1. avatar Don says:

        I find it easiest to lay the frame (half cock) in your left hand and drop the cylinder in from the passenger side. Then your left hand sort of centers it and you can put the pin in.

    2. avatar JMS says:

      I own an NAA mini revolver and have no such problems. I find it very easy to load, with the hammer down the whole time. I just put the top of the cylinder in first, lining up a safety notch with the hammer, and then roll the bottom into the frame until the cylinder is centered. Push the pin in. Takes 2 seconds. It takes significantly longer to push the empties out and put new ones in, but the actual process of putting the cylinder into the frame is extremely simple. I have no clue how you’re making it so difficult haha 😉

      It’s a silly little gun, but it’s well made and they have been successfully used in many self defense shootings, leaving a deceased person on the other end. They are tiny and light, so if you have a permit it’s a gun that you can carry on you no matter what you are wearing. It fits perfectly in the 5th pocket of a pair of jeans, which is where mine usually lives. I have even had it in my board shorts while camping — all stainless steel and was fine spending some time in lakes and rivers.

      In a standard jeans 5th pocket:

      1. lol, i only have 1 arm, that works!….[previously, Not, my dominant one!] … I have no problem, with this gun!…[i own one!], get this guy away!… lol Very Bad, as a “Fire-Arms” Exhibitor!… Inept, Undure, Not beneficial to the company!… Learn the weapon, before looking like the “Fool”, you seem, here!…

  2. avatar Don says:

    I love my NAA 3 inch barreled Earl. It goes with me everywhere and I can hit easily at 25 yards with it. No problems drawing and firing at closer distances while moving either. I made a little kydex inside the pants slim jim to carry it.

    1. avatar Rab says:

      So, you carry a .22 for defense?
      Only has 5 shots.
      Single action, no less.
      You claim 25yd accuracy.

      Wow, please tell me you are joking.
      The only thing more useless than a .22 for defense is a single-action .22. Congrats, you just won the internet.

      1. avatar gloomhound says:


        A freeman carrying a .22 is better armed than 99% of the sheep walking around waiting for the wolf.

        You don’t like a .22 fine don’t carry one but don’t be such an ass to someone that does. I wonder how many men were put in the ground with a S&W model 1 before people learned they were harmless.

        1. avatar Rab says:

          No, a .22 is not acceptable for defense in any shape or form unless you are disabled and don’t have the strength for anything else. The concept that “carrying a .22 is better than nothing” is wrong. You would be much better off getting to cover or running away than staying there and pissing off the bad guy with a .22. The likelihood of being able to stop a bad guy with a .22 who really wants to put the hurt on you is extremely minimal.

          Just because some people were shot in the past with a .22 doesn’t mean that they are acceptable in this day and age when there are so many better options.

          A single-action revolver is an awful choice for defense.

          J-frame revolvers offer .38s in the same length gun. There are 9mm autos in the same length that are not much thicker than that useless NAA.

          I wonder how many men were NOT put in the ground when shot with a .22.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Rab, I think you’ll find that the majority of men shot with a handgun, regardless of caliber weren’t “put in the ground.”

          I can’t quote sources, my computer fu has never been strong, but I was amazed at how many times the .22 wmr was responsible for 1 shot stops.

        3. avatar Will says:

          Rab –

          You would be much better off getting to cover or running away than staying there and pissing off the bad guy with a .22.

          Thought it was pretty much generally accepted that this is the best option regardless of what you carry.

        4. avatar Gregory Prussak says:

          If something can bleed…a 22mag can kill it

      2. avatar Chaz says:

        It’s a 22 Winchester rimfire magnum, power factor 82. Some other power factors for comparison:

        25 auto PF 38
        22 LR PF 43
        32 auto PF 64
        380 auto PF 91
        9×18 Makarov PF 95
        38 Special PF 106
        9×19 Luger PF 137

        40 S&W PF 180
        45 ACP PF 198

        1. avatar Rab says:

          Power factor is not the best measure.

          The wider the bullet, the wider the bullet channel.
          The larger the mouth of the hollow point, the wider the bullet channel.

          The wider the bullet channel, the more damage to the tissue and the more internal bleeding.

        2. avatar Chaz says:

          Probably any ‘stopping power’ calculation is mostly a SWAG. Here are a few Thornily Stopping Power numbers which include caliber in the calculation (for what they are worth):

          22LR TSP = 9
          22 WRM TSP = 14
          32 ACP TSP = 14
          380 auto TSP = 23
          9mm Luger TSP = 35
          40 S&W TSP = 48
          45 ACP TSP = 63

      3. avatar Mister Fleas says:

        Actually, this has been discussed already, the .22 for self defense.

        from the article:
        “So, in short, what’s the answer? Is a .22 a good self defense round? According to the numbers, it looks to be among the best in terms of stopping the threat. Add in the fact that it’s lightweight, low recoil and uses firearms that are ridiculously easy to conceal and you can see where a .22 caliber firearm for concealed carry might be a winner.”

        1. avatar Rab says:

          It is a fact, excepted by experts, that handguns have lots of killing power, but little stopping power –defined as the cartridge’s ability to destroy the body enough to prevent locomotion.

          Given that .45s, 40s, 9s and 38s have very little stopping power, if you believe that a .22 is a valid defense caliber, I have a bridge to sell you.

        2. avatar Rab says:

          darn spell check. accepted, not excepted

        3. avatar Mister Fleas says:

          “Given that .45s, 40s, 9s and 38s have very little stopping power, if you believe that a .22 is a valid defense caliber, I have a bridge to sell you.”
          I did not mean that any bullet fired by any small arm has a lot of stopping power.

          However, you said earlier:
          “The only thing more useless than a .22 for defense is a single-action .22. Congrats, you just won the internet.”
          If you would look at the link I posted, the .22 round is compared to handgun rounds and actually comes off favorably in comparison to them in real life shootings(but not shotguns, shotguns were a lot better).

      4. avatar Don says:

        Yeah, but I pull the bullets and dump half the powder out to achieve a higher control over the recoil.

      5. avatar Don says:

        And my backup is a glock 23.

      6. avatar Don says:

        A vertical foregrip helps with the accuracy.

      7. avatar Michael says:

        You do not need a 15+ shot auto with 9mm+ to defend yourself. Most defense situations are over in 3 seconds, using 3 shots with 3 yards. Your claim that a 22 is not deadly just tells me and anyone else reading this who over the age of 15 that you don’t know what you are talking about. Single actions means no safety to fool with. I bet I do more damage with my 22 mag BW than 99% of folks who try their auto 9mm/38spc/45. A 22LR is still lethal at a few hundred yards. Educate yourself before you embarrass yourself like the fool who manages this site.

    2. avatar Don says:

      And as male stripper it’s all I can manage to conceal.

  3. avatar Rambeast says:

    If it’s anything like pushing the cylinder into my Ruger Blackhawk, you need to have the pin ready to push in the instant you have the cylinder aligned.

  4. avatar surlycmd says:

    That was very hard to watch! I bet the woman in Oklahoma with a mini .22lr hidden between her legs could load it better than this example.

    I own a Black Widow with a laser. It’s not that hard to load but it does take a bit of practice. I practiced with an empty cylinder first. Just saying.

    There are notches on the outer edge of the cylinder between the chambers. A safety position to keep the hammer between the chambers. Maintain a slight rearward pressure on the hammer and trigger at the same time. You don’t need to pull the hammer back so far. Insert the cylinder into the frame and line up the safety notch with hammer. Lower the hammer into the notch. Now you can pivot the bottom of the cylinder right or left as necessary to center it. Then slide in the center pin through the cylinder. Takes about 5 minutes to master.

  5. avatar Rabbi says:

    I thought I did a tremendously good job on the videography considering I was laughing all the way through it to the point that tears were rolling down my face. It was extremely difficult to laugh so quietly.

    Hats off to RF for actually being able to talk his way all the way through that.

  6. avatar Jesse says:

    You have to appreciate the pride in allowing us to view this. Thanks.

  7. avatar Avid Reader says:

    “It’s not you, it’s me.” Famous last words that are part of every breakup.

    Good thing you were dealing with an inanimate object.

    Some days you get the bear. . .

    1. avatar anonymous says:

      > “It’s not you, it’s me.” Famous last words that
      > are part of every breakup.

      Speak for yourself. I always tell them “It’s you, not me.”

      1. avatar Avid Reader says:

        I was referencing what I’ve been told, not what I’ve said.

        Of course, following it up with GTFO, then, has always worked like a charm. . .

  8. avatar Matt in FL says:

    That was an amazing video. As Rabbi said, your ability to talk your way all the way through that debacle cements your standing as a bullshit artist nonpariel.

  9. avatar Scott says:

    I really needed a good beverage spewing laugh, and man oh man, did that deliver!!!!
    Where can I send the bill for a new monitor, LOL. 😉

    I also admire you have the stones to post this.

  10. avatar dislexic says:

    I LOLed at “Now it’s actually physically stuck.”

  11. avatar g says:

    “The catch… that’s not… catching… ”


    RF, you are a man of true humor and humility.

  12. avatar jwm says:

    Don’t stress over it RF. Everybody is subject to the occasional brain fart. I’ve taken my Makarov apart umpteen times. A couple of weeks ago I found myself struggling to field strip it until I realized i had forgotten to pull the trigger gaurd down. D’oh.

  13. avatar Carl says:

    Quote: “It’s not a revolver, its a single action gun”.



    Please let us see the face of this guy so we can run from the range if he is spotted.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      A misstatement, obviously. Can’t amend that text . . .

      1. avatar Carl says:

        The sad thing is I’ve seen guys like this on the loose in public that are not acting and really DO NOT have a clue.

  14. avatar Randy Drescher says:

    sarah says that ones ok. Leno has nothin on you Robert, good job, Randy

  15. avatar Joseph says:

    Rab: In four decades of law enforcement I’ve seen many many people stopped in their tracks with .22, .25, .32 and other “it’ll just make ’em mad” calibers. Any time you put a hole in the human body where there’s not supposed to be one, the recipient is having a bad day. Are bigger calibers better? Yes, but personally I wouldn’t stand in front of a .22 and laugh.

    1. avatar Rab says:

      I would not want to get shot with a BB gun either, but that does not mean that its worth carrying.

      The question stands: how many people got shot by as 22 and did NOT stop?

      1. avatar Rab says:

        Yup, people die from .22s. I would hazard to guess those are victims, not fighting back, rather than vicious murders trying to killing you with every ounce of their soul and every muscle in their body.

  16. avatar UnapologeticallyAmerican says:

    I own the .22Mag Black Widow so just a couple of things…..
    1. I started watching the video and wondered if the dip$hit was going to have an AD. I only have one thing to say to that…… RFM……. I mean really, you are going to make a video know the gun inside and out, then if you see how bad it is and then dont post it to YouTube. Unless you are you trying deliberately to show how bad the gun is?
    2. Look up power and penetration of the .22Mag before you pass judgement. OK it is not a .45 1911 and will knock your opponent back 5 feet. But with correct shot placement it is just a lethal.
    3. I took mine to an indoor range and use Gold Dot Self Defense ammo just to see the difference. Everyone down the line took notice. 9mm, .40’s all turned their head at the sound and the fireball in their peripheral vision. If the bad guy was 5′ away and you happened to miss them… you’d still burn their eyebrows off. (Ok a little exageration…). The Gold Dot Self Defense ammo does have quick burning powder designed for short barrels, but the NA Black Widow is so short there is a very noticable muzzle flash and it sounds more like a .45 than a .380. While it may not be intimidating when they first see it, if you miss the bad guy when you fire it, they will stop out of sheer suprise or fear.
    4. Accuracy. our indoor range is 25 feet. I can group all my shots easily into kill box on a man sized target and hit head shots every time. It takes a strong support hand so your firing hand is only responsible for an even squeeze on the trigger after you line up the sights.

    It isn’t designed to be the duty side arm of an inner city SWAT team member. But it is the perfect option for my wife who is petite and likes to wear tight jeans and t-shirt and still have a gun concealed.

  17. avatar George says:

    I carry a Black Widow in 22mag as my BUG every day. Its actually easy to reload once you practice. This was pretty funny to watch. I laughed so hard. LOL.

    Its really a very accurate weapon. I would not attempt a reload under fire but its not hard at all to reload.

    I love my little NAA BW.

  18. avatar bobby says:

    1. You missed the point of the vid.

    2. “Correct shot placement” is a myth. Looks great on the range, and even better in gun magazine, but when someone is trying to kill you, they are moving, you are moving and you are under the extreme stress of a life-threatening attack, you will be lucky to hit the body, never mind make a hit with “correct shot placement.” Go to the range and try a shooting a moving target, from a concealed draw when you are moving. Then do it under a million times the stress level. Then we will talk.

    3. Sound and fireball counts for squat when defending your life. The larger the fireball the more energy is wasted. I won’t depend on “sheer surprise” to save my life.

    4. When you are under attack, you won’t have time for a proper aim and an even squeeze of the trigger. Your hit ratio at 25 yards when someone is trying to kill you, they are moving, you are moving and you are under the extreme stress of a life-threatening attack will be close to zero. BIG difference between shooting and gun fighting.

    A Kahr 9mm or similar is nearly the same size and offer a far better ammo choice.

    1. avatar UnapologeticallyAmerican says:

      Correct shot placement is only a myth if you don’t spend time on the range. Why I believe 9mm data is so good, the ammo was cheaper so you could practice more. Plus most of the research data includes military self defense use in Iraq & Afganistan where soldiers with larger ammo training budgets than civilians practice more. From experience, hitting a target at >25 feet the ‘hit ratio” was closer to 100% than 0, probably around 90%.

      1. avatar Rab says:

        Civilians rarely train and when they do so they don’t train under real stress. Also, they don’t train under realistic conditions such as moving bad guys, moving shooters with quick aiming. Comparing military results or typical range exercises to defensive shooting does not work.

  19. avatar T says:

    Did not have his Ritalin today. Couldn’t get the bottle open.

  20. avatar Matt in SD says:

    Two words: Take 2!

  21. avatar Nobody says:

    Robert, I really enjoy my Black Widow, but PLEASE check out the Sidewinder. Once that is in full production, NAA will be even better. It will remove those problems.

  22. avatar Tirrus says:

    Nearly 100 negligent discharges there RF. Hard to watch, but entertaining.

  23. avatar Tirrus says:


    If you use the guide rod to align the cylinder instead of trying to get the tiny little “catch” to hold it in place you will be much more successful next time.

  24. avatar PavePusher says:

    As soon as I can stop laughing, I’m going to go hug my 1911 and my HiPoint…..

  25. avatar mymc says:

    The most entertaining gun review on YouTube. LOL Thanks for the laughs RF. A sign of a good man is that he would always happily expose his own weakness in the face of his critics. Nicely done video.

  26. avatar Jean Paul says:

    “It’s not a revolver, it’s a single action gun.”. Really? I’m pretty sure a handgun can be both single action AND a revolver.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Too true. My bad. Mea culpa. Thanks for watching.

  27. avatar TheSleeperHasAwakened says:

    I own a NAA Black Widow with .22 WMR and .22 lr cylinders and LOVE the little pistol. It is very easy to carry, it feels like a pocket knife, and loaded with Hornady 45 gr. FTX Critical Defense, you have a very legit self defense weapon.

    I would agree though that the laser is WAY OVERKILL, I can easily get 3 inch groups at 15 yds…..accuracy is easy to obtain through practice since it’s a .22.

  28. avatar IdahoPete says:

    ROBERT! NEW GUN ALERT! (If you haven’t already seen it.) NAA has started making their mini-revolver with a SWING-OUT CYLINDER!!!!! It’s called the Sidewinder, and they have apparently already sold out the 2013 anticipated production. Use your TTAG review chops shamelessly, and get one NOW!

  29. avatar Jack says:

    Loading the gun is extremely easy. You just put the hammer in half-cock, gently put the cylinder in the frame, and insert the cylinder pin. Sometimes, getting the cylinder properly aligned takes a little wiggling while you’re inserting the pin, but there is no reason to mess with the hammer while you’re doing it. (Cocking and decocking the hammer over live rounds while you’re fooling with the cylinder is a good way to have an AD.)

    The Black Widow would be an ideal gun for beginners if it weren’t for those “safety notches” in the cylinder. Easing the hammer into a safety notch with a loaded cylinder is very tricky, and it’s important to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual to the letter.

    Of course, the safety notches are for carrying a loaded gun, not for range time. At the range, you just have to always remember to put the hammer in half-cock every time you load and unload. And then have fun.

    As for the Venom laser, I find it very handy. I never was a good shot with the Black Widow despite lots of practice, but with the laser, I can hit what I’m aiming at.

    My favorite ammo with this gun is the Federal TNT. Supposedly, it expands reliably out of the short barrel. The problem now is finding .22 WMR ammo of any kind.

  30. avatar Aragorn says:

    Love my .22 mag PUG and .22 lr/mag Mini-revolver.

    Never had the issues you had but practice makes perfect and a smart
    NAA owner buys an extra cylinder or two to speed up loading on the fly.

    1. avatar Dino says:


      Which would you say you prefer between the Pug and your mag Mini? I am shopping for a NAA revolver and cannot decide which to go with. I think the Black Widow is a little big for my intended purpose. Thanks.

  31. avatar Roger S says:

    WOW! What a firearms expert!
    Fumbling around with a loaded barrel, pulling the hammer back, carelessly lowering the hammer back into the barrel… You act much like a ridiculous info-commercial with the befuddled woman struggling to cut a tomato and getting it all over herself and all over the walls and gives up in total frustration! If you so dislike this revolver, just come out and say so. After watching your drama review, your credentials with me is zero. And oh, Rab, nobody likes a know-it-all who spouts opinion as though they were carved in gold. They’re just your opinions Rab, Have the courage to stand on them and stop ramming them down others throat because you obviously are a tad bit insecure. Aren’t you? Well, maybe, I’m not sure. My opinion: It’s the TRUTH. I’ll beat you with it until you capitulate to me.

  32. avatar "Not Rambo" says:

    First of shouldn’t shoot a video until you know how to use the gun. Put the rounds in the cylinder with it facing down. Then point it down, not at your foot, and the cylinder will fit right in. It takes about 5 seconds to accomplish this with minimal practice. I own a PUG and it is so easy! That includes getting the cylinder into the very safe ” safety notch” which is easy to verify because you will have only 2 chambers showing at 12 o’clock. You seem like a very nice individual and you acknowledged that you should have done your homework prior to doing this. I didn’t even watch you shoot after your attempt to load it because loading it was so drawn out. I can only hope that your marksmanship is better. Take care and be safe my friend!

  33. avatar altizer says:

    I have a 22/lr 22mag naa pistol and i have killed someone with mine if it gets by the ribs or under the cage of the ribs it will bounce and kills very fast the man i shot was 260 pounds at 6′ 3 “and he died in less than 3 mins it hit a back rib and turned up it never came out i was well with in my rights as it was a justified kill by Virginia laws

  34. avatar Shotgun18 says:

    I have had an NAA mini in 22lr for several years. Lots of fun though I still have to focus when doing the safety notch line up. Just today I purchased one of the new Sidewinders in 22 magnum and am looking forward to some range time with it. The safety notch line up on the Sidewinder seems a bit easier thanonthe other model but neither is a big deal. Purely as a matter of personal choice, and with many caliber choices available, I still prefer a .22 of some sort for carry. Daily choice of late is my Taurus PLY .22lr ; light, reliable and very easy to shoot. The NAA or a Glock 26 or Taurus .380 is most likely in the vehicle, but the PLY will be in my pocket. Even with a gun bay full of 20mm, wing stores of 2.75″ rockets, I always had some sort of .22 at hand. Those who have the opportunity to be shot with a .22lr or magnum will not likely recall the experience as recreational. My recall of many special ops guys in Vietnam was that regardless of what else they carried, a Smith and Wesson model 41 or High StandardVictor in .22lr as favorites for. Close up precision. My wife and I have become fans of the magnum rounds in .22 but trust the lr ammo more in small semi-autos like the PLY. All that said, we like the NAA products and are looking forward to using the Sidewinder magnum. Our house and vehicle firearms are mostly 9mm and .380 but we find the easy to carry, easy to shoot and compact .22lr and magnums to be very adequate walk around defense firearms.

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