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Firearms Review: North American Arms

A 4.5-ounce gun can go just about anywhere

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an advocate of North American Arms (NAA) mini revolvers. First, they are the greatest bargain in the firearms industry. Several models run under $225 and are made with the same type of fit and finish as a custom firearm. In fact, there are many NAA collectors who are waiting for the next new model.

I use a different technique to shoot them, but we’ll get to that later.

I have a .22 Magnum (NAA 22 MS) and .22 LR (NAA-22 LR) model. The .22 Magnum model is perfect for running, a compelling reason to own one. With the new cartridges like Hornady’s 45 grain (1000 fps) Critical Defense round, this carry option has become more viable. I plan to test this one in ballistic gelatin later this year, using my NAA 1 1/8” barrel revolver.

First rule of officer safety: Leave nothing to chance. (PoliceOne Image)
First rule of officer safety: Leave nothing to chance. (PoliceOne Image)

On duty, my NAA-22 LR revolver was my third gun. I had one in the holster, one in a typical backup location, and my NAA someplace one would least expect it. A 4.5-ounce gun can go just about anywhere. 

A five-shot revolver that fires a tiny bullet and must be disassembled for the next 5 shots has some obvious limitations. Every firearm and tactic has some limitation and if the user recognizes this, he can make it work. Off duty, it should only be employed if the uniform of the day is running or cycling wear. If the user is in civilian clothes, this should be a second gun.

The NAA revolvers are surprisingly accurate.

Originally, I thought that the rifling in my NAA-22LR was inadequate for spinning the bullet. In fact, it does keyhole with one brand of ammo, which I don’t use anyway. With others (I use CCI Stingers here), I can group at ten yards on a Milpark target. That’s right, ten yards.

I have never gotten any expansion out of a mini revolver, so bullet penetration is the key here.

I do not use upgraded sights for this type of shooting. It takes a couple of good range sessions, but one can train to align this sight picture.

One can deliver well placed shots with a NAA revolver. Their construction is so good that I have put thousands of rounds through my NAA 22LR without a hiccup. This means that one can practice a bit and experiment to find the correct cartridge for the application.

I used to use the fold out grips that came with my keychain sized gun, but I think this defeats the purpose. I can get one into a coin pocket with the smallest set of scales. There is a trick to shooting accurately using the tiny grips. It took a couple of years of use to realize I was doing it wrong.

Most shooters try to wrap their shooting hand around the gun, then “fist over fist” like they were shooting their Glock 22. It works for duty guns, but not here. In fact, this may place the web of the support hand too close to the muzzle.

Instead, wrap the middle finger and thumb around it like one does on a big gun, but don’t attempt to steer the gun with this hand. Instead, pinch the revolver cylinder between the support hand’s thumb and forefinger. Just pinch it, without trying to make any other contact on the gun. If done correctly, one should be able to see about half of palm of the support hand.

It is an easy cadence to release the cylinder a bit to allow for the rottion of the cylinder.

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes of using this method to realize that one can fire five accurately placed shots in a matter of seconds.

I may not always carry my Glock 22, but I always have a NAA revolver. My NAA 22 MS is my constant trail running companion and my NAA 2LR is my last five minutes of most of my range sessions.

Personally, I think these are the ideal longevity in service gift for law enforcement officers.

Get out and run with one.  

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