The North American Arms Mini Revolver encompasses a family of ultra-compact revolvers and are among the smallest handguns you can buy today. Although there are virtually no other handguns on the market that are as small and as easy to conceal as the Mini Revolver, you may be wondering whether they are worth it.
Learn about the Mini Revolver’s history, what models and chamberings are available, and what kind of performance you can expect.
A Brief History of North American Arms
North American Arms (NAA) is a Utah company founded in 1972. Initially known as Rocky Mountain Arms, the company was purchased in 1974 by North American Manufacturing and given its current name.
The company headquarters has moved a few times since its inception in Salt Lake City. NAA’s current home is in Provo, UT, where it has resided from 1978 to 1984 and from 1992 until today.
As a firearms company, NAA is most well-known for producing the Mini Revolver, a series of ultra-compact, five-shot, single-action revolvers with a spurred trigger and no trigger guard. The original North American Arms Mini Revolver, the NAA-22LR .22 derringer revolver, was first introduced in 1975 and is still in production today.
NAA Mini Revolver Models
The modern Mini Revolver product lineup consists of the following models:
The original NAA-22LR chambered in .22 Long Rifle
The NAA-22S chambered in .22 Short
The NAA-22M chambered in .22 Magnum
The NAA Black Widow chambered in .22 Magnum/.22 Long Rifle, equipped with oversized grips and a heavy vented barrel.
The NAA Mini-Master, a long-barreled version of the .22 LR model
The NAA Pug, a .22 Magnum model, fitted with high-visibility sights and textured rubber grips
How the NAA Mini Revolver Works
Although the specifics may vary depending on the model, most NAA Mini Revolvers are made according to the same template: They are tiny guns that can shoot a small rimfire cartridge (usually .22 Long Rifle or .22 Magnum), made of 100% stainless steel and fitted with oversized grips made of wood, plastic, or rubber.
Action and basic operation
As with any other single action revolver, the shooter must cock the hammer between each shot. However, a few operational differences make the Mini Revolver unique, most notably the trigger and the cylinder.
The NAA Mini Revolver employs a unique spurred trigger mechanism. Instead of a standard trigger guard, the trigger is protected by a protrusion in the frame. When the hammer is uncocked, the trigger sits inside the protrusion and cannot be depressed. Cocking the hammer presents the trigger forward, allowing the shooter to pull it and fire.
Some Mini Revolver models feature an oversized folding grip covering the trigger and frame protrusion entirely. The purpose of this folding grip is to serve as an additional layer of safety, preventing the shooter from accidentally firing it until unfolded and ready to shoot.
Cylinder and safety mechanism
The cylinder holds five cartridges and operates differently from most other single action revolvers on the market. One of the distinctive features of a Mini Revolver’s cylinders is the safety notches visible between each chamber.
The purpose of these notches is to serve as an additional safety against accidental discharges. Instead of resting the hammer against an unfired cartridge or leaving the Mini Revolver cocked and locked, the shooter may carry the Mini Revolver with the hammer resting inside one of these notches.
Upon cocking the hammer, the cylinder rotates and aligns the next chamber with the barrel, making it ready to fire again.
Loading and unloading
The cylinder is locked in place via a central rod protruding from under the barrel, resembling the ejector rod of a standard double-action revolver.
To load the NAA Mini Revolver, you must first unlock the cylinder. Press on the cylinder rod’s button and pull the rod out of the frame. The cylinder can now be freely separated from the frame, giving you access to the chambers.
Due to the lack of a central ejector, you must manually extract the spent cases from the chambers with a rod, stick, or similar tool. Once the chambers are clear, you may reload the cylinder with fresh cartridges.
Once loaded, replace the cylinder into the frame, aligning the center with the central rod channel, then reinsert the central rod into the frame to lock the cylinder in place.
If you have difficulties reinserting the cylinder into the frame, the hammer and firing pin may be blocking the way. To remediate this issue, simply pull the hammer down slightly (not all the way into the cocked position), making just enough room to re-align the cylinder.
Performance and Reliability
The primary purposes of the NAA Mini Revolver are to serve as a gun for deep concealment or very close-quarters emergencies. The Mini Revolver is not intended to replace your existing concealed carry pistol or even your backup gun.
The Mini Revolver shines most in situations where carrying anything more substantial is either impossible due to wardrobe limitations or comes with the risk of severe consequences, such as in non-permissive workplaces.
Capacity and chambering
Depending on the model, your Mini Revolver may be chambered in .22 Long Rifle, .22 Short, or .22 Magnum. All models feature a 5-shot cylinder.
Although small, the NAA Mini Revolver is exceptionally well-made and reliable. It is constructed of 17-4 PH stainless steel, a high-strength, surgical-grade material with unmatched durability and rust resistance. The build quality is very high, with each part machined with tight tolerances and an excellent fit and finish.
Recoil and shooting comfort
No matter what cartridge your Mini Revolver shoots, all of them are noticeably loud, snappy, and difficult to grip, even the version featuring oversized grip panels.
This handgun sacrifices nearly all shooting comfort in favor of size and concealment. However, as long as you remain patient and steady, you should be able to keep the NAA under control
A typical Mini Revolver features a barrel length ranging between 1-⅛” and 1-⅝”. None of them feature a rear sight, only a single front sight blade, making precise shooting challenging.
The Mini Revolver is mechanically accurate, and with some target practice, you can keep all rounds on a man-sized target at ranges of up to 15 yards. However, range conditions are much unlike real-world high-stress situations; it is highly advisable to close as much distance as possible if you need to use the Mini Revolver in a self-defense situation.
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