Story & Photography by Tom Murphy
Here in Las Vegas, the weather has been known to get a tad on the warm side from time to time. When the temp crawls above 110, the uniform of the day is shorts, shirt, flip-flops and sunscreen. Packing a CCW weapon can be rather tough. Anything that weighs more than a few ounces can render your shorts to a new low if a belt isn’t employed. Even my Smith & Wesson 342 PD that weighs in at 10.8 ounces empty, will sink my shorts when it’s loaded with five .38 Special +P loads. So, what happens is that the gun stays home, where it does no good whatsoever.
The North American Arms Mini-Revolver comes chambered for the .22 Long Rifle or for the .22 Magnum. The Magnum is the best choice for hot-weather concealed carry, as it can be hidden just about anywhere—even in the breast pocket of a shirt. It is available with an ankle holster, and seeing as how the gun weighs less than 8 ounces loaded, it would be an easy carry. An associate of mine packs an M4 as his main tool, but carries a GLOCK G27 .40-caliber subcompact in a shoulder holster as his backup. He also has a Mini-Revolver in an ankle holster. His .40 is his go-to gun if the M4 is out of reach, but if everything goes Tango Uniform, he’s got the Mini as his last chance weapon.
It would be easy just to drop one in your pants pocket, but it can be tricky to get it out in a hurry. My method of carry is to use the combination holster/grip. It has a clip on the side that can be attached anywhere on your clothing. This revolver has the 1-5 / 8-inch barrel, and the holster grip actually makes the gun controllable. All my fingers fit on the grip—no little finger below. The Mini is single-action, so it must be cocked for every shot. This can take an extra second, but if your gunfights go down in 2 to 3 seconds, you either need something that can be rapidly deployed, or you need another line of work. The NAA Mini-Revolver is intended to be something to carry when other options won’t work.
When you’re out of ideas, ammo and places to duck, and your back-up 9mm is doing pushups in your safe; having this little beast tucked away in an accessible spot becomes a good idea.
North American Arms Mini-Revolvers are equipped with a unique safety cylinder, giving you maximum protection against accidental discharge.
NAA Safety Cylinder
North American Arms’ website offers the following useful information and advice:
“The North American Arms Safety Cylinder feature allows the gun to be carried fully loaded. There are halfway notches located between the chambers. The hammer is lowered into one of these notches after the gun is loaded. When the hammer is pulled back to the firing position the cylinder rotates to the next chamber.
NOTE: The traditional half-cock position is to be used for loading and unloading only. THE HAMMER SHOULD NEVER REST IN THE HALF-COCK POSITION OVER A LIVE CARTRIDGE OR ON THE RIM OF A LIVE CARTRIDGE.
If you have an older model NAA Mini-Revolver, or know someone who does, please check to see if it is equipped with the NAA Safety Cylinder—if not, please call [NAA] at 800- 821-5783 to find out how to update the gun to the new cylinder.
NAA Mini-Revolvers come with a Lifetime Warranty. If anything should ever go wrong with your Mini-Revolver, please call Customer Support to find out how to send the gun to us for repair.
NOTE: The following instructions are from our FAQ – .22 Caliber Mini-Revolvers:
The Safety Cylinder is a critical part of the gun. We recommend that you practice the following steps to become proficient at using the Safety Cylinder before loading the gun.
- Make sure the gun is unloaded.
- Make sure the gun is unloaded!
- Retract the hammer to the point that the cylinder spins freely (about half-way) and keep it retracted.
- Looking through the top/rear of the frame, locate any of the five milled safety slots (those notches on the cylinder between the chambers) and position any slot directly beneath the blade of the hammer (which is still retracted).
- While still retracting the hammer, depress the trigger (and keep it depressed); you will now be able to slowly lower the hammer and allow it to settle into the slot.
You can (should) confirm engagement of the hammer in the slot by attempting to rotate the cylinder. If it does rotate, the hammer was not engaged in the slot; repeat the process. Always visually confirm by examining the alignment of any chamber with the bore; if a bullet could physically pass from the chamber through the bore, the gun is not ‘safe.’ In other words, if a chamber is located at 12 o’clock, the gun is not ‘safe.’ In the ‘safe’ condition, the upper two chambers are at one and eleven o’clock. 99.9% of the failures are because the trigger was not kept fully depressed while the hammer was being lowered (Step 5). Once you get the hang of it, however, you’ll find the process becomes surprisingly easy, quick and natural.”
.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (.22 WMR)
The .22 WMR was introduced in 1959. It was loaded with bullets that ranged from 30 grains to 50 grains. The 30-grain bullet travels at 2,200 feet per second and has 322 ft-lb of muzzle energy from a rifle. It has 50% more energy at 100 yards than its cousin the .22 Long Rifle has at the muzzle. Sighted for maximum point blank range, it is effective out to 125 yards. At first glance, it seems like a too-small caliber for a defense weapon; however, that’s not quite true. Many guns have been developed for the cartridge, but the one that stands alone is the Argentinian EDDA submachine gun. It is a blowback weapon that resembles a MAC and has select-fire capabilities. It is fed by a 30-round magazine. It seems as though at least one country feels like the .22 WMR is sufficient for the job.
One of the more potent loads for the .22 WMR is the CCI 22 Maxi Mag TNT. It’s a 30-grain Speer TNT jacketed hollow-point bullet. When shot through a 1.63-inch barrel, velocity is 1,253 fps. At up close and personal distances, it expands almost out to 40 calibers. Penetration in wet dirt varied from 4 to 6 inches. Accuracy? Out of a barrel that’s less than 2 inches long, it shot minute of softball. Plenty accurate for what it’s intended to do. See northamericanarms.com for more information.
NAA Mini-Revolvers come with a Lifetime Warranty. If anything should ever go wrong with your Mini-Revolver, please contact NAA’s Customer Support to find out how to send the gun to them for repair.
|.22 Magnum Cartridge|
|Caliber||.22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire|
|Bullet weight||30 grains|
|Bullet style||Jacketed hol- low-point|
|Muzzle velocity||2,200 fps (rifle) 1,253 fps (NAA)|
|Muzzle energy||322 ft-lb (rifle) 113 ft-lb (NAA)|
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V24N4 (April 2020)|