The NAA Mini Revolver: A Little Fella

Sometimes you don’t have a purpose for a gun. You just appreciate it for an external reason. Maybe it’s a novel design, or maybe it’s just a good-looking gun, or maybe it’s historical. I love the North American Arms Mini Revolvers for a few external reasons. First, they are adorable. Look at the little fella. Second, to me, they are a modern feat of engineering. It’s as if someone put a challenge out to see how small you can make a truly repeating firearm. NAA must have said hold my beer because I think they won this contest. 

Their Mini Revolvers are made from stainless steel and are clearly precision machined. NAA must have really taken the time to design these guns to be so small but also very well made. It’s not uncommon to see very old NAA revolvers still kicking around. In fact, in 1990, NAA bought the design from Freedom Arms, and Freedom Arms revolvers are still kicking. 

These Mini Revolvers vary a bit in size, but the smallest is only 3.63 inches long and weighs a mere four ounces. This specific model is the NAA-22S, a .22 Short revolver. This gun holds five rounds and is still absurdly small. I like that someone did something kind of crazy in the firearms industry and succeeded in that idea alone. After years of wanting one, I finally broke down and bought one and quickly purchased the folding grip attachment. 

The Wide World of North American Arms Mini Revolvers 

My specific model is the very basic NAA-22LR, which is likely one of the more common variants. It’s a simple single-action revolver with a five-shot cylinder, a 1.13-inch barrel, an overall length of four inches, and a weight of 4.6 ounces. This is one of many models, and North American Arms makes tons of variations. This includes top opening designs, side loading designs, and guns with barrels as long as four inches for a very comical-looking revolver. 

Revolver unfolded
The folding grip gives you an actual grip on the NAA mini revolver.

Calibers include .22 Short, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum. Some of these guns allow you to swap cylinders to convert a .22 Magnum to .22 Long Rifle and vice versa. Additionally, they produce a model known as the Companion. The Companion is a black powder, cap, and ball revolver that’s really neat but sadly back-ordered by a year. 

My specific model, the NAA-22LR, is one of their earliest designs. Loading requires you to remove the cylinder, so don’t expect to use a speed loader. Loading requires you to remove a small pin from the front of the gun. You can then use the pin to push out the empty cases and then finally reload. 

Why the folding grip? 

I swapped the original grips quite quickly. Mainly because my hands are way too big for the small bird’s head grip, I could not see the sights over the size of my hands. Shooting was guesswork and guesswork isn’t the best idea with guns. Second, because carrying the gun like a pocket knife just seemed like a cool idea. While it likely added twice the size to the gun, the folding design makes it easy to conceal carry. 

naa revolver folded
The folding grips make it easy to pocket carry.

I also have to mention they make a belt buckle that allows you to carry your Mini Revolver. It’s a big, western style design. It’s seemingly made for open carry, and since I can’t do that in Florida, I decided it wasn’t for me. Plus, western belts on a guy who doesn’t wear a horse is like a truck that only sees pavement. 

That makes me ask, where is the keychain attachment for this thing? You’ve heard of a neck knife, but how about a neck revolver?

Is the NAA Mini Revolver Practical? 

This is a great question. There are certainly pros and cons to the design. The pros are that it’s super small and checks the box of at least having a gun, right? You can carry it very comfortably in nearly any position. Sadly Galco doesn’t make a shoulder rig for it. The folding grip is the best means I’ve found to carry it in everyday clothes. 

NAA mini revolver
The NAA mini revolver is certainly not tough to carry.

The NAA-22LR revolvers are Speedo-ready revolvers. I mean that, too, as the people at NAA tell a famous story of an undercover lawman wearing a Speedo while carrying an NAA Mini revolver. Their story is that he carried it in his soda cup. 

The little .22LR round isn’t optimal for self-defense, and neither is the .22 Magnum, but, they will reach the necessary penetration. However, the Uber short barrels offer a significant reduction in velocity. This can make penetration iffy. 

Hitting Targets 

These guns are also tough to shoot accurately. Even at seven yards, your groups look more like shotgun patterns. We only have a front sight. This might be one of the cases where a laser grip can be quite handy for more precise aiming. The single-action design doesn’t contribute to accuracy or speed, either.

Having to cock the little gun’s hammer means shifting your grip a bit, and due to the gun’s small size, it can be slower to cock than most. In a hurry, it’s tough to get off rapid-fire shots. The single action and revolver design does lend to some reliability with the .22 rimfire cartridges. 

shooting NAA revolver
Shooting this thing is fun, but it doesn’t score high on accuracy.

Should you get a click when you want a bang, you just have to rock the hammer and fire again. Even with their small size, the .22LR doesn’t create much recoil, and they are easy to handle without the fear of recoil. 

Drawing one can be tricky. Even from a pocket holster, the small size makes them tougher to draw with a proper grip, and drawing and cocking the hammer takes time. The folding grips help a little, but you need two hands to unfold the gun. Also, forget about reloads. 

Is it enough? 

That’s the big question. These little guns have been used successfully in self-defense scenarios, so I’m not going to claim they will get you killed in the streets. I will say it is really only a last-ditch option. If you absolutely cannot carry anything bigger, then there are the NAA revolvers. For most people, the little Ruger LCP 2 is a much better option for a .22LR carry gun. 

That being said, if you want one, get one. They are fun to shoot and are genuinely novel guns. They are a curiosity for me and a good feat of engineering. They fall into that fun gun side, but I guess if I’m ever caught with my Speedo down, I’ll have an NAA Mini Revolver in my hand. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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