Item Of The Week: NAA Mini Revolvers: Self Defense on Purpose

Jesse Mathewson – Product Review Editor

Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.” Sun Tsu

NAA Mini Revolver

NAA Mini RevolversSmall self-defense tools are among the most deceptive tools available for the common man. We have been raised to believe that size is everything. It is cultural in the western world, everything from lips to bottoms and all in between bigger is better or in very rare cases smaller is better. This is the current pervasive belief that is held within much of western society. In the United States, the longest held myth is the following, “Unless it starts with a .4 or a .30 it simply will not work.” Those of us who have seen combat, been involved in self-defense or had other issues occur where firearms were involved know that this is actually scientifically untrue.

NAA Mini RevolverHowever, it is important to understand that I do not agree with the opposite extreme either, the often repeated, “more people die by .22 than any other” group of people. Rather I am a realist, a researcher and a practitioner who tests everything carried and does so with every potential defensive tool I add to my chest. As someone who grew up in a home where a .22lr supplied meat and fur money for the winter hard times, I am the last person to discount this extremely viable cartridge. However, I have also lived through the shortages following the 2008 election and the subsequent decline in quality control with big box American-made ammunition. As a result, I absolutely agree with the issues that can occur with .22lr, especially with dirty firearms or poorly made ammunition.

NAA Mini RevolversMy fix for this, simple, I chose to spend 0.08 to 0.14 a round for Ely or Ely primed ammunition made by Aguila using Remington machinery. Secondary, I have taken to cleaning my .22lr firearms every 200 rounds or after every range trip and once a month regardless use. Amazingly, my firearms and their subsequent accuracy and reliability has gone up significantly as a direct result. In fact, I am happy to say that when properly cleaned, maintained and using Aguila or Ely ammunition has reduced failures to a grand total of 1 in over 5000 rounds, better than centerfire 9mm and 5.56, produced by both federal and Winchester. (I have had numerous failures to fire and one squib over the course of the last year with these) while not scientific in nature these results for myself at least lead me to a simple conclusion, .22lr works quite well if you test, clean and use good ammunition.

NAA .22lr mini revolverSo now we are faced with additional facts, use of .22lr in self-defense. Over the past two years, I found several cases. They follow in a quick list of links. Enjoy!

These are just a few, there are several others but it takes a bit of searching, as we know positive uses of the firearm to save peoples lives is almost always squelched by mainstream media, after all it takes away from the narrative that guns are evil. Regardless, the diminutive .22lr is a round that can and does work. And from my perspective having owned and used a Beretta bobcat in .22lr as well as several other small .22lr firearms, Bond derringer and now the NAA .22lr mini revolver. I have to say I truly do love the NAA .22lr, in fact, I am finding myself more and more attached to this little piece of well-designed steel as each day goes forward. So here are some quick pros and cons of this handgun alone.


  1. It fits anywhere and does so with minimal to no tell tale bulge or printing.
  2. Five rounds of single action .22lr, using your favorite well-made version can when put in the right places (which are quite large on mammals) cause cessation of action. Eg., stop a threat as a last resort.
  3. I have yet to see it fail as a handgun. It works, every time the bullet itself works. Which again with good ammunition, means easily 99.9% reliability in function.
  4. It is accurate, add the LaserLyte® laser grips and it is almost impossible to miss the target at between 3-5 yards at MOST.
  5. I have shot it with the standard wooden grips, LaserLyte® grips and the longer folding holster grips from NAA and had no problems with all of them. The most comfortable to shoot was easily the longer grips, the more accurate were the LaserLyte® grips and though they worked and looked good, I did not like the standard grips that came with the firearm.


  1. This is NOT a gun for beginning shooters, IT is NOT a handgun for a mediocre shooter, THIS is only a firearm for advanced or well-prepared shooters. It takes practice and lots of it to be comfortable carrying it, I suggest using a DeSantis® nylon holster for pocket carry with the LaserLyte® grips or the standard grips from the factory. And of course, if you use the folding holster grip, well it pretty much does it for you.
  2. It has five rounds, that’s it, unless you have 2 minutes to reload, you WILL not get more rounds out. This is a LAST chance gun, a true BUG, back up gun, it is NOT meant as a primary carry or primary defensive firearm.
  3. It is truly so lightweight you could easily forget you have it in your pocket, check your pockets before hitting the airport or courtroom. Please, for your own sake!

So I know several of you have this firearm in one of its several configurations, what do like most about it? Why do you enjoy it and what put you over the edge in purchasing one?

Free the mind and the body will follow!

About Jesse Mathewson

Arizona since 86', lifetime prepper, camper - criminal justice advanced degrees, numerous certifications, 1+ million rounds (shooting for decades), prior contractor, instructor, current volunteer, disabled, honest, father of two husband of one - all budget and prepared. Jesse Mathewson reviews because regular people need someone in their corner as well!


  1. I had one with the first edition of the buckle holster because, well, I am a redneck after all. Even back then with my hands working properly it was just too small for my mitts. Cool little gun but not worth my losing a finger for. If you can safely handle, fire it and know that you’re doing it’s worth having.

  2. I carry a 22 mag. 5 shot and hides in a back pocket. Not a long range gun but will be enough to get out of a tight spot.

  3. Robert Duncan says:

    “Last ditch” .22LR mini-firearm: Excellent advice and supporting websites. As with any pistol, the shorter the barrel, the easier it is to shoot yourself and/or have it turned upon you. Something to consider is a .22 Magnum, also made by NAA in stainless. The ballistics can be Googled, but it is a highly underrated cartridge…considerably more money per rd. than the .22LR. The primer is built-in to the case as well and more sensitive to shelf-life storage for long periods of time. When plinking, I’ve had 10 yr. old stuff fail to fire…food for thought. Firing mechanisms for smaller caliber pieces generally require cleaning more often…cordite gums small pistols up quicker.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Oh agreed, after 20 rounds these require a thorough cleaning!

    • A magnum cartridge holds more powder than the standard over which it is offered as an improvement. With an inch or inch and a half barrel, doesn’t most of your powder exit the bore UNburned, hence unusued?

      • Robert Duncan says:

        Great question because I can’t fully answer it now. Yes Leonard, generally speaking a rule of thumb. I haven’t chrono-graphed the velocity, but even a hundred ft. per sec. will create more energy and could make up the difference. Unlike centerfire cartridges which can be hand-loaded with faster burning powders for shorter barrels, the .22 Short, LR and Magnums are pretty much what you buy. I plink more with my 10mm’s, but it looks like time for me to measure .22 Mag. velocities in stubby barrels. 🙂 Keep in mind, such light bullets take the path of least resistance and can curve around bone and still hit a vital organ, but don’t bet your life on it. I’ve walked patients to the ambulance with 6 .38 Special’s in them because nothing hit a vital organ. As far as .22 pistols go, I’d attempt a throat/neck/head shot. Defensive single-shot pistol-stops take practice and nerve…in other words, don’t expect it. Combat wounded: Nam, Class of 1967 & 68.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        Yep it does.

        There are 2 pistol cartridges that I have found to produce a large ball of flame (un-burnt powder) that equates to not well suited to short barrel guns. They are the 22-Mag and 30-Carbine. Both are made for rifles and have slower burning powders made to make use of the longer barrel.

        I have no idea if any company makes 22-Mag rounds with quick burning powder to get better performance out of a short barrel. I have never seen it, but that doesn’t mean they are not made???

        PS: I read a report years ago (I use to read lots of industry mags as I worked at a gun shop, went to the Shot Show and regional dealer shows several times) that regular 22 ammo is made to burn up in 6 to 8-inches of barrel travel. But then there is a bit of variance in 22 ammo these days.

      • Jesse Mathewson says:

        It actually does, hence my use of the .22lr version instead, a quick check of velocities with a calculator will show you (at the north american arms website- velocities of common ammos) that the lr and wmr are with only one exception virtually identical from a 1″5/8″s barrels

        Additionally, I use .22lr in other handguns and rifles and do not have .22wmr firearms so for me it would be added ammo for no reason. This being said, you can shoot .22lr safely from the wmr versions and I would suggest doing your own testing velocities and gel if possible for results before relying on mine or anyone elses suggestions.

        • Chuck Findlay says:

          Jesse I have a Marlin 22 Mag rifle and it is a good small game gun. But in a handgun, not so much.

          I had a AMT 22 Mag pistol and it was not a good gun at all, I just did not find it useful, reliable and it had a very loud / sharp crack and a big ball of flame. But then a lot (as in most of them) AMT guns were less then good back in the 1980’s to mid 1990’s. So much so that I would never buy another one. I had an AMT 380 Backup that was also garbage, I don’t think AMT knew how to make stainless semi-auto guns work back then.

          Question: You said This being said, you can shoot .22lr safely from the wmr versions. Are you talking about a revolver with interchangeable cylinders?

          Because a 22 lr is too small for a 22 Mag chamber.

  4. Encourager says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Jesse. I am always on the lookout for different weapons. Being a woman and having small hands, this might work for me.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      I would suggest a set of laserlyte grips and a folding holster, long grip as well. Than you can practice and carry as you desire.

  5. Heya Peeps,

    I have the black widow in .22 WMR. Using loads designed for short barreled pistols it gets 1000 + FPS and while expansion is minimal, penetration is within accepted FBI limits. With this gun bullet placement is critical. Body shots are unlikely to cause an involuntary stop, but head shots will stop anything you can penetrate the skull of. See above penetration info. These guns are difficult to shoot accurately, but I can hit man sized targets out to 50 yards with it if I take my time, and hitting head sized targets is easy at 10 yards, more challenging at 25 yards. I expect to use this weapon at point blank range but it is nice that it can be accurate out to reasonable distances. It is definitely not for everyone, you will have to know you will be frosty and not rush your shots, because if you do you will miss.


  6. These are great guns. I have experienced some minor problems, but sent the guns back to NAA and they fixed them free of charge right away. I carry daily a .22 magnum with an 1.25 inch barrel. In the summertime I load two cylinders with shot-shells for snakes. I also have a .22 LR. that is very accurate out to five yards too. I have a nice leather holster that I use to carry the larger gun in my right front pocket. When I carry the .22 LR I carry it in my right front pocket as well, but holster it in a Kydex rig my son made for me ( I believe he made one for you a while back Mr. Creekmore). Both guns are easily accessed. Naturally, a 1911 in .45 ACP is close by or tucked between the seats in my pickup for rapid deployment as a primary weapon and I usually have a rifle nearby too. I like the NAA guns. Of course there is comfort in a Springfield XD, Glock, or other hi-cap pistols, and they are great guns too in their own right. However, the NAA pocket pistols offer reliability, accuracy, and so much concealability! Thanks for sharing that very informative article.

  7. It’s a cool little piece, no doubt about it. In a stressful situation, it’s just too small to fiddle with for my big hands. Passed one up a few months ago just for this reason.

    It’s very small, but personally, any place I would conceal this I could do the same with a little 380. With just a little less options and a little more forethought something like a SW shield isn’t a difficult carry.

    Personally, I’d rather a 380 or a 9mm that’s easier to shoot and hold onto. It is cool however.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Agreed, hence my advanced persons use versus non. Practice makes perfect, additionally the lengthened grip holster alleviates much of the problem for large hands

  8. Chuck Findlay says:

    I never liked the North American Arms mini revolvers as they are hard to hold and slow to reload. Not that they are low quality guns, in fact they are well made, it’s just a personal decision on my part.

    I do have a Beretta 25-Auto, a Beretta 22-Short and a Colt 25-auto.

    They all have the ability to be reloaded fast and are bigger (but still small enough to hide if needed) then the NAA guns.

    The 22-Short I bought because it’s almost the same as the 25-Auto Beretta and it’s ammo (at the time) was much less expensive then 25-Auto ammo and I have close to 6,000 rounds of 22-Short. This allows for economical practice with it.

    I like the Beretta’s over the Colt, but all three are good, reliable guns. I can’t remember any one of them ever having a jam or miss fire and I have owned all three since the mid 1980’s.

    I would not keep a gun that had miss fires, it would get fixed or sold. It’s dangerous to own such a gun…

    I actually use the small pocket pistols a lot in the Summer. It’s hard to conceal a 9-mm or 45-Auto when you don’t have a heavy winter coat. But I can throw a pocket pistol in my shorts and no one knows it’s there.

    No a 22 or 25 is not the best gun to bring to a gun fight, but it’s good enough when you would otherwise have left the 45 at home. And as everyone says, Shot Placement is what is important. If you can place those 22’s on target they will do a lot to take the fight out of the other person

    And even Rambo would not want 6 or 7 22 rounds shot into him.

    Add to this that post-SHTF any bullet (even a 22-Short) can kill you and hospitals, antibiotics and medical support could be hard to come by and people will be afraid of a 22 just as much as a 9-mm as all of them will do you in.

    Over the years I have heard several people say that 22’s are mouse guns and not worth crap, but when you ask them to shoot themselves (even in the leg) they decline. So in truth everyone knows they are deadly once you get past their pride in the bigger guns.

    Years ago I took the Beretta 22-Short and shot several milk jugs full of water to see what it would do. And even at 25-feet (the max range I would expect to use such a gun) every bullet went through the jug of water. That convinced my it was lethal at the range it was intended for. And amazingly all 3 of them hold a good group at that range, I can put all shots into the head of a B-27 target at 25-feet.

  9. Chuck Findlay says:

    One thing to think about with these short (2-inch or less) barreled guns. They don’t have the bullet velocity of a longer barreled gun and therefore don’t do well with hollow point ammo. The bullet doesn’t go fast enough to make the hollow point work. There is not enough burn time (powders explosive force pushing the bullet) before it leaves the barrel.

    You are better off using 40-grain 22 long rifle (29 grain in the Shorts) solid bullets as they have a bit more weight and push then the lighter hollow points.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Agreed with bullet weight and lr or short versus. Hence my love of aguila or ely 🙂 no failures in priming, ever in over 5k rounds expended.

  10. Bonum Catellus says:


    You’re absolutely correct!

    The only thing I would add is NAA offers this same little champ in a 22 WMR chambering which is in my opinion the better choice for a couple of reasons.

    1) WMR has just that little extra that can make a big difference.
    2) They are more reliable that the lr.
    3) it has no impact on the profile.
    4) It has no impact on the user during performance since the whole package is already so small.

    I personally carry a PUG with the rubber grip. I’ve had no issues with handling at all and if you are desperate to be able to still use the lr they sell a cylinder you can swap out between WMR and lr.

  11. j.r. guerra in south tx. says:

    Thank you for writing this article. This particular firearm (mini mini rimfire revolver) isn’t often discussed enough. I have zero experience with them so have little to offer – I appreciate the learning experience.

    My Uncle has one, but I haven’t seen it in quite some time. I think it as a North American Arms revolver, it was a snubbie length barrel which allowed him to carry in it in his pants watch pocket. He was a rancher who sometimes went to town and always wanted to be armed, regardless of his location. This one fit the bill.

    Fwiw, I am a fan of small rimfire handguns. One of my kit guns is the Walther TPH, a small six shot .22lr. It fits in a pocket of my deer jacket very easily. My ‘high miler’ (very often carried) handguns is an Erma RX22, a Walther PPK copy that holds 8 rounds of .22lr. Great little gun, I’ve owned it since 1981 and its never let me down.

    Thanks again for article.

  12. Robert Duncan says:

    People have asked me what the best CC pistol is and I always tell them to visit an indoor range which rents. Fire everything available and find something they can comfortably hit with before buying. This advice is nothing new, but adheres to the theory that something is better than nothing. The other side of this coin is something that malfunctions may not be better than nothing; therefore, great forums like this one. Safety first.

  13. Robert Duncan says:

    Purchased a Ruger .22Lr single-action Blackhawk [wheel-gun] in 1980. It came with the extra .22Mag cylinder. Read of Ruger’s safety-bar which rose during hammer-cock allowing to safely carry all 6 holes loaded. Called them to inquire and they said to send the piece to them as the upgrade was free. I followed up and they were good for their word–something free was a refreshing safety surprise. Bought a cowboy-style holster/belt for it, and had a lot of fun…still do. No more “Brick’s” for $5 though. 🙂

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      The HR trapper had a mag cylinder and an lr cylinder…loved it, looking at grabbing a heritage revolver for the same reasons for my daughter. I have walther p22s (love em) and my daughter has her ruger sr22 again accurate reliable, and comfortable.

      But a wheel gun for the sake of having one in .22lr is just nice. I do enjoy very much the naa mini 🙂

      • Robert Duncan says:

        The HR Trapper, 1924-1941, an octagonal barrel–never fired one, but sounds sweet. Hard to go wrong with the Ruger as well. Walther makes a quality piece. So many great choices and no money. The .22’s are just fun, especially when compared to .454-500 Cal. wheel-guns. I can’t go more than 10 rds. with these puppies. For plinking, the .600 Nitro-Express is more of a conversation piece. Maybe one at a time on a good day for me…wearing gloves, body-armor and a face-shield. 🙂

        • Jesse Mathewson says:

          Most definitely easier to shoot. Shot someones short barreled 500 the other day, 6 rounds like to make my hands numb for a week and I can shoot 1000 plus a day practicing with the ol 9×19 or AR 🙂

          But, hit the target

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