I purchased my first .22 single-action mini-revolver in my last few weeks as a uniformed officer for the City of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, in 1991. I’ve tested several mini-revolvers from North American Arms (NAA) since.

Crafted with precision akin to a Swiss watch, NAA mini-revolvers boast stainless steel construction and are often equipped with quality wood or rubber grips. Their operating system pays homage to the iconic Smith & Wesson Model 1, the pioneer of .22 rimfire cartridge revolvers, produced from 1857 to 1882.

NAA’s mini-revolvers use a simple single-action-only operating system, aiding in their concealability. Each shot requires manual thumb cocking of the hammer, a characteristic reminiscent of vintage designs. A simple spur-type trigger like that on the S&W Model 1, is not enclosed by a trigger guard. Because of this, NAA mini-revolvers are NOT designed to be carried with the hammer cocked.

Despite their diminutive size, NAA mini-revolvers pack a punch, with a cylinder capacity of five rounds. Chambering options include .22 Short, Long Rifle or Magnum, depending on the model. Those chambered in .22 LR can also fire .22 Short, Long or CB rounds from the Long Rifle cylinder without adjustment.

About the NAA 22LLR-HG

A cylinder pin runs through the center of the revolver and latches at the rear. The cylinder pin, located directly under the barrel, has a knurled section and a button plunger latch on its end that holds the pin in place and releases the pin when the hammer is half-cocked and the button pushed. The pin is pulled toward the front and removed entirely. When the pin is cleared, the cylinder falls free from the frame window on the right side. The cylinder pin is then used as the ejector rod and pushes out the fired cases. It’s simple but effective.

With the trigger’s spur design, it’s difficult to measure the trigger pull weight. However, I managed to get a measurement of 6 pounds, 2 ounces with zero slack or creep. The base of the trigger is grooved for good purchase and to prevent the finger from sliding down off the spur.


Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Capacity: 5 rounds
Overall length: 4.5 inches
Barrel length: 1.63 inches
Height: 2.38 inches
Width: .88 inches
Weight: 4.8 ounces

With a traditional half-round front sight, I recommend applying a bit of Birchwood Casey bright green sight paint to help pick it up. While there is a small groove at the rear visible when the hammer is fully cocked, the trapezoidal solid firing pin blocks the view. So the rear sight is more theoretical in nature. However, the setup works surprisingly well even at ranges beyond close contact distances. Barrel length is 1.63 inches. The 22LR-HG model features a shorter 1.13-inch barrel.

Like vintage Colt black powder revolvers, the firing pin is fixed. NAA’s innovative Safety Cylinder system features five safety notches cut into the rear of the cylinder also like those on black-powder guns. If you are going to carry your NAA revolver loaded, it is imperative you rest the firing pin into one of those notches so that the firing pin cannot contact the cartridge if the gun is dropped. Never carry your NAA revolver with the hammer in the “half-cock” position. NAA offers a video explaining the operation of its Safety Cylinder, and you should practice first with an unloaded revolver.

The rotating holster grip sets the NAA-22LLR-HG from the standard NAA-22LLR, transforming it from a close-contact firearm to a small defensive handgun that can be used at significantly greater distances. The Holster Grip also serves as a partial holster that covers the trigger and allows the gun to be safely carried in a secure pocket.

The Holster Grip, which is made of lightweight yet sturdy polymer, has a built-in pocket clip on the left side. To open the grip, simply rotate it down until the two buttons on both sides lock the grip into place. What you now have is a much larger — nearly full-sized — grip that does wonders for accuracy and controllability. It changes the entire dynamic of the gun. To bring the grip back to its holster position, push both buttons on either side of the grip to release it and rotate it back up to closed.

Firing and Carrying the Mini-Revolver from NAA

I shot the NAA revolver sample at an indoor range due to inclement weather. The comfort of the Holster Grip was impressive, so I decided to test the mini-revolver at distances typically reserved for firing a standard 22LLR revolver with conventional wood grips. I sent the first target down to the 15-foot mark.

Loading the cylinder with CCI Mini-Mag 36-grain .22LR Hollow-Point ammunition with a muzzle velocity of 1,260 feet per second from a rifle-length barrel, I fired my first rounds with one hand only. The Holster Grip made it much easier to reach the hammer spur for one-hand firing than do standard grips. The front sight was surprisingly easy to see in the subdued lighting of the indoor range.

The five-shot group was centered low and to the left, with four rounds in the eight-ring and one in the nine-ring. I fired the next five rounds with two hands. This group resulted in a better-centered group with two rounds in the nine-ring, two in the ten-ring and one X. With results this tight, I felt I could move the target further and still get good hits, so I sent it down to 25 feet and fired five more rounds. I surprised myself with one round in the X-ring, three rounds to the right in the ten-ring and one in the nine-ring. Quite an improvement.

With its compact size, the NAA 22LRR-HG turned out to be an ideal companion during my walks down our township road. At only 4.8 ounces, it was very comfortable whether with its grip open or closed. Its lightweight construction and accessible design ensure readiness at a moment’s notice.

Should You Buy North American Arms’ .22 Revolver?

NAA’s mini-revolvers make fine emergency hideout guns. They are beautifully crafted, fun to shoot and available in a seemingly endless number of variations. I have never had a misfire or malfunction regardless of the ammo used. Made in Provo, Utah, the NAA-22LLR-HG is priced at $289.


NAA: NorthAmericanArms.com
CCI Ammunition: CCI-Ammunition.com