Firearms

The One Gun I Loved, But Sold Anyway

Stainless steel palm-sized mini revolver with wood grips

Should I sell my gun?

Three years ago, I was asking this tough question about a particular gun I had purchased for concealed carry. As much as I tried, I couldn’t love it. It was painful to shoot and a little too big for summer carry. I also needed some extra money at the time, so I made the decision to sell it. I do not regret it. I don’t miss the gun. But there is one gun that I do almost daily lament getting rid of and that is my North American Arms .22 LR mini revolver.

Yes, the little guy did help pay for my current obsession—a bigger, badder home-built AR-15, but every time I read about or come across the NAA in forums, blogs, Facebook or Cheaper Than Dirt!’s website, my heart aches just a little bit for the awkward to grip, slow to reload, but oh so fun to shoot tiny little piece.

Stainless steel palm-sized mini revolver with wood grips
The NAA Mini Revolver is a true pocket pistol—it conceals perfectly anywhere.

Specifications

I was gifted the Mini Revolver about 10 years ago—guns make great gifts by the way—and once I got used to gripping, shooting and reloading it, it went with me everywhere. A true pocket pistol, it conceals perfectly anywhere—even in the skinniest of skinny jeans. When you don’t want to or can’t carry—it fits in any nook and cranny and compartment of your car or motorcycle. With the smallest dimensions of any handgun I have ever held, the NAA Mini Revolver truly does fit in your palm. The North American Arms Mini has a 1-1/8-inch barrel, is 4 inches long overall, only 2-3/4 inches tall and a scant 13/16-inches wide. It weighs 4.5 ounces unloaded and barely more—not even noticeable in fact—loaded with five rounds of .22 Long Rifle ammo.

Grip

Now, for this gun to be that small and that concealable you do some serious scarifying of grip area. My particular model came with two grips—wood and smooth shiny stainless. Both the same size, I can only get a two-fingered grip around this baby. If you don’t have delicate lady hands, you will have to play around with different grips to be comfortable and secure. This is one gun I have seen people grip in the pooh-poohed “tea cup” and been acceptable. Plenty of men successfully shoot the NAA well.

Loading

To load the NAA mini revolvers, you must completely remove the cylinder, which is attached via a metal rod under the barrel. At the tip of the textured rod is a smooth push button. Push that in while pulling the rod out. This releases the cylinder. There is no ejection rod, so using the cylinder rod to push out your spent cases is the easiest way to reload. Once you load the cylinder, put it back into place, and push the rod, using the flat side up back in until it clicks firmly. Needless to say, reloads aren’t quick. However, with practice loading and unloading, you can remove the cylinder one-handed by using your index finger and thumb and rolling the cylinder into your palm for the quickest reloads possible.

Mini revolver compared to a large S&W .500 Magnum revolver
The NAA next to a .500 Magnum S&W revolver.

Safety

Like all revolvers, the NAA has no safety lever. To put your mind at ease, you can rest the hammer on one of the notches halfway between each chamber in the cylinder. This prevents the hammer from resting on a live round. To do this, you must pull the hammer back about half cock, rotate the cylinder to match up with the notch and then let the hammer down to rest in the notch. This system prevents an accidental discharge.

Firing

The NAA Mini Revolver is single-action only. This means you have to pull back the hammer for every shot you take. The action is quick. With virtually no trigger reach and the frame and hammer of the gun so close to your fingers, the single-action hammer should give you no problems with rapid follow up shots. The trigger is smooth with no reset, creep, just a steady three pound pull until it breaks.

It is best to master shooting the mini revolver one-handed, as any other way feels awkward and might even be a safety issue. Don’t ever let your fingers cover the muzzle. It handles recoil really well. Though there is muzzle flip, the barrel is less than 1.5 inches after all, squeezing off five rounds and hitting where it counts isn’t hard at all—especially from point-blank range to out to a few yards.

Because of it’s very small size and very minimal sights—fixed front and no real rear—aiming takes getting used to. With plenty of training and practice, while focusing on getting my sight picture in front of the raised front sight, I used to be able to shoot very satisfactory with the gun at my belly, close in front of my chest or straight out in a typical self-defense shooting stance.

Without much cleaning—which is a cinch by the way—the NAA never failed me hundreds and hundreds of round later. I never experienced a failure to fire or other malfunction of any type. It reliably shot everything I fed it, from Aguila’s Super Colibri, CCI’s snake shot, hot hollow points to cheap practice loads.

Gold-plated mini revolver with white mother-of-pearl grips
A special edition gold-plated Mini Revolver. NAA sells one with 11 carats of diamonds in the grip.

Carrying

As noted before, this bad boy is a conceal-anywhere gun. It fits in the coin pocket of your jeans with the trigger covered for gosh’s sakes. For women who want to carry in a bra holster, but don’t have the puppies for it to work with your regular gun, I’m betting the NAA will fit nicely there. Mine came with a soft suede belt holster that worked for inside or outside the pants. Deep conceal it in your boot or a bellyband. There are even belt buckle holsters and neck chains. I had the belt buckle—neat for the range and at home, but not practical for when open carry isn’t an option.

Accessories

Adding to its accuracy or perhaps it’s novelty—you be the judge—there are quite a few options to pimp out your NAA .22 LR Mini Revolver. For example, you can replace the grips with a larger, folding holster grip, which is handy, giving you a larger grip area, and comes with a belt clip for concealing and carrying. LaserLyte makes a surprisingly accurate red laser. There was even a bayonet available for some time.

As many gun owners and collectors will do—trade in an old gun for the extra money for a new one—my NAA served me well in many different ways. Fortunately, for less than $210, the NAA Mini Revolver is definitely on my “do own again” list.

Click Here to Start Shopping Online at Cheaper Than Dirt

Do you have regret selling a gun? Tell me your stories about one of your guns that got away in the comment section.

[suzanne]

[price]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (53)

  1. After the macular thing in my right eye made it impossible to see the sights on my shotguns and rifles any more, I foolishly took some to a local gunshop and sold my Beretta Silver Snipe 12g O/U and my Remington Mod 11 16g. What gets me the most was selling my all but new, fired only 12 times by me, pre 1950 Winchester Mod 94 and my GI M1 Garand I bought from the wife of a deceased Army General for $100 in 1951. I still kick myself for selling the two rifles. Perhaps telling this story will free me from the regrets… No I don’t think so.

  2. I have the NAA revolvers in 3 calibers, short, long rifle, & 22mag.
    The one gun I regret most getting rid of was a Browning over/under 12ga.
    But then I regret almost all of them ….Winchester lever actions.
    Would have liked to get a Python, but ended up with a Smith & Wesson Model 19

  3. I had a .45 about 20 years ago that I truly loved, and then was stupid and sold it for a Beretta 9mm. I was the gun to have at that time. My .45 was extremely accurate and never jammed. I almost hate telling you what it was. It was a Colt Series 70 Gold Cup. My heart is breaking thinking about it now!

  4. Thank you Janice for your condolences. It’s too bad we cannot get Llamas anymore as the (supposedly were all made before WW II). I do have a slim chance of buying an M-1 Carbine off a Marine at the VFW post i habitate at. One he hates because the stock is made of Mesquite wood. I have only seen one other rifle stock made of that is when I took a tour of the Fajen dun stock factory in Missouri about 40 years ago, They spent two years making up that stock and it was absolutely beautiful. If my friend wants to part with it. The line forms behind me.

  5. There are two firearms I wish I didn’t sell. The first was my M-1 Carbine. Had a beautiful stock except for the upper handguard that I swapped out for a better on at my National Guard Armory. Had all the accessorys for it (muzzle brake, flash hider, three scabbards, bayonet, etc.) Ammo was getting hard to come by (now you can buy it in bulk) and we needed some money for a down payment on some land we bought in Oregon. The second one that I should have kept was .22 Taurus. Exact scaled down verson of the Colt 1911. I bought it for my grandfather for his fishing tackle box but sold it after he passed away. I still have a .380 Taurus that my daughter kept handy when she used to be married to a Police Officer. I really, really like the Taurus as I could strip it down blind-folded like my 1911 NM in .45 ACP

    1. OOPS! It was late at night and tired from digging a tomato garden. The small handgun I was referring to was NOT a Taurus but the Spanish made LLama. They also made them in full size versions but I like the “pocket” sizes better because that was all I needed when hunting or hiking.

  6. M-1 Garand. Picked it up at Turner’s when they were re-importing them. I went through every one in the place until I found one with a good crown and no play in the gas cylinder. It looked like it had been thrown off a cliff, but shot 3″ offhand. I had it refinished to original specs. Typical story; back injury, lost job, trying to get through college. That and a few other things got liquidated. I doubt I’ll ever be able to lay hands on another one.

  7. Dear Suzanne,

    I still wear my FREEDOM ARMS (NAA copied the design) almost daily. It is easy since the Freedom Arms fits into it’s own belt buckle. Very few people (even some cops) notice it right there in plain view holding up my jeans!!!

    As for regrets I have many! When I was seriously injured and unable to work for almost 2 year, we lived off my gun collection. The biggest losses were my Winchester Mod. 94, I got for my 10th birthday!

    I also miss my personally owned police duty guns; 1911-A1 Series 70, M-1 Carbine with paratrooper stock and my beloved sniper rifle an old Enfield 1917, .Mod. Artillery Sniper with suppressor. It was a custom made 30-06, with fitted exactly to me stock, bi-pod and 4x – 20x rangefinder scope.

    But, they were expendable … my family was not!!!

    God Bless America and our Troops,
    OMK

    1. Orrin,
      Thank you for your response. Those guns you listed are sad losses indeed! But, judging by all these comments, we all have, at one point, did what we had to do.
      Take care!
      -Suzanne

  8. I reqret selling my Browning Hi-power in 1974 and for only $150.00. Stationed at Millington, Tn.
    I also sold my first glock 17 in 1981, stationed in Beaufort, S.C.

  9. I have been a shooter for over a half century. My biggest mistake was selling my small gun collection that consisted of a Henry Big Boy .44 mag, .22 long rifle semi-auto with scope, Russian 7.62 which I completely rebuilt & finished, a bolt action German Mauser with the National Socialist stamp on the receiver & still as accurate today as it was in the 1940’s, .44 mag Bounty Hunter single shot-only fired six times, .45 long Colt only fired 6 times & .22 Ruger semi auto handgun, Since I plan on being around a bit longer, I just ordered a Bounty Hunter & will build up my dream collection once more.

  10. The first REAL Quality revolver I ever owned was a Colt Trooper Mark 3 6 inch barrel Polished Nickel finish. Stock trigger pull was like something you’d paid a Big Time Pistolsmith to do. Stunningly beautiful gun. Dearly loved shooting it. It was partial trade on a O/U 12 gauge I’d been drooling over fora real long time. Sure wish I could hold that Trooper just One More Time ! ! !

  11. .22 High Standard revolver, traded it for a Savage .22/410 over and under! Thought I’d find another one easily, looked for years, have yet to find one!

  12. I had a Stevens favorite, was so worn it tumbled about half of the shorts I shot in it. I sold it for $4 as I was saving up $7 to buy a Winchester model 67 single shot. Got it loved it and was offered a springfield 22 semi auto straight trade, did the trade, still wish for that model 67.

  13. I had a Franchi Spas Auto/ pump that I wish I never would have sold. I have since rectified the dilema by swearing to never sell or trade any of my firearms ever again.

  14. I regret trading the revolver my Dad bought me for 8th grade graduation – a Colt Diamondback .22 with 2 1/2″ barrel. I learned how to shoot with that, but eventually Dad and I decided to trade it for an M70 .30/06. (Should have just saved longer for the rifle.) Oh, well, I take some comfort from the fact that I still have the ’06, and I’ve used it to hunt both in North America and on three African safaris – which I simply would have been impossible with the Colt – so I just consider it a lesson learned: DON’T SELL OR TRADE OFF GOOD GUNS!

  15. I owned a Ruger 44 magnum revolver with a 10 1/2 in bull barrel in 1988. I had to sell it for 280.00 dollars to pay the bills. I’ve regretted it since I sold it. I’m working to get another one some day. 🙁

  16. I still have mine, and the belt buckle in came in 22 long it’s a neat little gun but would never use it for protection. Just for show

  17. I have always loved my AAR shooter, and I had the same problems with the small grips. I ordered a set of NAA “Black Widow” grips that solved the problem. I always used the 22 Mag cylinder with Hornady ammo. My daughter took my little gun for her purse, because I bought her mother a 22lr version for her use. I now carry a Kimber “Solo” in 9 mm and like the variety of loads it will use.

  18. I had a Ruger Mark 1 with the 4 3/4″ tapered barrel. It was my first effort at tuning and customizing any firearm. Shot great, I always (pretty much) hit what I aimed at. None of the jams I heard from other people. And sold it for $75….. dang it….

  19. The little derringer is handy, but I like the “sidewinder” best of all, cylinder just drops to side like a S&W, easier to load and unload, also has an interchangeable .22 cyl and a .22 22wmr cylinder…

  20. When I was 12 yrs old my Father bought me a Marlin 39a. While it was used mainly for target practice it was the first gun I’d killed anything with. There was a Skunk buy our garbage cans and I was allowed to shoot it, but my Father warned that it had to be a head shot or the Skunk would stink up the place. 1 head shot was accomplished at 12 yrs old. Some years later I sold it to a co-worker and always regretted it. It’s been replaced by another 39a but its just not the same.

  21. The American arms 22 mag, was my carry gun till one night I felt threatened my another man reaching for ,( later found out was a knife) reaching for my gun, found out the cylinder was spinning like a top and was useless, lucky he did not know this and he ran, the hair spring holds the cylinder in place comes out very easily, the gun is an expensive PAPER WEIGHT, NOW my DB9 is a better story!! curt

  22. Had to get rid of my guns because of my ex wife …thank goodness it was a quiet divorce. I purchased this beautiful gun at a gun shop in 1978 it was lightly used so I paid the $250 for it. It was a Colt Diamondback with the perforated ridge on top in Stainless,what a gun but now it’s gone. I saw one in a magazine the other day selling for almost $3000.

  23. I’ve been re-acquiring some of the ones I stupidly let go … but back in the day when I had more wants than money, sometimes it was the only way to make that relentless desire go away!

    Back in ’95 I had bought a ’93 (NOS) Stoner SR-25 Match and after a few months I quit shooting it … It was boring because it hit everthing I pointed it at, so after sitting in the safe a couple years I sold it to buy a Valmet 78 in 308 … It too was NIB, NOS beautiful wood, factory bipod and bayonet … of course it couldn’t hold a candle to the Stoner and a year or so later I sold the Valmet and bought something else but a week after selling the Stoner I regretted it … Last year I bought a ’95 SR-25 Match and it shoots everybit as sweet as the ’93; this one has some age showing on it but it’s nice to have it in the safe … I have similar stories about an original SiG551, and a Valmet tube folder but the SR-25 was the first one I really knew I screwed up letting get away and that pain stuck with me the longest.

  24. No question 6″ S&W model 29 44 Mag. Painful. I think it is the only gun I ever sold though LOL so that could be why!!! I gave some away but never regretted that.

  25. I’ve only sold one gun in the last 20+ years and it was my Beretta .25 Bobcat. I regretted it the minute it left and even more when I bought my airboat two years ago. It would have been the perfect boat gun.

  26. Back in the mid 70’s I found a mint condition Browning Hi-Power at a small gun shop in northern Indiana for $150. The serial number showed that it had been manufactured in Belgium in 1968. Best shooting gun I have ever owned. Thousands of rounds through it without a hiccup. I carried it throughout the late 70’s and 80’s until 1991 when I made the horrible decision to sell it to buy a 25th anniversary diamond ring for my wife. I don’t know what the ring is worth today, but I guarantee not as much as that Browning. I’ve tried to get the guy who bought it to sell it back to me, but no luck.

  27. I learned a huge lesson with a trade I made with a Ruger GP-100. If it feels like an extension of your arm DON”T get rid of it. Sweetest out of the box six I have ever shot.

  28. One thing about these little mini revolver or any revolver with a safety notch load it outside your home with the gun pointing at the dirt. That why if you make the mistake of lowering the hammer into the firing notch it goes off into the dirt.

    People have shot themselves or put a hole in something in their house loading the NAA mini.

    Also don’t try to decock the gun. Fire it into the dirt, half cock it and remove the cylinder. Go inside and the next day clean the gun and try to load it outside.

    1. The NAA .22 has safety notches on the cylinder between chambers so the hammer is resting between bullets. This is a great safety feature, so i never worry about an accidental discharge when loading or carrying. When you are ready to fire it cock the hammer & the cylinder revolves to the next loaded chamber.

  29. I had a t53 mosin.
    When i got it it was cover in cosmoline, it took hours and hours to clean it, i had to refinish the stock because it was destroyed.
    It was incredibly accurate for the type of rifle
    I was shooting 4 inch groups at 100 yards free hand
    I sold it to fund another gun which i ended having to get rid of anyway and i still havent had the the chance to get another

  30. S&W 632-2 Pro in .327 federal. I couldn’t justify keeping it when the street price went up to $1000 after they went out of production. Fluted barrel, trijicon night sights, beautiful stainless bead blasted finish. I feel like it was the right thing to do, but I definitely miss it. There was just something about it.

  31. I miss my SCCY cpx2 at 15oz of reliable 9mm that cycles snake shot. My normal carry is a g26 and sold the sccy to a friend to get my wife a deal I found on a g26 with night sights. I MISS CARRYING THE CPX2 while working outside and on the tractor to reduce our venomous snake on the farm. Will get another one when the kids are out of college. Thanks for the articles

  32. I love my NAA .22 Mag and told myself, this little gun I will never sell. I have some oversized rubber grips on it and it is a trusty companion that I can carry around all day, everyday, up until I go to sleep.

  33. Bringing this back to the mini, They are great little guns.They take some adjustment but for a SMALL cc or backup gun they are perfect. They are mostly a belly gun but that is when you will need the backup. Suzanne talked about a bra holster. I saw a story on women who carry. One Texas shop keeper kept hers on the outside front and center! Was not too heavy to cause sag. They come in .22 short,LR,and magnum.

    People laugh at them but for what they are designed for they are perfect .

    Also they come in CAP & BALL black powder types. I got my C&B magnum from Cheaper than Dirt. Don’t laugh the little guy barks loud and punches a deep hole. I got mine just because I could.Check out there blog.

    1. Like Suzanne said reload is slow. but you can get a extra cylinder for quick loading.They are very small out of the gun.

    2. The cylinders are timed with the gun. Use a cylinder from another NAA mini revolver and it could be a disaster. They are meant to be bugs and hence not reloadable in a combat situation unless you get a NAA revolver like the sidewinder or the ranger.

  34. I have sold many guns that I have regretted selling but the one I regret the most is my first gun. In 1987 I bought a S&W 686 and 1993 I found myself with a wife, new born and a bad financial situation and needed the money so I sold it with one of my home made holsters for $150. OMG!

  35. I’m a WWII buff and my father served in Italy, and I had wanted an M1 Garand for most of my life, and a few years ago picked up a pristine example of the new Garands from Springfield (they no longer make them now). I loved it and it was one sweet shooter. A few years later I was moving across the country and sold it to a LEO friend of mine lighten up my gun load.

    I regretted it almost immediately. Every time i saw a picture of a Garand in a magazine or in a movie, it just plain hurt.

    A few months ago I found a 1943 Garand in great condition, and my wonderful wife told me to buy it. I love it, and the fact that it’s from 1943 makes it even better than the other one I had sold. You gotta love having a wife who loves guns as much as i do.

  36. I constantly kick myself for selling a NIB Walther PPK 7.65mm and not picking up out of my father-in-law’s estate his Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless that his father carried in WW1.

    1. What a sweet little weapon, the hammerless 1903 32 cal automatic. I had to dispose of mine when I returned from China (ROC) in 57. Our all-knowing State Department left us out to dry there with no means of self defense. Living on the economy, with 8 armed MPs on call in a city of 400K Asians, we few GIs each took our own measures. Mine was the little 32, which was a court martial offense to possess and had to be left behind. FYI, if the balloon went up all this 6’7″ white boy had to do was to travel 2 miles through the unfriendlies to our armory to get a weapon.

    2. I have a Colt 1903 in .25 auto that my dad bought for my mom when she was home alone. It is in perfect condition…you would swear it just came out of the box! Anyone have an idea what it’s worth – not that I want to sell it…just curious.

  37. I traded a 6.5mm Carcano that I was given for an absolute P.O.S. semi-auto .22LR pistol in a private transaction. The rifle was flawless, and the pistol (which I still have in storage) is malfunction city. I was young, and that 6.5mm ammo was only produced by Norma and was $21 a box. Too much dough for a young casual shooter, and no such thing as the internet to search for less expensive ammo. Ever since then, I have only dealt with dealers.

  38. I sold a .30 caliber Ruger Black Hawk single action revolver. It was loud because it firing .30 carbine ammo. It felt good in my hand. It looked good and I could quick draw it from a side or shoulder holster. I took it to a gun show to see about trading it for something else but sold it because a vendor made me an offer for more than I thought it was worth. I never did get that “something else”. (I would have liked a 1911). yes, I do have a .30 carbine that worked well with it.

  39. Several years ago an uncle left me a gun that he purchased while in the airforce. My uncle was a Major and a fighter pilot. Dick flew combat in Korea And Vietnam. Before he died he gave me his 20 gage SKB. Beautifully etched, amazing walnut and never shot. I was broke and had to sell it and it hurts to this day.

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