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