What Is the Best NAA Mini-Revolver for You?
Colt Diamondback and NAA minis. Photo by Randy Wakeman.
That's a good question and one that needs to be answered in your own terms. I've spent quality time with three models, the NAA Mini-Revolver (1-1/8" barrel), the Black Widow (2" barrel), and the Mini Master (4" barrel). Of the three, the Black Widow has been the perennial Guns & Shooting Online favorite. The reason is a basic one: the Black Widow can be at the ready when other pistols cannot be. These diminutive pistols are, of course, .22 LR or .22 Win. Mag. As Ken from North American Arms likes to say, “ If I was going to a gunfight, this wouldn't be my first choice of cartridge.”
That's a large part of the equation, here, as we aren't going to gunfights. A firearm that you don't have access to, much less can deploy immediately, can do you no good whatsoever. While I'm not going into the realm of self defense issues, suffice it to say that regardless of your choice you should get training, become intimately familiar with all applicable laws and by all means practice.
The picture above shows the Black Widow, Mini Master and my Colt Diamondback .22 on top. This should give you a good idea of how small the NAA revolvers are. Not only are they small as far as envelope dimensions, but they are extremely thin, only seven eighths of an inch wide. It is the thinness and slimness that allows use of these revolvers limited only by your creativity. What surprised me most about the Mini Master is how accurate it is. It is easy to shoot, the adjustable sights really do some good, and just a fun gun to plink with. So far, the Mini Master is my pick of Sandy Chisholm's peculiarly perky little pocket puppies.
No one will debate that .22 LR or .22 WinMag rounds out of a pistol is a long range sniper round; they aren't. That said, shot placement remains the most important factor. Nobody cares how fast you miss them. That the .22 Long Rifle can be effective in stopping crime has been conclusively demonstrated by over 100 years of practical experience.
John Lott writes in More Guns, Less Crime: "While news stories sometimes chronicle the defensive uses of guns, such discussions are rare compared to those depicting violent crime committed with guns. Since in many defensive cases a handgun is simply brandished and no one is harmed, many defensive uses are never even reported to the police. I believe that this underreporting of defensive gun use is large and this belief has been confirmed by the many stories I received from people across the country after the publicity broke on my original study." (Page 2)
That is, of course, the best result of all, when the presence of a gun ends the situation quickly and with no shots fired. This outcome cannot be accomplished without the presence of a gun. The gun in your hand is worth a lot more than the G.E. Mini Gun you saw on the set of MythBusters. Eighty year old James Pickett slipped his NAA Mini-Revolver into a pocket before he came to the door and a pair of thugs attacked, stabbing and beating him. Mr. Pickett was bruised and cut up a bit, but he managed to shoot one of the would-be assailants and end the encounter. There's little point in having a gun if you aren't willing to use it.
The NAA revolvers I've used have all been extremely well made, safe to carry and easy to use. Simple and reliable, they make a good hiking gun without taking up much space or bulk. They obviously have their place for use on unwanted snakes, both the legless and the two-legged types.
One of the best-looking NAA revolvers is the fairly recent PUG (1" barrel). In NAA-PUG-T configuration it features a tritium sight, pebbled-textured grips and is likely the most useful 6.4 ounces of pistol that can be had. My understanding is that the PUG was to a limited edition, but has done so well that NAA has had trouble keeping up with the orders since its initial release in late 2007. Perhaps at long last I can snag one for a review.
CCI Velocitor Long Rifle rounds have generally given me the best results from NAA Mini's. They naturally don't yield the velocities you would expect from rifles, but nevertheless can break 800 fps or so, contingent on barrel length. With .22 Win. Mag, the best results have been with another CCI round, the MAXI-MAG +V, that has a 30 grain bullet. The highest velocities I've seen have been with this round, often breaking 1100 fps and doing around 1300 fps out of the Mini-Master. A candidate that I've not tested yet, the CCI GamePoint Jacketed Soft Point, may well make the most sense, as its about the toughest bullet you can find in a .22 Win. Mag. (The best balance of penetration and expansion in earlier G&S Online tests was delivered by the Winchester Super-X 40 grain JHP .22 Mag. cartridge. -Editor)
The vest-pocket derringer as a pocket pistol has largely faded from view. The additional firepower a mini-revolver offers along with safer, hammer on the notched cylinder carry just makes good sense for all the obvious reasons. Regardless of the NAA platform you choose, the slimness of the 7/8 in. platform at its widest point, the cylinder, is a distinct advantage. The choice you make largely depends on where and how you are going to carry it. My personal preference is the easy shooting, surprisingly accurate Mini-Master, but the new PUG with an overall length of just 4-1/2 inches can be placed most anywhere you can carry a Bic Lighter and is also worthy of your consideration. A PUG in the hand is worth a lot more than a bird in the bush, or an AR in the safe, for that matter. For more information, check out the NAA website at www.naaminis.com or visit your local gun shop to check them out for yourself.
Note: Complete reviews of the NAA Black Widow, Ranger, PUG, Mini Master, EARL and Mini Magnum Convertible can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2010, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.