North American Arms Ranger II Break-Top Mini-Revolver

By Randy Wakeman

North American Arms Ranger II Break-Top Mini-Revolver
Illustration courtesy of North American Arms.

If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is his victim. - Jeff Cooper, Principles of Personal Defense

Sandy Chisholm's North American Arms team (, headed by General Manager Ken Friel, has been hard at work developing their break-top mini-revolver, the Ranger II, for several years. Top-break revolvers are not a new idea, but in recent decades they are rare.

Way back in 1870, Smith & Wesson introduced the top-break Model 3. It was a single action, cartridge firing revolver that was the first cartridge handgun adopted by the U.S. Military. It fired a slow, 205 grain projectile (S&W .44 American) at 682 fps. In 1875, the U.S. Ordnance Board awarded a new contract to Smith & Wesson, for the Model 3 "Schofield," as the 1875 model incorporated the improvements suggested by Major George W. Schofield. The .45 Schofield cartridge was essentially a shortened .45 Colt that fired a 230 grain bullet at 730 fps.

Six years ago, Hornady introduced their .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire Critical Defense loads, which offered terminal ballistics comparable to the .380 Auto and the intimate self-defense world was changed for the better. It is designed specifically for short-barreled revolvers and North American Arms defines the mini-revolver. With the best self-defense ammunition, the NAA minis are more effective than ever before.

Hornady .22 WMR ballistic test
Photo courtesy of Hornady Manufacturing.

Above, Hornady's .22 WMR ballistic tests have shown impressive results. Their new .22 WMR Critical Defense ammo out of a 1-7/8 inch vented barrel delivers terminal performance near .380 ACP levels. The comparison above was not with generic, FMJ .380 ammunition, but rather Hornady's own premium .380 Critical Defense loads from a 2-3/4 inch, non-vented, .380 autoloader.

The North American Arms Ranger II is currently offered as a .22 Magnum, item number NAA-22M-BTII, which has a MSRP of $479. Also available is a convertible model, the NAA-22MC-BTII (MSRP $574) that comes with both .22 WMR and .22 Long Rifle cylinders. This mini revolver is a five shooter with a 1-5/8 inch barrel.

The Ranger II is far more accurate than you might think, printing 2-1/4 inch .22 WMR groups at 10.5 yards from its 1-5/8 inch barrel. This is likely a greater distance (over 30 feet) than an attempted carjacking or mugging scenario, to be sure.

You wouldn't know it from the media, but violent crime and "gun crime" in the United States has been dropping rapidly. Today (2018), it is at 50% of the level it was in 1991-1992. The "disarming reality" has long been, as gun sales soar, gun crimes plummet.

Yet, gun crimes "rocket" in England, where civilian firearms ownership is essentially banned. Gun crime in London increased by 42%.

Still, stuff happens. Not very far from Plainfield, Illinois, is Oswego. Just a few weeks ago a man went berserk, stabbing people. A resident in the same apartment complex grabbed his gun and explained to the stabber that if it did not instantly cease, he was getting shot. That ended the attack, without a shot fired. The stabbing victim is recovering and the suspect was apprehended.

North American Arms mini-revolvers are beautifully made and have significant collector interest. Make no mistake, though, they are life support equipment and you can have one at the ready when you have nothing else.

You have five shots and you can use them all. The NAA cylinders have a safety notch between each chamber, meaning the revolver is designed to be carried with its hammer down in the safety notch. You need not carry the revolver with the hammer in "half-cock" position, nor lowered over an empty cylinder. Accidental discharge is eliminated when you carry the Ranger II revolver with its hammer down in a safety notch. It is a good system.

The usefulness of the NAA Ranger II is limited only by your imagination. They have been used by undercover officers for some spectacular drug busts, for example, when few other firearms could have been employed.

I have known North American Arms owner Sandy Chisholm for many years. If you ever have a problem with a NAA firearm, you have Sandy's personal assurance, "We will make right any and every mini-revolver we have ever manufactured. This is who we are." Throughout Sandy's career, he has lived up to that promise. As a result, you can buy a North American Arms firearm with complete confidence.

The Ranger II is easy to use, safe to use and safe to carry. The specifications for the Ranger II show what a tremendously small and light instrument it really is. The unloaded weight is under seven ounces.


  • Model #: NAA-22MC-BTII
  • Type: Single action, break-open revolver
  • Caliber: .22 WMR/.22 LR
  • Capacity: 5
  • Barrel length: 1.63"
  • Length: 5.16"
  • Height: 2.81"
  • Width: 1.06"
  • Weight: 6.9 ounces (empty)
  • Rear sight: Groove in cylinder latch
  • Front sight: Bead
  • Grips: Rosewood, bird's head
  • Country of origin: USA
  • 2018 MSRP: $574

The Ranger II's sights are small and minimalistic. The rear sight is just a notch in the cylinder latch, while the front sight is a simple bead. This means the gun is essentially snag free.

The NAA Minis are made from 17-4 stainless steel and require little maintenance. They are not target pistols, although the NAA Mini-Master (four inch heavy barrel) is a lot of fun to shoot, with larger grips and more generous, adjustable sights.

The star extractor of the NAA Ranger II does not eject, it just lifts up the spent brass for easy removal. With the standard NAA mini-revolver line, you must remove the cylinder pin and then the cylinder, using the cylinder pin to knock out the empties. This is, normally, not particularly difficult, as even I can do it with little effort and no drama. (It does require juggling the gun, cylinder, cylinder pin and five cartridges, which is likely to be problematic in the stress of a life and death situation, not to mention painfully slow. -Editor) The Ranger II is easier to use and much faster to reload, as no cylinder pin is removed and replaced and there are no loose parts during reloading.

We have choices. We can blindly trust that no felon or terrorist will victimize us, or we can take preventative measures. North American Arms continues to do good things, making simple to use mini-revolvers available to those who are most likely to become victims, including women, the elderly and the physically slight.

Several books and articles have been written along the lines of, "Thank God I Had a Gun!" I don't know of any that proclaim "Thank God I was Helpless," or "Thank God I was a Victim."


The long-awaited North American Arms Ranger II revolver was worth the wait. It goes where very few handguns can. It is a hassle free, reliable, accurate and extremely compact little revolver that can keep you, your daughter, or your wife from becoming a victim.

Unfortunately, not all perpetrators have learned to fear their victims, as Jeff Cooper suggested. With a Ranger II in your hand, they might want to rethink their lack of fear. Good things can come in small packages and the NAA Ranger II is clearly one of them.

Back to Rimfire Information

Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.