Gun Review: NAA Mini-Revolver

The Noisy Cricket

Back "in the day," I bought a North American Arms .22 long rifle Mini-Revolver with a 1 5/8" barrel.  I carried it quite a bit, including stuck in the trauma plate pouch on my body armor that I wore as a cop.  At some point, I sold it to a friend, but always had a bit of regret about it.

A couple of years ago, I found the 1 1/8" version at a gun show and had to get it.  It is amazing how much of a difference that 1/2 inch makes.  It fits in a 100mm size cigarette pack, the watch pocket of my jeans, the chest pocket of my denim jacket, rolled up in a wool watch cap brim, over the sun visor of my truck, or carried in the "driver's license" pocket of my swim trunks.  I even wet molded a leather belt holster (basketweaved for style) to carry it on my belt or clipped to a backpack strap.  I used to know a guy who drilled a hole in the grip and carried his on a dog tag chain around his neck.  It is truly a go anywhere pistol.

Now, is it a great defensive firearm, ready to do battle with brigands and bank robbers?  No.  But it is the gun you can have with you when circumstances discourage carrying a full sized one.  Fully loaded with 5 rounds of .22 long rifle, it weighs 5.1 oz.  With the holster, it hits a mere 5.8 oz.

So how does it work and how does it shoot?  The NAA is a single action, five shot revolver.  Single action means that the hammer has to be manually cocked for each shot.  You may know that old style Colt single actions, although "6-shooters," can only be safely carried with five rounds, and the hammer down on an empty chamber.  The NAA has a very smart, but simple solution... between each chamber is a hammer rest notch so that you can carry it fully loaded.  You just need to be careful to lower the hammer on the rest notch.  To load it, put the hammer on half cock, remove the cylinder retaining pin, roll the cylinder out of the frame, and drop in the five rounds (use the retaining pin to poke out empties).  Roll the cylinder back in, reinstall the retaining pin, and CAREFULLY lower the hammer into the rest notch.  To fire it, get the best grip you can manage with your middle finger and palm, lining up the gun so that it runs straight back in the web between your thumb and trigger finger, in a straight line with your wrist.  Cock it with your thumb, point it at the target and squeeze the trigger.  Notice I didn't say "aim" it at the target.  It may be different with other hand sizes, but the rudimentary sights are non-existent to me.  The trigger pull is very heavy, but crisp.

You're not going to win a bullseye competition with this thing.  It really is a last ditch weapon.  But, with practice, a person can easily hit center mass at five yards.  It's also not great for rapid fire.  The little .22 round has quite a sharp snap of recoil, and follow-up shots require a readjustment of your grip.  About 8 to 10 seconds is pretty good for five shots.

MSRP for this particular model is $209, but you can probably find it for $149-189 or so.  I highly recommend it for a backup or deep carry pistol.

If this version is not your cup of tea, they have a wide variety available in .22 short, .22 magnum, and even black powder cap & ball (you can get that one mail order with no federal firearms dealer or form 4473 in most states).  At the NAA website they also offer a ton of different accessories such as belt buckle carrying devices, various holsters, and a folding grip extension.  They also have links to distributors who offer limited edition models and artisans who make the little revolvers into usable works of art.  There are even lasers and yes, a bayonet available from aftermarket suppliers.

Additional information - This thing is great with CCI snake shot rounds.  I've taken quite a few skink lizards and sliders with mine as it rides in my pocket doing yard work.  It is also a great game to shoot pingpong balls tossed in the air in the back yard

Why do I call it the Noisy Cricket?  Ever see Men in Black?


  1. Nice review. This is the one that I've always picked up at gun shows but never have "pulled the trigger" and bought one. May have to pick one up and load up with snake shot for my tackle box.

    I did have a .22 derringer a long time ago but I lost track of it. Heck it may have ended up in that no mans land that you can't reach under your truck seat.

    Bristow, Va

  2. Rick, this thing is great with snake shot! I forgot to mention that in the review. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I just bought one for my father for a ccw he is older and doesn't like to carry large calibers like myself. I have also considered getting the 22 magnum for myself as a third backup (also police). I have a idea to mount it under the steering column of my vic for those people that walk up to talk while I'm in my car.


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