The NAA Sidewinder is the latest addition to its line of Mini Revolvers featuring a clean finish that is void of any machine or tool marks.

In 2009, I had the opportunity to visit North American Arms’ (NAA) plant in Provo, Utah. I had written about NAA pistols, but this was my first opportunity to see, firsthand, how the company’s little Mini-Revolvers were made. NAA’s general manager, Ken Friel, was kind enough to take the time and give me a tour of the plant. We then had a chance to sit down in his office for a visit. As we talked about the history of NAA and its product lines, Ken asked me if I would like to see a prototype of something he had been working on. While I had a lot of ideas, I never could have anticipated whathe was about to show me.

With a gleam in his eye, he produced what I could only describe as a miniature S&W No. 3 Schofield in .22 Mag. For a moment, I was a speechless! A year or so later, NAA introduced a limited production of the top-break model, called the Ranger. Unfortunately, the production costs of the Ranger prevented it from becoming a standard model in the NAA line.

For those few who are not familiar with NAA, the company was started in the early 1970s and established a reputation for producing the “world’s smallest” revolver. Its first Mini-Revolver was chambered in .22 Short and was only 3.6 inches long, 2.38 inches tall and weighed in at a mere 4 ounces unloaded. NAA later expanded the line, and the size of its revolvers, by adding models in .22 LR and .22 WMR. The little revolvers became a cult hit in both the civilian and law enforcement markets. While some don’t take them seriously, the little revolvers have earned a legitimate place in the self-defense market. As someone once said, “It is a gun you can carry when you can’t carry a gun.” Ken Friel tells the story of a narcotics agent who did a “buy” on a Florida beach wearing only a Speedo. Given the abbreviated wardrobe, the agent hid an NAA Mini-Revolver in a drinking cup! That is creative police work.

The minute size of the revolver and its reliability is a testament to the engineering, design and quality of NAA’s manufacturing process. The one common complaint with the original Mini-Revolvers was the process of loading, unloading and reloading. The only way to access the cylinder is to remove the cylinder pin and then remove the cylinder from the pistol. This must be accomplished anytime there is a need to load, unload or reload. The process is not difficult, but it is tedious and time consuming. NAA set out to solve that problem and, in the process, created a really slick little pistol.

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