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If the zombies ever come moaning up my driveway for real, I want to be ready. In a perfect world, that would mean a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle packed to the gunwales with food and water along with all the sordid full-auto, high-explosive nastiness that comes along with it. However, reality dictates that should the end of the world actually have the poor grace to drop in unscheduled, it will obviously be more of a come-as-you-are sort of situation.

At the very least, I’d sure like to have my topped-off plate carrier and favorite black rifle handy. Fully tooled up with half a dozen spare magazines and a proper handgun, I’d feel equipped to get my family through most anything life might throw at us. However, I’ve actually faced a crisis or three for real. The single common denominator to them all was that they were thoroughly unexpected. Whatever I had at hand was what I could use. All the high-speed hardware on the planet does you no good whatsoever locked up in the gun room back home. As such, it behooves us to plan a little baseline defensive weaponry that is painless to pack anyplace and anytime. North American Arms (NAA) and TALO have joined forces to provide just that with the Bug Out Box.

NAA is American owned and operated. Originally birthed in 1972 by the same company that produced those massive Casull revolvers, NAA has since become a standalone enterprise producing some uniquely adorable little mini-revolvers and Guardian semi-autos. Based in Provo, Utah, and manufacturing its guns from surgical-grade stainless steel, NAA is a thoroughly class act.

TALO began in 1965 as a wholesale buying cooperative. Its initials stand for “Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.” TALO commissions special-edition firearms from the likes of Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Ruger and NAA. These guns are all certified cool and are clearly birthed by gun guys for gun guys.

Canned Security

The limited-edition Bug Out Box is a minimalist grab-and-go survival firearm solution that, unlike your favorite black rifle, will painlessly drop into a purse or tuck into a proper pocket. The Bug Out Box consists of a lockable, watertight, transparent box that carries a five-shot, .22 LR NAA mini-revolver and 50 rounds of ammunition. The Bug Out Box is armored vehicle tough and compact enough to go anywhere.

But the Bug Out Box is not your end-all survival solution. Rather, it’s that baseline level of readiness beneath which you should never descend. There is a nifty little mini padlock included for use if there are little fingers about. Drop the box into your cargo pocket or glove box whenever you go fishing, hiking, camping or on a cross-country trip. This nifty little wheelgun is not going to drop a charging rhino, but in a genuine survival situation, it is a heck of a lot better than foul language or begging.

The NAA mini-revolver is not a general utility defensive firearm. Nobody claims it is. You will likely not use this gun for subsistence hunting. It would be a merry trick indeed to bag a squirrel or bunny on the move with this tiny little smoke pole unless you were hunting in a properly stocked pet shop or at your local zoo. At anything beyond contact ranges, you won’t use it to drop a whitetail or turkey, either. I suppose you could fish with it if the fish were big and on the surface, but otherwise this is not the gun to keep you and your family plump and fed on your trek out of the hot zone. None of that reflects the mission for which this diminutive heater was designed.

What you will do with the NAA mini-revolver is stay reliably prickly no matter what. This tiny little handgun will hide inconspicuously in the front pocket of a pair of blue jeans. A shirt pocket would even do. There is a half-cock position between each of the gun’s chambers that allows safe carry with five rounds on board. In competent hands, one of these tiny little guns is reliable proof against most two- and four-legged predators at appropriate ranges. While the .22 LR may not be your first choice for a defensive handgun caliber, during my time in an urban ER, I saw quite a few folks who had their days thoroughly ruined by these spunky little bullets. As we used to say in the hospital, a .22 LR will just barely kill you.

Mini Upgrades

This particular NAA mini-revolver is tricked out for practical use. The gun runs any standard .22 LR loads through its thumb-sized stepped barrel. While I’m not sure that this barrel geometry enhances the gun’s tactical prowess, it does look super cool. The Sheriff-style cylinder pin is grooved for easy access and snaps readily in place. This same pin serves to poke the empties out when reloading.

A high-visibility XS Big Dot front sight keeps the tidy little heater reliably pointed in the right direction day or night. The gun sports a blaze orange Hogue pebbled grip for easy access in dim light, though any standard NAA mini-revolver grip solution will fit. These options include folding holster stocks as well as grips with integral laser sights. For the purist, NAA also offers attractive hardwood grip panels for its mini-revolvers, too.

There are several holster options for these little guns ranging from conventional belt rigs to pocket holsters that keep the pistol properly oriented for quick access. The gun’s safety features are adequate for pocket carry so long as care is exercised. Practical applications are limited solely by your imagination.

The lockable case is indeed waterproof and all but indestructible. There is room for a small box of .22 LR rounds as well as a modest knife, a fire-starter or a compact fishing kit. You could even squeeze a small stash of M&M’s in there should you fear growing peckish. The back half of the case is also blaze orange to make it easy to access quickly among background clutter or rushed circumstances.

Last-Ditch Defender

Getting into the Bug Out Box is as easy as you make it. If there are no unsafe operators in the vicinity, you just flip open the catch and grab the gun. If the case remains locked, then operating the lock becomes the limiting reagent. Once you retrieve the pistol, it rides comfortably in a typical human hand despite its diminutive dimensions.

This is a single-action revolver, so the hammer must be manually cocked for each shot. With just a wee bit of practice, this becomes an intuitive exercise, however. I have a .22 Short version of this pistol in my personal collection that looks like it was scaled for my kid’s action figures. While novel and interesting, this particular gun is not terribly practical. The NAA mini-revolver that is the beating heart of the Bug Out Box, however, is a realistic defensive tool. This little gun is just big enough to ride safely and run comfortably while offering enough downrange horsepower to readily dissuade any adversary foolish enough to attempt any close-range pugilism.

I most typically tote my NAA mini-revolver either loose in an otherwise empty pocket or in a pocket holster. Thusly configured, you really don’t know the gun is there unless you actually need it, even in shorts. As the best working firearm is the one you actually have on you, this is the defensive handgun you never need be without.

The NAA mini-revolver is a close-range tool. The trigger is small and not conducive to precision work. If you really want to zap your targets out to a kilometer, you should pick a different implement. However, most defensive engagements in America occur at 7 yards or less. Within these parameters, the NAA mini-revolver remains both potent and nasty.

Always Armed

I was first introduced to NAA mini-revolvers by a local house painter I met at my clinic. He had run afoul of a dog while at work, and I got to spend some quality time stitching the various pieces of his left hand back where God had installed them originally. We had a good visit that, as is not infrequently the case, settled on the subject of guns.

This injured man reached his good hand into his pocket and produced a shopworn NAA mini-revolver. He told me he was moments away from using it on the belligerent hound when the homeowner arrived and settled the animal down. He used a term I have since pilfered myself many times. He stated simply that in the sea of guns the he owned, his NAA mini-revolver was the one he always had on him. Now that I have a couple of my own, I can say the same thing.

Unless I am asleep or in the shower, I am always armed thanks to North American Arms. Such stuff as this brings peace of mind in times of calm and potentially saves lives when times are not so peaceful.

The new Bug Out Box allows you to keep your NAA mini-revolver handy anytime, anywhere and in any weather. For the remarkable stuff it offers, the Bug Out Box is a superb investment.

North American Arms Bug Out Box Specs

Caliber: .22 LR
Barrel: 1.6 inches
OA Length: 5.5 inches
Weight: 7 ounces (empty)
Grips: Hogue
Sights: XS Big Dot front
Action: SA
Finish: Stainless
Capacity: 5
MSRP: $278

North American Arms Bug Out Box Performance

Load Velocity Accuracy
CCI 29 CB Short 649 0.80
Winchester 40 Power Point 873 1.40
Winchester 40 Subsonic 758 0.80
Winchester 45 M-22 Subsonic 838 1.25

*Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best four-shot groups at 7 yards. 

For more information, visit northamericanarms.com and taloinc.com.

This article was originally published in “Handguns Buyer’s Guide” 2018. To order a copy, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.

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