North American Arms outdoes itself again with The Ranger
by John C. Krull
Gun Week Production Manager
At the annual SHOT Show, I always have to visit certain booths. The reason why is that these booths employ people who have actually been with their company for a while and I have gotten to know and to like them, and secondly, just as important if not more so, is because they produce good products. Such is the case with the people from North American Arms (NAA2150 South 950 East, Dept. GWK, Provo, UT 84606; phone: 800-821-5783; online: northamericanarms.com).
These peopleSandy Chisholm and Ken Friel (wish Heather was still there) especiallyalways seem to be smiling, in a good state of mind and honestly glad to see you. They want to talk to you and are proud to show you what is new, even if they tell you for now it is a hush-hush item.
This was the case last year when I broke free of the Gun Week booth and got to do some roaming around and visiting. Friel right away took me over to a table to sit me down and see their new brain child; he showed me what was to become “The Ranger,” a top-break mini-revolver. I couldn’t believe the detail and craftsmanship that had to have gone into this gun, along with the engineering feat of making this gun small, but safe and very functional. The detail for the cylinder so it closes smoothly. The detail for the cylinder star so it ejects the fired cases. The detail for the top latch so that it locks up properly each and every time. The detail that went into hinging the barrel off the front of the frame. I’ve always been amazed by how they get the cylinder to lockup with the barrel for a safe shot. Now I don’t want to give them too much credit because it’s not like a revolver hasn’t been made in this configuration before, but to do it in this size does amaze me. Great job guys!
Here are the specifications on The Ranger: .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR), 5 shot, made from 17-4 pH stainless steel. The barrel length is 1.675 inches long with the gun having an overall length of 5.125 inches and its height is 2.875 inches. The width of the Ranger is just .875 inches making for a very small imprint in a pocket. Get this partthe whole gun weights 7.2 ounces unloaded and it still only weights 8.1 ounces loaded. This one you can’t quit hide in your hand, at least not my hand, but you can come close to it.
The Ranger actually does have sights. I’ve been shooting my sample on my indoor range. While I can backup all the way up to 50 feet, I’m keeping it in close to just 7 feet to be sure I hit my backstop. Using the sights from this distance, I am shooting 1.5 inches high and have a group of 2.25 inches. Not really bad for what I’d be using The Ranger fora backup or to carry when I’m dressed in such a way that I can’t carry any type of full-sized gun. I do like the idea that reloading on The Ranger is so much simpler than on the previously produced pistol with the pinned cylinder. Not that I’m going to do a speed reload and continue a gun fight with it, I just like the idea. Just the other night I showed The Ranger to Ken, one of my customers who owns one of the .22 Mag pistols with the 1 inch barrel, that he carries as a backup. He said, “All they need now is a speed-loader.” The thought does come to mind.
The only bad news about this gun is its current price. It has an MSRP of $499, so it is not an inexpensive gun. Chisholm does want to get the price down to $399 if possible; still not cheap, but better.
Here is what Chisholm has posted on the NAA website about The Ranger, its current availability, and current price:
“At long last, we have made the first few deliveries of a 22 Magnum-chambered break-top (or top-break, if you will) mini-revolver which we first hinted at when we hosted the “1st Annual” NAA convocation and factory visit about a year ago. We have named it The Ranger, for no particularly good reason other than that my General Manager, Ken Friel, has a fondness for naming things.
“The design and construction of that first prototype began over 18 months ago (which will give you a sense of our admittedly glacial development cycle), and we have not yet committed to full production, but it remains our intention to satisfy our commitment to manufacture 500 prototypical pieces; we have so far built 200 and expect to build the remaining 3 lots of 100 pieces each before the end of this year (2010).
“In June of this year (2010) http://www.naaminis.com/soapbox/sandy2010_06jun.html, we announced a Friends of the Factory Early Bird, which we have just completed. The remaining pieces and those yet to be built will be distributed through our normal channels (you’re welcome to call the factory at 800-821-5783, ask for Kenny, to learn to which distributors we have made recent shipments).
“As earlier indicated, we are using these first 500 to fine-tune our engineering and our production processes, as well as attempt to gauge market interest before we make the necessary investment in tools and production equipment to make these more efficiently and with a lesser cost (and commensurately lesser market priceour target is $399 vs. $499 for the current edition of 500). This is admittedly still not “inexpensive” but I continue to be surprised by the number of people who think that what we do is as easy as taking the bigger version and simply reducing the dimensions.
“The Early Bird ‘Early Adopters’ have been given a 30-day money back guarantee although we haven’t gotten any indication that anyone wants to take advantage of this. We will, of course, process any returns through the ordinary channels for the others, as we do for all our products presently. And all of these pieces are covered by our standard “lifetime” warranty. Please visit the Message Board where you will find voluminous comments about this new piece. I’m pleased to see that most recognize and enjoy the engineering and quality that make The Ranger particularly special.”
In my opinion, if I were you and had any interest in The Ranger at all I’d give Kenny a call tomorrow to see who might still have one in inventory. If for some reason the production doesn’t go forward, you will have a 1 in 500 in your possession that can be a show piece and also practical.
One safety item that I want to mention is the way I have been carrying my .22 Mag Mini for years. I just keep it on half cock. Ken, the customer I mentioned before, has recently told me that the proper way to carry an NAA revolver is to let the hammer rest on one of the slots that fall between the chambers of the cylinder. I guess this is part of the book I never read or it is just something that I have forgotten, but he is correct. I have read the new book that came with The Ranger on this issue. Otherwise the gun could discharge if dropped on the hammer or if the thumb slips off the hammer while cocking or de-cocking the pistol. So read your book and be safe.
NAA did include several additional grips with the sample test gun they sent. I immediately removed the Rosewood grips ($35) and installed the stag grips. They look really good on the gun. Also included were a pair of synthetic pearl grips ($35), a black checkered rubber grip ($18) and, last but not least, was a holster grip. This holster grip requires some assembly but when it is installed the grip actually folds back over the trigger. When it is in the open position you have much more to hold onto than you would with the regulars grips. Nice idea, you might want to give it a try.
Two leather holsters came with The Ranger. One has a classic metal clip for over your belt, and the one, that I prefer, for carrying in your pocket. This holster will help keep the gun in an upward position for gripping and drawing the gun but also helps to break up the outline of the gun in your pocket. Additionally, this holster has a buttoned pouch to carry an extra five rounds of ammo in it. You’ll find this configuration in my pocket every day. It goes unnoticed and is comfortable to carry as I assume The Ranger would be in this type of holster.
I have included a picture of some of the other NAA revolvers that I have. I enjoy them all and like shooting them. They include The Earl, also called the 1860 Replica, the two cap-and-ball models called the Companion, The Ranger in the middle and the .22 Mag standard model. The Companions take blackpowder and are loads of fun for both you and the kids to shoot, but remember they aren’t toys. Also included was a gun rug for The Ranger ($17). I could find the prices of some of these items on their website and others I couldn’t, so you might have to give NAA a call on some of the prices.
Recently an article appearing in Guns & Patriots segment of the Human Events website listed the Pug as one of the top 12 concealed carry guns under 12 ounces. In an article shortly before that one was another by Mark Walters. He listed the NAA .22 Mag Mini-Revolver as his #1 choice. Here is what Walters has to say about the NAA, “1. North American Arms NAA .22 Magnum Mini-RevolverWhat, are you serious? You bet I am. A concealed carry handgun does you absolutely NO good if it isn’t carried! The NAA .22 Magnum Mini-revolvers eliminate every possible excuse you can think of for not carrying some type of personal defense gun on your person at all times. It fits ALL possible attire from a bathing suit to full winter garb. No, the .22 magnum is not my favorite choice of defensive caliber, however the NAA .22 Magnum Mini in my pocket under ANY possible scenario certainly beats the hell out of my main carry gun in the glove box or safe. In fact, this gun should be on your person even when you ARE carrying your main gun. Never again do you have an excuse to be unarmed…ever. Everyone should own one of these.” I agree with Walters 100%.
So I guess I have told you about as much as I can and tried to encourage you to acquire for yourself at least one of the North American Arms guns. Oh, by the way, they also make semi-auto pistols called the Guardianin .25NAA, .32ACP, .380ACP and .32NAAthat aren’t bad either.
When you call NAA, don’t forget to tell them that John at Gun Week sent you.
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