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North American Arms - .22 Magnum Pug

When you are looking for something really small to conceal and carry, there is a growing trend to use some of the smallest revolvers available on the market.  The Ruger LCR is available and weighs in at just 13. 5 ounces.  It provides one with 5 shots of 38 SPL or even 357 Mag.  But what happens when something as small as the LCR is still way too big?  You could turn to the North American Arms company and try one of the myriad of small...no, let's make that really small revolvers they offer.

North American Arms Pug

At less than half the weight of the LCR, the NAA 22 Magnum Pug weighs in at just 6.4 ounces.  It is a 5 shot single action revolver shooting the 22 Winchester Magnum.  Don't get me wrong....this isn't a suggestion for your every day carry.  However, if you find yourself in a situation where your regular carry piece simple won't work, this might be a viable alternative.  Or.....maybe it is the backup gun.  (2 is one and 1 is none)  Or maybe you don't want something like this for deep cover carrry so in that case, it could just be a fun little revolver to shoot when you don't have anything better to do.  Any of the above choices are possible so I leave the decision up to you.  In the mean time, let's take a look at this little revolver and see what it offers.

NAA 22 Magnum Pug and Ruger LCR handguns

The above photo gives you an idea of the Pug's diminutive size.  The previously mentioned Ruger LCR is shown above it.  You might think the Pug would be a handful to shoot but that is not the case as the textured grips, made slightly over-sized, provides about the best grip possible on a revolver this small.  It is much, much gentler on the hand than a factory 38 SPL load coming from the LCR which, by the way, doesn't imply that the LCR has recoil issues.  The 22 Winchester Magnum is simply a good fit for the size and weight of the Pug. 

Muzzle view NAA Pug

The Pug is available with either a XS white dot or XS tritium sight system, the later being for low light situations.  The shallow V notch rear sight as a centered single line that works with the front sight for a "dot the i" sight picture.  Both the front and rear sights appear to be drift adjustable for minor windage adjustment. 

Loading and unloading of the Pug is accomplished by first removing the cylinder pin from the frame.  To remove the cylinder pin, place the hammer at the half cock position.  Pull the cylinder pin block down (located just below the barrel) and turn it 90 degrees. 

Disassembled NAA Pug revolver

Slide the cylinder pin block out of the gun (moving it towards the muzzle end of the barrel).  The cylinder can now be extracted from the frame.  You may have to move the hammer position a small amount while doing this for the cylinder to easily clear the frame.  Mine typically drops free.....so make sure you keep a hand under the cylinder to prevent it from bouncing off of the floor.  Installation of the cylinder is accomplished by reversing the removal procedure. 

The fit and finish of the Pug is nice.  The cylinder locks up tight as you pull the hammer to full cock.  Milled into the back edge of the cylinder are 5 safety slots.  They are positioned between each chamber in the cylinder.  The safety slot allows you to safely carry the Pug with all 5 chambers loaded.  Simply pull the hammer back enough to allow the cylinder to rotate and then position it so that the hammer, when lowered, will land on the slot.  Doing so locks the cylinder in place with the hammer resting on the cylinder rather than the rim of a cartridge.  Simple and safe. 

NAA Pug range target

My pug hit several inches low on the target compared to my point of aim.  The orange bullseye in the above photo is 1.5 inches in diameter.  Three 5 shot groups were shot at the target.  Those marked with "1" were literally the first 5 shots from the Pug and were shot from 15'.  The group was approximately 2 1/4".  The 2nd group, also shot from 15' and marked with "2", also measured approximately 2 1/4".  The 3rd group, marked with "3" and shot from 10', measured just over 1".  I held the top edge of the front sight in the rear sight notch (basically the dot was missing from the "i") while keeping the front sight centered on the bullseye assuming one could see if.  The shorter distance and modified sight picture move the group up considerably.  It is possible that I've not quite mastered the proper sight picture.  However, speaking with the employee that sold me the Pug, he mentioned that he also has one and indicated it shoots low.  At 25 yds, I would consider it an issue....but not at 10 feet.  As one of the instructors in my FS firearms training course would say, this is a firearm intended for "bad breath" distance.  Regardless, 75% of those 15 shots can be covered with a tennis ball.  When aiming center of mass, that is more than accurate.

If you are wondering what kind of velocity loss one gets from shooting a 22 Mag cartridge from a 1" barrel, check out the following table.  The data for each cartridge was derived from a single 5 shot group.  Since I wasn't working up a load but simply curious as to how fast those little bullets were traveling, I'm not fretting over a bit of accuracy.

  Std Deviation Extreme Spread Velocity
Super-X 40 gr JHP
40.8 FPS 85.8 FPS 864 FPS
Super-X 40 gr FMJ
21.8 FPS 54.5 FPS 875 FPS
** CCI 37 gr JHP 38.4 FPS 88.4 FPS 934 FPS
**The CCI ammo is 1970s vintage, left over from when I was shooting a Thompson/Center Contender back then.  It had a 14" .223 Rem barrel and I occasionally used a .22 Magnum cartridge adapter in it.  The label on the plastic box is long gone so I've no idea of the specifics other than the bullet which I removed from a cartridge and weighed on my reloading scale.  The head stamp is CCI. 

With the growing number of people carrying firearms for personal defense, the ammunition manufacturers have taken notice and produced a couple of loadings that are optimized specifically for short barrels....short as in 2" short.  Speer and Hornady have .22 Magnum offerings in the product line, tweaked just for something like the Pug. 

Speer has a .22 Magnum cartridge that runs over the chronograph at 1150 FPS from a 1.9" barrel.  The 40 grain bullet generates 99 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.  The Hornady offering is a 45 grain bullet traveling at 1000 FPS from a 1 7/8" barrel and yields 100 ft/lbs of energy.  I've not tried either of these as they weren't on the shelf when I picked up my Pug.  I've got some on order and will update the above table once I get the ammo and run it over my chronograph.  In contrast, the Ruger LCR (pictured above) pushes a factory loaded 125gr Speer Gold Dot +P to 913 FPS. 


More NAA Pug .22WMR




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