NORTH AMERICAN ARMS PUG pistol PRICE AND HISTORICAL VALUE
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East Windsor, CT 06088
North American Arms Pug Mini-Revolver Pistol 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) 1" Matte Stainless Barrel , 5-Round Black Rubber Grip
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The North American Arms Pug Mini-Revolver features XS Tritium Night Sights. The Pug Mini-Revolver is a small frame revolver that would work perfectly for concealed carry firearm.
- Chambered in 22 WMR
- 5 shot capacity
- Night sight/White dot
- Slip-on rubber pebble grip
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Pug handgun is lightweight, fun, accurate
Several years ago, I attended the Kayaderosseras Fish and Game Club’s Circle K Regulators Cowboy Shoot and had an opportunity to shoot a North American Arms (NAA) five-shot .22 magnum model 1860 Earl revolver.
It was a neat little gun with a four-inch barrel, fixed sights and fun to shoot. Last January at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show, I stopped by the NAA booth and spoke with Ken Friel, general manager, who showed me their 2013 products. The more I touched these little revolvers, the more I knew before I left, Ken would be filling out an order with my name on it.
There were literally dozens of guns, including several semi-auto pistols, to choose from, and I believe I held and pointed all of them. But finally, I chose the .22 magnum NAA Pug, and both Ken and Sandy Chisholm, NAA president, applauded.
My reasons for the .22 mag were simple — I always liked that caliber since my first .22 magnum rifle that I used for woodchuck, squirrel and coyote hunting. Ballistics on this caliber are very respectable, and the Federal Game Shok 50-grain, jacketed hollow points will generate a velocity a bit over 1,000 feet per second leaving the Pug’s little barrel, quite sufficient for what I intend to do with this revolver. I know there are those that will think that I’ll be giving up (wasting) over 600 feet per second bullet speed and substantial foot-pounds of force, but this revolver wasn’t designed for long-range shooting. It’s designed for carry/self-protection and just some all-around fun shooting.
And speaking of self-protection, there’s a photo of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) with the latest edition of the NAA catalog and a caption that reads, “He mentioned that he regularly carries two of the firm’s firearm products after receiving death threats several years ago.” Sen. Hatch was also presented with the American Shooting Sports Council’s 1996 Congressional Leader of the Year Award “in appreciation of his leadership and commitment in defense of our heritage, our industry and our life.”
Before I reveal my plans for this little revolver, let’s look at all the features of the NAA Pug-D. As the catalog/website said, it’s squat and sturdy like its namesake dog, but this dog delivers a bite even worse than it’s bark. It has slightly oversized pebble-textured rubber grips which allow the shooter to keep a firm grip on the gun. The XS sighting system with a white dot site provides quick sight picture and will enable the shooter to direct the “bite.”
Safety is an important part of all gun handling, and that’s why NAA single-action revolvers are all equipped with a safety slot. In the past, the safest way was to keep the hammer on an empty chamber of a revolver when carrying it, should it be dropped or the hammer banged. This safety slot fits the blade of the hammer into a notch instead of in line with the rim of the cartridge. When the hammer is fully cocked, the cartridge automatically aligns itself into the proper striking position for firing.
Other features include a one-inch heavy steel barrel, overall length of 4 1⁄2 inches, height of 2 3⁄4 inches and width of seven-eighths of an inch. The Pug tips the scales at 6.4 ounces.
Before actually going to the range with the Pug, I researched some of the previous tests done by several noted gun writers and found they were impressed. A couple reviews said the aiming point for this type of gun can be different for each individual. One of the tests that proved the accuracy of these mini wheel guns used a special solidly mounted handgun shooting vise to hold the Pug steady when being fired repeatedly. At 10 feet, he managed a five-shot group inside of eight-tenths of an inch.
Last Sunday, I headed to the range with box of CCI WMR Maxi Mag hollow point, 40-grain ammunition, which is currently not that easy to find. At the advice of the expert gun writers, I confined my shooting distance to five-round tests at 10 feet from a standing position and was able to accomplish a shaky five-inch group. But when I got serious with the next 10 rounds, using a more solid rest, that group closed up to just over two inches. Just as the gun guys all agreed, this mini revolver is reliable, accurate and will make an ideal carry or protection gun. The only thing they forgot was, it’s a lot of fun.
For my last test, I set up an upper-torso silhouette target like they use in the Cowboy Shoots out at 10 feet. Then standing with the Pug down, I raised it and fired five shots which were in a four-inch group, but near the center.
That evening, when I was telling a friend about the Pug, he mentioned “shot loads,” which I did not know they made in .22 mag. Now, as someone always looking for a hunting challenge, I thought about hunting with the Pug. Obviously, it would have to be small game and/or pests.
Currently, all of the small-game seasons are closed, but the pests are open. I know those who live in rural areas have barns and sheds that are continuously damaged by chipmunks, pigeons, mice, rats and red squirrels. I think the Pug and I are going to visit a few farms and wooded areas where I know there are red squirrels. The hunt will start as soon as I get my CCI .22 magnum and 52 grains of No. 12 shot (200 pellets) ammo.
Check out these little revolvers at www.northamericanarms.com.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Magnum Minis: NAA Pug & Ranger II Revolvers
There are concealed carry-sized weapons, and then there's North American Arms. The ultimate in deep concealment and American-made, these miniature rimfire revolvers fit in a boot, the palm of a hand, even a belt buckle. If the smallest gun of all is what you desire, then NAA should be at the top of your list. Let’s look at the features and builds of two main designs – the Pug and Ranger II – to show you why.
About North American Arms
North American Arms handguns are made in Provo, Utah, from American materials. Do you remember the petite pistols set inside belt buckles? NAA built those and still does. There are revolvers in .22 Short, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum. Some have octagonal barrels, others night sights, and some even fold into their own grip for a smooth and almost unbelievably compact backup.
Heck, they even offer a percussion cap-and-ball option in .22 caliber. Though they do also build a duo of semi-automatic vest pistols, our focus here is on the bread and butter of the NAA line. All also carry the company’s lifetime warranty and exceptional customer service.
The vast majority of NAA’s designs are pint-sized single-action revolvers loaded and unloaded by removing the cylinder. Another more recent addition to the family is the Ranger II, which utilizes a top-opening design for more rapid cylinder access.
Built like the stout dog that gave the gun its name, the NAA Pug is compact, convenient, and delivers both bark and bite. The single-action Pug is chambered in both .22 LR and .22 Magnum with a 1-inch heavy barrel. Pebble-textured rubber grips are slightly oversized for a bit more grip. These five shooters can be had with either the standard XS White Dot sights or the XS Tritium night sights. Our test gun was the Pug in .22 Magnum.
The gun measures only 4.56-inches long with a height of 2.81 inches and a width of 1.06 inches. Like the other NAA guns, it ships with a nicely made metal locking vault with the NAA logo.
NAA Ranger II
A step outside the NAA norm are the easier-loading Sidewinder and Ranger platforms. While the Sidewinder features a swing-out cylinder, our test Ranger II has a break-open top. It’s chambered in .22 Magnum, though a .22 LR conversion cylinder is available. The barrel is slightly longer than the Pug at 1.63 inches.
The sights are also simpler, with a single front bead. The single-action revolver wears dressy rosewood grips with a bird’s head shape. There’s a star ejector for much more rapid reloads. The Ranger II has a bead-blast finish. Overall length is slightly longer at 5.16 inches, but it’s the same height and width of the Pug.
One of the most interesting features on the NAA platform of rimfires is what they call the Safety Cylinder. This engineering design allows the single-action gun to be safely carried while fully loaded. The Safety Cylinder is instantly recognizable from the notches located halfway between the chambers.
The hammer is lowered into one of these notches after the gun is loaded. When the hammer is cocked into the firing position, the cylinder naturally rotates to the next chamber. This eliminates the potential danger of a hammer sitting at half-cock over a live cartridge. We demonstrate this process in our full video and, like anything, practice makes perfect.
Field Work & Impressions
If you’re coming from a traditional shooting background, using the NAA mini-revolvers requires practice. The feel, grip, sight picture, and trigger are all different from the norm in both size and design.
The trigger is actually more of a spur than an extended blade style. Because of this and the gun’s small stature, shooters must take care not to overreach, but rather use correct finger pad placement on the bang switch. The NAA trigger itself on both model guns was surprisingly pleasant. They break right around 4 pounds. They operated flawlessly with all types of ammunition, from personal protection to birdshot.
Speaking of triggers, it is important to note that dry firing any rimfire is never a good idea. To remedy that problem while still allowing for practice, NAA suggests first removing the cylinder from the firearm. That allows shooters to familiarize themselves with the trigger pull.
Plenty of critics will claim that no rimfire is adequate for self-defense. While it’s true that most rimfires generally fall short on knockdown power and penetration as a primary defense caliber, the size of the NAA all but ensures these guns will always be on your person. Further, the correct choice in .22 WMR ammunition gives the shooter every advantage you can in this small package. We test fired some of our favorite rounds: Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection Short Barrel and Hornady’s Critical Defense. Further, no assailant or yard pest wants a faceful of CCI birdshot.
One of the more pleasant surprises with NAA, especially given the price, is the included packaging. Each of our NAA mini-revolvers came with a quality lockable metal gun vault. The little safe is keyed and foam-lined, with ample room for both the gun and accessories if desired.
Need one more reason to choose NAA? The holster options in leather and nylon are on point. We used IWB holsters from DeSantis GunHide, another American-made company. The tiny stature means the NAA is as at home in a belt buckle or boot as it is along the beltline or rigged in a pocket. Having an appropriate holster is always a good idea.
We did our range time testing up close and personal, with defense distances of 5 yards. The revolvers more than hold their own at that distance. The NAA is an in-your-face type of piece, not a target pistol or precision shooter. I’d rather have it on my side than against me any day. With its quality and American-made build, it’s a design you can trust to function when the chips are down.
Pug gun the
North American Arms Pug-T .22 Magnum Mini-Revolver
If you have been reading my columns for a while, you know I have a great deal of admiration for North American Arms firearms, both their Guardian line of semi-automatic pistols and the firearms they are best known for: their single-action .22 Short, .22 LR and .22 Magnum mini-revolvers. I like to compare NAA’s mini-revolvers to “Swiss watches that shoot” because of their precision manufacture and quality machining.
One of their newest iterations is perhaps their best: the Pug-T .22 Magnum.
The Pug-T .22 Magnum Mini-Revolver
According to the NAA website, the name “Pug” may have derived from the Latin “Pugnus,” meaning fist. I like this name association better than that of the small Pug dog. The Pug dog really doesn’t exude thoughts of aggressive fighting. Thinking of the Pug revolver as an extension of a combative fist works much better for me in terms of what it is designed to do.
The Pug-T is a refined version of the standard NAA .22 Magnum mini-revolver, with several modifications to make it even more “combat effective” (which is a cool way of saying “user friendly”).
Of course, the Pug-T retains the standard single-action operation of all the North American mini-revolvers. For those of you who are not familiar with them, this means that the hammer must be cocked for every shot fired. The five-shot .22 Magnum cylinder can be kept fully loaded while the Pug-T is carried, as long as you rest the hammer-mounted firing pin in the appropriate cylinder notch per the provided instructions (rather than keeping the hammer down on an empty chamber with only 4 rounds loaded). I highly recommend carrying it fully loaded; I do.
Different Than the Standard .22 Magnum Revolver
So, back to the refinements. The most obvious difference between the Pug-T and the standard .22 Magnum is the substitution of the oversized rubber pebble grip for the standard Rosewood Birds Head grip. Although the pebble grips are oversized compared to the standard wood grips, they are not anywhere near as large as the rubber grips used on the Black Widow mini-revolver, so that keeps the Pug-T still in the micro-concealable category.
The rubber pebble grips help most in maintaining a solid grip on the Pug-T while drawing and firing. Recoil, in terms of feeling discomfort, is really not a factor with these tiny revolvers. I definitely like the pebble grip feel.
The next refinement is the most important one to me at almost 60 years of age, and that is the addition of the outstanding XS Big Dot Express combat sights. The “T” in Pug-T stands for “Tritium” which is part of the front sight. (Note: The Pug-D model is the same as the Pug-T, except that its Big Dot front sight has a plain white insert and no Tritium.)
Both sights operate off the old “Express Sight” principle used on big game rifles. With this sight system, the shooter aligns the large front dot in the center of a shallow “V”-shaped rear sight. In the XS version, there is a vertical white stripe (or Tritium bar as an option) to help center the dot in the rear sight. The sights used on the Pug-T have a white stripe, rather than Tritium bar rear, which I prefer anyway.
When I teach someone to use the XS Express sight system, I tell them to align it by “making a lollipop.” This aligns the front dot in the center of the rear stripe and touches it. I find this system easier to align more precisely and more quickly than standard Patridge type sights these days. Since the standard North American sights are a plain stainless-steel front blade in a rear notch, the addition of the XS Express sight is a great improvement for me. I like the XS system well enough that it rides on my Beretta M9A1 that I carry on duty at my police department. More handguns should have them as standard equipment.
The last addition is a design modification as well as a shootability enhancement, and that is the barrel and cylinder release mechanism.
The Standard .22 Magnum weighs in at 6.2 ounces, while the Pug-T weighs in at 6.4. While .2 ounces may not seem like much of an addition, all .2 ounces of it are on the barrel of this very small gun. It is enough to change the balance dynamic, giving a bit more muzzle steadying weight, which comes in handy when using a gun like this in life-or-death defensive situations.
I really like the aforementioned cylinder release mechanism. With the hammer carefully set to half-cock, the underbarrel latch is pulled straight down under spring tension, and the cylinder pin is retracted, which releases the cylinder for loading/unloading. The cylinder pin is used for clearing fired cartridges from the chambers; live rounds will slip right out. Reverse the procedure for returning the cylinder into battery, then carefully set the firing pin into a safety notch. Be careful when performing this procedure, and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Testing the Mini-Revolver at the Shooting Range
I test-fired the Pug at an indoor shooting range. The XS Sights really helped me see the sights in the interior lighting conditions there. Firing Hornady V-Max 30-grain .22 Magnum ammunition, two-handed and standing at 20 feet, I was easily able to keep all five-round groups in the central chest area of the silhouette target on which I was firing — about 9-10 inches in diameter. Holding the Pug-T firmly in my strong hand and cocking the hammer with my weak-hand thumb allowed for some fairly fast firing, since adjustment of my shooting grip was minimal compared to cocking the hammer with my strong-hand thumb. Previous chronographing of the Hornady V-Max load from the .22 Magnum Sidewinder (with the 1.5-inch barrel) gave a velocity reading of 1201 feet per second and 96 FPE at the muzzle, which may not sound like much. However, when the round was fired into my standard 25-pound clay block test medium, it produced a cavity that was 2.5 inches in diameter at the widest point, with penetration of 12 inches. This performance is roughly equivalent to a .22 LR round fired from a rifle. The Pug-T’s 1.0-inch barrel should give similar performance.
If you are looking for a hideout handgun, one that is as low-profile as you can possibly get, check out the entire North American line of mini-revolvers, and make sure you check out the Pug-T. The XS Sights and the rubber grips are great additions to an already fine handgun, and the Pug-T carries great in a trouser pocket in a Tuff Products Size 15 inside-the-pocket holster, where it is undetectable. It makes a great hideout gun while on duty. Remember, never carry any handgun loose in a pocket.
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