EDC Micro-Carry

An NAA .22 Mag. anchors Mike’s deep-cover carry rig!

The mini revolver’s Holster Grip unfolds to provide a full-size grip for the tiny little 5-shot magnum.

I’ve almost always been the guy who carries a full-size handgun for CCW. I was willing to forego comfort for capability, wanting to make sure I had a gun both effective and reliable. But, over the years I’ve sized things down a bit. While I carried a full-size Springfield Armory TRP 1911 .45 ACP in my early CCW days, I currently carry a “mid-sized” Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact 9mm.

However, I’ve been thinking lately about those who don’t want to (or cannot) carry a large handgun, and where even a traditional “compact” handgun like an S&W J-Frame or a Ruger LCP may be too large. I’m talking about truly small handguns in the “micro”-size range. So as an experiment, I set about putting together a “micro-carry” system of the smallest practical gun and support gear I could find.

Mike’s “Micro-Carry Rig” is made up of a Holster Grip-equipped NAA .22 Magnum
backed up with a Tuff Products QuickStrip loaded with Speer and CCI ammo. Rounding
out the package is a Streamlight ProTac light and a Lansky World Legal knife.

The Foundation

When it comes to truly tiny handguns, no discussion would be complete without considering North American Arms (NAA). With its broad selection of mini revolvers and semi-auto Guardian pistols, NAA is a great source for deep-cover carry guns.

Due to their small size, I was drawn to NAA’s single-action, 5-shot revolver line, specifically the NAA-22MSC-HG. This 6.2 oz. gun is part of the company’s Standard Magnum line of .22 Magnum revolvers and comes with an additional .22 LR cylinder so you can shoot both cartridges. MSRP on this one with both cylinders is $301. The revolver features NAA’s very clever Holster Grip allowing you to carry it in a pocket folded with a pocket clip (like a knife). Very cool.

The AAA battery-powered Streamlight ProTac Pen Light weighs just 1 oz.
and is programmable for three modes — low, high and strobe.

The Support Team

As it’s always handy to have a light, I decided to team the NAA with an ultra-compact flashlight. As I’d been chatting with Streamlight about some other products, I did some digging on their site and found the ProTac 1AAA Pen Light. Weighing a little over 1 oz. and measuring just under 4″, the little light costs around $30 and provides up to 115 lumens of power. It has three programmable modes — high, low and strobe.

Clearly, when you’re packing a rimfire for self-defense proper ammo selection is a must. This NAA has a miniscule 1 1/8″ barrel, so getting the most out of the .22 Mag. in it is a must. I ordered some Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel Personal Protection 40-gr. loads optimized for use in short barrels as well as some .22 Mag. CCI Maxi-Mag shotshells. (Practical? Probably not. Fun? Most likely.) For carrying spare ammo with the gun I picked up a two-pack of Tuff Products’ QuickStrips holding 10 rounds each and costs only $9.45.

Don’t plan on a speed reload with this one! You must pull the
cylinder pin to release the cylinder from the frame.


Considering the size and chambering of the NAA, I decided to keep my testing distances for it realistic — namely 5 yards. This is a tiny revolver designed for “bad breath” distance, so this seemed pretty reasonable to me.

I ran about 50 rounds of the Speer ammo through the gun for accuracy and found it gave me pretty consistent 1.5″ groups with a few fliers at this distance, hitting about 4″ below point of aim with the miniscule sights. Out of curiosity, I chronographed the Speer ammo as well as some .22 LR 40-gr. Federal Gold Medal with the secondary cylinder, with the LR running about 800 fps and the magnum about 150 fps faster. This is not an insignificant difference in velocity and seemed to make it worth the added noise and recoil of the .22 Mag. ammo.

I also tried out the CCI MaxiMag Shotshells, which packs 52 grains of #12 shot. I discovered real fast this was a very short-range proposition out of the stubby barrel of the NAA. I started at 3 yards and soon discovered a mere few feet was the optimal range for this load out of the NAA. If you want to take out a snake with this one, you better plan on
getting close!

Mike tested the NAA with Speer’s Short Barrel Personal Protection .22 Magnum
loads as well as CCI’s Maxi-Mag .22 Magnum shotshells packing 52 grains of #12 shot.


With its compact size, feathery light weight and clever holster grip, the NAA was a pleasure to carry. To be honest, it was easy to forget it was there. Regarding carrying the gun, you may be wondering if you need to carry it with one empty chamber under the hammer. Nope. NAA thoughtfully cut hammer safety slots (notches) between the chambers so you can lower the hammer down between them and not have it in line with the cartridges.

And, continuing my “low-profile” carry theme with the NAA, I also decided to add a Lansky Madrock World Legal knife. This slip-joint knife has a 9Cr18MoV stainless steel 2 3/4″ blade, is ambidextrous with its two-position reversible pocket clip and weighs just 4 oz. So, if I end up somewhere I cannot carry the NAA, I can fall back on this as my defensive backup. Oh, and it’s very reasonably priced with an MSRP of just $29.99.

The Max Mag loads proved to be a very short-range affair. This pattern was
fired at a mere 1 foot distance on a Champion Target VisiColor target roughly 8" in diameter.


So, I have my new rig fully set up, ready to go and I love it! It’s handy, light and easy to carry. Is it comparable to my Smith & Wesson 9mm in speed or power? No way. But, it’s a tiny system I like to keep in the mix for when I might need something more suited for Baby Bear rather than Papa Bear — and it makes for an easy-to-carry backup gun for the large Smith & Wesson. Also, it’s just plain neat! 

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