Prepper Guns: Firearms, Ammo, Tools, and Techniques You Will Need to Survive the Coming Collapse (2016)

HANDGUNS

The Littlest Wheel Guns

Dynamite in a small package.

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The North American Arms .22 Long Rifle Mini-Revolver on top and .22 Magnum with a laser sight on bottom.

Ilove 3-gun competition, but I started much too late in life to ever be a top contender. I was in my fifties before I even shot a match. It’s a very physical game and younger men generally do better. There are exceptions, but to a man the guys who are the top shooters and are close to my age pretty much all started when they were young, so they now have a lot of experience to help offset the aging issues.

I also have much too busy a lifestyle, so I never get to practice much. As a result, I am in no danger of winning any of the big national matches.

If you play golf, first of all let me express my sympathy; it must be painful to compete in a sport with so little noise and no guns! But let me also draw an analogy. Those big, national 3-gun matches are like playing the Masters; the best of the best are there competing. You might be a hotshot at your local club, but in the big leagues it’s hard to keep up. Most of us can’t beat Tiger Woods unless he has a really, really bad day. It’s the same with the national 3-gun matches and at most of them my goal is to place in the top 50 percent.

The prize tables for many of the matches are filled with lots of new guns, but there have never been enough so that any are left when my name is called.

Except for the Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-Gun in Arizona a few years ago. I heard somebody say there was a gun still on the table, so I made a beeline and grabbed it.

The top shooters won high-end AR-15 rifles, fancy handguns and even a few precision rifles, but my prize was something else. I won a North American Arms .22 Long Rifle Mini-Revolver.

I flew from that match directly to a pheasant hunt in Kansas and I used the revolver to finish off a few roosters, mostly so I could brag about shooting game with this gun and so we could all have a good laugh. But since then I have found this gun to be very versatile. In fact, it’s an amazing little gun, mostly because it is so small. I carry it in my pocket every day, just like a pocketknife. This tiny revolver only weighs 4.5 ounces and most of the time I forget it’s even there. But that’s the beauty of this gun.

It’s not by any means a powerful gun and the short barrel bleeds off velocity and energy from the already low-power .22 LR cartridge. But I have finished off wounded deer with it and have little doubt that it is still a deadly tool.

It’s a last-resort, hide-out gun, because it’s always there. That counts for a lot. It’s also better than no gun at all. This is never a primary gun, but more like a backup to the backup. It’s the gun that’s in your pocket when you go outside to take out the trash at night and your main handgun is on the table in the kitchen. Or it’s the gun you hope they don’t find if you are disarmed by the bad guys. In fact, there have been some stories of people hiding these little revolvers in some very creative places.

It’s an ultra-close-range defensive gun for sure. It’s a bit awkward to hold and kicks more than you would think. But it’s amazing how well you can shoot it with practice and ammo the gun likes. Most ammo barely stabilizes in these short barrels and often accuracy is not guaranteed beyond in-your-face ranges. But at five yards I can put five into center mass on a USPSA target, and do it reasonably fast.

North American Arms makes a wide range of these little handguns, including a slightly larger .22 Magnum model that weighs 5.9 ounces or the 1 1/8-inch barrel version that provides a bit more power.

They offer a wide range of accessories including laser sights, holsters, and even a belt-buckle holster. There are grips that serve as a holster and fold down to become a larger grip and several more innovative accessories designed around these tiny guns. Laserlyte also has a laser for the .22 Mag gun. With a laser sight, it becomes even easier to shoot.

These little revolvers are inexpensive, with MSRP for the .22 LR base model like mine at just over $200 in 2015.

While you won’t often find me advocating for any rimfire for a defensive pistol in this book, here I’ll make an exception. The tiny size and ultra-lightweight make them as easy to carry as a pocket knife. The guns are very easy to hide. When it comes to fighting, these revolvers are a last resort. But it’s always good to have a last resort, one that may make all the difference in the world on whether you will survive or not. Because without a “last resort,” you are done and you are dead. I think of this gun as a good luck charm, one that’s deadly in a pinch.

It’s also handy for everyday use around your home or retreat. You can dispatch vermin caught in your traps, put down sick livestock in an emergency, and finish off wild game, while preserving your centerfire ammo and keeping the noise level down a bit. With the short barrels they are loud, but a lot quieter than an M4 carbine.

I have even used mine to punch drain holes in a new trashcan or to put a hole in a shed wall to run a wire through. The uses are almost endless.

I would recommend that every serious prepper have one of these mini-revolvers hidden away someplace on their person, just in case.