Muzzle rise shown at full-height while firing .22 magnum, the sidewinder’s recoil was surprisingly tame.
Muzzle rise shown at full-height while firing .22 magnum, the sidewinder’s recoil was surprisingly tame.

Sights consists of a 0.075” diameter stainless steel ball—exactly the size of a No. 9 shot pellet—mounted at the muzzle and a ramped slot in the rear of the frame that pulls double duty as the hammer slot.

The Sidewinder is so small it’s difficult to get a firm hold on it without exposing your fingers to combustion gases exiting through the cylinder gap—a risk with any revolver. After some practice I got the hang of wrapping both hands around the frame while still getting the tip of my trigger finger on the diminutive trigger. The trigger is so small it’s difficult to get any leverage on it, but it broke crisply and consistently at a pull weight of 5.7 pounds.

North American Arms offers a myriad of holster options on their website, including those shown here: a Desantis pocket holster, a has ankle holster, a Belt-mounted, leather break-top holster, and a padded “gun Rug”.
North American Arms offers a myriad of holster options on their website, including those shown here: a Desantis pocket holster, a has ankle holster, a Belt-mounted, leather break-top holster, and a padded “gun Rug”.

We elected to test the Sidewinder at 7 yards using the standard round-butt, hardwood grips. It came with the .22 Mag. cylinder installed, so we loaded up five rounds of Hornady Critical Defense 45-gr. FTX, which develops and instrumental velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. (100 ft. lbs.) from a 1-7/8” barrel. The best 5-shot group with the Hornady loads measured 3.72” center to center, with the best three going into 1.29”, but the group centered four inches left and three inches above point of aim. Aguila Silver Eagle 40-gr. JSP was the most accurate of .22 Mag. loads, with a 2.75” 5-shot group, and the best three 1.17”. The spread was dead-on for elevation, but averaged about 2.5” to the left of point of aim.

Switching to the .22 LR cylinder, Federals’ Gold Medal Target 40-gr. came out on top with a 1.82” 5-shot group, and a best three of 1.14”. It was right on for elevation, but averaged 1.5” left of point of aim. Aguila Super Extra 40-gr. and CCI Mini Mag 40-gr. tied with 5-shot groups of 2.40”, but the Aguila’s best three of 1.05” beat the CCI’s best three of 1.28”.

Our test gun shot a bit left with both cylinders. Precision was adequate for close encounters.
Our test gun shot a bit left with both cylinders. Precision was adequate for close encounters.

The Sidewinder is a top-quality little gun. Fit and finish are excellent, and we experienced no malfunctions of any kind. If we were in the market for a mini defensive revolver, we’d probably pass on the .22 LR spare cylinder and go with the NAA-22MS-HG model ($249), which has a 1-1/8” barrel with blade front sight and the Holster grip installed. With 59 different NAA mini revolvers to chose from, there’s sure to be one that fits your needs. See them at your firearms retailer, or for more information contact North American Arms, Dept. OT; Tel.: (800) 821-5783; Web: www.northamericanarms.com