North American Arms “Sidewinder” 22 Magnum/ 22 Long Rifle Mini Revolver with Swing-Out Cylinder

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 13th, 2012

UPDATED October 16th, 2015



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UPDATE! October 16th, 2015

North American Arms has recently introduced their Sidewinder revolver with a 4" barrel. Available in either 22 Magnum only, or as a 22 Long Rifle / 22 Magnum convertible, the 4" Sidewinder is a great choice for a woods / trail gun, while still a good choice for discreet carry in a pocket or holster. The longer barrel gives greater velocity, improved accuracy, and will stay put in a pants pocket better than its shorter-barreled counterpart. Specifications are listed in the chart below.

Barrel Length 4 inches
Overall Length 7.5 inches
Overall Height 2.875 inches
Maximum Width 1.0625 inches
Weight, Unloaded 8 ounces
Cylinder Capacity 5
MSRP as of October 2015:  
Model NAA-SW-4 (22 Magnum Only) $396.00 US
Model NAA_SWC-4 (22 LR / 22 Mag Convertible) $489.00 US



North American Arms has been making high-quality mini revolvers for a long time. They have always been reliable little weapons, carried by thousands of people either as a backup to their primary weapon, or as the only firearm that is small enough to conceal easily, every day. Chambered for the 22 rimfire cartridges, I prefer the 22 magnum version myself, these five-shot revolvers are reliable, and as accurate as the shooter can hold. However, while the magnum offers slightly more power, there are some 22 Long Rifle loads that come pretty close to matching the power of the 22 magnum when fired from these abbreviated barrels of the NAA revolvers. The NAA revolvers have mostly been of the design that is necessary to remove the cylinder pin and cylinder to load and unload, with the exception of the limited-production Ranger break-top that was produced about a year ago. Now, NAA has the Sidewinder; a mini revolver with a swing-out cylinder and ejector, very similar to the design found on most double-action revolvers.

The cylinder on the Sidewinder swings out to the right, activated by slightly pulling forward on the knurled portion of the cylinder base pin, and pushing the cylinder from the left side. The short-stroke ejector rod does a good job of pushing the empty cases out, with the 22 Long Rifle cases most always falling freely from the chambers. The longer magnum cases still need to be mostly removed manually, but it is much faster to load than the method used on most of these miniature revolvers. I experienced no sticky extraction with any of the ammunition tested in this Sidewinder.

Specifications are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces. Trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance, as measured using my Lyman digital scale. Linear measurements are listed in inches.

Overall Length


Overall Height 2.5"
Weight Unloaded 6.7 oz.
Barrel Length 1.42"
Cylinder Length 1.4"
Cylinder Diameter 0.848"
Barrel/Cylinder Gap 0.004"
Trigger Pull 4.4 lbs.
Cylinder Capacity 5 cartridges

I tested the Sidewinder with eighteen types of 22 Long Rifle ammunition and eight types of 22 Magnum ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the seventy-six percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the revolver. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

22 Long Rifle

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 886
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 921
PMC Match Solid 40 866
Wolf Match Solid 40 920
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 983
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 822
CCI Velocitor HP 40 835
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 952
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 900
American Eagle HP 36 909
PMC Zapper HP 38 711
Olin Solid 40 912
Winchester XPert HP 36 889
Hansen Solid 40 830
Remington Bulk Solid 37 823
CCI Quiet 40 520
CCI Stinger HP 32 928
Aguila Supermaximum HP 40 948

22 Magnum Rimfire

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
PMC JHP 40 945
Winchester Dynapoint 45 841
CCI TNT JHP 30 976
Winchester Supreme JHP 30 980
Winchester Supreme JHP 34 983
CCI +V JHP 30 978
Federal JHP 50 690
Armscor JHP 40 976

I made no attempt to bench test the Sidewinder for target accuracy. Instead, I just stood on my hind legs and fired at various targets from three to fifteen yards. Ringing an eight-inch steel plate at ten yards was very easy. The front post sight is pretty easy to see in good light, and keeping every shot on a standard human paper silhouette target at distances up to fifteen yards was no problem at all. These little pocket revolvers are made to be used up close and personal, for the most serious of social conflicts, and for that purpose, they serve very well. If you ever need a firearm to defend yourself from an attacker, you will have to use the one that is within reach. The NAA Sidewinder is small enough and light enough to always be within reach. If you need a fast reload, the Sidewinder can be emptied and reloaded at least twice as fast as other mini revolvers, and for that reason, it is an excellent choice for those who want to carry one of these little weapons. Like all NAA firearms, the Sidewinder is built right, and built in the USA.

Check out the entire line of miniature revolvers and accessories online at

For the location of a North American Arms dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order a NAA mini revolver online, go to

To order quality rimfire ammunition, go to

Jeff Quinn

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