North American Arms (NAA), of Provo, Utah, produces some of the most diminutive 5-shot, single-action rimfire revolvers available. Model options range from the truly tiny .22 Short (just 4 oz.) up to the 4" barrel .22 Mag. Mini Master with adjustable target sights. These sturdy little wheelguns make ideal kit guns, and once you have one, it's hard to find a reason not to tuck it into a pants pocket, backpack or tackle box when headed out into the wilderness.
In 2014, North American Arms teamed up with TALO Distributors Inc. and Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) to produce what can be best described as the Kit Gun Plus. It's an outdoor tool set originally dreamed up by one Earnest M. Tucker, a legendary hunter and trapper from North Carolina. Simply named the Tucker's Gun and Knife Combo, it consists of a .22 Mag. NAA mini revolver and CRKT hunting knife tucked into a custom modular holster.
The Mini revolver included in this combo is one of North American Arms' all stainless steel .22 Mag. models with a 1.625" barrel and a fixed front sight blade. Technically speaking, there is no rear sight. However, when the revolver is viewed from the shooter's perspective, the squared edges of the rear of the frame can be used to complete the sight picture.
This revolver is a single action, which means the fixed blade hammer must be manually cocked for each shot. Because these guns are so small, the loading gate and ejector rod commonly found on larger single actions have been done away with. Instead, depressing a release button on the cylinder retention pin allows it to be pulled out of the frame so that the cylinder can be removed from the frame completely for loading. It's not the fastest process available, but the trade-off for the slower reloading time is a light, compact gun with the rugged reliability that attends its simplicity of design.
The five-shot cylinder is fluted and features a proprietary set of safety notches cut in between each of the chambers. By lowering the blade of the hammer into one of these notches, the Mini can be safely carried with all of the chambers loaded. The trigger is quite small, almost a stud, with a textured surface. Despite its unusual shape, the trigger's travel distance is only 1/8" and it has a clean, crisp break. This particular revolver's trigger pull was 4 lbs. 14 ozs., which was slightly heavier than usual, but not really noticeable on the shooting range.
The entire revolver, including the frame, cylinder, and appointments, has a low glare stonewashed finish. I’m not sure how the company came up with it, but the finish looks great. The revolver is completed with a Hogue slip-on grip that maintains the revolver's birdshead grip shape. This grip is ideal for field use since its relatively soft, pebbled surface provides plenty of traction for hands that might be cold or wet when the gun is fired. The revolvers are marked with special serial numbers (starting at TTT0001) identifying them as part of this TALO limited edition set.
The knife that arrives with the combo is a Colombia River Knife & Tool special edition of the Free Range Hunter fixed blade knife, designed by Russ Kommer. The 4.25" 8Cr13MoV steel blade features a clip point design with a satin finish. The plain edge features a high hollow grind that holds a sharp edge right from the factory. The spine of the blade is textured to provide improved purchase for finer tasks. The right side of the blade is marked with the words Kommer Free Range. The left side of the blade features the North American Arms logo and a serial number that matches the revolver.
The knife's handle is double injection molded using two different materials. The primary handle is formed of a hard black polymer with finger grooves and a lanyard hole. The finger grooves and top edge of the handle are filled with a soft, textured gray synthetic rubber. The result is handle that is both weather resistant and comfortable to hold. The Free Range Hunter's over-all length is 9.06" with a weight of 3.6 ozs.
The final component which completes this set is a customized modular holster/sheath system designed to hold both the gun and knife securely. This system consists of three distinct components which are held together with screws. An AMSPRO polymer Belt Mounting Clip allows the unit to slide onto belts that are up to 2" wide. A quick release mechanism allows the unit to be lifted off of the belt without having to undo the buckle.
Both the knife sheath and revolver holster are formed of Kydex and then wrapped in black leather to help keep the rig quiet when moving through brush. The opening of the sheath and the holster are both fitted with rubber gaskets and tension screws which allow the owner to adjust how tightly each tool is held in place. This is described as a modular system that allows for the belt clip to be mounted to just the holster or just the knife sheath should one choose to do so. But when I took it apart, it turned out that the provided screws were just too long to work practically without both sheath and holster in place. Shorter screws would be easy to find and inexpensive to buy, but I suspect that those who are interested in purchasing this rig wouldn’t have much desire to pull it apart except for cleaning and maintenance.
The Tucker's Gun and Knife Combo tips the scale at just 14.7 ozs. with the revolver unloaded. Loading the revolver brings the weight up to about 15.4 ozs. If you are looking for an easy way to carry spare ammo for the Mini, Marble Arms makes a handy polymer, belt-clip rimfire cartridge container called the Catch .22. The sliding lid exposes each of the 10 interior pockets one at a time, with one pocket providing enough room for three rounds of .22 Mag. (or five rounds of .22 LR). With the cartridges placed in the container with the bullet tips up, and a bit of practice, it's easy to tip one round at a time into the Mini's cylinder. You can buy Catch .22 units with the North American Arms logo on the company website under the “All Accessories” section.
Shooting the NAA Mini .22 Mag. revolvers at the range is always a fun event. On the day of the test, I met some college students who had no experience with the Mini. So, I passed them the gun and let them give it a try. As they soon found out, the .22 Mag. produces a memorable experience when fired out of such a little gun. The cartridge produces a bark and level of muzzle flash that seem out of proportion to its size. Although the recoil is perfectly manageable, the revolver jumps in the hand more than one would expect.
Because this gun definitely qualifies as a pocket pistol, it was checked for accuracy from a bench rest at 7 yards. Speer Gold Dot hollow points turned in the best single 5-shot group of 2.21", with the best five-group average of 2.38". Winchester PDX1 40-gr. jacketed hollow points averaged 2.42", followed by Hornady's Critical Defense 45-gr. FTX at 2.71".
One of the reasons I enjoy working in the shooting industry is the opportunity to see good ideas picked up by the right companies and turned into useful products. The TALO Tucker's Gun and Knife Combo is just as handy as it is unique.
As I was wrapping up this review, I checked in with North American Arms to learn that the complete first run (about 1,500 units) has been shipped out to TALO distributors. In other words, if you want one of these sets, you had better hop to it right away. The good news is that because this set has been so well received, another run is planned. The second run combo (still pending as of this writing) will feature some changes from the first, but it promises to be as cool to own as this one.
Distributor: TALO Distributor's Inc.
Model: North American Arms TALO Tucker's Gun and Knife Combo
Action: Single Action
Caliber: .22 Mag.
Finish: Stonewash Matte Stainless Steel
Grip: Hogue One-Piece Pebbled Rubber
Barrel Length: 1.625”
Overall Length: 5.25”
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Twist: 1:12” RH
Rifle Grooves: 8
Knife: CRKT Free Range Hunter Clip Point (Model 2040)
Combination Sheath: Modular Leather-Wrapped Kydex
Total Weight: 14.7 ozs., unloaded
Accessories: Hard Case, Owner's Manual