Tested: Talo Limited Edition North American Arms Ported Pug Carry

posted on May 18, 2016

Several gun manufacturers are working to produce the most compact handguns they can. But despite their best efforts, they'll have a tough time developing a model as deeply concealable as the North American Arms series of Mini revolvers. Working in conjunction with TALO Distributors, Inc., Laserlyte and De Santis Holsters, North Americans Arms (NAA) has released a new Mini that's both a collectable and a practical pocket-defense option: The Limited Edition Ported Pug Carry.

The North American Arms Minis are traditional single-action revolvers based on a reduced size design developed by Dick Casull in the late 1960s. The Minis are about as small as a revolver can be and still fire typical rimfire rounds. In the 1970s, North American Arms picked up where the short-lived Rocky Mountain Arms left off. The company has been successfully producing Mini revolvers ever since then with a line that has grown to include a variety of configurations and special editions

Based on the NAA Black Widow, the Ported Pug Carry is a 5-shot .22 Mag. featuring a stubby 1" slab-side barrel, which is where it gets its name. Its all-stainless steel construction provides the strength and durability needed for daily carry. The top of the frame is grooved to reduce glare and fitted with a dovetailed XS Big Dot sight system. The barrel has been milled and ported with three ports on each side to reduce muzzle flip.

The fluted cylinder has been engraved with a series of circles and treated with black enamel. This cylinder was first seen on the NAA Wasp model that was released a few years ago. The hammer spur and trigger stud both feature fine line texturing to make them easier to operate. With an overall length of just 4.56", and an unloaded weight of just 6.9 oz., this revolver can be easily concealed in just about any purse or pocket.

The diminutive birds head grip frame is fitted with Laserlyte’s "Mighty Mouse" (NAA-VC) laser grip. Compatible with most NAA holsters, the grip is constructed of durable 55 percent glass-filled black nylon with the automatic activation button placed along the front of the grip frame. Grasping the Pug in a shooting grip activates the laser. The 650NM, 5MW red laser can be adjusted for height and windage. A removable cover on the left-side grip panel allows three G3A button cell batteries to be replaced without removing the grip from the frame. Two sets of batteries and an adjustment wrench are shipped with the Pug.

To complete the carry set, De Santis provides a custom designed suede leather pocket holster. The top of the holster has been reinforced to keep it from collapsing when the revolver is drawn. The snap-flap pocket is just the right size to hold five additional rounds of .22 Magnum ammunition. 

As part of its participation in the firearm industry's Project ChildSafe, North American Arms is this revolver shipping their guns in steel lock boxes.

Running a.22 Mag. NAA Mini revolver like the Ported Pug Carry at the range is a unique experience for several reasons. Like other Minis, the Pug produces a loud report which seems out of proportion to the gun's size. In other words, its bark is bigger than its bite.

Although the felt recoil of these guns is not particularly intense or uncomfortable, the short one-finger grips and the kick produced by .22 Mag. cartridges can make it feel like the little critter is trying to jump straight up out of your hands. The barrel porting of the Pug tangibly reduces this jumpiness and makes follow-up shots faster and easier to make.

Loading the Pug follows a different set of operations than other single-action revolvers, which are typically unloaded and reloaded via a gate in the frame. The revolver is loaded by placing the hammer in a half-cock position, twisting the cylinder pin retention lug, pulling the cylinder pin out of the frame and then removing the cylinder completely from the frame to place rounds in each chamber. Once the fully loaded cylinder is locked back into the frame with the cylinder pin, while the hammer is still in the half-cock position, the revolver is ready to be made safe or to be fired.

The safety system of NAA revolvers consists of a set of notches cut between each of the cylinder chambers. The Pug should never be pocketed with the hammer half-cocked or with the hammer blade resting on the rim of a cartridge. Instead, the hammer should be pulled back just enough to rotate the cylinder until one of the safety notches is under the hammer. The hammer is then slowly released fully forward into the cylinder notch. With the hammer in this safe position, any shock or pressure applied to the hammer will travel harmlessly into the steel of the cylinder, instead of the primer of a loaded cartridge.

After the Pug has been fired, the cylinder is removed from the frame for reloading. Each spent cartridge case must be manually poked out of the cylinder to make room for fresh rounds. The cylinder pin just happens to be the right length for this job. Although it's a good idea to fill the De Santis holster pouch with spare ammunition, practically speaking the Pug is going to be limited to five shots in a defensive situation since the reloading process is relatively slow.

The combination of the Pug's easy to see XS sights, recoil reducing ports and the bright the LaserLyte laser sight all worked together to tighten up formal bench rested 5-shot groups at 7 yards. My groups with the standard NAA Minis have usually hovered around 2" to 2.25" at this distance. The Pug's patterns ranged from 1.49" to 2.05" with averages around the 1.75" mark. This may not seem like a monumental improvement, but in a defensive situation with a pocket pistol I'll take every bit of accuracy I can get.

With such a short, ported barrel, I wanted to find out what kind of bullet velocity could be expected from this revolver. In addition to the accuracy testing, 10 shots of each test load were fired across a Lab Radar chronograph. Winchester Elite PDX1 Defender 40-gr. jacketed hollow points turned in the highest velocity average of 920 fps., but it had the largest 5-group average of 1.88". The slowest round of the set (by only two feet per second) was the Speer Gold Dot 40-gr. jacketed hollow point at 897 fps. with an average group size of 1.79". Traveling at 899 fps., the Hornady ammunition Critical Defense 45-gr. FTX produced the best group average of 1.63".

If you get into a conversation about the North American Arms Mini revolvers, someone will inevitably point out the obvious: that a ported 1" barrel .22 Mag. doesn't have the same level of stopping power as larger handguns. I agree completely and so does North American Arms. The Pug does not launch as much lead as other defensive options. The whole point of the Mini is not power, but presence. It's intended to be a defensive handgun that's with you when larger, heavier handguns may get left at home or cannot, for one reason or another, be carried at all.

The new Talo Limited Edition Ported Pug Carry, with its Laserlyte and De Santis accessories, is another terrific addition to the North American Arms line of Mini Revolvers. Don't forget that only 2,500 of these guns will be made with special serial numbers from PPL0001 to PPL2500, so don't wait too long to place an order.

NRA Specifications
Distributor: TALO Distributors Inc.
Manufacturer: North American Arms
Model: Limited Editon NAA-PPL Ported Pug Carry
Serial Number Range: PPL001-PPL2500.
Action: Single-Action Revolver
Caliber: .22 Mag.
Finish: Stainless Steel
Cylinder: Fluted Wasp Engraved Model with Black Enamel
Grips: LaserLyte NAA-VC Laser Grip
Sights: XS White Dot
Barrel: 1.00", Ported
Trigger Pull: 4 lbs. 7 oz. (tested)
Overall Length: 4.56"
Height: Inches 2.81"
Cylinder Width: 0.85"
Weight: 6.9-oz. Unloaded
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Twist: 1:12” RH
Rifle Grooves: 8
Pocket Holster: De Santis Suede Leather with Ammunition Pocket
Accessories: Locking Steel Storage Box, Owner's Manual
MSRP: $409




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