Monday, October 6, 2008

REVIEW: FREEDOM ARMS Mini .22

It's tiny and it's cute. While not words usually associated with guns the Freedom Arm Mini .22 Revolver is exactly that - tiny and cute. This gun belongs to a co-worker of mine and she was kind enough to let me take it out and run a few rounds through it.

I've seen these before, this and the North American Arms version, and I've always wanted to shoot one. They look practical but only marginally useful. I would say having this is better than nothing but anything less would be nothing.

The gun is very small. In the next photo you can see it compared to a Taurus Ultra Lite .38 Special. The Taurus itself is small and the Mini looks like a toy next to it.


As "cute" as the gun is, it's definitely no toy. The .22 LR might be might be a small round that many people deem unsuitable for defense carry, but used at close range and aimed at critical organs, it's lethal.

The downside is actually employing the firearm. The gun is so tiny, that fishing it out of your pocket isn't all that easy. Once you get your hand on it, you'll find it upside down (I tried several times to carry it in my pocket right side up but the shape and top weight always let it flip over). Pull it out of your pocket and you need to flip it over, grab the tiny grip, pull back the hammer and pull the trigger.

Just for the heck of it, Sunday afternoon I donned some boot cut jeans, strapped on my ankle holster (and unloaded .38 snubbie) and dropped the unloaded Mini in my front left pocket. Then I tried to get each gun in firing position quickly and smoothly. On the fifth try, I finally was able to get the Mini ready faster than the .38. Even then it took an extra second or two to get a firm grip on the Mini.

Neither draw would be considered fast but since the draws were pretty close, I'd take my chances with a snub nosed .38 Special loaded with +P over the .22 LR round.

On the range, the first 10 rounds were very fun to shoot. A guy shooting with his family next to us even came over to see what we were shooting.

You have to have a very firm grip on the glossy grips or the thing flips up with every shot. Even with a good grip, I found that I had to regrip the gun between every shot. This wasn't a big deal since you have to cock it every time which forces hand movement. After 20 rounds the novelty was gone and the fun started to diminish.

Every few shots you will feel the slight sting of burning powder on you hands. Enough to be bothersome but not painful. In a fight, you wouldn't even notice. One thing is certain, when fired, this "little cricket" makes a "crack" that's disproportionate to it's size.

After four cylinders, another shooter named Dale walked over and gave me a very helpful tip. He suggested that I adjust my grip so that I used one hand to hang on and the other to pull the trigger. See the next photo.

It worked. The gun stayed stayed put and I cocked the gun with the thumb on my non-holding, trigger hand with ease.

Summary:
As a small pocket gun that would be better than poking a bad guy with a sharp stick or throwing a rock at him, the Freedom Arms Mini .22 would work well. But I've seen this gun for sale between $200 - $500 ($200 for the NAA Version) and for that price, I'd rather have a Kel-Tec .380 that's about the same size but has more punch and a more substantial grip.

After shooting it, I can say that as a last line of defense of a necessity carry (due to clothing), it would give me a limited feeling of security.

As a novelty, it's a blast. If you have money to burn or a large collection of "real" guns and are looking for something fun and different, this gun is something you might want to own.


Video of Doug Shooting the Mini .22
video

Doug's Dad's Story:
My friend Doug's dad, Al, owned one of these guns. While entering his house, Al ran into a guy burglarizing his home. He immediately reached into his pocket and started fishing for his Mini .22. The burglar ran toward him, weaved his way through the house then crashed through the back sliding glass door before Al could even get the gun aimed and cocked. Al was in a panic and the little gun was just too hard to put into service in those conditions. The very next day Al sold the gun.


Did you like this article? Check out the PAST REVIEWS at the top of the page for several more. If you'd like to share your knowledge by posting an article or review, contact me at Kennard.yamada@gmail.com.

21 comments:

  1. A friend of mine has one (won it as a door prize). At about ten feet, the .22LR wouldn't go through the hubcap he was shooting at. So, a belly gun it is, only.

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  2. That must have been a tough hubcap. We blew a few holes completely through the wooden target stand. The 1 x 1s didn't stand a chance! I'd guess the .22 would pierce clothing and skin though I seriously doubt it's true stopping power. The gun is definitely a novelty, not a defense gun. Thank you for the comment.

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  3. I've always wanted to get the NAA 22mag version short barrel revolver - with the extra .22 LR cylinder that is the same length as the mag cylinder. It has a little bigger frame/grip. I just want to shoot it with the .22 LR cylinder. It seems like it would fit the hand better than the little smaller revolver. Someday. ---Nice Men In Black reference (that is what was brought to my mind) - "little cricket" for the revover. I had to look at the movie again - "noisy cricket" and "midget cricket" were in it - I hadn't watched it in a while - thanks. Anyway, nice analogy Kennard - it made me laugh.

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  4. I have no problem with 3" to 4" groups at ten feet! I promise...a head shot will do the trick. Or...load the first cylinder with bird shot to blind the attacker...then one to the head will do the trick.

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  5. I own a North American Arms .22 LR. I work the evening shift as a cashier. I feel it is a matter of time before I experience a hold up at closing time. The register is near the door.
    You are at gunpoint: How will you get to your cute little ankle holster? A Glock is useless unless you can get to it without getting shot first.
    If a suspicious character walks in, I already have my mini palmed in my hand. As I do when walking in a dark parking lot. I now have the advantage with the element of surprise. My first round is loaded with bird shot. I can blind, or shoot a knife or gun out of my assailant's hand. Then he belongs to me. He would never see my fist coming. The gun is out of sight, thus out of mind to the assailant. Then it is all about timing and distraction to take my shot.
    The North American Arms mini .22 LR has little notches between rounds on the cylinder for the hammer to rest in. It can never fire if dropped.
    I wrap my mini in a folded paper towel. More comfort in my pocket and keeps from wearing a hole in my pocket. I could pull it out of my pocket and wipe my nose as if it were a tissue. No one would ever suspect what was concieled.
    I favor the element of suprise and control of the situation over having a gun I can't get to.
    I have small, yet very strong hands. I can cock and shoot all five shots in five seconds.
    .....Wes

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  6. ...sell your cloak and buy a sword.

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  7. Try the NAA grip holster.

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  8. Try the Remora "no clip" holster. It works great as a pocket holster and looks like a wallet in your pocket.

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  9. This pistol is the only gun I have ever had to draw in defense. I kept it in a vest pocket of a 3 piece suit. 4 guys with switch blades cornered me and pulled their knives. I had already palmed the little .22 and stuck it between the eyes of the first guy and told him, you die first who wants to be 2nd? 4 guys set track records running down the street. I don't own one now but would like to again. You shot these with your index finger over the top of the trigger and pull the trigger with your middle finger. It gun you have with you that can save your life, Not the .44 you left at home because it was too heavy. This gun is for close up , last line of defense.

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  10. I carry the NAA 5 shot .22 mag. that Ed spoke of. It fits perfectly in the side pocket of my carpenter pants, which is all that I wear. The little revolver sits straight down with the grip right there every time I reach for it. I guarantee I can nail an attacker in the head at fifteen feet, no problem......end of story. My little gun is with me where ever I go, no matter what and it doesn't weigh me down at all.
    I have many revolvers and pistols, but if I could only have one, the five shot mini mag. wins hands down. NAA arms has true stories on their website with news links provided of people who warded off attackers with the little 5 shot minis. Not a good defense gun? Tell that to the elderly Dallas man who had a "mini" in his pocket while gardening. Two men tried to mug him, one ended up in the hospital while the other set a new track record.

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  11. what is the firing distance of .22 mag.. how far can it reach ? thank much...

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  12. Easily a mile, but from a freedom Arms .22, accuracy is limited to about 12 feet.

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  13. I have shot off pop cans at twenty yds with the freedom and hit or very close every time off hand ,with the NAA mini I could not hit nothing. I finished off a road hit deer with a pass through head shot. The Freedom Arm Mini is amazing accurate for what it is,just not a lot of firepower but gives me security.

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  14. looking for a mini to use in my buckle if you have for sale or trade please call 419-290-0441

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  15. I have one with a 1-5/8" barrel - fun little gun - beautifully made! I also had the 4" barrel but (like a fool) traded it away years ago. The don't have much power - Using the NAA website I calculated the energy from their 1-5/8" barrel revolver and the range was 38 to 54 fpe. Not a lot of power but the little gun sure goes off with a bang!

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  16. I have the Freedom Arms Mini, buckle&leather holsters.In filing the front sight for sighting I filed to much off and it ended up sighted in for 30 yards. I can hit a rabbit 1 out of 3 shots with it. At one time the gun was confiscated by the Red Bluff, Ca., sheriffs dept. In conversation I told them it was sighted in for 30 yards. They shortly apologized to me and returned the gun. When I went to the office to retrieve it I asked can I look at it while the sheriff was doing the paper work. It had been loaded and clean when they took it from me. It was now empty and very dirty. I looked at the sheriff....he, sheepishly, looked at me. I said,"you could have at least cleaned it." He told me they did not believe it was sighted in for 30yds. Besides my 4 rounds he told me one of them had a box of 22's in their trunk and they all took turns firing it. He told me I must be a 'hell of a shot,' because they found the sighting was for 30yards. I did not explain the accidental filing

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  17. An old timer showed me how he carried his little cricket for many years. He simply folded up a handkerchief and placed the gun in the middle fold and put it in his pocket. It held the gun perfectly positioned for him and he once had to quickly draw it on someone robbing his car. Not hard to figure out ways to conceal that gun so that you can quickly employ it. That is the beauty of it. It can ride in a pack of cigarettes in my shirt pocket (even though I do not smoke), in an eyeglass case, cell phone case, modified wallet, etc.. Anyone who carries a gun in their pocket without something to hold it in the proper position for drawing is lacking some basic carry training.

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  18. whats a mini worth ?in good shape?

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  19. I purchased a used Mini Mag with two clynders (LR and Mag) for $150.00. It was made for, in my mind as a last ditch firearm. If it really got down to it,and I have gone thru my main gun and back-up, I would not be worrying about it rolling in my hand. I have shot it many times and a proper inside the pants holster, it is a viable tool to have when the chips are down.

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  20. North American Arms has a five shot 22 mag that has folding handle that covers the trigger but folded out offers a great hand grip that you don't often get with small guns. I keep rat shot first mag second and third on around.

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