A long time ago, fellow Top Shot competitor Keith Gibson made a good point when we were on the subject of carry guns. He said that his next purchase was going to be something stupid small so that he would have absolutely no reason not to have something on him at all times. Fast forward a few years and his words echoed in my head as I asked the innocent-looking twenty-something-year-old girl in the North American Arms booth if they made a gun that I could hide in the crack of my ass. To no surprise they did (although I didn’t check the fit) and I had the opportunity to put a few rounds through most of the lineup. The tiny single-action revolvers were fun to shoot, really fun to shoot. So fun to shoot that my only gripe was the lengthy reloading process. Well, I guess NAA gets that a lot and its answer comes in the Ranger II.
The Ranger II features the compact size that NAA is associated with, but is a snap to reload. Basically, if you plant one of these, a Webley revolver will grow. In other words, by cracking it open at the top strap, all five cases are simultaneously ejected out. You have the option of keeping the initial .22 Magnum cylinder or for a little extra you can add the .22 LR cylinder. It’s almost a no-brainer to get the conversion cylinder, as .22LR is about 1/3 of the price of .22 Magnum so it’ll pay for itself over time. .22LR is also much easier to shoot out of the Ranger II, given that it doesn’t even weigh half a pound.
For my range day, I brought it out with a mixed bag of .22 LR ammo to get a feel for the gun as well as some of my coveted Aguila 40-grain ammo. I carried the gun on my hip using the DeSantis Lil’ Shot holster that is set up for cross-draw carry. This configuration gives you the option to carry the NAA as a backup gun in the event something happens to your strong side gun, or you just can’t reach it due to your position. Those who scoff at .22s for defensive purposes are greatly missing their value. It may not be the best primary caliber, but it sits at the top of the list for emergency pieces in my book.
At the range, we placed simple paper targets at no more than 5 yards away. Here I spent some time getting to know the loading and unloading system as well as what was involved in changing cylinders – nothing. Seriously, just pull one out and put the other in its place. After about 50 shots of .22 LR, I conducted some group testing with the Aguila .22 Magnum and was impressed at how consistent a barrel that was barely an inch and a half could be. Every group was inside of 2 inches and my best was tighter than 1 inch. I will note that the non-adjustable sights hit a few inches high and right but that is not enough to miss a man-sized target at typical defensive distances. That’s pretty easy to live with when you consider that it’s not a target pistol; it’s a lead injection system. This notion is further driven home by the stiff trigger pull that I experienced. Again, not a bad thing for a defensive pistol as it ensures it only goes bang when you MEAN it.
The North American Arms Ranger II makes a great ‘round the house type pistol and I’ve been known for carrying it in my sweatpants while I sit on the couch ruining whatever New Year’s Resolution I might have dreamt up. Holster-less carry is a relatively safe option with this gun, as it is equipped with five safety notches in the cylinder. Simply keep the hammer rested in one and all five cartridges are out of harm’s way should the gun ever take a dive, like say when you are recovering a stray Cheeto from under the couch. Being that the trigger only releases the hammer and can’t cock it (single-action defined) nothing will happen if you snag the bang switch either. All in all the Ranger II is a great addition for anybody looking to fill a gap in their defensive pistol needs. Hey, it’s fun to shoot too!
For more information visit northamericanarms.com
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