Test – North American Arms “PUG” (With Video)

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Trail Boss Videos

North American Arms “Pug

By Steven L. Doran

I have been acquainted with North American Arms for many years they manufacture min-revolvers and auto loading pistols that are very reliable and are used in many different types of concealed carry applications. North American has even come out with pistols chambered in a proprietary .25, .32 and .380 ACP.  Police officers and private citizens carry their guns as back ups and primary carry weapons. 

I will admit I was never really enamored by their line of mini-guns. A lot of people I know and respect carry and used them as a second or third gun. Guys like me with big hands would put on larger grips etc which to me defeated the purpose. I felt that if you were going to increase the size, you may as well buy one of their auto pistols and have the quick reloading capability and the ability to fire double action. So I purchased one of those instead and carried it as a back up gun.

I was having lunch with a fellow gun writer / inventor of the “Acurzr” / law man, Paco Kelly. As we sipped our coffee we were talking guns (big surprise) and the subject of the .22 magnum came up.  I said to him “That is one of your favorite cartridges isn’t it?” Paco reached in his pocket and pulled out a NAA mini-revolver in .22 magnum with a 1 5/8 inch barrel and laid it on the table in front of me. He said I never go anywhere without it. I picked it up and examined it. On the way home I started thinking about the little gun and what it could do. Other things came up, and I put the thought aside. That was before I met the Pug.

The Pug is chambered in 22 magnum, it has a 1” barrel, a big dot regular or tritium front sight, that gives you a very good sight picture. I got the gun with a pocket and inside the waist band clip on holster.

I immediately took the gun out and shot it with both rat shot (shot shells or pest loads) and CCI jacketed hollow points. I was pretty shocked with the guns accuracy and ease of use for a small single action firearm. I was shooting consistent palm sized or smaller groups at 40 feet off hand.  Some of the bullets would key hole (hit sideways), but on small game this would just be a more devastating effect.  I do not think an assailant would feel any better getting hit with one that way either.

Before you read any further I do not recommend you treat any of your firearms in the way I did during the test. I wanted to see how it would perform in an extended field or survival situation. Which means if the gun got dirty and nasty would it still perform?  Do not push you luck. Check all of your firearms regularly and keep them well maintained.

It was time to put it this little guy to the test. I did not clean it and decided to carry the gun in my pocket. If I was wearing pants it was going to be in my pocket. That may not seem like a big deal to you. But every day for exercise I climb a high mountain trail with hand weights and a light pack up to 3500 feet, then back down.

Because I live in Arizona add the high temperature to that and I sweat to the point the stuff is gushing out the tops of my boots. I literally drink a gallon of water during the round trip.  That gun and everything else on my body gets soaked. I am also kicking up dust and dirt. There are certain spots on the trail I take the gun out and put it in hand because when I pull up over the edge of a steep rock formation, I do not want to come face to face with a snaky little surprise I can not get out of. Once I clear the obstacle the gun goes back in my pocket.

At the end of the day I would fire five rounds, again not cleaning it and so on. On one occasion I waited two days leaving the gun in the holster not removing it to dry out, again no problem firing it. Then came filming day, and the gun had not been cleaned. We filmed the Trail Boss Test segment and the gun performed without a hitch.  Shooting nice groups on the targets at over 40 feet (see the video) with only one miss from the kneeling position, and dispatching two snakes at a time. (They were actually balloon snakes because people get upset when you shoot the real thing in testing)

To me the NAA Pug makes a great survival or walk around firearm and would be a great addition to a 22 magnum rifle or other weapon while out in the field or even in your own yard. It can be carried in your hand with or without a lanyard attachment, used to harvest small game at close range. I would even go as far to say that in an emergency life or death situation, if the pug was all you had, and you were in the right position IE up a tree or hidden close to a game trail, with the right shot placement you could take down something as large as a white tail deer. I believe it will dispatch just about any medium size vicious animal on the trail or on your property. As a backup or hide out gun the Pug would be a welcome addition to your defensive carry guns.

That being said I personally will not carry any single action mini-gun or derringer type of hand gun as my only means of defense. I know of persons who do rely on a min-gun as their only means of defense but that is another article and they have extenuating circumstances where it is a min-gun or nothing.   .

Please realize that with any gun; especially one as small as the Pug you will have to practice. I always recommend no less than a half a day and no less than 300 rounds through the gun. You should be fully familiar with its operation, loading, unloading, cocking, decoking, firing and accuracy.  If not keep shooting until you are totally comfortable.  They are a lot of fun to shoot so it is not like you will be suffering during this process.

If you intend on carrying the Pug defensively for people or animals, you need to perform what I call the Hundred Draw. I use the Hundred Draw when ever I get a new gun or holster. I draw the gun from the holster in the position I intend to carry it at least 100 times. This breaks in the holster and gives me a feel for the gun.  This includes pocket and hide out carry. If you can not get to it, get it out, and present it on target no gun is going to do you much good.

When Ammo is available again, I have every intention to see if I can hit moving targets in the air with the Pug. Stay tuned for the next video. But until then I do not believe I can find a gun as small, lightweight, or as easy to carry as the Pug that I can shoot as accurately.

I have taken it upon my self to rename the Pug.   At Trail Boss we call it the Constant Companion it never leaves my pocket.  Every member of the crew wants one. The producer had to get nasty because every time the gun was put down to set up a shot for photos or filming one of the crew was picking it up to admire it, and we had to look for it. Maybe we should rename it Houdini since it was always disappearing.

Now that I have the bug we may even test some of their other mini’s.  I know the guns make great bolo ties. It never hurts to have an accessory that that is both stylish and useful. It makes a statement that you are bubbly, without being over bearing.

For more information on the Pug or other North American Arm Firearms, and accessories, or to find a dealer go to 


Call 800-821-5783, Out side the US 801-374-9990, Fax 801-374-9998,  or send a request by mail to North American Arms, 2150 South 950 East, Provo Utah 84606.

Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.



4 Comments on "Test – North American Arms “PUG” (With Video)"

  1. Sandy on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 12:52 PM 

    I want one of the “Pugs.” They are just toooooo cute!!!

  2. bill on Sun, 28th Jun 2009 9:24 AM 

    there a “limited edition” also so it says in there info page

  3. FreeBird on Sat, 5th Sep 2009 6:50 PM 

    Great looking little trail Gun

  4. North American .22 Pug « Warrior Times on Wed, 24th Feb 2010 4:59 PM 

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