If all-American, pint-sized handguns are on your wish list, the field of options can be instantly narrowed to two top choices – Bond Arms and North American Arms. But which one should you choose? Guns.com breaks down the specs, designs, calibers, and more to help make the right choice for each shooter.
This may look like a head-to-head of apples and oranges, but in the grand scheme of small-frame pocket guns, Bond and NAA stand alone. Though both companies also offer a short line of semi-automatic pistols, our focus here will be on the bread and butter of both companies. What we have is a derringer-style two-shooter in the Bond versus a miniature revolver in the North American Arms.
Both are built of stainless steel with quality construction right here in America. Bonds are built in Granbury, Texas, and NAA comes out of Provo, Utah. The majority of Bond models use a full trigger guard, though a few guns have exposed triggers. NAA, meanwhile, features an open spur-style trigger, whereby everything is compact, rounded, snag-free, and nearly impossible to print.
This is one area where the two pocket pistols differ greatly. Bond guns are all centerfire, while North American Arms focuses on rimfires. This gives the hulky-built Bond serious knockdown power against the NAA palm-of-your-hand revolver. NAA’s ultra-concealable rimfire wheelguns come in more diminutive calibers. But when you partner either of them with quality defense ammunition like Federal Premium, Hornady Critical Defense, or Speer Gold Dot, offenders – both human and animal – will think twice.
Bond Arms specializes in bigger bore options for two-shooters. The flagship models are .45 Colt/.410 bore. Others are built for .357 Magnum/.38 Special, 9mm, and .45 ACP. Best of all, barrels are interchangeable on most models, allowing you to swap caliber and barrel lengths.
Meanwhile, NAA’s micro revolvers are all rimfire. There are models for .22 Short, .22 Long Rifle, and our personal favorite, the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire. Heck, they even offer a .22 caliber cap and ball option.
Where Bond offers more stopping power, even NAA is no slouch. Sure, many folks will argue against rimfires for personal defense of any kind. However, the NAA is small enough to always be on your person, even as a backup. Loaded with the appropriate ammo, like Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel .22 WMR or Hornady Critical Defense, it makes a formidable rimfire defender.
Both Bond and NAA offer a whole host of models and price points to fit every shooter from frugal to fancy. Until now, Bond’s models had been on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, that all changed with the introduction of the lesser-polished Roughneck and Rowdy lines.
Where Bond barrels are interchangeable, NAA also offers models with multiple cylinder options. You can easily pick up a model with a conversion cylinder that allows you to fire both .22 LR and .22 WMR. There are ported magnums, a top-break Ranger II, a side-cylinder Sidewinder, and even a pair of belt buckle guns. The NAA revolvers may look like real conversation pieces – and they are – but they’re also well-built, fully functional five-shooters. NAA also recently announced Viridian laser grips to retrofit their magnum models.
If we’re talking extra-deep concealment, then size is a major factor. To that end, both Bond and NAA are on the miniature side. Measurements on most of the Bond doubles are similar, until adding extended length barrels. The Rowdy measures an overall length of 5 inches, with a weight of 1.25 pounds. The Roughneck has a 2.5-inch barrel topped with the blade front and fixed rear sight. Overall length is only 4.5 inches with a weight of 1.19 pounds. The majority of models use 3-inch barrels, though there’s a mini version with a 2.5-inch barrel and others with 3.5- and 4.25-inch barrels.
Bond is hulky but small. North American Arms, however, offers the smallest of the small. The majority wear a barrel that is either 1 inch or 1-1/8 inches. Our NAA Pug measures only 4.56 inches long, 2.81 inches high, and 1.06 inches wide. The overall length of the Ranger II is slightly larger at 5.16 inches, but it's the same height and width as the Pug. For comparison’s sake, our CRKT EDC knife comes out at about the same length. The company does offer several options for longer barrels, like the Hogleg and Mini-Master, but it’s the miniatures that drive the greatest interest.
Most buyers seek out Bond and NAA for true deep concealment. Given the uniquely small size and design – quite unlike standard carry pistols – becoming confident and comfortable with either the Bond or the NAA requires practice. The feel, grip, sight picture, and trigger are all different from the norm in size and design. Though these guns are smaller and deemed by some as “cute,” they do require hand strength and dexterity to manipulate them well, though practice and proper mechanics go a long way.
The trigger on both is more of a spur than an extended blade style, and this is especially apparent on the NAA. Coupled with the gun’s small stature, shooters must take care not to overreach but rather use correct finger pad placement on the bang switch.
NAA advertises their triggers to break around 4 pounds. Bond triggers are not bad either, but they also require familiarization. We found the pull to come slightly downward as well as rearward. It should go without saying, but both firearms operated flawlessly with all types of ammunition, from premium to cheap and personal protection to birdshot.
Bond Arms guns ship in a hard-sided polymer box. NAA’s game is on-point when it comes to extras, including a locking metal vault. Bond offers a three-year warranty to the original purchaser. Meanwhile, NAA offers a generous “no-hassle” lifetime warranty.
Both of these brands are designed to be carried. No matter where they are concealed, a good holster is a key part of the plan. To that end, both brands offer prime options. We used a pair of DeSantis GunHide leather IWB holsters for our recent testing with the NAA Ranger II and Pug. Bond has some dandy leatherwork available on their website, as well as synthetic and Kydex materials. They cover everything from IWB, OWB, crossdraw, shoulder rigs, and even a sweet driving rig.
The End Game
The choice of which baby frame is best for you is purely a personal decision that comes down to considerations on caliber, size, price, and intended use. No matter the selection, however, buyers win with both NAA and Bond Arms. They’re both quality-built, American-made, easily concealable pocket guns.