Ballistic Testing the NAA 22 Short mini revolver.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Ethan Verity, May 9, 2021.

  1. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    What type of damage is the smallest production handgun on the market truly capable of? This post will shed some light on that question.

    Here are the results of my ballistic test with the NAA 22 Short, using a simulated head made by Ballistic Dummy Labs. This accurately simulates the human head in both flesh and bone, and gives us a better understanding of what this humble little revolver can actually do in a defensive situation. My observations are written out in detail below.

    Pre Shooting.jpg
    NAA 22 Short 2.jpg

    Test Setup: The fake head was shot 13 times, from different angles, with the North American Arms 22 Short mini revolver from a distance of 3 feet. The ammo used was the CCI 29gr CPRN (Copper Plated Round Nose) high-velocity round, with a box advertised velocity of 1,080fps and a TRUE velocity of ~750fps from this 1-1/8" barrel. Total of ~36ft/lbs of energy per shot.

    After shooting the head and getting some pics, I cracked the skull open to see where the internal bullets had gone in the "brain". Most of my aftermath pictures are taken after peeling the skin off, since it had become stained with the fake blood making it difficult to see the extent of damage.
    After shooting 1.jpg

    The location and results of the different shots are described below:

    Center of forehead shot- The bullet blasted clean through the skull, and traveled through the entire length of the brain. It came to rest at the very back of the skull, on the inside. No damage was done to the back of the skull, so there was not much energy left at that point. The photographs below show the skull, and the "brain" after being removed. The last pictures shows the stopped bullets at the very back of the skull.
    skull 1.jpg Brain 6.jpg Brain 5.jpg

    Left eye shot- The bullet passed into the skull at the back of the eye socket, entering the brain, where it again passed the entire length of the brain coming to rest at the back of the skull on the inside.
    skull 3.jpg Brain 2.jpg

    Cheek bone shot- The bullet mushroomed and deflected off the cheek bone without so much as a crack to the bone. Only a small chip was present on the bone where it had made initial impact. The bullet deflected upward off the cheek bone under the skin, and came to rest inside the 'eye ball' area.
    skull 4.jpg

    Lower Maxilla bone shot (right side of nose ridge)-The bullet mushroomed off the corner of the nasal ridge of the maxilla without severely damaging the bone, apart from a small chip. It then continued into the sinus cavity, but with little energy left. The bullet did not enter the brain.
    skull 4.jpg

    Upper Maxilla bone shot (corner of left eye)- The bullet blasted through the skull, traversed the entire length of the brain, and came to rest at the back of the skull.
    skull 3.jpg Brain 7.jpg

    -Results continued in the next post:
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
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  2. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    Side Jawbone shot - The bullet was stopped cold by the thick jaw bone, which was shattered into 3 small pieces at the point of impact. The completely mushroomed bullet did not penetrate any further.
    skull 7.jpg

    Side of head shot - The bullet went through the skull, the entire side profile of the brain, and came to rest on the other side of the inner skull.
    skull 2.jpg Brain 4.jpg

    Bottom of the head shot (from under the jaw, directed up towards the brain stem) - The bullet passed through all of the gel simulating the inner jaw flesh and tongue, it then entered the base of the skull. The bullet came to rest in the middle of the brain.
    skull 6.jpg

    Front Teeth shot, center- The bullet blasted through the front teeth, continued under the tongue, and came to rest after 'kissing' the bones of the cervical (upper spine). The spine bones were not damaged.
    3.jpg skull 5.jpg

    Front Teeth shot, side hit - The bullet blasted through the teeth, and continued to the back of the throat. It missed the spine, and exited out the back of the neck.
    3.jpg skull 5.jpg

    Front chin shot, side hit - The bullet hit the right side of the chin from the front, where it deflected off the angled jaw bone and rode under the skin, coming out of the skin under the earlobe to continue down range. No damage was done to the bone itself.
    4.jpg

    Front chin shot, direct hit - The bullet was stopped cold by the jaw bone, where it completely mushroomed and literally bounced off. The jaw bone was only slightly chipped at the point of impact.
    skull 7.jpg

    High top of head (shallow angle shot) - The bullet was completely deflected by the skull under the skin. It skimmed along the skull a few inches, then came back out of the skin, and continued onward down range.
    6.jpg

    Here are the bullets and fragments I recovered. CCI 22 Short 29gr CPRN.
    Bullets.jpg

    This test was conducted on May 6, 2021.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
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  3. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Wow! I have a bit of a headache, for some reason…I’m kidding. :)

    Thank you for doing this test and posting your results. Very interesting. I have actually wondered about this and your test threw out one of my assumptions. The under the chin shot. I would have bet that one would have turned out much better…or worse for the test dummy head.
    The direct skull shots kind of surprised me. I would have thought there would have been more deflection.
    Really interesting test. Good job. :thumbup:
     
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  4. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Agreed, very interesting! Also, Im sure one of those skulls aint cheap, kudos!
     
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  5. mokin

    mokin Member

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    Nice job. Thanks for posting.
     
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  6. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Excelent results. I've seen guys carry these NAA .22 shorts in a necklace holster.

    These results prove these little guns are VERY effective. Any one of those hits would be lethal.

    I would NOT feel unarmed if all I had was an NAA even in .22 short. I used to carry a .22LR chambered example for discrete carry in bars back in my heavy drinking days. Never had a bouncer "out" me and I never felt unarmed.
     
  7. toivo

    toivo Member

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    If that's what the .22 Short version will do, imagine what the .22 WMR is capable of! (Pug owner, and proud of it -- it's my bathrobe carry gun. ;))
     
  8. magyars4

    magyars4 Member

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    Excellent post. Thanks!
    It would be interesting to see what that little Gat does to the torso.
     
  9. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Well done. Though some of those shots would not have killed, or even physically incapacitated, they sure would have had some significant effect in stopping any further aggressive acts in a typical street attacker.

    Of course, we are counting on head shots here. ;)
     
  10. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    toivo writes:

    Sheriff model here. ;)
     
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  11. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    To the OP, nifty test. Thank you for doing this.

    Maybe you and I have a different definition of lethal, but at least several of those shots likely would not have been lethal, which was fairly clear from the OP's descriptions. To start with, the shot that hit the jaw was stopped outright. That shot absolutely would not have been lethal. The lower maxilla shot likely would not have been lethal, either. The cheek bone shot would have been blinding to one eye, but not lethal. Similarly, the top of the head shallow angle shot failed to penetrate the brain cavity and likely would not have been lethal, either. Both front teeth shots do not appear to be fatal.

    Let's be realistic for a minute. These tests do not prove a .22 short fired from a NAA mini is very effective. The testing involved using a simulated head, stationary, fired at under very controlled circumstances from a distance of 3 feet. Contrary to the OP...
    there is nothing about the testing that has anything to do with being in a defensive situation. More over, I suspect nearly all of these shots were fired from ideal positions perpendicular to the point of impact. That greatly reduces the chance for deflection. The one shallow angle shot definitely deflected significantly and appeared to have been totally ineffective.

    So what do these tests show? The tests show that under ideal shooting circumstances with a stationary target and a well aimed shot, that the .22 short used here will sometimes likely be lethal if the bullet either hits flat bone (yes, despite being curved, the bones of the cranium are considered to be "flat bone") in a perpendicular manner, or thin bone (back of eye socket), etc. In these situations, the bullet is apt to penetrate and actually make it into the brain where we assume the shot will be lethal or at least debilitating. There are very few accounts of people with penetrative ballistic wounds to brain cavity where the person remains functional, right? At least 4 of the 13 shots failed to produce the damage necessary to appear to be lethal or debilitating and the one shot fired from a non ideal angle deflected off the simulated skull without penetrating. The shot where the bullet came to rest against the cervical spine without actually damaging the simulated bone may have been debilitating, maybe not.

    So out of the 13 well placed shots on a stationary target from close range under non-combat circumstances, 4, possibly 5, do not appear to be lethal, or not immediately lethal, and likely were not even physically debilitating such that the person could not fight. Plus, the one angled shot was an absolute failure. I would say that the effectiveness of this little gun and caliber is quite low.

    Under combat circumstances, if you happen to land a shot that goes through the eye socket or hits a skull cranium surface perpendicular to the point of aim, the shot certainly may be very effective. Never mind all the difficulties involved in intentionally trying to make that happen with a tiny, awkward to hold, hard to aim, single action, crappy trigger, NAA mini revolver on an adversarial target that is likely in motion.

    To further illustrate how ineffective this little gun and caliber are, you would not get 13 shots into the same simulant head with a 9mm or .45 acp such that you could tell much about what was going on after the first 2 or 3 shots. The damage would be too massive and too overlapping. That the OP was able to get 13 shots into and out of this simulant head is pretty amazing.
     
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  12. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Very cool testing!

    Not a lot of 9mm and .45 pistols can fit in the watch fob pocket of your jeans.
     
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  13. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Is that legal in your state?

    The CHL laws in mine prohibit this...
     
  14. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see that at all.

    Lethality and defensive effectiveness are two different things.

    How one may "feel" is a useless commodity when it comes to self preservation
     
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  15. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    Great post. Thanks for sharing. I think a headshot with a small caliber handgun would be effective in STOPPING the threat. That should be the objective..NOT killing the attacker.
     
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  16. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Seeing your posts here and elsewhere, I have to ask, what’s your “minimum” that you’d consider adequate for the purposes of defense?
     
  17. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    My choice is any service round with premium ammunition.

    The firearm must be capable of one-handed rapid fire, and I have to be able to hit with it.
     
  18. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    The above comment points make sense as well. I did not provide an opinion based conclusion to my original results post, because I wanted the data to speak for itself. It's certainly open for discussion on how effective, or ineffective, this little gun may be in a real life chaotic defensive situation. But at least now we better understand what the bullets from this little gun can physically do, depending on where they hit.
     
  19. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Broad, but makes sense.
     
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  20. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    I own and have carried the N.A. guns for over 40 years.

    I have explained that imnsho,it is a BUG only.

    And I also see it as a eye,ears,nose,or throat gun.

    I once won a bet at the 7 yard line,to prove I could keep them all in the K-5 zone.

    I won that bet !!.

    But your posting is a great lesson,thank you.
     
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  21. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Again, Thank You for doing this test.

    I had toyed with the idea of buying one of these little shooters, but mostly for a backup to my backup. I was never sure how ammo would perform from one in a bad situation. Your test, if nothing else shows that they do not perform as badly as one might think or as badly as I had assumed.
     
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  22. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    A clothed and bare ballistic gelatin test with this set-up would also be interesting.
     
  23. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

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    'All Outdoors' channel had performed this test on YouTube, it looks like the high velocity 22 Short rounds are getting 6" to 7" of ballistics gel penetration.
     
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  24. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    It's interesting data, but it's only data.

    Heads are mobile, especially under stress. One thing to note in OP's run of tests is how things change with only a few inches' difference in shot placement.

    Your 'best' target area with the head is maybe a 4" square, and that square can easily move 4" and in several directions. This is why most instructors teach CoM, as that's an 8" target that only moves 3-4" maybe.

    The other issue worth considering is barrier breaching, which is touched on above. How well would these tests gone if the round had needed to pass through a hand or arm raised in defense--which is a very likely thing given the liekly engagement ranges expected.

    The .22 rounds can be very effective, OP's tests show this.
     
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  25. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    "So how did the .22 short do? Well, frankly, not very well." LOL.
     
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