I Carry: NAA Ranger II in a DeSantis Pocket Holster

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posted on November 23, 2018

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a North American Arms Ranger II revolver in a DeSantis holster paired with a LaserLyte grip laser. We also have Hornady Critical Defense .22 WMR ammunition and a Leatherman Micra multi-tool to round out our EDC kit.

North American Arms Ranger II ($479)

Of course, North American Arms is known for its line of micro-sized rimfire revolvers, and the company’s product line has undergone quite an evolution. Early designs, like the Standard Magnum or the Pug, required partial disassembly to reload, with users having to remove the cylinder and pop out individual cases before inserting a fresh cartridge. Not ideal in a defensive gun, for sure.

NAA improved on this weakness with its Sidewinder, featuring a swing-out cylinder with a built-in ejector rod that allowed for faster reloading. And with the re-launch of its Ranger revolver in the form of the Ranger II, loading and unloading is made even easier with a Schofield-style, top-break construction that pulls spent cartridges from the cylinder as the break-action design is hinged open.

Does this feature make the Ranger II a good choice for a go-to self-defense pistol? I wouldn’t go that far. There are still shortcomings to this design that remove it from consideration as a dedicated defensive gun, such as the single-action operating system that requires cocking the hammer for each shot or its reliance on less-reliable rimfire cartridges. However, thanks to its small size, it might make a decent option for a back-up gun, should there ever be an issue with your primary.

DeSantis Gunhide Black Widow Pocket Holster ($22)

For example, a pocket holster is a perfect option for the NAA Ranger II, and to make the process of developing a CCW kit even easier for consumers, NAA offers a complete line of compatible holsters on its website, ranging from ankle rigs to shoulder holsters, if those are more your speed.

Personally, I think a pocket holster is a great way to carry a backup gun like the Ranger II, and the Black Widow holster, based on DeSantis’ popular Nemesis holster, offers a secure carry method that stays anchored and oriented, thanks to a textured exterior. The interior of the holster is lined with a low-friction pack cloth that allows for a snag-free draw, and the rear edge of the rig offers a pouch for carrying spare ammo. NAA is going to be an exclusive, one-stop shop for this holster and others like it, because DeSantis actually doesn’t list this particular offering on its site.

LaserLyte Grip Laser ($130)

We’ve already mentioned several shortcomings of the Ranger II, but there’s one more we didn’t mention earlier: the gun is…well…short. With a barrel length of 1 and five-eighths inches, it’s kind of hard to call out any kind of sight radius on this revolver. Luckily, LaserLyte makes an aiming aid in the form of its Grip Laser, which is sized to fit all Magnum-framed revolvers in the NAA lineup. When gripping the gun, users will activate the aiming laser with a button located on the underside of the grip, producing a red aiming point directed over the top-right side of the cylinder to help put rounds on target.

Hornady Critical Defense .22 WMR ($13.99)

Speaking of the rounds, we discussed how the gun relies on cartridges equipped with a rimfire ignition system, an older method of priming that is, unfortunately, less-reliable than centerfire rounds. To mitigate misfire potential, it’s essential to use quality defensive ammo in a gun like this, and Hornady provides a dependable solution in the form of its Critical Defense offering. Topped with the company’s FTX Flex-Tip bullet, the cartridge is optimized for use in short barrels, and low-flash propellant prevents the momentary blinding that can occur when discharging short-barreled guns in low-light conditions.

Leatherman Micra ($29.95)

We’ve focused a lot of attention on the carry gun and how to enhance it in this video, but we didn’t forget the rest of your EDC kit! In fact, you could say this Micra from Leatherman is almost the multi-tool-equivalent of the Ranger II, because it definitely packs a whole lot of features into a small package. Measuring just 2 and a half inches long and weighing just under two ounces, the Micra is made from durable 420HC stainless steel and provides 10 different tools, ranging from a small utility knife, spring-loaded scissors, screwdrivers, tweezers and more. All in a foldable product you can keep on a keychain. Pretty cool.

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