by Adam Heggenstaller - Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Venomous snakes, rabid raccoons, territorial meth-cookers--there are plenty of reasons to carry a handgun while scouting, camping or just walking around in the woods. But many of us don't. The legality of carrying a handgun is one thing, but poor excuses for going unarmed abound. One of the most common is the "burden" of carrying the extra weight of yet another item that takes up precious space on your person.
A handgun meant for daily carry and a proper holster can help with comfort while in the field, but this isn't a lesson on toting a pistol. You can get plenty of that over at Shooting Illustrated or from Sheriff Jim Wilson. Rather, allow me to introduce you to the Black Widow mini revolver from North American Arms, so you'll no longer be able to use the "burden" excuse.
The Black Widow is less than 6 inches long, 4 inches high and an inch wide. It weighs less than 9 ounces. That's not much larger than my smartphone. You see where I'm going with this: The gun easily fits in most pockets. (Still a good idea to pair it with a holster designed for carrying it there.)
At first glance, some may be uneasy about the exposed trigger. But realize the Black Widow is a single-action revolver. In order to fire it, you must first fully cock the hammer, which most likely will not happen by accident.
Having a five-round cylinder, the stainless steel Black Widow is chambered for .22 WMR. No, that's not the ideal cartridge for personal protection, but it beats everything you're not carrying. The point here is the Black Widow is so easy to take with you on a quick trip to check trail cams or listen for gobbles, you'll have it with you when you need it.
The little gun is accurate, too, especially if you mount the LaserLyte Venom laser sight beneath the barrel. In my tests using the laser, the mini revolver repeatedly put all five of the rounds contained in its cylinder into 1.25-inch groups at 10 yards--a reasonable distance for holding four-legged pests and worse at bay. Granted, that was from a solid rest. Shooting it offhand, groups were closer to 3 inches. That's still quite a deterrent, particularly with loads designed for personal protection like Hornady Critical Defense and Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel.
One last point: The Black Widow is a blast to shoot, which means you'll enjoy practicing with it. And that means you'll be effective with it if you need to use it on the trail--as long as you have it with you, but we already talked about that.
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