I once wrote that man is the animal of the tool. Without tools, naked and starving, we would surely perish. Our relationship with tools has been forged over eons of interaction with the basic materials of our existence. Stone, wood and bone were our first because they were the most accessible. Over time, man has learned to manipulate these basic materials to the point that we've created entirely new substances alien to our original environment.
Tools are as essential to our survival as shelter. Because of this, quality and reliability is a necessary element of the tools we possess. The bonds we form with tools can be likened to bonds formed with a loyal dog or a good friend; it's an unspoken kinship gained over time with those we trust. After the time spent with my NAA revolvers, I've developed such a bond.
The Black Widow is a gun that immediately makes me think of the Raging series of revolvers from Taurus. With it's sculpted barrel and oversized grip, it looks like a large gun, but it's a mini through and through.
When you first open the case, the Black Widow's diminutive size is appealing. Picking it up by its oversized rubber grip, it feels substantial in the hand. Like other NAA revolvers, the gun is heavier than it appears and the quality, fit and finish are immediately apparent.
The un fluted cylinder blends the smooth rear frame of the revolver into the shaped fore end. Overall, it's a sweet look. I love my Mini Magnum, but my Black Widow has an appeal all its own.
Setting the hammer to half-cock, it's time to remove the cylinder pin. Older versions of this model had a push-button pin similar to the original line of minis, but this pin is removed via a locking lug which is pulled down and twisted 90 degrees. Once this is accomplished, the lug is pulled forward and the pin slides smoothly out. The pin is re-inserted by reversing this action. Overall, it's a very solid arrangement, and when the lug clicks into place, it adds to the overall solid look of the gun.
Unlike the rounded front blade sight on my Mini Mag, my Black Widow is fitted with substantial fixed iron sights. With the hammer pulled back, it's easy to get a bead on target. Many people have commented that the front blade is too wide, but the trick to getting a Black Widow properly sighted is to hold the gun closer to the body. If you hold it at arm's length, the front blade will fill the channel of the rear sight, and there's no light shining through. Pull it in a little though, and the problem is solved. In addition to seeing the sights better, this will also stabilize your gun.
Soon after purchasing my Black Widow, I noticed North American Arms was holding a sale on their oversized rosewood grips. I jumped at the chance and purchased a set. Originally, I thought I would mount them to my Mini Magnum, but couldn't quite get the fit the way I wanted, so on the BW they went! The quality is outstanding, and the feel is silky smooth. I really like the hourglass symbol on the original rubber grip, but the rosewood more than makes up for it with look and feel. I can always switch back and forth at my whimsy.
Every NAA revolver comes with a safety cylinder, which allows the gun to be safely carried with a fully loaded cylinder. With its large iron sights, the Black Widow is a little more tricky to set than the Mini Mag. Because the rear sight is so substantial, it blocks your view of the top of the cylinder in the firing pin slot. In order to set the safety, it's necessary to look at the back of the cylinder and make sure the top two rounds are straddling the midline, as shown in NAA literature.
My experience with North American Arms has been nothing short of a love affair, and I will admit to being enamored with the guns I have so far. The Black Widow makes a wonderful addition to your collection.