The LifeCard (top) is shipping now, the Ideal Conceal is expected to begin shipping by the end of the year.
The LifeCard (top) is shipping now, the Ideal Conceal is expected to begin shipping by the end of the year. mfg photos

Last month, we reported on a burgeoning trend in the self-defense pistol world: folding guns. Last week, we showed you that the trend isn’t just limited to handguns, but it’s also creeping in to the rifle world with the F&D XAR Invicta folding AR.

Here’s an update on two folding pistols, one that has been long anticipated and the center of some controversy, and the other a newer concept that hasn’t faced the same hurdles.

First up is the gun that has been making headlines at steady intervals since its concept was introduced: the Ideal Conceal “cell phone pistol.”

When news of the impending firearm (at the time a prototype didn’t yet exist) and it’s marketing hook hit the news, anti-gun politicians and activists like Chuck Schumer spoke out against it vehemently, saying it would be disastrous for law enforcement personnel…for some reason.

The two-shot .380 mimics a smartphone when the grip is folded, if you’re 10 feet away and have never seen a smartphone, but can be deployed quickly in an emergency self-defense situation—and that’s all it would be good for, though it does include rudimentary fixed sights. The barrels tilt up for loading and the gun cannot be fired without the handle being fully opened. The gun also includes a drop safety and a long trigger pull for added safety.

While they aren’t designed as primary defensive firearms, these ultra compact, ultra-light pistols could have a place as a last line of self defense.

Folding Pistols: The Next Big Thing in Defensive Handguns?

But the scenario for it’s use is this: you’re getting robbed by say a man with a knife. He already has a weapon on you, and you’re not Doc Holliday, so he’s too close to provide enough time to draw your concealed carry pistol. He demands your money, your keys, your phone. Instead of pulling out your real phone, you pull out the Ideal Conceal, and in mid-robbery, the bad guy won’t notice it doesn’t have a screen. You drop your wallet and keys, giving you a split second to open the handle and now you’re armed with two shots at the ready. Or any other number of similar situations.

The Minnesota derringer was supposed to go on sale in mid-2016, but customers were left waiting.

According to this story from, Kirk Kjellberg, Ideal Conceal’s CEO apologized for the delays in an email on Monday and announced a limited run of “a few hundred” pistols that will be released at the end of November, followed by a 1,000-gun run in January 2018. Production will ramp up from there, the story says.

From the story:

Kjellberg said the company is taking their show on the road and will be holding public demonstrations starting in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sept. 27. Other dates in Winston Salem, Chattanooga, Nashville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Kansas City and Des Moines are scheduled through October with more dates set to be announced through social media.

It got heat from anti-gunners, because they claimed police would be put in danger by criminals with a gun that looks like a cell phone, because they wouldn’t obviously be armed and could potentially perform the same action that was described in the robbery scenario above. However, as many pointed out, the Ideal Conceal really presents no more danger than any small, concealed handgun when carried by a criminal. And there are plenty of smaller guns with a much higher capacity.

If you don’t mind some extremely NSFW language and some questionable gun safety with the use of blanks (or maybe its CG), the guys at Tactical Sh#t did a video review of the Ideal Conceal here, including the aforementioned robbery scenario…sorta. According to them, future iterations of the Ideal Conceal will feature an integrated laser sight.

Super NSFW:

There’s also a new review of another folding self-defense gun from 22Plinkster, the TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard, which we reported on before. As you can see, it’s extremely small, but instead of a .380, it’s chambered in .22LR.

Again, this isn’t a primary carry pistol, and compared to the Ideal Conceal, the LifeCard is so small that it’s really a hideaway gun for extreme self-defense situations, like an abduction scenario. The LifeCard’s sights are only a runnel or groove running down the top of the pistol. It’s designed to be pointed.

It’s a single shot, single-action pistol with no extractor (just your fingernail) that loads via a tilt-up barrel and stores additional rounds in the grip. Hardly a hand cannon, but better than nothing, and most importantly, 22Plinkster says he’s put 50 to 75 rounds through it without a problem. The LifeCard is currently shipping to distributors.

What both of these gun allow concealed carriers to do is to be armed in areas where extreme discretion is necessary, or where clothing may not permit you to carry your normal EDC firearm. Even if you do have a subcompact carry option, these folding guns allow you to carry safely without a holster or a belt, a self-defense firearm safely stowed in a pocket that’s better than a sharp stick.

Should you depend on either of these firearms as your one-and-only self defense firearm? Probably not, but in a certain situations, it’s way better than a folding knife or nothing.