Discretion is the better part of valor. If you conceal carry a firearm as part of your EDC you know this to be true. A concealed gun is meant to be discrete. With the sudden uptick in concealed carry popularity the market for small and concealable guns is massive. We may have finally hit peak discretion with the Trailblazer Lifecard. The real question is how little is too little? The Lifecard is certainly walking a fine line between being ultra-concealable and too compact.
What is the LifeCard .22LR?
The Lifecard is 22 LR, single barrel, single-shot handgun that folds up to approximately to the size of a credit card. Of course, it’s a bit thicker than your Visa. The LifeCard is half an inch thick and weighs only 7 ounces. The entire gun is made of metal. The barrel, bolt, and trigger are made from 4140 pre-hardened steel and the frame and handle is made from aluminum. The gun is machine billeted and is very eye-pleasing.
It’s design is quite clean, but the Lifecard logo is rather large for such a small pistol. Luckily, it’s subdued against the all-black design. The handle features storage for additional ammunition. To unfold/fold the gun you pull a slide latch which unlocks the handle. You can then fold it or unfold it. The process is simple and latches are easy to use.
To load the weapon, you half-cock the gun, engage another latch and pull the barrel upwards. You load the round directly into the barrel like you would an old school derringer. To fire the gun, you pull the slide into the fully cocked position and pull the now exposed trigger.
While it’s innovative in and of itself, the core design is very simple. According to the instruction manual, there are only 19 parts in the entire gun. Simplicity is often the key to reliability.
The Strengths Of The Platform
Right off the bat, its obvious this is either a niche weapon, or one those projects that happens just because someone could. Trailblazer advertises and markets the LifeCard as a concealed carry gun. I will say their tagline is quite true, “The Last Gun You’ll Leave Behind.”
Its both light and small so you really don’t have much of an excuse to leave it behind. It fits in just about any pocket you can carry it. The gun is small enough to squeeze into a pack of cigarettes if the situation called for it. Therein lies it’s main strength. If you really, really needed to hide a gun you could do so with the Lifecard .22LR.
It’s a weapon that can be concealed in your pants pocket, your shirt pocket, or even a lady’s clutch. There would certainly be a limited application among some law enforcement, especially officers who are deep undercover. There is a famous story regarding an undercover Police Officer carrying a 22 derringer in a red solo cup while wearing a speedo and doing a drug buy.
In that niche situation, this gun would shine brightly because it doesn’t look like a gun.
There is also the cool factor. The unique nature and design of the gun is enough to make anyone curious regardless of its potential usefulness. It’s just a cool gun that’s built well and unique in function.
The biggest downside is obvious: Its a single-shot .22 LR handgun. I’m not going to say you can’t stop a threat with a .22 LR, but it’s far from the optimum caliber for self-defense. As a rimfire round, it does have reliability issues. If the round doesn’t ignite on the first shot, or one shot doesn’t solve your problem good luck reloading.
Plus, there is a lack of truly functional sights. You get a trench you place on the target. This is a minor issue because this gun is designed for extreme close quarters on human-sized targets.
While the gun does have a unique folding feature that makes it look nothing like a pistol, the overall size in it’s firing configuration is comparable to something like a Ruger LCP. The LCP offers 6 times the ammo in a more powerful and more reliable centerfire cartridge.
At The Range
Strengths and weaknesses aside, let’s look at how the gun functions. The act of folding and unfolding is very simple which renders the gun’s design intuitive and predictable. Loading and unloading is easy, as is prepping the gun to fire. Pulling the bolt back to cock the gun can be done by anyone, regardless of hand strength.
Firing the gun produces an interesting recoil sensation. It’s not painful, or stout, or even uncomfortable in anyway. .22 LR guns typically have very little recoil, and even in handguns it’s not really felt. In the LifeCard the gun bucks a bit, and lets reminds you just how lightweight it is. The odd rectangular grip isn’t exactly ergonomic, but it works. Reloading the gun is as simple as breaking the barrel open, pull the empty case out, and loading the new one in.
Because the gun is a single shot it’s taken me awhile to work through a few hundred rounds. In fact, I may have just hit two hundred rounds fired. I will say the gun surprised me, only once has a round failed to fire on the first try. This is the issue with rimfire ammo in general. Ejecting the rounds has also been mostly issue-free. I had a few rounds expand when fired and force me to push the rounds out of the barrel via a cleaning rod.
Now when it comes to accuracy…well… how do you judge accuracy? If it’s by small groups or long distances you need a different gun. I have no issues hitting the chest and heart area of an anatomy target at 10 yards but have trouble hitting a 21-inch steel popper at that same distance.
It’s a fun gun to shoot and it’s a challenge for sure. Trying to practice pulling the weapon from my pocket, unfolding it into a firing configuration and then actually firing it is interesting. It certainly highlights the fact this isn’t a quick draw gun, but something you assemble and make ready discreetly.
The LifeCard 22 LR is certainly an interesting and unique design. Its usefulness will certainly be up to the end user. For some, it’s a gimmick, or a solution looking for a problem. To others, it may solve a problem only they have. Regardless, it’s an interesting design and it’s nice to see something new and interesting in the crowded small gun market. Learn more at Trailblazer Firearms.