When it comes to concealed carry, it’s all about keeping your gun hidden. This is why the pistol market has seen such an increase in smaller, more concealable handguns in the past few years. Trailblazer Firearms joined the fray back in 2014 with the idea of designing the smallest, most innovative pistol anyone has ever seen. Now, a few years later, we have the LifeCard pistol, which started life in .22 LR but is now available in .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) as well.
Lifecard 22 WMR
To put it simply, the LifeCard is a single-barrel, single-shot handgun that folds up to about the dimensions of a credit card and is just about half an inch thick while weighing 7 ounces. The entire gun is made of metal. The barrel, bolt and trigger are made from pre-hardened 4140-steel, and the frame and handle from billet aluminum. The steel has a very attractive black, corrosion-resistant Isonite finish, and the aluminum is anodized. The gun’s overall design is extremely clean and subdued until you flip the latch to open it. The handle also lets you store three additional rounds of ammunition.
A small sliding latch allows you to unlock the handle and unfold the gun for use. The process is fairly simple, but it can a bit difficult for anyone with normal-sized hands to operate quickly. To load the gun, you engage another sliding latch and pull the barrel upward. You load the round directly into the barrel, then simply close the barrel. To fire the gun, you pull a very small hammer into the fully cocked position and pull the trigger.
It’s very obvious right away that the LifeCard is a niche firearm, or the result of a “someone could, so they did” situation. The gun definitely has some pros, however. It is extremely lightweight and concealable. It is also completely ambidextrous—really the perfect recipe for a carry gun. There are literally no excuses not to have it on your person daily. It fits in any pocket, or even undergarments, comfortably and discreetly. Trailblazer says it actually designed the thing to be able to fit inside your favorite breath mint tin. The size is definitely the main strength of the LifeCard.
Having a little more power with the .22 WMR, compared to the earlier .22 LR version, is also a bit of an advantage. It’s always a good thing when you can increase a weapon’s knockdown power without adding to its size.
It also has that head-turning “tacti-cool” factor built in. Everyone who sees the gun is immediately intrigued by it. And let’s not forget to mention the super-sweet lanyard hole for those of us who want to wear the LifeCard as a 7-ounce piece of jewelry or keychain.
Let’s start with the elephant in the very small room. The LifeCard is a single-shot .22 WMR handgun. Sure, you could definitely stop a threat with a .22 WMR round. However, you only get one chance to do it with this pistol. The process of firing that single round is just that, a process. Assuming you already have your single round of .22 WMR loaded into the barrel, you now have to pull the LifeCard out of your pocket, purse, holster, bra, pack of cigarettes or maybe even that hard-to-open mint container. Your nervous hands then have to figure out which side the barrel is on and make sure you are sliding the correct latch to open the gun. Then you need to grab the tiny little hammer and pull it back to set the trigger in the firing position.
If this process wasn’t enough, you now have to attempt to point this tiny little thing with no sights and only a 2.5-inch barrel at your target. Really, the lack of sights is kind of null and void, though, because this thing was designed for extremely close combat and a large human-sized target. With that being said, if the bad guy was close enough that I needed to pull this gun, I might already have crossed the point of engaging in hand-to-hand combat, and you really need two hands to deploy the LifeCard properly.
While the gun is quite appealing a concealed-carry piece due to its folding design, which really makes it look nothing like a pistol, the LifeCard’s overall size, when fully deployed, is comparable to something like the Ruger LCP, the Kahr P380 or even the KelTec P-3AT.
Those three guns aren’t really that much larger while being ready to fire upon drawing and holding at least six times as much ammo in a much more powerful and more reliable centerfire cartridge. The price point on the Trailblazer LifeCard actually comes in higher than some of those other options as well. With the same $399, you could get a more powerful pistol in the same size bracket as well as a holster and ammo to go with it.
With the good, the bad and the ugly out of the way, let’s talk about the pistol’s actual capabilities. It’s easy to fold and unfold the LifeCard at the range, when you’re not under any stress. Everyone that handled the gun could easily work the latches, hammer and trigger without any issues. It does take a slight amount of training to understand their functions, but the LifeCard is still pretty simple to operate overall.
Loading the LifeCard is equally easy in such a setting. Simply open the gun and then pull the latch to release the barrel. The barrel breaks open, and after you load a round, practically falls back into place. Prepping the gun to fire simply requires pulling the hammer back, and anyone can do this with a small amount of effort. Everyone who tried it on the range was able to pull the hammer back and squeeze the trigger.
Firing the gun is quite interesting in itself. The recoil isn’t as bad as you might think. It’s not painful or uncomfortable at all. The odd rectangular grip isn’t exactly ergonomic by any means, but it works just fine. The LifeCard is pretty fun to shoot, too, and it definitely produced some good laughs at the range. It throws a giant ring of fire toward the target, which seemed to draw a whole lot of attention at a public range. And reloading the gun is as simple as breaking the barrel open, pulling out the empty case and loading a fresh round.
A Unique Solution
What about accuracy? Well, it’s tough to be accurate with the LifeCard. It kind of reminded me of playing catch with my 5-year-old. One round would go high, the next shot would go low, and how the hell did that round hit the floor when I was aiming for the target’s center-mass? But, in its defense, the LifeCard isn’t really meant to be accurate.
The LifeCard is a very entertaining and definitely unique firearm. I probably wouldn’t carry it as a my primary firearm, but I do think it would make an acceptable backup to my EDC firearm. Considering its size when it’s folded up, it can easily be concealed in plain sight. It would take a lot of practice to deploy it efficiently in a stressful defensive situation, but I believe it can be perfected—although never with the speed of just drawing a firearm from a holster.
The LifeCard’s usefulness will certainly be up to each user to determine. For some people, it will remain a gimmick. To others, it may be a solution. Regardless, it’s a very unique and innovative design that, as Trailblazer Firearms puts it, might just “be the last gun you’ll leave behind.”
For more information, visit trailblazerfirearms.com.
Trailblazer Lifecard Specifications
- Caliber: .22 WMR
- Barrel: 2.5 inches
- Overall Length: 3.38 inches (closed)
- Overall Weight: 7 ounces
- Grip: Aluminum
- Sights: None
- Action: Break
- Finish: Matte black
- Overall Capacity: 1 (with 3 rounds in grip)
- MSRP: $399