Strangest Gun At SHOT: Bonhus Arms CL-380

By ShootingTheBull410

Bondhus Arms showed off their first product, the CL-380, a tiny (and bizarre) new idea for a pocket pistol. The CL-380 is literally no wider or longer than a credit card, weighs just eight ounces, and offers two shots of .380 ACP from its diminuitive 2.1″ twin barrels. Part of the design philosophy is that they wanted to make something that “didn’t look like a gun.” Well, they certainly succeeded there . . .

Pulling this block of metal out of your pocket, it looks more like a … well, I guess a Zippo lighter, than a gun. And getting it ready to fire takes a few steps; you first have to “deploy the blast shields”, then rotate up the trigger plate into position. I pointed out that a lot of people don’t like having even a manual safety on their gun, so it seemed unlikely that they would want to execute a scene from Michael Bay’s ‘Transformers’ to get their pocket pistol ready to fire. Bondhus’s response was that they believe that the unusual nature and unrecognizable shape of the CL-380 may very well give you extra time to deploy it, as the bad guy wouldn’t have any idea that it was a gun or that they were facing a threat. I’ll let the readership decide on that one.

There are no conventional sights on the CL-380. Instead, it has an integrated laser sight (convenient, as the Bondhus team were original designers of the Viridian Green Laser).

There are no more details available on their website yet, although I believe that I heard the representative tell someone that it’s expected to sell for $799 (but take that with a grain of salt, as I don’t have that confirmed on the seat-of-the-pants video you see here).

comments

  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    .380 out of a 2.1″ barrel? Really? Is the muzzle energy above or below the threshold needed to moderately injure a squirrel.

    1. avatar cmiz says:

      Seriously… pulling off your shoe and throwing it will be faster to deploy, and may even result in more energy delivered at the target.

      1. avatar WoodyTX says:

        You take off your shoe, I’ll deploy the blast shields, okay?

        Seriously, innovation is innovation. At least they’re trying to do something different.

        1. avatar Eric says:

          I could put broccoli puree’ on a chocolate-chip waffle and call it healthy-breakfast “innovation” -that doesn’t make it good.

        2. avatar PeterK says:

          Innovation is great. I doubt this “innovation” will sell however, haha.

          Needs to be faster to deply methinks.

          Still, as you say, this could just be the first step of a revolution.

      2. avatar Will says:

        Odd,

        you heard about the guy who is suing Nike because the shoe he wore and assaulted another man with was labeled a “deadly weapon” by a judge?

        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/oregon-man-blames-nike-100-year-sentence-article-1.1576539

  2. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    good luck getting it up and ready for use in an attack. . . .

    1. avatar Jeremy says:

      That’s what she said…

      1. avatar Lucas D. says:

        She also said that gag is lame and you should go to your room until you learn to make real jokes that include fresh, wholesome ingredients like “wit” and “humor.”

        1. avatar C says:

          That’s what she said.

  3. avatar DrVino says:

    It’s not the gun, but the guy’s hair….

  4. avatar jwm says:

    Something a Bond villian would use. With exploding bullets. But in the real world? Not so much.

  5. avatar Glenn says:

    I saw that & have to say that it should take the “stupidest of show” award!

  6. avatar Braenen says:

    CLOSE THE BLAST DOORS!!! CLOSE THE BLAST DOORS!!!

    OPEN THE BLAST DOORS!!!! OPEN THE BLAST DOORS!!!

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Literally the size of a credit card? I don’t have any credit cards that thin. Also, in some states “disguised” guns are illegal. I wonder of this one would be considered disguised since it doesn’t look like a gun. Just a thought.

    1. avatar Skylor says:

      I don’t think it qualifies as a disguised firearm because it doesn’t appear to be imitating anything in particular… Maybe if you “holstered” it in a playing card box…

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Yeah maybe they mean a different thing by “width” than I do. Or maybe my credit cards aren’t as big… to be fair, my spending limit isn’t that huge…

    3. avatar Pat says:

      He said “wide”, as in width – not “thick” as in thickness.

  8. avatar nemsis says:

    yawn.

  9. The gun looks as weird as the guy talking about it.

  10. avatar BWG81 says:

    I am usually the first to praise innovation or just being “different” – but this is the first product that has ever made me just flat out think, “this is stupid.”

    The product would be fine if you didn’t have to flip this up, rotate that, etc etc to get it ready to fire.

    The creators obviously have no idea what it would be like to be in a situation that required the use of a firearm. Motor skills go to garbage and even the most minor required actions become hard work.

    This is why I carry a Glock, I don’t trust my motor skills on external safeties if I get put in a high stress situation that turns my brain into pudding.

    This is a horrible product.

    1. avatar VaqueroJustice says:

      What he said.
      As someone who defends derringers quite a bit, I have to say that the manipulations
      required to bring this thing into action are pretty much going to render it useless
      in the real world. I don’t care if it doesn’t look like a gun, an aggressor won’t let you futz
      with anything without shooting you.
      Most derringers come in a heftier caliber, as well, to kind of make up for the low capacity.
      If this device was chambered in, say, .45 acp or colt, I’m betting it would have unbearable
      recoil.
      If the device didn’t have to be manipulated in such a manner, it might have some utility.
      A block like this might be able to be mounted on a belt buckle or something, but weather
      something like that would count as a disguised pistol would be a question.
      I suppose after the system goes through a few generations, something useful might emerge, but
      I’m not holding my breath.

      1. avatar Evan says:

        Agree on all counts. Just the likelihood of this system having a few generations without selling any of the earlier ones is very low

  11. avatar William Burke says:

    At the very least, this seems to be a solution to a non-existent “problem”.

  12. avatar Mike says:

    Looks like a belt buckle gun the SS had in a couple different calibers…

  13. avatar Fudgesicle says:

    I don’t see myself buying one of these, but I do applaud their efforts to make something new. Innovation is always good, even when it’s weird and poorly executed.

    How many manufacturers are developing truly new products like this? Look at the editors’ top picks from SHOT Show. Dan picked the Glock 42. It’s the same as every other Glock, except that it’s smaller. Nick picked a handful of magazines bolted together. Robert picked the R51, which is based on and named for a model developed in 1917.

    These guys are thinking outside the box. They may refine this idea to something great, or someone else may. This thing may not be what the market needs right now, but neither is yet another “new and improved” AR-15 (now with BLUE lasers!!!).

  14. avatar Brian says:

    I’m already looking forward to Ruger’s improved version sometime this fall!

  15. avatar Hal J. says:

    All the firepower of a derringer…but it takes 4 times longer to deploy it!

    I think this is the very definition of a range toy.

  16. avatar Yoel Grauberg says:

    That is so much more practical than a Gerber tactical lockback knife. The knockout gamers would probably be laughing too hard to continue beating you while you fiddled with that POS.

  17. avatar Rab says:

    They call it a “Concealed Carry Weapon”, I call it a concealed carry joke.

    1. avatar KD says:

      Maybe the “threat” will see this in your hand and laugh himself to death. If he ends up ROFL, then you have time to get away. Just sayin’ . . . .

  18. avatar Vhyrus says:

    If they reduced the deployment to a single step (i.e. deploying the shields made the gun ready to fire) and reduced the price I think this would actually sell. As it stands, however, I think thats a little too much work in a dgu scenario to be viable.

  19. avatar Dave says:

    Negligent discharge waiting to happen.

  20. avatar JAS says:

    Pull it out of your pocket tick…tick..tick, open the top flap tick….tick…tick….tick….tick, open the bottom flap tick….tick….tick….tick….tick. open the rear firing mechanism tick…..tick….tick…tick….. turn the laser on tick,,,,BOOOM. Oops that wasn’t it going off. It was the bad guy’s.

  21. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    This strikes me as the firearm equivalent of those early mechanical flight experimental contraptions we’ve likely all seen in black and white footage. The one with actual flapping wings comes to mind, as does the one that resembled a golf cart with a mushroom-shaped canopy that cycled up and down trying to create some lift. This, like those, isn’t likely to take off any time soon.

    Then again, maybe these guys are trailblazers and may yet come upon something practical and profitable after however many iterations. Edison tried how many different materials in the light bulb before coming up with a winner?

    I can’t fault these guys for getting out there and going for it. God bless the dreamers.

    1. avatar Rab says:

      You may not be able to fault them for trying, but I can. They are trying to flap wings with jets flying overhead–to use your analogy. They are trying to execute a horrific idea. Even if they “succeed”, they will have gun with an extremely low-end caliber that, to top it off, only holds two rounds.

      Can’t wait for them to come out with a speed loader for it.

    2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Who knows where basic research might lead? Plenty of innovations came about eventually with limited success initially. You’ve misapplied my analogy, too. True, jets and other technologies exist for full sized flight, but these guys are attempting to create something different from simply a smaller gun. Otherwise, they’d just make a derringer.

      What they’re attempting through shape changing and (someday) instant transformation is much more than mere miniaturuzation. If that were true, then the same could be said for nanotechnology; completely ignoring the novel and hugely beneficial physical, chemical, and biological properties only attainable at the atomic or at least molecular level.

      I don’t even agree that .380 is an extremely low caliber, as .32 is generally the smallest caliber legally allowed for carry license qualification. That doesn’t even touch on the .25’s, .22’s (which claims more victims annually than any other caliber), or the assorted teen calibers.

      I look forward to these guys doing their thing and making a go of it. If they ever get it right, lots of early dismissive people will line up to buy.

      1. avatar Rab says:

        They are not developing any new technology. They are simply redesigning existing tech to horribly, unusable levels. Just because smaller calibers than .380 exist, does not make the .380 any less horrible of a defense cartridge.

        If you choose to defend your life against a drugged up Mongo set on tearing you apart with a 380, 25, or 22, that’s your choice. Just leaves more ammo on the shelves for the rest of us.

  22. avatar lolinski says:

    Why not just carry a zip gun?

    I will admit that it is cool, I would get one in 38 special. Alas I can’t.

  23. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “Gee, Mr. Mugger/Rapist, please stand by while I deploy my really cool disguised pistol!”

    For a better take on this idea from the 1880s, type “Chicago Palm Pistol” into your search engine.

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      I think the point of this firearm is assassination.

      You are at some high end party on some balcony, you take a bottle of wine/champagne and stick the muzzles in it (as a suppressor). Take aim at your target…

      And miss horribly since the bottle and liquids didn’t allow you to see the laser clearly and you were shooting from a distance longer than 15 meters.

  24. avatar Nigil says:

    Bet that DoubleTap pocket pistol is lookin pretty good now, huh.

  25. avatar James St. John says:

    I would perfer the old palm pistol design.

  26. avatar WRH says:

    It might actually be faster to carry a field stripped Glock in your pocket, which you could reassemble when you’re attacked.

  27. avatar pat says:

    Why not just carry a knife? You’ll probably use it at similiar ranges as a pocket pistol and it’ll probably do more damage. Plus you don’t have to reload it.

  28. avatar sagebrushracer says:

    I have a Nerf gun that has a blast shield…..

    I imagine this will be about as effective too.

    1. avatar VaqueroJustice says:

      Hey, the nerf stampede shield is very effective
      against the ballistic threats it is intended to be deployed against.
      As the stampede has better capacity, handles better, has larger caliber ammunition,
      incorporates effective ballistic shields, and requires less manipulation to fire, I don’t think
      the comparison is fair at all, to the derringer, that is 🙂

  29. avatar C says:

    I still think that it’s a cool assed toy.

  30. avatar middleagedmama says:

    He kept saying “weapon”. Really? It looks like the toy firearms equivalent of a Rubik’s cube to me.

  31. avatar Chad says:

    Maybe not the ideal weapon for self defense, but it’s better than harsh language. Plus, how cool is it going to be to deploy the blast shield. LOL.

    I’ll buy one just because it’s unique!

  32. avatar obersaber says:

    I hear it will have a green laser sight and a led flashlight.
    There is a video of a young lady deploying this thing with dexterity and speed.
    The texting generation will have no problem with thumb activated triggers.

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