Lifecard 22LR Pistol
Travis Pike for TTAG
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I’m a sucker for the weird and the odd in the gun world. It doesn’t have to be efficient or effective to draw my attention. I can appreciate artistic quality and craft put in the Bond Arms derringers. I can appreciate the unique quality and designs Kel Tec puts out, and I can most certainly appreciate the LifeCard from Trailblazer.

The LifeCard is a single shot derringer chambered in .22 LR. It’s named for the fact that it folds up to resemble a credit card, although it’s much thicker than a regular credit card. The dimensions of the LifeCard when folded up are 3.375 inches long, 2.125 inches wide, and half an inch thick. That’s makes it small and perfectly pocketable.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

If you are anything like me, you doubt the effectiveness of a single shot .22 LR pistol for concealed carry. Perhaps it could be a good backup gun, though it’s not quick to deploy. Even then, the LifeCard isn’t much smaller than a tiny .380.

It’s just much more comfortable to conceal and it doesn’t look like a gun. I could carry this around openly, and no one would even know what I had.

Its niche is the fact that it’s hard to detect and ultimately incredibly easy to conceal. If you live in a state full of action-demanding moms, the LifeCard is virtually invisible.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

To me, the LifeCard is an oddity in my collection and a weapon I appreciate from a technical aspect. It’s also a gun made with attention to detail. Even if it’s not personally useful, it can still be enjoyed. It certainly has a certain spy vibe in its design, and that contributes to my appreciation of it.

Me, you, and the LifeCard

The LifeCard isn’t for everyone, but I bet everyone could appreciate the fact that it’s well built. The gun is made from billet aluminum and they’ll be releasing a polymer variant later this year.

The polymer variant seems to be replacing the .22 LR variant permanently (there’s a .22 WMR variant as well, and a ton of different colors too. This model is all billet aluminum and one of the first generations of the LifeCard. It existed well before the 22 WMR version.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The LifeCard is a fully ambidextrous gun and is very simple in design. The handle and barrel both have toggles that have to be pulled to use the weapon. On the handle side, the toggle releases the top portion and allows you to unfold the LifeCard. The second toggle on the barrel side releases the barrel and will enable you to open it and load it or eject an empty cartridge.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The LifeCard is effortless to fold and unfold. There is nothing complicated about the design, and it can be readied to fire quite fairly quickly from the folded position.

To operate the weapon, you open the tilt-up barrel, insert a round and close it. Then pull the striker to the rear, and you have a single action, ready-to-shoot pistol.

You can stash it in a shirt pocket and retrieve it quite rapidly and have it ready to fire. Is it faster than just drawing a gun and firing it? Nope, but it’s still quick for what it is.

The handle has a small compartment that allows you to store several spare 22 LR rounds. The downside is they make a fair amount of noise bouncing around in there while you are carrying the gun.

Shooting This Thing

Do you know how long it takes to do a 500 round test in a single shot pistol? Neither do I. In all fairness, it takes a long time to just chew through ten rounds with a LifeCard. And it helps if you have fingernails, as you need to pick the empty cases out of the chamber to load a new round. There’s no extractor.

I did 150 rounds of CCI in a day, and I felt like it took all day long. You’re doing all the work to load, extract, and cock the weapon. However, in 150 rounds, I only got three failures to fire. Of those failures, they all fired on the second attempt to do so.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The ergonomics of this gun aren’t exactly impressive. The grip is ultra-small and it’s all corners. The trigger reach is abysmally short.

From just a standpoint of operating the weapon, the controls are small, but very simple. Nothing is confusing or dangerous about the setup. It’s easy to load, cock, and fire the weapon.

De-cocking is also easy, but be sure to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. You have to grip the striker, pull the trigger and guide the striker forward. The striker has scallops on both sides to ensure a good grip as you allow the striker to move forward.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Accuracy and No Sights?

The LifeCard’s trigger is fairly impressive. It’s stiff, but super short.

The gun is already hard to shoot accurately — the grip is challenging and it has not sights…just a long notch or trench that runs along the top of gun —  so a good trigger is helpful.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Accuracy-wise the LifeCard is what you’d expect from a tiny .22 LR derringer with no sights. The grip is better than a traditional derringer, but accuracy is a challenge.

I stood back at 5 yards and was able to put four rounds into the chest of a target. Four rounds represent one in the chamber and three in the grip. The grouping was, well, nonexistent, though, and it looked like a buckshot pattern from a .410.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
My “Group” (Travis Pike for TTAG)

There’s a little recoil, but isn’t tough to deal with. It’s a slight bump and a little rise. Shooting a .22 LR round, it’s soft enough to be very comfortable to fire over and over again.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

To be realistic, the LifeCard would hit someone at very close range, but shot placement is king. Especially with such a small round.

There is lots we can say about .22 LR as a self-defense round. It’s generally not a good penetrator, but that’s a long in-depth subject for another post.

Given its slow deployment and low caliber, it’s difficult to really see the LifeCard 22LR in a self-defense role. The only exception might be for people who work or occupy an area where carrying a firearm is not allowed. Not illegal, just not allowed.

Trailblazer LifeCard .22 LR Pistol
(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Another role is, of course, as a curiosity. It’s a neat little gun, a unique design. It’s very well made and well crafted. The LifeCard makes me feel like a spy or cold war era assassin and it will probably attract some attention at the range.

Specifications: LifeCard 22LR

Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 1
Barrel Length: 2.5 inches
Overall Length: 3.375 inches
Weight: 7 ounces
Trigger Pull Weight: 3 Pounds
Folded Dimensions: Length 3.375″, Height 2.125″, Thickness 0.5″
MSRP:
$299 (new polymer model)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * *
I could hit the vitals of a bad guy at 5 yards. Don’t expect much more from a gun like this. The LifeCard’s lack of sights and short grip make it a hard-to-shoot gun at targets smaller than man sized.

Ergonomics: * * *
The shooting grip sucks. Not to be rude but they are ultra-small and all rectangular. Carrying the small credit card-sized gun is easy. As is the unfolding and fire controls. Simple and easy to activate.

Reliability: * * * * *
It’s basically flawless. Every round fired and was fairly easy to manually eject and extract. Admittedly the .22 LR and rimfire rounds aren’t highly reliable. However, the LifeCard goes bang when you pull the trigger.

Customize This: *
You can buy a leather or Kydex holster, a leather pocket sleeve and a .22 WMR conversion barrel. That’s all.

Concealability: * * * * *
This is by far the easiest gun to conceal I own. It goes anywhere at any time without issue. The gun disappears in the front pocket of a shirt and that’s all it takes.

Overall: * * *
It’s very much a niche gun. It fires one round of .22 LR and is the size of a small .380 when opened. If you want it for the curiosity factor and its interesting design, then it’s a great choice. For serious self-defense, it is severely lacking. The LifeCard is very well made, and Trailblazer did an amazing job in the workmanship department.

 

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65 COMMENTS

      • I could easily see this as a Liberator V2.01. Not there aren’t a bunch of other [similar] single shot -simple designs from DefCad ready for 3D. But, if nothing else, I do appreciate it as an innovative design in packaging and “hiding in plain sight” kinda capability.

    • Its an alright option for ultra deep conceal and hopefully having a minute to set it up while escaping, or finding escape impossible. One shot in the direction of the enemy might make him shit himself and give up the fight.

    • “What a total joke.”

      So, you’re volunteering to take a round and tell us how stupid it is? 😉

      • Can we retire the “Der, I wouldn’t want to be shot with a .22 therefore it’s totes a good defensive round” stupidity, please?

        • Happy to. I’ve got a number of .22LR and/or .22 Magnum revolvers and semi-autos I have carried and will carry in the future. Most of them are much larger than this and even the little NAA has five times the capacity and is usable with one hand.

          The NAA is a safe queen, though. It’s just not enough gun, but I frequently carry one of my single-action .22s when riding or around the farm. The main purpose in that case isn’t two-legged predators, but in those very safe environs a six-shooter .22 is hopefully at least mildly threatening should I encounter a trespasser (never have).

          In hunting season, if I think someone’s out there, I take a semi-auto rifle — Evey time I have actually confronted a trespasser I have had a semi-auto rifle or pump shotgun.

          For CC, though, there’s just no reason, ever, with the vast number of small pocket autos and snub-nosed revolvers in .38 and .327.

          Now you go.

        • Single shot .22 that takes forever to deploy has no place in self defense. There, I said it. This thing is a novelty at best. You can get perfectly concealable lcp that actually works as a defensive pistol for less money.

        • I usually make those people a deal: I’ll let them take a shot at me with a .22 from 15 feet, but only if I get to sprint toward them with a knife and stab them as many times as I can. No takers on that one, either.

    • Same here. I personally knew a person who was killed by a single .22LR to the head. A .22WMR would do *something*, which is better than nothing.

        • I really like the NAA 5 shot .22lr mini-revolver, too. I have the version with the built-in folding safety grip with belt clip. It’s not a rapid deploying sidearm, of course, nor as a tiny single action is it rapid firing, but it is effective and easy to carry. As a deep concealment weapon or BUG, or for situations where you would have even some minimal preparation time, it’s a fine choice.

          For example, it is extremely simple to carry while dressed for the office, where you might want to be armed while walking through the empty parking garage after working late. Or you can keep it in your car’s center console or other small compartment, in case you need to stop for gas in a sketchy location.

      • ShootingThe Bull 410 did a .22lr roundup test, and the winner was pushing 900+ FPS from a 1-inch NAA derringer barrel.

        That’s no bee sting it will give ya, that a hurting…

  1. I see this for its novelty aspect and I also see some use as a last ditch, everything else has failed type of situation. Obviously, you wouldn’t want this to be your only choice but if you’re somewhere that you can’t conceal a normal handgun then maybe this could fill that void.

    • I think if you are in a last ditch, all has failed situation, this gun is unlikely to be the turn of fortune that you are looking for.

      That said, I’m into this as a curiosity. It is a clever and interesting bit of design.

      • I’d agree. About the only scenario where this might make the difference is in a movie script situation. Perhaps after a small plane crash or some other stranded in the middle of nowhere plot where you needed to take one specific person out by surprise, then maybe.

  2. I examined the LifeCard at a local gun shop; was surprised they had one in the case. Since my interest is purely in self-defense (I do not hunt, shoot competitively, or collect guns) I passed on it as a novelty gadget. All the same, admirable human ingenuity.

    • “Since my interest is purely in self-defense (I do not hunt, shoot competitively, or collect guns) I passed on it as a novelty gadget.”

      Have you ever tried shooting a .22 lr rifle, say at 100 yards?

      I think you might find it to be a very enjoyable experience honing your skill hitting a bulls-eye at 100 (or more) yards…

  3. Sounds kinda neat, and I always appreciate innovation for its own sake. In practical terms, it’s hard to imagine this being anything less than a tertiary backup gun. Maybe even a step beyond tertiary (which I’m not even sure I’d theres a word for). Compact double stack stack primary, single stack subcompact BUG, NAA mini revolver in a belt buckle holster as a second backup, and then this as a backup to the backup to the backup. And given the short barrel and thus poor accuracy and near nonexistent ballistics you might be better off with a small knife and a bit of training. Still, it’s a nifty concept

    • Or a pen gun, but those need a tax stamp.
      I’d suggest 3 improvements to make it at least a little practical: 1) spring loaded deployment – press a button and it rapidly unfolds itself into proper grip, 2) gutter sight or laser that activates when opened, 3) bigger caliber would be nicer. With 1), you could reach back, hit the button, and be deployed by the time you’re on target.

      • Anymouse,

        I have to believe that this firearm needs a tax stamp as well. Quoting the reviewer and author of this article:

        … it doesn’t look like a gun. I could carry this around openly, and no one would even know what I had.

        Doesn’t that mean that fedzilla wants us to get a tax stamp before acquiring this thing?

        • I am no expert, but I believe the life card doesn’t need a tax stamp because in “ready to fire” mode, it looks (kinda sorta) like a gun? Someone will be swift to correct me if I am wrong I’m sure.

          I would totally buy one if I had some extra money just because It’s different. I’d probably drill a small hole in the aluminum somewhere and hang it on my key chain. 😎

          Which reminds me, I need to pick up one of those “belt buckles” NAA sells too…

  4. A novelty or an assassin’s weapon is all it is. Useless as a defensive carry but exactly the kind of thing you would try to use to conceal into a controlled area and Ford’s Theater someone from at or near contact distance.

  5. It’s a neat little novelty item, but not for $300. That can get you a nice, reliable, compact .22 pistol that holds 9+1 extra rounds ready to go and even throws out the empty brass for you.

    • I was reading and waiting for that comment. Totally agree. $299 is to much. $150 would be more like it. Bump it to at least a .380 and you might sell a few. Including me. As it sits: $299 22LR, no sale…..

  6. $300??? Id rather have the same size knife for a fraction of the money. You are going to have to shoot at contact distance anyway and you dont have to reload the knife.

  7. This thing REALLY got the lefties riled up on Facebook last time I saw it.

    As if people don’t carry pocket guns that are more powerful, hold more, and are easier to shoot lol.

    • Well shit, now I’m back in. Funny how gun people see it for what it is but of course this is the new Glock 7. Let’s all buy one!

  8. I love me a novelty. So I’m just gonna make my own out in the shop. 3 hundo is way too much for a mass produced zip gun.

  9. This is a contact gun, and it doesn’t need to be any more accurate than point blank range. Press this against the base of someone’s skull where the spine starts, and a discharge is certain death when it mashes the medulla.(And has so been applied as an execution weapon for years.) An added plus is a fairly quiet discharge and very little blood. A contact shot in the left chest will very likely penetrate the heart. An eyeball shot will likely penetrate the brain, as will a shot under the chin. One shot in the knee, front or back, will disable any attacker. A shot to the groin is a fight stopper.

    Or so I theorize, but I really should test it out. Volunteers?

    • Unless you are the aggressor, little of this is plausible.

      This gun requires multiple steps using two hands to get in firing mode.

      You are planning to use deadly force from within grappling range.

      You are in fear for your life, and an attacker who means to kill you has already gotten you in grappling range.

      Because you are in fear for your life, we can presume that this person is armed or much bigger, stronger or more trained than you.

      Your hands are full keeping your attacker from killing you. You need a weapon that takes one hand to deploy and isn’t rendered useless after one squeeze of its unguarded trigger (assuming you were ever able to get it open and cocked in the first place, which the attacker is definitely going to notice)

      I think I’d rather have a rock in my hand than this thing.

      • You are assuming civilized actions in civilized times. There are most definitely valid and just times that first use of deadly force is appropriate, yes even in so called civilized society. Remember, self defense can only be used as a defense if you either applied first deadly force to one or more who have placed you jeopardy or you applied that force more effectively.
        The kidnapper of a solo female for instance might have this overlooked by the assailant who stuffed her in the trunk. Imagine his surprise when he takes one to the head when he pops the trunk and goes to drag her out.
        There are many uses for a contact weapon that can pass unknown

  10. What a waste of time, money and it encourages Police to claim they thought someone had a gun when it turns out to be a wallet or a cell phone.

    This is NOT of any use other than a gimmick.

  11. I saw one at the gun shop/range the other day and it’s well built but just a curiosity. It takes quite a bit to open, cock and deploy. It’s only useful in a situation where carrying would be next to impossible and extreme deep concealment is necessary but the reloads are so painfully slow on this single shot and you’re only using 22LR that you’re really at a disadvantage here.

    The idea is amazing. The execution not so much. If it cost $100-150 I might consider getting one. $300 on the website and slightly more at the gun store, no thanks. I

  12. The one use I can think of is: You work in an office or hospital or your a teacher and you’re concerned about someone coming into your large building and shooting up the place. You can’t conceal carry AND you can’t get caught or even suspected of conceal carrying or you’ll be fired on the spot. And maybe running isn’t an option and you’re hiding in your office, exam room or classroom while a shooter is roaming the halls. In this scenario, that’s possible everyday, you have time to get this ready to fire and you’ll want to be close to the door when the bad guy comes in. You have one shot to resolve the situation. If you have this in 22 WMR – it could work and it’s better than nothing.

    The Stinger Pen would be better in 32 ACP or 25 Auto. It’s outside of NFA and doesn’t require a stamp. It has a clip for your pocket and looks like a tire gauge on steroids. It’s quicker to deploy but too heavy to carry in shirt pocket.

    Like the Stinger, if they stop making it soon, it has a chance of appreciating.

    The way it’s is rectangular and the way it unfolds to operate and load kind of reminds me of TARS for Interstellar.

    I have hit a milk jug with it. I don’t know the exact distance but it was something short of a mile.

  13. The best reason to buy this, and I’d buy the WMR version, is to make the antis cry. Just imagine their horror to know there are MAGNUM pistols out there that are almost impossible to identify as a gun. OH MY!!!!!!!

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