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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.