Looking for a new carry piece? Wait until you see the Bondhus CL380. This collapsible pocket rocket is about the size of a credit card and as thick as a cellphone in a case. The clockwork-like action looks more complex than it actually is. Simply fold open the wings, rock up the trigger mechanism, secure the whole contraption between your fingers, and you’ll have two barrels of .380 ACP and a laser ready to roll.
When we happened upon the CL380 at the SHOT Show last week, we were enthralled. The rectangular shape hides its purpose better than anything else on the market. Devices like this sometimes run afoul of the ATF, but previous attempts have not become legal because the makers tried to class them as non-guns. Bondhus is calling this a gun and seeking ATF approval based on that fact. The CL380 is still in the prototype phase, and we suspect that it will not be as complex to operate in its final form.
As it is, the CL380 isn’t fast. I’m going to point this out as a serious liability on what amounts to not much more than an idea with a semi-working prototype. Once removed from the pocket, you must take several steps in order for the CL380 to be ready to fire. The wings have to be folded out. The trigger mechanism has to be readied, and then you have to get it secured just right in your hand. It isn’t easy to do one-handed, and it takes a few seconds to do. In a world where time may be the difference between life and death, drawing and preparing the CL380 will look less appealing.
Yet there’s clearly some potential. As our Managing Editor pointed out to me, the CL380 may be a great way to prepare for a long walk through a dark parking garage. Set up the CL380 before you make the walk. Even with it ready, and gripped in the hand, it doesn’t look like a pistol. If you are looking for simple convenience (and not so worried about time), this is going to be a viable option.
Predictions anyone? What do you think? What impact will the CL380 have on the way we think about pocket carry? The company will be watching your comments here and maybe they’ll make you the wallet sized gun you are looking for!