TrailBlazer’s LifeCard .22 LR: A Folding Credit Card-Sized Pistol — Full Review

Real innovation in the firearms industry is a rarity, and some of what is innovative isn’t necessarily good. So it was with mixed emotions earlier this week I set out to review TrailBlazer’s LifeCard 22. Trailblazer Firearms is new to the business, and the LifeCard is their only product thus far. TrailBlazer is an appropriate moniker, this is definitely a different handgun. The company is based in Asheville, North Carolina. That region has been rife with what we shall term “ creative sauce” as long as I can remember.

One Hit Wonder or Innovative Genius?

The LifeCard is a single shot .22 LR that folds up to about the size of a stack of credit cards. Length and width, it is exactly the same size as your Visa. It is roughly .5 inch thick, and weighs less than 7 ounces. The company calls it “ the last gun you will ever leave behind”, and they are right. This gun is tiny, discreet, and capable of unorthodox hiding places due to its design.

SPECS

  • Type: Single-shot pistol
  • Cartridge: .22 LR
  • Capacity: 1 rd.
  • Length: 3.375 in.
  • Height: 2.125 in.
  • Materials: 4140 Pre-hardened Steel (barrel, bolt, trigger); Aluminum (frame & handle) 100 % machine billet
  • Weight: 7 oz.
  • MSRP: $399
  • Manufacturer: TrailBlazer

Range Time

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This design took roughly seven years in development to make the LifeCard which is a slim single-shot rimfire pistol. It consists of 27 components and it’s discreet design allows easily to slide your pocket or a small compartment. It works by folding out from a box shape to a gun shape. Pull one lever, the barrel hinges away from what becomes the handle. The handle is surprisingly comfortable, and it is basically a full-sized grip. It locks in place too, so no chance of shooting your toes off. The trigger becomes accessible as soon as the gun unfolds, and a simple cocking mechanism arms it. The sight is a notch cut through the top of the gun. A small compartment in the handle is also capable of holding four extra rounds.

So how did it work? Well, I had my doubts. But the LifeCard fired over 25 rounds without a failure. Don’t laugh about the round count, single shot, break-action .22 makes for a long day. I got tired of loading it before it gave me a failure to fire.

Accuracy wise, as long as you don’t expect too much, it did fine. You are basically looking down the barrel here, there is no front sight post. My first shots from 3 and 5 meters were about 6 inches above point of aim, but with a little practice, I was able to keep them on roughly a chest sized target at 10 and 12 meters.

Why Doesn’t It Classify as NFA AOW?

Taken directly from the ATF’s website: the historical “wallet gun” that has a hole in the holster to be fired from the wallet holster. Photo Courtesy: ATF

Many may wonder why this doesn’t classify as an NFA Any Other Weapon (AOW) classification. AOWs refer to firearms that are designed to look like everyday objects (ex: pen, walking sticks, canes etc.). They require the paperwork and fees associated with suppressors and machine guns. The LifeCard doesn’t classify as an AOW because it cannot fire when the grip is folded. Because the trigger is captured inside a small pocket inside the grip and it, in turn, captures the hammer to prevent it from being cocked. To fire the small single-shot, it must be opened all the way with the barrel locked into open position with the trigger completely exposed. This makes the appearance of the LifeCard close enough to a typical handgun that it doesn’t require the additional tax stamps.

TrailBlazer advertises a small pocket holster for the LifeCard. It’s made of leather and costs $39.

So is there a place for this gun? Well, you have to look at the bad with the good. It is immanently concealable, no doubt about that. But the drawback is, it takes about 6 seconds to deploy, even with practice. You can’t carry the gun cocked, so you are also going to need both hands for that 6 seconds. And once you have it ready to go, you’re holding a single shot .22 LR. Is one round of .22 better than nothing? Yes, it is. Is it better than an extended magazine in your M&P9C? Not by a long shot. As long as you know that going in, there may be a place in your CCW loadout for this. If nothing else, I applaud TrailBlazer for creating an entirely new weapon, that works as promised.

For more information about TrailBlazer firearms and the LifeCard, click here

To purchase a LifeCard on GunsAmerica, click here.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • TJ November 30, 2017, 3:22 pm

    A lot of bad things can happen in 6 seconds.

  • Daniel Braatz November 28, 2017, 2:55 pm

    “The last gun you will ever leave at home” For me; it is the last one I would buy- that is: If everything else on my wish list was in my collection then I would add the Life Card. Other’s have pointed out that there are multiple round options that are much faster to deploy- & not much larger either. (I have a 5rd .32 that only weighs 4oz more that this thing) This is a neat firearm but I, personally, would buy at least 30 other guns before I spent $400. on this one

  • Thomas J Haines November 28, 2017, 1:16 pm

    Bought a 32 cal 2 shot derringer for a whole less than $399. Ready to shoot as fast as I can pull it from my pocket. What a difference 10 cal will make.

  • eric harbord November 27, 2017, 10:37 pm

    A north american arms 1″barrel mini revolver in 22short takes about the same space,weighs 4oz instead of 7oz and holds 5 shots instead of 1 shot. 22 short is less potent than 22lr but I’ll take 5 of them over 1 lr.
    The math kills the life card unless you want a deeply hidden backup 2nd or 3rd gun

  • Adam Jeppson November 27, 2017, 5:29 pm

    I has the “well ain’t that something”, then walk off quality. If you’re possessed of a large collection of firearms it’d be a nifty addition just to say you have one – but that’s about it. I’ll stick with my 1911. Though the 1911 is a little tough to get into a wallet it’s still really effective at letting the air out of villains, roughians and n’er-do-wells.

    • todbuh November 28, 2017, 10:19 am

      you just need a bigger wallet 🙂
      the wallet this guy pulls out in video, looks like it could hold a 1911, it’s huge. I wonder if my Officer’s 1911 would fit in it.

  • Sydders November 27, 2017, 4:59 pm

    Cool, but useless.

  • CTgunOwner November 27, 2017, 1:52 pm

    It’s all metal construction but I’d be concerned about these things finding their way onto commercial airliners. 1 shot in a plane can be extremely fatal.

    • Tom November 27, 2017, 3:48 pm

      One shot in a plane could have saved a couple thousand lives a few years back. Plenty of frangible bullets out there that are appropriate for use in a pressurized airliner.

    • Larry November 28, 2017, 6:42 pm

      As a commercial airline mechanic with over 35 years experience, I can assure you that’s a myth. Firing just about anything that comes to mind in a pressurized aircraft will NOT cause an explosive decompression, or at least the odds are slim to none. USAir had a pilot inadvertently fire his .40 S&W in the cockpit in flight while transferring the weapon between onboard storage. The only thing that happened was a nice little .40 caliber hole in the fuselage. Thank the good Lord it didn’t hit anyone! And a frangible fired in an aircraft will go through the skin fired close and straight on. You’re only talking about aluminum about .035″ thick.

      You would have to have a rather large hole, preferably with jagged and torn edges to allow for a catastrophic explosive decompression. So when you fly, worry about whether or not they bring you an extra bag of pretzels, not an explosive decompression!

      • Steve S. December 3, 2017, 12:37 pm

        Agreed. I am also an aircraft mechanic, but you don’t even need to take my word for it. Just look up Myth Busters. They debunked that one a few years ago.

  • T J November 27, 2017, 1:20 pm

    Just wondering if the engineers left a little efficiency on the drawing-board… Why not have the gun cock as the grip is separated from the barrel, thus saving one additional step in the ready-process?

  • Max Hoyle November 27, 2017, 12:58 pm

    Are you kidding? For 1/2 the price you can buy an North American Arms revolver and have 5 magnum shots in much less time, truly for the person with everything!

    • Ksikkihkini November 27, 2017, 4:37 pm

      This was exactly what came to mind when I saw this pistol. North American Arms Magnum.

    • Larry November 28, 2017, 10:38 am

      Exactly – I have two NAA .22 mag’s that I can drop into my pant pockets on the way out the door if I’m working around the yard or quick trips to the grocery store and don’t feel like strapping on the Glock, especially in the summer time wearing shorts and a tee. That’s a possible 10 shots of .22 mag for about the same cost and use of pocket real-estate as the LifeCard.

      If you feel you need something with a little more power than the .22 mag, but still don’t want to strap on the heavy iron, NAA also makes the Guardian line of pocket weapons. I have a .32 and a .380, both de-horned by NAA, and either will fit nicely in a front pant pocket or light jacket pocket in a nemesis holster without printing. Either can be picked up new or used for about the money as the LifeCard.

      I’m not knocking the LifeCard, it’s a neat novelty item. But in my mind it’s just that, a novelty item for show & tell.

  • bobh November 27, 2017, 12:33 pm

    Instead of calling it “the last gun you’ll ever leave behind” it would be more accurate to say “the overpriced curio you leave in a junk drawer at home”. That wouldn’t be very good marketing though.
    Martin says it would make a good holdout gun. That’s true enough I suppose but a HOLDOUT gun- a gun one might use if one’s been kidnapped, searched, relieved of any weapons, and is being held against their will- simply isn’t something many people will ever have any use for.

  • Tom November 27, 2017, 12:21 pm

    Folks seem to completely miss the point of this ‘pistol’. It is for deep concealment. Is it legal for LEOs to confiscate firearms from natural disaster evacuees? Nope. Does it happen? Yup. It is generally not illegal to carry in establishments with a no firearms policy, at least not unless you stay if asked to leave (then you are trespassing). But with folks being beaten to death for wearing the wrong jersey to a sporting event, having something that will survive a ‘pat-down’ so you can truly carry every it is lawful to do isn’t such a bad idea. It generally takes more than 6 seconds for even a crowd to beat someone to death. Maybe dad can fend off an attack for a few seconds while mom pulls this out of her make-up kit (since she was smart and put a Maybelline sticker on this pistol and kept it in a pouch with lipstick & a makeup brush & it sailed through the screening patdown). Just food for thought.

    • Larry November 28, 2017, 10:41 am

      Interesting point …

  • Charlie November 27, 2017, 11:51 am

    This takes too long to deploy,plus the price is out of sight.

  • cisco kid November 27, 2017, 11:33 am

    I suggest you read the book by Dr. Mann written in 1900. Its called the “The Bullets Flight”. Dr. Mann stated he never published anything he could not prove scientifically, no bar room banter, no gun writer bull crap no urban myths, only provable facts. Agnes Herbert also in 1900 stated that when she read the gun magazines of the time she quickly came to the conclusion that the gun writers of the day did not know what the hell the were talking about and she knew the real facts as she shot the biggest and most dangerous game on earth on 3 continents herself and she used nothing more than the diminutive 6.5 mm Mannlicher Rifle. My how little things have changed in 117 years as we still have this cockeyed myth that only the .700 nitro express will stop a vicious charging barn mouse. The video of the attempted Reagan Assassination shows how deep the gun writer bull crap has been over the years, eagerly eaten up by the mouth full by the unwashed. When the video shows 3 large grown men all being blasted off their feet with one shot from the .22 lr. the stark naked truth makes the gun writer fantasy scribes run for cover underneath their computers.

    Another he-man he-caliber laugh is the .45 acp myth and that it knocks people off their feet or spins them around like a top or makes them disappear in a red puff of mist. The real truth came out in 1945 which was 34 years after it was adopted and to the militaries shock and horror this anemic cartridge actually in a test bounced off a military helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9×19 penetrated it at an astonishing 125 yards and might have done so even further if the testers had been able to hit it beyond 125 yards.

    Pistolero Magazine in the 1980’s found out much the same thing when shooting barn yard hogs in Mexico at point blank range. Here the bigger pistol calibers were no better than the smaller ones in terms of killing power. Once again another gun writer myth shot to pieces (pun intended)

    Conclusion: Its a myth that bullet diameter has much to do with killing power rather its bullet placement and penetration that gets the bullet to a vital organ causing it to shut down. Sorry Dirty Harry your phallic symbol is no better than the phallic symbols the Romans hung over their doors for fertility luck.

    • LJ November 28, 2017, 10:57 am

      The difference is, at least in the case of the Reagan shooting, the .22LR cartridges used had exploding projectiles and as I understand it the round that hit Reagan failed to explode (thank God) because it struck the car first and then soft tissue. Unfortunately the round that hit Brady did explode causing the sever brain trauma. If memory serves me those rounds were available in many different calibers and the .22 version was the least reliable due to it’s size. The fed outlawed the exploding rounds shortly thereafter. Modern ammo technology has advanced quite a bit since the 1900’s

      BTW – I purchased some of the .44 mag versions back in the 70’s when they were still legal and they made some impressive holes in an old cinder block building we had on our farm back in the day!

      • cico kid November 28, 2017, 10:00 pm

        The round that hit the Security Guard did not explode either and the one that hit Brady would have killed him if it had not exploded on the outside of his head. I stand by my earlier statement on the lethality of the .22 l.r.. In Ohio some years ago a pouching ring was arrested that had illegally killed hundreds of deer with the .22 l.r. and Ohio deer are some of the biggest White Tales in all the world. Some go 180 lbs on the hoof. More proof that the guys that have been beating the big bore drums for years are guys that never shot an animal in their lives with anything.

        • LJ November 29, 2017, 8:36 pm

          Well, one thing is for sure, no one is going to line up in front of you and deliberately let you shoot them with even a pellet gun!

    • chris November 30, 2017, 5:09 am

      I’ve commented several times while have conversations with friends on shot placement vs. how big or powerful the round is. Alas to no avail I’ve been called all kinds of names and still believe in shot placement. I carry a Seecamp .32 and have been told that that round was just above throwing a rock at someone to protect yourself. In Europe the .32 acp was used for years by their police. I train with that weapon at least once a week and at seven yards I would have to say I hit where I aim. So shot placement is still more important than a big bore.

      I remember the Gun Magazine you mentioned (Pistolero) and the article about the shot placement on the hogs. That was a great magazine that told it like it was. They would tell you if the gun they tested was a turkey or a great buy!

      • LJ December 2, 2017, 5:10 pm

        Chris – I also have a micro .32, a NAA Guardian and a Guardian .380. Also several other pocket NAA mini 22 mags and LR’s. Are there better self defense calibers? Absolutely.

        But there are times, especially here in the south when it’s just too damn hot to wear heavy clothing to cover up the Glock, that I’ll drop one of the mouse guns in a shorts pocket or bathing suit and go about my business. In my mind anything on your person, and not at home in a drawer or safe, is better than throwing a rock!

        Besides, dare anyone that poo-poo’s one of the micro guns to line up in front of you and take one for the team to prove it’s ineffectiveness! lol

  • Frank November 27, 2017, 11:21 am

    Nice collector’s item … that’s about it …

  • Hank November 27, 2017, 11:13 am

    Not even remotely interested. $399.00, one shot, 6 seconds to deploy? $399.00???? Seriously. I wouldn’t want one if they were $100.00.

  • Norm Fishler November 27, 2017, 10:36 am

    So then, $399, plus holster, plus state & local sales tax & you’re looking at the better part of $500 for what? A very fragile looking .22 single shot that I would be hard pressed to justify laying out $50.00 for. Even though such firearms have always interested me, I think I’ll pass.

  • Charlie November 27, 2017, 10:04 am

    When I was a young man and armed with a Daisy. My father told me never to shoot the bull in the butt with a BB gun. He stated that you will only make him mad . Same principal here.

  • Allen Lawson November 27, 2017, 9:56 am

    Seven years to developers that POS ? $399 plus $39 for the little holster thingy bob dealy wacker .do you get two of each for one low price just pay additional shipping and handling . It is a gag article right . Hey man your gonna lose your credibility checking that kinda stuff out . Maybe just show a picture and say nope next business . Really??

  • Scott P. November 27, 2017, 9:29 am

    Not only does it take at least six seconds to deploy, he had to look at it while doing so, i.e. taking his eyes off whatever it was that made him want to draw it in the first place.

  • JimmyC November 27, 2017, 9:27 am

    I’m sure you were being safe, but watching your hand loiter around the muzzle of a loaded pistol was nerve wracking. These tiny guns are cute, but they can bite pretty hard.

  • flintman50 November 27, 2017, 9:25 am

    “Ridonkulous”

  • Mule November 27, 2017, 7:47 am

    Thank you for the very informative well-made video. Also, thank you for bringing this to my attention, before reading and seeing this I did not know one of these existed.

    Ain’t no way! It is a trinket that should be sold as such below $20.00.

    • CTgunOwner November 27, 2017, 1:46 pm

      I’m with you. It should sell for around $20. Problem is there are enough idiots who are willing to throw down $400+ for it that the company will sell enough of them to recoup their seven years of R&D money. Hard to believe it took that long, but that’s what they admit to. Developer could have been a monkey with a mallet, so chances are it could have taken even longer. And R&D investment could’ve been just a bunch of bananas and a few pieces of metal. As the old saying goes “a fool and his money…”

  • Cyrus November 27, 2017, 7:14 am

    What a waste of time – I wouldn’t take this if it was given to me Brand new in the box for Free!

  • srsquidizen November 27, 2017, 7:13 am

    Neat little novelty but not a whole lot smaller than a NAA revolver with folding grip and it weighs as much as a Kel-tec P32 semi-auto. Either of which is quicker to deploy, has several times the firepower, and costs less. What it might do better than those is NOT look like a gun to an X-ray machine if hidden inside the guts of some kind of electronic device. So I’m surprised it got past the Feds and I’m wondering who would want it (for lawful purposes) aside from collectors of oddball firearms.

  • Jay November 27, 2017, 5:35 am

    I’m not sure what to think but a single shot 22LR is sure going to tick someone off, not stop them more than likely!

  • mr bad example November 27, 2017, 5:18 am

    for half the price, you can get a North American Arms 5 shot revolver that deploys a lot faster and they’re 100% stainless steel. i’d like a follow-up shot on a pissed off junkie.

  • Mike November 27, 2017, 5:10 am

    Glad you chose to review this. I was curious.
    I think the price tag is set way too high on this. If the company can bring that price way down and get a bunch of them out there maybe it will sell.

  • Mike In Idaho November 27, 2017, 4:15 am

    1st of all, I watched the well made video. Thanks for that.

    2nd Of all, I can only think of very few fairly eccentric circumstances where this self defense weapon WON’T get you Shot or possibly killed. Any situation where you are going to have enough time to pull this out and shoot in self defense is going to have you Lacking unless the other person has a equally lame weapon.

    3rd? 399.00 why is this even a thing on here? are you kidding? Did someone invest in this company to make money? This is a collectable at best. A Novelty. Maybe a murderer or rapist would be interested in it.

  • Oaf November 27, 2017, 4:00 am

    I might buy one for $150.00, but at $400.00 they aint gonna sell many.

  • Dave November 27, 2017, 3:45 am

    I wonder if I could make my Chainsaw Bayonet work with one of these?

    • Dienekes Spartiate November 27, 2017, 2:31 pm

      Unfortunately, the chainsaw bayonet only works with the AR-15, or other black rifles that look very scary. As a point in its favor, this weapon is black, but still not scary enough for the CSB. Sorry.

  • Ray S. November 27, 2017, 3:05 am

    A bit pricey for a pistol that takes up to six seconds to deploy, with both hands mind you. I feel better with my NAA 22 Mag which I keep in a trifold wallet and only takes about two seconds to pull out of my pocket.

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