TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard .22LR – Credit Card Gun Review

Just when I thought I had seen everything under the sun that is firearms related, something new gets dropped in my lap. This time it was the LifeCard pistol from Trailblazer firearms.

Trailblazer Firearms Lifecard Folding Pistol in 22LR
Trailblazer Firearms Lifecard Folding Pistol in 22LR

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- I have to admit, the proof of this concept is brilliant: make a pistol that folds up into a compact package for ultimate concealability and make it a quality firearm. The LifeCard is a single shot compact rimfire pistol which folds up into a design about the size of a pager, stack of playing cards or a small wallet.

Because it needs to be unfolded in order to be fired, it is not considered an NFA (National Firearms Act) item. If it were capable of being fired in this folded up position it would be classed as an AOW (Any Other Weapon) and require a $5 tax stamp. When unfolded it looks enough like a real firearm to satisfy BATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) requirements.

The Good

Seven years in the making, the LifeCard is made up of 27 parts and weighs about 7 ounces. Fit and finish on the Trailblazer LifeCard is superb. This little pistol is definitely what you think of when it comes to quality in manufacturing. The way it folds up for carry and unfolds for shooting should satisfy your inner gadget nerd and the Isonite finish might be the next thing people start clamoring for on their larger pistols.

Folded up, the LifeCard looks nothing like a firearm.

Aside from the build quality, the concealability factor is second to none.

It simply drops in a pocket, purse, cigarette case, or any other small and portable carrier.

The barrel liner is machined from 4140 steel and is button rifled as well as being plated with Isonite. The hammer, trigger and other small parts are made from the same 4140 steel, but the grip, barrel shroud, and larger components are milled from light-weight 6061 hard anodized aluminum.

Trailblazer Lifecard Folding Pistol
Trailblazer Lifecard Folding Pistol

Shooting the LifeCard takes a bit of getting used to. Not so much the aiming and squeezing the trigger, but deploying the pistol from its folded position.

First, you push the button which allows the barrel to swing up and the trigger to emerge. Next, you pull back on the hammer to cock it. Acquire your sight picture (more on this later) and squeeze the trigger.

The trigger is probably the most satisfying part of this venture. It breaks at about 3 pounds.

Trailblazer Firearm's LifeCard
Trailblazer Firearm's LifeCard

We were surprised at how comfortable the grip was on such a compact pistol. Then again, it is just a 22 single shot so harsh recoil was never a concern. It fed every round we crammed into it without a hiccup: Gemtech subsonic, CCI, Aguila, Remington, Winchester, etc.

Extraction is manual and you need to use your fingers to remove the fired brass.

Lastly, the grip stores up to 4 spare rounds of 22 long rifle.

The bad

Perhaps the worst part of this compact pistol is the fact that it takes more than a few seconds to get it into action. It does not seem like a particularly long window of time from the comfort of the shooting line at the range, but if you are looking at something like this as a backup carry pistol, you may want to look elsewhere.

In a confrontation, whether you are being shot at, chased or wrestling on the ground with a bad guy; your fine motor skills are not going to be there. That's just science. I would not recommend the LifeCard for this role.

Going back to the shooting aspect, the trigger is fine, but the sights consist of a milled groove on the top of the barrel. Similar to a guttersnipe sight, there is no front sight. I realize the goal was to make this pistol as small and compact as possible, but a better sight should have been designed.

Similar to a guttersnipe sight, there is no front sight.
Similar to a guttersnipe sight, there is no front sight.

That said, you can get used to the sights on the LifeCard, but we feel it still detracts from the design.

The Reality

A refreshing new design is always welcome and hopefully, Trailblazer may introduce some other calbers more useful than the 22 long rifle in such a small platform. A fertile mind such as designer Aaron Voigt's could revitalize the compact carry pistol in the next few years.

The LifeCard is an exciting concept from the point of view of those of us who are interested in firearms and their design, to be sure, but what are the practical uses?

We could tell you how it's exactly what you need in a bug-out scenario or if you're a secret agent who gets captured and needs a deep cover firearm or it will rid your duck blind of snakes faster than Saint Patrick could have some 1500 years ago. That's all good marketing hype.

TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard
TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard

For the same size and an increase in firepower, we have at least a dozen pistols that could fill that role: High Standard derringers, North American Arms Mini revolvers, a Bauer 25 Auto, etc. These pistols may be far from ideal in most cases but they can be drawn and fired in one smooth movement without folding and siding and manually cocking them. More powerful ammunition and more capacity (even if it is just a second round) trump the idea of a single shot 22 pistol.

However, we think this might make a good pistol for people who may need a small handgun that are not necessarily gun people.

Look at the case of a veterinarian or rancher who may not like the idea of a firearm in their home or car, but may need one in case they have to put an animal down on the side of a road after it has been struck by a car. They're not drawing a Glock or a SIG and having to fire it, they merely unfold the LifeCard, load it and euthanize the deer or cow with a single shot. Then they can fold it back up and put it away for a while.

TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard
TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard

For the rest of us, though, this one is all about the cool factor.

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Trailblazer Firearms
  • Model: LifeCard 22
  • Action: Single-Action
  • Caliber: 22 Long Rifle
  • Barrel Length: 2.5”
  • Folded Dimensions: Length 3.375″, Height 2.125″, Thickness 0.5″
  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Trigger Pull: 3 lbs.
  • Capacity: 1
  • MSRP: $399


About Mike Searson:Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

 

  • 10 thoughts on “TrailBlazer Firearms LifeCard .22LR – Credit Card Gun Review

    1. I have one…I love it… It shoots well for the size… I don’t leave home with out it. So far everyone that has seen it loves it and wants one, even 1911 lovers. I live in one of the most difficult states to get a carry conceal no restrictions permit (New York) and am the first to have one in the area, many more owners to come.

    2. This is a very hot topic in the EMS and Firefighting community. I think this gun would be perfect for the Medic or Firefighter who wants to carry a pistol without it being a pistol. I used to be an EMT for a major EMS system in Texas. There was more then once when I or one of my coworkers would have wanted a pistol in our hand instead of waiting for PD to respond. The biggest fear, and argument against firearms, in EMS is that one crazy patient getting ahold of your firearm and using it on you. With this pistol, unless you are familiar with it, you will not know it is a firearm or how to use it as a crazy patient. It could be the difference between you and your partner as homicide victims or being alive because someone went nuts and thought you were “stealing” their wife and came to the back of your truck with a rifle pointed at you and your partner and you call for PD back-up but they do not know the response code so you sit there for 30 minutes with a rifle pointed at you and your partner while waiting. My former partner and I had this happen, one of the many reasons I left EMS. If this pistol was available in 2014 I would have bought it in a heartbeat and it would have been on my person even though “company policy” says I cannot have a firearm, on me, would rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6.

    3. Believe it or not more people than you think like this little pocket gun. over thirty five hundred people own it,
      and yep, I bought one for a plinker, and you know what? This companies customer service is second to none.
      I spoke with a gentleman by the name of Jessie, and he was more than happy to answer any and all questions
      I asked, and he actually found an ffl dealer closer to my house than the one I normally use, that’s less than five
      minutes away. I know a lot of folks don’t care for new novelties, but as a plinker, sootches video, and the customers
      service, ill be happy with it. I will carry from time to time, but not for protection, I have others for that, and I do
      have my ccl from my state so I’m not worried anyway. If your thinking about one, don’t wait as they just started
      production again, and they don’t have a lot in stock.

      1. From my personal extensive Hard Core Biker,Outdoors man & Combat Experience! Nice Toy I would not have to depend on this if my life was on the line! No Criminal is going to wait till you get this ready to shoot!
        What you see on TV is just scripted out in the real world in extreme conditions No way like ever would i use this!
        Its just cute!But not for me or any other Women or Men that i have shown this too!
        Good Luck ! THE WOLF X13

    4. This looks like a fun toy but I would not depend on it in a critical situation. It is a one shot 22lr and knowing that a 22 can rattle around in a body and may not cause enough damage to stop the perp. That becomes an oh sh!t moment and you are forced to hand to hand combat, unless he has a five or six shooter, then you are just plain dead. My feelings are that it is not worth the $400 price tag for a novelty. Too each their own

    5. I would consider it to be a back up for my back up. In other words as a last resort when all else has failed and I have one more chance to survive.
      Besides I think it’s just too cool and I have to have one !

      1. Raymond,

        I thought of that before making my comment. Indeed, it is cool and for a last, last ditch I guess it would work. No doubt some guys just love the tacti-cool factor and like you said, will want one just for the uniqueness. Every gun guy is different, and I think it is great you can both afford one and like the uniqueness. Sounds like a trip to your gun store is in order!

        I did a career in the military and have never broken out of the mold of looking at bang for the buck (as in multiple bangs for my bucks) for my limited funds on personal weapons.

        I have a North American Arms in .22WMR that gives me 5 shots and costs less that serves the last ditch function. With the advent of their break top, it is even re-loadable in a much quicker fashion. (Mine is one of the older ones, and my old fingers aren’t gonna make any speed reloads with it.)

        Many of my friends have derringers that give them 2 shots, in whatever caliber you want as their last ditch guns.

        Have fun with the Lifecard!

    6. Semper Fi, Mike. Thanks for the good review.

      Would seem to me that this firearm is a solution looking for a problem to solve. A rancher or Vet not wanting a firearm in their vehicle or home still HAS a firearm, albeit a less capable one, but just as expensive as more capable weapons. It is still a potentially deadly weapon, just in a nice wrapper.

      Plus you add in the genuine concern that they now have a concealed weapon that would be very easy to forget about, setting up the potential of meeting an aggressive police officer who knows that “the law is the law” (like those zealots in NJ) and now that Vet loses his/her license if they become a convicted felon if they haven’t gotten their CC permit.

      At least if it looks like a gun, you have a tendency to treat it like a gun, and secure it appropriately.

      For somebody with unlimited funds this might be a fun collector’s item, or unobtrusive tackle box gun. It just seems to much of a compromise for 99.95% of people who need a reliable, safe and multi-use firearm.

      Of course, I could also be very wrong…lots of folks seem to love a certain brand of derringers that cost over $500, kick like mules and have limited utility as well.

      Gotta love it…gun guys and gals come in all flavors, and persuasions. Maybe the Lifecard will take off…guess the market will decide if it is viable, or just becomes a curiosity for future gun writers.

      Merry Christmas from an old Navy guy (and father of each type of Vet…one helo driver, one small animal)

      1. Make that “too much of a compromise”. and add that hopefully anybody handling it would know to get a concealed carry license if they purchased it or comply with the transportation and storage rules in their state for vehicles.

        No “edit” feature here.

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