The LifeCard pistol caught my eye years ago when it was released, but it wasn’t until earlier this year at Shot Show that I finally got to check one out in person. I was still intrigued after handling it and knew I had to shoot it, whether for fun or for a detailed LifeCard review.
Being a firearm enthusiast, I enjoy testing out all types of guns. The uniqueness of a single shot, folding gun that is less than one inch thick, really makes the LifeCard standout in an already crowded small gun market.
This review will be a tad different than the norm since the gun doesn’t have many of the standard features and parts that other guns do, but let’s take a closer look at what it does have!
Trailblazer LifeCard .22LR Review
|Length (Closed)||3.38 Inches|
|Height (Closed)||2.13 Inches|
|Materials||Aluminum, Steel and Polymer|
|Safety||Won’t Fire When Closed|
Getting the gun home was more of a “second impression” since I already handled one. It comes neatly packed in a simple cardboard box, with a small lock, the empty case from the test round, and literature. Don’t expect to find anything else, though, since there are no magazines.
You need to take several steps to get the LifeCard out of the folded position and ready to fire. First, you need to manipulate the slide latch to unlock and unfold the handle.
Then, you need to slide the barrel release latch towards the rear of the gun to lift the barrel and insert a round directly.
Lastly, you need to push the barrel back down into place and pull the bolt back into the cocked position.
The fun part comes next…fire your one round! There is no arguing the fact that this is a lot of work to do for one .22LR shot. However, after a ton of practicing manipulating the latches and bolt, it doesn’t take as long as you would think.
Trailblazer LifeCard Features
What sights? There are no true sights on the LifeCard, only a shallow “V” groove running the length of the gun. You won’t be winning any competitions with it, but within the few yards that a typical self-defense scenario takes place within, you should be able to hit your “target still.”
The trigger is as basic as it gets. It’s small and stiff, but consistent and gets the job done. As you can see, there is no trigger safety on this gun, but it tucks into the gun when it’s folded to act as a safety feature.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a few latches to slide and the bolt to pull back to shoot this gun. In order to get the gun into a fully cocked position and ready to shoot, I’ve gotten it down to a couple of seconds.
The slide and barrel latches almost feel flush when in a hurry, so I do wish they were a little larger or more textured. The bolt is easy to pull back and engage to have your single shot ready to go.
Surprisingly, this grip is taller than many concealed carry guns I’ve tested recently. I can easily get my pinky finger to rest on it. The odd rectangular grip takes some getting used to, but isn’t necessarily uncomfortable. Without any texture or grooves, though, I would be extremely hesitant trying to quickly shoot this in wet conditions. But, in nice weather or an indoor range, I’ve had no issues.
Firearm safety is extremely important, so hearing that there is no safety on the LifeCard may worry some at first. But, there are still safety features in place to keep your gun from discharging accidentally.
First, if you’re using it as a concealed carry gun, you can carry the gun in the half-cocked position, which stops the trigger from being able to be pulled. There is also a built-in trigger pocket, where the trigger safely resides while the gun is folded. The gun won’t fold completely if completely cocked, so there are multiple ways to ensure you are safely carrying it.
The gun doesn’t use a magazine, so capacity is, of course, an issue. A total of four rounds can be carried. One round in the chamber and three rounds in a small compartment located in the handle of the gun. If you ever needed to use this in a defensive situation, you better make sure your first shot and corresponding shot placement are on point!
Accuracy and Reliability
The most important aspect of the entire gun is the reliability factor, especially since you’re dealing with rimfire ammo. Yes, accuracy is also important, but with a gun this size, you’ll likely be using it at very close distances. Therefore, I would put reliability over accuracy in this scenario, granted it’s still accurate enough at close range, which the LifeCard pistol is.
I’d like to remind you that this is a single-shot pistol, so when I say that I’ve put 170 rounds through it, that took me quite some time. All 170 rounds were fired with no issue. There were a few rounds, however, that I had to use a cleaning rod to push the spent casings out of the barrel since they were in there so tightly. That reinforces my earlier statement that you better make your first shot count with this gun.
With a gun like the LifeCard, you need to look at accuracy a bit differently. Accuracy-wise, you can’t really compare this to another gun that has sights and a longer barrel, which rules out almost every handgun out there!
For testing purposes, I shot the LifeCard pistol at distances varying from three yards to 30 yards. Most of the time, I was using a full-size torso-style paper target. That way, I could see at what distances I could hit the primary body parts I was aiming at, whether that was the chest, shoulder, head etc.
After MANY rounds of practice, I was able to hit the larger body parts (chest and head) out at seven to 10 yards consistently but not in tight groups. Honestly, anything further than 10 yards was a crap shoot. I was lucky to hit the general body part I was aiming for, and most definitely not consistently.
Overall, I would say that even 10 yards would be pushing it under stress, and I would consider this gun to be better suited for 5 yards and closer.
Lifecard .22LR Pros and Cons
- Simple to Use
- Ambidextrous Controls
- Made in USA
- Slow Deployment
- Low Capacity
- Lack of Stopping Power
I typically try to suggest a few optics, lights, or lasers to add to your gun in this section, but that’s just not possible with the LifeCard. You can, however, purchase a few “accessories” to make your LifeCard setup more your own.
Not many companies make holsters for the LifeCard, but C&G Holsters offers a Kydex IWB/OWB holster for the LifeCard in over 30 colors and patterns. The holster is exactly what you need for a gun like this: discreet, secure and functional.
Not very fancy, but the lanyard hole allows you to add some paracord or zip tie of your choice. I’ve seen a few people go with a bright and bold orange zip tie to help grab the gun quicker, while I’ve also seen simple black paracord loops. Both serve a purpose and can help make the gun more unique to your style.
Now, this is one of my favorite accessories. Remember those old-school tin Altoids cases? Well, the LifeCard being the ultra-small gun that it is, can fit right inside of one. If you want to be extra discreet and not have anyone bat an eye while you have a gun laying out on the table, just hide it in your Altoids case, and you’re good to go!
Alternatives to the LifeCard
There aren’t many comparable alternatives out there, so I wanted to mention two guns that are still compact and concealable but will give you a larger capacity and more stopping power than a .22LR. I wouldn’t suggest carrying anything under a 9mm, but stepping up to at least a .380 is better than a .22LR.
Another ultra-small gun on the market is the Taurus Curve. It’s a .380 Auto with a 6+1 capacity, weighing only 10.2 ounces. A 2.5 inch barrel keeps it very concealable, and it has a unique look like the LifeCard does. You can even get it with an integrated light and laser if you wish.
Still very concealable but more manageable to grip comfortably and shoot more accurately is the Glock 42. It’s another .380 Auto with a 6+1 capacity. A 3.25 inch barrel causes the frame to be a bit larger and weigh more, but improved accuracy is the result. Best of all, you get that time-tested Glock reliability.
With the rise in concealed carry popularity, the LifeCard makes for an interesting backup to a backup gun. At less than one inch thick, it’s ultra-concealable and easy to keep the LifeCard in your pocket or on your waist as your last line of defense.
While I would never rely on a single-shot handgun as my sole self-defense tool, the LifeCard is an innovative pistol that is reliable and concealable. All the technical jargon aside, it’s simply a cool gun to have in your collection and is definitely a conversation piece. It’s worth checking out for that cool factor alone.
Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project.
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