The reasons for creating such models of weapons are not always clear, but if in general, it is either an infrequent “I am an artist, I see it so”, or the design features do not allow to bring the weapon to its usual appearance without a significant increase in size.
There is the rarest third reason - the unusual appearance of the weapon was originally laid at the design stage in order to achieve similarity with a household item, or to reduce the size of the weapon during storage and wearing. History remembers a lot of samples of handguns, which was disguised and under cigarette cases and pens, canes and even rings. There are serious samples that are not inferior in their characteristics to full-fledged weapons, except that the ease of use suffers.
Such weapons are often unavailable to the civilian population even in those countries where the law on weapons is very loyal, but individual manufacturers find loopholes in the laws so that everyone can feel like a secret agent. Let's try to get acquainted with two modern pistols, one of which the manufacturer compares with a plastic card, and the other with a mobile phone, the first one already being commercially available, and let's begin with it.
Single Shooter LifeCard
This gun in all its dimensions, except for the thickness, corresponds to the size of a plastic bank card. It is positioned as a means of self-defense, which you can always carry with you, without experiencing discomfort due to its size or weight.
The gun is really very compact and light in the folded state, it will easily fit not only in your pocket, but even in a large or empty wallet. At the moment, the LifeCard cost revolves around 500 US dollars, which is definitely an overpriced price.
If we speak more precisely about the mass and dimensions of the weapon, then they are as follows. The weight of the gun, despite its modest dimensions, is 200 grams. Since the barrel of the weapon is represented by a rather thick-walled part, this is not surprising. Parts of the case, by the way, are made not of plastic, but of light aluminum alloy.
In the folded position, the gun has a length of 85,7 millimeters, a height of 54 and a thickness of 12,7 millimeters. The length of the weapon barrel is a little less than 60 millimeters.
If we consider the LifeCard pistol in the context of self-defense, then a lot of questions arise to the manufacturer. And it's not even in the ammunition that is used in this weapon, we'll talk about it a little later.
In the understanding of most sensible people, a weapon that is ready for use immediately after it has been removed from a holster, pocket, bag can be considered a good means of self-defense. Any delay in putting the weapon into combat readiness is threatened by the fact that the attacker takes the initiative and advantage, in the form of the presence of firearms, turns against the defender.
There is another side to the coin. Firearms, which are used for self-defense, like any other weapon, most of their time is transferred by the owner or lies in the safe. And at this time only one thing is required of the weapon - complete security. It should not fire a pistol, revolver or any other firearm due to a fall or due to the fact that some foreign objects interact with the controls. Balancing between the minimum time to alert and maximum safety, the designers managed to achieve really good results, but not in the LifeCard pistol.
The gun itself consists of three main parts: two folding halves of the body and the barrel. Shoot a weapon in the folded position can not, because the trigger is hidden. It means that in order to use a weapon it needs to be expanded, which would not take a lot of time if it were not for the fixation mechanism, which is controlled by a very small slider recessed into the body. Finding this control in complete darkness and a stressful situation is not so difficult, but rather unlikely. Complicated by the fact that just above is located exactly the same slider, which opens the barrel of the pistol for reloading.
However, when decomposed, the LifeCard pistol is not yet ready for use. Apparently, in order to reduce the cost of construction, the pistol was endowed with a single-action firing mechanism, that is, before the shot it is necessary to carry out a preliminary platoon, which is also performed with relatively small detail. And only after all this you can make a shot.
A remarkable feature of this weapon is also the fact that it is impossible to cock the trigger mechanism and fold the weapon, as well as to make a platoon with triggering when the gun is folded. It would be possible to significantly reduce the time between the removal of a weapon and a shot if the firing mechanism was self-cocked, or at least cocked when opening the body halves, but we have what we have.
As noted above, the LifeCard gun is single-shot. In order to reload the weapon you need to move the slider, similar to fixing the two halves of the weapon in the folded position. After that, lift the weapon barrel with its breech, the cartridge case will need to be removed manually and a new cartridge inserted. According to the manufacturer, a new ammunition must be removed from the half of the body, which plays the role of a handle to hold, it can be placed 4 additional ammunition. However, even if the new cartridge is already in the hand, it will not be possible to quickly reload the weapon, so in fact the defender has the opportunity to fire only once.
Oddly enough, quite often the main drawback of this pistol is noted for sights, which are represented by a V-shaped groove. In this case, such an aiming device, on the contrary, should be noted as a plus, since it nominally seems to be present and even performs its functions at ultrashort self-defense distances, while not interfering with the extraction, which is important for weapons with a similar purpose.
Well, finally we got to the ammunition that is used in this gun. This is a well-known .22 LR cartridge, well-proven as an ammunition for sports and recreational shooting and hunting for small animals, but not for self-defense. Given the fact that the defender has the opportunity to shoot only once, the probability of a guaranteed defeat of the enemy is very small. Suppose a person hit a bullet of this cartridge will leave an indelible impression, most people do not particularly like when they shoot at them. But the attacker can be not only a person, but also a dog, many of which do not stop even after hitting a bullet and a full-fledged patron under certain circumstances.
From all this we can conclude that you should not consider the LifeCard pistol as a full-fledged means of self-defense, as well as rely on it. Despite this, the work of designers who made a really compact, cheap to manufacture and functioning weapon deserves respect. But the work of marketers, who endowed this gun is not the most appropriate price, clearly deserves only censure.
Pistol Ideal Conceal
This gun is more interesting and more effective in comparison with the previous one, it is also positioned as a means of self-defense. And although this weapon has not yet been marketed, it is already possible to try to draw some conclusions about it, based on the data that is available. The benefit of the designer is actively sharing information with everyone.
One of the notable features of the Ideal Conceal pistol is that it develops weapons through voluntary donations collected via the Internet. Similarly, funds will be collected and the beginning of the production of the gun. It should be noted that in the US, this gun has become very popular at the stage of the existence of the idea itself, even without specific sketches of weapons and its characteristics.
The main feature of this weapon is its dimensions, which are comparable with a modern smartphone. This is done, back, to facilitate the daily carrying of weapons, as well as to maximize the hidden wearing.
The gun Ideal Conceal is dual-charged, powered by .380ACP cartridges, which greatly increases its effectiveness in self-defense in comparison with a plastic gun.
In the folded position, the gun really does not exceed the dimensions of the smartphone, except that it stands out thick. Judging by the information, including videos from the designer of weapons, bring the gun into combat readiness, with proper training, you can really very quickly. But, as always, there are nuances. Many modern full-fledged pistols have trigger mechanisms with pre-armament, which makes it relatively safe to carry a weapon with a cartridge in the chamber and, if necessary, fire a shot immediately after removing the weapon. Even if the gun has a manual fuse, it can be previously disabled before the weapon is removed. In other words, only one hand is required to fire a pistol or revolver. In order to shoot a gun Ideal Conceal, anyway, need two hands - with one hand the gun does not expand.
The location and mounting of the barrels in the arms is similar to a LifeCard pistol; a laser designator is planned to be placed under the barrels, which is a plus for self-defense weapons.
The trigger mechanism of the weapon is the simplest - only of double action, however, it has interesting features. When you press the trigger key, the massive trigger moves backward, compressing the mainspring, located almost at its very base. Reaching his extreme point, the trigger breaks down and strikes one of the two drummers.
Since the barrel is two, it was necessary to come up with a reliable and simple system for alternately striking each of the drummers with each successive shot. The first variants of the trigger mechanism solved this problem with the help of a swinging lever, but this solution was abandoned for the sake of a more reliable mechanism, according to the designer. The interaction of the trigger with the firing pin takes place at the expense of two gears, which are slotted at the contact point of the firing pin with the firing pin. Despite the apparent complexity, it all works quite simply. When cocking one of the gears rests on one of the cutouts in the rear of the stop, which rotates it 90 degrees. The cuts on one of the gears are opposite one of the drummers, while opposite to the second drummer, the similar cuts on the second gear will not coincide with the protrusions of the drummer and, if the trigger is disrupted, strike the drummer.
Safety wearing a pistol is achieved by locking the trigger with the handle folded.
If you consider this gun without comparing with LifeCard, then it becomes obvious that as a means of self-defense, it loses with classic-appearance pistols even if it is ready for use and the ease of use of ammunition. In terms of dimensions, the Ideal Conceal pistol won only in thickness and weight; there are more compact pistol models in length and height.
Do I need such guns?
Despite its unusual nature, both in appearance and in the idea itself, such weapons for the civilian market can hardly be considered useful. It is very difficult to justify the need for such a weapon for a private soldier who is not connected in any way with the criminal world or with the law enforcement agencies of a person.
Manufacturers are positioning similar weapons as a means of self-defense, which does not create inconvenience for its owner when worn daily. While wearing such pistols, they may not be inconvenient, but they will obviously be present at the time of application. It is also worth paying attention to the ammunition used in these pistols. These cartridges are clearly not a good choice when it comes to self-defense, especially since their number is limited.
Even if you close your eyes to the not very high effectiveness of weapons and the nuances of its use, it remains an open question how law enforcement agencies will react to the proliferation of such pistols. Understand that a person gets a phone or a pistol out of his pocket becomes a difficult task, and everyone wants to return home from work, and preferably without additional holes.
The conclusion from this can be done next. These guns are interesting for their design, but no more. They lose their weapons in the classic version in all respects except the convenience of hidden wear. One may say that the means of self-defense can never be used, even if a person wears them all his life, therefore they must be comfortable to wear. But in the case of their application, they should be no less convenient and effective, otherwise they are simply not needed.
In general, a weapon disguised as everyday objects is first of all necessary not to make it comfortable to wear, but to bring it conveniently, seamlessly and imperceptibly to where it is prohibited. In my opinion, such a need may arise from a person who needs a gun for anything, but not for self-defense. It is clear that everyone wants to feel like James Bond or Jason Bourne, only such a “spy” weapon can bring a person closer to these fictional characters except in fantasy.