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Ammo BB’s little friend

BB’s little friend

LifeCard
The LifeCard is a single-shot .22 long rifle derringer.

This report covers:

  • You Tube
  • Why?
  • Yeah, but why?
  • How does it work?
  • Firing
  • Chronograph
  • Are Stangers really that bad?
  • Accuracy?
  • Only one shot?
  • Summary

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It is our day to honor our fallen troops from all wars and military actions.

I will tell you now about a hideout firearm that is unique. Let me introduce you to my little friend — the LifeCard.

Today’s report was inspired by the 2023 SHOT Show and the Ounce pistol I saw there. I was amazed at the ingenuity of that little firearm and wanted to buy one, but there was a problem, and there may still be — which is the problem. I simply don’t know. The pistol is/was ingenious. But their website sucks! I have “registered” with them online more than 10 times since the SHOT Show and I get nothing. I don’t know if they are still in business, or if the owner has passed away. They provide zero updates. I don’t even know if I’m on their list — assuming there still is a list! So, away with them!

You Tube

Looking on YouTube for more great videos of shooting to use for this blog I became aware of two other concealed firearms — a 2-shot .380 ACP that looks like a cell phone and the LifeCard shown at the top of this report. The 2-shot cell phone gun has gone out of business and the remaining guns are now being sold at ridiculous prices. But the company that makes LifeCard, Trailblazer Firearms, is in business, answers emails, and responds to phone calls. In 3 days I purchased a LifeCard legally through a local gun dealer.

Why?

What good is a firearm like this? Well, for starters it’s the size of a credit card until it’s deployed, so I can carry it everywhere that it’s legal to carry a firearm. I live in Texas, so, except for government buildings and schools, that’s almost everywhere.

The LifeCard is heavier than a credit card, of course. It weighs 7 ounces. It’s also thicker, at a half inch (12.7mm).

Yeah, but why?

Why do I carry a gun at all? Well I am on my church’s security team called the Watchmen, and we are encouraged to carry there. I have reported on that several times in past years. The Sig P365 9mm pistol that I carry can be drawn and two shots can be fired into a bad guy in three seconds. It’s a recognized concealed carry gun. But what is the LifeCard?

The LifeCard is a legal way to carry almost all the time. It isn’t as fast to deploy as a conventional firearm, but at least you have it. I can think of several reasons I may want a firearm. If you can too, this could be for you.

How does it work?

To use the gun it must first be deployed. It is carried with a round in the chamber and on safe. It cannot be fired in the carry state.

LifeCard handle
To deploy it the handle is first unlocked and rotated down until it locks in place.

To load the gun the barrel is flipped up at the rear.

LifeCard breech open
Flip up the barrel to load.

LifeCard loading
Load one round into the chamber and close the breech.

Hunting Guide

Firing

Okay, here is where today’s test could have become squirrelly. I thought that this little pistol was going to kick like crazy, as small and light as it is. I took CCI standard speed cartridges to the range, plus I also bought a box of CCI Stanger rounds whose 32-grain bullet goes out of a rifle muzzle at 1,640 f.p.s. I was told by the gun store owner who sold them to me that the LifeCard would have a huge fireball in front of the muzzle and would kick like a .380 ACP.

After loading the pistol you pull back the spring-loaded bolt to cock the pistol. The spring is heavy, so you must be deliberate. The pistol is carried with the bolt in the half-cock position, which is a safety notch from with the pistol cannot be fired.

Chronograph

The 32-grain Stanger bullet went out the muzzle of the LifeCard at 1,026 f.p.s. That’s a muzzle energy of 74.82 foot pounds. The 40-grain standard speed bullet went out at 774 f.p.s. That’s a muzzle energy of 53.22 foot pounds.

LifeCard Stanger
Stanger bullet went out of the LifeCard at 1,026 f.p.s.

LifeCard standard speed
CCI standard speed bullet went out at 774 f.p.s.

Are Stangers really that bad?

Do Stangers have a heavy recoil? Not at all. It was difficult to tell the difference in recoil and muzzle blast between the Stangers and the standard speed cartridges. Given the chronograph results, though, the Stangers are my choice. But they aren’t for plinking. A box of 100 cartridges costs between about $13 and $22, depending on where you buy them.

The LifeCard’s recoil is quite manageable. It’s nothing like a .380 ACP. It’s more than a heavy .22-caliber revolver or semiautomatic, but still quite manageable. I could detect a slight difference between the standard speed cartridges and the Stangers, but both were mild and were equally accurate.

Accuracy?

Can something so small and simple be accurate? Well, let’s just say I’m not going to choose the LifeCard for competition in the Olympics. But yes, it is accurate.

LifeCard shootins
I found the LifeCard easy to shoot. Notice that the bolt has been pulled back in this image.

The LifeCard has rudimentary sights. They consist of a groove running along the top of the top section that contains the barrel. At ten feet I was able to put 7 shots into about 5 inches on an 8-inch Shoot-N-C target that covered the face of a life-sized human silhouette target.

LifeCard sighting groove
The LifeCard laying on my wallet shows the sighting groove along the top of the barrel.

LifeCard target
From 10 feet I put 7 rounds into an 8-inch Shoot-N-C target. The group is slightly smaller than 5 inches between centers.

Only one shot?

The LifeCard is a single shot pistol that requires deliberate loading and cocking, but it has onboard storage for three additional cartridges. It is not a fast pistol, but it is one you will find convenient and easy to carry.

LifeCard storage
There’s onboard storage for three additional cartridges.

Summary

Today was different, just for fun. The LifeCard is a unique firearm that has no competition. It is small, simple and yet convenient. If you need one, you know why. If not, you have just seen a curiosity.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

63 thoughts on “BB’s little friend”

  1. B.B.,
    I can see it; sometimes a really tiny gun can be useful.
    My wife used to love this old derringer from American Firearms in San Antonio, TX.
    (According to Elizabeth Saunders, that’s the company where her husband worked before it went out of business, and he moved to Waco TX and started American Derringer Corporation.)
    Her MS no longer allows her to cock the hammer on it, so I got her a double action revolver she can handle.
    She said I could sell this; but Elizabeth told me it’s a classic, and that I should hold on to it.
    Since I was getting ready to mow the lawn (we have acres of lawn! =>), I loaded it with snake shot.
    It’s a .38 Special, and the CCI shot loads hold 1/4-ounce of #9 shot.
    Since it only has a 3″ barrel, I tried it at 5 feet, and it patterned pretty well.
    Five minutes after I started mowing, I shot this Copperhead, from the ZTR, from about 5 feet away.
    In another 10 feet, it would have crossed into “Reno Land,” the buried-wire electric-fenced dog area.
    Old Reno, curious dog that he is (he likes to lick toads!), would have gotten bit, for sure.
    And whose fault would that be?…who would wind up in the dog house?…yes, me.
    My wife loves that dog as much as me…well, probably even more than me, LOL!
    Hence, I can see the usefulness of a “little friend.”
    (This thing is tiny, like 4-3/4″ long, shorter than my Walther TPH…not as small as the LifeCard, though!)
    Small short-range guns have their uses.
    Blessings to you,
    dave

    • “World’s Smallest Shotgun”
      Well, that’s not really accurate; I should say this is my smallest shotgun.
      I’ve always been enamored of derringers, especially after reading what B.B. said here:
      /blog/2022/07/the-41-caliber-remington-double-derringer-part-1/
      You can see that my derringer copies the style of B.B.’s derringer…
      …yet it just doesn’t have the panache of the original Remington…that thing is just too cool! 🙂

  2. Dave,

    I can’t email you directly because your gmail account bounces my email. You wrote a large comment about your wife’s derringer. It went to the trash with the pic. Did you mean to do that?

    BB

    • Hi B.B.,
      I was afraid the pic might be offensive (like too graphic?).
      I tried to delete just the pic, and leave the comment, but I was not able to (computer-challenged!).
      Hence, I deleted the comment.
      I tried to save the text (to re-post it), but had “mouse issues” and could not (computer-challenged!!!).
      Please feel free to re-instate it, with or without the pic (your choice); thank you!
      Blessings to you,
      dave

  3. BB,et al

    I think “Stangers” are a special round that CCI began to produce as a tribute to the YouTube personality and trick shooter, 22 Plinkster. I think he’s from the South, probably Tennessee, and he is incapable of pronouncing “stinger” correctly. He has recently become a spokesperson for CCI.

    I have a very early model of the North American Arms (NAA) 5 shot, single action, combination .22 LR and .22WMR revolver that, when carried in my pocket, looks like a mid-sized Swiss Army Knife. Lately, I’ve found that it can be carried in the watch pocket of some new Wrangler work pants that I bought and it is easier to get to and is invisible. There is a tiny notch between each chamber that the hammer rests on to facilitate carrying the gun fully loaded, unlike the way you would typically carry a single action revolver before Ruger introduced the transfer bar safety.

    I did some chrony work back in the day and found that 22 LR gave better velocity then 22 WMR because the slower burning powder of the WMR burned mostly outside the barrel (huge fireball there, I can assure you!), but that was with the ammo available back then. I used to keep it loaded with CCI Mini Mag HP, but recently I switched to Hornady V-Max .22WMR with a Ballistic tip insert.

      • Shootski,

        I don’t know that the results would be the same with today’s ammo. Several really hot loads have been developed in both calibers for small backup CC guns and I haven’t tested those.

        I recently saw, on YouTube, a guy discussing some tests that he did with LR ammo from a 2 1/2″ revolver. He claimed that out of all the ammo he tried, which included all the premium stuff, the best performer was the el cheapo, lost leader 555 bulk stuff from Winchester. Because it beat everything in the previous test he said it lead to the test he was going to do in the video, which was, shoot the 555 ammo (36 grain bullet) from his 1 1/8″ NAA Micro 22lr and his 2″ NAA Black Widow using its optional 22lr cylinder. The 2″ gave 81.5 ft/lbs and the smaller gun gave 51 ft/lbs with that ammo and you might extrapolate from that that a 1 5/8″ barrel (my gun) would get 66 ft/lbs from that ammo.

        He went on to say that he had a NAA 1 5/8″ gun but he didn’t have a LR cylinder for it and couldn’t test the 555 ammo from it. Then he mentioned that he DID shoot some WMR from that gun and the best performance was a 40 grain bullet at 1000 ft/sec for 89 ft/lbs. He didn’t say the brand that gave that result.

        With some clever mental gymnastics and acceptence of a number of assumptions, one might be able to say in that guys experience, some un-named WMR outperformed 555 branded LR out of a 1 5/8″ barreled NNA revolver. That would be the opposite of my results from testing done some 20+ years ago.

        Speer Gold Dot WMR claims to still be traveling at 1000 ft/sec with a 40 grain HP at 25 yards from a 2″ barrel. It is one of the new breed that I’m talking about. I tried to buy some of those when I heard about ’em, but no joy at the time. I’ve seen other videos besides this one that makes me less certain of how valid my results back then are now.

        Half

        • Halfstep,

          WOW!
          Just goes to show what I love about this Blog of Toms and the Readership. Thank you for all that data and the big headstart in deciding on my next purchases of .22 caliber ammo.
          I’ll use it for target pistols and rifles as well as for my.22LR conversion slides for my .45 automatics.

          Thanks again Half,
          shootski

          • Shootski,

            Your mention of the 22lr conversion for your .45 auto (1911?) reminded me about my second adult airgun.

            I used to own a Colt Ace and sold it for the price of a new RWS Model 52. I didn’t like the gun because it wasn’t accurate (I was comparing it to my Colt Government Model that had been converted to a National Match for Bullseye competition) and I really wanted the hottest airgun on the market at the time. This was right in the middle of the speed wars among springers. I forget exactly what I got out of the gun, but I think it was around $350. I do know that I sold it for exactly the cost of the Model 52 with tax. I bought it from a local shop so there was no shipping. At any rate, as you probably know, that was a bad trade off, since the Ace is probably worth between 2 and 3 thousand dollars today. Even way back then, all my buddies at the time that found out that I sold it, said they would have offered me twice what I ended up asking for the gun, if they had known it was for sale. The buddy that I sold it to was very happy with the price.

            As I said, the Ace wasn’t very accurate, but it was reliable. There were conversion kits available, but they were reportedly unreliable, very picky with ammo and hard to keep clean enough to function. None of my friends were willing to risk buying those kits for their guns. How does your conversions do on those two fronts? Are they accurate? Are they picky?

            Half

  4. BB
    I have been told, don’t point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot and don’t shoot anybody unless you intend to kill them.
    My 5 shot AMT .45 ACP is always on me when I’m out on my property. It fits in any pocket, and it’s at arm’s length when inside. I live on the edge of BLM Land close to the border with Mexico.
    I would consider this a curiosity, backpack pistol or a last resort pistol while trying to avoid a bad situation. Better than nothing but there is too much to do to get it set up under stress.
    The one time I really needed to have it on me, I didn’t, and it really got to me, never again.
    When I know danger is close or approaching it is replaced with my Mossberg 500.
    Always try to have the upper hand, at hand.

  5. I ain’t never heard a no stangers afore, ‘ceptin’ on th’ bad end of a buzz by.
    As a collectable ammunition, I guess it would be OK. Not being an ammo collector, I can’t see it. I’d druther the regular stuff.

    I do like that LifeCard though. I would not mind having one of those.

    Once upon a time I had a NAA .22LR derringer. I wish I still had that little thing.

    It is a shame about the Ounce pistol. It looks like it would be neat.

  6. B.B.,
    This little .22LR Walther TPH is an heirloom from my Dad.
    While not as small as your LifeCard, it’s still pretty small, and disappears in a pocket.
    Whatever else I have with me, this is always in my pocket as I walk the farm.
    Hence, it has dispatched rabid critters and venomous snakes just because it was there
    (when bigger guns were back at the house because I didn’t expect I’d need them).
    Wishing a blessed Memorial Day to you and all who served, are serving,
    or who made the ultimate sacrifice,
    dave

  7. There has been some interest in what Williams peep sight I have on my grandson’s HW30S I dug out the paperwork for it and it is a WMS FP GR TK # 9685.

    Can you get this sight anymore? I am not so sure.

  8. B.B.,
    Thank you for your review of the LifeCard, a unique and interesting little piece of hardware.
    I had read some other reviews of it, but it’s nice to see a review by someone we all know and trust. 😉
    Blessings to you,
    dave

  9. Being retired and here in GA, I have time to go to library talks and one of them was presented by a Medical Examiner. Amongst the topics he discussed (mainly forensics, splatter patters and such), he mentioned that in his autopsies, the majority of bullet wounds were from intermediate range. Now y’all are probably wondering what is “intermediate range” as I was so I asked the question. Four feet or closer! That’s the majority. I brought this up because of the range of this little .22 that we’re discussing here. I’m still going to practice from 25 yards with my ccw and .22 regardlessl

    Fred formerly of the Demokratik Peeples Republik of NJ now happily in civilized Georgia – Thank you to all those who are no longer with us so we could be here.

    • Fred DPRoNJ,

      Certainly won’t argue with practicing at 25 yards but only because it means you can likely successfully engage at a greater distance. Reality says it will happen inside 21 feet (7 yards/6.4 meters) and picking someone off outside that range will help (sadly) a District Attorney/Prosecutor make a case against your justifiable homicide plea.
      In cold or cool weather heavy clothing makes many ammunition types far less effective. Even Bigger (9mm) hollow points can clog and not expand which is why i choose to carry .44 or .45 in a full size barrel/frame 90+ percent of the time. There are ways to effectively conceal in all but bathing suit and Tee-shirts.

      shootski

  10. Today is the day to remember those who are not here with us, who gave their lives for our liberty. Wishing a blessed Memorial Day to all those who served, or are active.
    Henry

  11. B.B.
    Interesting device the Lifecard, and I can see when it could come in handy. A few years ago I read a report on handgun stopping power results based on real world statistics (I think it was by Marshal) in which the .22LR had an unexpected good showing. There are as many theories as ‘experts’ (and I am not one!), but it seems to me that these good results are not due to the small round ballistic prowess, but because it allowed the would-be victim to fight back. And that is precisely the real value I see in devices like the Lifecard, they are easy to have on hand when things take a bad turn.
    Personally, I prefer an LCP for that function. It is not so good in the range, ‘punishing’ comes to mind, but much better than my fingernails in a pickle.
    Henry

    • Henry_TX,

      I remember reading, many years ago, a comment in a gun magazine dedicated to .22 LR guns. The author was defending the feasibility of a 22LR handgun as a defensive weapon. He said, “If you shoot anything in the eye, it dies, and every creature that can seriously hurt you has two of them. Practice shooting quarters with your 22.”, or words to that effect. It stuck with me.

      Half

  12. Anyone,

    What is the biography of the phrase “…point blank range…”?
    as in
    “The .41-caliber bullet slipped through this 9.5-inch block of ballistics gel (arrows) at point blank range.”

    Just curious.

    et·y·mol·o·gy (ĕt′ə-mŏl′ə-jē)
    n. pl. et·y·mol·o·gies
    1. The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another, identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its ancestral form where possible.
    2. The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies.

    john
    who is thankful to all who served and serve.

  13. What a coincidence, I was clearing out some old email and noticed one from Trailblazer Firearms dated May 2019.
    Sorry but the LifeCard 22LR is not legal for sale in CA. Thought it looked familiar along with the 9mm radio look alike.
    If I could carry a concealed weapon. I would probably get this for carry in non-dangerous situations, just in case. I really dislike any type of waist holster. They always seem to interfere with whatever I’m doing. There is one exception, my last resort .45 Downsizer in a pouch. It is not concealed but highly inconspicuous, light and small.

    Sometimes I feel like I don’t really deserve thanks for serving. With 7 years into the Vietnam War period and 13 more I never was assigned to any war zone. Then I remember what an old CPO said to me. Hay H-hole, you gave your life to the US Military to use as they pleased for 20 years, including risking your life if needed. That National Defense Service Medal is not a decorative trinket. You just got lucky.

    • Bob M,

      Always remember what the Chief told you he spoke the truth! You rendered Service and were LUCKY enough to not have serve in direct combat; that was a double blessing.
      I listened to all my Chiefs, some more than others, and learned a great deal about being a leader and keeping us all alive.
      The best was always remember your people are accountable to you but you are totally responsible for all that happens or doesn’t to everyone up and down the chain of command.
      Never forgot that lesson.

      shootski

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