A new firearm company, Ideal Conceal, has been thrust to the front of the gun control debate with the announcement of a smartphone shaped conceal and carry pistol. The cellphone shaped pistol consists of a double-barrelled derringer chambered in .380. When the safety is engaged or the pistol is “locked,” the handle of the weapon flips up to cover the trigger guard, and the derringer resembles a smartphone. When the phone is “unlocked,” the handle flips back down and the device can be held like a traditional pistol. Design elements like a mock camera help disguise the gun when it is in lock position. The derringer doesn’t have any iron sights, and instead it relies on an integrated laser sight for aiming.

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Recently a New York Senator asked that the ATF “investigate” Ideal Conceal’s concept as it was “clearly being marketed for nefarious purposes.” While it’s no secret Sen. Schumer’s motivations go deeper than concerns about how the company’s marketing appears, let’s examine some of the concerns around the design a little further.

“Marketed For Nefarious Purposes”

This first claim is completely ridiculous, but let’s engage with it a little more. Show us a company that purposely markets to criminals, and we’ll show you a company that goes out of business quickly. No one ever markets directly to criminals because there’s no money or stability in it. It’s absurd to think that anyone would market a product specifically designed to be used by criminals.

This product is marketed to those who want to defend themselves, plain and simple. Carrying a concealed weapon effectively poses unique challenges – we write about them all the time on this blog – and this product addresses some of those challenges, but frankly lacks in addressing others. It is however only marketed towards law-abiding citizens who a) want to defend themselves and b) are licensed to carry a concealed weapon in their state. “Printing,” or showing the outline of a concealed carry weapon through your clothes, is still a big challenge for those who CCW. Ideal Conceal’s derringer isjust  another method to reduce or prevent printing.

If anything, probably the only “nefarious” marketing techniques are those used to raise funds for politicians who say they will enact change and represent their country with the money but only use it to advance their political careers.

Illegal Under The NFA Act

Some may wonder if Ideal Conceal’s smartphone gun is illegal under the NFA act. The key difference between NFA AOW guns and unrestricted guns is that all AOW guns are meant to be fired while being disguised as another object. Ideal Conceal’s derringer cannot fire while it is disguised as a cellphone, and it only operates as a handgun once it’s unfolded. The other unrestricted example some may be familiar with is the Stinger Pen Gun, and it too does not fire when disguised as a pen, but once broken in half, the pen becomes half barrel and half handle and operates like a pistol. The Stinger Pen Gun is currently not listed as a AOW by the ATF. Ideal Conceal’s derringer uses the same concept, and for now it is not considered a NFA firearm.

It’s Going To Change All Confrontations

Critics of the new derringer concept fear that a smartphone shaped gun is going to change all confrontations, especially those with police officers. But let’s think about this in more depth. Who in their right mind reaches for their cellphone when the police yell “freeze?” The gun also requires a short set up time before it is ready to fire, and anyone under close observation would have to pull the derringer out of their pocket and then unlock and grip it. All in all, this derringer is much more useful in self-defense situations where the user has a second or two to ready the weapon before a confrontation.

Most everyone is familiar with the term derringer, and a pocket pistol is nothing new. Henry Deringer was the first to manufacture the modern pocket pistol back in 1852. Even today, a modern derringer is just as effective as the Ideal Conceal derringer, but no one is up in arms about their availability.

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The Double Tap Defense Pocket Derringer is just the latest in a long line of pocket pistols.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of questions still to be answered about the smartphone gun concept: How accurate is it? How easy is it to deploy out of your pocket? How easy is it to reload once the two initial rounds are fired? How does it stand up to damage when dropped (as most cell phones inevitably are)? Can it be operated with one hand or do you need two?

There’s a lot of questions around the concept, but we imagine Ideal Conceal has addressed most if not all of them. It won’t be for everyone, and most will stick to their tried and true conceal and carry pistols, but for those who are licensed to conceal and carry in their state, this may be just the thing for the all-important purpose of self-defense.