A Gun Engineered to Resemble a Smartphone

Ideal Conceal is a foldable double-barreled .380-caliber pistol.

The idea of disguising a gun as an innocuous object is nothing new.

Georgi Markov, a writer and Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in 1978 using a pneumatically-driven pellet of ricin concealed inside an umbrella.

Diagram of the firing mechanism of the umbrella used to assassinate Georgi Markov. (1) Trigger in umbrella handle. (2) Umbrella handle. (3) Spring to push linkage system. (4) Linkage system linking trigger to valve. (5) Cylinder of compressed air. (6) Switch that activates the valve. (7) Valve that fires ricin pellet through the ‘barrel’ of the umbrella.

Diagram of the firing mechanism of the umbrella used to assassinate Georgi Markov. (1) Trigger in umbrella handle. (2) Umbrella handle. (3) Spring to push linkage system. (4) Linkage system linking trigger to valve. (5) Cylinder of compressed air. (6) Switch that activates the valve. (7) Valve that fires ricin pellet through the ‘barrel’ of the umbrella.

Even the idea of disguising a gun as a mobile phone isn’t entirely novel. In 2008, Italian police officers seized a gun during a mafia raid that was disguised as an old Nokia phone. It was capable of firing four .22-caliber rounds in quick succession and triggered by pressing buttons 5-8 on the keypad.

Italian police officer with mobile phone gun. (Image courtesy of BBC Newsbeat.)

Italian police officer with mobile phone gun. (Image courtesy of BBC Newsbeat.)

However, nowadays toting an old Nokia phone is noticeable enough to defeat the purpose of a concealed carry. 

Enter Ideal Conceal: a derringer-style gun that is designed to resemble a smartphone when folded up. It is a double-barrel .380-caliber pistol with a swing-out grip that covers the trigger when the phone is folded. With a single click of the safety, the gun is unfolded and ready to fire.

(Image courtesy of Ideal Conceal.)

(Image courtesy of Ideal Conceal.)

The .380 caliber was chosen to minimize the gun’s size and recoil, although larger calibers and capacities are planned for future models.

Kirk Kjellberg, a self-described “farmer/engineer” came up with the idea after a child pointed out his concealed carry at a restaurant. Kjellberg’s company was registered with the state of Minnesota in July 2015 and began work on the Ideal Conceal shortly thereafter.

The gun is being developed by Auto Launch Inc., a Minnesota-based design engineering firm. The first firing prototype is expected to be ready in May.

In response to safety concerns regarding Ideal Conceal, Kjellberg said, “There’s a ton of different ways to carry a more potent weapon than mine if you’re intent on causing trouble.”

The gun’s list price is stated as USD$395.00 on the Ideal Conceal website.