CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - At the Osseo Gun Club, Kirk Kjellberg has set his sights on a pistol that hides in plain sight.
"To bring something all the way from what's in your mind to the sales floor or out to people has been a dream of mine since I can remember,” said Kjellberg. “So to fulfill that is fantastic for me."
Kjellberg says he came up with the idea for a cell phone pistol back in 2016 as a more discreet way for law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon.
"It is a double barrel 380 Derringer,” he said. “You pull the handle down to make it active."
On the surface, it looks like a smart phone in its case, but the handle drops down and with a click, it is ready to fire.
"It’s to avoid people seeing it and being afraid themselves because it’s a pistol," said Kjellberg.
He says it took more than two years to bring the cell phone pistol to market. He sold about 400 last year and has shipped about 50 more since Ideal Conceal took over assembling them a couple of months ago.
"Luckily for us, I hope no one ever uses it,” he said. “For the rest of my life, if ever. I never want anyone to have to use it."
Critics, like U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, have taken aim at Kjellberg's pet project, calling it a disaster waiting to happen. But Kjellberg says it is designed to be used in close quarters for self-defense and it only holds two rounds.
"We got a lot of [criticism] like that like, 'You can walk onto an airplane with it,'” said Kjellberg. “It’s 18 ounces of solid metal. It shows up on metal detectors. We've helped train TSA and everyone to recognize it as a gun."
Kjellberg says he doesn't ship to private parties. Buyers have to go through an authorized gun dealer who can perform a background check.
He says as far as he knows only one state, Illinois, has passed legislation banning guns that look like cell phones.