(NBCNews) – A Minnesota company has invented a handgun that folds up to look just like a smartphone.
The .380-caliber pistol, called Ideal Conceal, will be available later this year and “will be virtually undetectable because it hides in plain sight,” Ideal Conceal says on its website.
In locked position, the two-shot plastic gun with a metal core can be discreetly slipped into pockets, like a real phone. But “with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire,” Ideal Conceal claims.
The creator, Kirk Kjellberg, told NBC News the idea came to him after he attracted attention for carrying a concealed weapon in a restaurant.
“A boy spotted me in the restaurant and said loudly, ‘Mommy, Mommy, that guy’s got a gun!’ And then pretty much the whole restaurant stared at me,” he said.
So Kjellberg, who calls himself a “serial inventor,” decided to make a gun that wouldn’t stand out so much. He says the Ideal Conceal is the same size as his Galaxy S7 phone with a protective case on it: About 3 inches by 5 inches.
A Facebook page for Ideal Conceal already has more than 13,000 likes. But the product has attracted concern too, with critics arguing its design could pose a security threat at airports and other places.
Kjellberg denies that.
“It’s kind of an erroneous idea that this is any different from any other pistol, because when you run it through an x-ray, it has barrels and triggers and hammers — all the things other guns have. It has enough metal in it that it can’t escape the metal detector,” he said.
The Department of Homeland Security has contacted him about the pistol, and he plans on giving them x-rays of it so law enforcement can distinguish it from cellphones during airport screenings.
Kjellberg also dismissed concerns about children seeing the phone-shaped weapon and accidentally getting hurt.
“In America, we have lots of children in contact with pistols already. There’s been quite a few incidents long before my product came along,” he said. “For me, it’s not the gun. It’s the people. So if you have a pistol and you have children anywhere near you, it’s your responsibility to lock that stuff up and keep it away from children.”
An Ideal Conceal prototype is slated for June, with sales beginning in October. The gun is listed for $395.
More than 4,000 people around the world have expressed interest in buying it, Kjellberg told NBC affiliate KARE in Minneapolis.
Gun sales hit a new high in 2015 and have nearly doubled since President Obama took office, federal data shows. They peaked in December after the mass terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.