[Update 3] – I’m fairly sure that “iPhone gun” is a hoax

You’ve seen the hype over the Ideal Conceal “phone gun.” Who hasn’t?

But I’ll bet you haven’t seen a photograph of it. Every picture I can find is a computer-rendered image taken from the company web site.

Like this one:

ic-pocket-street

Now look closely at that hand gripping the “gun.”

ic-pocket-street-closeup

Try it yourself. Hold your phone (or paperback book, or any rectangular thingie) by the corner like that. It’s a poor photoshop. Even the street scene.

stock-photo-dark-street-in-tel-aviv-israel-38249383

Look familiar?

I emailed Ideal Conceal (and why do you suppose he’s using Gmail, instead of a more professional-apppearing idealconceal.com email address?) to ask for a photograph of the actual prototype; the idea being to establish that a real, physical product exists. Or not.

Kjellberg sent two more renderings. No photographs. Interestingly, the two image files are named “phun-gun-img-003e.jpg” and “phun-gun-img-004b.png.”

Phun = Fun? How professional.

When I pointed out that I wanted a photograph as a response to those who doubt the existence of the Ideal Conceal, he replied:

Unfortunately we don’t have a prototype that we are showing to the public. I have told every news agency and persons who contact us that info.

We will be releasing video etc when it is ready.

Doubters with doubt….

Thanks Kirk Kjellberg

Kjellberg  claims he’ll be building these guns. That’s real interesting, because the ATF only shows Ideal Conceal having a Type 01 dealer license. More interesting is the address given for Ideal Conceal: 4300 SCHOOL BOULEVARD

It’s currently up for sale, according to that link. An office building, not a factory.

A whois on the domain idealconceal.com shows:

Updated Date: 29-jan-2016
Creation Date: 16-aug-2015
Expiration Date: 16-aug-2016

A one year registration? Expiring before he plans to start shipping in October?

Whois also shows a different street address than that in the ATF records: 9127 Highway 25. I doubt that he’s manufacturing an oversized, stupidly designed derringer there, either. Since he claims he’s already taken 4,000 preorders, he’d better find — and equip… and man — a factory fast.

Especially if he’s taken money in advance on those preorders, someone might want to talk to the Minnesota Attorney General about potential fraud.

Or not. Maybe he isn’t accepting payments yet.

So if it isn’t a financial scam, what might be motivating the guy?

kjellberg-fb

Thanks to Mitchell Boone for finding that F******k post. If you’re having trouble reading that, it says:


Kirk Ennis Kjellburg
December 19, 2012
Dear Gun Lovers, let me introduce you to playground rules. When enough stupid kids can’t play say king of the hill nicely, they take away the hill. Use your brain, somehow this has to stop. Shouting for gun rights when the bodies of 20 children lay dead is about as selfish as it gets…

Yep. He wants to punish everyone who didn’t do it for the actions of Some Asshole who killed his mother and stole her guns to go on a rampage. Some pro-gun advocate.

I think we’re looking at the same sort of anti-RKBA action as the bogus RNC open carry petition. An attempt to embarrass gun owners and make us look bad.

Perhaps my guess is incorrect. If Kjellberg wishes to correct any misconceptions, I’d like him to answer some questions, and provide a little data.

Unless and until we hear from Kjellberg, I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone to preorder an Ideal Conceal pistol.

Update, 4/12/16: Aha! I found an article that I missed in the last round.

“Right now there isn’t a firing prototype all I have is a plastic model of it so once there’s a firing prototype people will feel more comfortable about how it deploys, how it shoots and that kind of stuff”, said Kjellberg.

I was right: No prototype; just a nonfunctional plastic model. Since he claims he’ll be shipping in five or six months, that motivational speaker/claims adjuster/microwave salesman better hurry up and get a manufacturer’s license, not to mention someone capable of designing a working gun since his LinkedIn page doesn’t suggest any engineering experience or training.

And no, Kjellberg has not contacted me to answer any of the above questions.

Update 2, 4/14/16: Kjellberg is now admitting that he is not a licensed manufacturer.The current story is:

“He isn’t properly licensed to manufacture such a weapon, though, so he connected with a friend at a Big Lake engineering company that has federal clearance for weapon design.”

I see three type 07 FFLs in Big Lake:

Interestingly, Bondhus Arms is marketing its own .380 concealment pistol, the CL380.

bondhus-arms-cl380

While there does seem to be a working prototype, and they have a real approved patent, it doesn’t seem to be for sale yet (“later this year”). I wonder if Bondhus Arms would actually build its competitor’s .380.

I’ve sent messages to MPI and Bondhus asking if they are the manufacturer Kjellberg mentions. I’ve also contacted the ATF with some general inquiries (AOW, etc.).

Nope; nothing from Kjellberg yet.

Update 3, 4/15/16: Still nothing from Kjellberg. But the ATF responded. A company has problems when it’s response time is worse than a federal bureaucracy.

Basically, since Kjellberg doesn’t have even a prototype, and apparently hasn’t submitted anything to the ATF, they couldn’t answer most of my questions. I got the extremely vague answer I expected.

Mr. Bussjaeger: Thank you for your inquiry and concern in regards to the pistol that appears to be a cellphone. As ATF understands it, the proposed manufacturer of this firearm does not even yet have an operable prototype. If the company chooses, it can submit to ATF for determination the classification of the firearm. The ATF enforces two primary Federal firearms laws: the Gun Control Act (GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA). Based on the information ATF currently has on this proposed firearm, it would be lawful to manufacture under the Gun Control Act (GCA). So, to address your concerns: Based on what ATF knows of this proposed firearm at this time, it would be both lawful to manufacture and own/possess under Federal firearms laws. Again, ATF’s responsibility is to enforce Federal firearms laws as they exist and as stated, based on what ATF currently knows about the proposed firearm it would be lawful under current Federal firearms laws. Thank you.

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9 thoughts on “[Update 3] – I’m fairly sure that “iPhone gun” is a hoax”

  1. Great post! And thanks for the mention. I find this whole “smartphone gun” nonsense incredibly irritating and insulting. Glad to see other people jumping on it, and helping to expose this scam.

    I’m looking forward to reading any follow-ups you might post, specifically any further contact you may have with Kjellberg. The prick hasn’t even responded to my request for pre-ordering info.

    Best of luck!
    -Mitchell Boone

    1. Thanks.

      I wonder if he’s really taking preorders. Since he won’t show evidence of an actual working prototype (that plastic thingie in the news clip didn’t look to me like it had any moving parts other than the swing-down “grip;” just a model), much less a commercial product, he might risk fraud charges if he took preorders with a down payment. I think this is disinformation rather than a con.

      Those 4K “preorders” might just be folks who filled out the contact form for more info.

  2. Nicely done! When I first found out about this it was via a story in the Huffington Post. After reading the story I started to look for more information and soon came to the conclusion the guy was a flimflam man. Personally I subscribe to the skeptics credo:

    The author of an incredible story should always be able to provide incredible proof.

  3. I can only echo the sentiments of others in saying that you have done a great job in exposing this guy for trying to put a hoax over on the gun community. I hope his motives were only financial, but I can’t help but suspect that other things might be involved. This could go a long way to head things off at the pass. The light once shined upon cockroaches causes them to scurry for cover.

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