With the consumer trend in concealed-carry pistol purchases pushing a deluge of clever pocket-sized .380 and 9 mm guns into the market, it’s a pleasant surprise to find a company taking a new approach to the firepower vs. concealment conundrum. Mike Full, at Full Conceal Inc., engineered a way to make a full-size handgun more compact by folding the grip frame and magazine forward under the barrel. The folded pistol’s resulting rectangular form fits easily into a man’s front pants pocket. It prints, of course, but it looks more like a large cell phone than a handgun. It needs no holster and deploys with notable ease in a few seconds. If you should ever need your concealed-carry gun for self-defense, Full Conceal puts a full-size one in your hand.
Currently, Full Conceal Inc. offers only folding Glock 19 pistols. They call their modified Glock the M3D and it retains all the functional characteristics of the parent pistol (accuracy, reliability, controls, weight, etc.), minus the trigger safety. In terms of feel, the grip frame is shorter than the standard pistol and the front of the triggerguard is skeletonized. The bottom of the shooting hand grips the protruding magazine and the triggerguard, which consists of a pair of steel bars, feels different to the finger of your supporting hand, but the change in feel had no noticeable effect on my shooting. It functioned flawlessly, feeding hollow points as well as the sculpted-tip Black Hills HoneyBadger 124 gr. self-defense loads with no issues.
To make the grip fold, Full designed a rugged steel hinge, triggerguard and trigger that all collapse into slots milled into the polymer frame. The parts are pinned solidly in place with close tolerances. Getting the joint to flex left and right took more force than the pistol would ever reasonably be subjected to in use. The grip is locked and released via a spring latch on its spine that engages a steel pin in the upper frame. The latch snaps over the pin and locks the grip together automatically when you unfold it. There’s no way you could accidentally unlatch it while shooting. The 5/64-inch gap at the juncture between frame and grip permits a little flex between the two, and the magazine can wiggle in the shortened well a bit, but not enough to noticeably affect reliability or accuracy.
The M3D comes with a MAGPUL PMAG 21-shot magazine that is just the right length to give the folded pistol a rectangular form. Magazines up to 21 rounds are self-indexing, so there is no fiddling with it while unfolding the pistol. And, since the nature of the Glock allows it to be safely carried with a round in the chamber, you have 22 rounds at your disposal in the event of trouble.
Full can draw from his front pocket and unfold the M3D with one hand in 1 second. Even without practice, the pistol takes only a few seconds to deploy. I did it in 3. As with any other concealed-carry handgun, you should practice deploying the M3D—not because it’s hard to do, but to develop safe habits. We all know to always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Now you have to learn how that applies to a folding gun. Though it’s not mechanically capable of firing when folded, I still put it in my pocket muzzle down. I also keep my trigger finger outside of the extra-large triggerguard while unfolding it.
Carrying any pistol in a pocket without a holster requires pocket discipline, and the M3D needs even more because it has a bigger opening that coins, gum wrappers, breath mints, etc., might get into. A piece of tape across the muzzle will keep the barrel clear, but you need to forget about ever putting anything in your gun pocket again.
The Full Conceal may seem odd today, but expect more of the same in the future. From a self-defense standpoint, little guns were always a compromise that sacrificed firepower, accuracy and shootability. What we are seeing in this folding handgun is a paradigm shift that makes big guns small for concealment. MSRP on the M3D is $1,399 or they can convert your Generation 3 or 4 Glock 19/23/25/32/38 to the M3D for $749. You can learn more about Full Conceal folding guns at fullconceal.com.