Collapsible pistol caliber carbines (PCC) are a popular commodity these days. Their compact size and the increased velocity of firing pistol calibers from a rifle-length barrel offer users a long gun that doesn’t take up as much space as a full-sized rifle. Plus, there’s the additional stability that can only come from a shoulder-supported firearm. The Trailblazer Pivot 9mm Ultra-Compact Folding Rifle stands out in this category, offering unique engineering and innovative design.

About the Trailblazer Pivot 9mm

I encountered Trailblazer Firearm’s products at the 2023 NRA Conference in Indianapolis. The company showcased two remarkable folding firearms: the Lifecard folding single-shot .22 LR handgun and the Pivot Folding Rifle. Recently, I had the chance to review the Pivot.

Although Trailblazer calls it a folding rifle, the Pivot’s operation is more nuanced.

Trailblazer Arms Folding Rifle Specifications

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Semi-automatic, magazine-fed, direct blowback
Folded length: 20.9 inches
Minimum firing length: 26.7 inches (stock collapsed)
Maximum firing length: 29.7 inches (stock extended)
Width: 1.15 inches
Weight: 5 pounds
Height: 5.9 inches
Construction: Aluminum/steel/polymer
Barrel: 16 inches, threaded
Finish: Black, corrosion resistant
Safety: Will not fire when closed, manual safety

Sounds pretty conventional, right? Not quite. Most collapsible rifles or carbines function like the M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine in that the stocks fold when unlocked against a fully intact barrel, upper receiver and lower receiver. Another popular design is that of the Kel-Tc Sub2000 Gen 3, which folds the stock up and over the top of the receiver. Unlike those traditional folding rifles, the Pivot opens by rotating the barrel and action clockwise or counterclockwise, both remaining parallel with the lower receiver in the process. This design maintains a consistent height and width whether open or closed, ensuring a compact profile

Operating System

The Pivot uses double-column Glock 9mm magazines. A single 15-round magazine is included. Increased capacity Glock magazines will work as well. In states with magazine capacity limits, Trailblazer ships the Pivot with a 10-round magazine. A holder for an extra magazine is included as part of the stock.

Safety is paramount with the Pivot. It cannot be fired when closed. The magazine loads into the pistol grip. A magazine — full or empty — should not be left in the magazine well of a closed Pivot. This will prevent the upper half from opening until. The polymer pistol grip features a Glock-style magazine release on the left side, and flat ambidextrous manual safeties are located on the lower receiver just ahead of the trigger. These can be operated with the thumb or index finger. I would like to see a bump added to the lever to make activation/deactivation a bit easier. The stock adjustment control, a single lever on the sliding portion of the stock assembly, can be operated by either hand.

The flat, gold PVD-coated trigger adds a distinctive touch. The vertical charging handle on the top-center of the bolt features a knurled knob and an offset locking position that holds the bolt open. The top of bolt fore and aft feature Picatinny railing for mounting optics, though no sights are included. M-Lock rails are located at 3 and 9 o’clock on both sides of the forend for mounting lights and lasers. These will not interfere with the Pivot opening.

How to Use the Pivot Folding Rifle

When closed, the muzzle of the Pivot rifle points to the rear over the top of the stop. So, when you shoulder a closed Pivot rifle, you find yourself in the odd position of having the muzzle pointing back at you. Despite this unconventional setup, the design ensures safety through three key features.

  1. You cannot pivot the upper receiver with a full or empty magazine seated in the grip.
  2. You cannot pivot the upper receiver with the bolt closed on an empty or on a hot chamber.
  3. Closing the bolt or forcing it forward when the Pivot is in the closed position is not allowed.

A manually operated safety isn’t needed to ensure safety when performing the Pivot opening operation. At the front end of the lower receiver is a grooved, flush-fitted pushbutton that releases the latch locking the Pivot either closed or open.

To open the Pivot folding rifle:

  1. Make sure there is no empty or live magazine inserted in the pistol grip.
  2. Ensure the charging handle is locked to the rear.
  3. Check the chamber to make sure it is empty.
  4. Activate the manual safety. This is just an extra safety precaution. The Pivot will still rotate open with the safety off.
  5. Push the unlocking button and rotate the upper receiver either clockwise or counterclockwise to open it. Rotate the muzzle end around until you hear and feel it latch firmly into place.
  6. Insert a loaded magazine, then pop the charging handle with your free hand out of the “L” notch. This will chamber the first round.
  7. Turn the safety off, and you are ready to fire.

Performance of the Trailblazer Pivot 9mm at the Range

I tested the Pivot at my friend’s shooting range with three different types of 9mm ammunition: the Maxx Tech 124-grain 9mm FMJ Brass Case Ammo, as well as two new loads from Liberty Ammunition: the 100-grain Frangible Lead-Free Plate and Steel Ammo (1,250 feet per second), and the Ultralight 50-grain 9mm+P Jacketed HP Defensive Ammo (2,040 feet per second).

Prior to arrival, I mounted my trusty Aimpoint Comp II red-dot sight. Bret started with 15 rounds of Maxx Tech practice ammo from 20 yards, standing, aiming at the head of a B27 PROS silhouette target. After clearing an empty that had failed to extract and firing the last live round, his group measured 3.5 inches with one called flyer. I added lubricant to the bolt, preventing any further issues with function.

With 15 rounds of the Liberty Ultralight, I fired from kneeling and aimed for the center X-ring. The blast of the hyper-velocity Liberty Ultralight load was more noticeable. I also had shot a 3.5 inch group with one called flyer. Recoil was mild, and the Pivot has a solid feel to it and shouldered nicely.

We finished with Liberty’s Steel Plate and Range target ammo. This new round uses a truncated cone-type lead-free bullet. It grouped just like Liberty’s Ultralight Ammo and disintegrated when we shot a few rounds on the steel silhouette. Recoil was quite controllable with the relatively light 100-grain bullet.

Trailblazer Pivot 9mm: Pros, Cons and Overall Verdict

The Trailblazer Pivot is an ingenious modern firearm, offering compact size and quick deployment with practice. While I prefer a curved trigger for comfort, the flat trigger performs well. The trigger pull measures 8 pounds, 3 ounces with a bit of creep and could benefit from some lubrication and use to smooth out.

Trigger aside, the Pivot is overall a high-quality, innovative rifle with an MSRP of $1,795. It is about as compact as it can get, easy and quick to deploy with a little practice, and obviously made with. It is light and low profile. It’s available in a Copper Anodized Model for $1616 on If you’re looking for a compact, reliable PCC, the Trailblazer Pivot is a top contender.


Trailblazer Firearms:
Maxx Tech:
Liberty Ammunition: