A Minnesota-based company specialising in concealed weaponry is planning to sell a smartphone-shaped gun that can hold up to two bullets from mid-2016. Ideal Conceal is marketing the double barreled .380 caliber pistol to retail at $395 (£277) based on its "virtually undetectable" appearance.

"No one wants to be in a dreadful situation that may require you to defend yourself with the use of deadly force. Yet as the old adage goes: 'It's better to have a gun and not need one, than to need a gun and not have one.' With the newly created Ideal Conceal you can carry your pistol with you on any occasion," the company says on its website. "Smartphones are everywhere, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today's environment... with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire."

CEO Kirk Kjellberg – who holds a permit to carry a concealed fireman – said he thought of the smartphone shaped gun after a child at a restaurant spotted his gun. "This little kid says, 'mummy, mummy, that man's got a gun,' so the whole restaurant looks at you like you're about to shoot the place up," said Kjellberg. "So I thought to myself there's got to be another way to be able to carry without bothering other people."

The gun cannot be fired when closed into its smartphone camouflage shape and the trigger is revealed once it is fully opened. The biggest challenge will be meeting the demand according to Kjellberg, who said he has already received nearly 2,500 emails from interested buyers.

"From soccer moms to professionals of every type, this gun allows you the option of not being a victim," the company states on its website. According to some reports, the company is planning to feature versions with larger ammunition capacity at a later stage.

"In general, the concept of any kind of weapon that's disguised, so that it's not apparent that it's a weapon, would be cause for concern," said Bill Johnson of the National Association of Police Organizations. Gun control advocates fear the gun might be mistaken as a toy and get into the hands of children, as has happened countless times in the past leading to tragic shootings and deaths.

In February 2016, US police said a three-year-old Alabama boy accidentally shot and killed his nine-year-old sister at their grandparents' house in the Irondale suburb of Birmingham. The boy allegedly spotted the loaded pistol on a bedroom nightstand and shot his sister in the head. The gun was left there by the grandfather who was not aware his grandchildren were coming over.