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Publication numberUS20040011344 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/282,897
Publication dateJan 22, 2004
Filing dateOct 29, 2002
Priority dateNov 23, 2001
Also published asEP1326058A2, EP1326058A3
Publication number10282897, 282897, US 2004/0011344 A1, US 2004/011344 A1, US 20040011344 A1, US 20040011344A1, US 2004011344 A1, US 2004011344A1, US-A1-20040011344, US-A1-2004011344, US2004/0011344A1, US2004/011344A1, US20040011344 A1, US20040011344A1, US2004011344 A1, US2004011344A1
InventorsJohn Rice, Nicholas Marks, Mark Walker
Original AssigneeNpf Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Paintball markers
US 20040011344 A1
Abstract
A paintball marker comprises a main body 110 and a barrel 112 defining a firing axis X-X, a trigger 122, and a grip 120 arranged to be held in a hand of a user which operates the trigger. The grip 120 has a rear edge 134 arranged to engage the palm of the hand of a user, the rear edge 134 being substantially vertical so as to enable the marker to be held in a comfortable and controlled manner during use.
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Claims(19)
1. A method of using a paintball marker for firing a fracturable dye pellet for use in playing a paintball game, comprising the steps of:
providing a user a paintball marker having a barrel with a firing axis; a trigger; a main body without a stock portion which enables holding the marker close to the user's face for aiming the marker; a compressed gas system having inherently low recoil and for propelling a fracturable dye pellet with the compressed gas system actuated by the user pulling the trigger; and a trigger grip frame which is coupled to the main body in a position to extend in a direction substantially perpendicular to the barrel and the firing axis;
positioning the user's trigger hand on the trigger grip frame while the marker is held close to the user's face with the trigger hand held in an unstrained position as a result of the trigger grip frame being substantially perpendicular to the barrel;
holding the paintball marker up close to the face of the user and avoiding injury to the face of the user as a consequence of using the low recoil compressed gas system to propel the fracturable dye pellet and at the same time the user accurately aiming the marker to propel the dye pellet from the paintball marker during the game as a result of the unstrained positioning of the trigger hand on the trigger grip frame and being comfortably maintained, while holding the paintball marker close to the user's face; and
holding the paintball marker with the user's arms such that both arms are folded in close to the body of the user to minimize the user's profile to another game player and the paintball marker is enclosed therebetween the body and the arms of the user.
2. The method as defined in claim 1 wherein both the trigger hand below the fingers and the forearm of the user are positioned substantially in a vertical plane when the user is actuating the trigger.
3. The method as defined in claim 2 wherein the arrangement of the trigger grip frame causes the user to position the wrist to turn substantially within the vertical plane of the forearm and the trigger hand during aiming and firing the paintball marker.
4. The method as defined in claim 1 wherein the thumb and fingers of the user's trigger hand are positioned substantially symmetrically about the trigger grip frame as a result of the trigger grip frame being perpendicular to the barrel.
5. A paintball marker for use in playing a paintball game, comprising:
a paintball marker main body having no stock portion;
a supply of dye pellets;
a barrel defining a firing axis;
a trigger;
compressed gas means having inherently low recoil for propelling one of the dye pellets from the paintball marker by the user actuating the trigger to fire the system;
trigger grip means arranged for holding by a user's trigger hand which operates the trigger and wherein the trigger grip means is positioned to extend in a direction substantially perpendicular to the firing axis with the trigger grip means for positioning the user's trigger hand wrist in substantially an unstrained orientation when the paintball marker is held near the user's face for aiming and firing and also for causing the user's hand below the fingers to be substantially in a vertical plane with the user's forearm when the user actuates the trigger; and
means for enabling the user to hold the paintball marker up close to and in front of the user's face during the game to obtain accurate aiming of the paintball marker while the compressed gas means propels the dye pellet without any substantial recoil and also avoiding injury to the user's face and the means for enabling comprising the paintball marker main body having no stock, the compressed gas system and the trigger grip means.
6. The paintball marker according to claim 5 wherein the trigger grip means includes a rear edge and at least a portion of the rear edge extends substantially perpendicular to the firing axis.
7. The paintball marker according to claim 5 wherein the trigger grip includes a front edge and at least a portion of which is substantially perpendicular to the firing axis.
8. The paintball marker according to claim 7 wherein the paintball marker includes a trigger guard and the grip includes a lower portion which is below the trigger guard and which includes a front edge, and wherein the front edge of said lower portion is substantially perpendicular to the firing axis.
9. The paintball marker according to claim 8 wherein the front edge of said lower portion defines a plurality of finger positions in which fingers of the user's trigger hand rest when the marker is in use, and wherein said finger positions are substantially aligned in said direction.
10. The paintball marker according to claim 5 wherein the trigger grip includes a rear edge arranged to engage a palm of said trigger hand, the rear edge including an upper part and a lower part which is inclined to the upper part, thereby enabling the angle of the user's palm to the firing axis to be changed by moving the position of the trigger hand on the trigger grip.
11. The paintball marker according to claim 10 wherein the upper part and the lower part are together formed as a continuous curve, thereby providing a range of hand positions on the trigger grip and with an associated range of angles for the user's palm.
12. The paintball marker according to claim 5 wherein the grip defines at least two trigger hand positions, and wherein the angle of the palm of the users trigger hand relative to the firing axis differs by at least 100 between the two positions.
13. The paintball marker according to claim 5 wherein the means for enabling comprises means for causing the user to position his arms close to his body thereby establishing a minimal body profile for another player aiming at the user.
14. The paintball marker according to claim 5 further comprising a gas propellant port extending downwards from the main body and forming a support arranged to be held by a user's non-trigger hand, wherein said means for enabling further comprises the gas propellant port.
15. The paintball marker according to claim 14 including a compressed gas bottle mounted on at least one of the trigger grip means, wherein said means for enabling is arranged to enable the user to obtain accurate aiming of the paintball marker while the gas bottle extends between a trigger arm and a non-trigger arm of the user.
16. The paintball marker according to claim 6 wherein said rear edge has a length in the direction extending substantially perpendicular to the firing axis over which it can support the user's trigger hand, and the rear edge extends substantially in said direction over at least a third of said length.
17. The paintball marker according to claim 16 wherein the rear edge is within ten degrees of said direction over at least a third of its length.
18. A paintball marker according to claim 5 wherein the grip has a rear edge having an upper end and a lower end, and the rear edge is arranged such that, if an equilateral parallelogram is constructed having two opposite corners vertically aligned one above the other and level with said upper and lower ends respectively, and being symmetrical about a vertical line through said opposite corners, and having its sides each inclined at 5° to said vertical line, then a single length of the rear edge can be contained within the parallelogram which length has a vertical height equal to at least one third of the height of the rear edge of the grip.
19. A paintball marker according to claim 18 wherein said upper end is the highest point on the grip rear edge which can be contacted by said hand while it is firing the marker, and said lower end is the lowest point on the grip rear edge which can be contacted by said hand while it is firing the marker.
Description

[0001] The present invention relates to paintball markers, also referred to as paintball guns, which are arranged to fire balls or pellets containing a marking fluid such as paint, ink or dye. The pellets are arranged to rupture on impact with a target so as to mark it, leaving an indication of where it was hit.

[0002] Paintball has grown rapidly in popularity over recent years and paintball markers have become increasingly more sophisticated so as to improve the performance of paintball competitors.

[0003] Whilst there are many similarities between a paintball marker and a real gun, one aspect of the use of paintball markers which has developed away from that of real guns is the manner in which the marker is held.

[0004]FIG. 1 shows a paintball competitor holding a conventional paintball marker 10 in a commonly used position. The marker is held with one hand 12 on the grip 13 and trigger and the other 14 on a support which is frequently formed from the propellant port. The marker 10 is held with the rear end of the main body 16 very close to the competitors face 18. With the marker in this position, if the user wants to keep his elbows in close to his body as shown in FIG. 1, which is important for presenting the smallest possible target profile for another competitor to aim at, the wrist 20 of the trigger hand has to be markedly bent, or ‘goosed’, as shown. Since the total weight of a paintball marker including the propellant canister and a full load of pellets can be of the order of two or three kilograms, it will be appreciated that supporting it with the wrist 20 in this bent condition can lead to discomfort or even strain of the wrist. Also as the hand tends to move away from the rear edge of the grip 13 round to the side, this can lead to a reduction in the level of control that the user has over the marker, which can obviously affect his aim. Furthermore, the standard tournament rules of paintball games require the paintball marker to be operated in a semiautomatic mode wherein the user must pull the trigger each time a dye pellet is to be propelled from the marker 10. Moreover, it is common that during the typical paintball game over a thousand dye pellets are fired by the player from the paintball marker 10. This of course requires the trigger hand and finger to be used each time; and the trigger hand and finger are placed under substantial stress during the game, making it even more important that the trigger grip frame be structured to establish a comfortable, ergonomic position for the trigger hand of the user.

[0005]FIG. 2 shows an alternative to the holding position of FIG. 1 in which the arm 22 of the trigger hand 12 is held out to the side of the user's body. This allows the marker to be held close to the user's face 18 without bending the wrist significantly, but increases the area that the user presents as a target to competitors, and is therefore disadvantageous during a paintball competition.

[0006] Accordingly the present invention provides a paintball marker comprising a main body and a barrel defining a firing axis, a trigger, and a grip arranged to be held in a hand of a user which operates the trigger, wherein the grip is arranged to extend in a direction substantially perpendicular to the firing axis.

[0007] Preferably at least a portion of the rear edge of the grip extends substantially perpendicular to the firing axis. More preferably the length of said portion is at least a third of the length of the grip. Preferably said portion is within 100 of perpendicular to the firing axis.

[0008] Said portion may be a central portion of the rear edge, or it can be an upper or a lower portion.

[0009] Preferably the grip has a front edge, at least a portion of which is substantially perpendicular to the firing axis.

[0010] For example, where the marker includes a trigger guard and the grip includes a lower portion which is below the trigger guard, the front edge of said lower portion is preferably substantially perpendicular to the firing axis. If the front edge of the lower portion comprises a flat surface, then that flat surface may be substantially perpendicular to the firing axis. If the front edge of said lower portion defines a plurality of finger positions in which fingers of the user's trigger hand will rest when the marker is in use, then said finger positions are preferably substantially vertically aligned one above the other.

[0011] Where the marker includes a trigger guard and the grip has an upper portion which is behind the trigger guard, the front edge of the upper portion is preferably substantially vertical.

[0012] Preferably the grip has a rear edge arranged to engage a palm of a hand of the user, the rear edge having an upper part, and a lower part which is inclined to the upper part, so that the angle of the user's palm to the firing axis can be changed by moving the position of the hand on the grip.

[0013] Indeed the present invention further provides a paintball marker comprising a main body and a barrel defining a firing axis, a trigger, and a grip arranged to be held in a hand of a user which operates the trigger, wherein the grip has a rear edge arranged to engage a palm of a hand of the user, the rear edge having an upper part, and a lower part which is inclined to the upper part, so that the angle of the user's palm to the firing axis can be changed by moving the position of the hand on the grip.

[0014] Preferably the upper part is inclined to the vertical and faces slightly upwards and the lower part is inclined to the vertical and faces slightly downwards.

[0015] Preferably the upper part and the lower part are together formed as a continuous curve, so as to provide a range of hand positions on the grip with an associated range of angles of the user's palm. The radius of curvature of the curve may be substantially constant over at least half of the length of the grip. The centre of curvature of the curve of at least one of the upper and lower parts may be located substantially at a position in which a finger of the trigger hand of the user will rest when the marker is in use.

[0016] The present invention still further provides a paintball marker comprising a main body and a barrel defining a firing axis, a trigger, and a grip arranged to be held in a hand of a user which operates the trigger, wherein the marker defines a finger position in which at least one finger of the trigger hand of a user will rest when the marker is in use, and at least a portion of the rear edge of the grip has a centre of curvature substantially located at said finger position.

[0017] Where the marker comprises a trigger guard, and the grip includes a lower portion which extends below the trigger guard and is arranged to support fingers of the user's hand which are not protected by the trigger guard, said finger may be one of said fingers.

[0018] Where the trigger is arranged to support a trigger finger of the user when the marker is in use, and said finger of the trigger hand may be said trigger finger.

[0019] Where the grip defines at least two hand positions, the angle of the palm of the user's hand relative to the firing axis preferably differs by at least 100 between the two positions. Preferably the upper part and the lower part are each at least 5 cm long and each have a radius of curvature of at least 5 cm.

[0020] Preferably the grip has a rear edge having an upper end and a lower end, and the rear edge is arranged such that, if an equilateral parallelogram is constructed having two opposite corners vertically aligned one above the other and level with said upper and lower ends respectively, and being symmetrical about a vertical line through said opposite corners, and having its sides each inclined at 5° to said vertical line, then a single length of the rear edge can be contained within the parallelogram which length has a vertical height equal to at least one third of the height of the rear edge of the grip. In some cases the length of the rear edge which can be contained within the parallelogram may have a vertical height equal to at least one half or even two thirds of the height of the rear edge of the grip.

[0021] Said upper end may be defined as the highest point on the grip rear edge which can be contacted by a user's trigger hand while it is firing the marker, and said lower end may be the lowest point on the grip rear edge which can be contacted by a user's trigger hand while it is firing the marker.

[0022] The present invention further provides a grip frame for a paintball marker having a main body, a barrel defining a firing axis, and a trigger, the grip frame including a grip arranged to be held in a hand of a user which operates the trigger, wherein the grip is arranged to extend in a direction substantially perpendicular to the firing axis.

[0023] Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the remainder of the accompanying drawings in which:

[0024]FIG. 3 is a side view of a paintball marker according to a first embodiment of the invention;

[0025]FIG. 4 is a detailed view of a grip frame forming part of the marker of FIG. 3;

[0026]FIG. 5 is a side view of a user operating the marker of FIG. 3;

[0027]FIG. 6A is a front view of the user of FIG. 5; FIG. 6B illustrates a user in a crouched position; and FIG. 6C illustrates a user in a kneeling position;

[0028]FIG. 7 is a side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to a second embodiment of the invention;

[0029]FIG. 8 is a side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to a third embodiment of the invention;

[0030]FIG. 9 is a side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to a fourth embodiment of the invention;

[0031]FIG. 10 is a side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to a fifth embodiment of the invention;

[0032]FIG. 11 is a side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to a sixth embodiment of the invention;

[0033]FIG. 12 is a side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to a seventh embodiment of the invention;

[0034]FIGS. 13 and 14 are side views of the grip frame of FIG. 4 illustrating further analysis of the shape of grip frames according to the invention; and

[0035]FIG. 15 is as side view of a grip frame for a paintball marker according to an eighth embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0036] Referring to FIG. 3, a paintball marker according to a first embodiment of the invention comprises a main body 110 and barrel 112, a grip frame 114 attached to the underside of the main body, a propellant port 116 through which propellant in the form of compressed gas is fed to the marker, and a feed port 118 through which dye pellets are fed. As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, the propellant port 116 is also used as means for holding the marker 100 with the hand 14. The main body 110 and barrel 112 define a firing axis X-X along which the pellets are fired. For ease of description the firing axis X-X will be referred to as horizontal and the direction perpendicular to it in the plane of FIG. 3 will be referred to as vertical, although clearly in use the marker can be held at any angle.

[0037] The grip frame 114 is removable as a unit from the main body 110 and includes a grip 120, a trigger 122 and a trigger guard 124. In this embodiment the grip frame is actually made up of a frame 126 which is formed of metal such as aluminium, and a grip moulding 123 which is of moulded plastics. The frame 126 is shown in more detail in FIG. 4 and includes a base portion 128 having a generally flat upper surface 130 which rests against the underside of the main body 110, a rear portion 132 which extends downwards from near the rear end of the base portion 128 and forms the rear edge 134 of the grip 120, a guard portion 136 which forms the trigger guard 24, and a cutlass 137 which extends from the lower front corner of the trigger guard 136 to the bottom of the grip 120. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the grip 120 extends downwards substantially perpendicular to the firing axis. The top surface 130 of the grip frame forms the connection by which the grip frame 114 is connected to the marker body 110 in use, and therefore defines the orientation which the grip frame 114 will have, in use, in relation to the marker body 110 and the firing axis X-X. Therefore in this case, where the top surface is parallel to the firing axis X-X, horizontal, in terms of the grip frame 114, should be interpreted as meaning parallel to the top surface 130, and vertical as perpendicular to the top surface 130.

[0038] The rear edge 134 of the grip 120, i.e. that part of the rear edge of the frame 114 which can be contacted by the palm of the user's trigger hand when the marker is being fired, is, generally speaking, vertical and has a length y in the vertical direction which is defined as the vertical distance between its upper end, which is at the highest point y1 that a user's hand can rest on the rear edge 134, and its lower end, which is the lowest point y2 that a user's hand can rest on the rear edge 134. However it is curved, and has an upper hand supporting portion 134 a which faces slightly upwards, and a lower hand supporting portion 134 b which faces slightly downwards. The whole of the trigger hand supporting rear edge 134 is formed as a continuous curve, and between the upper and lower portions 34 a, 34 b it passes through the vertical at a point 135 approximately two thirds of the way down the grip. Also the central portion of the grip rear edge 134 around this vertical point 135 is substantially vertical, with approximately a third of the length of the rear edge 34 being at less than 100 to the vertical. The central portion of the grip has a vertical length h which is the vertical distance between the two points y3, y4 on the rear edge 134 of the grip where the tangents T1, T2 to the rear edge 134, in the vertical plane of FIG. 4, are at 100 to vertical. The upper portion 134 a of the grip rear edge 134 is shaped approximately in the form of an arc centred on a point forward of the grip frame 114, and the lower portion 134 b of the grip rear edge 134 is also shaped approximately in the form of an arc centred on the lower trigger finger position 144.

[0039] The trigger 122 is a two finger trigger, its forward edge 140 having an upper finger supporting portion 140 a and a lower finger supporting portion 140 b, which define upper and lower trigger finger positions 142, 144 respectively in which the respective trigger fingers of a user will rest when held against the trigger 122.

[0040] The front edge 138 of the upper portion 120 a of the grip frame is substantially vertical, and the front edge 139 of the lower portion 120 b of the frame 126 is also substantially vertical. The front edge 146 of the moulding 123, which covers the front edge 139 of the lower portion 120 b of the grip, is also substantially vertical. This front edge 146 has a number of recesses 148, 150, 152 formed in it, and the bottom, i.e. rearmost, points of those recesses are aligned with each other in a substantially vertical line. The moulding 123 thereby defines a number of finger positions 154, 156, 158 which are aligned with each other in a substantially vertical row, one above the other.

[0041] The result of the shape of the grip 120 is that the marker can be held as shown in FIG. 5, with the palm of the trigger hand 113 facing forwards, rather than downwards as with a conventional grip. This enables the user to hold the marker close to his face, and point the marker in a horizontal direction without the significant bending of the wrist that occurs in this position with conventional markers.

[0042] In some situations there is room for the user's hand 113 to be moved vertically up and down the grip. When the user's hand is holding the grip 120 as close to the top as is comfortable, his palm will be on the upper portion 134 a of the rear edge 134 of the grip 120 and will therefore be facing slightly downwards. This means that, used like this, the grip will enable the marker to be held in a similar manner to a conventional marker. However, if the user moves his hand down and holds the grip 120 towards the lower end, the palm of his trigger hand 113 will rest against the lower portion 134 b of the rear grip edge 134 and will therefore be facing slightly upwards. This enables him to hold the marker close to his face, as shown in FIG. 5, and can reduce even further the amount of strain and bending of the wrist. Also because the curve of the lower part 134 a of the rear edge 134 of the grip 120 is approximately centred on the lower trigger finger position, the trigger fingers can still comfortably be held on the trigger as the hand moves round the lower part of the grip.

[0043] As shown in FIG. 6A, with the marker held as shown in FIG. 5, the user can keep both of his elbows in close to his body while holding the marker in the desired position. This means that the user presents a small target to other competitors. If the user moves the marker 110 away from his body and have his arms substantially straight out in front of himself, particularly if there is room for his hand to move up the grip 120, the palm of his trigger hand rests more against the upper portion of the grip which faces slightly upwards to the rear. This will tend to make the marker feel more like a conventional marker and the angle of the barrel will be relatively easy to keep under control. FIGS. 6B and 6C show the user of the marker 100 in a crouching and kneeling position, respectively. A gas bottle 150 is typically disposed below the marker 100, a source 160 of dye pellets positioned above the marker 100 and the user wraps his arms around the bottle 150 in selected positions, such as in the kneeling position of FIG. 6C.

[0044] Referring to FIG. 7, in a second embodiment of the invention a grip frame 200, which could be used as part of the marker of FIG. 3 in place of the grip frame 114, includes a grip 202, a trigger guard 204, and a cutlass 206. The upper part 208 of the grip has a front edge 210 which is vertical, and the lower part 212 of the grip also has front edge 214 which is vertical. The front edge 214 of the lower part 212, which is below the trigger guard 204, will generally by held by the fingers of the user's trigger hand which are not on the trigger, usually the fourth finger and little finger. The trigger hand supporting rear edge 216 of the grip is convexly curved and approximately symmetrical about a point S approximately half way down it, where the rear edge 216 is vertical. If tangents to this curve are made as shown at the uppermost U and lowermost L positions on which the user could centre his hand, it can be seen that these are inclined at about 100 to the vertical in opposite directions, and therefore inclined at 200 to each other. The user can therefore change the angle of his hand by approximately 20° by moving it up and down the grip 202. It can also be seen that the vertical distance h between the two positions U and L is over a third of the vertical height y of the grip.

[0045] Referring to FIG. 8, in a third embodiment of the invention a grip frame 300 is similar to that shown in FIG. 4 except that the trigger hand supporting rear edge 316 of the grip is straight and vertical over the whole of its main central portion 316 a which takes up about 80% of the vertical height of the rear edge 316. The rear edge 316 also has a small upper section 316 b which takes up about 10% of its height and is curved concavely upwards and to the rear, and a lower section 316 c at the bottom end of the grip 300 which curves convexly downwards and to the front.

[0046] Referring to FIG. 9, in a fourth embodiment of the invention the grip frame 400 is again similar to that of FIG. 4 except for the shape of the trigger hand supporting rear edge 416. The rear edge 416 has a central portion 416 a which is vertical and an upper portion 416 b which is inclined at about 20° to the vertical, facing upwards to the rear. There is also a lower portion 416 c which curves round from the bottom of the central portion 416 a to the under side 418 of the grip, and a top portion 416 d which curves to join the upper portion 416 b to the base 428 at the top of the frame 400. In FIG. 9 the two tangents T1, T2 to the rear edge 416 which are at 10° to the vertical are shown, the upper one T1 being on the curve between the central and upper portions 416 a, 416 b, and the lower one T2 being on the lower portion 416 c. It can be seen that the vertical h height between the points where these tangents touch the rear edge 416 is greater than a third of the height y of the grip.

[0047] Referring to FIG. 10, in a fifth embodiment of the invention a grip frame 500, which could also be used as part of the marker of FIG. 3 in place of the grip frame 114, includes a grip 502, a trigger guard 504, and a cutlass 506. The upper part 508 of the grip has a front edge 510 which is vertical, and the lower part 512 of the grip also has a front edge 514 which is concavely curved. The rear edge 516 of the grip is convexly curved at a substantially constant radius of curvature, equal to approximately half the length of the grip, which is about 50 mm. The curve is centred approximately at the top of the front edge 514 of the lower part 512 of the grip, just below the trigger guard 504. This is the position in which the fourth finger of the user's trigger hand generally rests. Assuming the index and middle fingers are on the trigger, the fourth finger provides a large proportion of the support for the marker, and allowing the trigger hand to rotate about that position as it moves up and down the grip enables the user to keep a secure hold on the grip while his hand moves through a large range of angles. The curve of the rear edge 516 extends through an angle of about 120°, which therefore allows the user to change the angle of the palm of his trigger hand through more than 90°, from facing downwards at about 30° when resting on the top of the rear edge 516 of the grip 502, to facing almost vertically upwards when resting at the very bottom of the rear edge 516.

[0048] Referring to FIG. 11, in a sixth embodiment of the invention, the grip frame 600 is identical to that of FIG. 7, except for the shape of the rear edge 614 of the grip 612. In this case the rear edge 614 is in two separate sections, an upper section 614 a and a lower portion 614 b, each of which is straight. The upper section 614 a faces upwards being at an angle of about 10° to the vertical, and the lower section 614 b faces downwards, being at an angle of about 20° to the vertical. This therefore provides two distinct hand positions for the user's trigger hand which differ in angle by approximately 30°.

[0049] Referring to FIG. 12, in a seventh embodiment of the invention, the grip frame 700 is identical to that of FIG. 7, except for the shape of the rear edge 716 of the grip 712. In this case the rear edge 716 has a lower portion 716 a which is convexly curved with its centre of curvature located approximately at the position 754 where the user's fourth finger will rest, just below the trigger guard 736 and behind the cutlass 737. The rear edge 716 also has an upper portion 716 b, which is concavely curved and joins the top of the lower portion 716 a to the base 728 at the top of the frame 700. The convex lower portion 716 a takes up about two thirds of the height of the grip 712, and the upper concave portion 716 b takes up about one third of the height of the grip 712.

[0050] Referring to FIGS. 13 and 14 a further method of measuring how vertical the rear edge of a paintball marker grip will now be described in relation to the to the grip 114 of FIGS. 3 and 4. The grip side profile is generated which is equivalent to placing the grip on its side on a shadowgraph and drawing around the projected image to produce an external profile of the full grip frame. This profile is then used for this analysis. The rear edge 116 of the grip is defined as the rear face profile that the palm of the user's trigger hand is intended to come into contact with such that the fingers of the user's trigger hand can reach and operate the trigger to fire the marker. One end of the rear edge 116 is defined as the lowest point A of the grip which could be contacted by the user's trigger hand, and the other end of the rear edge 116 is defined as the topmost point B that can be contacted by the user's trigger hand. The vertical height E of the grip 114 is defined as the vertical distance between an upper X axis, which is a horizontal axis level with the highest point B of the rear edge, and a lower X axis, which is a horizontal axis level with the lowest point A of the rear edge. In use there is generally a gas bottle connected to the bottom edge 118 of the grip 114 which can limit the ability of the user to place his hand in contact with the lower end of the rear edge 116, but such restrictions are ignored in this analysis and it is assumed that the whole of the grip is accessible to the user.

[0051] A parallelogram or diamond shape is then constructed which has four sides of equal length, two opposite corners on the upper and lower X axes respectively, one vertically above the other, and two other corners half way between the upper and lower X axes. The diamond is constructed by drawing a vertical line between the two X axes to produce two points of intersection C, D of the line and the axes, drawing two lines upwards from the lower intersection point D on opposite sides of the vertical and at 5° to it, and two lines downwards from the upper intersection point C on opposite sides of the vertical and at 5° to it. The two lines on each side of the vertical meet half way between the two X axes to produce two corners of the diamond.

[0052] Referring to FIG. 14, the diamond is then moved horizontally, keeping its upper and lower corners vertically aligned and on the upper and lower X axes until the rear edge 116 of the grip 112 intersects the sides of the diamond at at least two points. The horizontal position of the diamond is then further adjusted to maximize the vertical height of a single unbroken length of the rear edge 116 that is within the diamond boundary. For this shape of grip the final position of the diamond is as shown in FIG. 14, with the curved central portion of the rear surface 116 is just inside the rearmost side of the diamond, and the rear surface 116 intersecting the two forward sides of the diamond at points F and G.

[0053] The height of the section of the rear surface 115 that is within the diamond is then measured by measuring the vertical height H between the intersection points F and G. This height gives an indication of how vertical the rear surface of the grip is. The preferred value for this height H is at least one third of the height E of the hand contacting rear edge 216 of the grip. However in some circumstances it may be more preferable for the height H to be at least one half, or even two thirds, of the height E of the rear edge of the grip.

[0054] It can be seen that, using this analysis of the grip frames of FIGS. 7 to 12 that the ratio of the height H to the height E is approximately ⅔ for FIG. 7, ⅓ for FIGS. 8 and 11, 0.8 for FIG. 8 and ˝ for FIG. 9 and FIG. 12.

[0055] Referring to FIG. 15, in an eighth embodiment of the invention, the grip frame 812 includes a rearward projection 813 extending rearwardly from its lower end. The top surface 816 c of this projection 813 therefore forms the lowest point at which the user's hand will contact the rear edge 816 of the grip at the lower end of its rear edge 816. Therefore for this embodiment the height of the trigger hand supporting rear surface 816 of the grip is the vertical height y between the underside 816 d of the rear of the base 828 of the frame, and the top surface 816 c of the rearward projection 813.

[0056] The embodiments described can provide a paintball marker which, when held in the position of FIG. 1 with the user's elbows close to the body and the marker close to the user's face, creates less strain on the user's wrist and allows more control over the aiming of the marker.

[0057] It will be appreciated that various other shapes of grip could be used which would provide different hand positions for the user in a similar way to the embodiments described above.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7243645Jul 13, 2005Jul 17, 2007Hatcher Forest APositive fit “elastic” feed adapter for paintball gun
US7434573Aug 31, 2005Oct 14, 2008J.T. Sports, LlcFiber optic paintball marker
US7640927May 21, 2008Jan 5, 2010Lester BroersmaMultiple function paintball marker bolt
Classifications
U.S. Classification124/73
International ClassificationF41B11/00, F41C23/10, F41A19/10
Cooperative ClassificationF41A19/10, F41B11/00, F41C23/10
European ClassificationF41A19/10, F41B11/00, F41C23/10
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 5, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: GREEN, GERARD, UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: MORTGAGE;ASSIGNOR:NPF LIMITED;REEL/FRAME:018573/0838
Effective date: 20050708
Owner name: GREEN, JONATHAN CHARLES, UNITED KINGDOM
Owner name: GREEN, MATTHEW GORDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Apr 14, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: NPF LIMITED, GREAT BRITAIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RICE, JOHN RONALD;MARKS, NICHOLAS JOHN;WALKER, MARK ANDREW;REEL/FRAME:013954/0111
Effective date: 20021028