BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the invention
The present invention relates to weapon systems and, more particularly, to the ammunition magazine clips utilized in automatic and semi-automatic weapon systems, and even more particularly, to means for facilitating the transportation and handling/loading of those ammunition magazine clips.
2. Description of the Background
In use, automatic and semi-automatic weapon systems can consume ammunition at a rapid rate. Many situations requiring the use of those systems (e.g. warfare, police response situations) also require the operator to be mobile (i.e. on foot). Operator mobility, however, gives rise to the logistical issue of ammunition supply. Traditional methods for transporting the magazine clips utilized in automatic and semi-automatic weapon systems typically include some form of container in which one or more clips may be stored/carried. The container is then transported by hand or affixed to the weapon's operator in some fashion.
A secondary issue is the configuration of the magazine clips themselves. Their physical design is intended to facilitate their use in the appropriate weapon systems, generally at the expense of ergonomic considerations. That physical design typically includes smooth, metallic, external surfaces that are not always easy to grasp, and hold onto, when one's hands are wet, cold, etc. (i.e. conditions all too often typical to warfare and/or police response situations). Thus, the handling and loading of the magazine clips, even when they are available to the weapon's operator, can be problematic.
The present inventor is not the first to address means for facilitating the transportation and handling/loading of magazine clips. For example, apparatus intended for the transportation and/or handling/loading of ammunition magazine clips are found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,212,815 to Fitzpatrick, U.S. Pat. No. 5,319,872 to Bammate, U.S. Pat. No. 5,152,442 to Gallagher, U.S. Pat. No. 4,442,962 to Musgrave, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,938,717 to Theodore.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,212,815 to Fitzpatrick discloses a magazine grip attachment for ammunition magazines to aid in extraction of magazines from ammunition pouches. The apparatus comprises a sleeve of resilient material molded in the general shape of a magazine yet with a smaller inner circumference than the circumference of a magazine so as to require the band to stretch over the magazine. Extending from the top of the band is a handle designed to allow a finger to wrap around the handle and extract the magazine. Also provided are recessed areas and four diagonal force distribution beams to constrict the invention and allow it to grip a magazine more snugly when the handle is pulled.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,319,872 to Bammate discloses a cartridge package for an automatic or semiautomatic firearm. The cartridge package includes an operational loader having a magazine filled with cartridges. The operational loader and cartridges are enclosed in a protective piece for protection against shocks and pollution. The package includes a rigid cap and a tearable bag.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,152,442 to Gallagher discloses a case for storing and transporting a clip of cartridges that are fired in a gun. A user can remove the clip from the case by inserting his thumb intermediate the clip and the backing of the case and by grasping the clip between his thumb and forefinger.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,442,962 to Musgrave discloses a cartridge magazine hanger adapted for quick removal of a magazine using only one hand. The magazine is supported by engagement of at least one of its feed lips with a support on the hanger. The hanger can be attached to the clothing or equipment of the user or it can be mounted on a firearm, a vehicle, a boat, an aircraft, or a stationary structure.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,938,717 to Theodore discloses a cartridge magazine holder including a magnet to hold a pair of cartridge magazines with large portions of the magazines exposed so that they may be easily grasped and withdrawn by the user. The magazine holder rides high on the belt of the wearer and holds the magazine flat against the body for easy concealment.
Unfortunately, each of these devices fail, in some way, to optimize the transportation and handling/loading of magazine clips. The Fitzpatrick device, although intended to enhance an operator's ability to extract a clip from a pouch/container, does nothing to improve the means for transporting each individual magazine clip, while the Bammate, Gallagher, Musgrave, and Theodore apparatus do nothing to improve the ergonomics of magazine clip handling/loading (e.g. apparatus intended to improve the operator's ability to grasp, and hold onto, the clip when his/her hands are wet, cold, etc.). Consequently, it would be greatly advantageous to provide a magazine clip exterior housing system that (1) simplifies the transportation of the clips, (2) significantly enhances the ergonomics of handling the clips during the loading procedure, (3) possesses a simple, yet scalable, design fabricated of resilient, lightweight materials, and (4) may be economically manufactured and sold to provide for widespread use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that facilitates the transportation and handling/loading of the magazine clips utilized by M-16, M-4, and MP-5 weapon systems.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that may be permanently affixed or removably attached to a magazine clip without affecting its ability to interface with the associated weapon system.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that may be temporarily affixed to the operator of the weapon system.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that possesses a simple and scalable design.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that is fabricated of lightweight, resilient materials providing an appropriate degree of durability/longevity.
An additional object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that is inexpensive to manufacture and sell to provide for widespread use.
According to the present invention, the above-described and other objects are accomplished by an exterior housing system that facilitates the transportation, typically on the belt of the user, of the ammunition magazine clips utilized by a variety of automatic and semi-automatic weapon systems. The present invention may be removably attached (i.e. a friction fit), or permanently affixed (e.g. glued or molded onto) over roughly the lower half of the exterior surface of a magazine clip. In this manner, the enclosed magazine clip may be used in the weapon system without the need to remove the housing system. The exterior housing system includes a belt attachment clip on one side and a series of raised ribs on the other side to provide for secure clip handling. When utilized as a removably attached apparatus, an interior surface of the present invention is provided with a groove that guides the magazine clip into position within the apparatus. The present invention is fabricated of a resilient, lightweight plastic chosen to provide an appropriate coefficient of friction between the housing system and the user's hands, as well as an appropriate degree of durability/longevity. The present invention possesses a simple, yet scalable, design that may be economically manufactured and sold to provide for widespread use.