US 20050188886 A1
A non-lethal projectile system for non-lethally inhibiting a living target, multi-functional launching devices for delivering the non-lethal projectile systems to a target, methods of assembling the non-lethal projectiles, and tactical methods of the use of the non-lethal projectile, the non-lethal projectile consists of a projectile body to be impacted with a living target and an inhibiting substance within the projectile body, wherein upon impact with the target, the inhibiting substance is dispersed on and about the target. In a variation, the projectile body ruptures upon impact releasing the substance. In another variation, the inhibiting substance is a powdered substance comprising a powdered pepper derived substance, for example, oleoresin capsicum or capsaicin.
1. A non-lethal projectile, comprising:
a first part having a hollow portion;
a second part secured with the first part to seal the hollow portion defining a volume within;
an inhibiting powder contained within the volume;
a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with the first part;
wherein the projectile is non-spherical; and
wherein upon impact the inhibiting powder is dispersed into a cloud.
2. The projectile of
the volume is configured to rupture upon impact radially dispersing the inhibiting powder into a cloud.
3. The projectile of
4. The projectile of
the second part has a second length, wherein the first length is greater than the second length; and
the first part has a cross-section that tapers to a smaller cross-section proximate the plurality of stabilizing fins.
5. The projectile of
6. The projectile of
7. The projectile of
8. A system comprising:
non-spherical projectile to be impacted with a target;
the projectile comprising a first part having a first hollow portion, a second part sealed with the first part providing a volume formed within and defined by at least the first hollow portion, wherein the volume ruptures upon impact with the target;
the first part having a length greater than a length of the second part;
fins secured with an exterior of the first part; and
an inhibiting powder contained within the volume, wherein upon the volume rupturing upon impact the inhibiting powder is dispersed into a cloud proximate the target.
9. The system of
10. The system of
11. The system of
12. A method for delivering an inhibiting substance at a target, comprising:
directing a plurality of projectiles at a target along a generally vertical pattern, wherein the projectiles include a volume containing an inhibiting substance; and
impacting the target along the generally vertical pattern with the plurality of projectiles such that the inhibiting substance is dispersed.
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. The method of
16. The method of
17. The method of
altering a path of an intended direction from the generally vertical path.
18. The method of
19. The method of
20. A system for use in delivering an inhibiting substance, comprising:
a projectile positioned within the shell, wherein the shell contains an ignitable substance for launching the projectile such that the projectile impacts with a target; and
an inhibiting substance contained within the projectile, wherein upon impact with the target, the inhibiting substance is radially dispersed proximate to the target.
21. The system of
22. The system of
23. A system for use in delivering an inhibiting substance, comprising:
a projectile without a cartridge containing an ignitable powder for launching the projectile, the projectile to be impacted with a target; and
an inhibiting substance within the projectile, wherein upon impact with the target, the inhibiting substance is radially dispersed proximate to the target.
24. The system of
25. The system of
26. The system of
27. A method of non-lethally inhibiting a living target using a projectile system comprising a projectile containing a substance, the method comprising:
impacting the target with the projectile, such that the projectile ruptures;
radially dispersing the substance from the projectile on and about the target; and
contacting the target with the dispersing substance, such that the target is inhibited thereby.
28. The method of
wherein the step of contacting the target with the dispersing substance comprises contacting the target's face with the substance.
29. The method of
30. A method of non-lethally inhibiting a living target by launching, at the target, a projectile system comprising a projectile containing a substance, the method comprising impacting the target's torso with a plurality of projectiles, wherein, upon impact with the target, the projectiles rupture and disperse their contents about the target and wherein the projectiles are impacted with the target in a vertical direction from a superior region of the target's torso down to an inferior region of the target's torso, such that the target hunches forward into the substance dispersing from the projectiles.
31. A method of inhibiting a living target by launching, at the target, a projectile system comprising a projectile containing a substance, the method comprising impacting the target's torso with a plurality of projectiles, wherein, upon impact with the target, the projectiles rupture and disperse their contents about the target and wherein the projectiles are impacted with the target in a vertical direction from an inferior region of the target's torso up towards a superior region of the target's torso.
32. The method of inhibiting a living target according to
33. A method of non-lethally inhibiting a living target by launching, at an object in proximity to the target, a projectile system comprising a projectile containing a substance, the method comprising impacting the object in proximity to the target with a plurality of projectiles, wherein, upon impact with the object, the projectiles rupture and disperse their contents about the target, such that the dispensing substance contacts the target's face region.
34. A method of non-lethally inhibiting a living target located behind a glass-like barrier, the method comprising:
impacting the glass-like barrier with a projectile system comprising a frangible projectile, such that the projectile both fractures the glass-like barrier and ruptures;
repeating the impacting of the glass-like barrier as necessary to result in a hole in the glass-like barrier through which additional projectile systems can be fired without rupture of the projectiles;
firing at least one frangible projectile through the glass-like barrier, which frangible projectile comprises an inhibiting substance; and
impacting the frangible projectile with an object in proximity to the target, such that the frangible projectile ruptures and disperses the inhibiting substance about the target.
35. The method of
36. A system comprising:
a non-spherical projectile to be impacted with a target, wherein, upon impact with the target, the projectile ruptures;
a substance, contained within the projectile, wherein the substance comprises a powder; and
primer positioned proximate the non-spherical projectile for launching the non-spherical projectile at the target.
37. The system of
38. The system of
wherein only the primer is ignited to generate a force that launches the non-spherical projectile.
39. A system comprising:
a primer launchable projectile to be impacted with a target; and
an inhibiting powdered contained within the primer launchable projectile, wherein upon impact with the target, the inhibiting powdered is radially dispersed proximate to the target.
40. The system of
41. A method for launching a non-lethal projectile at an individual, comprising:
aiming a means for launching a non-lethal projectile at an intended individual; and
activating the means for launching such that the means for launching launches the projectile at the individual so that the projectile contacts the individual and disperses an inhibiting substance;
wherein the projectile comprises a first portion and a second portion wherein at least one of the first and second portions is frangible such that the at least one of the first and second portions ruptures dispersing the inhibiting substance, and at least one of the first and second portions is at least partially hollow forming a volume such that the inhibiting substance is retained within the volume and at least 50% of the volume is filled with the inhibiting substance.
42. The method of
the first part includes the hollow portion;
the second part is secured with the first part to seal the hollow portion defining the volume within;
a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with the first part;
wherein the projectile is non-spherical; and
wherein upon impact the inhibiting substance is dispersed into a cloud.
43. The method of
the second part is configured to rupture upon impact radially dispersing the inhibiting powder into a cloud.
44. The method of
wherein the first part has a first length and a diameter, such that the length is greater than the diameter, the second part has a second length, wherein the first length is greater than the second length, and the first part has a cross-section that tapers to a smaller cross-section proximate the plurality of stabilizing fins; and
wherein the second part includes structurally weakening features such that upon impact with the individual the second part ruptures radially dispersing the inhibiting substance proximate to the individual into the cloud.
45. The method of
46. The method of
directing a plurality of the projectiles at the individual along a generally vertical pattern wherein the plurality of the projectiles impact the target along the generally vertical pattern such that the inhibiting substance is dispersed.
47. The method of
48. The method of
a shell wherein the projectile is positioned within the shell, and the shell contains an ignitable substance for launching the projectile, wherein the ignitable substance comprises primer.
49. The method of
50. A method for launching a non-lethal projectile at an individual, comprising:
identifying an individual as a target;
aiming a launcher at the target individual, where the launcher contains at least one non-lethal projectile; and
activating the launcher so that the non-lethal projectile is launched at the individual to contact the individual and disperse an inhibiting powder;
wherein the projectile comprising a shell wherein at least a portion of the shell is rigid and has a thickness, the shell includes a volume formed within, where at least the rigid portion ruptures upon impact with the individual, the inhibiting substance is contained within the volume and occupies at least about 50% of the volume, and upon impact with the individual the rigid frangible shell ruptures radially dispersing the powdered inhibiting substance proximate to the individual into a cloud.
51. The method of
52. The method of
53. The method of
wherein upon firing, the hammer causes the actuator to puncture the propellant canister, releasing the compressed gas behind the projectile body, whereby launching the projectile body from the casing through the barrel.
54. The method of
55. The method of
56. The method of
57. The method of
the first part includes the hollow portion;
the second part is secured with the first part to seal the hollow portion defining the volume within;
a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with the first part;
wherein the projectile is non-spherical; and
wherein upon impact the inhibiting substance is dispersed into a cloud.
This application is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/208,727 filed Jul. 29, 2002, which is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) of application Ser. No. 09/543,289, filed Apr. 5, 2000, which is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) of application Ser. No. 09/289,258, filed Apr. 9, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,992, which is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) of application Ser. No. 08/751,709, filed Nov. 18, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,965,839, the entirety of which applications and patents (as issued, as filed, and as amended during pendency) are hereby incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates to a non-lethal projectile systems and launching devices and, more specifically to non-lethal projectiles that deliver an inhibiting and/or marking substance to a target, especially a living target. Even more specifically, the present invention relates to non-lethal projectile systems including a projectile body, most preferably a generally spherical projectile body, containing an inhibiting and/or marking substance, multi-functional launching devices for launching the projectile systems that incorporate other utilitarian functions within the device, methods of making such non-lethal projectile systems, and tactical methods for using the non-lethal projectile systems in combination with a launch device that delivers the non-lethal projectile systems in order to most effectively inhibit, impair, repel or disable the living target in a less-than-lethal way.
Steadily rising crime rates have led to an increased need for technologically enhanced crime devices. Furthermore, excessive use of force claims against law enforcement have increased as the public is becoming more aware of and sensitive to the use of lethal force, typically by law enforcement officials, in situations where lethal force may not be required, such as in situations where suspects are armed with non-lethal objects, such as sticks, rocks, or screwdrivers. There is particularly a need for non-lethal devices that are capable of at least temporarily incapacitating, slowing, repelling or inhibiting a suspected criminal and/or marking such individuals for later identification. As populations increase, the risk that a criminal will be surrounded by or in close proximity to innocent persons when officers are trying to subdue him/her also increases without the application of lethal force. Whereas non-permanently injuring an innocent bystander, while subduing a suspected criminal, is acceptable, killing the bystander is not. Thus, there is great need for non-lethal (or less-than-lethal), highly effective weapons that may be used by officers and others to slow, stop, repel and/or mark criminals. Presently available, non-lethal devices include, for example, stun guns, mace, tear gas, and liquid pepper spray devices that impair the vision, breathing or other physical or mental capabilities of the target.
One attempt to provide a non-lethal device for delivering an inhibiting substance is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,921,614, issued to Fogelgren for a COMPRESSED GAS OPERATED GUN HAVING VARIABLE UPPER AND LOWER PRESSURE LIMITS OF OPERATION, which patent is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Fogelgren describes a gas-operated gun and associated projectiles. In one illustrated embodiment, a projectile consists of a projectile casing that houses a structure in which a firing pin is situated so as to detonate a primary charge upon impact of the projectile with a target. Deterioration of the primary charge causes the expulsion of a load carried in a load chamber. The load chamber may contain various types of load, such as tear gas, dye, flash-powder or wadding.
Another embodiment illustrated in the Fogelgren patent consists of a projectile casing that encloses a body member, which, together with a frontal member, defines a load chamber. The body member and the frontal member are attached so as to be readily separable in flight to enable the load to escape from the load chamber and to proceed to the desired target. In this embodiment, the load is buckshot or plastic pellets.
A further embodiment of the projectile shown by Fogelgren stores a portion of a compressed gas, utilized to expel the projectile, to be used to expel a load upon striking a target. Upon firing, an outer body member separates from an inner body member thereby exposing and releasing a holding pin, which holding pin prevents premature release of the projectile's load. Apertures, from which the load is expelled upon impact, are sealed with wax to prevent expulsion of the load before the projectile impacts the target. The portion of the compressed gas used to expel the load is stored in a rear chamber of the projectile during flight, while the load is stored in a forward chamber. When the projectile strikes the target, the compressed gas is released, forcing the load through the apertures and out of the projectile.
An additional embodiment of the projectile shown by Fogelgren consists of outer members that form a container into which is fitted a breakable glass vile. Rearward of the breakable vile, padding is provided to prevent breakage of the vile upon firing of the projectile. Forward of the vile is a firing pin assembly against which the breakable vile impacts, as it shifts forward within the members forming the container, upon impact. As with the above embodiment, a holding pin, which normally prevents the breakable vial from shifting forward in the container, is expelled as an outer body member separates from an inner body member. This allows the breakable vial to shift forward upon impact, shattering the breakable glass vial against the firing pin. The breakable vile contains a load to be delivered to the target, which is delivered through apertures near the front of the projectile upon the shattering of the breakable glass vial. The vile may be charged with a compressed gas so as to provide a charged load.
Disadvantageously, the projectiles described by Fogelgren, particularly those projectiles described that would be suitable for delivering loads such as tear gas or dye, are complicated and expensive to manufacture. The embodiment employing pressurized gas to both expel the projectile and to expel the load upon impact with the target requires a great amount of pressurized gas, that is, a sufficient quantity to both fire the projectile and to provide the portion of pressurized gas necessary to ensure expulsion of the load. In addition, such embodiment requires complicated and tedious methods to manufacture components such as a microminiature ball valve (through which the portion of the pressurized gas enters the rear chamber upon firing), wax sealer within each of the plurality of apertures and a holding pin that must fall away from the projectile in flight.
The embodiment employing the breakable glass vial is also complicated to manufacture, because it also employs a holding pin that must fall away during the flight of the projectile and employs numerous structures that must be precisely fitted together to allow them to separate during firing and in flight. This embodiment also must be carefully handled so that the breakable glass vial does not shatter while being handled by the user. This can be particularly problematic, for example, when the Fogelgren device is being used by a police officer in pursuit of a fleeing criminal (or when used by a police officer threatened by a suspected criminal). Thus, significant room for improvement still exists in the development of non-lethal projectiles.
Another approach to providing non-lethal projectiles for delivering an inhibiting substance to a living target is suggested in passing in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379, issued to Kotsiopoulos, et al., for a PAINT BALL, which patent is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The Kotsiopoulos, et al., device is directed primarily to a paint ball projectile for delivering a load (or blob) of paint to a target, and for expelling the blob of paint onto the target upon impact, and is to be used primarily for paint ball sporting games. The paint ball shown by Kotsiopoulos, et al. consists of a shell that fractures upon impact with a target. Additionally, the Kotsiopoulos, et al. disclosure includes a only passing reference to the use of such a paint ball for delivering dyes, smoke or tear gas to a target; however, provides no mechanism for dispersing an inhibiting load upon explosion of the projectile, which is important for a non-lethal inhibiting projectile to be effective. Specifically, when the Kotsiopoulos, et al. projectile impacts the target, by-design, the load is dispersed rather locally. Thus, even if one skilled in the art were to act upon the passing reference to using tear gas in the Kotsiopoulos, et al. patent, the present inventors believe that such a device would be generally ineffective because the tear gas would not be dispersed to the target's face, where it needs to be to be effective. Furthermore, as Kotsiopoulos, et al. is an unpressurized projectile, the amount of tear gas delivered would necessarily be limited to an unpressurized volume having dimensions of a paint ball. Additionally, the Kotsiopoulos, et al., reference does not describe any details about the specific type of tear gas, how to fill the paint ball with the tear gas, or any techniques to adequately disperse the tear gas upon impact with the target.
To elaborate on the importance of localized dispersion of loads carried by the Kotsiopoulos et al. projectile, Kotsiopoulos, et al. describe a device for delivering a blob of paint to a target dictating a relatively confined dispersion, i.e., a blob of about 3 to 6 or 8 inches in diameter on the target. This limited amount of dispersed paint in the context in which the Kotsiopoulos, et al., device is used (as a paint ball) would be ineffective as a non-lethal device unless the target was hit near the eyes in order to blind a target. However, such a direct hit in the eyes or face could prove dangerous to the target. In contrast, for applications where an inhibiting substance is to be delivered using the paint ball of Kotsiopoulos et al., wide dispersion is not only desired but extremely important, particularly when the projectile impacts the target with force, and the inhibiting substance (e.g. tear gas) must be taken in through facial openings in order to be effective. Since the device of Kotsiopoulos et al., has a low dispersion, the device would require an impact at or very near the facial openings. Because firing even a non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile at or within a few inches of a target's face is extremely dangerous, potentially causing permanent injury or death, which is, of course, contrary to the objective of non-lethal projectiles, devices such as those suggested by the teachings of Kotsiopoulos, et al., would be considered undesirable by those of skill in the art to achieve a non-lethal inhibition of a target.
Still other non-lethal projectiles are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,164, issued to Grinberg (Apr. 23, 1991), U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,809 issued to Cuadros (Jun. 22, 1993) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,565,649, issued to Tougeron, et al. (Oct. 15, 1996), each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Grinberg describes a projectile that changes its shape upon impact with a target, thereby reducing the danger of penetration into a live target. For example, Grinberg uses a double leaf construction to facilitate rupture of the projectile upon impact. Cuadros describes a projectile that increases in size either during flight or upon impact to spread its force over a large area to provide a knock-down effect without body penetration, and Tougeron, et al., describe a self-propelled projectile intended to deliver an active substance to a living target. While each of the devices described by these patents attempts to provide a projectile that may be used to stop or slow a living target without causing lethal injury, all of the devices have proven to be less than ideal and some have even proven to be fatal when fired at close range to the target. They are complicated and expensive to manufacture, and they are variously difficult to use and unreliably effective. As a result of these problems and others, there is no widely commercially accepted non-lethal projectile in use by law enforcement or military personnel today that delivers an inhibiting substance to a target.
A significant disadvantage to the prior art devices is that none takes into consideration the need to deliver an inhibiting (or active) substance under fairly precise dispersal conditions to insure effectiveness thereof. When a target is impacted with a projectile delivering a substance thereto, to be maximally effective, the substance should disperse in a generally radial manner (or transverse to the motion of the projectile) such that the target's face is quickly and fully contacted thereby. At the same time, the projectile should, most desirably, be able to be aimed with a degree of precision so as to be able to avoid hitting the target in, for example, the face. At the same time, the dispersion of the inhibiting substance must be sufficient that, for example, a projectile impacting on a target's chest delivers inhibiting substance to the target's face where it can be effective. Unfortunately, prior art projectiles, not only rarely contemplate these problems, but also frequently fail to provide for dispersal of the inhibiting substance to a target's face after impacting the target at a remote area. Specifically, for example, while powdered inhibiting substances, in the view of the inventors, offer distinct advantages over the vast majority of prior art devices that deliver inhibiting substances to a target, no commercially viable device known to the inventors has ever been produced that addresses the problem of both accurately delivering the projectile to the target at a location remote from the target's face, and dispersing a powdered inhibiting substance in a cloud-like, radial manner so as to assure that the powdered inhibiting substance reaches the target's face. Yet, there remains a significant commercial market and tactical advantage to a non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile that can be accurately delivered to a target, impacting the target in an area other than the target's face, while at the same time providing dispersal of a powdered inhibiting substance to the target's face, where it is effective. Unfortunately, using devices heretofore known to the inventors, targets are often able to escape and/or minimize their exposure to the delivered substance.
A further disadvantage to most non-lethal weapons heretofore known is that they either operate at close ranges, for example, pepper spray canisters, or operate at long ranges, for example, rubber bullet devices, but do not operate at both close and long ranges. The inventors are not aware of any prior devices that are both sufficiently safe to be used at close range and, at the same time, effective at longer ranges, such as 10 feet or more, e.g., 20 or 30 feet or more. In particular, the close range weapons are generally not deployed with sufficient force to travel further than a few meters, and the longer range weapons generally are not “muzzle safe” in that they cannot be safely deployed at very short distances because of the chemical/explosive nature of the launching mechanism. Thus, presently, law enforcement and military personnel are required to employ two different technologies, one for close range applications, and another for long range applications. At the same time, the advantages of using a single device for both applications are numerous, and readily apparent. For example, cost is a significant factor recognized universally by governmental agencies, but perhaps even more importantly is a tactical disadvantage imposed by the use of both short range and long range non-lethal or less-than-lethal technologies. Specifically, all technologies known to the present inventors require that a user make a decision as to whether a particular situation calls for a short range non-lethal technology or a long range non-lethal technology. This requires not only spending time to assess a situation in order to determine whether non-lethal or lethal technology should be employed, but also requires expenditure of more time determining which non-lethal technology is appropriate, that is whether the situation calls for short-range technology or long-range technology. As a result, non-lethal and less-than-lethal projectiles are rarely used by law enforcement and military personnel, and, when used, are generally used only in situations where sufficient time exists for the user to make the chain of decisions necessary to first select non-lethal technology and second, to select what range of non-lethal technology is appropriate. Furthermore, most non-lethal technologies are “single shot” devices that require may time and effort to reload the device, reducing the effectiveness of the non-lethal device and the reducing the users decision to employ the non-lethal device over traditional lethal devices.
Cost becomes an important consideration in these tactical issues as well. Because two types of non-lethal technology must, using heretofore known technology, be available, many, if not most, law enforcement and military agencies cannot afford to fully equip their personnel. This cost constraint is further exacerbated because heretofore available non-lethal technologies, at least the ones that are effective, and thus actually useable, are complicated and highly specialized and most non-lethal devices do not offer a low-cost inert training version. Thus, training is costly and therefore, use is infrequent. As a result, even if currently available technologies could be used at both short and long ranges (thus presumably providing tactical and cost advantages), the actual costs of currently available devices is still prohibitive and therefore dictates only limited deployment.
Furthermore, there are currently, no effective projectile systems available on the market for delivering powdered substances to a living target. One reason for this unavailability is that such heretofore contemplated projectile systems are difficult to manufacture or are ineffective. While dispensing a powdered substance into a cup is straightforward, dispensing the substance into two parts of an apparatus that must subsequently be sealingly joined together, without loss of any of the powdered substance, is not so straightforward. Kotsiopoulos, et al., for example, show completely filling their paint ball through a small hole using a capillary. Such an approach, however, cannot be used to fill the Kotsiopoulos, et al. device with a powder, as it is known that powder generally cannot be conducted through a capillary as can a liquid or gas. This manufacturing difficulty combined with the aforementioned difficulties in insuring adequate dispersal of the substance, especially powdered substances, has prevented manufacturers of non-lethal projectile systems from entering the market with powder-filled devices. Today, to the knowledge of the present inventors, there is no heretofore commercially viable, non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile for delivering a powdered inhibiting substance to a target. While powdered inhibiting substances are known, there is presently no delivery mechanism available for accurately delivering and dispersing such an inhibiting substance in a non-lethal, short or long range manner.
Finally, an additional problem faced, in particular with law enforcement personnel, is that an officer essentially becomes “bogged down” with too many physical devices. For example, an officer may carry a short range weapon (e.g. pistol), a long range weapon (e.g. rifle), a “baton”, a radio, a flashlight, an inhibiting spray canister and a non-lethal device as taught by the prior art above. Disadvantageously, the officer must carry all of these items on his or her person in order to be ready for a variety of situations. Due to size considerations of the various devices and the available real estate, it is very difficult to fit all of these types of devices on the officer's person, on a belt, for example. The devices simply take up too much physical space. Such an assortment of devices may actually bog down the officer such that the officer will not be able to move as quickly if pursuing a suspect, or the officer will be delayed in selecting the appropriate device to use. The reality is that an officer typically does not have much time to “sort through” such a variety of devices in order to select the appropriate weapon or device needed. What is needed is a multi-functional non-lethal projectile launching device that increases the available real estate on an officer's belt by incorporating the functionality of several other devices within its physical structure.
An example of a prior art attempt at combining multiple devices into a single integrated unit is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,153,927, issued to Owens for a “MULTI-FUNCTION CLIPBOARD APPARATUS, which patent is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Owens teaches a clipboard for police officers to write tickets, and includes a built in flashlight, a gun that can fire a bullet or a tear gas cartridge, a camera, and can act as a shield against projectiles. Such a device, in the form of a clipboard would not be practical for law enforcement officers other than in the standard traffic stop to issue a ticket. The clipboard would not be useful to an officer conducting a drug raid or pursuing a suspect, since the clipboard itself is bulky and not conducive to fitting on the belt of an officer.
Thus, as will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, significant improvements are needed in non-lethal projectiles for delivering inhibiting and/or marking substances to targets, especially to living targets. For example, muzzle safe projectile systems that provide optimum dispersal of the substances contained therein are desirable. Further, projectile systems that may be readily incorporated into existing officer training programs would be advantageous, as such systems would insure that officers could be quickly, cost effectively, and easily trained in the use of the system, which, in turn would be of particular advantage to the officer when attempting to use the system under stressfull situations, as would normally be the case. Also, projectile systems that incorporate other utilitarian functions, e.g. a flashlight or club, into their basic structure would be advantageous, since they would increase the real estate available on an officer's belt. Additionally, non-lethal projectile systems designed to impact a living target in such a way as to actually facilitate the effectiveness of the system are desirable, as are methods of employing such projectile systems to maximize effectiveness thereof.
The present invention advantageously addresses the above-identified needs, as well as other needs, by providing a non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile system for delivering a substance to a target, especially a living target, such as a human or animal target, wherein the projectile system is specially designed to maximize its effectiveness by providing a kinetic impact against the target at a first location on or near the target combined with optimum dispersal of the substance on and/or about the target at a second location. The projectile systems of the present invention provide an improved mechanism for delivering the inhibiting substance to the target's face, without requiring that the projectile impact the target's face, or even the target at all, due to a non-local dispersal or atomization of the inhibiting substance in a “cloud” that may envelop the target. Further, the projectile system is designed such that deployment facilitates its effectiveness by creating sufficient force, upon impact with the target, to cause the target to move his, her or its face into the dispersing substance, while at the same time experiencing impairment, or temporary disability as a result of the impact. Specifically, the non-lethal projectiles are able to be launched with sufficient non-lethal force to immediately slow and/or stop a moving target, before the inhibiting substance carried thereby affects the target. Thus, a synergism is created between the stunning effect and the inhibiting effect of the inhibiting substance, such that the net result of the stunning and the inhibiting is greater than each effect separately. Additionally, the projectile systems of the present invention are easier and cheaper to manufacture than heretofore known projectiles, are effective at safer, stand-off distances as well as at close range distances, are easily integrated into normal officer training programs, and can be used with conventional, as well as custom multi-functional, launching devices.
In one aspect, the projectile system employs an inhibiting/impairing substance and/or a marking substance, such as a colored dye or chemical compound having a particularly offensive odor (i.e. malodorant), to slow/stop, repel and/or mark for identification (either by a dye or through attendant bruising of the target as a result of the kinetic impact), a living target. In another aspect, the projectile system includes a projectile body, for example, a capsule, filled at least about to 50%, preferably at least about to 75% to 99%, more preferably at least about to 85% to 95% and most preferably to about 90% to 98%, of its volume with an inhibiting/impairing substance and/or marking substance and/or inert substance, such that upon impact with a target, the substance is radially (or transversely to the motion of the projectile system) dispersed on and/or about the target. In a still further aspect, the present invention provides a projectile system that operates by impacting a living target with sufficient force to cause the target to move or hunch towards the projectile thereby bringing his/her face more proximate to the nearly simultaneously dispersing cloud of inhibiting/marking substance.
In another aspect, embodiments of the present invention advantageously are filled with any of the following substances: an inhibiting substance, either in liquid or powder form, such as oleoresin capsicum (also referred to as “OC”), capsaicin (i.e., one or more of the hottest active ingredients or capsaicinoids within oleoresin capsicum), tear gas (e.g., CS or CN); a marking or tagging substance, such as a colored dye; UV dye; IR dye; a malodorant; and/or an inert substance, such as baby powder, talcum or water; or any combination thereof. For example, it is contemplated herein, by the present inventors, that a projectile system in accordance with one embodiment could include a combination of oleoresin capsicum and talcum (or alternatively, a combination of capsaicin and talcum), at a desired ratio, and to an appropriate fill level in order to improve dispersion of and the effect of the oleoresin capsicum to a desired level.
Alternatively, a combination of oleoresin capsicum, and/or other inhibiting substance, and a colored dye, malodorant and/or other marking substance, may be employed to simultaneously incapacitate the target and mark him/her for later identification. In one embodiment of a marking substance, a chemical marker or chemical fingerprinted paint, such as produced by Yellow Jacket, Inc. of California, can be used which effectively leaves a chemical ID or chemical fingerprint on the target, which can be used by the police to verify a person was struck by a non-lethal projectile. As such, the chemical marker includes a chemical ID, identifying the batch of the marker, that is formulated into the marker during manufacture. For example, a fleck of the chemical marker found on a suspect two weeks after the being impacted with the chemical marker, can be chemically identified and traced to the shooter; thus, the suspect may be linked to a crime scene by the chemical marker. In yet another alternative, it may be desirable to employ only a marking substance or only an inert substance, such as talcum or water, in the projectile system, such as when the projectile system is being used for training purposes. In a still further embodiment, the projectile system may have no substance contained therein. In this embodiment, the projectile system may be used to mark a living target by bruising him/her upon impact.
In a particular embodiment, the projectile system comprises a projectile body, for example, a spherical capsule (although other shapes of projectile bodies may be used) separable into two about equal halves (e.g. a first part and a second part), wherein the halves contain a powdered impairing substance sufficient in amount so that the projectile body about or greater than 50% full and preferably between about 60% and 99% full, for example, from between 75% and 95%, for example, about 90% filled with a powdered substance and wherein, to facilitate manufacture of the projectile system, the powdered substance within each half is compressed into a ball, tablet, mount and placed in one half and sealed with the other half. Alternatively, the powder(s) could be compressed into each separate half and retained therein by a thin membrane, for example a paper foil, which contacts the inhibiting substance during assembly of the spherical capsule. In this preferred embodiment, the thin membrane is preferably sufficiently strong to retain the desired substance within the capsule as it is manufactured or assembled, yet frangible enough to readily rupture subsequent sealing of the capsule and prior to, or at least simultaneously with, impact with the target. The inhibiting substance may, for example, contain at least 0.5% oleoresin capsicum, e.g., between 1% and 30%, e.g., between 5% and 20%, with a remainder of the inhibiting substance being either an inert substance or a marking substance or a different inhibiting substance, such as tear gas liquid or powder or a liquid or powder marking or malodorant. Alternatively, the inhibiting substance may, for example, comprise at least 0.1% capsaicin (which is the active ingredient within oleoresin capsicum in either natural form or pharmaceutical produced form), and preferably at least 0.5% capsaicin with the remainder of the inhibiting substance as either a marking substance, an inert substance, and/or a malodorant. Similarly, more than one inhibiting substance may be combined to provide a total of at least 0.1% to about 30% or more of inhibiting substances within the capsule depending on the target to be impacted, e.g. a higher percentage may be required for impacting large animals. The active ingredient is dose dependent for its application.
In a further embodiment, the projectile system comprises the projectile body, e.g., spherical capsule, separable into two about equal halves, wherein the halves contain the powdered impairing substance sufficient in amount so that the projectile is at least about or greater than 50% full and preferably is between about 60% and 99% full, for example, from between 75% and 95%, e.g. about 90% filled with the powdered substance and wherein, to facilitate manufacture of the projectile system, the powdered substance within each half is compacted using, for example, a mandrel, whereby respective portions of the powdered substance each remain packed within a respective half during assembly of the halves into a spherical (or other suitably shaped projectile body) capsule. As indicated above, the powdered impairing substance may, for example, contain at least 0.1% oleoresin capsicum, e.g., between 1% and 30%, e.g., between 5% and 20%, with a remainder of the powdered substance being an inert substance, a marking substance or a different inhibiting substance. Alternatively, the powdered impairing substance may, for example, contain at 0.1% capsaicin, preferably at least 0.5% capsaicin, and more preferably at least 1% capsaicin with the remainder of the powdered substance being either a marking substance, an inert substance, and/or a malodorant.
In some variations, the inhibiting substance may include fragments of solid material to enhance dispersion of the inhibiting substance. For example crushed walnut shells, rice, wood shavings, metal particles, such as metal powder or metal particles, or the like may be added to the inhibiting substance to help carry the inhibiting substance away from a point of impact of the projectile against the target. The solid material, having a greater density and mass than the powdered inhibiting substance, inert substance or marking substance, tends to project further from the point of impact, there by facilitating dispersion of the substance as it is carried by the solid material.
In yet other variations, a weighting substance, for example metal balls, metal shot metal beads, wood pieces or other high mass and/or high density materials, such as higher density powders or granules, can be added to or in place of the inhibiting substance to not only facilitate dispersion of a powdered substance, but to also increase the kinetic impact of the projectile against the target, thus enhancing the initial impact effectively of the projectile. This variation can be used to enhance the already synergistic combination of kinetic impact and inhibiting substance, which act, for example, serially, in order to initially stun a target with the kinetic impact, and then debilitate the target with the inhibiting substance. Alternatively, this variation may be employed, where one or more targets are located behind a glass or similar barrier, to break the glass, thereby providing access to other targets.
In use, these higher kinetic force projectiles may, or optionally may not, contain an inhibiting substance. And, if such high kinetic impact projectiles do not contain an inhibiting substance, such projectile bodies may optionally be, for example, solid, rather than hollow projectile bodies, e.g., capsules, and thus may be made from solid steel, rubber, glass, plastic, or the like. These kinetic projectiles may be used alone or intermixed with projectiles containing inhibiting substance. When intermixed, a pattern of one kinetic projectile for every X inhibiting projectiles may be utilized, where X may be, for example, from between 1 and 10. Or, kinetic projectiles may be used to initially subdue a target, followed by inhibiting projectiles to impair the target. In addition, these kinetic projectiles may be arranged such that successive projectiles carry an increasing kinetic impact, so that an initial impact would be of relatively low kinetic force, and successive kinetic impacts would be of relatively higher forces. In this approach, kinetic projectile bodies may be intermixed with inhibiting capsules, or may themselves carry an inhibiting substance. Also, each successive round may be of increasing kinetic force, or a group of projectiles at a given kinetic force may be fired before a subsequent group of high kinetic force.
In further variations, a visible marking agent, a covert UV or IR visible dye, malodorant, or other taggant can be added to the inhibiting substance in order to provide a mechanism for identifying the target at a later time. This feature of this variation may be particularly useful in law enforcement or military applications, where evidence gathering may be enhanced if the target can be marked. By combining a marking agent with an inhibiting substance a significant synergism is achieved. In another aspect, marking can be effected by bruising of the target due to the kinetic impact of the projectile against the target.
In one embodiment of a marking substance, the projectile body, e.g., capsule of the projectile system may contain a chemical compound that has a particularly offensive odor, also referred to as a malodorant. In use, the projectile system can be launched at a suspect, such that the suspect will have an unwelcome odor on his or her person. Such odor will effectively “mark” the person. Additionally, a projectile body containing a malodorant may be used to repel or keep persons away from a particular area. As such, several projectile systems can be launched at the ground or wall, for example, of an area that it is desired to others away from. The area will typically smell so offensive that it will keep others from coming near the smell. The malodorant has applications in crowd dispersal and crowd control, as well. On example of a malodorant that has a particularly offensive odor is called “Dragons Breath” which is an organic sulfur compound produced by DeNovo Industries, of The Woodlands, Tex. In variations of this embodiment, a specially designed projectile body, e.g., capsule, is produced that includes a glass capsule contained within the projectile body. The glass capsule seals within itself certain malodorants, such as Dragons Breath and other sulfur compounds, that have solvent properties that can eat through a plastic variety projectile body. The glass capsule within the projectile body is ruptured upon impact of the projectile body, releasing the malodorant. In further variations, the glass capsule is guided centrally within the projectile body with protrusions formed within the projectile body. These protrusions center the glass capsule within the projectile capsule and additionally may provide pressure points to assist in the fracturing of the glass capsule upon impact.
In yet a further variation, a powdered inhibiting substance can be combined with a liquid or gas irritant, or other agent to be delivered. The liquid or gas, and the powdered irritant can be carried in separate chambers, in for example, separate halves of the projectile using the membranes described herein to contain the powdered inhibiting substance and the other agent, keeping them separated, if needed. If a liquid or gas is contained by one or both of the membranes, such membranes can be made, for example out of plastic, vinyl, rubber or the like.
In an alternative embodiment, the projectile body, e.g., capsule of the projectile system is constructed to facilitate rupture thereof upon impact with a target. In one aspect, the projectile body has a plurality of structurally weakening dimples within its exterior or interior surface, and, more particularly, the structurally weakening dimples have a minimum depth of about 15%, preferably about 20%-75% and most preferably about 30% to 60% of the thickness of the projectile body. In one embodiment, as few as two structurally weakening dimples, e.g. located at each pole of a spherical capsule, will be sufficient to enhance the rupturing of the projectile system upon impact. Advantageously, these dimples also provide enhanced aerodynamic qualities, thus serving a dual and synergistic combination of uses. Alternatively, the projectile body employs a matrix of global surface scoring in its exterior and/or interior surface to provide a weakened surface and facilitate rupture upon impact. Further alternatively, a combination of dimples, with surface scoring connecting the dimples may be employed to provide both enhanced aerodynamic qualities and to facilitate rupturing of the projectile body upon impact.
In a further embodiment, a three-part projectile is produced which contains a three-part projectile body, e.g., a three-part capsule. The first and second parts are typically two halves of the projectile body (or capsule); however, one of the halves has a fill hole formed therein. A third part, or lid is designed to seal the fill hole of the second part once a substance or substances (whether liquid, solid, powder or gas) are filled into the three-part capsule. Thus, advantageously, the substances are able to be filled into the capsule, after sealing the first and second parts together, through the fill hole. The fill hole is large enough to fill the volume to at least about 50%, more commonly at least about 80%, and even at least about 90% of the available volume without spillage occurring, at least in a controlled use. The substances, especially if a powdered substance, may then be compressed using shaking, a mandrel or similar device, and refilled. Further advantageously, this embodiment allows for a single apparatus that may be filled with either liquids or powders effectively. Thus, advantageously, the need to design a separate projectile body for liquids and for powders is not required.
In other embodiments, the contents of projectile system as described herein may be pressurized, for example, by producing the projectile in an increased pressure environment or atmosphere, or by adding compounds to the substance contained within the projectile that release gases or expand upon warming up to a room temperature. As such, since the contents of the projectile body are pressurized, upon impact, the dispersal of the contents on and about a target is enhanced.
In another embodiment, stabilizing fins are coupled, attached, bonded, or otherwise formed into the body of the projectile body. These fins assist in stabilizing the flight of the projectile body so that the projectile body can travel farther distances. These fins may be straight fins or, alternatively, may be curved fins such that the flight of the projectile body is spin stabilized.
In another embodiment, the projectile may be comprised of and/or contain a glow-in-the-dark material such that the projectile bodies may be seen and used during the evening or at night. As such, users will be able to see the flight of the projectile bodies and also determine by sight if a target has been impacted, or be used to “light up” a darkened room so officers can better use “night vision” equipment.
In another embodiment, the present invention includes a method of assembling the projectile system herein comprising the steps of filling each half of the projectile body, e.g., the capsule, with a portion of the substance to be delivered to the target, covering the substance within each half of the projectile body, e.g., the capsule, with a thin membrane to retain the substance therein and sealingly attaching the two halves to one another. In a particular embodiment, the two halves of the capsule are welded to one another using ultrasound, glue or a suitable solvent. Or alternatively, the two halves may be formed with interlocking flanges, so as to snap together without need for the use of solvent, glue or ultrasonic welding, or so as to provide a mechanical closure, while, for example, a solvent or glue is used to provide hermeticity to the projectile body, thereby preventing contamination of, for example, a powder irritant with, for example, water vapor, which can cause clumping of the powder irritant, and thus reduce the ability of the powder irritant to disperse. In a still further embodiment, the sealed capsule is shaken or otherwise subjected to forces sufficient to rupture the membranes therein, after sealing thereof.
In another embodiment, the present invention includes a method of assembling the projectile system herein comprising the steps of filling each half of the projectile body, e.g., capsule, with a portion of the substance to be delivered to the target, shaking for settlement, compressing (or tamping) the substance within each half, such as with a mandrel, to retain the substance therein, and sealingly attaching the two halves to one another. As above, in a particular embodiment, the two halves of the capsule are welded to one another using ultrasound, glue of a suitable solvent. Or alternatively, the two halves may be formed with interlocking flanges, so as to snap together without need for the use of solvent, glue or ultrasonic welding, or so as to provide a mechanical closure, while, for example, a solvent or glue is used to provide hermeticity to the capsule, thereby preventing contamination of, for example, a powder irritant with, for example, water vapor, which can cause clumping of the powder irritant, and thus reduce the ability of the powder irritant to disperse.
In still other embodiments, the fill material may be one or more pesticides, fungicides, flea powder and/or other similar substances or combinations of substances for pest control on animals. A veterinarian or animal care taker can easily and quickly deliver (e.g., shoot at low velocities) a projectile near or on an animal that is filled with, for example, flea and/or tick powder or liquid without having to get too close to the animal and/or tranquilize the animal. Marking agents, such as paint, can be added and mixed with the fee and/or tick powder or other chemical to help distinguish which animals in a herd were treated and which still need to be treated.
Advantageously, the structure provided by the embodiments herein provides a highly accurate, muzzle safe projectile. By making available an option of using existing paint ball launcher technology, the inventors provide not only a highly accurate launch device, but one that is readily available, and extremely cost effective for law enforcement agencies and military branches.
Advantageously, present training programs for law enforcement and military personnel include training such personnel to target a target's chest area when using lethal weaponry. Use of the above methodology with the above non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile does not change this tactic, and thus, both the above method and above projectile are readily deployable with and readily compatible with the training of current law enforcement and military personnel.
In a variation, rapid firing of projectiles, such as for example from an automatic or semi-automatic weapon, in accordance with the embodiments herein can be used to enhance both kinetic stunning, and impairing of the target with the inhibiting substance. Such rapid firing can be effected with projectiles having successively more concentrated fills of inhibiting substance, such as 1%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and possibly higher mixes of inhibiting powder with inert powder, in order to initially deliver a minimum of inhibiting substance, gradually increasing strength of the inhibiting substance with successive projectiles. Several projectiles at each strength may be used followed by several at a next higher strength or each successive projectile may contain substance at an increasing strength or any combination of strengths may be employed.
Whether or not projectiles with successively more concentrated fills are employed, or, for example, a single fill concentration is employed, the rapid firing of projectiles at a target offers an advantage in that a larger more diffuse cloud of inhibiting substance is created with each impact of a projectile against or near the target. Thus, in effect, successively greater amounts of inhibiting substance are delivered to the target with each successively impacting, rapidly rifled projectile.
When rapid firing is employed, a pattern of projectile impacts beginning near a target's shoulder, and moving toward a target's groin may be particularly advantageous at causing the target to move his or her face into the cloud of powdered inhibiting substance, or irritant, as he or she hunches over and turns to protect him or herself from the pattern of projectile impacts. Similarly, a pattern beginning near the target's groin, and moving toward the target's shoulder may also be effective and advantageous. This latter approach particularly lends itself to use when an aggressive target may ultimately need to be targeted in an extremely aggressive manner, such as at the target's head. Specifically, a pattern of projectile impacts beginning near a target's groin can move up the target's torso, and, if needed, terminate with projectile impacts on or near the target's head. The inventors envision that the targeting of a target's head be used only in extreme cases, perhaps only in cases that would justify the use of deadly force.
Thus, in yet a further embodiment, the invention contemplated herein includes a method of impairing a human target by impacting the target's upper torso, especially upper chest area, with a projectile system in accordance herewith, with sufficient force to cause the target's upper torso to move posteriorly and the target's head to move anteriorly that is, to hunch forward towards the projectile. This effect is enhanced by the target's natural propensity to close around a point of impact, and to protect a wounded area. Upon impact with the target, the projectile body, e.g., the substance radially disperses on and about the target. For example, the capsule ruptures, causing the radial dispersion of the substance contained therein. And thus, as the target's head moves anteriorly, it moves toward a cloud of radially dispersing substance. As a result, the substance comes in contact with the target's face, and, especially, the mucous membranes, such as, of the target's airway, thereby maximizing the inhibiting effects of the substance. As a further advantage of the present method, the target will naturally be caused to inhale as his or her face is moved anteriorly, and, thus, the target is forced to inhale the substance from the cloud, causing a significantly enhanced effectivity as compared to commercially available device of which the present inventors are aware.
In another aspect of the present invention, frangible projectile bodies, e.g., capsules, in accordance herewith, containing breaker balls, such as steel balls, ceramic balls, plastic, nylon, polymer balls, glass balls or other materials having enhanced mass/weight characteristics, may be fired initially, for example, from a rapid fire rifle, so as to open a passage through a barrier, for example glass, acrylic or similar glass-like material, followed by firing of one or more projectiles filled with an inhibiting substance, i.e., irritant. This variation provides a particular advantage in situations such as car chases, where a target can be impaired while stopped momentarily in traffic as he or she attempts to elude law enforcement personnel. Specifically, while stopped, an officer can fire a series of breaker balls followed by projectiles containing inhibiting substance. The use of breaker balls can also, for example, be useful in situations such as hostage situations where a target is located inside a building behind glass that first needs to be broken before inhibiting projectiles can be fired into the building toward the target. Most advantageously, because the capsules containing the breaker balls are frangible and break upon impact with the glass-like barrier, they are less dangerous to the living targets than would be a non-encapsulated breaker ball.
In a further method, the projectiles of the above embodiments need not strike the target to be effective. Instead the projectiles can be aimed at a wall, a ceiling, or at another structure near, especially above, the target, whether or not the target is not visible. Specifically, for example, a target hiding behind a wall can be effectively inhibited by the widely dispersed cloud of inhibiting substance, e.g., powder, produced upon impact of the projectile against a nearby structure. This method is useful, for example, in armed robbery situations, prison riots, cell extractions, and the like, where targets may be intentionally hiding from law enforcement or military personnel.
Thus, it is a feature of the present invention to provide a projectile system for delivering a desired substance, especially an impairing/inhibiting substance and/or a marking substance to a target, which projectile system provides optimum dispersal, and therefore effectiveness, of the substance(s) on and/or about the target.
In yet another aspect of the present invention, the technologies used to produce common paint ball launchers are used in creating custom, multi-functional launching devices. Such multi-functional launching devices incorporate other utilitarian functions into the non-lethal projectile launcher other than the ability to fire non-lethal projectiles. In one embodiment of the present invention, a multi-functional launch device is incorporated into a flashlight body such that the resulting launcher is able to launch non-lethal projectiles and provides a sight function, i.e. the flashlight. Therefore, advantageously, the non-lethal projectile launcher could be used at night or in darkly lit areas without the use of a separate flashlight. Furthermore, a targeting laser beam could be incorporated into the launcher in order to aid in aiming the launching device. The launcher body could further be constructed of a rigid material to provide a kinetic function in enabling the launcher to be used as a physical striking weapon, as well.
In additional embodiments, the flashlight launcher may also incorporate an inhibiting spray canister (i.e. pepper spray (OC), “mace” or tear gas) and/or a siren canister (i.e. a “screamer”). Furthermore, the flashlight launcher may also include a radio transmitter that transmits a signal to other police officers requesting backup or transmits a signal to a security system that automatically dials the police or a security station when the launcher is used to fire a non-lethal projectile. Thus, the multi-functional custom launch device of the present invention would replace several devices currently being carried by police officers, e.g. a separate flashlight, a separate non-lethal projectile launcher, a separate “nightstick” or club, a separate inhibiting spray canister (i.e. mace), and a separate siren canister. Thus, an officer is less burdened by a variety of devices since the officer only has to carry one multi-functional custom launch device on his or her belt to perform all of these functions.
In another embodiment, the multi-functional custom launch device may take the form of a PR-24 police baton. In this embodiment, non-lethal projectiles of the present invention are fired from the “arm” of the baton, while the device remains a fully functioning baton that can be used to subdue or strike suspects. Additionally, the multi-functional custom launcher may also include inhibiting spray canisters and siren canisters incorporated into the “handle” or other portions of the baton, such that the custom launch device will perform the functions of a non-lethal projectile launcher, a baton, an inhibiting spray, and a siren spray. Again, advantageously, this multi-functional custom launch device would replace several different devices that would be carried by law enforcement personnel, resulting in more available space or real estate on the belt of the officer for other devices. Furthermore, such multi-functional launch devices incorporate combinations of known technologies, e.g. paint ball launchers, flashlights, batons, inhibiting canisters, and electronics, to create to single integrated multi-functional launch device.
The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:
Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding components throughout the several views of the drawings.
The following description of the presently contemplated best mode of practicing the invention is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims.
As used herein, the term “projectile system” or “projectile” or “non-lethal projectile” refers generally to the entire projectile apparatus of the various embodiments of the present invention that travels to the target. For example, in all embodiments contemplated herein, the projectile system or projectile at least includes a projectile body that contains a substance for delivery to the target. For example, this projectile body may be embodied as a capsule having a hollow volume within that contains the substance. The terms “capsule”, “casing” and “shell” are used interchangeably herein to refer to an embodiment of the projectile body as being a container portion of the projectile system within which the substance is contained, whether or not a deliverable substance is actually contained therein. This projectile body may be a variety of shapes, for example, the projectile body may be spherical or oblong, depending on the specific embodiment. In some embodiments (discussed near the end this patent document), the projectile body may be embodied as a stabilizer body, for example, which apparatus travels to the target.
Non-Lethal Projectile Systems
Referring now to
Preferably, the inhibiting substance comprises finely powdered oleoresin capsicum, such as may be purchased from Defense Technology of America in Casper, Wyo. (for example, Blast Agent oleoresin capsicum 943355, Cas. No. 8023-77-6, #T14, #T16, #T21 and/or #T23).
Oleoresin capsicum, a pepper substance, contains one or more active ingredients or capsaicinoids primarily responsible for the inhibiting or irritant effects including capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin and pelargonic acid vanillylamide (PAVA), also known as nonivamide. Capsaicinoids are naturally occurring or synthetically reproduced, for example, one form of Oleoresin capsicum includes a synthetically produced version of nonivamide. Individual capsaicinoids function similarly to a collection of capsaicinoids. Oleoresin capsicum functions as an inhibiting substance due to the presence of one or more capsaicinoids.
In the present embodiment, the oleoresin capsicum powder, to be used for the substance 11 in some embodiments (referred to with respect to the present embodiment as “powder”) is preferably purchased at a concentration of at least about 0.1%, e.g., between 0.5% and 30%, e.g., 3% and 10%, e.g. about 5% by volume. Thus, the substance should be at least 0.1% oleoresin capsaicin by volume, more preferably at least 0.5%, and most preferably at least 1% by volume.
Alternatively, in terms of capsaicin, the powdered inhibiting substance should comprise at least 0.1% capsaicin by volume to be effective, preferably at least 0.5% capsaicin, most preferably at least 1% capsaicin. In either case, the powder may be diluted, to a desired concentration, by mixing with an inert powdered substance, such as talcum, corn starch or other inert substances. Depending on the application of the device, e.g. homeowner (civilian) or peace officer, the powder may be more or less dilute. For example, in peace keeping applications the powder may be preferably stronger or more concentrated than for private use by a homeowner or business owner. In a preferred embodiment, the powder used in homeowner or business owner, i.e., civilian, applications maybe up to, or more than one-third as less concentrated as strengths used by peace officers depending on the composition of the powder. Police often want to arrest, while civilians want to repel.
Thus, in the broadest sense, in a preferred embodiment, the substance should in part comprise a pepper-derived powder substance, including for example, one or more of oleoresin capsicum, capsaicin, PAVA, nonivamide, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, or combinations of the above pepper-derived substances.
Furthermore, in the powdered embodiments, it is advantageous that the substance 11 is a finely ground powdered substance such that the particle sizes or grain are less than 1000 microns in diameter, and preferably less than 500 microns, more preferably less than 250 microns, and most preferably less than 100 microns. It has been found that the generally the smaller the particle diameter in a powdered substance, the more effective the radial dispersal of the substance upon impact and the larger the volume of the dispersal. Likewise, the larger the particle diameter, the less effective the radial dispersal of the powdered substance and the less volume is covered by the dispersal, or the less “cloud-like” the dispersal becomes. For example, particle diameters above 500 microns and specifically above 1000 microns, tend to simply splatter, spray, or scatter on the target and/or quickly fall to the ground. Furthermore, particle diameters generally above 250 microns and above 500 microns are easily prevented from entering a targets nostrils or mouth by placing a handkerchief thereagainst. Furthermore, a powdered substance having, for example, a particle size of greater than 500 microns, or greater than 1000 microns, may only disperse into a very small volume, whereas a finely ground powdered substance will create a cloud of a much larger volume.
It is preferable to produce a “cloud” of the powdered substance to disperse radially and envelop a large volume upon impact with the target and rupture of the capsule 12, for example, a cloud that is formed when clapping erasers together. As will be seen, it is advantageous that the substance produce a fine cloud of the powdered substance such that the cloud will be dispersed on and about the target, such that the target inhales the substance.
In preferred embodiments, the substance comprises a powdered oleoresin capsicum powder or capsaicin powder that has a particle size of less than 500 microns, preferably less than 100 microns, and more preferably less than 20 microns, e.g. 5 to 10 microns in diameter. Thus, when such powder is contained within a small capsule 12, such as shown in
Furthermore, and advantageously, the powdered pepper-derived substances, such as oleoresin capsicum and capsaicin, are more than topically acting substances. These substances react internally by entering the mouth and nostrils of the target and contacting the lung tissue, for example, causing a temporary inability to breathe, whereby the target is inhibited for an amount of time appropriate to apprehend the individual. For example, the individual may be inhibited for up to, or more than approximately 10 minutes depending on the combination and strength of substances used.
In other embodiments, the projectile 10 may also be used to deliver other substances such as marking substances, including for example, dyes (e.g., UV and IR dyes), or visible paint, or the like, to a living or an inanimate target, and may also be used to deliver inert substances, such as talcum or corn starch powder. Such dyes may be colored dyes, such as those found in common paint ball technologies, or may contain other markers, such as a neon or glow-in-the-dark marker, or UV and/or IR dyes which may be useful for marking a suspect at night, making it easier for law enforcement personnel to see the marked suspect at night or by using “night vision” technology. In one embodiment of a marking substance, a chemical marker or chemical fingerprinted paint, such as produced by Yellow Jacket, Inc. of California, can be used which effectively leaves a chemical ID or chemical fingerprint on the target, which can be used by the police to verify that a person was struck by a specific non-lethal projectile and place the suspect at a crime scene. As such, the chemical marker includes a chemical ID formulated into the paint substance during manufacture, identifying the batch of the chemical marker. For example, a fleck of the chemical marker found on a suspect two weeks after the being impacted with the chemical marker, can be chemically identified and traced to the shooter; thus, the suspect may be linked to a crime scene by the chemical marker.
Furthermore, chemical compounds having a particularly offensive odor, i.e. malodorants, may be contained within the projectile 10, to be used to mark suspects by scent or to repel or keep people away from desired areas. One example of a malodorant that is particularly effective is called “Dragons Breath”, which is an organic sulfur compound and is produced by DeNovo Industries of The Woodlands, Tex. In still further embodiments, the projectile may be used to deliver both inhibiting and marking substances, or even inert substances to the target.
In accordance with the present embodiment, the substance 11 including an inhibiting substance is encapsulated within a plastic, gelatinous or similar material projectile body 12 (also referred to as a capsule 1,2 which is a specific embodiment of a projectile body). The capsule 12, or shell, may be made from various known substances, such as acrylic, vinyl, plastic, polystyrene and/or other polymers, sodium alginate, calcium chloride, coated alginate and/or polyvinyl alginate (PVA). Furthermore, the capsule 12 may be spherical or oblong or have another desirable shape according to the specific embodiment; however, some capsule shapes may provide for better dispersal of the substance contained within upon impact. Additionally, the capsule may be made out of colored materials or even glow-in-the-dark materials to enhance the night time use of such projectiles.
In a preferred embodiment, the projectile systems contemplated herein include a projectile body that is a generally spherical hollow capsule, preferably formed of a polymer substance, for example and without limitation, polystyrene, polyvinyl, vinyl or acrylic. Preferably, the outer diameter of the spherical capsule 12, or shell, is from between about 1.0 cm and 15.0 cm, e.g., 1.8 cm; however, these dimensions depend upon the specific application of the non-lethal projectile. The inner-diameter of the shell 12 (which defines the volume in which the substance is carried) preferably has a diameter of from between about 0.3 cm and 15.0 cm, e.g., 1.7 cm. In preferred embodiments described in detail herein, the capsule 12 is filled at least about to 50%, preferably 60% to less than 100%, more preferably 85% to 95%, and most preferably to about 90%, of its volume with a substance, for example an inhibiting and/or marking substance, to be delivered to a target, for example a human target. The capsule 12 is preferably formed, in halves, by injection molding or by being hot pressed; however other methods are also suitable. For example, the spherical capsules of U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379, incorporated herein by reference, (hereinafter the '379 patent) are formed using a carefully temperature controlled draw of polystyrene. Production of the capsule of the '379 patent in this fashion can be time consuming and, where being manufactured for the purpose of delivering paint to a target, requires careful attention to feed rates and maintenance of temperature differences between injection feeds of the paint and forming of the capsules. In contrast, and as discussed further herein, the preferred capsules of the present invention may be quickly formed, filled and sealed at very high production rates, in part, because the capsules are formed in halves, or multiple parts, then appropriately filled, joined and sealed.
It has been discovered, by the present inventors, that the effectiveness of projectile systems employing capsules to deliver powdered non-lethal substances, such as powdered oleoresin capsicum or powdered capsaicin, to a target are maximized by filling the capsules to at least greater than 50%, preferably 60% to less than 100%, more preferably 85% to 95% of their maximum volume, and most preferably to about 90% of their maximum volume. This is somewhat counterintuitive as it would be expected that a capsule that is full or nearly full of a powdered substance would, upon rupture, disperse its contents in a rather small, local area (i.e., as a lump or blob) and therefore be of minimal effectiveness unless facial openings of a target were directly targeted. However, it would also be expected that a capsule that is only about half-full or less with a powdered substance would disperse more effectively, which is not proven to be the case.
For example, capsule fills of less than about 40% have been found by the inventors to not disperse with sufficient transverse or radial motion to reach the critical face region of the target but rather provide only local application of the inhibiting substance, i.e., produce only a lump or blob of powder on the target. Similarly, and as expected, where capsule fills are full, i.e., approach 100% of their total volume, the substances do adhere to themselves and clump, moving as though they were a large particle rather than dispersing in a radial, cloud-like fashion.
Thus, the present inventors discovery of an optimal fill range, i.e., at least about to 50% and preferably from between 60% and less than 100%, e.g., between 75% and 99%, e.g., 95%, represents a significant improvement, one that enables the use of powdered inhibiting substances, for the first time known to the inventors, in a commercially viable non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile. For the reasons above, this optimal fill range further represents an unexpected result. However, at the same time, this optimal fill range poses a different problem, which is addressed herein below, that is, how to fill two halves of a spherical capsule so that a resultant capsule has the optimal fill range, without significant spillage of the substance contained therein during closure of the two capsule halves.
To further facilitate maximum dispersal of the contents of the capsule in a non-lethal projectile system, the inhibiting substance should be formulated so that it is not strongly cohesive. For example, where a liquid substance is employed, it should be selected to have very low surface tension (or should be placed under pressure), and where powders are concerned, highly structured surfaces are to be avoided. Thus, for example corn starch is a smooth surfaced powder that will readily disperse in a cloud-like manner; whereas other powders may require micro-grinding or micro encapsulation to remove structured surfaces. Various substances, well known to those of skill in the art, may be used in the present projectile systems. Particularly preferred herein, however, is powdered oleoresin capsicum, which is a pepper-derived substance, i.e., essentially a food product, or powdered capsaicin (which is the active ingredient in oleoresin capsicum), which is found naturally in oleoresin capsicum or in a synthetically derived or pharmaceutical version thereof. When powdered oleoresin capsicum or other capsaicin is delivered to a target, in accordance with the apparatus and methods described herein, the target inhales the substance into its lungs, which not only is painful to the target but also results in a temporary inability to breathe effectively. Although the inability to breathe is temporary, it is of sufficient duration to cause panic in the individual, thereby providing adequate time for apprehension. Furthermore, like the liquid form, powdered oleoresin capsicum/capsaicin causes significant irritation and pain when it contacts the mucous membranes, such as for example, eyes, nose, mouth or throat, of a living target. Again, powdered oleoresin capsicum, preferred for use herein, may be purchased from Defense Technology of America in Casper, Wyo. (for example, Blast Agent oleoresin capsicum 943355, #T14, #T16, #T21 and/or #T23), or pharmaceutical capsaicin (Nonivamide) which may be purchased from Boehringer Ingelhem Chemicals.
As mentioned above, the use of optimal fills with powdered inhibiting substances in a spherical projectile poses a serious practical problem, i.e., how to fill two halves of a spherical capsule with enough powder so that, when assembled the capsule contains an optimal fill, without spillage of the powder. As one of skill will appreciate, spillage is a problem in nearly any environment, but when the material spilled is as inhibiting as oleoresin capsicum powder or capsaicin powder, the elimination of such spillage becomes important to the safety of persons performing the assembly. Furthermore, as those of skill will readily appreciate, where a liquid substance may be dispensed into a capsule using a capillary, a powdered substance cannot be so dispensed with any sort of accuracy. Thus, the inventors herein have had to devise a method of filling capsules to about at least 50% of their volume, with a powdered substance, in accordance herewith.
Referring then to
In an alternative preferred assembly method, illustrated in
Referring next to
It is noted that in this embodiment, some of the powdered substance may begin to decompress and fall into the seal area or interface 606 between the first part 604 and the second part 610, shown as the edge of the first part 604 that will contact the edge of the second part 610. The seal may still be effectuated by actually excessively sealing the first part and the second part together (by using an excessive amount of adhesive or sealant, or by excessively friction bonding or ultrasonically bonding the first part 604 to the second part 610) such that the small portion of the substance at the interface 606 is contained within the seal between the first part and the second part 610.
Advantageously, the capsule is thus filled so that a substantial portion of the interior volume contains the substance without using the membranes or mandrels, as described above. Furthermore, a greater amount of substance may be placed into the capsule using this technique.
Referring now to
Thus, in a preferred method, each half 604, 610 (
In practice, the two halves 604, 610, after having been covered by the membranes 602, 608 or mechanically compressed, are then preferably rotated about 90, towards one another and brought together (Block 708). The halves 604, 610 are then preferably sealed to one another (Blocks 709, 710, 712, 714), such as using ultrasonic welding techniques (Block 709), or using an appropriate solvent or glue (Block 710) or by snapping the halves together (Block 712). For example, if polystyrene is used, many known solvents are available that will dissolve the polystyrene just enough to result in sealing of the same as the plastic hardens upon evaporation of the solvent. Polystyrene is commonly used for plastic models, and thus, various modeling glues are available that provide suitable sealing.
With respect to the alternative of sealing of the halves by snapping them together,
Referring then to
In embodiments employing membranes, the membranes 602, 608 are selected to be strong enough to retain the substance 605, 607 within the halves 604, 610, as the two halves are joined, yet thin enough to readily rupture on or before impact of the projectile system 600 with the target. Most preferable, in this regard, are thin, circular cut, paper membranes that will tension against respective inner walls of the halves 604, 610 sufficiently to retain the substances 605, 607 therein. For example, the membrane may tension within an interior scoring of the capsule half (see, e.g.
It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the membranes useful in these embodiments may be formed of any number of materials, including for example, paper, plastic or other polymer, rubber or even foam sponge. Generally, the membranes will be circular cut to be slightly larger than the interior circumference of the capsule half at the point where it is to contact that interior surface. Thus, when placed into the capsule half and, preferably, compressed, the membrane will tension against the interior surface of the capsule and thereby retain the substance therein. The membranes are preferably from between about 1 to about 5 mm thick, most preferably about 3 mm; however, other thickness are likewise contemplated herein, especially depending upon the specific substance contained within the capsule. For example, where both a liquid and a powdered substance are to be included in the capsule, it may be advantageous to provide a slightly thicker membrane to insure separation of the two substances until rupture of the capsule on or about the target.
As previously described, the spherical capsule of this embodiment of the present invention preferably has an outer diameter of about 1.8 cm and an inner diameter of about 1.7 cm. While these capsule dimensions are preferred for use in the present embodiments, other dimensions are likewise possible. The exact dimensions and specific percentages of the inhibiting substance or substances within different embodiments of the capsule will vary depending on the specific application, the launching device to be used, the range of the projectile, and the type of target to be impacted (for example, human targets may generally require a less percentage of inhibiting substance than large wildlife, for example), to name just a few factors.
While a spherical capsule 600 is illustrated, it will be readily appreciated by those of skill in the art that the projectile body, e.g., the capsule, or shell, may be of any convenient shape. What is of particular importance is that the capsule be optimally filled to, for example, at least about 50%, preferably about 60% to less than 100%, more preferably about 85% to 95%, e.g., about 90%, of its total volume with the substance 611. It is at these optimal fill levels that optimum dispersal of the substance is achieved and, therefore, that the effectiveness of the projectile system, whether to mark an individual target for later identification or to impair a target by, for example, irritating skin, mucous membranes, vision and/or lungs, is maximized.
Referring next to
The projectile body, e.g., the capsule 613, of the projectile system 600 of
The dimples 22 are most preferably round at their exterior edge, have a frustioconical-shaped wall and a flat, circular innermost surface, or basal portion. The dimples 22 preferably have a depth of at least about 0.05 mm preferably between about 0.05 mm and 2.0 mm, e.g., between about 0.1 mm and 1.5 mm, e.g., between about 0.2 mm and 1.0 mm, e.g., about 0.3 mm and preferably have a minimum depth of about 15% to 75%, e.g. 20% to 40% of the thickness of the casing or shell. Preferably, there are several dimples, for example, from between six and 50 dimples 22 (e.g., 20 dimples), on the shell/capsule 613 so as to provide omnidirectional atomization or dispersal of the inhibiting substance upon impact and a maximal decrease in drag and increase in lift.
The dimples 22 may be formed in the capsule 613 using known methods, for example, as a part of the injection molding process, using laser ablation techniques, or using other known plastics forming techniques.
Referring next to
As can be seen, there are a greater number of exterior dimples 32 in the variation of
Referring next to
Referring next to
Alternatively, the dimples 22, 34 may be formed within an interior surface of the capsule 613, instead of at the exterior surface. The interior dimple may be formed the same as the exterior dimple, although positioned at the interior surface of the capsule 613.
The capsule halves 604, 610 of
Furthermore, a feature illustrated in
Referring next to
Furthermore, the top or second part 610 includes a fill hole 614 formed at the pole of the second part 610. The fill hole includes a flange 616 at its perimeter that is designed to receive a lid 618 or third part 618. The lid 618 includes a rim 620 that is adapted to be inserted into the fill hole 614 against the flange 616 such that the top surface of the lid 618 fits preferably flush with the exterior surface of the second part 610. Note also, that interior surface scorings 47, both in a longitudinal and latitudinal pattern are formed within the first and second part 604 and 610. Such interior scorings 47 are not required, but are preferred since they provide a controlled fracturing of the projectile which optimizes the dispersal of substances contained therein.
The addition of the fill hole 618 formed in the second part 610 advantageously allows for a simple and effective operation of filling the capsule with either liquid or powder substances in a manner wherein a majority of the volume contained within the capsule is filled with the substances. For example, using the three-part capsule, the capsule may be filled with at least 90% of its interior volume with either a liquid or a powder substance. This is a departure from prior art attempts to filling a capsule with a powder substance or even a liquid substance such that greater than 50% of the interior volume is filled with the substance. The prior art, such as discussed above in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379 (Kotsiopoulos et al.) attempts to fill paint balls with a small capillary during the formation of the paint ball. Furthermore, it is not feasible to pour a powdered substance through a small capillary since a powdered substance will not pour effectively through a capillary, resulting in spillage. This is especially problematic when using inhibiting substances, such as oleoresin capsicum or capsaicin, either in powder or liquid form, since spillage potentially poses a risk to the manufacturers.
In contrast, the three-part capsule is manufactured by adhering and sealing the first part 604 to the second part 610 (Step 1404 of
Once the substance is filled into the capsule, the lid 618 is placed or positioned into the fill hole 614 (Step 1412 of
It is noted that the use of membranes, such as described above, or other devices to hold a substance or substances within respective halves, is not required. This provides a much simpler assembly. Further advantageously, a single capsule design will support the filling of both liquid substances and powder substances. Thus, a manufacturer does not need to design two types of capsules, one to be filled with a liquid substance and one to be filled with a powder substance.
Referring next to
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Furthermore, in accordance with the embodiments of
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First, referring to
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Furthermore, in accordance with the embodiments of
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The glass capsule 1702 is formed using conventional methods, for example by fire sealing or fire welding, such that the malodorant 1704 is sealed within the glass capsule 1702. For example, the glass capsule 1702 may contain at least 20% of its volume with the malodorant 1704 and preferably at least 50%, and most preferably at least 80%. The glass capsule 1702 is preferably formed to have an exterior dimension slightly smaller than an interior dimension of the first part 604 and the second part 610. Furthermore, there may be guides or protrusions formed within the interior surface of the first and second parts 604 and 610 (see
Sealing the malodorant 1704 within the glass capsule 1702 is important for embodiments of the non-lethal projectiles that use compounds such as Dragons Breath made by DeNovo Industries of The Woodlands, Tex. Such a malodorant 1704 is an organic sulfur compound and will readily seep through, or eat through, or otherwise breach the plastic or similar construction of the first and second parts 604 and 610. As such, the malodorant 1704 has a solvent effect that will penetrate most plastic type capsules. Thus, the glass capsule 1702 within the first and second parts 604 and 610 acts to contain the malodorant 1704 until such time as being impacted at a target. It is noted that other materials, other than glass, may be used by the skilled artist to effectively contain such a malodorant 1704. Furthermore, the projectile 1700 retains several other useful features which will assist in the fracturing of the first and second parts 604 and 610 and in the dispersal of the malodorant 1704.
Referring next to
Furthermore, in any of the above described embodiments, the substance or substances contained within the projectiles, particularly within the two-part and three part projectiles described in
First, the projectile may be produced within a pressurized atmosphere, such that upon completion of the assembly and removal into a normal pressure atmosphere, the sealed contents of the projectile will be at a higher internal pressure than the outside atmosphere. Second, a cold seltzer water may be added to the contents of the projectile. Such cold seltzer water produces carbon dioxide when heated up (or returning to room temperature) which would increase the pressure within the projectile. Third, a small particle of a cryogenic material, such as dry ice or liquid nitrogen, and preferably non-volatile, may be added to the contents of the projectile. Fourth, the contents of the projectile may be frozen which will be most effective typically for liquid contents. Fifth, liquid carbon dioxide may be mixed in with the contents of the projectile. These methods are conventional methods of increasing an internal pressure of a container.
Referring next to
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The scoring and the dimples, illustrated in
Next, referring to
Referring first to
Advantageously, the solid material 902 helps to disperse the substance 605, 607 by carrying the substance 605, 607 quickly away from the point of impact in a generally radial (or lateral) direction. Further discussion of the radial dispersion of the substance 605, 607 is made herein below, both with respect to projectiles carrying a solid material 902, and projectiles not carrying solid material.
Referring next to
The projectile systems may be arranged such that successively fired projectiles or groups of projectiles are of relatively greater mass than previous projectiles or groups of projectiles, thereby gradually increasing the kinetic force of “thump” experienced by a target, assuring that both adequate kinetic force is used to achieve stunning of the target, while at the same time assuring that a minimum amount of kinetic force is applied to any given target. For example, a child or female target is much more likely to be affected by earlier, lower kinetic forces or “thumps” than will be a large male. This, combined with the possible inclusion of a powdered inhibiting substance of a prescribed concentration or of an increasing concentration, provides law enforcement and military personnel with a non-lethal approach suitable for delivering a minimumly necessary amount of non-lethal or less-than-lethal technology to a target of virtually any size, shape or tolerance level.
Referring next to
Referring next to
Furthermore, the addition of solid substances or heavy powders (e.g., barium, sulphate, and the like) into the substance or substances contained within the capsule, such as the solid substances, metal filings, metal shot, and metal balls provide a synergistic effect of increasing the effectivity of the projectiles as non-lethal weapons. For example, as described above, the “thumping” or kinetic force of the projectiles alone provides a stunning effect to a living target. This stunning effect temporarily stalls or slows the target which allows the dispersing substance within to more effectively disperse onto and around the target. This stunning effect is greatly amplified if a target is impacted with multiple projectiles in short succession. For example, a target may feel as if the target has been “shot”, which will psychologically slow or stop the target. If inhibiting substances such as oleoresin capsicum or capsaicin are contained within the projectile, they will be more effective since the target may have temporarily stopped movement. In practice, a target may be inhibited with fewer hits if those hits produce a kinetic thump. Thus, the thumping effect and the inhibiting substance or substances synergistically work together to produce more effective results than either technique alone.
Referring next to
It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that numerous variations of these alternative embodiments are possible, and thus, are equally contemplated hereby. For example, in one alternative, one half of the capsule may be filled to about 90% or more of its volume with a powdered inhibiting substance and covered with a membrane as previously described. The other half of the capsule may then have, for example, a liquid marking/tagging substance placed therein, occupying about 60% or less of the total volume of the second half. A membrane may then be placed over the liquid substance and additional powdered substance placed on top of the membrane. Preferably the powdered substance added to the second half of the capsule containing the liquid marking substance will be in an amount equal to about 30% or more of the volume of the half capsule. The half capsule containing only powdered substance is then placed atop the second half capsule (containing the liquid and powder) and the two halves are joined, and, preferably sealed. Thus, the completely assembled capsule, according to the present alternative, will contain liquid marking substance at a volume of about 30% or less of the total volume of the capsule and will contain powdered substance at a volume of about 60% or more of the total volume of the capsule. Other combinations, including those employing more than two membranes, will be readily appreciated by those of skill in the art. Of course, those embodiments wherein the capsule contains both a liquid substance and a powder substance will preferably include membranes that rupture only upon impact, such that the liquid and powder are kept separate until deployed.
Advantageously, the projectile systems contemplated herein are muzzle safe, that is they may be safely and effectively fired at close range, including, for example, at arm's length. The present embodiment is contemplated to be used at both close and long range distances. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the preferred range is between zero and twenty-five feet. In contrast, other long range non-lethal projectiles have not proven to be safe immediately outside a muzzle. A further important feature of the present projectile systems is that they are not only easy to manufacture in large quantities, but they are also very inexpensive compared with prior art projectiles.
Applications and Tactics for Using Non-Lethal Projectiles
Thus, having specified numerous variations and embodiments of the projectile, and methods of manufacture,
As described earlier, in preferred embodiments, the substance 611 that forms the cloud advantageously is a finely ground powder that has particles having diameters generally, less than 1000, microns, preferably less than 500 microns, more preferably less than 250 microns, and most preferably less than 100 microns. Thus, the smaller the particle diameter, as well as using low surface tension particles, the more finely the resulting “cloud” will be radially dispersed and the larger the volume the cloud will cover.
In preferred embodiments, the substance comprises a powdered oleoresin capsicum powder or capsaicin powder that has a particle size of less than 500 microns, preferably less than 100 microns, more preferably less than 20 microns, and most preferably less than 10 microns, e.g. 5 microns in diameter. Thus, when such powder is contained within a small capsule 600, the capsule 600, upon impact and rupture, will produce a cloud of finely powdered substance 611 at least 2 feet in diameter, and preferably at least 3 feet in diameter. This cloud 611 advantageously “wafts” in the air for several seconds, for example, between 6 and 10 seconds before settling, allowing sufficient time to inhale the powdered substance. Furthermore, the cloud 611 generated is such that the substance would easily go through a handkerchief placed against the mouth of the target, due to again, the small size of the particles comprising the powdered substance.
Furthermore, in preferred embodiments, the substance contains a powdered pepper-derived substance, such as oleoresin capsicum and capsaicin, that is internally reacting, rather than simply a topical agent only. The radial dispersal of the substance 611 is dispersed and enters the mouth and nostrils of the target 5000 and contacting the lung tissue, for example, causing a temporary inability to breathe, whereby inhibiting the target 5000.
It should be noted that although a human target 5000 is illustrated, the projectiles of the various embodiments of the present invention may be impacted on a variety of targets, living (human or non-human) or non-living. For example, the projectiles may be employed against animals, such as dogs or other wildlife. In particular, projectiles containing inhibiting substances, such as oleoresin capsicum or capsaicin, are very effective at inhibiting dogs and other animals, as well as humans. Furthermore, the projectiles may be impacted upon non-living targets, such as walls or ceilings, such that upon impact with the non-living target, the dispersed material, or very finely dispersed cloud, in the case of a fine powder substance, is dispersed. Advantageously, living persons or animals located next to underneath, or otherwise near the impact, will be enveloped with the cloud of the dispersed substance (shown as 611) and; thus, the living persons and/or animals will be inhibited although, even though not actually impacted with the projectile.
The embodiments of the projectile systems described herein are particularly advantageous in that their use may be readily incorporated into existing officer training programs. This is because the projectiles are designed to be fired at a target's upper torso (See e.g.,
This present embodiment, then, provides a method of slowing and/or stopping and/or marking a living target. According to this method, the projectile system is fired at a target; the mechanical force of the impact causes rupture of the capsule, thereby permitting dispersal of the capsule contents, additionally, the force is sufficient to cause the target to move towards the dispersing substance, resulting in inhalation of the same, as the target attempts to catch his/her breath following the impact. As the substance is inhaled and/or contacts the mucous membranes in the face region, the target is stunned, that is physically impaired, and thus, collapses.
Further contemplated herein, is providing a projectile system wherein the projectile, especially a generally spherical capsule, is sufficiently hard and is delivered with sufficient force to result in bruising of the target at and surrounding the point of impact. In this way, the target is not only exposed to an inhibiting substance, but is also temporarily marked for later identification. For example, if any confusion arises as to who has been hit by the non-lethal projectiles, such as where the target is able to recover from or escape the effects of the inhibiting substance before officers are able to apprehend him/her, then the target may later be identified by the bruising, should he/she ultimately be apprehended. Those of skill in the art, will readily appreciate that the force required to fire a projectile system in accordance herewith, at a target, such that the projectile ruptures upon impact with the target, will generally also be sufficient to cause bruising to the target. It will further be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the capsules of the present embodiment may alone be used to mark a target, by bruising of the same, with or without delivery of any substances.
Referring next to
Quite advantageously, the projectile system of the present embodiment may be rapid fired, for example using a compressed air pistol, compressed air rifle, a fully automatic launcher, a dual-use modified PR24 police baton, and/or a dual-use modified flashlight.
A rapid fire weapon can be rapid fired in a vertical direction, such as illustrated in
Note that while the rapid firing method has been discovered to offer particular advantages, traditional wisdom dictates a horizontal sweeping of the target's body with projectile impacts. The inventors are aware of no heretofore employed methods that specify vertical sweeping of a target's body with non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectiles.
Referring next to
The variation illustrated in
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Thus, for example, as the weapon is rapid fired at a suspected criminal who is within a vehicle, the first rounds of capsules would be kinetic capsules or breaker balls that simply break the windows (solid line shows trajectory) of the vehicle to facilitate entry of the subsequent, impairing capsules that would then fill the vehicle (dashed line shown trajectory), at least in the vicinity of the criminal, with the inhibiting substance, thereby rendering the target unable to operate his or her vehicle.
Referring next to
Advantageously, the impairing capsules need not actually impact the target to be effective. Specifically, so long as the capsules impact sufficiently near the target that the cloud is inhaled by the target, or otherwise affects the target's respiration or other mucus membranes, such capsules will be effective at achieving their intended purpose, i.e., inhibiting or impairing the target. Thus, for example, where an animal, such as a dog or large cat, e.g. mountain lion, is being targeted, the capsules, in accordance herewith, may be impacted on the ground near the animal's face or on another object near the animal's head or may be targeted directly to the animal's head or body. In this case, (except, perhaps where the animal's head is targeted) the present embodiment provides a non-lethal means for subduing an animal that may pose a danger to humans or that may be in need of assistance itself.
Thus, in accordance with the present aspect, and quite advantageously, the projectile systems, because their dispersal mechanism is so optimized, may be used to inhibit a target when the target cannot actually be targeted. By way of further example, an individual hiding within a bathroom stall cannot be seen and thus for law enforcement personnel to attempt to confront the individual could place the law enforcement personnel in great danger. However, with the projectile systems of the present system, the officer need simply fire the projectiles at the wall above the stall within which the target is hiding or at a solid object near the target individual. The capsules of the system will rupture and the contents thereof will waft down into the stall, where they will be inhaled by the target and/or contact the target's mucous membranes, thereby incapacitating him/her. In fact, the inventors have tested this scenario using the projectiles of the present embodiment and have found the results to be quite impressive. The individual could not escape the effects of the inhibiting substance and was well incapacitated thereby.
A further advantage of embodiments described herein lies in the discovery that common, household hair spray performs well as a sealer to maintain a powdered inhibiting substance, such as powdered oleoresin capsicum or powdered capsaicin, against a surface. Thus, for example, a target that has been hit with one or more projectiles, as well as a surrounding area, can be sprayed with hair spray prior to being handled by law enforcement or military personnel in order to prevent said personnel from having to cope with powdered inhibiting substance residues that may be on a target or in an area around a target following use of embodiments described herein. As with many other aspects of the present embodiments, the use of hair spray to seal a powdered inhibiting substance to a surface following use of such embodiments, provides a low cost, practical, commercially viable, approach to a problem that, to the inventors' knowledge is unaddressed in the prior art. It is expected that various other spray adhesives, will similarly perform this sealing function, and thus, should be understood to be contemplated herein, by the inventors.
In any case, absent a solution to the problem of residual inhibiting substance or irritant, it is highly questionable whether any law enforcement or military agency (particularly law enforcement agency) would adopt a powder-filled projectile as a non-lethal or less-than-lethal solution. Presently, all commercially viable non-lethal or less-than-lethal approach used by law enforcement and the military, at least to the best of the inventors' knowledge, either do not employ a chemical irritant, or employ a gas, which is diluted and carried away by ambient air currents. In the case of tear gas, however, for example, residual tear gas is a significant problem for personnel operating in an area after tear gas has been deployed. For example, if medical personnel are needed in an area, they are required to wear a breathing apparatus, such as a gas mask, following the use a tear gas, at least until an area can be vented. With the present approach, however, an area can be sealed with hair spray or another spray adhesive following use of a powdered irritant projectile, after which personnel, such as medical personnel, can operate in the area almost immediately without the need for cumbersome and awkward breathing apparatuses with which such personnel may not have any training. Further, if, for example, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation needs to be performed, the present technology allows medical or law enforcement personnel to perform this type of resuscitation without first moving a victim out of an area contaminated by an inhibiting substance. Thus, the ability to seal both a target and an area around a target following use of the projectiles described herein provides a significant, and heretofore unaddressed, solution to a very real problem with heretofore available non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectiles that employ a chemical inhibiting substance or irritant.
Next referring to
This tactic applies to any situation where a suspect is not in a direct line of fire with law enforcement. For example, the suspect may be hiding behind a wall, or within a bathroom stall. The officer merely shoots the projectile systems at a target near the suspect, e.g. a ceiling or a bathroom stall wall, and waits for the resulting finely dispersed cloud containing an inhibiting powder, for example, a powdered oleoresin capsicum or a powdered capsaicin, expands to enter the suspect's lungs. Thus, the suspect is effectively inhibited without actually impacting the suspect. Furthermore, this tactic may apply to inhibit a living animal, such as dog or other animal that may be hiding out of a direct line of fire, for example, behind a rock. The projectiles used may be any of the projectiles as described above, although in this application, powder containing substances are preferable.
Alternative Projectile System Designs
Turning now to
Referring then to
The projectile system 50 of
Upon impact with the target, the shell 12 is forced backwards (relative to the direction of flight of the projectile) into the tip 60 of the puncture tube 56, which punctures the shell 12. This releases the inhibiting substance contained within the shell 12 into an interior region 62 of the atomization matrix 56. From the interior region 62 of the atomization matrix 56, the inhibiting substance is released through a plurality of exit orifices 64 passing through the periphery of the atomization matrix. There are preferably from between 2 and 20, e.g., 10 exit orifices 64 in the atomization matrix 56. Each exit orifice 64 preferably has a circular shape and a diameter of from between about 0.5 mm and 4 mm, e.g., 1 mm.
The stabilizer body 52 is preferably circular in cross-section (taken normal to its direction of flight), having an outer diameter equal to the outer diameter of the shell 12, i.e., from between about 1.0 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.8 cm. The length of the stabilizer body 52 is from between about 1.5 cm and 5 cm, e.g., 3 cm, and the overall length of the projectile system 50 (i.e., the stabilizer body and the shell) is from between about 2.5 cm and 10 cm, e.g., 5 cm. The stabilizer body 52 is preferably made from plastic or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resin (ABS), and the stabilizer section 54 has a hollow rear section 66 that has a hollow interior with an inner diameter of from between 1.0 cm and 5 cm, e.g., 1.8 cm, and a depth of from between about 1 cm and 5 cm, e.g., 2 cm. The hollow rear section 66 serves to decrease the mass of the stabilizer body 52 without significant detrimental effect on the aerodynamics of the projectile system 50. The stabilizer body 52 can be made using known plastics molding techniques, such as injection molding.
Referring next to
The projectile system 70 has a stabilizer body 74 (which is one embodiment of a projectile body), similar in function, dimensions and manufacture, to the stabilizer body 52 described above, and the impact piston 72 is slidable within a piston cylinder 76. The piston cylinder 76 is formed at a forward portion of an atomization matrix 78, similar to the atomization matrix 56 described above. The stabilizer body 74 also employs a stabilizer section 80, similar to the stabilizer section described above. The shell 12 is located between a pair of puncture tubes 82, 84, one of which forms a rearward portion of the impact piston 72, and one of which forms a forward portion of the stabilizer section 80. The shell 12 is located within the atomization matrix 78.
Upon impact with the target, the impact piston 72 is forced rearward by its impact against the target, squeezing the shell 12 between the puncture tubes 82, 84, ultimately causing the shell 12 to rupture. This releases the inhibiting substance within the shell 12 into an interior region 86 of the atomization matrix, from which the inhibiting substance escapes via exit orifices 88 similar to the exit orifices 64, described above.
Referring next to
The projectile system 90 of
Shown are the shell 12 mounted to a stabilizer body 106 (which is another embodiment of a projectile body), which has a puncture tube 108. An impact piston 110 is slidable within a piston cylinder 111 formed at a forward portion of the atomization matrix 104. The shell 12 is located between the impact piston 110 and the puncture tube 108. Advantageously, the atomization matrix 104 is located at a rearward section of the projectile system and exit orifices 114 that make up the atomization matrix 104 are angled forward so as to direct inhibiting substance escaping therethrough toward the front of the projectile, i.e., toward the target. The impact piston 110 of the present embodiment preferably includes a rubber tip 116 aimed at minimizing damage to the target.
Upon impact with the target, the impact piston 110 is forced rearward by impact against the target, squeezing the shell 12 between the impact piston 110 and the puncture tube 108, ultimately causing the shell 12 to rupture. Such rupturing of the shell 12 releases the inhibiting substance within the shell 12 into an interior region 118 of the atomization matrix 104, from which the inhibiting substance escapes via the exit orifices 114 which orifices direct the escaping substance toward the target.
Referring next to
Shown are a plurality of radially oriented exit orifices 116 emanating from a central release chamber 118 into which a valve 120 expels inhibiting substance upon being rearwardly displaced. Also shown are the stabilizer body 80 and a piston 92. The piston 92 is bullet-shaped, similar to the piston 92 shown in
Upon impact, the piston 92 is displaced rearwardly within the cylinder 122, which forces the puncture tube 82 into the valve 120. In response to a force applied by the puncture tube 82, the valve 120 is rearwardly displaced. In response to such rearward displacement, the valve 120 releases the inhibiting substance into the central release chamber 118, from which the inhibiting substance escapes through the exit orifices 116, thereby dispersing the inhibiting substance proximate to the target. Preferably the exit orifices 116 are angled forward so as to better direct the inhibiting substance to the target.
The inhibiting substance is contained within the canister 112 which is formed in, or inserted into a portion 124 of the stabilizer body 114 in front of the stabilizer section. Within the canister 112, the inhibiting substance is pressurized so that it is readily expelled when the valve 120 is opened. The inhibiting substance may be pressurized using, e.g., compressed air techniques or aerosol techniques, such as are known in the art.
Shown are a plurality of radially oriented exit orifices 116 emanating from a central release chamber 118 into which a valve 120 expels the inhibiting substance upon being rearwardly displaced. Also shown are the stabilizer body 80 and a piston 92. The piston 92 is bullet-shaped, similar to the piston shown in
Upon impact the piston 92 is displaced rearwardly within the cylinder 122, which forces the pressurized canister 112 into the valve 120. In response to the force on the valve 120, the valve 120 is rearwardly displaced causing it to open and release the inhibiting substance into the central release chamber 118, from which the inhibiting substance escapes through the exit orifices 116, thereby dispersing the inhibiting substance proximate to the target.
Concomitantly with the rearward displacement of the piston 92, piston locks 256 lock the piston in its displaced position, which in turn locks the pressurized canister 112 in its displaced position, holding the valve 120 in an open state. The piston locks 256 may, for example, operate in a ratchet fashion.
The adhesive material 252 and mechanical attachment system 254, which may comprise a plurality of barbed tips 254, assure that once the projectile system 250 impacts the target it will attach to the target during release of the inhibiting substance, so as to increase the effectivity of the inhibiting substance against the target. The adhesive material is preferably centrally located on a forward end of the piston 92, whereas the barbed tips 254 preferably are located peripherically around the forward end of the piston 92. (Note that in variations of the present embodiment either the adhesive material 252 or the mechanical attachment 254 may be used alone, instead of in combination with each other.)
Upon firing of the twelve-gauge shotgun shell 302, the black powder 310 is ignited, which causes the expansion of gases forcing the wadding 308 and the rosin bag 304 or capsules 303 and diaphragms 305 out of the twelve-gauge shotgun shell 302. Such forcing out of the wadding 308 and the rosin bag 304 or capsules 303 and diaphragms 305 breaks the airtight seal 306. With respect to rosin bag 304 of
Referring next to
Projectiles similar to these described above may be made in calibers other than 12 gauge to fit different types of launchers.
Multi-Functional Custom Launch Devices
As can be imagined, law enforcement personnel or individuals may become “bogged down” with an assortment of devices. For example, a law enforcement agent may carry a gun or similar weapon, a baton, a flashlight, an inhibiting sprayer (e.g. tear gas), a radio, or other devices common to such professions, in addition to carrying a launching device that delivers the above mentioned non-lethal projectiles. Furthermore, in a time of need, the law enforcement agent may find it difficult to sort through the available devices quickly to select the appropriate device for use in a particular situation. Disadvantageously, the sheer number of devices carried by law enforcement personnel may become cumbersome and reduce mobility.
Thus, several of the embodiments shown below combine various functioning devices within the non-lethal projectile launching device, essentially enabling the user to carry one multi-functional launch device. The inventors of multi-functional launch devices are not aware of a prior art recognition of the problem of persons, in particular, law enforcement personnel, becoming bogged down with equipment and a subsequent need to free space occupied by many differently functioning devices by combining several functions into one integrated device. Some of the specific functions intended to be combined with the non-lethal projectile launching device are: flashlight functions, striking functions (e.g. a club or baton shaped launcher), siren/alarm functions, inhibitor spray functions (e.g. tear gas), marking functions (e.g. dyes and other marking sprays or malodorants), and pager functions.
While various devices are shown, it is to be appreciated that the projectiles described above with reference to
Referring first to
Within a handle portion of such baton, a valve switch 412 and a propellent cylinder 414 are housed. A removable cap 416 on an end of the handle portion can be used to load the propellant cylinder 414 into the device 400. When launch of a projectile is desired, the valve 412 is opened by operation of a button or trigger (not shown) which releases a measured amount of propellent from the propellent cylinder 414 into the barrel 410 behind the single projectile system 418. This propellent is preferably CO2 or another compressed gas, such as nitrogen and air, for example, and propels the single projectile 418 down the barrel and out the end of the launch device toward a target. When reloading of the device is desired, another removable cap 420 is removed, along with the spring 406, and a plurality of projectiles are loaded into the chamber 402 behind the flapper valve 408.
Advantageously, the user of this embodiment of the custom launch device 400 does not have to carry a separate non-lethal projectile launcher and a separate baton since both functions are conveniently provided for in the same apparatus. Thus, less physical space is occupied on the person of a law enforcement officer, for example.
An additional benefit of the multi-functional launch devices described in
Referring next to
Optionally, a laser targeting system 1241 may be incorporated into (or attached to) the launcher. In a preferred embodiment, the laser targeting system 1241 may consist of a laser beam incorporated into the front of the launching device to help aim the device. A laser beam may also serve as a warning to a human target. Also shown are a propellent cylinder 458 (or canister or cartridge), a valve switch 460, a projectile system 462, a barrel 464 and a removable cap 466.
Advantageously, the custom launch device 450, with or without a laser targeting system, combines the functions of acting as a flashlight (i.e. illuminating function), a projectile launcher, and depending on the construction of the flashlight, could provide a kinetic function to be used as a striking device as well. As a multi-functional device, a flashlight-launching combination will have variable sizes depending on the specifications of the launcher and flashlight. However, in a preferred embodiment, a device measuring 16 inches will enable functionality of both the launcher and flashlight in a relatively compact size. Therefore, a user does not have to carry a separate flashlight and a separate non-lethal projectile launcher since both functions are integrated into the same apparatus.
When firing of the projectile system 462 is desired, the removal cap 466, which may be attached on one side, such as by a hinge, is opened, the device 450 is aimed at the target and the valve switch 460 is opened by the depression of a button or trigger (not shown). The opening of the valve switch 460 releases propellent gas from the propellent cylinder 458 into the barrel 464 behind the projectile system 462, thus propelling the projectile system 462 down the barrel 464 toward the target whereat it delivers the inhibiting substance to the target.
Referring next to
Except as noted hereinabove, the structure and operation of the launch device depicted in
Referring next to
Referring next to
Advantageously, the launch device 1100 and launcher body 1101 depicted is in the form of a PR24 police baton, similar to the launch devices as depicted in
The user activates the launch device 1100 by pushing the trigger (not shown), which causes the actuator assembly 1118 to puncture the propellant canister 1120 and release a regulated (or unregulated) burst of compressed gas, as is common in the art or paint ball and compressed gas launchers. The propellant canister 1120 is typically a compressed gas, such as CO2, Nitrogen, air or another gas, and is replaceable upon depletion. The burst of compressed gas is directed by the regulator 1116 (which acts as a valve switch) such that the bolt assembly 1114 is moved back allowing a projectile 1110 to be positioned in the barrel 1122 by the loader 1105 and first spring 1112. The regulator 1116 directs a portion of the burst of compressed gas through a central passageway 1128 of the bolt assembly 1114 at the projectile; thus, propelling the projectile 1110 down the barrel toward the target.
Advantageously, the user of this embodiment of the custom launch device 1100 does not have to carry a separate non-lethal projectile launcher and a separate baton since both functions are conveniently provided for in the same apparatus. Thus, less physical space is occupied on the person of a law enforcement officer, for example.
In some embodiments, a secondary canister 1124 is used which may comprise an inhibiting spray canister, a marking spray, or a siren, for example. In operation, the baton shaped launching device 1100 can be turned such that the barrel 1122 is pointing down toward the ground and the spray nozzle 1126 is depressed by the user, which causes a spray of compressed material to be released from the secondary canister 1124. For example, the secondary canister 1124 may be a tear gas canister, as is known in the art, or may contain liquid oleoresin capsicum (liquid OC) or liquid capsaicin. Again, advantageously, the multi-functional launch device 1100 replaces a baton, a non-lethal projectile launcher, and an inhibiting sprayer. In additional embodiments, the secondary canister 1124 may contain a marking substance or malodorant that is used to mark or tag suspects for identification. The secondary canister 1124 may also be a siren (also referred to as a “screamer”), which functions as a panic alarm by emitting a loud scream when the spray nozzle 1126 is depressed. Such secondary canisters 1124 should be designed to withstand a physical blow in the event the multi-functional launcher is used as a baton, and preferably has a cap or lock over the secondary canister (not shown), such that the secondary canister 1124 is not activated accidentally.
Referring next to
The cartridge body 1150 contains two types of spray canisters instead of the one secondary canister 1124 as shown in
In operation, the user simply depresses the button 1160 which applies pressure to both spray nozzles 1154 and 1158, releasing a spray of inhibitor (tear gas/OC) and at the same time releases a loud shrieking noise as a panic alarm. Additionally, the spray canisters may contain any other of the types of pressurized contents discussed, including markers, malodorants, etc, as described throughout the specification. Thus, advantageously, the baton-shaped multi-functional launch device 1100 of
Referring next to
In practice, the multi-functional custom launch device 1200 advantageously combines a non lethal projectile launch device into a flashlight body 1201 to form a single multi-functional launch device. Thus, law enforcement personnel do have to carry a separate non-lethal projectile launcher and a separate flashlight. As compared to the launching device as shown in
Furthermore, the multi-functional launch device 1200 can fire multiple projectiles without having to be reloaded since multiple projectiles 1204 are stored in the chamber 1202. The multiple projectiles may be fired in rapid succession (i.e. rapid fire) by using existing paint ball launching techniques that cause the loader 1206 to reload a new projectile 1204 into the barrel 1212 immediately after firing. Projectiles 1204 are loaded into the device through the removable cap 1210 and then stored in the chamber 1202. The embodiment shown holds 6 projectiles 1204, but can be configured to hold more or less depending on the ultimate size of the projectile 1204 (i.e. diameter) and the length of the chamber 1202 within the multi-functional launch device 1200. The projectiles 1204 are held into place within the chamber 1202 by a loader 1206 and the first spring 1208. The loader 1206 is positioned within the front end (i.e. the end toward the bulb 1226 or the front of the flashlight body 1201) of the chamber 1202 such that the loader 1206 prevents projectiles from entering the barrel 1212 until the launch device 1200 is ready to fire. The first spring 1208 places pressure on the loader 1206 which slides easily within the chamber 1202.
In firing the multi-functional custom launch device 1200, the trigger (not shown) is pressed by the user which causes the actuator assembly 1220 to puncture the propellant canister 1216. The trigger may have a locking clip or cover that will not allow the trigger to be pressed unintentionally. The actuator assembly 1220 engages the regulator 1218 (which acts similar to the valve switch 460 of
The actuator assembly 1220 and the regulator 1218 either release a metered, regulated or an unregulated burst of high pressure gas. The pressurized gas then flows through a central passageway (not shown) of the bolt assembly 1214, which supports the projectile within the barrel 1212. In this embodiment, the bolt assembly 1214 is stationary (as opposed to the movable bolt assembly 1114 of
Depending on the specific launcher configuration, a single depression of the trigger may cause the actuator assembly 1220 to release a continuous flow of pressurized gas which will cause projectiles 1204 to be rapidly fired until there are no more projectiles or there is no more pressurized gas in the propellant canister 1216. Alternatively, metered pressurized bursts of gas may be released and timed such that the bursts are released in rapid succession. For example, as many as 3-6, and up to 12 projectiles may be launched a second. In another embodiment, a single depression of the trigger may cause only sufficient pressurized gas to be released to launch one projectile 1204. Thus, to launch several projectiles, the user must physically press the trigger several times.
The projectiles are prevented from rolling out (or falling out) of the barrel by the retaining assembly (not shown), in the event the launch device is held at a downward angle. The retaining assembly is typically a small bump, or similar structure, which holds the projectile in place against the bolt assembly 1214 in the barrel 1212, but does not prevent the projectile 1204 from firing.
In an alternative embodiment, the multi-functional custom launch device 1200 may include an inhibiting spray function. As such a pressurized canister of an inhibiting substance (not shown), such as tear gas, oleoresin capsicum, capsaicin, marker, or a malodorant may be attached into the end of the chamber at the removable cap similar to the secondary canister 1124 shown in
In a further embodiment, an electronics portion 1232 and an electronics button 1230 are included. The electronics button 1230 is a simple push (on/off) button that activates the functionality of the electronics section 1232 (i.e. electronics circuitry). Alternatively, the electronics button 1230 may actually be several buttons, depending on the functionality of the electronics portion 1232.
In one embodiment, the electronics button 1232 activates a panic feature such that a radio frequency (RF) transmitter (not shown) within the electronics section 1232 sends an RF signal from the multi-functional custom launch device 1200. The RF signal function may simply send a signal to an appropriate RF receiver in a custom home security system. For example, the RF signal instructs the home security system to automatically call the police or security. This feature may automatically occur during the launch of projectiles. This feature is very useful in a home security application, such that if a user (e.g. home owner) is required to use the launch device 1200 against an intruder, the electronics section 1232 will automatically send an RF signal to the home security system, which will respond by dialing the police or other security according to home security system protocol. Alternatively, the RF transmitter may send an RF signal to a nearby police vehicle which is then instructed to call in for backup. For example, the police vehicle that receives the RF signal from the multi-functional launch device 1200 will automatically radio headquarters or other nearby officers for backup according to a configured protocol.
The launching components of the multi-functional custom launch device 1200 (except for the projectiles 1204 themselves) are well known in the art of paint ball launchers. Rapid fire techniques and the structure enabling such techniques are further known in the art of paint ball launchers. The multi-functional custom launch device is a combination of known paint ball launching technologies and other known technologies incorporated into conventional flashlight packaging; thus, further explanation of the operation and construction of the launch device is not needed.
Referring next to
Referring next to
In operation, the user (for example, a home owner) is able to illuminate a target 1254 with the beam of light 1250 from the multi-functional launch device 1200, while at the same time, firing a non-lethal projectile 1204 at the target 1254. In this embodiment, upon firing a non-lethal projectile 1204, the RF transmitter 1253 of the multi-function launch device 1200 automatically sends an RF signal 1254 to the security system 1256, which is received by the RF receiver 1257. In response to the RF signal 1254, the security system 1256 automatically dials the police or other security for help.
Alternatively, this embodiment could be used by police officers, such that the RF signal 1254 is sent to an appropriate receiver within the police officer's squad car. The receiver in the squad car then radios other officers or police headquarters for backup. Thus, the multi-functional launch device 1200 provides paging functions, as well as the lighting functions and launcher functions. As can be readily seen in
Referring next to
In operation, non-lethal projectiles, such as described with reference to
Next referring to
The casing 5202 is shaped to fit within a chamber 5110 of the cylinder 5106. The casing 5202 includes a propellant canister 5204 that contains a compressed gas, such as carbon dioxide, air, or nitrogen, at a relatively high pressure (e.g. between 400 and 4000 psi). The propellant canister 5204 is held in position within the casing 5202 by first the canister seals 5206. Ideally, these canister seals 5206 allow the propellant canister 5204 to be moved into the casing 5202 without allowing the propellant canister 5204 to slip or fall out of the casing 5202. Furthermore, they seal or prevent released compressed gas from exiting the rear of the casing 5202.
In operation, the hammer 5104 of the launcher 5100 impacts the propellant canister 5204, moving or forcing it into the actuator 5208, which contains a sharpened point or end. The actuator 5208 punctures the propellant canister 5204 and allows the compressed gas to escape the canister 5204. The compressed gas follows a path typically extending through a hollow opening within the actuator 5208 (i.e., the actuator 5208 is hollow in this embodiment), which extends through wall 5210, directly behind the projectile 5214 to be launched. The projectile 5214 is held in position by the projectile retaining seal 5212. However, the release of the compressed gas behind the projectile 5214 and against the wall 5210 of the casing 5202 applies enough pressure against the projectile 5214 such that the projectile 5214 is pushed past or overcomes the retaining force of the projectile retaining seal 5212 and is propelled through the barrel 5108 at a high speed. Thus, the projectile 5214 is launched while the remainder of the casing 5202 remains in the chamber or is ejected from the chamber like a shotgun shell. Note that the propellant canister 5204 is held by the canister seals 5206 such that the canister 5204 is prevented from being pushed back away from the actuator by the first o-rings 5206 and the hammer 5104 contacting the propellant canister 5204. Furthermore, the canister seals 5206 prevent the released compressed gas from exiting the rear of the casing 5202 between the canister seals and the canister 5204; thus, substantially all of the pressure of the compressed gas is released behind and launches the projectile 5214 through the barrel 5108. Each projectile system 5200 is typically designed as a one-shot device, such that multiple projectile systems 5200 are loaded into the multi-chamber 5110 cylinder. The projectile systems 5200 may be discarded after use. It is noted that the skilled artist could easily slightly alter the interior of the projectile system 5200, such as the various components of the projectile system 5200, for example, the canister seals 5206, the projectile retaining seal 5212, and/or the shape and design of the actuator 5208, wall 5210, and propellant canister 5204 depending on the specific use of the projectile system 5200.
Referring next to
And finally, referring next to
This embodiment is intended to be a small handheld personal safety device that may be placed in a pocket or purse to inhibit a target, e.g. an attacker before the attacker gets too close, for example, by launching a non-lethal projectile at the attacker. Advantageously, the device further includes a spray nozzle 5408 and canister to be used at very close ranges and eliminates the need to have two separate personal safety devices, contained, for example, within a user's purse.
Although, the specific internal composition is not shown, the skilled artist could easily construct such an embodiment given the earlier descriptions, for example, with reference to
Additionally, such hand held paint ball launcher technology is well known in the art; however, in this case is simply being applied in a different size constraint, for example, a differently sized and shaped launcher body 5402. For example, the launcher body 5402 may include, as earlier described, an inhibiting spray canister, a spray nozzle, a propellant canister, an actuator (controlled by the firing button 5412) for releasing pressurized gas from the canister behind a non-lethal projectile, a bolt assembly (or equivalent thereof), a regulator, a retaining assembly and a reservoir holding, for example, up to 6 non-lethal projectiles 5406.
Further, no known devices can be currently used to deliver pain compliance, kinetic impact and an irritant all directed to a specific target from a distance in a single projectile.
While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.