US 20060027223 A1
The present embodiments provide compact launching apparatuses for use in launching non-lethal projectiles. Some embodiments provide handheld apparatuses for use in launching non-lethal projectiles that include a source of compressed gas, an expansion chamber cooperated with the source of gas to receive gas released from the source of gas, a barrel having a bore aligned with an output of the expansion chamber, and a burst disk positioned between the barrel bore and the output of the expansion chamber. The burst disk is configured to rupture releasing the gas within the expansion chamber when the pressure within the expansion chamber. Some embodiments provide for quick reload devices with disposable portions of the apparatus. Some embodiments contain a gas pressure diffuser to enhance the ability to simultaneously launch multiple frangible projectiles. The present embodiments can be used offensively, and defensively as protection against threatening humans or animals.
1. A handheld apparatus for use in launching non-lethal projectiles, comprising:
a source of compressed gas;
an expansion chamber cooperated with the source of gas to receive gas released from the source of gas;
a barrel having a bore coupled with an output of the expansion chamber; and
a burst disk positioned between the barrel bore and the output of the expansion chamber, where the burst disk is configured to rupture releasing the gas within the expansion chamber.
2. The apparatus of
3. The apparatus of
a puncture pin; and
a spring compressed against the gas source, such that the spring when released drives the compressed gas onto the puncture pin.
4. The apparatus of
a gas cartridge housing having a spring flange in contact with the spring; and
the source of gas is a compressed gas cartridge positioned within the gas cartridge housing.
5. The apparatus of
a puncture pin; and
a spring compressed against the puncture pin, such that the spring when released drives the puncture pin into the compressed gas source.
6. The apparatus of
an actuator comprising a retaining member and a receiving cavity, where the retaining member maintains a position of the source of gas until the actuator is activated such that the retaining member is received into the receiving cavity releasing the source of gas.
7. The apparatus of
an activation system comprising an actuator and a first portion of the barrel; and
a propelling system comprising the source of gas, the expansion chamber, a second portion of the barrel and the burst disk, where the propelling system is detachable from the activation system.
8. The apparatus of
an electrically activated actuator cooperated with the source of gas to initiate the release of the gas.
9. The apparatus of
a puncture pin, where the electrically activated actuator comprises an electrically ignitable explosive substance that drives the source of gas onto the puncture pin.
10. The apparatus of
a puncture pin, where the electrically activated actuator comprises an electrically ignitable explosive substance that drives the puncture pin into the source of gas.
11. The apparatus of
12. The apparatus of
a puncture pin comprising a back seal, where the puncture pin is movably secured with the expansion chamber and the puncture pin is configured to puncture the source of gas releasing the gas and to be forced back from the gas source due to the released gas such that a gas seal is formed with the expansion chamber.
13. A relatively compact apparatus for use in launching non-lethal projectiles, comprising:
an activation system comprising an actuator; and
a propelling system comprising a source of compressed gas, an expansion chamber cooperated with the source of gas to receive the gas, and a first portion of a barrel coupled with the expansion chamber to receive the gas from the expansion chamber, where the propelling system is detachable from the activation system.
14. The apparatus of
15. The apparatus of
16. The apparatus of
17. The apparatus of
18. The apparatus of
19. The apparatus of
20. The apparatus of
21. The apparatus of
22. The apparatus of
23. The apparatus of claim 28, wherein the propelling system further comprises a gas source housing that contains the source of gas, and the expansion chamber extends into the gas cartridge housing such that the source of gas is contained within the expansion chamber.
24. The apparatus of
25. The apparatus of
at least one non-lethal projectile launched from the barrel, wherein the projectile contains and inhibiting substance to be dispersed upon impact at least proximate an animal to inhibit the animal.
26. The apparatus of
at least one non-lethal projectile launched from the barrel, wherein the projectile contains and inhibiting substance to be dispersed upon impact at least proximate a human to inhibit the human.
27. The apparatus of
The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/570,548, filed May 12, 2004, entitled COMPACT PROJECTILE LAUNCHER FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE, which application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The present invention relates to a projectile launching system and, more particularly to non-lethal projectile launching systems.
For several decades, Law Enforcement agencies have used various non-lethal weapons to gain control of suspects, quell riots, save hostages, and the like. Many of these non-lethal weapons typically require a large launcher platform such as a shotgun, rifle or pistol to deploy projectiles. These generally large platforms can make the use of these launchers cumbersome in some circumstances, and generally are not easily carried.
To date, other than pepper spray, the general public typically has not had access to a simple, low cost, non-lethal projectile launcher. Further, there are generally no non-leather projectile launchers that are easily carried and used for personal defense at home, in the car or when on foot.
The present invention advantageously addresses the above-identified needs, as well as other needs, by providing compact launching apparatuses for use in launching non-lethal projectiles. Some embodiments provide handheld apparatuses for use in launching non-lethal projectiles that include a source of compressed gas, an expansion chamber cooperated with the source of gas to receive gas released from the source of compressed gas, a barrel having a bore aligned with an output of the expansion chamber, and a burst disk positioned between the barrel bore and the output of the expansion chamber. The burst disk is configured to rupture releasing the gas within the expansion chamber when the pressure within the expansion chamber is about equivalent with a defined relationship between the pressure and a launch threshold.
Some embodiments provide relatively compact apparatus for use in launching non-lethal projectiles. These embodiments can include an activation system comprising an actuator, and a propelling system comprising a source of gas, an expansion chamber cooperated with the source of gas to receive the gas, and a first portion of a barrel aligned with the expansion chamber to receive the gas from the expansion chamber. The propelling system and actuator system are further configured such that the propelling system is detachable from the activation system.
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:
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 a target. For example, at least with some 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. This projectile body may be a variety of shapes, for example, the projectile body may be oblong, spherical or other shapes depending on the specific embodiment. In some embodiments, the projectile includes stabilizers or other aspects to provide a straighter or more accurate flight path. In some embodiments, the projectile body may be embodied as a stabilizer body, for example, which apparatus travels to the target.
The present embodiments provide non-lethal projectile launchers that are relatively compact in size to allow ease of portability and handling when in use. Further, these compact projectile launchers are designed with reduced complexity to simplify assembly, improve reliability and reduce cost to the consumer. These low cost, non-lethal projectile launchers can be used by the general public, law enforcement and/or security personnel to defend against threatening persons or animals. The relatively small sizes allow the launchers to easily fit in a user's hand, a purse, pocket, glove box and the like, and can be configured to launch one or more types of projectiles including but not limited to projectiles described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839; 6,393,992; 6,543,365; and 6,546,874 each incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
Some compressed gas launchers for projectiles are known. Most of these launchers were designed for the paintball market. However, virtually all of these products typically utilize mechanical valve mechanisms to regulate the gas used in propelling the projectiles. Some valve mechanisms can be complex with moving parts.
The present embodiments in part provide for a more reliable and consistent operation by, in part, employing one or more rupture disks and avoid the need for mechanical valves. Further, the use of rupture disks greatly reduces the complexity of the launcher design and operation, resulting in a low cost, highly-reliable launcher mechanism.
Some present embodiments use a relatively simple compressed gas mechanism to propel lethal or non-lethal projectiles to a target. The compressed gas can be supplied to the launcher through an external source and/or compressed gas cartridges can be incorporated into the launchers. Disposable compressed gas cartridges are utilized in some instances, further reducing costs and simplifying designs. By utilizing disposable compressed gas cartridges filled, for example, with air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide or other gases, some embodiments may be fabricated as a disposable (e.g., one time use) and/or reloadable launchers. Launchers can be configured to launch one or multiple projectiles at a time. Further, the launcher can launch one or multiple projectiles through one or multiple barrels using various configurations. The launcher designs at least in part further solve the technical issues associated with achieving accurate, reliable, high velocity shots from a short barreled device. As described fully below, some embodiments employ a small disposable gas cartridge that can be utilized to provide effective non-lethal muzzle velocity to accurately launch one or multiple projectiles at the same time from a relatively short and/or very short barreled launcher. For example, the barrels in some embodiments have a length of less than six times the width or diameter of a projectile launched from the launcher.
The compressed gas 122, as introduced above, can be added to a compressed gas cavity within the launcher, added through a removable compressed gas cartridge or other configurations. Further, the gas used to generate the desired pressure within the expansion chamber 124 can include air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, substantially any relevant compressed gas and/or combinations of gases can be used. In some instances, the compressed gas 122 is in the form of a liquid when compressed and that rapidly converts to a gaseous state when released. As such, some embodiments use the expansion chamber and release mechanism to allow a phase shift from liquid to gas for a propellant such as carbon dioxide, thus achieving relatively high velocity performance from a short barreled launcher 120.
Typically, carbon dioxide pressurized in a cartridge is in a liquid state at room temperature. When the compressed carbon dioxide is released into the expansion chamber a combination of liquid and gaseous carbon dioxide is released. As the liquid carbon dioxide expands, it phase shifts to gas. The inventors have determined that if incomplete phase shift takes place, some of the carbon dioxide fails to convert to a gaseous state and can be seen exiting the barrel 132 as a white vapor (e.g., a fog). Since liquids are generally incompressible, this liquid carbon dioxide fog typically does not have the same propulsion force or power as the gaseous carbon dioxide. Thus, typically the more gaseous carbon dioxide volume behind the projectile the higher the muzzle velocity of the projectile, and conversely the more liquid carbon dioxide present the lower the muzzle velocity of the projectile. (Boyle's and Charles Laws). The present embodiments, in part, employ the expansion chamber 124 to allow adequate expansion and/or phase shift of liquid carbon dioxide to a gaseous carbon dioxide resulting in more effective launcher designs.
Additionally and/or alternatively, some embodiments solve these technical issues by employing the release mechanism 126 to allow a volume of gas to build up in the expansion chamber 124 to a sufficiently high pressure before the projectile(s) begins to move. The result is that in some implementations one or many projectiles can be propelled at relatively high velocities. Without this buildup of gas volume and pressure in the expansion chamber, a small orifice hole punched into a conventional disposable gas cartridge radically restricts the gas flow rate out of the cartridge and can severely limit a muzzle velocity of the projectile, resulting in motion of the projectile at lower pressures which translates into lower launch velocities which may be ineffective to deter attackers and/or provide adequate protection to the user.
Some embodiments use the expansion chamber and rupture disk with one or more high pressure gas cartridges filled with air, nitrogen or other gases that do not require a phase shift from liquid to gas. The rupture disk and expansion chamber allow sufficient gas volume to buildup behind the projectile(s) to achieve effective muzzle velocities that are typically higher and in many implementations much higher than velocities that can be achieved utilizing only the restricted flow rate through a puncture hole of a typical disposable gas cartridge.
The actuator 130 activates the launcher 120 to initiate and launch the projectile 134. In some implementations, the actuator is implemented as a trigger, a button to release a spring mechanism, a levered wedge mechanism that forces the disposable compressed gas cartridge into a puncture pin or a pin into the cartridge releasing high pressure gas, an explosive device, or substantially any other relevant mechanism to initiate the release of the compressed gas 122, such as puncturing a sealed compressed gas cartridge.
As described above, the launcher 120 is a compact launcher having a relatively small size. For example, some embodiments have dimensions such that the launcher easily fits into an average sized hand. Some launcher embodiments have lengths that are less than about seven inches, widths that are less than about six inches, and thicknesses that are about less than three inches. Other embodiments have longer lengths with shorter heights, while still others have larger heights with shorter lengths. For example, some embodiments have lengths that are less than about 10 inches, with heights and/or thicknesses that are less than about 2 inches, other embodiments may have heights that are less than about two inches with lengths that are less than about five inches. Other smaller or larger configurations and/or dimensions can be utilized to achieve the desired size and/or weight.
The actuator assembly 224 in some embodiments includes a trigger button, lever or slide 250, a trigger groove or slot 252, a receiving cavity 254, and a retaining member 256. The trigger button moves along the groove 252 formed in the body 222 of the launching apparatus 220. The trigger button 250 includes the receiving cavity 254 into which the retaining member 256 is received upon sliding the trigger button along the groove 252 to activate the launching apparatus 220 (e.g., sliding the trigger button 250 in a direction toward the output end of the barrel 132, or in other embodiments sliding the trigger button away from the output end).
In a non-activated state, the trigger button 250 is positioned such that the receiving cavity 254 is out of alignment with the retaining member 256 that is maintained in a retaining member aperture such that a portion of the retaining member extends into the cartridge bore 230 within which the gas cartridge 226 and holder 228 are positioned. The retaining member 256 further contacts a portion of the holder 228 to maintain a positioning of the holder when the spring 232 is compressed.
The holder 228 shown in
Upon a user moving the trigger button 250, for example with the embodiment of
Once the receiving cavity 254 is partially aligned with the retaining member 256, the retaining member begins to shift into the receiving cavity allowing the potential energy of the compressed spring to drive and/or propel the holder 228 and cartridge 226 rapidly toward the puncture pin 236. The puncture pin is secured with the housing 222, and can be constructed of metal, plastic or other relevant material capable of puncturing the cartridge. The puncture pin punctures the cartridge releasing the compressed gas and/or liquid through and/or around the puncture pin and into the expansion chamber 124. The burst disk 240 is secured with the housing 222 defining a barrier between the barrel 132 and the expansion chamber 124 such that the pressure within the expansion chamber builds as the gas and/or liquid is released into the chamber. The burst diaphragm is configured to release the expanded gas when the pressure within the expansion chamber approximately equals a threshold level.
The burst disk in some embodiments is a disposable rupture disk membrane secured between the barrel and the expansion chamber. When the gas pressure in the expansion chamber volume reaches the stress limits of the membrane material of the burst disk, the disk ruptures and the expanded gas is released to accelerate one or more projectiles out of barrel or guide 132. The burst disk can be constructed of Mylar®, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Polyester film, paper, plastics, metal, and substantially any other relevant material that maintains the expanding gas within the expansion chamber allowing gas pressure to build until a predefined and/or desired pressure is attained at which point the burst disk ruptures.
The diaphragm may rupture by exceeding the stress limit of the material, alternatively by coming in contact with a sharp device that causes the burst disk to puncture releasing the built-up gas, and/or by breaking a seal or other means securing the burst disk. The burst disk 240, in some implementations, is scored to control or change the pressure at which the disk bursts. The scoring can be in substantially any configuration to establish weakening points that allow, in some implementations, more precise and consistent bursting at desired pressure thresholds. Additionally and/or alternatively, the burst disk under pressure may be designed to burst using other methods such as: mechanical cutting or piercing of the disk; using heated coils or electrical arcs to create or melt an initial hole in the rupture disk; or other methods of aiding rupturing the diaphragm material. Other present embodiments of the launching apparatus 220 employ one or more of a mechanical valve that open; a fixed diaphragm that opens by moving, folding and the like without rupture (e.g., using magnets that release at defined pressures); a friction held or other types of gas plug; and/or other relevant types of gas retainer design methods that can be made to move or open to allow gas flow. The burst disk 240, valve and/or gas plug at least in part allows sufficient gas pressure and volume to buildup behind projectile(s), and once the burst disk is released or opened releases the gas establishing effective launch velocities of the projectile(s).
The combination of expansion chamber 124 and burst disk 240 design allows sufficient gas volume and pressure to build up to enable the use of short barrels on the launcher. The expansion chamber also allows time for a liquid to gas phase shift to occur if compressed carbon dioxide is used. These components together at least in part allow for the design of a very compact hand-held launcher that provides consistent launch velocities of projectiles with a relatively high degree of accuracy. In some implementations, the expansion chamber 124 includes a barrel attachment 420 (see
The launcher 620 is activated by a user squeezing the trigger 626 that in turn causes movement in the gearing 722. The gearing is coupled with the puncture pin 720 to drive the puncture pin into the gas cartridge and/or the cartridge into the puncture pin, puncturing the cartridge and releasing the gas into the expansion chamber 124. The expanding gas builds up pressure within the chamber to open or rupture the burst disk 240 releasing the pressure onto the projectiles 724 driving the projectiles from the barrel 630. The barrel, in some embodiments, is a removable and/or disposable barrel that can be supplied with the projectiles positioned within the barrel and secured with the launcher for launching of the projectiles.
The aiming mechanism 632 in some embodiments is a laser that can be used to illuminate a portion of a target that a user wants the projectile(s) to hit. In some implementations, the trigger 626 additionally actuate a switch (not shown) to turn on a laser that can be used to aim the launcher at the target for more effective targeting of projectiles onto the target. The laser can include internal power source to power the laser or the launcher 620 can include a power source (e.g., a disposable battery, re-chargeable battery, a capacitor, and/or other sources of power or combinations of power sources).
The barrel 630 is configured to be relatively short compared with many previous launching devices and significantly shorter than many previous non-lethal projectile launchers. For example, in some embodiments, the barrel is less than about eight times the diameter of a spherical projectile, and in other embodiments the barrel is less than about five times the diameter of a spherical projectile launched from the compact launcher. The compact launcher 620 maintains accurate launching of the projectile(s) by, in part, incorporating the burst disk 240 such that a threshold pressure is built up prior to releasing the pressure to propel the projectile. The threshold pressure provides a driving force on the projectile to propel the projectile from the barrel 630 at approximately a desired launch velocity. The launch velocity is dependent on the threshold pressure, the length of the barrel 630, the mass of the projectile and other factors. Again, the burst disk 240 can be configured to rupture or open at desired pressures to achieve consistent and desired launch velocities.
In some embodiments, the launch velocity of projectiles is between 25 and 80.0 miles per hour (mph), preferably between 50 and 400 mph which is generally less than launch velocities of standard firearm projectiles, and are non-lethal velocities because the projectiles typically do not penetrate a target (such as a human target). Further, because many embodiments of the projectile rupture and/or break upon impact, much of the kinetic force is absorbed, significantly reducing the force of impact and the lethality of the projectile. Some embodiments propel the projectile 2212 at velocities less than 700 mph, while some embodiments propel the projectile at less than 350 mph, depending on projectile mass, size, the force need to break the projectile and other similar factors.
The routing and expansion chamber is configured to direct the expanding gas toward the two burst disks 1030, 1032. In some embodiments, the routing and expansion chamber simultaneously routes the expanding gas to both the burst disks and thus both barrels such that the projectiles from each of the two barrels are launched at substantially the same time when the burst disks are configured to open and/or rupture at the same pressures. Other configurations include a switch or valve included in the compact projectile launcher 920 that initially directs the expanding gas to one of the burst disks and barrels (e.g., disk 1030 and barrel 930), and is activated based on timing from the actuation of the trigger and/or upon the opening or bursting of the first burst disk 1030 such that the continued release of gas from the cartridge is directed to the second burst disk 1032 causing the second burst disk 1032 to burst subsequent to the first disk.
In some implementations, the rectangular configuration of the launcher 1120 provides improved balance of the launcher in the user's hand. This improved balance increases accuracy. Further, by incorporating the trigger and grip into the single portion of the rectangular configuration, the overall size of the launcher can be reduced compared to some other configurations.
The end cap 1426 is positioned onto the body 1422 through threading, compression fit, tongue and groove or other relevant methods, and compresses the spring 1520 against the gas cartridge 226. Upon activation of the trigger 1526, the gas cartridge 226 is driven by the spring 1520 onto the puncture pin 1524 such that at least a portion of the gas or gases within the cartridge are released through the pin and into the expansion chamber 1530 where the expanding gas(es) build up pressure and volume exerting a force on the burst disk 1532. At predefined pressures the burst disk ruptures releasing the expanding gas(es) into the barrel. The expanding gas(es) released from in the expansion chamber exert forces on the projects overcoming the force provided by the projectile retainer 1536 such that the projectiles are accelerate along and out of the barrel 1534. The projectile retainer can be an o-ring, a protrusion in the barrel, wading or other relevant device for maintaining the positioning of the projectiles within the barrel, and typically proximate the burst disk. In some configurations, the projectile retainer 1536 is also propelled from the barrel along with the projectiles 1540, but typically is light weight and/or has relatively large air flow drag such that the projectile retainer travels only a relatively small distance as compared with the distance that the projectiles can be launched.
The compact launcher 1420 of
The end cap 1626 compresses the spring 1720 before each shot. In activating the trigger, the optional trigger safety cover 1724 is moved (e.g., rotated to expose the trigger). The trigger 1726 releases the spring 1720 propelling the gas cartridge 226 into the puncture pin 1724 releasing compressed gas into the expansion chamber 1730. The trigger spring returns the trigger to its initial position. The build-up of pressure and volume from the released gas into the expansion chamber cause the burst disk 1732 to rupture. The expanding gases accelerate one or more projectiles 1540 out the barrel 1630. The end cap is also used to replace the gas cartridge 226 after launching the one or more projectiles. The disposable reload barrel 1630 facilitates fast reloading, and can include one or more projectiles 1540, projectile retainer 1736 and a new burst disk 1732. This configuration also contains a laser mechanism 1632 that can be integrated to operate with the trigger actuation, independent of the trigger actuation, or integrated with the movement of the trigger safety cover.
The launcher 2220 of
Upon activation of the safety 224 and trigger latch 2422, the driver 2426 is released, and the spring forces the driver into the driver receiving port 2320 to contact the gas cartridge 226 and drive the cartridge into the pin seal 2522 and onto the puncture pin 236. The puncture pin punctures the cartridge such that the compressed gas flows through the pin and into the expansion chamber 224. The pin seal 2522 helps to seal the pin and the cartridge to limit, and preferably prevent gas from escaping from around the puncture pin. An output of the expansion chamber is aligned with an input of the barrel 2322. Similar to the embodiments described above, the expansion chamber receives the released gas allowing the gas to expand and build pressure and volume. When the pressure reaches a threshold level the burst disk 240 ruptures rapidly releasing the gas into the barrel 2322 propelling the projectiles and the projectile retainer 2526 along the propelling system portion of the barrel 2322, into the activation system portion of the barrel 2434, and out the output of the barrel.
The bodies 2530, 2440, and/or components can be made of metals, plastics, polymers, resins, reinforced polymers, and other material or combinations of materials. The projectile retainer and/or weather sealant 2526 is, for example, made from one or more pieces (e.g., two pieces) of Styrofoam and keeps moisture from entering into the cartridge. The retainer can be shaped to conform to a perimeter of a projectile on one side while being tapered on the other to increase air drag. The retainer in this and other embodiments can be optional and do not need to be included. Additionally, other materials may be used for the weather sealant, such as rubber, paper, plastic, synthetic foam, and other relevant materials. In operation, the burst disk releases the gas from the expansion chamber that is transferred to the barrel 2322 behind the projectiles 724 and weather sealant 2526. The one or more projectile 724 and the weather sealant 2526 are subsequently launched from the barrel. The weather sealant 4712 is designed to be much less aerodynamic as compared to the projectile 4708 and thus, generally falls to the ground well short of an intended target.
Similar to other embodiments described above, the propelling system can be configured as a disposable or replaceable cartridge that is easily replaced once the projectiles are launched. This allows for quick reloading of the compressed gas, burst disk and projectiles to allow rapid re-firing of projectiles when desired.
The gas is released through and/or around the puncture pin and into the expansion chamber 2642. The gas cartridge is contained within the expansion chamber thus eliminating the need for additional seals and thus delivering all of the released gas to the expansion chamber. The burst disk 2644 ruptures at about the defined pressure threshold driving the projectiles 724 over the retainer 2650 and launching the projectiles from the barrel 2646. The retainer in some embodiments is a ridge or slight rise in the side of the barrel over which the projectiles slightly compress, or can be flexible such that the retaining member is flexed or compressed as the projectiles pass the retaining member.
The laser assembly 2632 couples with the power source 2630 to receive power. In some implementations, the safety is additionally a laser assembly switch that activates the laser allowing power to be delivered to the laser when the safety is retracted away from the trigger switch 2624.
The launcher is configured in some embodiments such that the activation system 2712 can be detached from the propelling system 2714. Similarly, the gas cartridge housing 2734 and the barrel 2744 can be detachably secured with the expansion chamber system 2736. The coupling and securing of the activation system 2712 with the propelling system 2714, the cartridge housing with the expansion chamber system 2736, and the barrel 2744 with the expansion chamber system can be achieved through one or more of several method including screw threading, tongue and groove, snaps, friction fits, pins, rivets, bolts, and other such methods and/or combinations of methods. In the embodiment shown in
The trigger system includes the trigger button 2834, the safety recess 2836, a trigger spring 2840, a trigger slide 2842 that includes a driver aperture 2844, and a trigger slide groove 2846, which in some embodiments further includes a friction reduction mechanism or material 2850 such as a Teflon washer and/or coating positioned along the trigger slide 2842 and/or the slide groove 2846. The trigger spring 2840 is positioned between the trigger button 2834 and the frame 2832 and in an inactive state biases the trigger button in an up or inactive position. The trigger slide 2842 is secured with the trigger button such that when the trigger button is in the inactive position, the driver aperture 2844 cooperates and/or is in contact with a lip or rim 2856 of a driver 2854 of the puncture pin driver system 2726.
When the trigger button is activated following the shifting of the safety cover 2820 the safety tab 2822 is pulled way from and disengages the safety recess 2836 of the trigger button 2834. Once the safety tab is disengaged, the user can depress the trigger button 2834 compressing the trigger spring 2840 and forcing the trigger slide 2840 along the slide groove 2846. As the trigger slide 2840 is forced down it disengages with the rim 2856 of the driver 2854 allowing the driver to pass through the driver aperture 2844 as described fully below.
The puncture pin driver system 2726 includes the driver 2854 that has the rim 2856 and a spring flange 2860, a driver spring 2862, and a compression adjustment member 2864. In the inactive position, the driver spring 2862 is compressed between the spring flange 2860 of the driver 2854 and the compression adjustment member 2864. In some embodiments, the compression adjustment member is a threaded bolt or other similar device that engages the frame 2832 in an adjustable manner, such as threadedly engaging the frame, can be removed from the frame to allow the driver 2854 to be reset in the inactive position, and/or can be adjusted relative to the driver 2854 to allow the compression of the driver spring 2862 to be adjusted.
Upon activation of the trigger button 2834 the trigger slide 2842 slides along the slide groove 2846 such that the driver aperture 2844 disengages the rim 2856 of the driver. The force of the driver spring 2860 on the spring flange 2860 forces the driver 2854 through the driver aperture 2844 to contact the puncture pin 2730. The puncture pin is driven into the gas cartridge 2732 to puncture the gas cartridge causing the gas to be released.
The chamber seal 2924 is positioned between the chamber plate 2920 and the cavity plate 2922 to seal the expansion chamber cavity 2926 to prevent the expanding gas released from the gas cartridge from escaping the expansion chamber cavity. In some embodiments, the chamber seal 2924 is positioned within seal recesses formed in both the chamber plate and cavity plate. The chamber seal can have substantially any shape and is typically dependent on the shape of the chamber plate and/or cavity plate, and can further be formed of substantially any relevant material such as rubber, silicon, adhesive, wax, plastic, polymer, and other relevant materials or combinations of materials.
In some embodiments, the expansion chamber cavity is defined by volume within a single body formed through molded (e.g., injection molding), tooling or the like, or formed for pieces cooperated to form substantially a single unit through welding, gluing, sonic welded, resin, and other methods that do not require bolts, screws and/or expansion chamber seal 2924.
The expansion chamber cavity 2926 terminates at the burst disk 2740. In some embodiments, the burst disk includes and/or is positioned between one or more disk seals 2942. The disk seal(s) can include a seal positioned between the chamber plate 2920 and the burst disk, and/or a seal positioned between the burst disk and the diffuser plate 2742 and/or barrel 2744. The seal established by the disk seal prevents gas from passing around the burst disk and from leaking from the barrel. Additional seals can be included, such as a seal 2944 between the chamber plate 2920 and the cartridge housing 2734. Similar to the chamber seal 2924, the disk seal 2942 and/or seal 2944 have substantially any shape and are typically dependent on the shapes of the chamber plate, gas cartridge housing and barrel, and can further be formed of substantially any relevant material such as rubber, silicon, adhesive, wax, plastic, polymer, and other relevant materials or combinations of materials.
In some embodiments, the launcher further includes the diffuser plate 2742.
The diffusion plate can have many different shapes and/or designs. The holes or orifice(s) through which gas can pass can be circular, rectangular, one or more slits, grooves, spirals, or other configures. The diffusion plate additionally can be constructed of one or more different materials including, but not limited to, metal, plastic, polymer(s), wood, and other materials or combinations of materials. In other embodiments, the diffusion plate can be replaced with a porous material, screen, foam, aluminum foam, compressed matrix or matting of fibrous material, and/or other material or combination of materials to diffuse the gas flow.
The present embodiments can be utilized to launch many different types of projectiles, and can be fabricated to launch one or multiple projectiles from one or more barrels. Configurations with more than one barrel can also launch from each barrel separately giving multiple shots by duplicating one or more of the basic components of the trigger mechanism, gas handling components, burst disk, and other components for each barrel and/or desired number of shots. For example,
As indicated above, the compact launchers of the present embodiments can be used to launch different types of projectiles, and in particular different types of non-lethal projectiles.
Several embodiments have bee described above, each containing many components, and some containing sub-systems. It is noted that components and/or sub-systems can be interchanged into some of the other embodiments. Some of the launcher embodiments described here can additionally include puncture mechanisms as described in co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/570,549, filed May 12, 2004, entitled QUICK ACTION COMPRESSED GAS CARTRIDGE PUNCTURE MECHANISM, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
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.