US 3159080 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 1, 1964 G. H. FREED GUN SAFETY CATCH ACTUATING MEANS Filed April 4, 1961 INV EN TOR.
United States Patent 3,159,089 GUN SAFETY CATCH ACTUATING MEANS George H. Freed, Bloomfield Ave, Pine Brook, NJ.
Filed Apr. 4, 1961, Ser. No. 160,633
5 Claims. (Q1. 89-148) The invention relates to conventional automatic pistols of the type having a pivot type hammer safety catch usually in the form of a finger actuated lever mounted on one side of the pistol near the hammer. More particularly, the invention concerns an attachment device for such an automatic pistol which is primarily intended to facilitate prompt actuation of the hammer safety catch between its safety-0n and safety-off positions so as to significantly reduce the amount of time normally re-- quired to fully condition the hammer firing.
This application is a continuation-in-part of my pending application Serial No. 43,950, filed July 19, 1960, now abandoned. r
The significance of the invention ismore readily understood by a comparison between revolver. type pistols and automatic type pistols, and upon considering a principal reason in some instances for widespread adoption of revolver type pistols in preference to automatics even though automatic type pistols are the acknowledged superior in many respects. For example, an automatic pistol can be reloaded in a few seconds of time by inserting-a cartridge-filled ammunition clip into the magazine. of the firearm whereas a substantially greater amount of time is involved when reloading a revolverby inserting cartridges one at a time into the individual barrelchambers. In spite of this handicap, and in preference to automatics, a reason why revolver type pistols are selected as the standard firearm by, for example, police departments and similar agencies is that the revolver is conditioned for firing simply by exerting a strong pres sure on its trigger coincident with the firing of the first shot, the pressure being sufficient to overcome the double of the pistol for 'action of the trigger mechanism. On the other hand,
manual manipulation is first required to disengage the referred to safety catch of an automatic pistol prior to the first of successive shots being fired. It becomesapparent that in police work, were a policeman equipped with a conventional automatic pistol he would be under considerable disadvantage at the'moment of initiation of pistol gunplay against an adversary armed with a revolver; The revolver type pistol in the hands of the adversary could be fired in rapid succession, perhaps as many as three or four times, before a policeman armed with an automatic could respond.
An object of the present invention is to substantially extinguish the aforementioned advantage of the revolver pistol over the automatic pistol by providing means in an automatic pistol for positioning its conventional lever type safety catch in safety-off position contemporaneously with the firing of the first shot out of the pistol, and for subsequent convenient repositioning of the safety catch to its safety-on position.
A further object of the invention is to provide a pistol attachment piece for such purpose which may be conveniently attached to a conventional automatic pistol without necessitating modification of the pistol construction. Incorporation thereof into a usualtype of automatic pistol will therefore be relatively inexpensive.
Some manufacturers of automatic pistols have incorpo rated a double action trigger mechanism, similar to that found in the revolver, for the purpose of eliminating the hammer safety catch, or the undesirable necessity for always engaging the hammer. safety catch for safety at times when the pistol is not being used. As in the case of the revolver, however, it is known that such double action mechanism in the automatic impairs accuracy when firing the pistol. Accordingly, another object of the invention is to eliminate the need for double action mechanisms in automatic pistols by providing means for conveniently.
activating the hammer safety catches thereof, thus improving their accuracy'and, of course, also reducing initial costs in the manufacture of automatic pistols.
It is known that the firing accuracy can also be improved by providing a protruding thumb rest portion on the appropriate handle grip plate of anautomatic pistol, the thumb rest oriented for comfortable engagement by the thumb in a natural grasp of the pistol to fire the same. The inclusion of such a thumb rest imparts to the firearm what is commonly referred to as a target grip feature,
and such is presently considered a relatively costly auxiliary attachment. Accordingly, a further object of the invention is to provide, in an attachment piece which is primarily for the purpose of conveniently actuating the safety catch of an automatic pistol, a protruding thumb rest element for steadying the pistol on which the attachment piece is mounted during firing of the same, thereby to obtain the further advantage of incorporating in the pistol a so-called target grip feature without additional modification of the pistol.
Briefly describing a preferred embodiment of the invention, a novel attachment piece for actuating the hammer safety catch of an automatic type pistol is mounted on the pistol in superposed relation with respect to one of the handle grip plates thereof for pivotal movement so as to act as a lever. The attachment piece engages the hammer safety catch and is arranged and constructed for convenient engagement by the thumb at the time the pistol is grasped for firing. The pivotal attachment may be effected by the uppermost of the two conventional attachment screws for the handle grip plate, the attachment procedure involving only initial removel of the screw for the purpose, and subsequent replacement thereof.
The attachment piece has a laterally protruding thumb rest portion so that, upon natural thumb pressure being applied thereto upon grasping the gun in a normal manner, the attachment piece will pivot into the most comfortable, or the natural thumb rest position for firing the gun, and simultaneously actuate the hammer safety catch of the pistol causing the latter to pivot from its safetysafety catch when in its safety-off position. The attachment piece has configuration at least on that surface thereof which-will be contiguous with the handle grip plate surface of the pistol when the device is superposed thereon, such configuration serving to assure smoothness in the pivotal movement of the device as aforesaid.
Any automatic pistol having a conventional type pivotal hammer safety catch, which is-usually situated on one side of the pistol adjacent the hammer, is suitable for incorporation of the invention. Specific examples of automatics which incorporate protruding lever type hammer safety catches, and to which the preferred embodiments of the invention are particularly applicable, are the so-called 1911 A1 Model automatics as made by several manufacturers including Remington and Ithaca, and the Colt ,automatics known as Government Model, Commander m3 Model, and National Match Model. The invention also appears to be adaptable for incorporation in Star automatics of the types known as Model A Super and Model F Target Pistol, as well as the Ballester-Molina automatic.
These and other objects and features of the invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description thereof, when taken with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of a conventional type automatic pistol having a lever type hammer safety catch and incorporating one form of the pistol attachment piece provided by the invention, the safety catch being shown as actuated to its safety-off position;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary side elevation of the pistol of FIGURE 1, but showing the safety catch thereof as actuated to its safety-on position;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary plan view of the pistol of FIGURE 1 to show the invention in greater detail;
FIGURE 4 is a side elevation of a modified form of the pistol attachment piece provided by the invention;
FIGURE 5 is a side elevation of still another modified form, which is a preferred embodiment, of the pistol attachment piece provided by the invention; and
FIGURE 6 is a reverse side elevation of the attachment piece shown in FIGURE 4, to illustrate further details of the attachment piece provided by the invention, the elevation being shown in perspective.
Referring now to the figures of the drawings, FIGURE 1 shows an automatic pistol 10 of a conventional type such as one of those previously referred to. While the pistol may incorporate other safety devices, such as a grip safety 11 and a slide stop safety 12, pistol 10 has a lever type hammer safety catch 13 mounted for pivotal movement at one of its ends about the axis of transverse shaft 14. The safety catch 13 is proximate to the hammer 16 of the firearm at the left hand side of the gun frame 15, and has a laterally protruding portion 17 normally to be engaged by the finger for the purpose of pivoting the safety catch between its safety-on position (shown in FIGURE 2) and its safety-01f position (shown in FIG- URE 1). Such a hammer safety catch in an automatic pistol is conventional and therefore further description of its mechanism or function is believed unnecessary for the purpose of this application. It is sufficient to say with regard to the following description that when the hammer safety catch 13 is in its safety-off position the hammer 16 is conditioned for firing a shot from the pistol 10, whereas when the hammer safety catch 13 is in its safetyon position the pistol 10 cannot be fired since its hammer 16 is deactivated.
The automatic pistol 10, at its grip end 10a, has a handle grip portion 18, the same to be grasped by the operator in usual manner for firing the gun. Conventionally, the handle grip portion 18 includes a handle grip plate 19 which is attached to the pistol frame by means of an upper grip plate attachment screw 20, located near the upper end 19a of the grip plate which faces toward the pistol barrel, and a lower grip plate attachment screw 21. Moreover, and as perhaps more clearly indicated by FIGURE 3, the grip plate 19 usually has convex configuration and includes knurling at its outer surface 22 to improve ones grasp on the pistol during firing. Considering that the automatic pistol 10 will be fired by a righthanded operator, the operator will normally grasp the handle grip 18 in the palm of his right hand, at the same time placing his forefinger on the trigger 23 and his thumb finding a natural resting place on the grip plate 19.
Absent incorporation of the present invention, the operator in conditioning the gun for firing would first find it necessary to move the safety catch 13 from its safety-on position to its safety-off position, using the fingers of his left hand or, alternatively, using the thumb of the hand with which he is grasping the pistol, to do so. In the latter instance, most operators also find it necessary to grasp the slide 24- of the gun with the left hand to steady the pistol while repositioning the safety catch 13, but in any event it would be necessary to carefully reposition the thumb from its natural position against the grip plate 19 to a position engaging the upper side 17a of the laterally protruding portion 17 of the safety catch to exert downward pressure thereon for the purpose of pivoting the safety catch about its axis of pivotal movement. During such manipulation, care must be exercised to remove the forefinger from trigger 23. When after firing the pistol one or more times it is desired to reposition safety catch 13 so that the gun cannot be again accidentally fired, and absent incorporation of the present invention, it is necessary, using either the fingers of the left hand or'the thumb of the right hand and similar care during the manipulations, to apply pressure to the under side 17]) of the laterally protruding portion 17 of the safety catch 13 to again pivot the safety catch to its safety-on position.
As a means for more readily positioning the safety catch 13 so that the hammer 16 of the gun may be conditioned for trigger. actuation contemporaneously with a natural grasping of the pistol 10 for firing, the present invention incorporates into the pistol 10 an attachment piece 25 of metal or plastic or the like. One modified form of attachment piece 25 is shown in mounted position on pistol 10 in FIGURES 13, inclusive. Modified forms 25a and 25b of the attachment piece are shown in FIGURES 4 and 5 respectively. Of course, in all of its embodiments the attachment piece provides a safe and convenient means for repositioning the safety catch 13 so as to prevent actuation of the hammer 16 in response to trigger actuation.
Referring again to FIGURES 1-3, attachment piece 25 is mounted in superposed relation with respect to the conventional handle grip plate 19, the surface 26 (FIG- URE 3) of the attachment piece 25 having configuration such as will provide contiguous relationship with the exterior surface 22 of the grip plate 19. In its preferred embodiments, the attachment piece 25 is mounted for pivotal movement about a transverse axis through upper grip plate attachment screw 20, means such as a hole 27 at one end 28a of lever portion 28 being provided for effecting the pivotal attachment. As will be more readily understood by reference to FIGURES 4 and 5, the pivotal attachment is made by passing attachment screw 20 through hole 27, the hole 27 having a concentric chamfered recess 2 to accommodate the head of a standard type of attachment screw 20. It has been found that attachment piece 25, in any of its modified forms, is adequately attached to the pistol 10 by the standard grip plate attachment screw found in such automatic pistols, attachment involving only the removal of the screw 20, passing the same through the hole 27, and subsequent reattachment of the screw in usual manner to simultaneously secure the handle grip 19 to the pistol frame 18. However, modified forms of the attachment screw 20 might be used, such as the form shown more clearly in FIGURE 3 which includes a bushing surface 2% or the like and an extension of the screw length, both to facilitate pivotal movement of the attachment piece and to perhaps more securely fasten the attachment piece together with grip plate 19 to the pistol frame 18. Other modified forms for these attachment means will be readily apparent to those having skill in the art.
It should be noted that attachment piece 25 functions as a lever so that it may be considered as having a lever portion 28 which extends between the location of its axis of pivotal attachment and the location of its engagement of safety catch 13. The lever portion 28 at one of its ends 28a has means, such as hole 27, adapting thelever portion for pivotal attachment to the handle grip 18. At the other of its ends 28b the lever portion 28 hasv means, as will be hereinafter described, for engagement.
of the safety catch 13. In addition, attachment piece 25 has a thumb rest portion 29 which protrudes laterally from lever portion 28 to facilitate actuation of the attachment piece upon grasping the pistol for firing, as will later be more fully described.
Turning now to a detailed description of the safety catch engagement means which are provided at the end 2811 of the lever portion, in its embodiment as shown in FIGURES 1-3, attachment piece has an aperture which is fully formed in the end 281'), the aperture 30 being arranged and constructed to provide means for slidably engaging the protruding portion 17 of safety catch 13 when the latter is in either of its limiting positions. The aperture 36 has generally arcuate shape, its essential characteristic being only that it provides an edge means 31 at lever portion end 281; which will be in contact engagement with the upper side 17a of the safety catch protruding portion 17 when the safety catch 13 is positioned in its safety-on position and during safety catch actuation to its safety-off position, and an edge means 32 at lever portion end 28b which will be in contact engagement with the under side 17 b of the safety catch protruding portion 17 when the safety catch 13 is positioned in its safety-off position and during safety catch actuation to its safety-on position. These edge means 31 and 32 which in the preferred embodiment are provided by interior boundary portions of aperture 30, are each oriented with respect to the normal orientation of safety catch 13 in all of its positions of movement so as to generate a locus of points of substantially continuous contact engagement with each of the sides 17a and 17b, respectively, of safety catch protruding portion 17 during the conjointly pivotal movement of attachment piece 25 and safety catchll3 when the attachment piece is mounted on the pistol 1i Referring now to FIGURE 4, it has been found that more responsive engagement between edge means 31 and upper side 17a of safety catch protruding portion 17 may be obtained by providing a projection 31a integral with the edge, the projection disposed to make contact with upper side 17a at a location along its length, rather than at the extreme end thereof as in the modification shown in FIGURE 1 wherein projection 31a is omitted. The projection 31a is also included in the modified form of the attachment piece shown in FIGURE 5.
In the attachment piece 25a of FIGURE 4- which also includes the fully formed aperture 30, the edge means 31 at its end towards safety catch pivot shaft 14 is recessed slightly, as at 33, to insure adequate clearance for the protruding portion 17 when the safety catch is in its safety-off position as shown by FIGURE 1.
Since it is only the provision of edge means 31 and 32 which is necessary for appropriate engagement of safety catch 13, FIGURE 5 shows a modified form of the attachment piece arranged and constructed to reflect these essentials. The modification includes the projection 31a of-edge 31, as is preferred, but does not include the the contemplated pivotal movement of the attachment piece, so that when mounted on pistol 10 the attachment piece surfaces 35 and 36 will lie in generally contiguous further includes a thumb rest 29 which protrudes laterally 35b throughout the major portion of its area, excluding only that area 35a at its end 28b. It will further be noted that this configuration is projected across the reverse side edge 36 of thumb rest 29. as will cause surface 35, and edge 36 in appropriate instances, to conform with the configuration of handle grip plate surface 22 (FIGURE 3), taking into account The configuration is such from lever portion 38 and is faired along its length for comfortable engagement by the thumb during firing of the pistol. At its principal region of contact by the thumb, the thumb rest 29 may be considered as disposed in spaced relation with respect to the pivot end 28a of lever portion 28 so as to lessen the amount of pressure required thereto to cause pivotal movement of the attach ment piece when mounted on the pistol. So as-to provide thumb engagement therewith during the natural grasping of the pistol, thumb rest 29 is also spaced away from lever portion end 28b and is appropriately oriented to substantially conform with the natural grasping position of the thumb. Thus, a pistol it) which incorporates the attachment piece 25 will be provided with a thumb rest imparting a target grip feature in the firearm.
The attachment of attachment piece 25 to pistol 1t) willnormally be effected when the safety catch 13 is in its safet -on position "as shown by FIGURE 2, the edge means 31 and 32 engaging the safety catch protrusion 17, as shown. In this condition, both the attachment piece 2 5 and the safety catch 13 are in their uppermost pivoted positions. As the operator grasps the gun in natural manner for firing the same, his thumb will contact thumb rest 29 and, concurrently with the natural tightening of the grasp on the handle grip portion 19 to fire the pistol, further pressure will be applied by the thumb rest 29 causing the attachment piece to pivot in clockwise direction as shown in the drawings. Due to the engagement of edge means 31 with the safety catch protruding portion 17, the safety catch 13 will pivot in during a firing.
Thereafter, and when it is desired to again render the hammer 16 of the pistol inoperable, the safety catch 13 may be conveniently pivoted in clockwise direction to its safety-on position by applying thumb or other finger pressure to the underside of thumb rest 29 to pivot the attachment piece in counterclockwise direction. Due to the engagement of edge means 32 with safety catch protruding portion 17 when the safety catch is in its safety-01f position, the counter-clockwise movement of the attachment piece will actuate the safety catch 13 in its clockwise movement.
From the foregoing it will be readily understood that certain changes or modifications of the described embodiments of the invention might be made by those having skill in the art without departing from the principles of the invention. For example, although it is preferred that the attachment piece 25 be attached to pistol 1th by means of the upper handle grip plate attachment screw 20, and that the attachment piece pivot about this at tachrnent screw as an axis, it will be understood that the location of attachment,and the axis of pivotal movement with respect to handle grip plate 19 might be somewhat displaced from the location of the screw 20, yet the benefits of the invention might be obtained. Similarly, edge means 31 and 32 might be provided by means which are tended that all such changes and modifications shall be Within the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In an automatic pistol having a handle grip portion including a grip plate and a grip plate attachment screw at one side of the pistol, said grip plate having an upper end facing towards the pistol barrel and said attachment screw passing through the grip plate at a location towards said upper end thereof, said pistol further having a protruding hammer safety catch mounted on said side of the pistol for pivotal movement between safety-on and safety-off positions of safety catch actuation, the improvement comprising means for actuating said safety catch between said positions thereof, said actuating means comprising a lever portion attached at one of its ends to said handle grip portion of the pistol for pivotal movement about the axis of said grip plate attachment screw, the opposite end of said lever portion engaging said safety catch to actuate the same in response to pivotal movement of said lever portion, and finger engagement means disposed for pivoting said lever portion about its said one end.
2. In an automatic pistol, the improvement comprising means according to claim 1 wherein said grip plate attachment screw provides the means whereby said lever portion is pivotally attached to said handle grip portion of the pistol.
3. In an automatic pistol, the improvement comprising means according to claim 1 wherein said finger engagement means comprises a thumb rest protruding laterally from said lever portion whereby, when said safety catch is in its said safety-on position, the natural pressure of engagement of said thumb rest by the thumb during a grasping of the pistol for firing pivots said lever portion about its said end, thereby actuating said safety catch to its said safety-off position and disposing said thumb rest in a position with respect to said handle grip portion of the pistol for substantially natural engagement of the thumb rest by the thumb during the firing of the pistol.
4. In an automatic pistol, the improvement comprising means according to claim 3 wherein said lever portion has a reverse surface of recessed configuration which generally and asymmetrically conforms with the surface configuration of said grip plate whereby said lever portion is superposed on said grip plate in contiguous surface-to-surface relation therewith.
S. In an automatic pistol having a handle grip portion including a grip plate and a grip plate attachment screw at one side of the pistol, said grip plate having an upper end facing towards the pistol barrel and said attachment screw passing through the grip plate at a location towards said upper end thereof, said pistol further having a protruding lever type hammer safety catch mounted on said side of the pistol proximate to the pistol hammer for pivotal movement between safety-on and safety-off positions of safety catch actuation, said safety catch lever including an upper side and an underside, the improvrnent comprising means for actuating said safety catch between said positions thereof, said actuating means comprising a lever portion attached at one of its ends to said grip plate by said grip plate attachment screw for pivotal movement thereabout, hammer safety catch engagement means at the opposite end of said lever portion engaging said safety catch to actuate the same in response to pivotal movement of said lever portion, said hammer safety catch engagement means including first edge means engaging said upper side of the safety catch lever for pivoting the safety catch from its said safety-on position to its said safety-off position and second edge means engaging said underside of the safety catch lever for pivoting the safety catch from its said safety-off position to its said safety-on position, and a thumb rest protruding laterally from said lever portion at a location spaced away from both said ends of the lever portion and for subtantially natural engagement by the thumb during a grasping of said pistol to fire the same.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 290,867 Deyo Dec. 2 5, 1883 978,092 Wesson Dec. 6, 1919 1,812,905 Stuyvesant July 7, 1931 FOREIGN PATENTS 325,374 Germany Sept. 13, 1920