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Publication numberUS3573868 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 6, 1971
Filing dateNov 13, 1967
Priority dateNov 13, 1967
Publication numberUS 3573868 A, US 3573868A, US-A-3573868, US3573868 A, US3573868A
InventorsGiannetti Carlo
Original AssigneeGiannetti Carlo
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fiber optical target practice system
US 3573868 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Carlo Giannetti 2918 W. Ball Road, Anaheim, Calif. 92804 [21 Appl. No. 682,286

[22] Filed Nov. 13, 1967 [45] Patented Apr. 6, 1971 [72] Inventor [54] FIBER OPTICAL TARGET PRACTICE SYSTEM 9 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl 273/l0l.1, 240/641, 350/96 [51] Int. Cl F4lj 5/00 [50] Field otSearch 273/l0l.l;

35/25; 350/96; 240/641, 10.62, (inquired); 250/227, 206, 221, 222, 231

3,398,288 8/1968 Sandersetal 250/222 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Marvin Siskind Attorney-Harvey C. Nienow ABSTRACT: The specification of this application describes a target practice system which includes an optical arrangement by which light may be directed from a gun towards a target. The target includes a photosensitive means connected to initiate a scoring display system. The source of light for the gun is located at a point remote from the gun and light from the source is conveyed to the gun through a fiber optical conducting system. The source generates flashes of light in a gas tube which is fired by an electrical signal as an incident to alteration in light flux in an optical subsystem. The subsystem includes a second light source and fiber optic circuitry for conducting light from the second source through the gun and thence to light-sensitive circuitry in which the initiating pulse is generated. Means are provided within the gun for altering the light flow through the gun in response to actuation of the trigger mechanism. In the embodiment described in detail in this specification, the initiating pulse is generated by the secondary optical system upon the occasion of interruption of light flow through the secondary fiber optical circuit.

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Wm v .c w mar B aw kw w w f a M 4 M w Fw G sr I a F l1 z .i z 1; 62 R 2 2 a in 4 m mm 3 M 3 WM a 6 w m 1 FIBER OPTICAL TARGET PRACTICE SYSTEM This invention relates to improvements in optical target practice systems.

An object of the invention is to provide a reliable and safe target practice system for installation in public amusement places. One of its important objects is to provide a system which introduces no increase in risk of harm to the user of the system, no matter how he uses or misuses it. A related object is to provide a system which requires minimum attention of an attendant and which will be safe and effective and reliable in installation having no attendant.

An initial increment of safety is provided in target systems by dispensing with bullets and using light beams instead. For practical reasons, the light must originate in the gun and be directed toward the target. It must be confined to a narrow beam and to a short time period. Because of these boundary conditions, successful operation demands that a very high-intensity light'source be used. The flashing of a gas discharge tube provides an adequate source of light. However, very high electrical voltages are required to fire such tubes and this high potential is a source of danger. It is an object of the invention to provide the requisite high-intensity light flash within the gun without the need to apply high electrical potentials to the gun. This object is realized in part by the provision of an optical system in which light of short duration and high intensity is generated externally to the gun and is transported to the gun in a flexible optical system from whence it can be shot" toward the target. The light source is initiated by actuation of the trigger mechanism of the target gun. Alternative means may be employed for this purpose. Thus, the trigger mechanism of the gun may be made to operate an electric switch in a low-voltage electrical control circuit. Any safety hazard in the use of such an electrical control is minimized by restricting the system to low voltages. In another embodiment, the one selected for illustration in the drawing, the light shot" is accomplished by a subsystem which includes a fiber optic network for conveying light from a remote point to the gun and back. Means actuated by the trigger mechanism of the gun alters light flow in the control subsystem and the highintensity flash shot is initiated as a function of that alteration in light flow. In connection with this embodiment, another object of the invention is to provide a target practice system in which no electrical energy is applied to the target gun.

Another object is to provide a system in which the electrical and electronic functions of light generation, shot" counting, on-off switching (including any coin-operated switching) and integration of the shot" initiation and scoring functions are all accomplished at a remote point out of harm's way.

A major advantage of the invention resides in the fact that the target gun need only include optical and mechanical elements. The result is increased ruggedness and reliability.

These and other objects of the invention will be apparent upon examination of the following description of one embodiment of the invention, it being understood that various modifications may be made in the embodiment shown and that other embodiments are possible without departing from the invention or the spirit of the appended claims. In the drawings:

FIG. I is a side view in cross section of a target gun suitable for use in target practice systems embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view, partly in cross section, of the target gun of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view, taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic of an optical target practice system embodying the invention and incorporating the gun of FIG. 1.

Referring to FIG. 4 of the drawings there is shown a means for generating a high-intensity flashing light which in this embodiment comprises a three-tenninal, high-intensity, gas flash tube I0. This gas discharge flash tube, representative types of which are numbered 612- l 51 and Kemlite UD6-T2, has a positive electrode 12 and a negative electrode 14 and a starter electrode I6. High-voltage direct current electrical energy is supplied to the tube by positive line 18 and negative line 20 from a high-voltage, DC, power supply 22 labeled AC TO DC CONVERTER. Alternating current input to unit 22 from AC supply lines 24 and 26is stepped up in voltage, rectified, and then filtered in unit.2 2. The tube is fired to create a flash of light by applying a pulse of electrical energy to a starter network which consists of an inductor 28 connected from the starter electrode 16 to the negative terminal 14 and a resistor 30 and capacitor 32 connected in series combination from positive terminal 12 to negative terminal 14. The pulse signal is applied by lines 34 and 36. Both of these lines originate at a pulse generator 38. Line 34 is connected to the junction between resistor 30 and capacitor 32. Line 36 is connected from the pulse generator to a tap on the inductor 28.

The numeral 40 designates a means for conducting light from the source to the gun. Advantageously, this means comprises, as shown, an optical conductor comprising a bundle of elongate, light conducting fibers. The fibers are enclosed together in a sheaf to form a long flexible light conducting circuit called a fiber optic light conducting conduit or fiber optic conductor". The input end 40a of the fiber optic conductor 40 is fixed in position to receive light flashes from the tube 10 and to conduct them to the other end 40b of the fiber optic conductor 40. End 40b is mounted within the target gun 42 so that light emanating from the fiber optic conductor 40 is directed by a beam 44 to a lens system 46 (which here comprises a single lens) and thence by a beam 48 in the direction in which the target pistol is pointed. In the drawing the beam 48 is shown directed at a target at which is disposed a light sensitive means for converting received light into electrical signals. Here, a photocell 50 is disposed at the target and electrical signals generated when high-intensity light flashes are received by the photocell are transmitted by lines 52 to a score unit 54. In the preferred form, the score unit comprises an optical display system rendered responsive to receive electrical signals from the solar cell 50 when the remainder of the system is activated. A

The pulse generator 38 is one of the elements in a subsystem for generating the initiating pulse to the flasher tube 10. The subsystem comprises a light source 60 in which power is supplied to an incandescent lamp 62. Light from this lamp is introduced into one end 64a of an optical fiber conductor 64 whose other end 64b is fixed at one point within the target gun 42. Another fiber optic conductor 66 is arranged to carry light from the target gun to an external point where it is directed at a light-sensitive device having an electrical output which serves as an input to the pulse generator 38. More specifically, the input end 66a of the fiber optic conductor 66 is disposed at a second point within the target gun 42 spaced from said first point and oriented so that light emanating from the end 64b of conductor 64 is directed into the input end 66a of conductor 66. Light emanating from the other end 66b of the optical conductor 66 is directed, in the embodiment selected for illustration, to a solar cell 68 whose electrical output is connected by lines 70 to the input circuit of pulse generator 38.

In a preferred form the pulse generator comprises a pulse transformer a secondary winding of which comprises the pulse generator output circuit. The primary winding of the transformer is connected to semiconductor devices connected so that an electrical signal, which changes the bias supplied to an initial one of them, is differentiated by one of them and amplified by others of them prior to application to the primary winding of the pulse transformer. This description fits pulse generators well known in the art and selection of a suitable pulse generator is well within the skill of artisans in the art. Advantageously, the pulse generator is of a type which provides an output pulse in response to a significant change in the voltage drop across lines 70. This means that the pulse generator will be effective to develop an initiating pulse for the flash tube 10 whether the triggering signal is developed as the sudden application of light to the solar cell 68 or is developed as an interruption of light to solar cell 68.

The latter type of signal is preferred for a number of reasons including the very important reason that it enables electronic monitoring of continued operation of the incandescent lamp 62. Accordingly in the preferred form of the invention selected for illustration in the drawing, the triggering mechanism of the target gun 42, which is generally designated 72in FIG. 1, comprises a vane 74 which momentarily interrupts the passage of light from fiber optic conductor 64 to fiber optic conductor 66 when the trigger 76 of the gun is pulled to fire" the gun.

To enable a user to activate the system by insertion of a coin and also to deactivate the system after a predetermined number of flashes have been initiated or shots have been fired, the system is provided with a coin-operated switch and counter unit 78. This unit is interposed between external supply lines 80 and 82 and the system AC source lines 24, 26 and 84. Signals indicative of the generation of initiating signals in pulse generator 38 are applied by a line 86 to the counter circuitry of the coin-operated switch and counter 78.

In operation of the system, upon insertion of a coin or upon operation by an attendant, the coin-operated switch and counter 78 applies alternating electrical power from supply lines 80 and 82 to internal supply lines 84, 24 and 26. Incandescent lamp 62 in light source 60 is illuminated and light from this lamp is transmitted into and along the fiber optic conductor 64 to said first point of the gun. There it eminates from the conductor and enters fiber optic conductor 66 at said second point within the gun. This light is transmitted along the fiber optic conductor 66 and eminated from end 661) to impinge upon the solarcell 68. This provides an electrical output which is applied by line 70 to an input in the pulse generator 38. The pulse generator generates an initiating pulse which is applied to line 86 to the counters in coin-operated switch and counter 78 and is applied by lines 34 and 36 to the firing circuit of the gas discharge tube I0. An arc discharge through the xenon gas of this flash tube produces a very high-intensity light flash which is received at the input end 40a of the fiber optic conductor 40. Light is conducted along this conductor to end 40b where it eminates and is directed to a lens system 46 from which a beam 48 emerges in the direction in which the target gun 42 is pointed. When, as shown in FIG. I, the light beam 48 impinges upon a solar cell 50 located at the target, an electrical output signal is generated at the solar cell and is conducted by lines 52 to a scorer unit 54. This unit 54 includes means for indicating that the target has been struck by the light beam 48.

A preferred fonn of trigger-actuated, light-interrupting mechanism is shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings incorporated in a revolver-type handgun. This gun comprises a frame including a barrel 90, a revolver chamber section 92, a trigger guard 94 and a handle frame section 96. The trigger mechanism 72 is conventional. It includes a trigger 76 and a hammer 97 interconnected by a spring 98. Together the trigger and hammer mechanism are arranged so that when the trigger is squeezed the hammer is forced back, counterclockwise in FIG. 1 until a trip point is reached. At this point spring 98 pulls the hammer 97 forward to the position it is shown to have in FIG. I. The mechanism is arranged so that the last portion of hammer movement in the counterclockwise direction just prior to tripping of the hammer, is accomplished rapidly regardless of the rate at which the trigger is squeezed.

While this mechanism is advantageously employed because it is conventional, other structural arrangements may be employed. It is necessary only that some element within the gun be displaced rapidly as the trigger is squeezed whether the trigger be squeezed rapidly or slowly. That rapidly moving element is used to interrupt the light traveling from conductor 64 to conductor 66. In FIG. I interruption is accomplished by vane 74 which is attached to lower rear portion of the hammer 96. The vane 74 is disposed in a slot formed in the plane of the direction of vane and hammer movement, in a light conductor holder member I00. The holder comprises a generally trapezoidal piece made from flat stock which is retained in position by conformations on the inner surface of the handle portion 96 of the revolver frame. Slots 102, formed in the forward edge of holder I laterally of the holder from its bottom edge, accommodate the ends 64b and 66a of the fiber optic conductors 64 and 66, respectively. After insertion and alignment of the conductors the holder is deformed to hold the conductor ends firmly within the slots 102. Thus arranged, light from conductor end 64b is beamed across the slot and enters end 660 of conductor 66 unless interrupted by the vane.

The three optical conductors 64, 66 and 40 are brought together within the handle of the revolver in a structure 104 which comprises the terminus of a sheath 106 which contains the fiber optic conductors and extends with them to the electronic sections of the system.

The end 401) of the fiber optic conductor 40is housed in the central bore of a plug 108. The plug is aligned in the initial portion of the gun barrel adjacent the revolver section 92 of the frame. It is aligned with the barrel so that light eminating from end 40b travels along the center line of the barrel and passes through the center of the columinating lens 46. This lens is disposed in the barrel normal to the direction of light travel and to the axis of the barrel. The outer end of the barrel is recessed to form an inner opening of larger diameter at the end of the barrel and to form a shoulder upon which the margin of lens rests. The lens is fixed in this position by a sleeve IIO which is pressed into the end of the barrel against the outer margins of the lens. FIG. 3 illustrates the axial alignment of the end 40b of the fiber optical conductor and of the plug 108 with the gun barrel 90.

Although I have shown and described certain specific embodiments of my invention I am fully aware that many modifications thereof are possible. My invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except insofar as is necessitated by the prior art and by the spirit of the appended claims.

I claim:

I. In an optical target practice system, in combination:

a target gun including a trigger mechanism and optical means for receiving light from a source and transmitting it in a direction determined by the direction in which said target gun is pointed;

a flashing light source remote from the gun and responsive to an initiating signal to apply a flash of light to said optical means of said gun;

initiating means responsive to abrupt alteration in light flux quantity for applying an initiating signal to said flashing light source;

a source of continuous light; and

means for conducting light from said source of continuous light to said gun and thence to said initiating means; and

light flux alteration means responsive to actuation of said trigger mechanism for altering ah uptly the light flux conducted from said source of continuous light to said initiating means whereby a flash of light is caused to be directed in the direction in which said target gun is pointed.

2. The invention defined in claim I, in which said optical means of said gun comprises a lens system mounted in the barrel of said gun and a fiber optic light-conducting conduit mounted within said gun to direct light through said lens system.

3. The invention defined in claim 1, in which said flashing light source comprises a gas flash tube and an alternating current to high unidirectional voltage converter having its output connected across said flash tube and circuit means for applying an electrical initiating pulse to said flash tube.

4. The invention defined in claim 1, in which said means for conducting light from said source of continuous light and thence to said initiating means includes a fiber optic light con duit extending from said source of continuous light to a'first point within said gun and a fiber optic light conduit for receiving light at a second point spaced from said first point and conducting it to said initiating means; and in which said light flux alteration means comprises an opaque vane mounted within said target gun and responsive to actuation of said trigger mechanism to interrupt the passage of light from said first point to said second point momentarily.

5. The invention defined in claim 1, in which said initiating means comprises a light-sensitive cell for generating a signal of uniform character in response to uninterrupted light from said source of continuous light and responsive upon interruption of said light to provide an initiating signal to said flashing light source.

6. The invention defined in claim 1, in which said optical means comprises a lens system and the fiber optic light conducting conduit effective to direct conducted light through said lens system; and in which said flashing light source comprises a gas tube effective on being flashed to direct a flash of light to said fiber optic conduit, and an AC to high voltage DC converter having its output connected across said gas tube; said initiating meansbeing responsive to interruption of light for generating and applying to said gas tube an electrical pulse effective to fire'said tube; said means for conducting light comprising a fiber optic conduit positioned to receive light from said source of continuous light and extending to a point within said gun, and further comprising a fiber optic conduit commencing at a second point within said gun spaced from said first point and efiective to conduct light from said second point to said initiating means.

7. In an optical target practice system, in combination:

a flashing light source responsive to an initiating signal for generating a flash of light;

a target gun including a trigger mechanism and optical means for receiving light from said flashing light source and transmitting it in a selected direction;

a second light source; means for providing an initiating signal to said flashing light source comprising an initiating signal generating means responsive to alteration in flux from said second light source to generate said initiating signal, and means for conducting light from said second light source to said initiating signal generating means; and

means responsive to actuation of said trigger mechanism for .6 altering the light flux passing through said means for conducting light from said second source.

8. An optical target practice system, in combination:

a flashing source responsive to an alteration in light input flux for providing a flash of light;

a target gun including an optical system for directing light applied thereto in the direction in which said gun is pointed and further comprising a trigger mechanism;

fiber optic means for transmitting light from said flashing light source to said optical system of said target gun;

a second fiber optic system for transmitting light flux to an input of said flashing light source; and

means actuated by said trigger mechanism for altering the light flux supplied by said second fiber optic system to said flashing light source.

9. In an optical target practice system, in combination:

a target gun including a trigger mechanism and optical means for receiving light from a source and transmitting it in a direction determined by the direction in which said target gun is pointed;

a flashing light source responsive to an initiating signal to apply a flash of light to said optical means of said gun;

initiating means responsive to abrupt alteration in light flux quantity for applying an initiating signal to said flashing light source;

a source of continuous light;

means for conducting light from said source of continuous light to said gun and thence to said initiating means; and

light flux alteration means responsive to actuation of said trigger mechanism for altering abruptly the light flux conducted from said source of continuous light to said initiating means whereby a flash of light is caused to be directed in the direction in which said target gun is pointed.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3724854 *Jul 6, 1970Apr 3, 1973Leisure Tron CorpLight responsive and directing extraterrestrial vehicles
US4007553 *Aug 4, 1975Feb 15, 1977Clegg Kessler QSafety indicators for guns
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US4934086 *Mar 31, 1989Jun 19, 1990Houde Walter William RRecoil spring guide mounting for laser sight
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US8403672Oct 21, 2009Mar 26, 2013Tim OdorisioTraining target for an electronically controlled weapon
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US8627591Oct 10, 2008Jan 14, 2014Larry MooreSlot-mounted sighting device
US8695266Dec 22, 2005Apr 15, 2014Larry MooreReference beam generating apparatus
US8696150Jan 18, 2012Apr 15, 2014Larry E. MooreLow-profile side mounted laser sighting device
US8813411Nov 6, 2012Aug 26, 2014P&L Industries, Inc.Gun with side mounting plate
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/51, 362/112, 42/116, 362/577
International ClassificationF41A33/00, F41J5/02, F41G3/00, F41J5/00, F41A33/02, F41G3/26
Cooperative ClassificationF41A33/02, F41J5/02, F41G3/2655
European ClassificationF41J5/02, F41G3/26C1E, F41A33/02