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Publication numberUS3733727 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 22, 1973
Filing dateNov 12, 1970
Priority dateNov 12, 1970
Publication numberUS 3733727 A, US 3733727A, US-A-3733727, US3733727 A, US3733727A
InventorsJones K, Richie E
Original AssigneeJones K, Richie E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Non-lethal projectile and launcher therefor
US 3733727 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Jones et al.

[1 1 3,733,727 1 May 22,1973


211 Appl. No.: 88,687

[52] 11.8. C1. ..42/1 R, 42/76 R, 102/41, 102/927 [51] Int. Cl. ..F4lc 21/00, F42b 5/14, F42b 11/18 [58] Field of Search ..42/l R, 1 F, 1 G, 42/76 R, 79; 102/1 M, 41, 92.7

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 889,644 6/1908 Szemerey ..42/l R 2,144,909 1/1939 Atkin et al.. ..42/l R 2,842,024 7/1958 Mutter 42/76 R 3,037,454 6/1962 Young ..l02/l M 3,242,865 3/1966 Jungermann... ..l02/92 7 3,439,619 4/1969 Bock et al. ..l02/92.7

Primary Examiner-Benjamin A. Borchelt Assistant Examiner-C. T. Jordan Attorney-Mann, Brown, McWilliams & Bradway [57] ABSTRACT A non-lethal projectile and launcher therefor for riot control and the like comprising a body formed from a relatively soft, pliant latex material compressed to projectile form and mounted within a restraining cup which in turn is mounted in a firing shell. The body at its rearward end includes retracted guidance structure that extends on the projectile being fired, a chamber at its forward end to receive a marking fluid for marking the target, and internal subdivisions in its mid portion designed to permit the body to expand laterally on impacting into a soft textured mass that flattens on impact to avoid injury to the target. The projectile launcher is in the form of a barrel assembly including a bell shaped muzzle which permits the projectile to be fired without jamming even when held against the target and braking slots for discharging the propelling gases rearwardly of the launcher to reduce recoil.

4 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures PATENIEDMAYZZIQYS 3,733,727


FIG] 2 WW/3ME/WWBMLM ATTORNEYS NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE AND LAUNCHER THEREFOR This invention relates to a non-lethal projectile and launcher therefor for use in riot control and the like, and more particularly, to an implement especially devised for use by those in law enforcement work to enable them to stun and/or mark for future identification individuals without seriously injurying them.

The conventional hand tools historically used by police and others charged with law enforcement work, such as guns and nightsticks, have become symbols of oppression that often generate more problems than they solve, effective as they may be in subduing riotous individuals. The police officer or militiaman when confronted by rioters has limited choice of action: He may shoot to injure or kill, grapple with them and subdue them with nightsticks, use tear gas or the like with or without one or more of the foregoing, or just stand by and allow the rioters to do their intended damage and escape. In cases of mob action, the risk of fatalities on both sides is high as guns are put in use for defensive and offensive purposes.

A principal object of this invention is to provide a non-lethal riot control implement that may be used in the manner of firing a shoulder fire arm, but which discharges a projectile that is effective in stunning and/or marking the culprit, but without injuring him.

Another principal object of the invention is to provide a riot control implement that is as handy to handle and fire as a conventional shoulder fire arm, but which avoids injury to the person fired on.

Other objects of the invention are to provide a nonlethal projectile assembly that when fired discharges a flying body arranged for suitable flight stabilization and shock absorption on impact, to provide a non-lethal projectile that marks the target for later identification without injury, to provide a non-lethal projectile launcher that is handled similar to the familiar shotgun or rifle in operation, and to provide a non-lethal projectile assembly and launcher therefor that are economical of manufacture, convenient and safe to store and use, and long lived in operation.

In accordance with this invention is provided a nonlethal projectile and launcher therefor in which the launcher comprises a body formed from a relatively soft pliant material that is compressed to a more or less conventional projectile form for application to a shell for firing same, which on being projected into free flight maintains its projectile like configuration and forms a guidance structure at its rearward end, and on impact expands to form a relatively soft pliable material that flattens to absorb much of the energy involved in its impact. The projectile may include trapped inert gas pockets for expanding same, and pockets at its forward end containing marking dyes or other substances which open on impact to mark the target. The launcher is a shoulder operated device that may be loaded in a manner comparable to a rifle or shotgun, and which includes a bell shaped muzzle in which a projectile may be fully expanded without jamming the launcher if the launcher is fired when pressed against the target. The launcher barrel assembly includes braking slots rearwardly of its muzzle that discharge the propelling gases rearwardly of the launcher to reduce recoil and limit and vent propelling pressure on the projectile.

Other objects, uses, and advantages will be obvious or become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description and the application drawings in which like reference numerals indicate like parts throughout the several views.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a launcher arranged in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 1A is a fragmental plan view of the launcher nozzle;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view through a projectile assembly, including its firing shell, in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 3 is a fragmental cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 3--3 of FIG. 1A, but on an enlarged scale, showing the muzzle end of the launcher barrel assembly;

FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view through the projectile assembly of FIG. 2, taken substantially along line 4-4 of FIG. 2, with one side partially broken away and associated parts flared for better illustration of same;

FIG. 5 is a fragmental cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 4 but taken along line 55 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 3, showing the projectile in two positions during the course of being fired when the launcher muzzle is disposed adjacent a target;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view, partially in section, of the projectile as it appears in free flight;

FIG. 7A is a fragmental view of the rear end of a modified form of projectile body; 1

FIG. 8 is a view of the projectile body restraining casing as it appears after being thrown off on emergence of the projectile from the launcher;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view through the forward end of the projectile in its free flight form showing one way of forming the projectile body to contain a marking fluid;

FIGS. 10 and 11 are views similar to FIG. 9 illustrating alternate ways to form the body to contain a marking fluid;

FIG. 10A is a fragmental frontal view of the projectile body of FIG. 10; and

FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of the launcher muzzle and stock illustrating how the launcher may be equipped for photographically recording the actions of a target just before and after firing of the implement, with parts broken away.

However, it is to be distinctly understood that the specific drawing illustrations provided are supplied primarily to comply with the requirements of the Patent Code, and that the invention may have other embodiments that will be obvious to those skilled in the art, and that are intended to be covered by the appended claims.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Reference numeral 10 of FIG. 1 generally indicates a launcher of the shoulder arm type that is arranged in accordance with this invention, which is adapted to receive and fire projectile assemblies of the type indicated at 12 in FIG. 2 that are also arranged in accordance with this invention.

Launcer 10 generally comprises stock 13, receiver 14, which receives the individual projectile assemblies 12 for firing same, barrel assembly 16 through which projectile 18 travels, on the projectile assembly being fired. Launcher 10 may be equipped with a tube magazine for receiving extra projectile assemblies 12. or alternately a clip magazine that is shown in outline at 22 for the same purpose, magazines 20 and 22 being proportioned to accommodate the specific projectile assemblies 12 that are illustrated, but which are otherwise arranged in a conventional manner to apply projectile assemblies 12 to the firing chamber of the launcher 10 as required by the operator, whether by automatic means or other conventional devices which are not illustrated.

As indicated in FIG. 3, the barrel assembly 16 includes barrel structure 24 which at the muzzle end 26 thereof includes a bell shaped muzzle 28 of sufficient internal transverse dimension such that if the launcher is fired with the muzzle end 26 adjacent to or pressed against a target 30, the projectile 18 may fully expand as comprehended by this invention without jamming the launcher. Formed rearwardly of the muzzle 28 are spaced slots 31 formed on the top and bottom sides of the barrel structure 24, from which the projectile propelling gases discharge in a rearward direction to reduce recoil and limit and vent propelling pressure on the projectile. The propelling gases in being directed upwardly and downwardly avoid possible injury to those standing to either side of the implement when used.

The projectile assembly 12 comprises (see FIGS. 2. 4, 5, 7 and 8) a projectile body 32 formed from a suitable soft pliant resilient material, such as latex or a suitable synthetic substitute, which in its unstressed shape has a configuration comparable to that shown in the muzzle of the launcher shown in FIG. 6, but which is compressed and restrained to define the projectile or missile-like configuration shown in FIGS. 2 and 6. Body 32 at its rearward end 35 is formed with an annular chamber 34 which in the form of FIGS. 2 and 7 is filled with an inert gas, such as nitrogen, under pressure such that when the projectile assembly 18 emerges from the bore of barrel assembly 16, the rear end 35 expands outwardly to provide a guidance or stabilizing structure 37 for the projectile. Body 32 is enclosed in a cup 40 that is of sufficient strength to maintain the body 32 in the projectile form indicated in FIG. 6, but which strips off the body 32 when it emerges from barrel assembly bore 25, in the manner suggested in FIG. 8. Surrounding the body 32 inwardly of the cup 40 is a mesh 42 or other suitable restraining means of sufficient strength to maintain the body 32 in the form shown in FIG. 7, forwardly of its rearward end 35, until it impacts its target, whereupon the mesh 42 ruptures to permit the body 32 to go into the collapsed and irregular shape indicated in FIG. 6.

Body 32, as indicated in FIG. 9, has its forward end 36 formed with a pocket 44 containing a suitable marking fluid held in place by one or more plugs 46 in the respective passages which are ejected on impact to insure that the marking fluid 48 is applied to the target for further identification purposes.

In the showing of FIG. 12, a miniature movie camera 50 is suitably attached to the barrel structure 24 of the launcher l0 and positioned so that it covers the field of view in alignment with the target direction of the launcher. In this embodiment, the camera 50 is actuated by safety switch 52 which is arranged so that in addition to governing the firing of the launcher, by appropriate manipulation it can actuate the camera during a time of stress before and after the moment of firing.

Thus a minimum amount of film will be expended, and a photographic record will be made of the critical moments and events of a riot confrontation. Power to operate the camera may be derived from suitable batteries 54 wired as diagrammatically indicated, whose preferred position will be somewhat as shown in FIG. 12 to maintain the balance of the launcher and offset the weight of the camera, which as indicated, is mounted 1n a forward position on the launcher.

In operation. it will be seen that the launcher 10 may be equipped with one or more of the projectile assemblies 12 in a manner similar to a shotgun or the like, and carried by an individual charged with law enforcement in a manner much the same as a conventional shotgun would be carried. The launcher I0 may be arranged in a more or less conventional manner to carry and insert into its firing chamber the projectile assemblies 12. with the parts involved being proportioned for accommodating the projectiles 12.

When a riot confrontation or the like is imminent, the user applies a pro ectile assembly to the firing chamber of the launcher 10, as by employing the pump handle 60 of the launcher or other conventional means with which the launcher 10 may be equipped for this purpose, and holds the launcher at the ready" in much the same manner that a conventional shotgun would be handled. When the situation requires that the launcher be used. the user takes aim and presses trigger 62 to fire the launcher. whereupon the projectile assembly 12 is fired and pro ectile 18 is propelled through bore 25 of barrel assembly 16 in the manner indicated in FIG. 6, the pro ectile configuration of projectile I8 being maintained by the barrel bore 25, the cup 40, and the mesh 42.

As the projectile 18 leaves the bore 25, the rear end .35 of the pro ectile expands or distends due to the gas pressure within the chamber 34, in the manner indicated in FIG. 7. which. together with the air resistance to free flight involved, throws off the cup 40 so that the projectile 18 in flight has the configuration shown in FIG. 7.

As the projectile 18 passes the slots 31, the powder gases and the like escape through the slots 31, which avoids forward escape of hot propellant gases and the definite possibility of burning a target person under hand to hand riot conditions.

On striking any target. the mesh 42 ruptures and the body 32 forming the projectile I8 flattens out against the target.

The combined effect provided by the initial relative high velocity of the projectile l8 and its rapid slowing in free flight yield a projectile of unique performance. Without the need for grappling with or pursuing rioters or looters. the individuals involved may be confused and partially stunned. or positively marked to a distance of feet or more. On closer ranges. the impact of the projectile becomes increasingly greater, and on face to face range, as when the user is confronted with an armed attacker, the impact would be sufficient to cause unconsciousness as when fired against the attackers abdomen or face. In the case of juveniles, an impact against the shoulders, body trunk, or limbs would immobilize such persons with soreness the only harm done.

SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION The launcher l0. aside from the specifics already referred to, may be constructed in any suitable manner to handle projectile assemblies 12, following suitable fire arm principles in light of the teachings of this application. Bell shaped muzzle 28 avoids plugging of the barrel when the launcher is fired when held against a target (see FIG. 6) and under such conditions the size of the muzzle sufficiently spreads out thrust forces acting on the target to avoid permanent injury to a target person so hit.

The projectile assembly 12 forms the ammunition round for the launcher 10. The shell 41 in which the projectile I8 is mounted generally comprises an outer tubular sleeve or casing 70 formed from a suitable plastic or the like seated within a suitable plastic or metallic base 72 defining a recessed wall structure 74 forming opening 76 that is closed by a suitable primer plug structure 77 to form a high pressure firing chamber 78. Primer plug structure 77 is suitably fitted with percussion or electrical elements to fire the propelling charge 80 contained within the chamber 78, with the resulting burning powder gases escaping through release vents 82 in the wall structure 74 into a low pressure chamber 84 defined by the casing 70, the base 72 and its wall structure 74, and the projectile 18. Similar to military grenade launchers, launching pressures immediately build up in the chamber 84 to propel the projectile 18 from its shell 41 and thence through bore 25.

The projectile cup 40 is preferably made of a suitable plastic or the like, and is of shell form comprising a cylindrical side wall 90 and end wall 92. Cup 40 is employed to maintain the missile like shape of the body 32 under the forces acting on same during firing of the launcher and travel of the projectile through the barrel. In the form shown, the side wall 90 is shaped to define spaced longitudinally extending lines 94 of reduced thickness so that when the projectile is free of bore when pressure and the distending action of the rear end of the projectile will readily rupture the wall 90 along the lines 94 so that the cup 40 readily separates from the projectile as the projectile leaves the launcher 10.

As seen in FIGS. 2 and 4, body 32 between its ends is formed with a pair of right angle slots 100 and 102 that separate this portion of 104 of the body into quadrants 106, 108, 110 and 112. Body 32 is preferably molded or formed so that when free of the mesh 42 it tends to spring into a distended shape similar to that shown at the left hand side of FIG. 6.

As indicated by FIG. 7A the stabilizing structure 37 may be formed by omitting chamber 34 and providing instead an integral flange structure 37A which is compressed flat for shaping the body for insertion in cup 40, but which springs out to the position indicated as the projectile leaves the launcher bore. Alternately, radially spaced extending flanges may be employed which are wrapped around the projectile body when in cup 40, but which spring upright as the projectile goes into flight.

The mesh 42 is preferably of nylon netting, its strength being only sufficient to hold the body 32 in the shape indicated in FIG. 7 during the projectiles free flight through its ballistic path. In addition, a binding may be applied about cup 40 in the form of a winding of fiberglass threads 114 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) which are cut by a suitable knife blade 116 mounted in the discharge end of bore 25, but this is considered an optional feature.

The pocket 44 is formed in body 32 in any suitable manner, as are suitable passageways 45 that are stoppered by the plugs 46. Plugs 46 are formed of a firmer type of rubber or plastic than the material-forming the body 32 and may be bonded in place to insure that the fluid 48 is retained within the chamber 44. Upon striking a target, the body 32 in flattening compresses the pocket 44, forcing out the plugs 46, as well as the fluid 48.

The fluid 48 may be in the form of a fluorescent dye or dyes of a vivid color or colors for the purpose ,of staining the skin of a target person so as to leave a mark indelible for some hours, enabling subsequent capture and identification. The fluid 48 may also include chemicals of the irritant type such as tear gas or the like or those providing a distinctive or pervasive odor, such as the mercaptan series, difficult to remove for some hours, or both. H

In the form of FIG. 10, the passageways 45A are located so that the plugs 46 closing same will be directed in a generally forward direction, so that a large portion of the fluid charge in pocket 44A will be directed toward the target rather than being ejected at to the side, as in the embodiment of FIG. 9. Passageways 45A are also formed so that plugs 46 will be recessed within the passageways, as indicated at 120. Further, recesses 120 are each struck on radius 122 forming grooves 124 that radiate out from the axis of the projectile, as indicated in FIG. 10A. The grooves resulting allow the escape of the fluid from within the pocket 44A with a free-spraying effect, avoiding a tendency to eject chemicals directly into a nostril or eye cavity of a target person.

In the form of FIG. 11, the plugs 46A are defined from the material forming the body 32 and are attached to same by connection in a position to be inserted within the passageway 45B of the body 328. The body 32B is otherwise the same as already described in connection with the showing of FIGS. 1 through 9.

In forming the bodies 32, 32A and 32B, lead shot or dust or its equivalent (for instance, No. 12 shot or finer) may be molded into the body at the time of forming for the purpose of enhancing stability in flight as may seem desirable or necessary, the lead dust being concentrated at the forward end of the bodies. The increased mass resulting will provide a more effective blow on being delivered to the target without any increase in volume necessary to achieve this end (and to increase this effect, lead shot or dust may be dispersed throughout the body). The projectile bodies may, of course, be simplified by omitting pocket 44 and recesses 45 and their equivalents, thereby providing a projectile without marking fluid.

It will therefore be seen that this invention provides a non-lethal projectile assembly and launcher therefor that provides those in charge of law enforcement with an implement that will deal with riot situations where the use of conventional weapons is not feasible. At close range the target person will be stunned or readily subdued without further injury, and where marking fluid is employed, culprits can be marked for further ready identification at distances of up to 100 feet or more, again without permanently injuring the target person involved.

It is pointed out that while the launcher and projectile system of this invention will not avoid all injury to target persons, grievous lasting injury will be avoided.

A target person struck at close range by the pro ectile of this invention will be stunned, with discomt'itures such as bruises and swelling resulting. But broken bones and penetration of the body are avoided.

The foregoing description and the drawings are given merely to explain and illustrate the invention, and the invention is not to be limited thereto, except insofar as the appended claims are so limited, since those skilled in the art who have this disclosure before them may be able to make modification and variations therein without departing from the scope of the invention.

We claim:

1. A non-lethal device for riot control and the like, said device comprising:

a round, said round comprising:

a projectile,

said projectile comprising a pliant body formed from resiliently flexible material compacted to pro ectile form,

frangible means for restraining the body against release from projectile form,

a shell in which said projectile is disposed,

said shell including means for firing said pro ectile therefrom,

a launcher for launching said projectile from said shell,

said launcher comprising:

a barrel assembly in which said round is receivable in firing relation thereto,

and means for firing said round when received in said barrel assembly to project said pro ectile from said shell,

iaid barrel assembly including a firing chamber, a bore, and a muzzle of bell shape at the end of said more and having its interior proportioned to substantially exceed the transverse dimension of said pro ectile,

531d bore being formed rearwardly of said muzzle with slot means for permitting propelling gases of 531d shell firing means to escape therefrom when iaid shell is tired,

whereby, when said round ism said chamber and said pro ectile is fired from said shell, said projectile is propelled through and out of said barrel assembly in pro ectile form, and on striking the target, said frangible means ruptures allowing said body to dis- :ort under impact to thereby protect the target From injury from the momentum of said body.

2. The device set forth in claim 1 wherein:

said body in its projectile form includes means at its "earward end for defining guidance means when iaid pro ectile on being tired clears said bore,

said guidance defining means being held retracted by said shell.

3. The device set forth in claim 1 wherein:

iald body includes means for marking the target on impacting against same.

4. The device set forth in claim 1 including:

1 movie camera carried by said barrel assembly and iirected parallel to said bore,

ind means for actuating said camera for making a photographic record at the time of firing of said

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U.S. Classification42/106, 42/105, 102/444, 102/502, 42/1.8, 42/76.1
International ClassificationF41C27/06, F41C27/00, F42B5/045, F42B10/00, F42B10/02, F41J5/10, F42B12/40, F42B5/00, F42B12/02, F42B12/34, F41J5/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41C27/06, F42B12/34, F42B12/40, F41J5/10, F42B5/045, F42B10/02
European ClassificationF42B12/40, F42B5/045, F41C27/06, F42B12/34, F42B10/02, F41J5/10