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Publication numberUS3914873 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 28, 1975
Filing dateFeb 27, 1973
Priority dateFeb 27, 1973
Publication numberUS 3914873 A, US 3914873A, US-A-3914873, US3914873 A, US3914873A
InventorsCresap Charles R, Elliott Jr John B
Original AssigneeCresap Charles R, Elliott Jr John B
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Illuminated gun sights
US 3914873 A
Abstract
Battery powered illuminated gun sights for facilitating accurate aiming of a gun in the dark. The sight illumination is furnished by miniature shock-resistant light emitters, such as light emitting diodes, which are energized from batteries contained in the gun by operation of a switch on the gun. The sights are preferably illuminated with red light to avoid degrading of the user's night vision and in such a way that the illuminated portions of the sights are not visible from the front and sides of the gun and hence do not reveal the user's location. The front and rear sights may be distinguished by illumination of different intensity or color to facilitate proper alignment of the sights when aiming.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Elliott, Jr. et al.

Oct. 28, 1975 ILLUMINATED GUN SIGHTS Inventors: John B. Elliott, Jr., 27421 Arriolo; Charles R. Cresap, 21422 Rosedell Drive, both of Saugus, Calif. 91350 Filed: Feb. 27, 1973 Appl. No.: 336,258

US. Cl 33/241; 240/641 Int. Cl? F41G l/32 Field of Search 33/241; 240/641 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Primary Examiner-Richard E. Aegerter Assistant Examiner-Richard R. Stearns Attorney, Agent, or FirmDonald R. Nyhagen 1 ABSTRACT Battery powered illuminated. gun sights for facilitating accurate aiming of a gun in the dark. The sight illumination is furnished by miniature shock-resistant light emitters, such as light emitting diodes, which are energized from batteries contained in the gun by operation of a switch on the gun. The sights are preferably illuminated with red light to avoid degrading of the users night vision and in such a way that the illuminated portions of the sights are not visible from the front and sides of the gun and hence do not reveal the users location. The front and rear sights may be distinguished by illumination of different intensity or color to facilitate proper alignment of the sights when aiming.

7 Claims, 1 1 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent Oct. 28, 1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,914,873

U.S. Patent Oct. 28, 1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,914,873

ILLUMINATED GUN SIGHTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to guns and more particularly to improved battery powered illuminated gun sights.

Discussion of the Prior Art Aiming a conventional gun in the dark with any degree of accuracy is extremely difficult owing to the fact that the gun sights cannot be seen and hence the gun must be aimed or pointed by feel. A variety of night aiming devices for guns have been proposed to overcome this problem, including light amplifying sights, light beam aiming devices, and illuminated gun sights. These aiming devices, however, have inherent disadvantages which restrict or prohibit their use by law enforcement ofiicers and others who have a need for a night aiming device.

Light amplifying sights, for example, are costly, bulky, require a high voltage power supply, and are illsuited for use on hand guns. Light beam aiming devices are similarly deficient and, in addition, reveal the users location. Illuminated gun sights are the most practical from the standpoint of cost, compactness, adaptability to hand guns, and electrical power requirements. The existing illuminated sights of which we are aware, however, are deficient in other respects and hence have not been favored by widespread use, particularly by law enforcement agencies. A particularly serious deficiency of these illuminated sights, for example, resides in their use of small filament type incandescent light bulbs to furnish the sight illumination. Such bulbs are incapable of withstanding the shock of firing. Also, many illuminated sights are visible from the front and sides of the gun and hence reveal the users location.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention provides improved battery powered illuminated gun sights which avoid the foregoing and other disadvantages of the existing illuminated sights. According to one feature of the invention, for example, the sight illumination is furnished by miniature shock resistant light emitters, such as light emitting diodes, capable of withstanding the shock forces involved in firing a gun.

According to another feature of the invention, the light emitters are recessed into the sights and illuminate the latter in such a way that the illuminated portions of the sights are not visible from the front and sides of the gun and hence do not reveal the users location. In one described form of the invention, for example, the sights are provided with rearwardly facing reflecting surfaces, and the light emitters are recessed into the sights directly to the rear of these surfaces in such a way as to illuminate the surfaces. These illuminated sight surfaces are visible only from the rear of the gun by light reflected from the surfaces. In another described embodiment, the light emitter of the front sight is recessed into the sight and faces rearwardly so as to be directly visible from the rear of the gun.

The light emitters are connected to an energizing circuit including batteries housed in the gun and a switch on the gun. This switch is operable by the gun user to turn the emitters on and off. The particular gun described is a hand gun or pistol in which the battteries are housed within the hand grip of the gun, and the switch is mounted at one side: of the grip for operation by the users fingers or palm.

According to a further feature of the invention, the front and rear sights may be distinguished by illumination of different intensity or color to facilitate aiming of the gun with the illuminated sights. The sight illumination is preferably red light to avoid degrading of the users night vision.

The light emitters and energizing circuit of the sight illumination means are sealed in such a way as to permit exposure of the gun to the elements, cleaning and other maintenance of the gun, and normal use of the gun without adverse effect on the illumination means. The sight illumination means is extremely compact and usable on virtually any type of gun including rifles, shot guns, and hand guns of both the civilian and military variety.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a gun, in this instance a hand gun, embodying illuminated sights according to the invention with portions of the gun broken away for clarity;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged section taken on line 22 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged longitudinal section through the front gun sight;

FIG. 3A is a top view of the front gun sight in FIG.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevation, partly in section, of the rear gun sight;

FIG. 5 is a view looking in the direction of the arrows on line 55 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged section taken on line 6-6 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view looking in the direction of arrow 7 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a circuit diagram of the sight illumination system;

FIG. 9 illustrates a modified illuminated front gun sight according to the invention; and

FIG. 10 illustrates a further modified illuminated front gun sight according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIGS. 1-8 illustrate a gun 1O embodying illuminated sights l2 and 14 according to the invention and an energizing circuit 16 for the sights. The particular gun shown is a hand gun, specifically a revolver of the type commonly carried by police officers and other law enforcement officers. Except for the illuminated sights and their energizing circuit, the gun is conventional and hence need not be described in elaborate detail. Suffice it to say that the gun includes a hand grip 18, barrel 20, trigger 22, hammer 24, cylinder 26, and inspection plate 28 which is removable to provide access to the interior mechanism of the gun. The hand grip 18 has a laminated construction including a center plate 30, outer plates 32, and face pieces 34. The grip plates 30, 32 define a void space 36 within the grip. The face pieces 34 are removably secured to the grip.

The illuminated gun sights l2 and 14 are front and rear sights, respectively. The illumination for these sights is furnished by miniature shock resistant light emitters 38 and 40. These light emitters are preferably light emitting diodes, although it is considered to be within the scope of the invention to utilize other suitable miniature shock resistant light emitters or sources. The sight energizing .circuit 16 includes batteries 42 housed within the hand grip 18 of the gun and a switch 44 on the hand grip operable by the gun user to connect the light emitters 38, 40 to and disconnect the emitters from the batteries, thus to turn the emitters on and off.

Referring now in greater detail to the particular sight illumination means illustrated, the front sight 12 is located at the front end of the gun barrel and has a lower upstanding base or ramp 46 integral with and extending longitudinally along the upper side of the barrel. Rising from this ramp in a plane containing the longitudinal axis of the barrel is a relatively thin sight rib 48 which constitutes the front sight member of the conventional gun. Sight rib 48 has a rear beveled, rearwardly facing edge 50 which slopes rearwardly and downwardly from the upper tip edge of the rib to the sight ramp 46.

Milled or otherwise formed in the sight rib 48 and entering its rear sloping edge 50 is a semicircular recess 52. A small bore 54 enters the upper tip edge of the sight rib normal to the axis of the barrel 20 and intersects the front end of the sight rib. The front wall surface 56 of this bore is painted white or otherwise treated to form a reflecting surface. This reflecting surface 56 faces rearwardly of the barrel 20 and is visible from the rear of the gun through the rearwardly facing open side of the sight rib recess 52.

The light emitter 38 of the front sight 12 is a light emitting diode which is fixed within a bore 58 entering the bottom wall of the sight rib recess 52 adjacent the front end of the recess and at an oblique angle to the axis of the gun barrel 20. Bore 58 slopes forwardly and upwardly, and the light emitter or diode 38 is positioned in the upper end of the bore and projects into the recess 52 so as to illuminate the reflecting surface 56 of the sight when the diode is energized. As will be explained in more detail presently, the front sight 12, when illuminated in the dark by the light emitting diode 38, may be seen from the rear end of the gun by light reflection from the sight surface 56. According to a preferred feature of the invention, the sight recess 52 and bore 54 are filled with a transparent potting compound or other suitable transparent substance to seal the front sight illumination means against dirt, dust, moisture and the like.

One terminal of the light emitting diode 38 is grounded to the metal of the front sight 12. The other diode terminal is connected to a wire lead 60 which extends downwardly through the sight bore 58 and then rearwardly through a bore 62 which extends longitudinally through the front sight ramp 46 in intersecting relation to the bore 58. The bore 62 may be drilled through the ramp 46 from its front end, after which the front end of the bore is sealed by potting compound 64 or the like. The rear end of the bore 62 opens to a groove 66 extending along the top of the gun barrel 20 and through which the diode lead 60 extends to the rear end of the barrel. The rear end of the bore 62 and the groove 66 are sealed with potting compound. As will be explained presently, the diode 38 is energized through the lead 60 to illuminate the front sight 12.

The rear sight 14 is located adjacent the rear end of the barrel 20 and includes a ramp 68 seating on top of the barrel. Rising from the upper side of this ramp is a rear sight member 70 which, in this instance, is an open sight having a sight opening 72 in the form of a slot entering the upper edge of the sight member. The gun 10 is aimed in the usual way by aligning the front sight rib 48 and rear sight opening 72 in the manner shown in FIG. 7. The rear sight ramp 68'is pivotally attached at its front end to the gun barrel 20 by a pivot 74 and has a rear windage adjustment screw 76 for adjusting the rear end of the ramp and hence the rear sight member 70 laterally of the gun barrel to correct for windage in the well known way. The rear gun sight described to this point is the standard rear sight.

According to the present invention the upper side of the rear sight ramp 68, rearwardly of the rear sight member 70, is recessed at 78 and has a bore 80 entering the rear end of the ramp at an oblique angle to the longitudinal axis of the ramp and sloping forwardly and upwardly to the ramp recess 78. a groove 82 extends from the rear end of the bore 80, around the rear curved end of the ramp, to the underside of the ramp. The lower end of groove 82 opens to a clearance space 84 between the underside of the rear end of the ramp and the rear end of the gun barrel 20. The rear end of the barrel groove 66 extends under the rear ramp 68 and opens rearwardly to the clearance space 84.

The light emitter 40 of the rear sight 14 is a light emitting diode which is fixed'in the upper end. of the rear ramp bore 80 and projects into the ramp recess 78 to illuminate the rear side of the rear sight member 70 when the diode is energized. A portion 86 of the rear surface of the sight member about its opening 72 is painted white or otherwise rendered reflective to outline the opening when illuminated by the diode.

One terminal of the light emitting diode 40 is grounded to the metal of the rear ramp 68 and hence to the metal of the gun barrel 20. The other diode terminal is connected to a wire lead 88 which extends downwardly through the ramp bore 80 to the ramp groove 82 and then through this groove to the clearance space 84. Preferably, groove 82 is filled with potting compound or other suitable substance. The portion of the lead 88 within the clearance space 84 is provided with sufficient slack to permit elevation adjustment of the rear sight.

The diode leads 60, 88 comprise part of the light emitter energizing circuit 16. These leads extend from the barrel groove 66 and ramp groove 82, respectively, through space 84 into a groove 90 in the inner side of the gun inspection plate 28 and then downwardly through this groove to the switch 44 of the energizing circuit. Preferably, the portions of the leads within the inspection plate groove are encased in a plastic sleeve or sheath 92.

Referring to FIG. 5, it will be seen that the batteries 42 are arranged end to end within the interior space 36 of the gun hand grip 18. Any suitable batteries may be used, such as nickel-cadmium batteries. The batteries are held in position by any convenient battery holding means. The particular holding means shown comprises holes 96 in the hand grip plates 32 which receive the batteries and contacts 98 in the inner sides of the hand grip plates 34 into which the outer ends of the batteries project. Mounted on the outer bottom walls of the recesses 98 are battery contacts 100, 102. The energizing circuit switch 44 is a normally open switch recessed into the outer side of one hand grip face plate 34, in this 60, 88. The other switch terminal is connected to the battery Contact 100. The other battery contact102 is grounded'to the metal of the gun body. Accordingly, closure 'of'the'switch 44 energizes the diodes 38, 40 to illuminate'the front and rear gun sights 12, 14.

'As noted earlier, the diode 30, when energized,illuminates the rearwardly facing reflecting surface 56 ofthe front sight 12. The diode 40, when energized illuminates the rearwardly facing reflecting surface portion 86 of the rear sight 141. The illuminated sights are thus seerrfrom the? rear of the gun by light reflection from these sight'surface's. Referring to FIG. 7, it will be seen that the illuminated front sight appears as a small rectangle of light;.The illuminated rearsight appears as a U-shaped patch of light which bounds the rear sight opening 72. The gun is aimed by aligning the front rectangle of light with the opening 72 defined by the rear patch of light, as shown in FIG. 7. It is important to note that the illuminated portions of the gun sights are not visible from the front or sides of the gun and hence do not reveal the shooters position.

According to a preferred feature of the invention, the sights 12, 14 emit red light when illuminated to avoid degrading the users night vision. This may be accomplished by utilizing red light emitting diodes for the light emitters 38, 40. However, it is considered to be Within the scope of the invention to use light emitters of other colors. According to another preferred feature, the front and rear sights are distinguished by illumination of different characteristics, such as color or intensity, to facilitate alignment of the illuminated front sight with the illumination bounded opening in the rear sight. In the particular gun shown, for example, the sights are distinguished by illumination of differing intensity. To this end, resistors, 106, 108 are serially connected in the diode leads 62, 00. The resistor 106 has a lower resistance value than resistor 108, such that the illumination intensity of the front sight is slightly greater than the illumination intensity of the rear sight.

In the particular gun shown, the batteries 42 are replaced when necessary by removing from the hand grip 18 one or both of the hand grip face pieces 34. If desired, rechargeable batteries may be used, and the gun may be equipped with a battery recharging circuit including a jack accessible on the outside of the hand grip for connection to a suitable recharging power source.

The modified front gun sight 200 in FIG. 9 is similar to that of FIGS. 1-8 except that the sight rib 202 is cut away to form the sight reflecting surface 204. This surface may be painted white or otherwise rendered reflective in the same manner as the reflecting surface of the front sight in FIGS. 1-8. The light emitter or light emitting diode 206 of the sight 200 is recessed into the bottom edge of the sight rib contact. just to the rear of the surface 20 1, as shown, so as to illuminate the surface when energized. The diode is potted in place, as illustrated.

The modified illuminated front sight 300 of FIG. has a sight rib 302 with a rear edge into which the light emitter or light emitting diode 304 of the sight is recessed, as shown. In this sight configuration, the diode faces rearwardly along the, gun barrel and is viewed directly through the rear sight opening. The recess or bore receiving the diode is sealed with a suitable potting-compound. i a

What is claimed is:

, '1. In a gun havinga barrel, the improvements comprising: r

- a rear illuminated .sightalong said barrel comprising an upstanding sight member at the breech end of said barrel having a sighting aperture and a reflecting surface about said aperture'facing rearwardly of said barrel, I i

a light emitter recessed into said gun rearwardly of said sight member so as to be located'below the level of said sight member and facing said sight member for illuminating said sight surface,

whereby the illuminated sight member is visible in the dark from the breech end of the gun by light reflection from said sight surface,

an energizing circuit connected to said light emitter including switch means on said'gun to be operated by the gun user for switching said light emitter on and off, and

said light emitter comprising a light emitting diode which produces light by electro-luminescence.

2. In a gun having a barrel, the improvements comprising:

a front illuminated sight along said barrel comprising a relatively thin upstanding sight rib at the muzzle end of said barrel having a recess entering an edge of said rib and a reflecting surface within the front end of said recess and facing rearwardly along said barrel,

a light emitter within said recess below the level of said reflecting surface for illuminating said surface, whereby the illuminated from sight is visible in the dark from the breech end of the gun by light reflection from said surface,

a transparent filler material filling said recess,

an energizing circuit connected to said light emitter including switch means on said gun to be operated by the gun user for switching said light emitter on and off, and

said light emitter comprising a light emitting diode which produces light by electro-luminescence.

3. In a gun having a barrel, the improvements comprising:

two illuminated sights spaced along said barrel each having a reflecting surface facing rearwardly along the barrel and a light emitter for illuminating said reflecting surface,

the light emitter for each sight being recessed into said gun rearwardly of the respective sight reflecting surface so as to be located below the level of the respective surface and facing the respective surface, whereby the illuminated sights are visible in the dark from the breech end of the gun by light reflection from said sight surfaces,

an energizing circuit connected to said light emitters including switch means on said gun to be operated by the gun user for switching said light emitters on and off, and

said light emitters comprising light emitting diodes which produce light by electro-luminescence.

4. In a gun having a barrel, the improvements comprising:

two illuminated sights spaced along said barrel each including a light emitter for illuminating the respective sight,

one sight being a front sight comprising a relatively thin upstanding longitudinal sight rib at the muule end of said barrel having a recess entering an edge of the rib and containing the front sight light emitter in such a way that light from said front emitter 10 is visible at the breech end of said barrel,

the other sight being a rear sight comprising an upstanding sight member at the breech end of said barrel having a sighting aperture and a reflecting surface about said aperture facing rearwardly of said barrel, the rear sight light emitter being recessed into the gun rearwardly of said sight member so as to be located below the level of the sight member and facing said sight surface for illuminating said surface, whereby the illuminated sight member is visible by light reflection from the surface,

an energizing circuit connected to said light emitters including switch means on said gun to be operated by the gun user for switching said light emitters on and off, and

said light emitters comprising light emitting diodes which produce light by electro-luminescence.

5. The improvements according to claim 4 wherein:

said sight rib has a reflecting surface at the front end of said sight rib recess and facing rearwardly along said barrel, and said front light emitter is located below the level of and illuminates said later surface, whereby the illuminated front sight is viewed by light reflection from the latter surface.

6. The improvements according to claim 5 wherein;

said sight rib reflecting surface is located within the front end of said rib recess and,

said sight rib recess is filled with a transparent filler material.

7. The improvements according to claim 4 wherein:

said sight rib edge faces rearwardly along said barrel, and said front light emitter faces rearwardly so as to be visible from the rear of said gun.

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification42/132, 42/144, 42/117
International ClassificationF41G1/34, F41G1/00
Cooperative ClassificationF41G1/345
European ClassificationF41G1/34B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 12, 1981AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: ECKERT, RICHARD L., 667 N. ESCONDIDO BLVD., ESCOND
Owner name: ELLIOT, JOHN B.
Effective date: 19801116
Jan 12, 1981ASAssignment
Effective date: 19801116
Owner name: ECKERT, RICHARD L., 667 N. ESCONDIDO BLVD., ESCOND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ELLIOT, JOHN B.;REEL/FRAME:3822/355
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ELLIOT, JOHN B.;REEL/FRAME:003822/0355