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United States Patent [w]
Woodall et al.
US005996503A [ii] Patent Number:  Date of Patent:
 REUSABLE GAS-POWERED HAND GRENADE
 Inventors: Robert Woodall, Lynn Haven; Felipe Garcia, Panama City, both of Fla.
 Assignee: The United States of America as
represented by the Secretary of the
Navy, Washington, D.C.
 Appl. No.: 09/066,706  Filed: Apr. 27, 1998
 Int. C I. F42B 8/12
 U.S. CI 102/498; 102/482; 102/502;
102/513; 102/529; 473/577
 Field of Search 102/357, 383,
102/393, 395, 440, 480, 482, 486, 489, 494^96, 498, 502, 513, 529; 473/577,
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
1,737,833 12/1929 D'Orsaneo 102/480
4,319,426 3/1982 Lee 102/498
4,944,521 7/1990 Greeno 102/498
5,018,449 5/1991 Eidson, II 102/498
5,069,134 12/1991 Pinkney 102/498
5,078,117 1/1992 Cover 102/440
5,590,886 1/1997 Lush 102/498
5,877,448 3/1999 Denton et al 102/498
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
488236 9/1918 France 102/480
275694 6/1914 Germany 102/480
Primary Examiner—Harold J. Tudor
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Harvey A. Gilbert; Donald G.
A reusable gas-powered hand grenade is provided. A handheld housing defines one or more launch tubes. A projectile is loaded in each launch tube with an obturator being positioned therein between the projectile and the launch tube's muzzle end. A sealed reservoir is maintained in the housing for storing a gas under pressure. A rupturing device is mounted in the housing for breaking the reservoir's seal upon impact therewith. A triggering mechanism coupled to the rupturing device maintains separation between the rupturing device and the seal until the triggering mechanism is activated. Once activated, the triggering mechanism moves the rupturing device to impact the seal so that gas pressure propels the projectile and obturator from the launch tube.
15 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
REUSABLE GAS-POWERED HAND
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT
This patent application is with one related patent application entitled "REUSABLE GAS-POWERED WAR GAME LAND MINE", Ser. No. 08/986,981, filed Dec. 8, 1997, and now issued U.S Pat. No. 5,877,448, which is owned by the same assignee as this patent application. 10
ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The invention described herein was made in the performance of official duties by employees of the Department of the Navy and may be manufactured, used, licensed by or for the Government for any governmental purpose without payment of any royalties thereon.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates generally to hand grenades, and more particularly to a reusable, gas-powered hand grenade for ejecting projectiles such as paintballs.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
To adequately prepare military personnel, good military training must account for and simulate not only the use of hand grenades, but also their explosive fragmentation characteristics. To do this, it is necessary to have practice hand grenades for use in war games. An example of a war game 30 marking grenade is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,944,521. Briefly, a number of paintballs are press-fit or glued into cavities formed in the grenade housing with each paintball extending partially outside the confines of the grenade housing. A compressed gas cylinder provided in the housing 35 is pierced when the grenade is activated. The gas is directed within the grenade housing to a plurality of plugged channels, each of which leads to one cavity holding a paintball. When sufficient pressure builds in each plugged channel, the plug is propelled forward to impact the paintball 40 such that the plug and paintball are ejected from the grenade housing.
The problems associated with the hand grenade disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,944,521 are numerous. Since the paintballs extend beyond the confines of the grenade housing, 45 premature rupturing of the paintballs can occur during handling of the grenade. Also, because each paintball extends partially outside the grenade housing and resides at the end of a plugged channel in which launch pressure is developed, each paintball is only exposed to launch pressure 50 for a very brief time period. That is, once pressure in each plugged channel is sufficient to overcome frictional forces holding the plug and paintball in position, the paintball is immediately expelled from the grenade housing while the pressurized launch gas quickly expands. This limits the 55 amount of acceleration each paintball can develop so that the range of each paintball is only a few feet. Since real grenades have ranges much greater than a few feet, realistic practice results cannot be achieved. Finally, since each paintball is impacted with a propelled plug, the paintball can fracture 60 from the impact and, therefore, never be ejected in whole from the grenade housing.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to 65 provide a hand grenade that can simulate the explosive fragmentation characteristics of an exploding hand grenade.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a hand grenade that can be used in military and non-military war games.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a hand grenade that is reusable.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more obvious hereinafter in the specification and drawings.
In accordance with the present invention, a hand grenade has a housing defining at least one launch tube having a breech end and a muzzle end. At least one projectile is loaded in each launch tube between its breech and muzzle end. An obturator is positioned in the launch tube between the projectile and the muzzle end. A sealed reservoir is maintained in the housing for storing a gas under pressure. A rupturing device is mounted in the housing for breaking the reservoir's seal upon impact therewith. The rupturing device defines a channel through which the gas can flow from the reservoir to the breech end when the seal is broken. A triggering mechanism is coupled to the rupturing device for maintaining separation between the rupturing device and the seal until the triggering mechanism is activated. Once activated, the triggering mechanism moves the rupturing device to impact the seal after so that the gas can enter the breech end of the launch tube to increase pressure on the projectile sufficient to propel the projectile and obturator from the launch tube.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. lAis a schematic of the hand grenade of the present invention in its safe position;
FIG. IB is a schematic view of the hand grenade as it is simulating explosion characteristics; and
FIG. 2 depicts one embodiment of the gas-powered hand grenade according to the present invention shown in its safe position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIGS. lAand IB, operational aspects and advantages of the present invention will first be described. A gas-powered hand grenade 10 of the present invention is shown in its "safe" position in FIG. 1A and as it is simulating explosive fragmentation characteristics in FIG. IB. Hand grenade 10 can be used in both military and non-military scenarios to launch projectiles in a fashion that simulates the explosive fragmentation characteristics of a real grenade. By way of example, it will be assumed herein that the scenario is a war game scenario in which case the projectiles are non-lethal in nature. However, in general, the term projectile in the present invention extends to any injury-inflicting, lethal or non-lethal projectile.
Hand grenade 10 includes one or more launch barrels or tubes 12, each of which is aimed in a particular direction. Each launch tube 12 is loaded with a projectile 14. Note that more than one projectile 14 can also be loaded into each launch tube 12. In terms of a war game scenario, projectiles 14 can be frangible projectiles housing a marking agent (not shown). Such frangible projectiles are known in the art as paintballs. The marking agent can be a visible colorant or, in the case of security scenarios (e.g., banks, border crossings, etc.), the marking agent could be an ultraviolet-sensitive ink or any covert marking agent that could be detected at a later time and/or with special detectors.