Title:
Primer launched projectile systems
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Projectiles and projectile systems are provided herein employing an inhibiting and/or marking substance for impairing/marking a living target. In some embodiments, the systems include a primer only launched projectile system. The primer only launched projectile systems can include a shell, a primer, a propulsion shock damper and the projectiles. In some embodiments the systems can be used with standard shotguns or other standard guns. In some implementations, the primer can be a percussion or electrically activated primer. The propulsion shock damper is located within the shell such that a seal is formed between the propulsion shock damper and the shell casing. The relatively low kinetic projectiles are intended to be non-lethal, less than lethal or less lethal in nature, such that the projectiles impact a body with safe kinetics as not to penetrate the body in a lethal manner.



Inventors:
Vasel, Edward J. (San Diego, CA, US)
Wenaas, Eric P. (Del Mar, CA, US)
Fuzak, Corey A. (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/102297
Publication Date:
01/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/08/2005
Assignee:
Pepperball Technologies, Inc., a Delaware corporation (San Diego, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F42B10/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CLEMENT, MICHELLE RENEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fitch, Even Tabin And Flannery (120 SOUTH LA SALLE STREET, SUITE 1600, CHICAGO, IL, 60603-3406, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for delivering an inhibiting substance to a target, comprising: a projectile having a hollow portion; an inhibiting substance contained within the hollow portion of the projectile; and means for propelling the projectile toward a target, wherein the projectile radially disperses the inhibiting substance into a cloud upon an impact of the projectile.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the means for propelling comprises a primer that at least initiates a launching of the projectile toward the target upon ignition of the primer.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the means for propelling comprises less than 5 grams of gunpowder.

4. The system of claim 2, further comprising: a propulsion shock damper positioned within the shell, wherein the projectile is positioned within the shell adjacent the propulsion shock damper such that at least a portion of the propulsion shock damper is positioned between the projectile and the primer; and the primer is positioned within the shell such that when ignited the primer propels the propulsion shock damper such that the projectile is forced from the shell by the propulsion shock damper.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the propulsion shock damper comprises first and second surfaces, where the first surface has a shape that at least partially corresponds with at least a portion of an exterior surface of the projectile to distribute a propulsion force across the at least the portion of the exterior surface of the projectile, and the second surface tapers towards a central axis of the propulsion shock damper.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the means for propelling comprises only one or more primers and does not include gunpowder.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the inhibiting substance comprises at least one of Nonivamide, PAVA, OC, CN, CS, and a maloderant.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the inhibiting substance comprises at least one of a sleep agent, an insecticide, and a herbicide.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the means for propelling comprises compressed gas.

10. The system of claim 1, further comprising: a shell, wherein the projectile is positioned within the shell and the compressed gas is released into at least a portion of the shell to propel the projectile from the shell; and a propulsion shock damper positioned within the shell between the projectile and the compressed gas such that the compressed gas propels the propulsion shock damper to drive the projectile from the shell.

11. The system of claim 1, further comprising a shell, wherein the projectile is positioned within the shell and the compressed gas is released into at least a portion of the shell to propel the projectile from the shell; a gas capsule containing the compresses gas; a puncture pin secured within the shell proximate a first end of the gas capsule; and a primer positioned proximate a second end of the gas capsule, where the primer upon ignition forces the gas capsule towards the puncture pin such that the gas capsule releases at least a portion of the compressed gas.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein the projectile comprises: a first part and a second part; the first part having a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with an exterior of the first part; the hollow portion being defined within the second part; and an extending portion coupled with the first part and the second part, wherein the extending portion extends such that the first part is extended away from the second part increasing a length of the projectile.

13. The system of claim 1, further comprising: a shell that houses the projectile and the means for propelling, where the means for propelling comprises a primer that generates a propulsion force when the primer is ignited causing the projectile to be propelled from the shell; and an electric igniter positioned proximate the primer such that the electric igniter electrically ignites the primer.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein the projectile comprises: a first part having the hollow portion containing the inhibiting substance; a body comprising a propulsion cavity formed within the body that releases compressed gas once the projectile is launched.

15. A method for delivering an inhibiting substance at a target, comprising: propelling a plurality of projectiles, wherein the projectiles include a hollow volume containing an inhibiting substance; and controlling a velocity of the plurality of projectiles so that each of the plurality of projectiles have a velocity between 50 and 500 mph.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the controlling the velocity comprises propelling each of the plurality of projectiles at the velocity where a difference between the velocity of a first of the plurality of projectiles and a second of the plurality of projectiles is less than 20 mph.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the controlling the velocity further comprises igniting a first primer and launching a first of the plurality of projectiles, igniting a second primer and launching a second of the plurality of projectiles, wherein a composition of the first primer is substantially the same as a composition of the second primer, and an amount of the first primer is substantially equal to an amount of the second primer.

18. The method of claim 15, further comprising: establishing an elevated pressure; distributing a propulsion force across a portion of a first projectile of the plurality of projectiles so as to prevent breaking of the first projectile.

19. A method for delivering an inhibiting substance to a target, the method comprising: activating a propellant; directing a propulsion force from the activated propellant onto a first non-lethal projectile; and launching the first projectile at a velocity that is within an non-lethal velocity range.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the non-lethal velocity range comprises a velocity range between 400 and 50 mph.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprises: launching a second non-lethal projectile at a velocity that is within 20 mph of the velocity of the first projectile.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein the launching the first projectile further comprises: controlling the velocity of the first projectile such that the first projectile does not exceed 400 miles per hour; impacting a target with the first projectile, such that the first projectile ruptures; radially dispersing the substance from the first projectile on and about the target; and contacting the target with the dispersing substance, such that the target is inhibited thereby.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the controlling the velocity of the first projectile comprises: igniting a primer within a hull, wherein a propulsion shock damper and the first projectile are place within the hull and wherein the propulsion shock damper is positioned between the primer and the first projectile; establishing a seal between the propulsion shock damper and the hull; establishing an elevated pressure within the hull proximate the propulsion shock damper; and distributing a propulsion force applied by a portion of the propulsion shock damper across a portion of the fist projectile.

24. The method pf claim 23, further comprising: concentrating the propulsion force along a central axis of a bore of the hull.

25. The method of claim 22, wherein the controlling the velocity of the first projectile comprises: igniting a primer causing a release of a compressed gas, where the compressed gas at least partially extinguishes the ignited primer; generating a pressure through the pressure from the ignited primer and the released compressed gas; and the propelling the projectile at the target comprises propelling the projectile with the generated pressure.

26. A system for delivering a non-lethal projectile to a target, comprising: a cartridge; a projectile located within the cartridge where the projectile contains an inhibiting substance; a first primer positioned within the cartridge, wherein the first primer initiates launching of the projectile upon igniting the first primer causing the inhibiting substance to be dispersed upon impact.

27. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 26, further comprising: a gas capsule containing compressed gas located within the cartridge; a puncture pin located within the cartridge and aligned with the gas capsule; and upon igniting the first primer the gas capsule is propelled into the puncture pin causing a release of the compressed gas that provides at least some of a propulsion force launching the projectile.

28. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 27 further comprising a diaphragm within the cartridge positioned between the gas capsule and the first projectile.

29. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 27 further comprising a orifice plate within the positioned between the gas capsule and the first projectile.

30. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 26, wherein the released compressed gas at least partially extinguishes the ignited first primer.

31. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 26, wherein the first primer is configured to generate a propulsion force when the first primer is ignited causing the projectile to be propelled from the cartridge, wherein the propulsion force from the first primer is primarily used to propel the projectile from the cartridge.

32. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 26, further comprising: a second primer; and a circuit board secured with the cartridge having a first primer contact aligned with the first primer to electrically ignite the first primer and a second ignition contact aligned with the second primer to electrically ignite the second primer.

33. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 26, further comprising: a burning chamber within the cartridge proximate the first primer; an expansion chamber; and a tube positioned having first and second ends with the first end positioned within the burning chamber and the second end positioned within the expansion chamber.

34. The system for delivering the non-lethal projectile of claim 26, further comprising: means for suppresses a flame front of the ignited first primer so that the system is not a firearm.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/560,847, filed Apr. 9, 2004, entitled PRIMER LAUNCHED PROJECTILE SYSTEMS, which application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a non-lethal projectile system and, more particularly to non-lethal projectiles that deliver an inhibiting and/or marking substance to a target, especially a living target.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Steadily rising crime rates have led to an increased need for technologically enhanced crime devices. There is particularly a need for non-lethal devices that are capable of at least temporarily incapacitating, slowing or inhibiting a suspected criminal and/or marking such individuals for later identification. As populations increase, the risk that a criminal will be surrounded by or in close proximity to innocent persons when officers are trying to subdue him/her also increases. Whereas non-permanently injuring an innocent bystander, while subduing a suspected criminal, is acceptable, killing the bystander is not. Also, homeowners or other individuals may desire a home protection device without the risk of accidental injury associated with loaded firearms. Thus, there is great need for non-lethal (or less-than-lethal), highly effective weapons that may be used by officers and others to slow, stop and/or mark criminals. Presently available, non-lethal devices include, for example, stun guns, mace, tear gas, pepper spray devices and similar devices that impair the vision, breathing or other physical or mental capabilities of the target.

One attempt to provide a non-lethal device for delivering an inhibiting substance is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,921,614, issued to Fogelgren for a COMPRESSED GAS OPERATED GUN HAVING VARIABLE UPPER AND LOWER PRESSURE LIMITS OF OPERATION, which patent is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Fogelgren describes a gas-operated gun and associated projectiles. In one illustrated embodiment, a projectile consists of a projectile casing that houses a structure in which a firing pin is situated so as to detonate a primary charge upon impact of the projectile with a target. Deterioration of the primary charge causes the expulsion of a load carried in a load chamber. The load chamber may contain various types of load, such as tear gas, dye, flash-powder or wadding.

Disadvantageously, the projectiles described by Fogelgren, particularly those projectiles described that would be suitable for delivering loads such as tear gas or dye, are complicated and expensive to manufacture. The embodiment employing pressurized gas to both expel the projectile and to expel the load upon impact with the target requires a great amount of pressurized gas, that is, a sufficient quantity to both fire the projectile and to provide the portion of pressurized gas necessary to ensure expulsion of the load. In addition, such embodiment requires complicated and tedious methods to manufacture components such as a microminiature ball valve (through which the portion of the pressurized gas enters the rear chamber upon firing), wax sealer within each of the plurality of apertures and a holding pin that must fall away from the projectile in flight.

The embodiment employing the breakable glass vial is also complicated to manufacture, because it also employs a holding pin that must fall away during the flight of the projectile and employs numerous structures that must be precisely fitted together to allow them to separate during firing and in flight. This embodiment also must be carefully handled so that the breakable glass vial does not shatter while being handled by the user. This can be particularly problematic, for example, when the Fogelgren device is being used by a police officer in pursuit of a fleeing criminal (or when used by a police officer threatened by a suspected criminal). Thus, significant room for improvement still exists in the development of non-lethal projectiles.

Another approach to providing non-lethal projectiles for delivering an inhibiting substance to a living target is suggested in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379, issued to Kotsiopoulos, et al., for a PAINT BALL, which patent is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The Kotsiopoulos, et al., device is directed primarily to a paint ball projectile for delivering a load (or blob) of paint to a target, and for expelling the blob of paint onto the target upon impact. The paint ball shown by Kotsiopoulos, et al. consists of a shell that fractures in a predetermined pattern upon impact with a target.

The Kotsiopoulos, et al. disclosure includes a passing reference to the use of such a paint ball for delivering dyes, smoke or tear gas to a target, however, provides no mechanism for dispersing an inhibiting load upon explosion of the projectile, which is important for a non-lethal inhibiting projectile to be effective. Specifically, when the Kotsiopoulos, et al. projectile impacts the target, by-design, the load is dispersed rather locally. Thus, even if one skilled in the art were to act upon the passing reference to using tear gas in the Kotsiopoulos, et al. patent, to using tear gas, the present inventors believe that such a device would be generally ineffective because the tear gas would not be dispersed to the target's face, where it needs to be to be effective.

Furthermore, as Kotsiopoulos, et al. is an unpressurized projectile, the amount of tear gas delivered would necessarily be limited to an unpressurized volume having dimensions of a paint ball. Even if this amount of tear gas were delivered to a target's face, it is unlikely that this amount of tear gas would be sufficiently effective to impair the target in a useful way.

Still other non-lethal projectiles are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,164, issued to Grinberg (Apr. 23, 1991), U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,809 issued to Cuadros (Jun. 22, 1993) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,565,649, issued to Tougeron, et al. (Oct. 15, 1996), each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Grinberg describes a projectile that changes its shape upon impact with a target, thereby reducing the danger of penetration into a live target. For example, Grinberg uses a double leaf construction to facilitate rupture of the projectile upon impact. Cuadros describes a projectile that increases in size either during flight or upon impact to spread its force over a large area to provide a knock-down effect without body penetration, and Tougeron, et al., describe a self-propelled projectile intended to deliver an active substance to a living target.

An additional problem with all non-lethal projectile systems is being able to control the kinetic energy at which a projectile is delivered to a target. Delivering a projectile to a target with to much force can cause unwanted or unnecessary harm in a situation where only non-lethal force is necessary. Therefore, systems that consistently deliver a projectile to a target in a controlled and at a low kinetics level are needed.

While each of the devices described by these patents attempts to provide a projectile that may be used to stop or slow a living target without causing lethal injury, all of the devices have proven to be less than ideal. They are complicated and expensive to manufacture, and they are variously difficult to use and unreliably effective. Typically, known kinetic impact projectile systems use a launch force generated by burning propellant powder ignited by a primer, resulting in a projectile where a kinetic impact to a living target is high and can sometimes be lethal. As a result of these problems and others, there is essentially no widely commercially accepted non-lethal projectile in use by law enforcement or military personnel today that effectively delivers an inhibiting substance to a living target.

As such, there is a need for a reliable and cost effective non-lethal devices and/or method for delivering non-lethal force.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention advantageously addresses the above-identified needs, as well as other needs, by providing a non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile system for delivering a substance to a target, especially a living target, such as a human or animal target. In some embodiments, the projectile system better maximizes its effectiveness by providing a kinetic impact against the target at a first location on or near the target combined with a more optimum dispersement of the substance on and/or about the target at a second location. As such, some embodiments provide methods and systems that can be used by law enforcement or military personnel that effectively deliver projectiles with low kinetic impact that can disable one or more living targets through the use of a primer only cartridge.

The present invention additionally provides a non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile system that has a very consistent shot-to-shot velocity when compared to prior art system. Advantageously, this provides for a non-lethal projectile system that is much less likely to deliver a projectile to a target at a greater than desired velocity and/or impact kinetics.

In one embodiment, a system is provide that can comprise a first part have a hollow portion containing an inhibiting substance, a second part being non-spherical and having an exterior, wherein the first part is sealed with the second part to seal the inhibiting substance within at least the hollow portion, and a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with the exterior of at the second part. The second part can additionally include a hollow portion such that a volume is defined by the hollow portion of the second part and the hollow portion of the first part, wherein the inhibiting substance is contained within the volume. Further, the second part has a length and the first part has a width, where the length of the second part is greater than one and a half times the width of the first part. In some embodiments, the plurality of fins are angled relative to an axis of the second part such that the angled fins provide a spin stabilizing effect.

In some embodiments, a projectile system is provided for use in delivering a substance to a target. The projectile system can include a projectile that has a first part that is at least partially hollow, a second part that is secured with the first part such that the hollow portion is sealed, wherein the projectile is non-spherical, an inhibiting substance sealed within at least the hollow portion of the first part, and stabilizing fins secured with the second part along an exterior of the second part. Further, the inhibiting substance is dispersed into a cloud upon impact of the projectile with a target. In some embodiments, the projectile system further comprises a cartridge coupled with the second part wherein the cartridge includes means for launching the projectile.

In some embodiments, the second part of the projectile is at least partially hollow where the hollow portion of the second part cooperates with the hollow portion of the first part defining a volume within the first and second parts, and the inhibiting substance is sealed within the volume. The first part can additionally be frangible such that the inhibiting powder is radially dispersed when the projectile contacts the target. This powder forms an irritating cloud which can affect targets directly hit or hidden targets near the impact point. Therefore, these embodiments provide users, such as police officers, with a very effective non-lethal option for controlling armed and/or violent suspect(s).

Some embodiments provide a system that comprises at least one fin and a frangible portion housing a payload. The system, in some embodiments, can further comprise a generally non-frangible nose section. The payload can include an irritant powder, an inert substance for training, a Capsaicin, Capsaicin II, Nonivamide, at least one capsaicinoid, Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC), at least one of CS and CN, maloderants, sleep agent(s), insecticide, herbicide, a liquid substance, a marking substance, and/or a weighting substance, or a combination of these substances.

In further embodiments, a system is provided that comprises at least one stabilizing fin, means for launching containing compressed gas, and a frangible portion housing at least a portion of a dispersible payload. The system can further include a shock absorbing nose section. Some embodiments provide a projectile system that includes at least one stabilizing fin or stabilizing design feature, a frangible portion housing at least a portion of a dispersible payload, and a cartridge coupled with the frangible portion, wherein the cartridge includes means for launching the frangible portion. A flexible nose section can additionally be included.

A projectile system is provided through some embodiments that include means for spin stabilizing, and a frangible portion encasing at least a portion of a dispersible payload. The system, in some embodiments, can further include a cartridge coupled with the frangible portion, wherein the cartridge includes means for launching the frangible portion.

In yet other embodiments, a projectile system is provided that includes a primer only launched projectile. In this embodiment, the projectile system can include a shell and a propulsion shock damper. The propulsion shock damper provides a seal for the propulsion gases and evenly distributes and dampens or absorbs the shock loads of the launch preventing shock damage to the frangible projectile. The shock damper and the shell form a seal in-between the primer and the projectile system.

In still other embodiments, a projectile system is provided comprising a cartridge shell, a propulsion shock damper, a primer and a projectile. The shock damper and the cartridge shell create a seal in-between the primer and the projectile. In this embodiment, there is either no gunpowder propellant or less than about 1 gram of gunpowder propellant. This embodiment provides for a system which can deliver the projectile with a much more consistent shot-to-shot velocity than prior art devices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a partially transparent, side view showing a projectile for delivering a substance to a target;

FIG. 2 shows an elevated rear view of the projectile of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 depicts a cross-sectional view of the projectile system of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of a multi-piece projectile;

FIG. 5 depicts a cross-sectional view of a nose of the projectile of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 depicts an elevated view of the internal hollow portion of the nose of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of the body of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 shows an elevated view of the body of FIG. 7 looking into the hollow portion along an axis shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 depicts a side view of the body of FIGS. 7-8 with a cutaway portion shown;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of the rim of the mouth of the body shown in FIGS. 7-9;

FIG. 11 shows a side view of the tail of FIG. 4;

FIG. 12 shows a cross-sectional view of the tail of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 shows a rear view of the tail of FIGS. 11-12;

FIG. 14 is side cross-sectional view of an alternative projectile system for delivering a substance to a target;

FIG. 15 is an elevated side view of the projection system of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 shows a partially transparent, side view of a projectile system for delivering a substance to a target;

FIG. 17 shows an elevated view of the projectile system of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 shows a cross-section view of the projectile system of FIGS. 16 and 17;

FIG. 19 shows a cross sectional view of a projectile, similar to that shown in FIGS. 1-4, prior to assembly;

FIG. 20 shows the projectile of FIG. 19 after the nose and body are joined to one another;

FIG. 21 depicts a cross sectional view of a projectile, similar to that shown in FIGS. 1-3, showing an alterative method for assembling the projectile;

FIG. 22 depicts a flow chart detailing a method of assembly of a projectile system, including steps directed towards FIGS. 19-21;

FIG. 23 shows components of a three-part projectile or projectile system as a variation of the projectiles of FIG. 1, FIG. 4 and/or FIG. 16;

FIG. 24 depicts a perspective view of the lid of the three-part projectile of FIG. 23;

FIG. 25 shows a flowchart of a process for assembling and filling the three-part projectile of FIG. 23;

FIG. 26 depicts a side view of a variation of the projectile of FIGS. 1-4, illustrating fins coupled to a portion of the projectile so as to assist in stabilizing the flight of the projectile;

FIG. 27 depicts a side view of a variation of the projectiles of FIGS. 1-4 and 26, illustrating a three-part non-spherical projectile including stabilizing fins;

FIGS. 28 and 29 depict end views of variations of the stabilizing fins of FIGS. 1-4, 20, 26 and 27, illustrating straight fins and curved fins, respectively;

FIG. 30 is an exploded isometric view of a projectile system in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 31 is a side cross sectional view of the projectile system of FIG. 30;

FIG. 32 is a side cross sectional view of a propulsion shock damper shown in FIGS. 30 and 31;

FIG. 33 is an isometric view of the propulsion shock damper shown in FIG. 32;

FIG. 34 is an exploded isometric view of a projectile system in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 35 is a side cross sectional view of a propulsion shock damper shown in FIG. 34;

FIG. 36 is a cross sectional view of the propulsion shock damper shown in FIG. 35 taken at A-A of FIG. 35;

FIG. 37 depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a projectile launching apparatus according to some embodiments;

FIG. 38 depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a projectile launching apparatus;

FIG. 39 depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a projectile launching apparatus according to some embodiments;

FIGS. 40-44 show projectiles according to some embodiments with telescoping or extending sections;

FIG. 46 is an exploded perspective diagram illustrating a low kinetics projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 47 is an exploded perspective diagram illustrating a low kinetics projectile cartridge in accordance with another embodiment;

FIG. 48 is a perspective diagram illustrating a dual electric primer cartridge in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 50 is a diagram illustrating a dual primer, flameless cartridge in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 51A is a front view of a circuit board for igniting two primers is illustrated in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 51B is a cross-sectional view of the printed circuit board along line A-A of FIG. 51A;

FIG. 51C is a rear view of the printed circuit board shown in FIG. 51A;

FIG. 52 is a diagram illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment;

FIG. 53 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 52 just after the primer has been ignited;

FIG. 54 is a diagram illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with another embodiment;

FIG. 55 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 54 just after the primer has been ignited;

FIG. 56 is a diagram illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with yet another embodiment;

FIG. 57 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 56 just after the primer has been ignited;

FIG. 58 is a diagram illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 59 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 58 just after the primer has been ignited;

FIG. 60 is a diagram illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with another embodiment;

FIG. 61 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 60 just after the primer has been ignited; and

FIG. 62 is a graph illustrating the relationship between carbon dioxide pressure verses a percentage fill and temperature.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description of the presently contemplated best mode of practicing the invention is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims.

As used herein, the term “projectile system” or “projectile” or “non-lethal projectile” refers generally to the entire projectile apparatus of the various embodiments of the present invention that travels to the target. For example, in all embodiments contemplated herein, the projectile system or projectile at least includes a projectile body that contains a substance for delivery to the target. For example, this projectile body may be embodied as a capsule having a hollow volume within that contains the substance. This projectile body may be a variety of shapes, for example, the projectile body may be oblong, spherical or other shapes depending on the specific embodiment. In some embodiments, the projectile includes stabilizers or other aspects to provide a straighter or more accurate flight path. In some embodiments, the projectile body may be embodied as a stabilizer body, for example, which apparatus travels to the target.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, where FIG. 1 is a partially transparent, side view showing a projectile 2110 (also referred to as a projectile system) for delivering a substance, for example, an irritant powder, an inhibiting liquid or powder substance, such as, a capsaicinoid, a plurality of capsaicinoids, pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum, Capsaicin, Capsaicin II, Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC), tear gas (e.g., CS and CN), malodorant, marking substance, water, baby powder, talcum powder, weighting substance, inert substance for training, and the like, to a living or inanimate target, such as a human target, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows an elevated rear view of the projectile 2110. The projectile system 2110 includes a projectile body 2112 and a nose 2113. In some embodiment, the nose 2113 includes a lid 2128 that fits into a fill hole (see FIG. 23) for filling the projectile with the substance. In some embodiments, the projectile 2110 includes stabilizers or other aspects, such as fins 2118 and other stabilizers 2119, to provide a more accuracy flight path. The body and nose form an internal cavity 2114 (see FIG. 3). The cavity is configured to hold or contain the payload or substance, such as inhibiting, marking or inert substances, to be delivered to the target.

FIG. 3 depicts a cross-sectional view of projectile system 2210 according to one embodiment of the present invention showing the cavity 2114 holding or containing the payload substance 2111 to be delivered to the target. Upon impact with the target, the substance 2111 is dispersed at and about the target, thereby inhibiting, repelling, and/or marking the target. In a preferred embodiment, the projectile nose 2113, and in some embodiments the body 2112, ruptures upon impact with the target dispersing the substance 2111, and the substance 2111 contains an inhibiting substance, repelling substance and/or marking substance.

The inhibiting substance can comprise finely powdered capsaicinoid, a combination of a plurality of finely powdered capsaicinoids, oleoresin capsicum (such as may be purchased from Defense Technology of America in Casper, Wyo. (for example, Blast Agent oleoresin capsicum 943355, Cas. No. 8023-77-6, #T14, #T16, #T21 and/or #T23)), other pepper derivatives or other inhibiting substances. Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) is a pepper-derived substance consisting of four primary capsaicinoids: capsaicin, Nonivamide, dihydrocapsaicin, and nordihydrocapsaicin, of which capsaicin and Nonivamide are the primary active substances. OC may be processed into a liquid, an oil, or a powder fill material. Capsaicin may be found in natural form within oleoresin capsicum or may be synthetically produced as pharmaceutical grade capsaicin or Nonivamide or PAVA. Such pharmaceutical capsaicin is commercially available from Boehringer Ingelheim of Ingelhem, Germany. A capsaicinoid or capsaicinoids derived or extracted from naturally occurring plants can be used, or a synthetic capsaicinoid or capsaicinoids can be used or pharmaceutically produced Nonivamide or PAVA.

In the present embodiment, the oleoresin capsicum powder, to be used for the substance 2111, in some embodiments, (referred to with respect to the present embodiment as “powder”) is preferably purchased in a near 100% pure form, or at a diluted concentration of about 0.5%, e.g., between 0.1% and 30%, e.g., 0.3% and 15%, e.g. about 5% by weight. Thus, the substance should be, for example, at least 0.1% oleoresin capsaicin by weight, more preferably at least 0.3%, and most preferably at least 0.5% by weight.

Alternatively, in terms of capsaicin or PAVA, or Nonivamide, the powdered inhibiting substance should comprise at least 0.1% capsaicin by weight to be effective, preferably at least 0.3% capsaicin, most preferably about 0.5% or greater of capsaicin or Nonivamide. In either case, or if 100% concentration is purchased, the powder may be diluted, to a desired concentration, by mixing with an inert powdered substance, such as talcum, corn starch, baby powder or other inert substances.

Thus, in the broadest sense, in some embodiments, the inhibiting substance can in part comprise a pepper-derived powder substance, including for example, one or more of oleoresin capsicum, capsaicin I or II, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, Nonivamide, PAVA, or combinations of the above pepper or pepper-derived substances.

Furthermore, in the powdered embodiments, it is advantageous that the substance 2111 is a finely ground powdered substance such that the particle sizes or grain are less than 1000 microns in diameter, and preferably less than 500 microns, more preferably less than 100 microns, and most preferably less than 50 microns. It has been found that the generally the smaller the particle diameter in a powdered substance, the more effective the radial dispersal of the substance upon impact and the larger the volume of the dispersal providing a “cloud-like” dispersion.

For example, particle diameters above 500 microns and specifically above 1000 microns tend to simply splatter, spray, or scatter on the target and/or quickly fall to the ground. Furthermore, particle diameters generally above 250 microns and above 500 microns are easily prevented from entering a targets nostrils or mouth by placing a handkerchief there against. Furthermore, a powdered substance having, for example, a particle size of greater than 500 microns, or greater than 1000 microns, may only disperse into a very small volume, whereas a finely ground powdered substance will create a cloud of a much larger volume.

It is preferable to produce a “cloud” of the powdered substance to disperse radially and envelop a relatively large volume upon impact with the target and rupture of the nose 2113 and/or body 2112, for example, a cloud that is formed when clapping erasers together. As will be seen, it is advantageous that the substance produce a fine cloud of the powdered substance such that the cloud will be dispersed on and about the target, such that the target inhales the substance.

In some preferred embodiments, the substance comprises a powdered capsaicinoid powder, oleoresin capsicum powder or capsaicin powder that has an average particle size of less than 500 microns, preferably less than 100 microns, more preferably less than 50 microns, and most preferably less than 20 microns, e.g. 10 microns in diameter. Thus, when such powder is contained within projectile 2110, such as shown in FIGS. 1-3, which may be large enough to fit into a twelve-gauge shotgun shell casing, the nose 2113 and/or body 2112 ruptures upon impact with a target, producing a cloud of finely powdered substance 2111.

In some embodiments, one or more inert substances can also be included with the inhibiting substance. Further, some preferred embodiments incorporate inert particles with the inhibiting substance, where the average particle size of the inert substance is larger than the average particle size of the active inhibiting substance. This mixed size particle cloud will enable the inert particles to fall out of the suspension before the active irritant thus leaving behind a cloud of irritant near the target.

The projectile can be designed to produce a cloud of desired size. The size of the cloud produces depends on the size of the projectile 2110, the size of the cavity 2114, the particle size of the substance 2111, the speed of impact and other similar factors. In some embodiments, the size of the cloud is about 1 foot in diameter, and preferably about 2 feet or more in diameter. This cloud advantageously “wafts” in the air for several seconds, for example, between 6 and 10 seconds before settling, allowing sufficient time to inhale the powdered substance if one is in or near the cloud(s).

Furthermore, and advantageously, the powdered inhibitor substances, such as capsaicinoids, oleoresin capsicum, capsaicin, and Nonivamide, are more than topically acting substances. These substances react internally by entering the mouth and nostrils of the target and contacting the lung tissue, for example, causing a temporary irritation, choking, coughing, panic and/or feeling of inability to breathe, whereby the target is inhibited.

In other embodiments, the projectile 2110 may also be used to deliver other substances such as marking substances, including for example, dyes or paint, or the like, to a living or an inanimate target, and may also be used to deliver inert substances, such as, baby powder, corn starch, talcum powder, water and other inert substances. Such dyes may be colored dyes, such as those found in common paint ball technologies, or may contain other markers, such as an infrared, ultraviolet (UV) or glow-in-the-dark marker, which may be useful for marking a suspect at night, making it easier for law enforcement personnel to see the marked suspect at night. In one embodiment of a marking substance, a chemical marker or chemical fingerprinted paint, such as produced by Yellow Jacket, Inc. of California, can be used which effectively leaves a chemical ID or chemical fingerprint on the target, which can be used by the police to verify that a person was struck by a specific non-lethal projectile and place the suspect at a crime scene. As such, the chemical marker includes a chemical ID formulated into the paint substance during manufacture, identifying the batch of the chemical marker. For example, a fleck of the chemical marker found on a suspect two weeks after the being impacted with the chemical marker, can be chemically identified and traced to the shooter; thus, the suspect may be linked to a crime scene by the chemical marker.

Furthermore, chemical compounds having a particularly offensive odor, i.e. malodorants, may be contained within the projectile 2110, to be used to mark suspects by scent or to repel or keep people away from desired areas. In still further embodiments, the projectile may be used to deliver both inhibiting and marking substances, or even inert substances to the target.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-3, in accordance with the present embodiment, the substance 2111, such as an inhibiting substance, is encapsulated within a plastic, gelatinous or similar material projectile body 2112 and/or nose 2113. The body 2112 and/or nose 2113 may be made from various known substances, such as acrylic, vinyl, PVC, plastic, polystyrene, rubber, and/or other polymers, sodium alginate, calcium chloride, coated alginate and/or polyvinyl alginate (PVA). Furthermore, the nose 2113 may be generally hemispherical or parabolic or have other desirable shapes according to the specific embodiment; however, some nose shapes may provide for better dispersal of the substance contained within upon impact. Additionally, the nose 2113, a body section or the whole projectile, may be made out of colored materials or even glow-in-the-dark materials or chemicals to enhance the night time use of such projectiles and the color code helps to differentiate the types of projectiles for easy and safe identification by the use.

Similarly, the body 2112 can generally taper, may be generally oblong, be shaped similar to streamlined projectile, or have another desirable shapes according to the specific embodiment; however, some body shapes may provide for more stable flight paths and/or more desirable dispersal of the substance contained within upon impact. In some embodiments, the body includes fins 2118 and/or other stabilizers 2119 to provide added stability during flight. The projectile 2110 can include substantially any number of fins. For example, the projectile shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and include four fins 2118. Some embodiments include from zero to eight fins or more. Additionally, the body 2112 may be made out of colored materials or even glow-in-the-dark materials to enhance the night time use of such projectiles and the color code helps to differentiate the types of projectiles for easy and safe identification by the use.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-3, in one preferred embodiment, the projectile systems contemplated herein include a generally hemispherical hollow nose 2113, preferably formed of a polymer substance, for example and without limitation, PVC, ABS, Styrofoam, rubber, urethanes, polystyrene, polyethelene, polyvinyl, vinyl, acrylic or other polymer. In one embodiment, the nose is configured to be generally non-frangible. Further, the nose can be configured to absorb some of the shock of impact with the target. For example, the nose can be formed of a non-frangible rubber, preferably a soft rubber, gelatin or other soft material, with the body being frangible. As such, the body breaks upon impact dispersing the substance. Alternatively, the nose can be formed of a hard, generally non-frangible material, as opposed to rubber, gelatin or other soft material, that receives the force of the impact while the body is frangible and breaks upon impact. The projectile and the shell can have substantially any size, and in some preferred embodiments, sized to fit with manufactured firearms, such as existing shotguns and other firearms. For example, in some embodiments, the outer diameter of the spherical nose 2113, or shell, can be from between about 1.0 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.8 cm. In some embodiments, the outer diameter of the nose is less than an inner-diameter of a shotgun shell (see FIGS. 4-5) so that the nose 2113 fits into the shotgun shell. The inner-diameter of the nose 2113 (which defines part of the volume in which the substance 2111 is carried) is substantially any size defined by the outer size. In some embodiments, the inner-diameter can be from between about 0.3 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.7 cm. The inner diameter can be substantially any size to provide a projectile that can deliver a desired payload to the target.

The projectile systems 2110 contemplated according to one embodiment herein further includes a generally tapering, hollow body 2112. The body can be formed from plastic, PVC, polymer substances, or other materials and/or combinations of these materials. The body is at least partially hollow or includes a bore, well or chamber 2116. The hollowed portion 2116 typically also tapers similar to the tapering of the body 2112. The mouth 2117 of the hollowed portion is positioned proximate the nose 2113. However, the hollow portion can be formed in substantially any configuration depending on any number of considerations, including, but not limited to, dimensions of the projectile, dimensions of the body, the amount of substance to be delivered, the weight of the substance, the desired center of gravity, the desired flight path, dispersment of the substance at the target and other similar factors.

The body 2112 has an outer diameter at the mouth 2117 that is preferably from between about 1.0 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.8 cm. Typically, the outer diameter is configured to have a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of the nose 2113. Further, the outer diameter of the body, in some embodiments, is less than the inner-diameter of a shotgun shell (see FIGS. 4-5) so that the nose 2113 and body 2112 fit into the shotgun shell.

The projectile 2110 can be designed and configured to have substantially any outer diameter to deliver substantially any amount of payload at the target. The diameter is limited only by the means for propelling and/or delivering the projectile at or near a target. For example, the projectile can have a diameter from less than 5.0 mm to greater than 10 cm. For example, projectiles can have diameters of about 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 9 mm, 10 mm, 11.4 mm, 14.5 mm, 20 mm, 25 mm, 30 mm, 37 mm, 40 mm, 63.5 mm, 76 mm, 105 mm, 127 mm, 155 mm, 1.7 cm, 5.0 cm and other similar diameters that correspond with the size of existing ammunition for various existing weapons. Similarly, the total length of the projectile can have substantially any length to achieve the desired flight stability and deliver a desired payload. In some embodiments, for example, the projectile can have lengths between less than 0.5 inches and over 12 inches.

The body tapers to reduce the weight of the projectile, maintain a preferred center of gravity and optimizes preferred flight path. The tail 2115 is designed to have a length and diameter large enough to provide stability, maintain desired fin rigidity and achieve the desired center of gravity. The fins 2118 and stabilizers 2119 enhance flight stability and thus accuracy. In some embodiments, the span across two fins and the tail is equal to or less than the outer diameter of the body 2112 and/or nose 2113.

The inner-diameter of the hollowed portion 2116 (which defines part of the volume in which the substance 2111 is carried) preferably tapers. The diameter of the mouth 2117 of the hollow portion 2116 is from between about 0.5 mm to greater than 10 cm. For example, the mouth diameter can be between 0.3 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.7 cm, and it typically about equal with the inner diameter of the nose 2113.

The cavity 2114 formed between the inner hollow of the nose and the hollow portion 2116 of the body 2112 houses or retains the substance to be delivered, and preferably dispersed, at a target. In preferred embodiments described in detail herein, the cavity 2114 is filled to at least about 30%, preferably 40% to less than 100%, more preferably 85% to 99%, and most preferably to about 95%, of its volume with a substance, for example an inhibiting, inert and/or marking substance, to be delivered to the target, for example a human target.

Because of the length of the body 2112, the hollow portion is typically configured with a volume greater than the volume of the nose 2113. This allows the projectile to carry and thus deliver a greater amount of substance, such as an inhibiting substance, to the target. Typically, the hollow portion 2116 of the body has a greater volume than spherical structures of previous devices, such as paint balls (e.g., those paint balls discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379 (Kotsiopoulos et al.)).

The body 2112 is typically designed with a length greater than the radius of the hemispherical nose 2113. The body is more preferably greater in length than the diameter of the mouth 2117. In some preferred embodiments, the body is greater in length than one and a half times the diameter of the mouth 2117.

Referring to FIG. 4, illustrated is a side view of a multi-piece projectile 2150 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The projectile 2150 includes a nose 2152, a body 2154 and a tail 2156. In some embodiments the nose additionally includes a fill hole 2162 (see FIGS. 5-6) with a lid 2158 secured with the nose to retain the substance within the projectile 2150. The nose, body and tail are secured together by glue, heat, ultrasonic welding or other means, to form the projectile 2150. As described above in relation to FIGS. 1-3, the nose 2152 and body 2154 have hollowed portions for receiving and retaining a payload, such as an inhibiting and/or inert substance, to be delivered to a target.

In some embodiments, the nose and body, the nose and lid, and the body and tail are secured together. Preferably the nose and body are additionally sealed to one another, such as using ultrasonic welding techniques, using an appropriate solvent or glue, by snapping the nose and body together or other similar techniques, such as combinations of these techniques. In some embodiments, the nose 2152 and body 2154 are also preferably sealed, such as using ultrasonic welding techniques, using an appropriate solvent or glue, threading, or by snapping the nose and body together, or using a combinations of these techniques.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, where FIG. 5 depicts a cross-sectional view of a nose 2152, and FIG. 6 depicts an elevated view of the internal hollow portion 2160 of the nose 2152 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The nose 2152 includes the fill hole 2162 that allows the projectile to be filled with the substance after the projectile is assembled. The nose is shown with weakening or fracture points 2164, for example, interior scoring that run both longitudinal and latitudinal.

One implementation of the body 2154 is shown in FIGS. 7-11. FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of the body 2154. The body includes a hollow portion 2170. In some embodiments, the wall of the hollow portion tapers similar to the body, and in some embodiments is generally parabolic in shape. The body 2154 includes a male snap or tongue 2173 that snaps or fits with the tail 2176. It will be appreciated by one skilled in the art that the body can be configured with a female snap or receiving port in which a portion of the tail 2156 can be secure.

FIG. 8 shows an elevated view of the body 2154 looking into the hollow portion 2170 along an axis 2171 shown in FIG. 7. The body can include structural fracture points 2172 to aid in the rupture of the body 2154. Alternatively, the body can include support structures to add rigidity to the body for embodiments where the body is not to break or rupture.

FIG. 9 shows a side view of the body 2154 with a cutaway portion. The cutaway portion shows the hollow portion 2170. The body can additionally include stabilizers 2174 formed along the exterior of the body. The stabilizers provide additional stability during flight of the projectile.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of the rim of the mouth of the body 2154 as indicated by the circled area in FIG. 8. The enlarged area shows a stabilizer 2174. Additionally, a fracture point 2172 is shown in greater detail.

FIG. 11 shows a side view of the tail 2156. The tail includes a plurality of fins 2176. The tail can be made of substantially any material capable of withstanding launch loads without structurally failing. For example, tail 2156 can be made of material similar to that of the nose and/or the body, such as PVC, ABS, urethanes, rubber, acrylic, vinyl, plastic, polystyrene and/or other polymers, sodium alginate, calcium chloride, coated alginate and/or polyvinyl alginate (PVA). Alternatively, the tail can be made of a rubber, urethane or other flexible material.

The fins 2176 may be made of the same material as the tail 2156 or other flexible material, such as rubber, urethane, polyethylene and other similar materials to withstand the launch loads without structurally failing. Typically, the tail and fins are formed as a single, continuous piece. However, the fins 2716 can be individual fins or may be a single fin body including more than one fin, for example, four fins, that are attached or bonded to the projectile tail 2156.

FIG. 12 shows a cross-sectional view of the tail 2156. The tail includes female receiving port 2178 for coupling with the body. In this embodiment, the body and tail are snapped and sealed together. Additionally and/or alternatively, the tail can be ultrasonically welded, glued, bonded, and other methods for securing. As discussed above, in some embodiments, the tail and body are a single continuous piece. In some alternative embodiments, the tail section can be secured to the body with a telescoping section, a rod, or other such devices, as fully described below. The extending or telescoping would allow the stabilizing fin section to extend away from the body upon launch thus increasing the length to diameter ratio of the projectile and giving greater stability in flight.

In some embodiments, the fins extend up along the body providing greater fin length than the tail. In some of these embodiments, the fins can additionally be secured with the body. Alternatively, the fins can have a length equal to or less than a length of the tail 2156. FIG. 12 shows an embodiment with the fins having a length shorter than the length of the tail 2156.

FIG. 13 shows a rear view of the tail 2156 along the line 2177 indicated in FIG. 11. The tail 2156 is shown with four fins 2176. However, any number of fins can be included to provide stability to the projectile during flight.

The use of multiple parts to construct the projectile can be utilized in any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein. In some embodiments, a nose can be configured to fit a plurality of different body configurations. Similarly, a tale can be configured to fit a plurality of different body shapes. Additionally, a body can be constructed to fit any number of nose and/or tail configurations.

The projectile 2110 with loaded substance 2111 is designed to have an optimal center of gravity. The optimal center of gravity provides for a more accurate flight path and further enhances the rupture of the frangible nose 2113 and thus enhancing the distribution of the substance. For example, the center of gravity can be directly at a center of the length of the projectile when the projectiles are constructed such that the tail counter balances the nose. Alternatively and in some preferred embodiments, the center of gravity can be positioned forward of the length center toward the nose to better ensure that the projectile contacts the target nose first. Standard flight stability design criteria can be employed to establish the desired center of gravity.

The nose 2113 and/or body 2112 are preferably formed, by injection molding or by being hot pressed; however other methods are also suitable. For example, the hemispherical nose 2113 can be formed using a carefully temperature controlled draw of polystyrene, similar to the formation of spherical capsules described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379, incorporated herein by reference, (hereinafter the '379 patent).

Production of the capsule of the '379 patent in this fashion can, however, be time consuming and, where being manufactured for the purpose of delivering paint to a target, requires careful attention to feed rates and maintenance of temperature differences between injection feeds of the paint and forming of the capsules. In contrast, and as discussed further herein, the preferred projectiles of the present invention may be quickly formed, filled and sealed at very high production rates, in part, because the nose 2113 and body 2112 are typically formed separately. In some embodiments, the nose and body are then appropriately filled, joined and sealed. Alternatively, in some preferred embodiments, the nose and body are joined and sealed. Then the substance 2111 is delivered to the cavity 2114 through a fill opening 614 (see FIG. 23).

The body 2112 of the projectile 2110 can be configured to be more structurally stable than the nose 2113. As such, in some embodiments, the body can be reused. Once a projectile 2110 is launched or fired, the nose ruptures upon impact dispersing the substance 2111. The body can then be retrieved, a new nose affixed, re-filled with a desired substances and again launched.

FIG. 14 is side cross-sectional view of alternative projectile systems 2250 for delivering a substance, such as an inhibiting substance, to a target in accordance with additional embodiments of the present invention, wherein a twelve-gauge shotgun shell 2252 is packed with a projectile 2254. FIG. 15 is an elevated side view of the projection system 2250. The projectile 2254 can be similar to the projectile described above and shown FIGS. 1-4 that contain the substance to be delivered to the target, such as oleoresin capsicum, Nonivamide and/or PAVA. Advantageously, the modified shotgun shell 2252 in accordance with the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15 may be used with standard, commercially available shotguns.

Shown in FIG. 14 are the twelve-gauge shotgun shell 2252, the projectile 2254, a propulsion shock damper or shock absorber 2256, a seal 2260 (or crimping), wadding 2262, and black powder, smokeless powder, gunpowder or other ignitable or explosive substances or powders 2264. In some embodiments the shell includes a primer 2265 that aids in igniting the gunpowder. In other embodiments, the gunpowder 2264 is not present and the primer 2265 is the source of energy used to launch the projectile(s). These primer only launch embodiments can in some instances provide more consistent projectile velocities than can be achieved with gunpowder. Further, these embodiments can cause the launching of projectiles at reduced velocities compared with standard or conventional firearm projectiles, and typically within a fixed velocity range that is less than velocities of launched conventional firearm projectiles. Some projectile systems 2250 can be utilized with conventional firearms, while still launching the projectile at the relatively safe and non-lethal low velocity and low impact kinetics that do not penetrate the body with lethal force.

In some embodiments as introduced above the powder 2264 can be a mixture of primer and gunpowder. Some of these embodiments can be configured with substantially no gunpowder, to again provide a more consistent projectile velocity. In some embodiments, the velocity is between 25 and 2000 miles per hour (mph), preferably between 50 and 400 mph which is generally less than launch velocities of standard firearm projectiles, and are non-lethal velocities because the projectiles typically do not penetrate a target (such as a human target). The launched velocity is also depended on the mass of the projectile. Similarly, because many embodiments of the projectile rupture and/or break upon impact, much of the kinetic force is absorbed, significantly reducing the force of impact and the lethality of the projectile.

Alternatively with some non-lethal embodiments, the launch velocity can be substantially any velocity where the projectile does not penetrate the target lethally. Further, the consistency of the velocity of projects provides projectile velocities that vary less than 75 mph, preferably less than 50 mph. The reduced gunpowder or elimination of gun power can provide a reduced muzzle blast, reduce heat generation, and increased safety when deploying as a non-lethal projectile. With some embodiments, a projectile can be launched from a conventional launcher and/or firearm through conventional activation mechanisms to launch a projectile within a reduced range of velocity, such as less than 600 mph, preferably in some instances less than 300 mph. The primer alone 2265 or the primer 2265 and small amounts of the propellant powder 2264 (e.g., less than 5 grams and preferably less than 1 gram) can be activated to generate a chemical explosion to propel the projectile at velocities in the desired relatively low velocity range with resulting safe non-lethal impact kinectics.

Shown in FIG. 15 are the shotgun shell 2252, the propulsion shock damper 2256 and the projectile 2254 as would result just after firing or activating the shotgun shell to propel the projectile 2254. The shell 2252 can be a standard shot gun shell or can be a shell with an increased thickness and or length. Upon firing of the shotgun shell 2252, the primer 2265 acting by itself, or igniting small amounts of other ignitable substance 2264 (if present), causes the expansion of hot gases forcing the wadding 2262 (if present) and shock damper and gas seal 2256 to drive the projectile 2254 out of the shotgun shell 2252. Such forcing out of the wadding 2262, shock damper/gas seal 2256 and the projectile 2254 moves the dust/weather seal 2260 (if present). The shock damper/gas seal 2256 may impact the target or may fall short of the target. Some of the primary purposes of the shock damper/gas seal 2256 are to seal the expanding gases generated by the primer 2265 and/or other ignitable substance 2264 (if present), and to distribute and/or dampen some of the shock launch forces that are transferred to the projectile, providing a distribution of launch force and acceleration to the projectile.

The size of the shock damper/gas seal 2256 is designed to harness as much of the propulsion force provided by the ignited substance 2264. As such, in some embodiments, the diameter of at least a portion of the shock damper 2256 is typically at least equal to or larger than the diameter of the shell 2252. The diameter of the shock damper 2256 is typically designed to create a seal between the shock damper and the inner diameter of the shell 2252. Further, some embodiments of the shock damper are designed to have an extended seal region where the seal created between the shock damper and the shell has an increased length further ensuring a seal and a maximum transfer of propulsion energy to the projectile 2254. Additionally and/or alternatively, the seal between the shock damper and the shell can include a plurality of seals spaced across a length of the shock damper 2256. In some embodiments, a small amount of lubricant and or sealant, such as oil, graphite or other lubricant can be included at the seal between the shock damper and the shell to improve the seal and/or reduce friction and allow for a more accurate and/or an increased velocity.

The propulsion shock damper 2256 can be of substantially any relevant shape and/or configuration that established the desired seal effect within the shell 2252. In some embodiments the shock damper is partially hollow, such as hollow cylinder or a cup shape to reduce the weight of the shock damper and limit the distance of travel of the shock damper. The hollow portion is typically closed at one end by a plate or cap. The plate, in some embodiments, extends out beyond the cylinder portion to form a portion of the desired seal with the shell. One or more lips 2253 can be included that protrude away from a central axis of the shock damper and extend around the perimeter of the shock damper, typically near or at one end of the shock damper (such as at the opposite end from the plate). The protruding lip can define a larger diameter for the shock damper that is greater than the diameter of the shell. Further, in some preferred embodiments, the lip is flexible and tends flex to establish greater contact with the shell producing an enhanced seal. The lip 2253 can further be perpendicular to the central axis or taper from the central axis at an angle.

Reinforcement structures can also be included in some embodiments of the shock damper 2256. For example, the hollow, cylinder shaped embodiment can include the plate to close the end. The plate can further include radially extending reinforcement structures that add rigidity and stability to the shock damper. Some embodiments further include additional ribbing and/or one or more structural rings positioned along the length of the damper. The ring(s) extends around the perimeter of the interior or exterior of the shock damper. This ribbing and/or ring can add further structural support. The ring can additionally enhance and/or provide an additional seal between the ring and the shell, when the ring is formed on the exterior of the shock damper. Two examples of different shock dampers can be found in FIGS. 32, 33, 35 and 36.

In some embodiments, the shock damper can be eliminated and the projectile 2254 is configured with a diameter that is substantially equal to or just greater than the inner diameter of the shell 2252. The diameter of the shock damper is typically of a sufficient size to chock off the flow between the high pressure, flame front and the low pressure, atmosphere side. As such, the projectile produces a seal between the projectile and the shell such that the propulsion force produced by the ignited substance 2264 is directly applied to the projectile. Similar to some embodiments of the shock damper, the projectile 2254, in some embodiments, can be configured such that the seal between the projectile and the shell 2252 is a long seal and has a length that extended along a portion of the length of the projectile to establish the seal. The seal established by the shock damper and/or the projecting can equally be employed with other types of propulsion, for example, compressed gas and other similar propulsion techniques.

The propulsion shock damper/gas seal or acceleration absorber can be constructed of substantially any material capable of withstanding the pressure and temperatures exerted on the shock damper from the ignition of the primer 2265 and ignitable substance 2264 (or compressed air applied to the shock damper as described below). For example, the shock damper can be constructed of plastic, rubber, polymer, urethane, metal or metals, ceramics, other similar materials and/or combinations thereof. Similarly, the projectile can be constructed at least in part of similar materials when the shock damper is not used, or simply to provide added strength to the projectile or provide an additional seal within the shell.

Referring to FIGS. 16 and 17, wherein FIG. 16 shows a partially transparent, side view of a projectile system 2210 for delivering a substance, for example, an inhibiting or inert liquid or powder substance to a target in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 17 shows an elevated view of the projectile system 2210. The projectile system 2210 includes a projectile 2212 and a projection cartridge 2214, where the projection cartridge 2214 is configured to propel the projectile 2212 towards the target.

The projectile 2212 includes a nose 2220, a body 2222 and a projectile seal 2224. In some implementations, the projectile, 2212 is spin stabilized. In some embodiments, the body includes stabilizing fins, which can be similar to those described above with reference to FIGS. 1-4 and 11-15, as well as those fins described below with reference to at least FIGS. 26-29. The nose is typically formed of a frangible section that is configured to rupture or break upon impact with the target. The nose 2220 and body 2222 can be formed as a single continuous piece or separate pieces. In some embodiments, the body is also frangible and can additionally break when the projectile 2212 strikes a target dispersing a substance contained within the projectile. The projectile seal 2224 is secured with the projectile body 2222, and cooperates with the cartridge securing the projectile with the cartridge until sufficient force is applied to propel the projectile away from the cartridge.

FIG. 18 shows a cross-section view of the projectile 2212. The nose 2220 and projectile body 2222 have hollow portions forming a cavity 2226. The cavity can be filled with an inhibiting and/or inert substance 2211 to be delivered to the target. The cavity 2226 can be configured to substantially any size to deliver a desired amount of substance at the target. The weight, the size, the amount of force provided by the cartridge 2214 and the size of a device to activate the projectile system 2210 (if needed) are further factors which limit the size. In some embodiments, the projectile system 2210 is similar in size to a bullet, such as a 38 caliber, 45 caliber or other caliber bullet. This allows the projectile system 2210 to be utilized with a standard, commercially available fire arm or gun. Alternatively, the projection system 2210 can have a size similar to a flare, where a commercially available flare gun or other similar device can be utilized to activate the projectile system to launch the projectile 2212. In some embodiments, the projectile system 2210 has a size similar to that of a shotgun shell, such as a twelve-gauge shotgun shell. This allows the projectile system 2210 to be utilized in a standard, commercially available shotgun. Other embodiments may be larger in diameter to launch conventionally from other launching devices, such as a 37 mm or 40 mm law enforcement or military type launcher.

Other embodiments provide projectiles and/or launching systems that have a unique and/or non-conventional caliber, different than conventional firearms. Further, non-conventional caliber non-lethal launchers can be provided to launch the non-conventional caliber projectiles. The non-conventional caliber helps to ensure that the projectiles can only be launched from the non-lethal projectile launchers. This prevents the inadvertent launching of lethal projectiles from a conventional firearm when the operator incorrectly believes the conventional firearm is loaded with non-lethal projectiles.

The seal secures the projectile 2212 with the cartridge 2214. Typically, the seal fits into a cavity 2232 of the cartridge. In some embodiments, the seal 2224 includes a recess 2228 that is formed in the seal opposite to the projectile body and nose. This recess 2228 focuses a propulsion force towards a central axis of the projectile 2212.

The cartridge 2214 provides propulsion to the projectile 2212. The cartridge typically includes a propellant, such as compressed gas, gunpowder, other flammable and/or explosive substances, a blank load, and other propellants. In one embodiment, the cartridge includes a cavity 2232 in which at least a portion of the projectile seal 2224 is secured. The cavity can also be configured to hold the propellant or is configured to allow the propellant to disperse so than a distributed force is applied on the projectile 2212. A standard blank cartridge or primer only may also be used for propulsion energy.

Referring back to FIG. 16, the cartridge 2214 is shown to include a gas casing 2234 that contains compressed gas. The cartridge further includes an initiator 2236 (see FIG. 17). The initiator activates the propellant to discharge and force the projectile 2212 away from the cartridge and towards the target. In some embodiments, the activator is similar to those found in bullets or shotgun shells. The activator triggers the gunpowder or just a primer to ignite creating a force to drive the projectile 2212. Alternatively, the activator 2236 can open a seal of a casing 2234 releasing compressed gas or gases. The compressed gas propels the projectile 2212 at a velocity that is within a predetermined velocity range. For example, some embodiments propel the projectile 2212 at velocities less than 700 mph, some embodiments propel the projectile at less than 400 mph, depending on projectile mass, size, the force need to break the projectile and other similar factors.

The cartridge can be formed of metal, plastic, PVC and other similar materials or combination of materials. The cartridge can be constructed to be reusable.

Although substantially any amount of powder fill has been envisioned for these embodiments, it has been discovered, by the present inventors, that the effectiveness of projectile systems employing projectiles to deliver powdered non-lethal substances, such as powdered oleoresin capsicum, Nonivamide, PAVA, etc to a target are maximized by filling the projectile volume to at least about 30%, preferably 40% to less than 100%, more preferably 85% to 99% of their maximum volume, and most preferably to about 95% of their maximum volume. The present inventors' discovery of an optimal fill range represents a significant improvement, one that enables the use of powdered inhibiting substances in a commercially viable non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile. This optimal fill range further represents an unexpected result. The fill range is further described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,965,839, filed Nov. 18, 1996, entitled “NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE FOR DELIVERING AN INHIBITING SUBSTANCE TO A LIVING TARGET”, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,393,992, filed Apr. 9, 1999, entitled “NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE FOR DELIVERING AN INHIBITING SUBSTANCE TO A LIVING TARGET”, and co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/146,013, filed May 14, 2002, entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR STORING AND LAUNCHING NON-LETHAL PROJECTILES” each of which are incorporated herein in their entirety.

However, at the same time, this optimal fill range poses a different problem, which is addressed herein below, that is, how to fill each of the nose 2113, 2212 and body 2112, 2222 so that a resultant projectile has the optimal fill range, without significant spillage of the substance contained therein during closure of the nose and body.

In alternative embodiments, the cartridge 2214 is replaced with a caseless propellant. The caseless propellant is ignited and generates the propulsion force similar to that of gunpowder, a primer, a primer and gunpowder mix and other similar ignitable substances. The caseless propellant is formed such that the cartridge portion 2214 is rigid and stable until ignited, for example with an electric charge or a primer. Once ignited, the caseless propellant is almost completely consumed or completely consumed as it generates the propulsion force that is exerted on the projectile 2212.

Referring to FIGS. 19-25, illustrated are the stages of two preferred assembly methods of a projectile system 2110, in accordance herewith, comprising a hemispherical nose 2113 and a body 2112 forming a cavity 2114 containing a substance 2111a, 2111b, such as a powdered substance. FIG. 19 shows a cross sectional view of a projectile 2010 prior to assembly according to one embodiment of the present invention, with the nose 2113 detached from the body 2112. As illustrated in FIGS. 19-20, the problem of spillage during assembly is overcome in this embodiment by employing a thin membrane 2120, 2121 within one or both of the nose 2113 and/or body 2112 after each is filled to a desired level with a powdered substance 2111a, 2111b (the two portion of substance 2111a, 2111b together constituting the optimal fill of the projectile 2110). The membranes 2120, 2121 retain respective portions of the substance 2111a, 2111b within each of the nose and body, respectively, to facilitate assembly of the projectile 2110 without spilling the substance 2111a, 2111b during assembly.

FIG. 20 shows the projectile 2110 after the nose 2113 and body 2112 are joined to one another. Upon joining of the nose and body, the projectile 2110 is then, optionally, sealed along the point of joining 2123 by, for example, ultrasound welding, with the use of a glue or solvent, or other methods for sealing. In preferred embodiments, the projectile is hermetically sealed along the joining seam 2023, such that moisture and/or other contaminants cannot enter the cavity, spoiling its contents.

In a still further preferred aspect, the sealed cavity of the projectile system 2110 is shaken or otherwise subjected to sufficient force to cause rupture of the membranes 2120, 2121 within the projectile 2110, such that the substance 2111 within the projectile becomes mixed and moves relatively freely within the projectile. It is noted that the glue/solvent is not illustrated in FIG. 20 because they are cut away views of the projectile system 2110. Also, not illustrated are the remnants of the membranes 2120, 2121 in, for example, FIG. 3 following rupture of the membranes 2120, 2121, as just described.

Membranes can be utilized to aid in filling any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein. Alternatively, a thin membrane bag of irritating substance can be placed in the frangible body to accomplish filling. The membrane bag readily ruptures upon projectile impact with the target such that the substance within the membrane bag is dispersed.

In an alternative preferred assembly method, illustrated in FIG. 21, a mandrel 2126 or other similar tool, may be employed to mechanically compress or tamp the powdered substance 2111a, 2111b within each of the nose 2113 and body 2112 to retain the substance therein during the remainder of the assembly process. In FIG. 21, the nose 2113 is shown as having had its contents 2111a compressed, while the body 2112 is shown with the mandrel 2126 therein. It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the mandrel or other similar tool may be, and preferably is, a part of a machine (not illustrated) used to mechanically assemble the projectile in accordance herewith. The compressing of the substance to facilitate assembly of the projectile can be utilized in any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein. Other methods for loading the substance into projectiles can be employed, such as inserting the substance through a fill hole in the projectile (e.g., see FIGS. 23-24 and 26-27 and the accompanying description below), loosely compressing the substance through mechanical and/or vacuum compaction into a desired form (e.g., spherical, semi-spherical, cone shaped, and other shapes depending on the projectile into which the compressed substance is to be placed), and other similar methods.

Referring now to FIG. 22, a flow chart is shown illustrating in detail preferred methods of assembly of a projectile system 2110, in accordance herewith, wherein the projectile system 2110 is formed from a nose 2113 and body 2112, the structures of which are described above, which projectile 2110 contains a substance, such as a powder substance, especially a powdered inhibiting substance, and most preferably a powdered capsaicinoid or oleoresin capsicum composition. The method illustrated includes some of the preferred alternatives for assembly.

Thus, in a preferred method, the nose 2113 and body 2112 are fabricated using suitable molding or forming techniques (Block 702), and each is filled (Block 704) to about 90% of its volume with the substance 2111, to be delivered to the target, especially a powdered substance, and most preferably an inhibiting powdered substance. In one alternative, a thin membrane 2120, 2121 (see FIGS. 19 and 20) is then placed (Block 706) into each of the nose 2113 and body 2112 to cover the substance 2111 contained therein. In some embodiments, the substance is compressed prior to or during the insertion of the membrane. In addition to or in a second alternative a mandrel 2126, or other tool, is used to mechanically compress the substance within the nose and body (Block 705). At this point in the method, nose and body are substantially as shown in FIGS. 19 and/or 21, with and without membranes, respectively.

In practice, one or both of the nose and body, after having been mechanically compressed and/or covered by the membranes, are then preferably rotated to align with the other or with one another, and brought together (Block 708). For example, the nose can be filled, the substance compressed and covered by a membrane, the body filled and the substance compressed, then the nose rotated to align with the body, and then brought down onto the body.

The nose and body are then preferably sealed to one another (Blocks 709, 710, 712, 714), such as using ultrasonic welding techniques (Block 709), or using an appropriate solvent or glue (Block 710) or by snapping the nose and body together (Block 712), or other similar techniques or combinations of these and other techniques. For example, if polystyrene is used to construct part or all of the nose and/or body, many known solvents are available that will dissolve the polystyrene just enough to result in sealing of the same as the plastic hardens upon evaporation of the solvent. Polystyrene is commonly used for plastic models, and thus, various modeling glues are available that provide suitable sealing. With respect to the alternative of sealing, the snapping together, such as using interlocking flanges, is described and depicted in detail in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839 and 6,393,992, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/146,013, each previously incorporated earlier in their entirety.

The method of assembly can be utilized in any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein.

In embodiments employing membranes, the membranes 2120, 2121 (see FIGS. 19 and 20) are selected to be strong enough to retain the substance 2111a, 2111b within the nose 2113 and body 2112, respectively, as the two are joined, yet thin enough to readily rupture on or before impact of the projectile system 2110 with the target. Most preferable, in this regard, are thin, circular cut, paper membranes that will tension against respective inner walls of the nose and/or body sufficiently to retain the substances 2111a, 2111b therein. For example, the membrane may tension within an interior scoring of the nose and/or body where such is provided. It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the membranes useful in these embodiments may be formed of any number of materials, including for example, paper, plastic or other polymer, rubber, cork foam sponge and the like. Generally, the membranes will be cut to have a shape similar to the shape of the hollowed portions of the nose and/or body, for example circular. The membranes are typically slightly larger than the interior circumference or perimeter of the nose and body at the point where the membrane is to contact that interior surface. Thus, when placed into the nose and body and, preferably, compressed, the membrane will tension against the interior surface of the nose and/or body and thereby retain the substance therein. For example, the membranes are preferably from between about 1 to about 5 mm thick, most preferably about 3 mm; however, other thickness are likewise contemplated herein, especially depending upon the specific substance contained within the projectile. For example, where both a liquid and a powdered substance are to be included in the projectile, it may be advantageous to provide a slightly thicker membrane to insure separation of the two substances until rupture of the projectile on or about the target.

Various preferred embodiments of the projectile systems 2110, 2210 are constructed wherein the nose 2113, 2220 and/or body 2112, 2222 include structurally weakening features or fracture points on the exterior and/or interior surfaces thereof, which fracture points primarily facilitate rupture of the nose 2113, 2220 and/or body 2110, 2222 upon impact with a target. These fracture points can be implemented similar to weakening features or fracture points described and depicted in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839 and 6,393,992, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/146,013, each previously incorporated by reference above.

The fracture points can be one or more dimples, a pattern of exterior and/or interior dimples, scoring, a matrix pattern of exterior and/or interior scoring, and other such fracture points. These fracture points serve the tripartite purposes of facilitating rupture of at least part of the projectile, atomization of the substance (e.g., inhibiting substance) upon impact with the living target, and of decreasing drag and increasing lift during flight of the projectile system.

Referring next to FIG. 23, an illustration is shown of the components of a three-part projectile or projectile system 2310 as a variation of the projectiles of FIG. 1, FIG. 4 and/or FIG. 16 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. Furthermore, while referring to FIG. 23, concurrent reference is made to FIG. 25, which is a flowchart showing a process 1400 for one embodiment of the steps performed in assembling and filling the three-part projectile of FIG. 23.

Shown in FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional view of a nose 2313, a lid 618 and a portion of the body 2312 of a three-part projectile 2310. The lid 618 may also be referred to as a third part 618. The body 2312 and the nose 2313 are similar to the noses and bodies described above. As an initial step in the assembly of the three-part projectile, the parts of the three-part projectile are fabricated (Step 1402 of FIG. 25), using similar techniques as described with reference to FIG. 22. The body 2312 can include a flange 800 that is designed to mate with a flange 802 of the nose 2313. These flanges 800 and 802 may snap together, glued together, or otherwise be bonded together, e.g. ultrasonic bonding, similar to the techniques described with reference to FIG. 22 and in the formation of hermetic seals.

Furthermore, the nose 2313 includes a fill hole 614 formed at a pole of the hemispherical nose. The fill hole includes a flange 616 at its perimeter that is designed to receive the lid or third part 618. The lid 618 includes a rim 620 that is adapted to be inserted into the fill hole 614 against the flange 616 such that the top surface of the lid 618 fits preferably flush with the exterior surface of the nose 2313. Note also, that the nose 2313 has interior surface scorings 47, in a longitudinal and/or latitudinal pattern formed within the nose 2313. In some embodiments, similar scoring can additionally be included within the body 2112. Such interior scorings 47 are not required, but are preferred since they provide a controlled fracturing of the nose and/or projectile which optimizes the dispersal of substances contained therein. Proper dispersion allows the irritant cloud to expand from the contact area to the fade region of the target.

The addition of the fill hole 618 formed in the nose 2113 advantageously allows for a simple and effective operation of filling the projectile 2310 with either liquid or powder substances in a manner wherein a majority of the volume contained within the projectile is filled with the substances. For example, using the three-part projectile, the cavity may be filled with at least 90% of its interior volume with either a liquid or a powder substance.

The three-part projectile is manufactured by adhering and sealing the body 2312 to the nose 2313 (Step 1404 of FIG. 25) similarly as described above with reference to FIG. 22, for example, by snapping, gluing, ultrasonic welding and/or otherwise bonding the body to the nose and includes forming hermetic seals as well. Then, the substance or substances to be delivered within the projectile are inserted into the volume of the combination of the body and the nose through the fill hole 614 in the nose 2313 (Step 1406 of FIG. 25).

The fill hole 614 is large enough such that the substance, whether liquid or powder, may be poured into the projectile without spilling, at least when properly filled. Advantageously, the fill hole is large enough such that spillage rarely occurs with the proper techniques, for example, using a pipe, funnel, automatically or manually driven auger system, or similar pouring and/or guiding device. As an optional step, particularly for use with a powdered substance, the powdered substance is compressed (Step 1408 of FIG. 25), for example, with a mandrel or similar object that can be placed within the fill hole 614 to mechanically compress the powder within the volume of body and nose. Then, typically, the volume is refilled (Step 1410 of FIG. 25), which fills the remainder of the volume with the substance, or at least fills the volume to a desired level. Thus, the projectile may literally be filled until almost the entire interior volume of the projectile is taken up by the substance or substances, e.g. at least 80%, or at least 90% or even at least 98%. Advantageously, a higher fill allows the projectile to fly farther and in a straighter flight path because, at least in part, the center of gravity is in a proper position relative to the center of pressure.

Once the substance is filled into the projectile 2310, the lid 618 is placed or positioned into the fill hole 614 (Step 1412 of FIG. 25) such that the rim 620 extends into the interior volume of the nose 2313 and fits snugly against the flange 616 of the nose. The exterior surface of the lid 618 is then substantially flush with the exterior surface of the nose, typically after gluing, ultrasonic welding or other bonding. To complete the assembly of the three-part projectile system, the lid or third part 618 is fixed and sealed within the fill hole 614 (Step 1414 of FIG. 25), for example, by adhering, snapping the lid into the fill hole, heat bonding, ultrasonically bonding, friction bonding, or other wise bonding the lid within the fill hole 614 such as described above with reference to FIG. 22. In preferred embodiments, a hermetic seal is created between the body 2312 and the nose 2313, as well as between the lid 618 and the fill hole 614. Thus, at completion of the assembly a three-part projectile is created.

It is noted that the use of membranes, such as described above, or other devices to hold a substance or substances within respective halves, is not required. This provides a much simpler assembly. Further advantageously, a single projectile design will support the filling of both liquid substances and powder substances. Thus, a manufacturer does not need to design two types of projectiles, one to be filled with a liquid substance and one to be filled with a powder substance.

The method of assembly shown in FIG. 25 can be utilized in substantially any of the projectiles having fill holes depicted and/or described herein.

Referring next to FIG. 24, a perspective view is shown of the lid 618 of the three-part projectile of FIG. 23. The lid 618 or third part 618 includes an exterior surface and a rim 620 that is adapted to extend into the volume of the nose. Although the lid 618 may simply be a cutout from the nose, e.g. like a pumpkin lid, the lid is preferably and advantageously formed separately to include the rim 620, which aids in the sealing between the second part 610 and the lid 618.

Referring back to FIG. 23, the nose 2313 is similar in materials, dimensions and manufacture to those previously described, but employs the matrix pattern of interior global scoring 47. The scoring is shown as interior scoring; however, exterior scoring can alternatively or additionally be utilized. The scoring provides a lattice of structural weak points at which the nose casing can burst upon impact with the target.

In one embodiment, the scoring 47 is preferably “V”-shaped in cross-section with an angled or slightly flat bottom portion of the “V” providing a basal portion of such scoring. The scoring preferably has a minimum depth of about 10% to 75%, e.g. 20% to 40% of the thickness of the nose casing or shell 2313 depending on the thickness of the nose shell.

Preferably, there are from between about 1 and 10, e.g., between 2 and 6, circumferential (i.e., latitudinal) scores and from between about 2 and 10, e.g., between 6 and 8 longitudinal scores in the surface of the nose and/or body so as to provide omnidirectional atomization of the inhibiting substance upon impact and a maximal decrease in drag and increase in lift for the projectile.

Referring next to FIG. 26, a side view is shown of an embodiment of a variation of the projectile of FIGS. 1-4, illustrating fins 1802 coupled to a portion of the projectile 1800 so as to assist in stabilizing the flight of the projectile. Shown is the projectile 1800 including a first part or body 604, a second part or nose 610, a third part or lid 618, and fins 1802. Also shown are optional structurally weakening features, such as scorings, for example, latitudinal and longitudinal scorings 48 and 49. In this embodiment, the body 604 is generally hemispherical, similar to that of the nose 610. As such, the body and nose form approximately a sphere. The internal hollow portion 2116 (see FIG. 3) of the body 604 is configured to be similar to the internal portion of the nose 610 (as described above) providing a generally spherical internal cavity 2114 (not shown).

The fins 1802 may be individual fins that are attached, bonded, or molded to a portion of the projectile body, so as to help stabilize the projectile 1800 in flight in order to increase the range of the projectile 1800. The fins 1802 may be made of the same material as the projectile or other flexible material, such as rubber, urethane, polyethylene and other similar materials to withstand the launch loads without structurally failing. Furthermore, the fins 1802 may be individual fins or may be a single fin body including more than one fin 1802, for example, four fins 1802, that are attached or bonded to the projectile body 604. Note that although shown as a three-part projectile, the projectile 1800 may be a two-part projectile.

Referring next to FIG. 27, a side view is shown of a variation of the projectiles of FIGS. 1-4 and 16, illustrating a three-part non-spherical projectile in which a body 1804 of the projectile 1900 is an integrated body including stabilizing fins 1802. The projectile 1900 includes a nose 610, a lid 618, fins 1802, and an elongated and/or tapering body 1804. In some embodiments, the nose and body are formed as a single continuous piece. Also shown are optional structurally weakening features, such as scorings, for example, latitudinal and longitudinal scorings 48 and 49.

The body 1804 in this embodiment is modified so as to be integrated with the fins 1802 and is not hemispherical in shape. The modified body 1804 is illustrated as cup shaped and is configured to carry a larger payload of substance or material within the cavity of the projectile 1900 than the projectile 1800 of FIG. 26. Again, the fins 1802 add stability for a greater flight range as well as a greater payload of the projectile 1900.

Referring next to FIGS. 28 and 29, end views are shown of variations of the stabilizing fins 1802 of FIGS. 1-4, 10, 16 and 17, illustrating straight fins 1802 and curved fins 1802′, respectively. The view is, for example, looking up underneath the views as shown in FIGS. 26 and 27. In one embodiment, straight fins 1802 may be implemented to stabilize the flight of the projectile. In another embodiment, curved fins 1802′ may be implemented that add an additional radial stability or spin stabilization to the projectile in flight.

Advantageously, the projectile systems contemplated herein are muzzle safe, that is they may be safely and effectively fired at close range, including, for example, at arm's length. In contrast, other long range non-lethal projectiles have not proven to be safe immediately outside a muzzle. A further important feature of the present projectile systems is that they are not only easy to manufacture in large quantities, but they are also very inexpensive compared with prior art projectiles.

The embodiments of FIGS. 28 and 29 can be fabricated in a manner substantially similar to the fabrication method illustrated in FIGS. 22 and 25.

FIG. 30 depicts an exploded isometric view is shown of a projectile system in accordance with one embodiment. Shown are a shell 3000, a propulsion shock damper 3002, a primer 3004, and a projectile 3006. FIG. 31 shows a side cross sectional view of the projectile system of FIG. 30. Referring to FIGS. 30 and 31, the projectile system can include a shell 3000, a propulsion shock damper 3002, a primer 3004, and a projectile 3006. The projectile 3006 shown in FIGS. 30-31 has a generally spherical shape. However, substantially any projectile can be utilized within the system. For example, the projectile can have a shape similar to that described above and depicted in at least FIGS. 1 and 2.

In some embodiments, the shell 3000 includes only the primer 3004 as the propellant. In contrast, generally, shells include both a primer and a powdered substance, e.g., gunpowder. In other embodiments, the shell 3000 can include the primer 3004 and a small amount of gunpowder or other ignitable substance. For example, the shell 3000 can include up to 50 grams of gunpowder in one embodiment.

The primer 3004 can be activated or ignited in multiple different ways. The method for igniting depends on the launching apparatus in which the projectile system of FIGS. 30 and 31 are utilized. In some launching apparatuses a hammer or other spring loaded device strikes an activator 3008 that causing ignition of the primer upon impact of the hammer. In some alternate launching apparatuses an electric charge or heating element can contact the activator 3008 or some other portion of the shell to initiate the ignition of the primer.

The propulsion shock damper is positioned inside of the shell along with the projectile. The shock damper is placed in between the primer or other means for generating a propulsion force and the projectile 3006. In one embodiment, the shock damper has a large enough diameter such that it contacts the inner diameter of the shell. The contact with the shell establishes a seal between the shell 3000 and the shock damper 3002. The established seal between the shell and the shock damper allows a pressure to build up between the shock damper and the ignited primer 3004 or other means for generating the propulsion force. The build up pressure provides a greater propulsion force to drive the projectile 3005 from the shell and towards a desired target.

These embodiments can in some instances provide more consistent projectile velocities than can be achieved with conventional projectiles launched, for example, with gunpowder. Further, these embodiments can cause the launching of projectiles at reduced velocities compared with conventional projectiles, and typically within a fixed velocity range that is less than velocities of launched conventional projectiles. Some embodiments provide projectiles that can be launched from a conventional launcher and/or firearm through conventional activation mechanisms to launch a projectile within a reduced range of velocity, such as less than 800 mph, and in some instances less than 300 mph. The primer 3004 can be activated to generate a chemical explosion to propel the projectile at velocities in the reduced velocity range. Further, some projectile systems (such as the system shown in FIG. 30) can be activated through a conventional firearm while still launching the projectile within the desired, non-lethal velocities.

In some embodiments, a small amount of lubricant and or sealant, such as oil, graphite or other lubricant can be included along a length of the shell and/or at the established seal between the shock damper and the shell. The lubricant or sealant improves the established seal and/or reduces friction, and can allow for a more accurate and/or an increased velocity. In yet other embodiments, a liner can be placed on the inside of the shell. In this embodiment, the shock damper has a large enough diameter to contact the liner.

In the embodiment shown, the projectile 3006 is placed within the shell 3000 such that the shock damper 3002 is separating the projectile 3006 from the primer 3004. The projectile 3006 can be any such projectile such as is described herein. In one embodiment the projectile 3006 can be any round projectile, such as a non-lethal projectile. The projectile can further be at least partially hollow, and in some embodiments, the hollow portion can be filled with a substance, such as an inhibiting substance, a powdered substance, a marking agent or other such substances. The non-inhibiting substance can comprises a capsaicinoid, e.g., oleoresin capsicum, synthetically produced nonivamide, PAVA, Capsaicin II, or the like. The inhibiting substance can include finely dispersed oil droplets in a powder or can be a crystalline form that is microscopically attached to the powder. In other embodiments the projectile can include any of the projectiles found in application Ser. No. 10/146,013, filed entitled NON-LEATHAL PROJECTILE FOR STORING AND LAUNCHING NON-LETHAL PROJECTILES, to Vasel et al., which is incorporated herein in its entirety, including the specification, claims and figures.

In operation, the primer 3004 is ignited by any means. A force is created behind the shock damper 3002. The shock damper 3002 is forced forward and propels the projectile 3006 out of the shell 3000. The shock damper 3002 also generally is propelled out of the shell. The shock damper 3002 is shaped in some embodiments such that it is not as aerodynamic as the projectile 3006 and thus, generally falls to the ground well short of the intended target or the place which the projectile 3006 strikes an object.

In some alternate embodiments, the launching apparatus in which the projectile systems of FIGS. 30-31 are utilized can provide for a non-contact propulsion. In some of these embodiments, a magnetic field is generated that provides the propulsion force. The projectile 3006 and/or the shock damper 3002 can include metal that reacts to the generated magnetic field so as to propel the projectile from the apparatus.

Referring to FIG. 32 a side cross sectional view is shown of the shock damper 3002 similar to those shown in FIGS. 30 and 31. FIG. 33 is an isometric view of the shock damper shown in FIG. 32. In some embodiments, the shock damper 3002 includes hollow areas defined by two opposing surfaces, a first surface 3010 and second surface 3012. The first surface is typically positioned within the shell 3000 (see FIGS. 30 and 31) facing the projectile 3006. Further, the first surface 3010 has a curvature that corresponds with a curvature of the projectile. As a result, the first surface 3010 of the shock damper 3002 contacts a relatively large area of the shock damper at least when the shock damper is forcing the projectile from the shell. The corresponding and/or cooperating curvature of the shock damper distributes the load of the propulsion force across a relatively large area of the projectile. Because the projectile is typically at least partially frangible, the distribution of the propulsion force avoids cracking and/or breaking the projectile as the projectile is being propelled from the shell.

The second surface 3012 is also tapers from the edges of the propulsion shock damper towards a central axis. The tapering of FIGS. 30-33 are show as being generally hemispherical. However, the tapering can be substantially any tapering, such as a pyramid, ellipse or other tapering. The second surface is tapered to provide a concentration of the propulsion force from the ignited primer 3004 or other means for propelling along the central axis of the shell, and typically the shock damper and projectile. Concentrating the propulsion force enhances the force applied to the projectile, improves accuracy, improves alignment of the movement of the shock damper and/or projectile within the shell (and later along a bore, barrel and/or channel of a launching apparatus that activates the primer 3004), and provides other similar advantages.

In some embodiments, the shock damper 3002 is made from a plastic material, however, the shock damper 3002 can be made from many different materials. For example, the shock damper 3002 can be made from a composite, a metal, rubber, polymer, silicon, combinations there, and/or other known materials that can be formed into a desired shape.

In some embodiments, the shock damper 3002 is a cylinder that has been hollowed out at the first hollow area defined by the first surface 3010 and the second hollow area defined by the second surface 3012. The length of the shock damper may be varied for different lengths of the shell 3000, for different projectiles 3006, desired seal length between the shell and the shock damper and other similar parameters. The shock damper 3002 typically has a length that is less than the length of the shell. As previously stated, present embodiments may be used with many different types and sizes of shells. As such, the shock damper can have substantially any desired dimensions to cooperate with substantially any size shell and/or projectile. In another embodiment the shock damper 3002 has a length less than 2 inches. In some embodiments for predefined shells the shock damper has a length of between ⅛ of an inch and 1 inch, preferably between ¼ of an inch and ¾ of an inch, and in one preferred embodiment, the shock damper has a length of ⅝ of an inch.

Referring to FIG. 34, an exploded isometric view is shown of a projectile system in accordance with one embodiment. Shown are a shell 3100, a primer 3102, a propulsion shock damper 3104, a support structure 3108, and a plurality of projectiles 3106.

In one embodiment the shell 3100 is a standard shotgun shell, however, the shell can be many other types of shells. The shell 3100 and the shock damper 3104 can be the same as the shock damper described with reference to FIGS. 14 and 15. In some embodiments, the shell 3100 includes the primer 3102 that aids in igniting gunpowder located within the shell. In other embodiments, the primer 3102 is the only source of propulsion and no gunpowder is present in the shell 3100. This embodiment can provide more consistent projectile shot-to-shot velocity than can be achieved with gunpowder. In some embodiments a small amount of gunpowder is present in the shell 3100. Some of these embodiments can be configured with a larger amount of primer than gunpowder, to again provide a more consistent projectile velocity. The reduced gunpowder or elimination of gun power can also provide a reduced muzzle blast and reduce heat generation and a safer non-lethal device. Further, the propellant or primer 3102 can generate a force that propels the projectile at non-lethal velocities. These velocities are typically dependent on the projectile size, mass, and other similar factors.

The propulsion shock damper 3104 is placed inside the shell 3100 along with the support structure 3108 and the plurality of projectiles 3106. The shock damper 3104 can have substantially any shape the establishes a seal to enhance to propulsion force generated, for example, by the ignition of the primer, the release of a compressed gas or other methods. In some embodiments, the shock damper can be the same as one of the shock dampers shown in FIGS. 15 and 32-33.

In the embodiment shown, the support structure 3108 comprises two halves that partially surround and/or incases each of the projectiles 3106. Each of the two halves is approximately half of a cylinder, cut along the length such that each end of the half of the cylinder is approximately half of a circle. In operation when inside of the shell the support structure contacts the inside of the shell. In other embodiments the support structure 3108 is not necessary and one or more projectiles can be placed inside of the shell 3100 with the shock damper 3104 and no support structure 3108.

In operation, when the primer 3102 is ignited, the shock damper 3104, the support structure 3108 and the plurality of projectiles 3106 are propelled from the shell 3100. The shock damper 3104 and the support structure 3108 will rapidly fall away from the projectiles 3106 as they move through the air due to the more aerodynamic shape of the projectiles 3106 and/or the greater mass of the projectiles. In one example, the projectiles 3106 are able to strike a target while the shock damper 3104 and the support structure 3108 fall to the ground before they reach the target. In a preferred embodiment, the velocity of the projectiles is very consistent from shot-to-shot because there is only the primer 3102 in the shell 3100 (i.e., there is no gunpowder propellant located within the shell 3100).

In other embodiments, the support structure 3108 can be modified to provide a seal inside of the shell 3100 similar to the seal that is created by the shock damper 3104. In this embodiment, the shock damper is not necessary 3104. In yet other embodiments, the projectile itself can provide the seal and the shock damper 3104 and the support structure 3108 are not necessary. For example, the projectile shown in FIG. 3 can be modified such that the either the body 2112 and/or the nose 2113 form a seal. In this embodiment, the body 2112 or the nose 2113 have a diameter in at least one place along the length that is equal to the inner diameter of the shell. Preferably, the body 2112 or the nose 2113 of the projectile have a diameter that is equal to the inner diameter of the shell that is at least ¼ of an inch long, more preferably ⅜ of an inch long, and in one embodiment any length less than 2 inches long.

FIG. 35 is a side cross-sectional view of the shock damper 3104 shown in FIG. 34. The shock damper includes a lip 3200, a first ridge 3202, and a second ridge 3204. The lip generally tapers away from a central axis of the shock damper and has a diameter greater than the main body of the shock damper. The lip contacts the shell to at least in part establish the desired seal. The ridges 3202, 3204 can further establish seals between the shock damper and the shell. Further, the ridges add structural support and strength to the shock damper.

In some embodiments, the shock damper 3104 can be a partially hollowed cylinder. The shock damper 3104 can be made from many different materials as described above. In one preferred embodiment, the shock damper is made from a plastic. The lip 3200, the first ridge 3202 and the second ridge 3204 can all have a diameter that is equal to that of the inside of the shell 3100, shown in FIG. 34. The shock damper 3104 and the shell 3100 thus provide a seal in-between the primer and the one or more projectiles, such that when the primer is ignited a force is generated behind the shock damper 3104 and forces both the shock damper 3104 and the projectiles 3106 from the shell 3100.

In alternative embodiments, the entire length of the propulsion shock damper 3104 has substantially the same diameter as the inside diameter of the shell 3100. As described above, the shell 3100 can additionally have a liner positioned inside. When the shell is equipped with the liner, the shock damper 3104 and the liner form a seal in-between the primer and the projectiles. The length of the shock damper 3104 can be varied, and in some embodiments, the length of the shock damper 3104 can affect the accuracy of the projectiles 3106. In the embodiment shown, the shock damper 3104 is approximately ⅜ of an inch. In some embodiments the shock damper can be lengthened to provide a more even force on the projectiles 3106 when the primer 3102 is ignited.

FIG. 36 is a cross sectional view of the propulsion shock damper shown in FIG. 35 taken at A-A of FIG. 35. Shown are the first ridge 3202 and a support structure 3208. The support structure can include ribbing or increased thickness. The shock damper 3104 shown in FIGS. 35 and 36 can also be used in the embodiment shown in FIG. 15.

In the embodiment shown, the shock damper 3104 is a hollow cylinder between the lip 3200 and the first ridge 3202. The second ridge is solid cap or lid. The support structure 3208 can be formed on the cap or lid. Additionally or alternatively, the area between the first ridge 3202 and the second ridge 3204 contains the support structure 3208 shown in FIG. 36. In an alternative embodiment, the propulsion shock damper can be solid throughout and have one or more lips attached thereto.

Advantageously, the lip 3200 and the ridges 3202, 3204 provide for a seal as it contacts the inside of the shell 3100.

FIG. 37 depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a projectile launching apparatus 3710 according to some embodiments. The apparatus includes a frame, hull or shell 3712. A gas filled capsule 3714 is maintained within the hull and positioned generally near a first end of 3716 of the hull. In some embodiments, the capsule 3714 is typically positioned within a cavity 3720 of the hull so that the capsule can slide within the cavity towards a puncture pin or tube 3722. The puncture pin is fixed within the hull 3712. Upon sliding forward, the capsule contacts the pin 3722 to be punctured such that pressurized gas contained within the capsule is released and forced through the pin 3722.

The launching apparatus 3710 further includes a launch bore or barrel 3730 in which one or more projectiles 3740 are positioned. In some embodiments, the projectile 3740 can include a body 3742, a propulsion cavity or chamber 3744, and a nose cavity 3746. A shell 3750 of the nose cavity is typically at least partially frangible. For example, the shell 3750 of the nose cavity can include fracture lines (not shown) similar to those described above with reference to FIGS. 5, 6, 10, 23 and other figures. The nose cavity 3746 can be filled with substantially any substance to be dispersed as the projectile contacts a target. For example, the substance can include an inhibiting substance, a marking substance and other such substances, such as those described above. As described above, the nose cavity 3746 can be filled to substantially any level. The nose cavity is filled, in some embodiment, to over 50% by volume, while some embodiments have nose cavities filled to over 90%.

In some embodiments, the shell 3750 can include a fill aperture and lid 3752, and/or the shell can have two or more parts that are sealed together. The projectile can be made of substantially any material and/or combination of materials, such as acrylic, vinyl, plastic, polystyrene and/or other polymers, sodium alginate, calcium chloride, coated alginate and/or polyvinyl alginate (PVA), rubber, metals, composites, graphite, silicon and other similar materials. For example, the body 3742 can be made of a rubber ad the shell 3750 of the nose can be made of plastic. The rubber body in some embodiments can absorbs some of the initial propulsion force applied to the projectile so as to avoid breaking or cracking the nose shell 3750 upon launching.

The projectile 3740 is positioned within the barrel 3730 such that an inlet 3754 of the propulsion cavity 3744 is at least generally aligned with an exit port of the pin 3722. In some embodiments, the pin 3722 extends at least partially within the inlet. The pin can, in some embodiments, removably secured within the inlet, such as a snap fit that releases when a predefined separation pressure is applied. As the gas is forced from the capsule 3714 and through the pin, the gas enters the propulsion cavity 3744. A sufficient amount of gas is maintained within the capsule so that upon puncturing, the released gas fills the propulsion cavity until a sufficient pressure is achieved within the propulsion cavity and the barrel 3730 to propel the projectile from the barrel at a desired velocity. In some embodiments the projectile has a diameter or width that is about equal, or at portions slightly greater than the diameter of the barrel (such as a lip similar to lip 3200 of FIG. 35) so that a seal is established between the projectile 3740 and the barrel 3730 similar to the seal established between the shell or casing and propulsion shock dampers of FIGS. 30-34.

Because of the increased pressure within the barrel 3730, the propulsion cavity 3744 contains gas or gases at a pressure that is typically greater than atmospheric pressure. As the projectile leaves the barrel, the gases begin to be expelled from the propulsion cavity 3744 through the inlet 3754 due to the higher pressure within the propulsion cavity 3744. The exiting gases aid in propelling the projectile 3740 along a desired path. The additional propulsion force provided by the exiting gases from the propulsion cavity provides an increased launch range or distance of the projectile 3740.

The gas capsule 3714 can be moved along the cavity 3720 to contact the puncture pin 3722 through several different methods. In some embodiments a spring loaded hammer can contact the capsule or a protective plate positioned against the capsule to drive the capsule forward. In some embodiments, the projectile launching apparatus 3710 can include a primer and/or other ignitable substance proximate the first end of 3716 of the hull 3712. The primer can be ignited to generate a force that drives the capsule towards and in contact with the puncture pin 3722. The primer can be ignited through substantially any method such as a spring loaded hammer, an electric charge or other such methods.

In some alternative embodiments, the capsule does not move within the cavity 3720 and instead is fixed within the hull 3712. The capsule includes a valve that can be opened upon activation to release the pressurized gas within the capsule. The gas is forced through the pin or tube 3722 and into the propulsion cavity 3744 of the projectile. Alternatively, the puncture pin 3722 can be movable to be forced to contact the gas capsule 3714. The gas propels the projectile within desired velocity ranges. In some preferred embodiments, the projectile is launched at velocities less than 1000 mph, and in some embodiments at velocities less than 500 mph.

FIG. 38 depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a projectile launching apparatus 3810 according to some embodiments. The apparatus includes a frame, hull or shell 3812, a gas capsule 3814 positioned within a cavity 3820, a puncture pin 3822 and a bore or barrel 3830. In this implementation, one or more projectiles 3840-3841 can be positioned within the barrel 3830. In some embodiments, the barrel can include one or more O-rings to maintain the positioning of the projectiles and to allow for an increased pressure within the barrel. Additionally and/or alternatively, the projectiles can be constructed with diameters or widths that are about equal with the diameter or width of the barrel so that a seal is formed between the barrel and the one or more projectiles 3840, 3841.

In some embodiments, a support structure and/or padding 3844 is positioned between the projectiles to prevent rupturing of the projectiles, and in some instances distributes propulsion forces. In some alternative embodiments one or more shock dampers, such as the shock dampers described above, can be employed to help propel the projectiles. If a shock damper is employed between the pin 3822 and projectiles and/or between the plurality of projectiles, a curvature of the surfaces can be configured to correspond with the shapes of the projectiles 3840, 3841.

Still referring to FIG. 38, the gas capsule 3814 can be slidably positioned within the cavity 3820 so as to slide into contact with the puncture pin 3822. In some alternative embodiments, the pin can be moved into contact with the capsule or the capsule can include a valve.

FIG. 39 depicts a simplified cross-sectional view of a projectile launching apparatus 3910 according to some embodiments. The apparatus includes a frame, hull or shell 3912, a gas capsule 3914 positioned within a cavity 3920, a bore or barrel 3930, and a puncture pin 3822 formed from and part of the hull 3912. In this implementation, the apparatus has a small or short length, with a reduced length barrel 3930. A projectile 3940 is positioned within the barrel 3830. An O-ring 3942 or ridge is included in and/or formed as part of the barrel. The O-ring maintains the positioning of the projectiles and established an increased pressure within the barrel before the projectile 3940 is released from the barrel.

A first end 3916 of the apparatus includes an aperture 3948 where a primer can be position or a spring loaded hammer can pass to contact the gas capsule 3914. The ignited primer or hammer drives the capsule into the pin 3822 such that the pressurized gas within the capsule is released through the pin and into the barrel. The projectile can be substantially any projectile, such as a generally spherical projectile that has a hollow portion. A substance can be incorporated into the hollow portion so as to be dispersed when the projectile contacts a target. In some embodiments, shock dampers are not employed. This eliminates the ejection of the additional shock damper from the apparatus. In alternative embodiments, however, shock dampers can be employed.

FIGS. 40-44 show projectiles 4010 according to some embodiments with telescoping or extending sections 4012,4014. The extending sections allow the fins section 4020 to be extended away from the body 4022 of the projectile. The extending sections 4012, 4014 can be implemented in substantially any relevant means.

FIGS. 40-42 show a projectile with a telescoping extending section 4012. The telescoping extending section 4012 can be positioned in a compressed configuration within the fins/tail section 4020 as depicting in FIG. 40. Alternatively, the telescoping extending section 4012 can be positioned in a compressed configuration within the body section 4022 as depicting in FIG. 42. Alternatively, the telescoping extending section can be posited partially within the body and partially within the fins/tail section.

Upon launching the projectile, the fins section 4020 extends away from the body to the length of the extended telescoping section. This increases the length of the projectile, and further increases the length to diameter ratio providing greater stability, and thus accuracy for the projectile. The fins portion can be extended away from the body through any number of relevant methods. For example, in some embodiments, the fins section can be extended away from the through air drag as the projectile launched, launch gases, a spring or other means to force the fins section away from the body during launch or after leaving the launching device, or other similar means, or combinations of means.

In some embodiments, upon impact of the projectile 4010 with a target, the fins section 4020 is forced by momentum towards the body compressing the telescoping extending section. As the telescoping extending section is compressed, air within the section can be forces into the body 4022 of the projectile aiding in expelling and dispersing the one or more substances (e.g., inhibiting substance) from the body. In some embodiments, the fins section can also have an aerodynamic shape to limit the drag. For example, the portion of the fins section closest to the body 4022 when the extending section 4012 is extended can come to a point at the intersection with the extending portion.

Similarly, the projectiles of FIGS. 43-44 include an extending rod section 4014. The extending rod section can be positioned while the projectile is in a compressed state, as shown in FIG. 43, with the rod positioned partially within the fins/tail section 4020 and partially within the body 4022.

As the projectile is launched, the fins section extends away form the body to the length of the extending rod section 4014. Again, the extending away of the fins section increases the length of the projectile and the length to diameter ratio. The fins section can be extended from the body through any number of methods as described above with reference to FIGS. 40-42. In some embodiments, the fins section can be forced back towards the body upon impact of the projectile aiding in the expelling and dispersing the one or more substances (e.g., inhibiting substance) from the body. As described above, the fins section can also include an aerodynamic shapes portion 4024 that tapers away from the extended portion 4014.

Referring to FIG. 45 a cross-sectional diagram is shown illustrating a low kinetics projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. The primer launched projectile cartridge 4500 includes a shell 4502, a primer 4504, a seal 4506, and a projectile 4508.

The seal 4506 is located between the primer 4504 and the projectile 4508. In the present embodiment, there is very little (e.g., less than 5 grams and preferably less than 1 gram) or no gunpowder present in the cartridge. In the preferred embodiment, the primer 4504 is primarily used to accelerate the projectile 4508. As shown, the primer is a standard percussion primer 4504 such as is used in many fire arms. Alternatively, as will be shown and described herein below, the primer 4504 is an electric primer.

In operation, the primer 4504 is ignited which builds up pressure behind the seal 4506. The seal 4506 contacts an inner edge of the shell 4502, thus providing for substantial build-up of pressure in order to launch the projectile 4508 and the seal 4506 from the cartridge 4500. Next, the seal 4506 and the projectile 4508 are launched from the cartridge 4500. Advantageously, by utilizing a primer only (or a very small amount of gunpowder) launched projectile cartridge, the exit velocity of the projectile 4508 is more consistent from cartridge to cartridge as compared to a cartridge that uses gunpowder. Thus, in some embodiments described herein, the projectile is primarily launched by the energy from the primer. As referred to herein the projectile 4508 is primarily launched by the primer if the majority of the energy used to launch the projectile 4508 is from the primer 4504. Additionally, a projectile with a low kinetics value can be launched in accordance with the present embodiment, which is desirable in non-lethal systems.

Advantageously, in the embodiment shown, the combination of a primer launched projectile and the seal placed between the primer and the projectile, provides low kinetics launch of the projectile that is consistent from cartridge to cartridge and that has not been previously accomplished.

Referring to FIG. 46 an exploded perspective diagram is shown illustrating a low kinetics projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. The cartridge 4600 includes a shell 4602, an electric primer 4604, a rear mounting ring 4606, a percussion primer 4608, a seal 4610, and a projectile 4612.

The electric primer 4604 is located at the rear of the cartridge and behind the percussion primer 4608. In front of the percussion primer 4608 within the shell is the seal 4610 and then the projectile 4612.

In operation, the electric primer 4604 is ignited which is enough force to ignite the percussion primer 4608. The combination of the electric primer 4604 and the percussion primer 4608 being ignited heats gas within the cartridge and builds pressure behind the seal 4610 which forces the seal 4610 and the projectile 4612 from the cartridge 4600. The seal 4610 is, for example, the seal described with reference to FIGS. 34-36.

Referring to FIG. 47 an exploded perspective diagram is shown illustrating a low kinetics projectile cartridge in accordance with another embodiment. Shown is a shell 4702, a primer 4704, a seal 4706, a projectile 4708, a chamber 4710 between the primer 4704 and the seal 4706, and a weather sealant 4712.

The primer 4704 is an electric primer in accordance with the present embodiment. The weather sealant 4710 is for example made from two pieces of Styrofoam and keeps moisture from entering into the cartridge. The weather sealant 4710, shown in many of the described embodiments herein below is optional and does not need to be included in the cartridge. Additionally, other materials may be used for the weather sealant 4710. In operation, the primer 4704 is ignited which builds pressure in the chamber 4710 behind the seal 4706. The seal 4706, the projectile 4708 and the weather sealant 4712 are subsequently launched from the cartridge. The seal 4706 and the weather sealant 4712 are designed to be much less aerodynamic as compared to the projectile 4708 and thus, generally fall to the ground well short of the intended target.

Referring to FIG. 48 a perspective diagram is shown illustrating a dual electric primer cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 49 is a side cross-sectional view of the dual electric primer cartridge shown in FIG. 48. Shown are a positive contact 4802, a negative contact 4804, a retaining screw 4806, a printed circuit board 4808, a first primer 4810, a second primer 4812, a chamber 4814, a seal 4816, a projectile 4818, an weather sealant 4820, and a shell 4822.

The first primer 4810 and the second primer 4812 are used in conjunction with, for example, heavier projectiles than those that are used with the single primer cartridge (such as is shown in FIG. 46). The first primer 4810 and the second primer 4812, while providing more energy than a single primer, also provide a consistent energy level for launching the projectile as compared to using a single primer in combination with gunpowder, such as is done in prior systems. Gunpowder will burn differently from cartridge to cartridge and thus the prior systems were not able to achieve a consistent low kinetics launch of the projectile.

The printed circuit board 4808 is used to ignite the first primer 4810 and the second primer 4812 simultaneously. Additionally, the printed circuit board enables the ignition of the first primer 4810 and the second primer 4812 with a standard trigger while having the first primer 4810 and the second primer 4812 off center from the axis of the cartridge. The printed circuit board will be described herein in greater detail below with reference to FIG. 51A-C.

Referring to FIG. 50, a diagram is shown illustrating a dual primer, flameless cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. Shown is a shell 5002, a printed circuit board 5004, a first electric primer 5006, a second electric primer 5008, a burning chamber 5010, a tube 5012, an expansion chamber 5014, a diaphragm 5016, a first projectile 5018, a second projectile 5020 and a weather sealant 5022.

The printed circuit board 5004 is located at a rear of the cartridge and provides positive and negative contacts for igniting the first electric primer 5006 and the second electric primer 5008. The printed circuit 5004 board will be described herein with reference to FIGS. 51A-C.

In operation, the first electric primer 5006 and the second electric primer 5008 heat gas in the burning chamber 5010. The heated gas travels down the tube 5012 and builds pressure in the expansion chamber 5006 behind the diaphragm 5016. The tube 5012 is thin enough such that the flame front from the first electric primer 5006 and the second electric primer 5008 is suppressed and/or does not travel down the tube 5012. For example, in one embodiment, the tube 5012 is 1/16 of an inch in diameter. Different tube diameters are also utilized in alternative embodiments depending upon the energy and number of primers that are utilized. Advantageously, because no flame is projected from the cartridge, the cartridge may not be classified as a firearm.

As the gas travels down the tube 5012, the gas cools and builds up in the expansion chamber 5014 behind the diaphragm 5016. The diaphragm 5016 is used to contain the gas within the expansion chamber 5014 until a specific pressure is built up within the expansion chamber 5014. The diaphragm 5016 then ruptures and the first projectile 5018, the second projectile 5020, and the weather sealant 5022 are launched from the cartridge. The burst diaphragm may be made of many substances well known in diaphragm design. The present embodiments employ materials having thicknesses that allow desired pressure buildup before rupture occurs. The inventors have found that Mylar diaphragm materials, for example, have consistent burst characteristics in the pressure ranges for launching projectiles as described above. Different diaphragm thicknesses can be used depending on the desired burst pressure, gas flow rate, projectile mass, barrel length desired muzzle velocity, and the like. For example, some embodiments use about 0.001 inches to about 0.100 inch thick Mylar, while some preferred embodiments use Mylar with a thickness of about 0.003 to about 0.004 inches. Because the diaphragm 5016 consistently breaks at a predetermined pressure and the first primer 5006 and the second primer 5008 are used, preferably without gunpowder, the first projectile 5018 and the second projectile 5020 can be launched with a low kinetics value consistently from cartridge to cartridge. While, the embodiment shown includes the first projectile and the second projectile, one or more projectiles can be utilized with the described cartridge.

Referring to FIG. 51A, a front view of a circuit board is illustrated in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 51B is a cross-sectional view of the printed circuit board along line A-A of FIG. 51A. FIG. 51C is a rear view of the printed circuit board shown in FIG. 51A. Shown is a positive contact pad 5102, a negative contact pad 5104, a first mounting hole 5106, a second mounting hole 5108, a positive via 5110, a negative via 5112, a first primer contact 5114, a second primer contact 5116 and a negative return contact 5120.

The printed circuit board is used in conjunction with a standard activating means for an electric primer. Generally, a single electric primer in conjunction with gunpowder is utilized in a fire arm. The electric primer is used to ignite the gunpowder which propels the bullet. The electric primer is positioned in the middle of the cartridge to provide for substantially uniform burning of the gunpowder. However, in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 48-50, two primers are used to launch a non-lethal projectile having a low kinetics value. Therefore, there is a need to ignite both of the primers at essentially the same time while using a standard center contact pin that is generally used with a single electric primer.

The first mounting hole 5106 and the second mounting hole 51068 are used to secure the printed circuit board to a metal disk which the primers have been, for example, press fitted onto.

The positive contact pad 5102 is located on the front side of the printed circuit board and is positioned in the center of the printed circuit board. The negative contact pad 5104, also located on the front side of the printed circuit board, is shaped as a ring around the outer edge of the printed circuit board. The positive via 5110 travels through the printed circuit board and splits to contact both the first primer contact 5114 and the second primer contact 5116 which are located on the back side of the printed circuit board. The negative contact pad 5104 is coupled to the negative return pad contact 5120 through the negative via 5112. This provides a negative return path from the primer case contact, through the negative return contact 5120 and back to the negative contact pad 5104 on the front of the printed circuit board. Alternatively, conductive mounting pins are used to mount the printed circuit board to the metal disk into which the primers are mounted. This provides a return ground path through the conductive mounting pins that contact the negative contact pad 5104 on the front of the printed circuit board. It should be understood, that the embodiment shown has been described in terms of having positive and negative contacts, however, the positive and negative contacts can be switched in an alternative embodiment.

Thus, the printed circuit board provides a means for igniting two primers in a cartridge using a single contact pin.

Referring to FIG. 52, a diagram is shown illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 52 shows the cartridge before being ignited. FIG. 53 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 52 just after the primer has been ignited. Shown is shell 5202, an gas filled capsule 5204, an electric primer 5206, a puncture pin 5208, an expansion chamber 5210, a diaphragm 5212, an orifice plate 5214, a first projectile 5216, a second projectile 5218 and a weather sealant 5220.

The electric primer 5206 is positioned behind the gas filled capsule 5204. The gas filled capsule 5204 is filled with, for example, carbon dioxide or other gas. The puncture pin 5208 is aligned with the gas filled capsule 5204 within the shell 5202. In operation, the primer 5206 is ignited which propels the gas filled capsule 5204 forward into the puncture pin 5208. FIG. 53 shows the gas filled capsule 5204 after being propelled forward into the pin 5208. Gas from the gas filled capsule 5204 is released into the expansion chamber 5210. Advantageously, the gas is simultaneously heated by the energy from the primer 5206 and also servers to suppress the flame front and/or extinguish the flame caused by igniting the primer 5206. As is shown in FIG. 62, heating the gas greatly increases the pressure caused by the gas, thus a relatively small amount of gas can be utilized as compared to using non-heated gas to launch the first projectile 5216 and the second projectile 5218. This is further described herein with reference to FIG. 62.

Pressure builds up in the expansion chamber 5210 until the diaphragm 5212 breaks. The gas then travels through the orifice plate 5214 which disperses the gas from the center of the shell so that the pressure from the gas is dispersed over the first projectile 5216 in a more even manner as compared to, for example, the cartridge shown and described below with reference to FIG. 58. The orifice plate 5214 is solid near the center axis of the shell and has a plurality of holes near the periphery of the shell. This disperses high velocity gas in center of the shell to the periphery of the cartridge. The pressure on the first projectile 5216 is thus loaded at a curved portion of the projectile rather than at a 90 degree angle to the first projectile 5216. Additionally, the orifice plate 5214 reduces the peak acceleration of the projectiles. This prevents the first projectile 5216 or any additional projectiles from breaking due to the contract pressure of the gas or from the contact pressure between the projectiles.

Referring to FIG. 54, a diagram is shown illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 54 shows the cartridge before being ignited. FIG. 55 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 54 just after the primer has been ignited. Shown is shell 5402, a gas filled capsule 5404, an electric primer 5406, a puncture pin 5408, an expansion chamber 5410, a diaphragm 5412, a projectile 5414 and a weather sealant 5416.

The cartridge shown in FIGS. 54 and 55 functions in the same manner as the cartridge described above with reference to FIGS. 52 and 53. In the embodiment shown, the orifice plate has been removed because the projectile shown can withstand a much greater acceleration without breaking during the acceleration. Therefore, the orifice plate is not beneficial for the purpose of slowing down the peak acceleration of the projectile. However, the orifice plate is still included in an alternative embodiment.

Referring to FIG. 56, a diagram is shown illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 56 shows the cartridge before being ignited. FIG. 57 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 56 just after the primer has been ignited. Shown is shell 5602, a gas filled capsule 5604, an electric primer 5606, a puncture pin 5608, an expansion chamber 5610, a projectile 5612 and a weather sealant 5614.

The cartridge shown in FIGS. 56 and 57 functions in the same manner as the cartridge described above with reference to FIGS. 52 and 53. In the embodiment shown, the orifice plate and the diaphragm have been removed. Thus, as is shown, the diaphragm is not included in some embodiments.

Referring to FIG. 58, a diagram is shown illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 58 shows the cartridge before being ignited. FIG. 59 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 58 just after the primer has been ignited. Shown is shell 5802, a gas filled capsule 5804, an electric primer 5806, a puncture pin 5808, an expansion chamber 5810, a diaphragm 5812, a first projectile 5814, a second projectile 5816 and a weather sealant 5818.

The cartridge shown in FIGS. 58 and 59 functions in the same manner as the cartridge described above with reference to FIGS. 52 and 53. In the embodiment shown, the orifice plate has been removed. While in many embodiments, the orifice plate is preferred it is not a necessary component for all embodiments.

Referring to FIG. 60, a diagram is shown illustrating a heated gas projectile cartridge in accordance with one embodiment. FIG. 60 shows the cartridge before being ignited. FIG. 61 shows the heated gas projectile cartridge of FIG. 60 just after the primer has been ignited. Shown is shell 6002, a gas filled capsule 6004, an electric primer 6006, a puncture pin 6008, an expansion chamber 6010, a first projectile 6012, a second projectile 6014 and a weather sealant 6016.

The cartridge shown in FIGS. 58 and 59 functions in the same manner as the cartridge described above with reference to FIGS. 52 and 53. In the embodiment shown, the diaphragm and the orifice plate have been removed. While in many embodiments, the diaphragm and the orifice plate are preferred they are not a necessary components for all embodiments.

Referring to FIG. 62 a graph is shown illustrating the relationship between carbon dioxide pressure verses a percentage fill and temperature. The graph demonstrates the greatly increased pressure of carbon dioxide with a fairly small increase in the temperature of the carbon dioxide (CO2). Thus, the embodiments described herein with reference to FIGS. 52-61 are able to use the combination of the gas filled capsule and the primer in order to obtain a substantial pressure increase as compared to the pressure obtained from the gas when the primer is not present in the cartridge.

Boyles and Charles Laws state that a pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to the gas volume and directly proportional to the gas temperature. As you compress a gas, the gas's pressure goes up and the gas's volume goes down. Heating a contained volume of gas will increase the gas's pressure.

It is known that under compression of about 850 psi, CO2 gas is a liquid if the CO2's temperature is below about 89 degrees Fahrenheit. This is shown in FIG. 62. Above this temperature, CO2 liquid vaporizes into a gas and the gas pressure begins to build rapidly with increases in temperature. Because of this gas temperature-pressure relationship, CO2 is often used to launch projectiles as in paintball technology using a large storage bottle with a feed hose, valve and metering mechanism for the CO2 gas. When the paintball launcher using CO2 are triggered a high of volume of liquid CO2 fog is observed exiting the barrel. This non-vaporized CO2 “fog” has a gas pressure near 850 psi. However, in order to use a separate CO2 container for each projectile launch, such as in the cartridges shown in FIGS. 52-61, in order to launch a projectile at velocities useful in non-lethal technology, at room temperatures (near 70 degrees), a rather large CO2 container would be needed. This would make the cartridge and launcher size large, bulky and impractical.

Therefore, by heating the CO2 substantially above 89 degrees Fahrenheit when released from the container by utilizing the heat from the primer, the container is able to be proportionately smaller for the resultant same projectile muzzle velocity.

These embodiments described herein provide a novel method and apparatus that uses the pressure and heat energy of a primer to not only release the CO2 gas in the CO2 cartridge (also referred to herein as the gas capsule), but to heat up the released CO2 gas by absorbing heat from the ignited primer. The CO2 gas in turn extinguishes the burning gases while absorbing heat content. The resultant heated higher pressure CO2 is safe because it is non-burning (no fire), is at a higher pressure because it is heated and provides higher muzzle velocities because of the higher pressure. Thus, the initial volume of the CO2 container can be reduced and the CO2 cartridge can be reduced. Additionally, the launcher for the cartridge can be reduced in size, thus making a CO2 cartridge with projectile more practical.

Alternatively, nitrogen containers can be utilized, however, because nitrogen is a gas at similar temperatures and pressures, less increased pressure will result from heating the nitrogen with the primer. The nitrogen will extinguish the burning primer gases. These embodiments described also may lead to the cartages not being classified as a firearm which is beneficial for non-lethal projectiles.

The present embodiments provide for many advantages over prior art devices. For example, the projectile systems described herein that operate without gunpowder, e.g., a primer only projectile system, provide a system that has a more accurate shot to shot velocity than other prior art devices. For non-lethal projectiles this can be very important so as to prevent harming a target more than wanted, or to prevent impacting a target with a projectile that is traveling at a speed greater than desired.

The present embodiments solve many of the significant disadvantages in many prior art devices. For example, one of the disadvantages of many prior devices is that they do not take into consideration the need to deliver an inhibiting (or active) substance under fairly precise dispersal conditions to insure effectiveness thereof. When a target is impacted with a projectile delivering a substance thereto, to be maximally effective, the substance should disperse in a generally radial manner (or transverse to the motion of the projectile) such that the target's face is quickly and fully contacted thereby as provided by the present embodiments.

The present embodiments, at the same time, can be aimed with a degree of precision so as to be able to avoid hitting the target in, for example, the face. Further, the present embodiment provides sufficient dispersion of the inhibiting substance so that, for example, a projectile impacting on a target's chest delivers inhibiting substance to the target's face where it can be effective. Many prior projectiles, not only rarely contemplate these problems, but also frequently fail to provide for dispersal of the inhibiting substance to a target's face after impacting the target at a remote area.

More specifically, for example, while powdered inhibiting substances, in the view of the inventors, offer distinct advantages over the vast majority of prior devices that deliver inhibiting substances to a target, most prior devices fail to address the problem of both accurately delivering the projectile to the target at a location remote from the target's face, and dispersing a powered inhibiting substance in a cloud-like, radial manner so as to assure that the powdered inhibiting substance reaches the target's face. The present embodiments is capable of providing tactical advantages with non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectiles that can be accurately delivered to a target, impacting the target in an area other than the target's face, while at the same time providing dispersal of a powdered inhibiting substance to the target's face, where it is effective.

The present embodiments are both sufficiently safe to be used at close range and, at the same time, effective at longer ranges, such as 10 feet or more, e.g., 30 or 60 feet or more. Most non-lethal weapons heretofore known, however, are either operated at close ranges, for example, pepper spray canisters, or operated at long ranges, for example, rubber bullet devices, but do not operate at both close and long ranges. In particular, the close range weapons are generally not deployed with sufficient force to travel further than a few meters, and the longer range weapons generally are not “muzzle safe” in that they cannot be safely deployed at very short distances because of the chemical/explosive nature of the launching mechanism. As a result, law enforcement and military personnel are often required to employ two different technologies, one for close range applications, and another for long range applications.

In being able to use a single device for both applications the present embodiments provide numerous advantages. For example, cost is a significant factor recognized universally by governmental agencies, but perhaps even more importantly is a tactical disadvantage imposed by the use of both short range and long range non-lethal or less-than-lethal technologies. Many available technologies require that a user make a decision as to whether a particular situation calls for a short range non-lethal technology or a long range non-lethal technology. This requires not only spending time to assess a situation in order to determine whether non-lethal or lethal technology should be employed, but also requires expenditure of more time determining which non-lethal technology is appropriate, that is whether the situation calls for short-range technology or long-range technology. As a result, non-lethal and less-than-lethal projectiles are rarely used by law enforcement and military personnel, and, when used, are generally used only in situations where sufficient time exists for the user to make the chain of decisions necessary to first select non-lethal technology and second, to select what range of non-lethal technology is appropriate.

Cost becomes an important consideration in these tactical issues as well. Because two types of non-lethal technology must, using previous technologies, be available, many, if not most, law enforcement and military agencies cannot afford to fully equip their personnel. This cost constraint is further exacerbated because heretofore available non-lethal technologies, at least the ones that are effective, and thus actually useable, are complicated and highly specialized and most non-lethal devices do not offer a low-cost inert training version. Training is costly and therefore, use is infrequent. As a result, the actual costs of previous devices are still prohibitive and therefore indicate only limited deployment.

The present embodiments provide a cost effective and highly versatile apparatus and method for dispersing inhibiting substances. Further, the present embodiments allow for accurate and rapid dispersement. Still further, the present embodiments allow the projectiles to be directed at objects other than the target while still achieving sufficient dispersement of the inhibiting substance to affect the intended target. Additionally, because the present embodiments can be used at both close and long range, only a single device is needed. This significantly reduces cost for both equipment as well as training.

The present embodiments provide muzzle safe projectiles and/or systems that provide optimum dispersal of the substances contained therein. Further, projectile and/or systems can be readily incorporated into existing officer training programs, so that officers can be quickly, cost effectively, and easily trained in the use of the projectiles and/or system, which, in turn would be of particular advantage to the officer when attempting to use the system under stressful situations, as would normally be the case. Additionally, the present projectiles impact a living target in such a way as to actually facilitate the effectiveness of the system.

Further, some of the present embodiments allow projectile systems to be utilized with conventional launching devices and/or firearms. The projectile systems can be activated through conventional activation mechanisms (e.g., a hammer can strike a primer activator) to launch the projectile at velocities that are lower than conventional firearm projectiles. For example, a conventional firearm can activate a primer within a projectile system generating a chemical explosion providing a propulsion force that is directed at the projectile. The use of the primer allows the present embodiments to generate a force that is small enough to launch the projectile at velocities that are relatively low compared with conventional firearm projectiles. Therefore, some embodiments provide for primer launched projectiles that launch a projectile within a predefined velocity range, such as a range between 700 and 25 mph, or between 400 and 50 mph and other similar velocity ranges. These reduced velocities help to ensure that the projectile is traveling at non-lethal velocities to further limit injuries to targets.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.