Title:
WEAPON ACCESSORY BRACKET
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bracket is disclosed for coupling a weapon accessory to a weapon. The bracket includes a bracket housing that defines a space for receiving a self-contained energy storage device, such as a battery or the like, and a means to transfer electrical energy from a self-contained energy storage device in the space to a weapon accessory mounted onto the bracket housing. The weapon accessory requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in source of electrical energy. Instead, the weapon accessory receives the electrical energy it needs to operate from one or more self-contained energy storage devices in the bracket.



Inventors:
Makohon, James (Chester, GB)
Application Number:
14/798925
Publication Date:
01/21/2016
Filing Date:
07/14/2015
Assignee:
QIOPTIQ LIMITED
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41C27/00; F41G11/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070186457Shooting deviceAugust, 2007Pitt
20090235568Firearm Pre-Muzzle Lead Emission Containment DeviceSeptember, 2009Auvine
20050223612Type pistolOctober, 2005Liu
20070175079Integral scope and mountAugust, 2007Epling et al.
20090193702Articulating firearm fore gripAugust, 2009Lin
20080120890Constantine exhibition drill training bayonetMay, 2008Wilson
20080000128TOTABLE, SPRING-BIASED, TOGGLE-ACTION FIREARMJanuary, 2008Newman
20090255162Range finder for weaponsOctober, 2009Holmberg
20060207157Firearm adapted for use in low light, illuminating rear sight, and method for aligning sights in low light environmentsSeptember, 2006Keng
20020129535Passive wind reading scopeSeptember, 2002John II
20060010746Repositionable trigger systemJanuary, 2006Little



Primary Examiner:
MORGAN, DERRICK R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHEEHAN PHINNEY BASS & GREEN, PA (c/o PETER NIEVES 1000 ELM STREET MANCHESTER NH 03105-3701)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bracket for coupling a weapon accessory to a weapon, the bracket comprising: a bracket housing that defines a space for receiving a self-contained energy storage device; and a means to transfer electrical energy from a self-contained energy storage device in the space to a weapon accessory mounted onto the bracket housing.

2. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the weapon accessory requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in source of electrical energy.

3. The bracket of claim 1, further comprising a self-contained energy storage device in the space defined by the bracket housing.

4. The bracket of claim 3, wherein the self-contained energy storage device is selected from the group consisting of: a battery, a capacitor and any other self-contained device that is capable of supplying electrical energy usable by the weapon accessory.

5. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the bracket defines: a first structure to facilitate physically mounting the bracket to the weapon or to an accessory rail on the weapon; and a second structure to facilitate physically mounting the weapon accessory to the bracket and delivering the electrical energy to the weapon accessory.

6. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the means to transfer electrical energy comprises one or more electrical conductors to electrically engage the self-contained energy storage device in the space.

7. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the means to transfer electrical energy comprises a means to physically and electrically engage the weapon accessory.

8. The bracket of claim 7, wherein the means to physically and electrically engage the weapon accessory is configured such that physically engaging the weapon accessory also results in electrically engaging the weapon accessory.

9. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the bracket is physically distinct from the weapon and the weapon accessory.

10. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the weapon is a gun and the weapon accessory is a sight for the gun.

11. A bracket for coupling a weapon accessory to a weapon, the bracket comprising: a bracket housing that defines a space for receiving a self-contained energy storage device; a means to electrically engage the self-contained energy storage device in the space so that electrical energy from the self-contained energy storage device can be delivered to a weapon accessory coupled to the bracket housing; a means to facilitate physically mounting the bracket to the weapon or to an accessory rail on the weapon; and a means to facilitate physically mounting the weapon accessory to the bracket and to facilitate delivery of the electrical energy to the weapon accessory, wherein the weapon accessory requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in source of electrical energy.

12. The bracket of claim 11, further comprising a self-contained energy storage device in the space defined by the bracket housing, wherein the self-contained energy storage device is selected from the group consisting of: a battery, a capacitor and any other self-contained device that is capable of supplying electrical energy usable by the weapon accessory.

13. The bracket of claim 11, wherein the means to facilitate physically mounting the weapon accessory to the bracket and to facilitate delivery of the electrical energy to the weapon accessory is configured such that physically engaging the weapon accessory also results in electrically engaging the weapon accessory.

14. The bracket of claim 11, wherein the bracket is physically distinct from the weapon and the weapon accessory.

15. The bracket of claim 11, wherein the weapon is a gun and the weapon accessory is a sight for the gun.

16. An assembly comprising: a bracket comprising: a bracket housing that defines a space for receiving a self-contained energy storage device; and means to transfer electrical energy from a self-contained energy storage device in the space to a weapon accessory mounted onto the bracket housing; and a weapon accessory mounted onto the bracket, wherein the weapon accessory requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in source of electrical energy.

17. The assembly of claim 16, further comprising: a weapon, wherein the bracket is mounted onto the weapon or onto an accessory rail coupled to the weapon.

18. The assembly of claim 17, wherein the bracket is physically distinct from the weapon and the weapon accessory.

19. The assembly of claim 17, wherein the weapon is a gun and the weapon accessory is a sight for the gun.

20. The assembly of claim 16, further comprising a self-contained energy storage device in the space defined by the bracket housing, wherein the self-contained energy storage device is selected from the group consisting of: a battery, a capacitor and any other self-contained device that is capable of supplying electrical energy usable by the weapon accessory.

21. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the bracket further defines: a first structure to facilitate physically mounting the bracket to a weapon or to an accessory rail on the weapon; and a second structure to facilitate physically mounting the weapon accessory to the bracket and delivering the electrical energy to the weapon accessory.

22. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the means to transfer electrical energy comprises one or more electrical conductors to electrically engage the self-contained energy storage device in the space.

23. The bracket of claim 22, wherein the means to transfer electrical energy comprises means to physically and electrically engage the weapon accessory.

24. The bracket of claim 23, wherein the means to physically and electrically engage the weapon accessory is configured such that physically engaging the weapon accessory also results in electrically engaging the weapon accessory.

25. The assembly of claim 16, wherein the weapon accessory has one or more electrical terminals configured to engage corresponding electrical terminals on the bracket when the weapon accessory is physically engaged to the bracket.

26. A collection of components for mounting to a weapon, the collection of components comprising: a single bracket for mounting a weapon accessory to a weapon, the bracket comprising: a bracket housing that defines a space for receiving a self-contained energy storage device; and one or more electrical conductors configured to electrically engage the self-contained energy storage device in the space for delivering electrical energy to a weapon accessory coupled to the bracket housing; and a plurality of weapon accessories comprising a first type of weapon accessory and a second type of weapon accessory that is different than the first type of weapon accessory, wherein the first type of weapon accessory and the second type of weapon accessory are interchangeable such that they both are configured to physically and electrically engage the bracket.

27. The collection of components in claim 26, wherein the first and second types of weapon accessories require electrical energy to operate, but do not include a built-in electrical energy sources.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of GB Patent Application serial number 1412527.2, filed Jul. 15, 2014, entitled “Weapon Accessory Bracket,” which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure relates to a weapon accessory bracket and, more particularly, to a weapon accessory bracket that is able to deliver electrical energy to a weapon accessory, such as a weapon sight, that is mounted to the bracket.

BACKGROUND

Numerous weapon accessories (e.g., sights, etc.) require electrical energy to operate. Typically, each weapon accessory has its own built-in source of electrical energy. In some instances, the source of electrical energy is a battery pack that may or may not be removable from the sight.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, a bracket is disclosed for coupling a weapon accessory to a weapon. The bracket includes a bracket housing that defines a space for receiving a self-contained energy storage device, such as a battery or the like, and a means to transfer electrical energy from a self-contained energy storage device in the space to a weapon accessory mounted onto the bracket housing. The weapon accessory requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in source of electrical energy. Instead, the weapon accessory receives the electrical energy it needs to operate from one or more self-contained energy storage devices in the bracket.

Other features and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a side view of an assembly that includes a gun and a sight connected to the gun via a mounting bracket and an accessory rail.

FIG. 1B is an exploded side view of the assembly in FIG. 1B.

FIG. 2 is a perspective, partial internal view of the mounting bracket in FIGS. 1A and 1B.

FIG. 3 is a top, partial internal view of the mounting bracket in FIG. 2.

FIGS. 4A-4C are front views showing a sight, a mounting bracket and an accessory rail in various stages of assembly.

FIG. 5 represents a mounting bracket that is physically and electrically compatible with several different types of weapon accessories.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1A shows an exemplary assembly 100 that includes a weapon accessory (i.e., a sight 102) mounted onto a weapon (i.e., a gun 104). More particularly, in the illustrated implementation, the sight 102 is mounted to a mounting bracket 106, which is mounted to an accessory rail 108, which is mounted to the gun 104. The sight 102 requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in energy source. When assembled, the sight 102 receives the electrical energy it needs to operate from one or more self-contained electrical energy sources, such as batteries, that are in, coupled to and/or form part of the mounting bracket 106.

Since the sight 102 does not have its own built-in energy source, the sight 102 can be made smaller and lighter than it otherwise would be if it did have its own built-in energy source. A smaller and lighter sight 102 can be very desirable, particularly if a person (e.g., a soldier), wants to carry around more than one sight for use with a particular gun. Some of these sights may be replacement sights in case a primary sight stops working properly; some of these sights may offer different functionality than a primary sight. In those instances, the smaller and lighter weight of each sight can make it easier to carry around however many sights, with however many different types of functionality one desires.

Moreover, in a typical implementation, sights having different types of functionality (e.g., telescopic, night vision, etc.) can all be designed to be compatible, electrically and physically, with one single mounting bracket design. This can enable a person (e.g., a soldier) to access different types of sight functionality by swapping out different types of sights on one gun.

In some implementations, sights and mounting brackets can be designed to make it relatively easy to swap out different types of sights on one mounting bracket. This can make it easy for a person (e.g., a soldier) to access the varying functionalities of the different sights easily and in the field.

In a typical implementation, therefore, the concepts disclosed herein may make it easier for a soldier, for example, to have easy access to a large number of different weapon accessory functionalities.

FIG. 1B is an exploded view of the assembly 100 in FIG. 1A.

The exploded view in FIG. 1B makes clear that, in this implementation, the weapon 104, the accessory rail 108, the mounting bracket 106 and the sight 102 are all physically distinct components, which, when assembled, are held together using various temporary fastening devices (e.g., screws, clamps, and the like). In general, the phrase “physically distinct,” and variations thereof, should be construed as distinguishable as physically separate or discrete. Thus, two components may be considered physically distinct even if they have been joined together temporarily (e.g., by using fasteners, such as screws, clamps, bolts, or the like) as long as they are distinguishable as physically separate or discrete components. Two or more components that have been joined together with fasteners may be considered physically separate or discrete if, for example, simply removing the fasteners would enable the two components to be physically separated from one another. Thus, although the weapon 104, the accessory rail 108, the mounting bracket 106 and the sight 102 in FIG. 1A are joined together temporarily (e.g., with screws, clamps or the like), they are physically distinct components because removing the fasteners that hold them together would enable them to be physically separated from one another. Two components should not be considered physically distinct if, for example, they have been permanently joined together (e.g., by welding, soldering, or the like) or have been integrally cast, molded or otherwise formed as a single physical unit.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of showing an exemplary design for the mounting bracket 106 in FIG. 1. Some of the internal components of the mounting bracket are shown with dashed lines in FIG. 2.

In general, the illustrated mounting bracket 106 has: A) a bracket housing 212 that defines a space (e.g., a battery compartment 214) for receiving one or more self-contained energy storage devices (e.g., batteries, not shown in FIG. 2); B) a means for transferring electrical energy from the self-contained energy storage devices in the space to a weapon accessory (e.g., sight 102 in FIG. 1) mounted onto the bracket housing 212.

It is important to note that the bracket 106 shown in FIG. 2 represents only one specific bracket design. Numerous variations are possible and fall within the scope of the present disclosure. For example, in various implementations, the space for receiving the one or more self-contained energy storage devices can have a variety of different configurations to accommodate a different number and/or type of self-contained energy storage devices. Additionally, the means for transferring electrical energy from the self-contained energy storage device(s) in the space to a weapon accessory can be different from what is shown in FIG. 2. For example, the means for transferring the electrical energy can include virtually any arrangement of electrically conductive and/or electromagnetic components configured to transfer electrical energy from the self-contained energy storage device(s) in the space to a weapon accessory. The bracket 106 can be made from virtually any suitable material or combination of materials. The bracket 106 can be virtually any size or shape to suit its intended functionality. Furthermore, the bracket 106 can include a variety of other features not shown in FIG. 2. Other variations in the bracket 106 are possible as well.

Referring now to the specific implementation shown in FIG. 2, the overall bracket housing 212 essentially forms a clamp that is configured to physically engage an accessory rail (e.g., a Picatinny rail or the like) on a gun. In this regard, the bracket housing 212 has a first clamping portion 220a and a second clamping portion 220b that is attached to the first clamping portion 220a with a screw 222. The first clamping portion 220a and the second clamping portion 220b are movable relative to each other by manipulating the screw 222. For example, in a typical implementation, tightening the screw 222 would cause the first clamping portion 220a and the second clamping portion 220b to become closer to each, whereas loosening the screw 222 would cause the first clamping portion 220a and the second clamping portion 220b to move apart from one another. Typically, the screw 222 is loosened to place the bracket 106 over a Picatinny rail and then tightened to ensure that the bracket 106 is held in place securely in the rail.

Various modifications of the overall bracket design, including the way that the bracket engages the weapon or accessory rail on the weapon, are possible. For example, in some implementations, the bracket may include a quick-release mechanism for mounting the bracket onto the weapon or accessory rail. Some examples of these quick-release mechanisms are described in U.S. Pat. No. 8,393,105, entitled Floating Side Rail Clamp Weapon Accessory Mount Adaptor, U.S. Pat. No. 8,020,335, entitled Mount for Mounting Accessories on a Weapon, U.S. Pat. No. 4,845,871, entitled Attachment Device, and US Patent Application Publication No. 2013/0160345, entitled Firearm Sight Mount. Portions of these references that describe mechanisms for mounting a bracket onto a weapon, accessory rail, or the like, are incorporated by reference herein.

In the illustrated implementation, the space for receiving one or more self-contained energy storage devices is a battery compartment 214. In the illustrated implementation, the battery compartment is designed to contain two “AA” batteries (not shown).

The means for transferring electrical energy from the self-contained energy storage devices in the space to a weapon accessory (e.g., sight 102 in FIG. 1) mounted onto the bracket housing 212. In the illustrated example, the means for transferring energy includes: A) means to electrically engage the self-contained energy storage devices in the space 214, B) means to transfer electrical energy from the space 214 to a connection interface 218 for the weapon accessory (e.g., the sight), and C) the connection interface 218 itself.

In a typical implementation, such as the one shown, the means to electrically engage the self-contained energy storage devices in the space would include electrical conductors (not shown), such as metal strips and springs, configured to securely hold and electrically engage the terminals of one or more batteries in the space 214.

Moreover, in a typical implementation, such as the one shown, the means to transfer electrical energy from the space 214 to a connection interface 218 for the weapon accessory (e.g., the sight) includes electrical conductors that extend from the space 214, through the bracket housing 212 and to the connection interface 218 for the weapon accessory.

Finally, in a typical implementation, such as the one shown, the connection interface 218 for the weapon accessory includes: 1) electrical contacts 224 exposed for connection to corresponding electrical contacts on a weapon accessory (e.g., a sight); and 2) holes 226 for mounting screws to pass through and physically engage screw holes in the weapon accessory. Other configurations for physically and electrically engaging the weapon accessory are possible as well. In general, however, in most instances, the connection interface 218 (and a corresponding connection interface on the weapon accessory) is designed to facilitate relatively easy installation and removal of the weapon accessory on the bracket.

The connection interface 218 may have a variety of different configurations. For example, in some implementations, the connection interface 218 (and the corresponding connection interface on the weapon accessory) form a “hot shoe” style connector that is designed to physically and electrically engage a corresponding connector on a weapon accessory (e.g., a sight). An example of this kind of “hot shoe” style connector is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 8,443,539, entitled Rail Contacts for Accessories Mounted on the Powered Rail of a Weapon and, in particular, in FIGS. 8D to 8I of that patent, relevant portions of which are incorporated by reference herein.

FIG. 2 shows one specific design of the means for transferring electrical energy from the batteries to the weapon accessory. However, various modifications are possible. For example, in some implementations, the means for transferring electrical energy may omit or include a significantly modified version of one or more of the components shown. For example, in some implementations, the electrical conductors 216 could be significantly shortened or eliminated entirely. If the electrical conductors 216 are eliminated entirely, then the space 214 that holds the batteries is designed so that the battery terminals contact the weapon accessory connection interface 218 directly. As another example, in some implementations, both the electrical conductors 216 and the weapon accessory connection interface 218 could be eliminated completely. In those instances, the space 214 that holds the batteries is configured so that the battery terminals contact corresponding electrical contacts on a weapon accessory that is mounted to the bracket 106.

There are a variety of ways that the weapon accessory (e.g., sight) may be physically coupled to the bracket 106. In the illustrated example, there are two holes 226 that extend through the bracket housing 212 that are sized to accommodate screws (not shown) that would pass in an upward direction through the holes to engage the weapon accessory. Another example of this general approach for attaching a weapon accessory to a mounting bracket is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 8,230,636, entitled Accessory Module with Integrated Electronic Devices. Relevant portions of the referenced patent are incorporated by reference herein.

FIG. 3 is a top, partial cut-away view of the bracket in FIG. 2.

The view in FIG. 3 shows a pair of batteries 326 (i.e., the self-contained energy storage devices) inside the battery compartment 214. The view in FIG. 3 also shows electrical conductors, including metal strips 328a and springs 328b, configured to securely hold and electrically engage the terminals of one or more batteries in the space 214.

FIG. 4A-4C shows a sight 102, a mounting bracket 106 and an accessory rail 108 in various stages of assembly.

The sight 102 requires electrical energy to operate, but does not have its own built-in source of electrical energy. Instead, it is designed to receive the electrical energy it needs to operate from one or more self-contained energy storage devices in the bracket 106. The bracket 106 has a housing that defines a space (not shown) for receiving the one or more self-contained energy storage devices, and a means to transfer electrical energy from the one or more self-contained energy storage devices in the space to the sight 102 when it is mounted to the bracket 106.

In FIG. 4A, the sight 102, the mounting bracket 106 and the accessory rail 108 are separate from one another (i.e., they have not yet been connected to each other).

FIG. 4B is similar to FIG. 4A in that it shows the sight 102, the mounting bracket 106 and the accessory rail 108, but in FIG. 4B, the sight 102 is physically and electrically connected to the bracket 106. In this regard, screws 434 (see, e.g., FIG. 4A) pass from the bottom of the bracket 106, through holes in the bracket 106 and get screwed into holes in the bottom of the sight 102.

FIG. 4C is similar to FIG. 4B in that it shows the sight 102, the mounting bracket 106 and the accessory rail 108, and the sight 102 is physically and electrically connected to the bracket 106, but in FIG. 4C, the bracket 106 is also physically connected to the accessory rail 108. In a typical implementation, this is accomplished by loosening screw 222 to open the clamp (formed by the first and second clamping portions of the bracket housing), placing the clamp over a gripping portion of the rail 108, and then tightening the screw 222 to securely fasten the clamp onto the gripping portion of the rail 108.

FIG. 5 is intended to represent a single mounting bracket 106 that is designed to be physically and electrically compatible with multiple different sights 502a-502n.

A number of embodiments of the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

For example, the techniques and structures disclosed herein can be adapted for use in connection with any kind of weapon and any kind of weapon accessory that requires electrical energy and is configured to be physically attached to a weapon. Exemplary accessories may include, for example, laser aiming modules, tactical lights, night vision sights, or the like.

The specific physical and electrical design of the bracket and its internal components can be modified extensively. The relative size and/or shape of the different components and their positions relative to the overall bracket and the other components can vary considerably.

The bracket can include virtually any type of self-contained energy storage device or combination of self-contained storage devices. These may include, for example, one or more of the following: a battery, a capacitor and any other self-contained device that is capable of supplying electrical energy usable by the weapon accessory.

The bracket can include virtually any type of means for transferring energy from the self-contained storage device(s) to a weapon accessory mounted on the bracket. The bracket can include virtually any type of connection interface for the weapon accessory. The bracket can be adapted to be connected to the weapon in any number of ways as well.

The bracket may be designed with additional structural or functional features not explicitly described above. In some implementations, for example, the bracket, and one or more corresponding weapon accessories, may be designed to withstand particular environment stresses. For example, in some implementations, they may weather resistant or resistant to shock or G-forces. As another example, the bracket may include inclusion of additional circuitry (e.g., control and/or monitoring circuitry), back-up batteries, etc. If the bracket includes control circuitry, then the connection interface would likely include data transfer capabilities as well. In some implementations, the bracket may include an energy harvesting device that harvests recoil energy from operation of the weapon, for example. The bracket can include biological batteries, super-capacitors, nano-batteries or an additive manufactured battery. The battery (or other storage device) may form some part of the bracket housing. The bracket could be designed to be attached to any type of weapon accessory mount, not just an accessory rail. A single bracket could be designed to include multiple accessory connection interfaces. The bracket could be designed with one or more storage compartment to store spare batteries. The bracket could be used as a centralized power and data hub to provide power and communicate data between different devices. In a typical implementation, the bracket is designed so that the electrical energy being supplied to the weapon accessory is not noticeably interrupted during weapon firing.

Other implementations are within the scope of the claims.