Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SUSPENDING A BALLISTIC TARGET
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and system for suspending a target above a surface that provides for supporting a support member above the surface. A hanger is used to suspend a target from the support member. When the target is hanging from the support member, it is induced into an angle so that its top portion is closer to a shooter. When the target is struck by an incoming projectile, it is allowed to pivot downward from its initial position and the target is also restrained from rotating about the axis of suspension.



Inventors:
Fernandez, Andrew (LA VERNE, CA, US)
Application Number:
15/374621
Publication Date:
06/29/2017
Filing Date:
12/09/2016
Assignee:
FERNANDEZ ANDREW
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41J1/10; F41J7/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PURITAN LAW (JACK IVAN J''''MAEV 500 N. State College Blvd. Suite 1100 Orange CA 92868)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for suspending a target comprising: maintain a horizontal support member above a surface; supporting a target from the horizontal support member at a declining angle where a top side of the target is closer to the source of an incoming projectile; allowing the target to deflect from an initial position when struck by a projectile; and substantially constraining the target from rotating about the axis of suspension.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein suspending a target from the horizontal support member at a declining angle comprises: applying a torque component to at least one end of at least one hanger suspended from the horizontal support member.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein suspending a target from the horizontal support member at a declining angle comprises: applying a torque component about pivot point of hanger suspended from the horizontal support member, said torque component is substantially derived from the weight of the target.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein suspending a target from the horizontal support member at a declining angle comprises: attaching a target to a hanger suspended from the horizontal support member, said attachment disposed at a point on the target that is below the center-of-gravity of the target.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein suspending a target from the horizontal support member at a declining angle comprises: attaching a target to a hanger suspended from the horizontal support member, said attachment being accomplished at a point substantially at the end of the hanger that is offset forward from the hanger's suspension point toward the direction of an incoming projectile.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein suspending a target from the horizontal support member at a declining angle comprises: attaching a target to a hanger suspended from the horizontal support member, said attachment disposed at a point on the target that is below the center-of-gravity of the target and offset forward a from the hanger's suspension point toward the direction of an incoming projectile.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein constraining the target from rotating about an axis of suspension comprises: rigidly attaching the target to a first hanger suspended from the horizontal support member at a first peripheral position on the target; and rigidly attaching the target to a second hanger suspended from the horizontal support member at a second peripheral position on the target.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein constraining the target from rotating about an axis of suspension comprises: providing a front-facing attachment surface at a bottom end a first hanger suspended from the horizontal support member; positioning the front-facing attachment surface against a rear surface of the target; applying a force to a front surface of a target and a substantially opposite force to a rear surface of the front-facing attachment surface.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein constraining the target from rotating about an axis of suspension comprises: providing an orifice in the target, said orifice disposed below the center of gravity of said target; applying a force to a front surface of a target and a substantially opposite force to a rear surface of the target, said forces applied proximate to the orifice; and substantially restraining the forces from rotating about a substantially vertical axis.

10. A system for suspending a ballistic target comprising: horizontal support member comprising: plurality of leg bracket receptacles; horizontal bar for supporting a hanger; plurality of leg brackets, each comprising: vertical tab structured to couple with the leg bracket receptacle included in the horizontal support member; and two leg tabs disposed downward and set off at an angle to form an “A”; and target hanger comprising: target attachment flange disposed at a bottom end of the hanger, said target attachment flange including a plane facing toward a shooter; target attachment orifice disposed in the target attachment surface; and top support orifice disposed at a top end of the hanger and structured to pivot toward and away from a shooter when installed over the horizontal bar included in the horizontal support member.

11. The system of claim 8 wherein the target attachment flange at the bottom of the hanger includes an offset member that offsets the attachment flange toward the direction of an incoming projectile.

12. The system of claim 8 further comprising a target, said target having attachment orifices that are situated below its center of gravity.

13. The system of claim 8 further comprising a target, said target being attached to the bottom of the hanger at a point that is below the center of gravity of the target.

14. The system of claim 8 wherein the target attachment surface at the bottom end of the hanger is offset toward the direction of an incoming projectile.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation in part to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/280,964, filed on Sep. 29, 2016, entitled “METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SUSPENDING A BALLISTIC TARGET, by Fernandez, the text and figures of which are incorporated herein in its entirety; the priority date of application Ser. No. 15/280,964 is claimed to the maximum extent allowed by law.

BACKGROUND

There are many apparatus for suspending a ballistic target. Most of these mechanisms are made of a hardened steel, which typically, but not always an abrasion resistant material. The targets themselves are also typically made of hardened, abrasion resistant steel. These targets typically resemble a gong, especially when they are attached to a corresponding suspending mechanism.

Such gong type targets are quite commonplace. In fact, target systems made by competing manufactures are very similar to each other and there are little to no distinguishing characteristics. This is typical in an industry where innovation fell off early because the products are very simple and “low tech”.

Among the simplest gong target systems includes a pair a leg assemblies where each leg assembly itself includes two legs and each assembly is designed to fit over a horizontal bar. A simplistic horizontal bar is inserted into receptacles included in the leg assembly. One leg assembly is so provided on each side of the bar to form a dual “A-Frame” much akin to a small children's swing set. In the most simple of systems, the leg assembles are structured to fit over a piece of lumber, e.g. a 2-by-4.

In these simplistic gong target systems suspend a target from the horizontal bar using metal chain. There are several problems with such simplicity, one of which has serious safety implications. When a target suspended by chain is struck by a bullet, the kinetic energy is dissipated in a completely uncontrolled manner. At the moment of impact, the target is displaced but its direction of travel in unpredictable. This means that a bullet's path, post impact, cannot be predicted. Ricochet derived injuries are a real threat.

Recognizing the lethality of ricochet events, the industry has made some strides in restraining the movement of the target when it is struck by a bullet. Some target suspension systems are structured so as to partially restrain the target, but still cannot maintain an orthogonal orientation of the target relative to the shooter. So, there is always some axial rotation around a vertical axis. A ricochet can still be directed toward others on the shooting range.

In those systems that attempt to partially restrain a gong target, the target is suspended using solid hanger members. These prior art hanging members move independently and, worse yet, the target itself can still rotate about the vertical axis because the solid hangers are allowed to move independently. Also, these prior art systems typically attach the solid hangers to the horizontal bar using a free-moving attachment mechanism, for example a short span of chain. The same type of attachment is also used at the target.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Several alternative embodiments will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the appended drawings and figures, wherein like numerals denote like elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial a representation of one example embodiment of a system for suspending a ballistic target;

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram that depicts one example method for suspending a target;

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram that depicts one alternative method for suspending a target at a declining angle;

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram is a flow diagram that depicts one alternative method for achieving a declining angle through application of a torque component that is substantially derived from the weight of the target itself;

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram that depicts alternative methods for supporting a target at a declining angle;

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram that depicts one alternative method for constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspense;

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram that depicts yet another alternative method for constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspension;

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram dedicates yet another alternative method for constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspension;

FIG. 9 is a pictorial diagram that depicts one alternative example embodiment of a horizontal support member;

FIG. 10 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates how a target, according to one illustrative embodiment, is attached to a hanger;

FIG. 11 is a pictorial diagram that depicts the forces at work that cause a target to be suspended at a declining angle;

FIG. 12 is an illustrative embodiment that depicts the forces applied to hold a target against a mounting flange included at the lower end of a hanger;

FIG. 13 is a pictorial depiction of how, in one example embodiment, a hanger is installed over a horizontal bar; and

FIG. 14 is a pictorial representation that illustrates how legs are attached to a leg attachment bracket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a pictorial a representation of one example embodiment of a system for suspending a ballistic target. According to one example embodiment, a system for suspending a ballistic target comprises a horizontal support member 100. The horizontal support 100 itself comprises a plurality of leg bracket receptacles which receives leg receive legs 140. When all of the legs 140 are installed onto the leg brackets 130, the assembly resembles an “A” frame support structure. According to this example embodiment, the horizontal support member 100 includes a horizontal bar 100. The horizontal bar 100 spans a first “A” support structure to a second “A” support structure. It should be appreciated that these two support structures are created by the two legs 140 to a single leg bracket 130. Then, the leg bracket 130 is installed into the leg bracket receptacles included in the horizontal support member 100.

In further illustration of one example embodiment of a president system, FIG. 1 further illustrates that a target 150 is suspended from a the horizontal bar 110 using one or more hangers 120. It should be appreciated that, according to this illustrative embodiment, the hangers 120 includes amounting flange 125. The amounting flange, according to some embodiment, also includes a front-facing attachments surface 123. The front-facing attachments surface 123 is disposed against a rear surface of the target 150. It should likewise be appreciated that the target 150, in this illustrative embodiment, is attached using fasteners. Fasteners are received through attachment orifices 155. It should also be appreciated that the attachment orifices 155 included in the target 150 are set below a center of gravity 160 of said target 150.

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram that depicts one example method for suspending a target. According to this example method, a target is suspended by maintaining a horizontal support member above a surface (step 5). Then, a target is supported from the horizontal support member. It should be appreciated that, according to one alternative illustrative use case, the present method is applied in situations where the horizontal support member includes a horizontal bar from which a target is supported. In either of these alternative methods, the target is supported from the horizontal support member at a declining angle (step 10). In this illustrative method, the declining angle is such that the top side of a target is positioned closer to the source of an incoming projectile.

When the target is struck by a projectile (step 15), is allowed to deflect from its initial position (step 20). In this example method, the target is also substantially constrained from rotating about the axis of suspension (step 25). It should be appreciated that by ensuring that the target is supported at a declining angle, an incoming projectile will not only deflect the target further downward, any ricocheting projectile will also be directed substantially downward rather than outward toward the direction of a shooter. This is a significant safety enhancement over prior art technology in this realm.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram that depicts one alternative method for suspending a target at a declining angle. According to this alternative method, suspended target is caused to be oriented at a declining angle by applying a toward component to at least one end of one hangar suspended from the horizontal support member (step 30). It should be appreciated that such a toward component must be applied so as to cause the bottom of the target to be further away from the source of a projectile and the top of the target to be closer to the source of a projectile.

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram is a flow diagram that depicts one alternative method for achieving a declining angle through application of a torque component that is substantially derived from the weight of the target itself. As will become apparent by additional teachings in this disclosure, a hangar 120 supported from a horizontal bar 110 included in a horizontal support member 100 will typically angle from a horizontal bar 110 at a substantially vertical angle. Referring again to FIG. 1, this vertical angle is natural since the weight of the hangar 120 is substantially uniformly distributed immediately below the horizontal bar 110.

Even a mounting flange 125 included in a hangar 120 will not significantly offset the center of gravity of the anger 120. As such the anger 120 continues to dangle vertically from the horizontal bar 110. Once on additional weight, for example the weight of the target 150, is introduced, the center of gravity of the hangar 120 and the target 150 is shifted and causes the hanger 120 to swing backward away from the source of a projectile. Hence, the torque component is substantially derived from the weight of the target (step 35). This toward component is then applied to the hangar, which causes the hanger to pivot about a pivot point where the target is suspended (step 37) from being horizontal support member 100 (e.g. a horizontal bar 110 included therein).

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram that depicts alternative methods for supporting a target at a declining angle. According to one example alternative method, An attachment point on a hanger is offset forward toward the direction of an incoming projectile (step 45). It is to be appreciated that the offset is relative to the center of gravity of the hanger. Then, a target is attached to the hanger at this offset attachment point (step 50).

In yet another alternative method, at an attachment point on a a target is selected such that international point on the target is below the center of gravity of the target (step 40). The target is then attached to the anger at the selected attachment point (step 50).

And in yet another alternative method, the attachment point on a target is selected such that the attached to put all the target is below the center of gravity of the target (step 40), the catcher point on the hanger is also offset forward from the center of gravity of the hanger (step 45) and the target is then attached to the hanger at the selected catcher point (step 50), in this alternative method this is accomplished at the offset attachment point on the hanger (step 50). Further illustration of these methods is presented infra along with description of various hardware structures utilizing these methods are described.

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram that depicts one alternative method for constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspension. According to this alternative method, constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspension is accomplished by rigidly attaching the target to a first hanger suspended from a horizontal support member (step 55). The target is also attached in a rigid matter to a second hanger suspended from the same horizontal support member (step 60). It should be appreciated that there must be some lateral spacing between the first and second hangers, relative to the direction from which a projectile might be fired toward the target, in order to resist torsional forces upon the target when the target is struck by such a projectile.

FIG. 7 is a flow diagram that depicts yet another alternative method for constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspension. In this alternative method, a front-facing attachment surface is provided at a bottom end of a first hanger (step 65). Typically, this front-facing attachment surface comprises a planar surface that is oriented substantially facing the direction from which a projectile may be received. The front-facing attachment service included in the first hanger is then positioned against the rear surface of the target (step 70).

To secure the front-facing attachment surface to the back of the target, a force is applied to the front of the target and a substantially opposite force is applied to a rear surface of the front-facing attachment surface (step 75). It should be appreciated that the surface included in the hanger is sufficient to restrain a wobble movement of the target positioned thereon. Hence, according to this alternative method, a projectile striking the target will impart torsional forces that are resisted by the planar interface between the rear surface of the target and the front surface of the front-facing attachment surface provided at the bottom end of a first hanger.

FIG. 8 is a flow diagram dedicates yet another alternative method for constraining a target from rotating about an axis of suspension. In this alternative method, and orifices provided in the target. It should be appreciated that, according to this alternative method, the orifices provided in the target at a point below the center of gravity of the target (step 80). A force is applied to the front of the target proximate to the orifice (step 85). A substantially opposite force is applied to the rear of the target, again proximate to the orifice (step 90). Additionally the forces are substantially restrained from rotating about a substantially vertical axis (step 95).

FIG. 9 is a pictorial diagram that depicts one alternative example embodiment of a horizontal support member. According to this example embodiment, a horizontal support member 100 comprises a horizontal bar 110. On either side of the horizontal bar 110, there are included in the horizontal support member 100 a leg bracket receptacle 300. Each leg bracket receptacle 300 further comprises a tab 305 that is used to retain a leg bracket once the leg bracket is received into the receptacle 300. A further description of how the leg bracket interacts with the leg receptacle is provided in the Incorporated reference at FIG. 10 and corresponding text at Para. [0022].

FIG. 10 is a pictorial diagram that illustrates how a target, according to one illustrative embodiment, is attached to a hanger. In this alternative example embodiment, the hanger 120 includes a pivot orifice 122. The pivot orifice 122 dispose around the horizontal bar 110 included in the horizontal support member. At the bottom end of the hanger 120, there is included in mounting flange 125. It should be appreciated that the mounting flange 125 includes a front surface 123 and the rear surface 131.

In some alternative embodiment, the mounting flange 125 has included therein that orifice 129, which is used to receive a fastener that penetrates the mounting flange 125 and a target 150. Accordingly, in such alternative embodiment, the target 150 has disposed therein a corresponding orifice 155. It should be appreciated that, according to this alternative example embodiment, the target 150 is oriented such that the center of gravity 160 is higher than the mounting orifice 155. This places a greater level of the target's mass above the mounting flange 125.

FIG. 11 is a pictorial diagram that depicts the forces at work that cause a target to be suspended at a declining angle. It should be appreciated that, when a hanger 120 is suspended from a horizontal bar 110, it will ordinarily hanger downward such that is center of gravity 273 will be below its pivot point 260. If a target 150 were to be attached to the bottom of the hanger, which is the hanging arrangement in prior art systems, the center of gravity 160 of the target 150 with essentially be in vertical alignment with the center of gravity 273 of the hanger 120. In this, and other new embodiments described herein be target 150 is offset 255 from the ordinary centerline 121 of the hanger 120. It should be appreciated that this centerline 121 of the hanger 120 is defined as a a line running through the center of the hanger 120 through its center of gravity 273 and through the pivot point 260.

It is important to realize that, according to various embodiment is presented herein, attachment of the target 150 is accomplished in such an offset manner. The amount of offset can be adjusted to accommodate different targets of different amounts of mass and also adjusted in order to achieve different angles of declination as depicted in FIG. 11. Such analysis is not necessarily presented here because such vector moments (e.g. 270 and 275) may be determined by simple static analysis, which is based on the mass of the hanger 120 and the mass of the target 150.

Those skilled in the art would appreciate that such simple static analysis would also consider the amount of offset in the other geometries associated with any particular embodiment. Accordingly, all such variations are intended to be within the scope of the claims appended hereto. By positioning the center of gravity 160 of the target 150 above the attachment point a greater portion of the mass of the target may be displaced from the centerline of the hanger. Hence, in one embodiment, the target 150 is situated so that its center of mass is higher than the attachment point provided at the lower end of the hanger 120.

FIG. 12 is an illustrative embodiment that depicts the forces applied to hold a target against a mounting flange included at the lower end of a hanger. In this example embodiment, forces 280 are applied to the front of the target proximate to an orifice 155 disposed therein. Substantially equal and opposite forces 281 are applied to the rear surface of the mounting flange 125. In various alternative embodiments, application of such forces is accomplished by means of a fastener. For example, one alternative embodiment utilizes a machine screw 290 and a corresponding machine nut 285.

FIG. 13 is a pictorial depiction of how, in one example embodiment, a hanger is installed over a horizontal bar. It should be appreciated that, according to various alternative embodiment, the horizontal support member 100 includes features for receiving a leg bracket 130. In such embodiment, the leg bracket 130 is received into a leg bracket receptacle 300, which is included at least one end of the horizontal support member 100. Installation of a hanger 120 over the horizontal bar 110 is accomplished by sliding the pivot orifice 122 over the end of the horizontal support member 100.

Typically, the hanger 120 will be orthogonal to its normal position but it is suspended by the horizontal bar 110. Accordingly, a right angle path 113 is followed from the end of the horizontal support member 100 around to the horizontal bar 110. It should be appreciated that, in a plan view (e.g. the view presented in FIG. 9), one example embodiment of a horizontal support member 100 resembles a very wide “U” shape. Accordingly, the hanger 120 is positioned over one end of the “U” and is worked around to the bottom of the “U” according to the right angle path 113 depicted in FIG. 13. Once one or more hangers are installed onto the horizontal bar 110 in this manner, the leg bracket 130 is inserted into the leg bracket receptacle 300.

FIG. 14 is a pictorial representation that illustrates how legs are attached to a leg attachment bracket. Just as taught to the incorporated reference, the leg bracket 130, when it is inserted into the leg receptacle 300, interacts with the restraint tab 305 to reduce the possibility of inadvertent extraction from the leg bracket receptacle 300. The leg bracket 130 includes a large orifice 235 sized to fit over the restraint tab 305. According to this example embodiment, a leg bracket 130 includes leg tabs 245 there oriented downward and together substantially form a A-frame shape. The leg tabs 245 are sized to fit into the inner diameter of a leg 230. It should be appreciated that such legs are typically made from some form of piping. The legs, according to various alternative embodiments, may or may not be included in the system for suspending a ballistic target.

While the present method and apparatus has been described in terms of several alternative and exemplary embodiments, it is contemplated that alternatives, modifications, permutations, and equivalents thereof will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the specification and study of the drawings. It is therefore intended that the true spirit and scope of the claims appended hereto include all such alternatives, modifications, permutations, and equivalents.