Title:
Fifle/gun steady shot sling and method of use of same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rifle or gun steady shot sling device that is coupled to a rifle or gun or other hand-held firearms used mainly for offhand shooting. The sling strap is fastened to a mount that is affixed to the barrel part of the stock of a rifle or gun. The steady shot sling device has a sling strap that includes an elongated sling and/or a butt sling. The elongated sling has its length adjustable middle portion extended to form a looped portion proximal the barrel and the support hand of the user. In one form of the device the elongated sling is coupled with a retractable strap releasably secured within a retractor. In operation, the elongated sling has its length increased and is unclipped from the butt of the rifle, and the user stands on the free end. The support hand is raised to aim the rifle or gun and causes an increase in tension along the length of the extended elongated sling. This tension helps to steady the support hand and reduces or eliminates the upward recoil action of the firearm when fired.



Inventors:
Sands, Joseph E. (Sparr, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/288169
Publication Date:
05/06/2004
Filing Date:
11/05/2002
Assignee:
SANDS JOSEPH E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41C33/00; (IPC1-7): F41C23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CLEMENT, MICHELLE RENEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LIVINGSTON LOEFFLER, P.A. (NAPLES, FL, US)
Claims:

What I claim as my invention is:



1. A rifle or gun steady shot sling device in combination with a rifle or gun for steadying the hand during aiming and firing, the device comprising in combination: an elongated sling having an adjustment end, a free end and a length adjustable middle portion therebetween, with a buckle that has the adjustment end secured thereabout and is inter-connected to the elongated sling for increasing and decreasing the length of the length adjustable middle portion; the length adjustable middle portion is adapted to have its interior diameter increased or decreased for secure placement around a support hand holding the rifle or gun in a position for aiming and firing; a first fastening means having a first ring for coupling with the length adjustable middle portion of the elongated sling, the first fastening means engagable with a mounting means on a barrel of a rifle or gun; the free end having a clip; and whereby, when the support hand holds the rifle or gun in the position for aiming and firing, the free end and clip are pressed against the ground by the user, and the interior diameter of the length adjustable middle portion is decreased by the movement of the buckle and forms a looped portion that is tightly positioned around the support hand when the support hand is raised and is proximal the mounting means of the barrel and coupled to the first fastening means.

2. The rifle or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 1, wherein, included is a butt sling that has a butt end and a sling end, with the butt end being coupled with a second fastening means engagable with a mounting means on the butt of a stock portion of a rifle, and the sling end is capable of coupling with the clip of the free end of the elongated sling part.

3. The rifle or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 1, wherein, the buckle is an adjustable glide buckle that slides along the length of the elongated sling and is capable of locking into position through the force acting on the buckle when the adjustment end is pulled away from the free end.

4. The rifle or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 1, wherein, the buckle is a release or press buckle activated by releasing a locking lever so to allow the buckle to slide along the length of the elongated sling and closing the locking lever to secure the looped portion about the support hand.

5. The rifle or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 2, wherein, the clip is a snap hook that is engagable with a “D” ring coupled to the sling end of the butt sling to allow the device to be used as a rifle sling for carrying a rifle across the shoulder.

6. The rifle or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 2, wherein, the clip is one portion of a side release buckle coupled to the free end of the elongated sling with the other portion of the side release buckle coupled to the sling end of the butt sling.

7. The rifle or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 6, wherein a safety strap that has hook and pile type fastener material on one side is fixedly attached to the free end of the elongated sling, with the fastening material of the safety strap capable of engaging hook and pile type fastener material on a corresponding side of the other portion of the side release buckle.

8. The rife or gun steady shot device as set forth in claim 1 wherein, the clip is made of a semi-rigid material such that it can withstand a force pressing it against the ground.

9. A method of using a rifle or gun steady shot sling device for counteracting the upward force or side swaying of a rifle or gun being held and fired by a user comprising the steps of: coupling a sling strap formed by an elongated sling and a butt sling, with a minimum length extending from a forward position when a first fastening means is proximal a barrel of a rifle or gun to a rearward position where a second fastening means is coupled with a mounting means on a butt of the stock of the rifle or gun, and having a maximum length extending from a forward position proximal the barrel end of the rifle or gun to a distal position wherein a free end of the elongated sling is held under a user's lead foot and an inner diameter of a length adjustable middle portion of the elongated sling part is decreased, thereby providing a looped portion which has its greatest diameter near the free end of the elongated sling, the maximum length of the sling strap is limited to a distance extending from the lead foot of the user to the aiming position of a support hand holding the rifle or gun for firing; sliding a buckle, secured to an adjustment end of the elongated sling part and inter-connected to the elongated sling, along the length of the adjustable middle portion until a looped portion is formed; placing the support hand in the looped portion; releasing the free end from a sling end of the butt sling prior to extending the support hand for aiming and firing the rifle or gun and allowing the elongated sling to swing away from the user'ss body; standing on the free end of the elongated sling with the lead foot of the user so that the elongated sling runs downward toward the lead foot of the user; continuing to slide the buckle by moving the support hand with a rocking motion until the looped portion is tightly and securely positioned around the support hand; extending the elongated sling downward from the support hand at an oblique angle towards the lead foot of the user and adjusting the loop so that tension increases along the length of the elongated sling between the support hand and the position under the lead foot reducing side swaying and providing resistance against upward recoiling of the rifle or gun; steadying rifle or gun and using the tension of the elongated sling as extended; and firing the rifle or gun and allowing the tension of the extended elongated sling to counteract the upward recoiling of the rifle or gun.

10. The method as in claim 9, wherein, the butt sling has a butt end that is coupled with the second fastening means and the free end has a clip, and the clip is engagable with the sling end of the butt sling when the sling strap is coupled to the rifle or gun.

11. The method as in claim 10, wherein, the buckle is an adjustable glide buckle that slides along the length of the elongated sling part and is capable of locking into position through the force acting on the buckle when the adjustment end is pulled away from the free end.

12. The method as in claim 10, wherein, the buckle is a release or press buckle activated by releasing a locking lever so to allow the buckle to slide along the length of the elongated sling part and closing the locking lever to secure the looped portion about the support hand.

13. The method as in claim 10, wherein, the clip is a snap hook that is engageable with a “D” ring coupled to the sling end of the butt sling to allow the device to be used as a rifle sling for carrying a rifle across the shoulder.

14. The method as in claim 10, wherein, the clip is one portion of a side release buckle with the other portion of the side release buckle coupled to the sling end of the butt sling.

15. The method as in claim 14, wherein a safety strap that has hook and pile type fastener material on one side is fixedly attached to the free end of the elongated sling, with the fastening material of the safety strap capable of engaging hook and pile type fastener material on a corresponding side of the other portion of the side release buckle.

16. The method as in claim 10 wherein, the clip is made of a semi-rigid material such that it can withstand a force pressing it against the ground.

17. A rifle or gun steady shot sling device in combination with a rifle or gun for steadying the hand during aiming and firing, the device comprising in combination: a retractable strap having an attachment end and a free end; a retractor for housing a portion of the retractable strap, the retractor having an eye-loop coupled with a means for mounting to the barrel portion of the stock of a rifle, the retractor having a spool for receipt of the attachment end of the retractable strap such that a portion of the retractable strap is releasable secure within the retractor; an elongated sling having an adjustment end, a free end and a length adjustable middle portion therebetween, with a buckle that has the adjustment end secured thereabout and is inter-connected to the elongated sling for increasing and decreasing the length of the length adjustable middle portion; a first fastening means having a first ring for coupling with the length adjustable middle portion of the elongated sling, the first fastening means engagable with the free end of the retractable strap; the free end of the elongated sling having a clip for coupling with a mounting means on a butt of a rifle; and whereby, when a support hand holds the rifle or gun in the position for aiming and firing, the free end and clip of the elongated sling are pressed against the ground by a rifle user, and the retractable strap releasable secured within the retractor may be proportionally adjusted relative to the height of the support hand having been raised during aiming and firing of a rifle.

18. The rifle or gun stead shot as set forth in claim 17, wherein, the free end of the retractable strap has a “D” ring or finished end.

19. The rifle or gun stead shot as set forth in claim 17, wherein, the first fastening means is a clip, a swivel fastener or a buckle.

20. The rifle or gun stead shot as set forth in claim 17, wherein, the means for mounting to the barrel portion of the rifle is a clip or swivel fastener.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a rifle/gun steady shot sling and method of using same, and more particularly, pertains to a multiple purpose sling that is coupled to a rifle or gun to steady the hand of the non-firing arm of the shooter and counteract recoil.

[0002] The use of rifle and gun slings, and also, the use of flexible and rigid rifle supports, are known in the prior art. Further, the devices are dependent, in the case of the rifle, upon the barrel resting thereon. Most rifle supports are rigid and take time to assemble and are not practical for use by hunters. Shooting from a rest position is always favored by the hunter because it allows the rifle or gun to be steadied. However, the existing devices take time to use; something a hunter does not always have. So, instead of using the prior art devices, the hunter finds it is much easier to lean against a tree, use their backpack, or lie on the ground and rest the shooting arm on the ground to steady the barrel.

[0003] An unsteady rifle or gun affects the shot placement. Shot placement is most important to the shooter. For hunters, a properly placed shot will reduce the number of wounded game and allow the hunter to use fairly light cartridges. The experienced hunter knows that the ultimate goal when shooting game is to take an animal down cleanly and quickly. Firing from a rest position gives the hunter the best opportunity for proper shot placement. All marksman and hunters know that standing flatfooted and supporting your rifle with only hands and arms is the least steady of all shooting positions. For hunters though, because they are generally in motion when game appears, the standing position is the most common position. However, it is extremely difficult to hold a rifle rock steady in the offhand position. To shoot from the standing position, the shooter must have a solid balance with their center of gravity over the feet. The torso of the shooter must be straight and not bent at the waist. The rifle is supported on either the left side or right side of the shooter; for this discussion, we will presume that the shooter is right handed. Generally, a rifle is raised by the right hand, and the shooter's elbow is raised to the height of the rifle. The barrel is controlled with the left arm positioned under the rifle. It is in this position where the shooter experiences the most difficulty with shot placement. The shooter looks for ways, when shooting, to reduce the effects of recoil, as such a firearm rest/support is used.

[0004] One such support device is the shooting stick. The shooting stick comes in two forms, single and crossed. Crossed sticks use two leg portions tied together with rope, yarn, rubber rings, or metal pins. The important thing is that the legs can be spread apart to form a rest area for the barrel of a rifle or the arms of the pistol user. The single stick usually has an upper portion that has an interchangeable top. One of the more popular tops is the V-yoke. Many of the single sticks are telescopic to allow for height adjustment for aiming purposes. U.S. Pat. No. 5,740,625 to Jenkins is an example of a single shooting stick. The Jenkins patent is termed a monopod firearm aiming support that has a two-piece, upright standard formed by assembling a rod and tubular sleeve. A cradle having either a V or U shape is attached to the tubular sleeve. The cradle receives a portion of the firearm while the shooter aims, and the rod, with a spiked end, is placed into the ground.

[0005] Some rifle and gun supports are rigid. The rigid supports use some form of a cradle to support either the barrel of the rifle or the hand or arm of the shooter. The following prior art devices serves directly to support the firearm while aiming and use some form of a cradle as the support feature of the device. With the exception of the devices intended for purposes other than a firearm aiming support, all of the patents cited supra have that feature. Others include: U.S. Pat. No. 5,287,643 issued to Arizpe-Gilmore; U.S. Pat. No. 1,147,890 issued to Purcell; and U.S. Pat. No. 1,112,732 issued to Uhl. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,287,643 issued to Arizpe-Gilmore, the cradle is a sling suspended upon a frame, which is so configured, that it might itself have served as the cradle. The cradle of U.S. Pat. No. 879,052 issued to Jeranek is comprised of spring metal convoluted in a way to serve the intended purpose. U.S. Pat. No. 4,882,869 issued to Webster; U.S. Pat. No. 4,481,964 issued to Minneman; U.S. Pat. No. 4,007,554 issued to Helmstadter; U.S. Pat. No. 3,576,084 issued to Anderson, Jr.; U.S. Pat. No. 3,584,821 issued to Gleeb; U.S. Pat. No. 1,112,732 issued to Uhl; and U.S. Pat. No. 758,015 issued to Miller are all of cantilevered configuration. Thus, the cradle is suspended laterally to the main structure of the device. Those of U.S. Pat. No. 4,882,869 issued to Webster and U.S. Pat. No. 3,156,062 issued to Stevenson, et al supra, are the lower one of two thereon, the upper cradle of the former including means for emplacement of a camera. U.S. Pat. No. 4,854,066 issued to Canterbury, Sr. and U.S. Pat. No. 4,007,554 issued to Helmstadter feature fore and aft cradles, both of those of the former permitting radial turning while aiming, and both of those of the latter being supported upon a cantilevered supporting arm. The cradle of U.S. Pat. No. 989,386 issued to Miller is a bivalvular clamp, having opposing clamshell-like concave plates for holding purposes, which, if permitted to remain unfastened, could serve as a firearm aiming support. The embodiment referred to in U.S. Pat. No. 4,937,965, issued to Narvaez features two cradles mounted upon a single yoke to align the firearm upon when aiming. The cradle of U.S. Pat. No. 4,676,021 issued to Groba is split, each half thereof being fastened in place.

[0006] Some hunters prefer a more flexible and lightweight firing support device. Slings and support straps can offer the hunter the type of flexibility sought. U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,448 to Gray et al. is such a device. The Gray patent is a gun barrel control target sling that is used with firearms, such as rifles, pistols, shotguns, bb guns, crossbows, and other hand-held firing devices, such as rocket launchers, bazookas, etc. The target sling of the Gray patent includes a flexible adjustable strap which extends obliquely downward from a forward part of a gun barrel in the vicinity of where the barrel is held by the non-trigger activating hand down to the forearm of the same arm of the shooter, to provide a counteracting force upon the repulsive explosive upward force of the gun when shot. This sling strap has adjustable members, such as a series of corresponding slots into which fasteners can be placed to maximize a tight fit between the gun and the forearm of the user. The downward tension of the sling strap provides a counteracting force to upward movement of the gun. The sling includes a swivel end portion engageable with another portion adjacent to the barrel of the gun. The target sling reduces or eliminates the undesirable upward movement of the barrel of the gun, such that when the gun is gripped and fired, the sling provides a force directed downwards away from the muzzle of the gun, wherein the barrel does not significantly move from the aimed position prior to firing. The forearm is placed in the loop of the slings at the distal end of the sling. A similar patent is U.S. Pat. No. 5,715,979 to Crandl.

[0007] Generally, slings are used to carry the rifle and are not thought of as a device that helps the shooter with his aim. Examples are; U.S. Pat. No. 6,363,532 to Miller et al. discloses a sling support for securing the rifle to the back of the user. U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,167 to Hopson is a sling adapted for connection to a weapon having a muzzle end and a stock at the opposite end from the muzzle end and formed from a single elongated web folded upon itself and including a first terminal end to be connected at or adjacent the weapon muzzle end. The following patents are directed to slings for weapons, such as rifles or shotguns, which have in common with the present invention the fact that they are each also constructed from a single, flexible, elongated strap formed from a woven webbing and folded upon itself in a particular manner, and attached at one end of the sling to or adjacent the stock of the weapon, and attached at the other end of the sling to or adjacent the muzzle end of the weapon. These patents include Hooper, U.S. Pat. No. 1,210,475 (1917); Randall, U.S. Pat. No. 1,292,875 (1919); Branby, U.S. Pat. No. 3,595,451; and Hightower, U.S. Pat. No. 4,511,070 (1985). Each of them may be manually slidingly adjusted, while attached in the manner described to the rifle shotgun, to increase the overall length of the sling, and thereby produce a loop to accommodate several modes of carrying of the weapon by the user in the field, and conversely, may be manually slidingly adjusted to shorten the overall length of the sling, and without the use of buckles or tongues or prongs to penetrate the web of the sling.

[0008] Additionally, the following is a list of gun support devices. By way of example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,543,703 to Pelto discloses a gun support employing a strap and socket member. U.S. Pat. No. 3,963,156 to Perrin discloses a gun rest cradle, which is adapted to be worn about the waist of a user. U.S. Design Pat. No. 162,904 illustrates a belt attaching gun cradle. U.S. Pat. No. 4,662,552 to Uyehara discloses a baton holder for law enforcement officers. Lastly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,721 to Homeyer discloses a backpack-style firearm/bow/fishing rod carrier. None of these prior art references discloses a belt-mounted support, which secures the rifle adjacent to the spine of a user. Additionally, none of the carriers of the prior art give a user ready access to his or her rifle. Furthermore, prior carriers are not specifically adapted to secure rifles of varying makes and models.

[0009] Lastly, some rifle users desire tactical slings. These enable the rifle to be carried in an upright, ready for firing orientation, and provides a quick, transition between a close to the body fire-from-a-lowered-position to an extended aiming fire position. U.S. Pat. No. 6,325,258 to Verdugo et al discloses a tactical sling system.

[0010] Most slings, even the tactical sling, are designed to mainly allow the user to carry the rifle/weapon in an upright position and remain in the same orientation through all uses of the rifle. Basically, the average sling is designed only to carry the weapon and relieve the user from the strain of carrying the weapon directly. The sling allows the user to carry other items, or to cross over obstacles, or to climb or descend.

[0011] What is needed is a sling that allows the user of the rifle/weapon to carry the weapon in any orientation over the shoulder and provide easy, virtually silent transition between the carrying position to the shooting position with the arm controlling the barrel being held steady. Further, the sling should be adjustable to accommodate the size difference between users.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The present invention is a rifle and gun steady shot sling device that is used to improve the aim of the user and counteract the repulsive upward force of the rifle or gun upon firing.

[0013] The present invention essentially is a steady shot sling device in combination with a rifle or gun. The device is used to steady the shooting hand of the user during aiming and firing. The main part of the device, the elongated sling part, can be used with handguns and rifles. The elongated sling has an adjustment end and a free end. The free end has a clip. Positioned between the adjustment end and the free end is a length adjustable middle portion with a buckle that is secured to the adjustment end and is inter-connected to the elongated sling part. The buckle is used to increase and decrease the length of the length adjustable middle portion. The length adjustable middle portion is adapted to have its interior diameter increased or decreased for secure placement around a support hand holding the rifle or gun in a position for aiming and firing. Further, included is a first fastening means. The first fastening means has a first ring for coupling with the length adjustable middle portion of the elongated sling. The first fastening means is engageable with a mounting means that is fixedly attached on a barrel of a rifle or gun. Therefore, when the support hand holds the rifle or gun in the aiming and firing position, the free end and clip are pressed against the ground by the user, and the interior diameter of the length adjustable middle portion is decreased by the movement of the buckle and forms a looped portion that can be tightly positioned around the support hand. The tension of the looped portion is created when the support hand is raised and is placed proximal the mounting means of the barrel and coupled to the first fastening means. The sling device in this form can be used with a rifle or handgun. The free end can be positioned under the lead foot of the user or under the knee or elbow of the user.

[0014] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0015] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0016] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0017] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a rife or gun steady shot device that can stabilize the barrel of the rifle or gun and prevent it from jerking upward upon the explosive force of firing.

[0018] Another object of the present invention is to provide a sling device that can be used to carry a rifle and then be transformed into a device, which can steady the support hand of the user when shooting in the offhand position.

[0019] A further object of the present invention is to provide a device that helps the user better aim the rifle or gun.

[0020] An even further object of the present invention is to provide a steady shot device that can minimize the swaying of the support hand when aiming.

[0021] It is the object of the present invention to provide a retractable elongated sling that includes a retractor that is attached to the respective end of the elongated sling for enabling adjustment of a portion of the elongated sling housed within the retractor.

[0022] Further still, it is the object of the present invention to provide a retractable elongated sling that is compact, lightweight, and capable of having that portion of the elongated sling retractably housed within a retractor to be locked in position upon firing of a rifle or gun.

[0023] It is a feature of the present invention to provide a retractable elongated sling with a retractor attached to a respective end of the flexible sling such that a portion of the elongated sling releasable secured within the retractor may be freely adjusted in a direction upon release of a locking member.

[0024] It is the object of the rifle/gun steady shot device to provide a sling which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such rifle/gun steady shot sling device economically available to the buying public.

[0025] Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide a sling device, which can maximize downward resistance against the upward movement of the barrel when fired.

[0026] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a sling device that can be easily released from the rifle and adjusted for use in offhand shooting.

[0027] These, together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty, which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated the preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference tot he annexed drawings wherein:

[0029] FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of an embodiment of the rifle/gun steady shot showing the device in use when positioned about the support hand.

[0030] FIG. 2 is a side view of the device when attached to a rifle in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

[0031] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the preferred embodiment of the device showing the first part coupled to the second part.

[0032] FIG. 4 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment of the device showing the first part coupled to the second part.

[0033] FIG. 5 is a perspective illustration of the device in use with a pistol.

[0034] FIG. 6 is a perspective illustration of the preferred embodiment of the rifle/gun steady shot showing the device in use and free of the support hand.

[0035] FIG. 7 is a side view of the preferred embodiment in an operable orientation.

[0036] FIG. 8 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the device showing the retractable strap slightly extended from a retractor and coupled to the elongated sling in the rifle carrying position.

[0037] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the retractable strap and retractor of the alternative embodiment of the present invention.

[0038] FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional side view of the retractable strap and retractor of the present invention.

[0039] FIG. 11 is a perspective illustration of the embodiment of the rifle/gun steady shot showing the device with the elongated sling coupled with the retractable strap being extended from the retractor in an operable orientation.

[0040] Similar reference characters refer to similar parts through the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0041] With reference now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 3, 4, and 9 thereof, a rifle or gun steady shot device embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention and generally designated by the reference numeral 10 will be described. As shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 6, and 11, the method of using the present invention can be seen.

[0042] The embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, is a sling strap 10, the sling strap made of a flexible material and is comprised of a butt sling 12 and an elongated sling 14. The butt sling in the embodiment of FIG. 3 has a butt end 20 and a sling end 22 with a middle section 24 therebetween. Attached to the butt end is a square ring 26 that is coupled with a second fastening means 28. The second fastening means allows the butt sling to be coupled to a mounting means on the butt of the stock 30 of a rifle or gun. The sling end preferably has a “D” ring 32 coupled thereto.

[0043] The elongated sling 14, of FIG. 3, has a free end 36 with a clip 38 made of rigid or semi-rigid material. This type of material allows the clip to withstand a force pressing against it and forcing it against another hard surface, such as the ground. The ground being any material that firmly supports the user. The clip may be a snap-hook or any type of “J” hook clip that is lockable about the “D” ring. The fastening of the clip to the “D” ring allows the coupled butt sling and elongated sling to function as a rifle sling for carrying the rifle across the shoulder. Further, the elongated sling has an adjustment end 42 that is secured around a buckle 44. The buckle can be an adjustable glide buckle or a ladder lock buckle. Additionally, the buckle is inter-connected to a length adjustable middle portion 46 of the elongated sling. The buckle is used to increase or decrease the length of length adjustable middle portion. By using the buckle, the length adjustable middle portion is adapted to have its interior diameter increased or decreased to allow the support hand 50, that holds the rifle 55 or gun 57, to be securely positioned therein for aiming and firing.

[0044] The length adjustable middle portion is positioned through a square ring 26 that is coupled to a first fastening means 48. The first mounting means is engageable with a mounting means 53 on a barrel portion 52 of the stock 30 of a rifle or gun.

[0045] The first fastening means 48 of the elongated sling, and the second fastening means 28 of the butt sling can be either a clip 38 or a swivel fastener 28 and 48.

[0046] When using the device with a rifle or gun, the sling strap 10 is coupled to the barrel. It should be noted that the device, when used with a pistol, can be freely used without attaching it to the pistol at all as shown in FIG. 5. For the best results, it is preferred that the device is at least coupled to the barrel of the rifle or gun.

[0047] It is to be understood that the device can be applied to any firearm, such as, rifles, pistols, shotguns, bb guns, crossbows, and other hand-held firing devices, such as rocket launchers, bazookas, etc. With respect to shoulder held firearms, the purpose of the device is to have one end coupled to a mounting means on the barrel portion of a gun stock 30. This allows the elongated sling to be extended and have downward oblique tension to counteract the force of the firearm when fired.

[0048] A complete sling strap assembly of the present invention, as depicted in FIG. 2, is coupled, preferably to a rifle at the butt end and the barrel end of the stock or the barrel. The assembled sling strap has a minimum length extending from the forward position when the first fastening means is proximal to the barrel or a rifle, to a rear position where a second fastening means is coupled with a mounting means on the butt of the stock of the rifle. The sling strap of the present invention, of FIGS. 1, 5, and 6 has its maximum length when it is extended from a forward position proximal the barrel end of the rifle or gun to a distal position where the free end of the elongated sling is held under the user's lead foot. When the elongated sling is in this maximum extended position, the inner diameter of the length adjustable middle portion is decreased, and a looped portion 54 is formed. The looped portion is adapted to allow the support hand of the user to be securely placed therein, as shown in FIG. 1. Some users may find that there is greater control the tighter the looped portion is around the support hand. Other users may prefer not to place their support hand into the looped portion, as shown in FIG. 6. In those instances where the support hand is free, the elongated sling is still required to be extended in a manner that causes a decrease in the diameter of the looped portion. The maximum length of the elongated sling is limited to a distance extending from the lead foot of the user to the aiming position of the support hand holding the rifle or gun for firing.

[0049] The size of the looped portion is controlled by sliding the buckle 44, secured to the adjustment end of the elongated sling, along the length of the length adjustable middle portion until the desired inner diameter is achieved. As shown in FIG. 7, the support hand is used to move the buckle along the elongated sling, while the other hand of the user holds the rifle. When using a pistol, the user operates the device in the same manner. The buckle is capable of locking into position though the force acting on the buckle when the adjustment end 42 is pulled away from the free end, and the elongated sling is extended. Once the loop size is obtained, the clip 38 is released from the “D” ring of the sling end of the butt sling 12. The support hand is then raised and allowed to extend for aiming and firing the rifle or gun. After the first adjustment of the length adjustable middle portion to form the looped portion, and the hand is placed in the looped portion, further adjustments can be made. The user merely needs to rock the support hand, within the looped portion to release the tension on the buckle while simultaneously raising the barrel of the rifle. During this arm and hand movement, the elongated sling swings away from the user's body. The user takes his lead foot and stands on the free end and clip. In some forms of the invention, there is an additional foot loop spaced from the clip of the free end, and the user places his lead foot through the loop, as seen in FIG. 1. In either form, the lead foot pushes the free end against the ground; this increases the tension along the length of the extended elongated sling.

[0050] As the support hand rises, an oblique angle is formed as the elongated sling extends from the looped portion at the support hand downward toward the lead foot holding the free end down. The user can adjust the inner diameter of the looped portion to increase or decrease the tension along the length of the extended elongated sling. Increasing the tension reduces side swaying and provides resistance against upward recoiling of the rifle or gun. Once the user has steadied the rifle or gun by using the tension of the elongated sling, firing can occur. When firing the rifle or gun, the tension of the extended elongated sling is allowed to counteract the upward recoiling of the rifle or gun.

[0051] In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 4, the flexible material used for the strap is identical to the material used in the sling device of FIG. 3. However, the buckle and the clip differ. As shown in FIG. 34, the clip has two parts. One part is one portion of a side release buckle that is coupled to the free end of the elongated sling, with the second part being the other portion of a side release buckle that is coupled to the sling end of the butt sling. The clip 38 of FIG. 4 has a safety strap 60 that has a strip of hook and pile type fastener material 62 fixedly attached to one side of the free end of the elongated sling. Further, it can be seen that there is corresponding hook and pile type fastening material on the other potion of the side release buckle that is capable of receiving the strip of hook and pile type material.

[0052] Also, the buckle 44 used to increase and decrease the length of the elongated sling 14 of the sling device of FIG. 4 is a release or press buckle. Releasing a locking lever so to allow the buckle to slide along the length of the elongated sling activates the buckle in this instance. Once the locking lever is released, it automatically closes and secures the looped portion about the support hand. The release or press buckle does not require tension on the extended elongated sling to lock the buckle in position.

[0053] In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 8, the elongated sling 14 of flexible material is coupled to a retractable strap 69 that is housed within a retractor 70. The elongated sling has a length and width that is greater than the length and width of the retractable strap. In this embodiment, the retractable strap has an attachment end 72 and a free end 77. The attachment end is attached to a spool 76 within the retractor, and the free end 77 has a ring, as shown in FIG. 9, or a finished end. The free end is coupled with the clip 38, buckle or swivel fastener like 28 and 48 of the elongated sling 14. In operation, the retractor allows the length of the elongated sling to be adjusted to either a carrying length or a steadying length, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 11 respectively.

[0054] As illustrated in FIG. 10, the retractor is comprised of a rotatable shaft 78 secured within the retractor and a spool 76 connected to the shaft. The spool has a centrally disposed longitudinal opening for receipt of the shaft. The retractor includes a spring for biasing the spool to rotate in a first direction. Each spring has a first end and a second end, with the first end fixedly secured to the spool, and the second end is operatively secured to the retractor. The retractor, of FIG. 9, has a housing 90 with an opening 92 for receipt of the attachment end of the elongated sling such that a portion of the elongated sling is releasably secured within the retractor 70 as shown in FIG. 9. The retractor has a locking lever 94 within the housing and in contact with retractable strap. To operate the locking lever, a control button 96 exterior the housing must be depressed. Depressing the control button forces the locking lever to depress the retractable strap 69 and prevent its movement in or out of the retractor. In FIG. 9 the control button is shown on the right side of the housing; it is to be understood that the control button could be on the left side or spaced from the opening.

[0055] Also, positioned on the housing, opposite the opening, is a eye-loop 98. The eye-loop has a means that enables the retractor to be mounted onto the barrel portion 52 of the stock 30. The means is a clip 38 or a swivel fastener 48. In some retractors, merely pulling on the retractable strap in an upward and forward direction releases the locking lever. Then, once the pulling ceases, the locking lever automatically locks and prevents the retractable strap from being extended. A downward forward pull on the retractable strap will not cause the locking lever to release the retractable strap, and, in turn, allow the retractable strap to be released from the retractor. The pull and release form of retractor permits quick and easy withdrawal of the retractable strap for extending the elongated sling to a desired length while maintaining the elongated sling is a releasably secured position once the retractable strap has been withdrawn to its desired length. Use of the control button is required for full retraction of the retractable strap.

[0056] In operation, when the device is used as a gun strap, as depicted in FIG. 8, the retractable strap has the greatest portion of its length about the spool. When preparing to use the present invention for aiming and firing the rifle, the retractable strap is adjusted to extend from the retractor coupled at the barrel portion so to allow the free end of the elongated sling 14 to be positioned under the lead foot of the user or under the knee of the user. The control button releases the retractable strap to allow the user to stand on the free end.

[0057] The user then raises the rifle with the support hand, and the elongated sling easily extends as the retractable strap unwinds from around the spool of the retractor. Once the user has raised the gun to the desired height, the control button is repositioned to lock the locking lever in position prior to firing the rifle. FIG. 11 shows this embodiment as it appears when being used for firing the rifle. Upon firing the rifle, just as in the other embodiments, the tension of the elongated sling and retractable strap, with attachment end 72 locked within the retractor, and the free end 36 of the elongated sling secured under the user's lead foot, counteracts the upward recoil of the rifle. Further, the tension helps to steady the rifle when aiming and prior to firing.

[0058] There are instances where the retractor fails. In those situations, the user merely replaces the retractor by uncoupling the retractor from the barrel of the rifle and from the elongated sling. The faulty retractor is replaced with a retractor that is operational.

[0059] With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, material, shape, form, function, and manner of operation, assembly and structure, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

[0060] Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments discussed were chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope for the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally, equitably entitled.