Title:
Device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle comprises a gun fore-end of the automatic rifle integral to a barrel of the automatic rifle and having externally a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means between a frame of the grenade launcher and the gun fore-end. A second portion of the mutual coupling means is externally associated to a frame of the grenade launcher. The first and second portions mutually slide one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the grenade launcher to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle. The first portion comprises a track directly associated to the gun fore-end and the second portion comprises a sliding seat being defined in a frame of the grenade launcher. The sliding seat is capable of being slidingly engaged on the track from the front end to the rear end of the track.



Inventors:
Zedrosser, Ulrich (Gardone Val Trompia (Brescia), IT)
Application Number:
11/378321
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
03/20/2006
Assignee:
FABBRICA D' ARMI PIETRO BERETTS S.p.A. (Gardone Val Trompia (Brescia), IT)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41C27/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ABDOSH, SAMIR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle, said coupling device comprising a gun fore-end of said automatic rifle integral to a barrel of the same automatic rifle and having a first portion of mutual shape coupling means externally between a frame of the grenade launcher and said gun fore-end, said coupling device further comprising a second portion of said mutual coupling means being externally associated to a frame of grenade launcher, said first and second portions mutually sliding one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to barrel of automatic rifle in order to fasten grenade launcher to automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to barrel of automatic rifle.

2. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 1, wherein said first portion comprises a track being directly associated to said gun fore-end and extending on the lower side of and parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle between a front end and a rear end, and wherein said second portion comprises a sliding seat being defined in a frame of the grenade launcher and extending in the upper side of the grenade launcher and parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle between a front end and a rear end, said sliding seat being capable of being slidingly engaged on track from the front end to the rear end of the track in order to fasten grenade launcher to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

3. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 2, wherein said rear end of said sliding seat defines an abutment surface adapted to abut against a striking surface being associated to said gun fore-end and located at a portion directly associated to a frame of the automatic rifle.

4. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 3, wherein said striking surface is located, in an assembled position of the grenade launcher and automatic rifle, on the front side of interference means adapted to make a constraint for the relative sliding motion between the automatic rifle and the grenade launcher, parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

5. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 4, wherein said interference means comprise an interference pivot being transversally inserted between the frame of the grenade launcher and said gun fore-end.

6. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 5, wherein said interference pivot is located on the rear side of the mutual abutment and striking surfaces of said sliding seat and said track.

7. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 5, wherein said interference means comprise at least one elastic element adapted to transversally lock said interference pivot between the frame of the grenade launcher and said gun fore-end.

8. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 7, wherein said elastic element is housed inside said interference pivot and comprises a coupling portion being adapted to pass through an aperture of said interference pivot.

9. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according claim 5, comprising at least one fastening wing extending from the frame of the grenade launcher on the rear side of its respective sliding seat and comprising a housing for said interference pivot.

10. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 9, wherein said frame of the grenade launcher comprises two fastening wings rear side and on the opposite sides of their respective sliding seat, and wherein said fastening wings comprise their respective housings for said interference pivot and are adapted to be arranged on their respective opposite sides of said gun fore-end.

11. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 5, wherein said gun fore-end comprises a tooth extending in the lower and rear sides of the gun fore-end in order to be inserted into a slot of a frame of the automatic rifle located at the lower side of barrel of the same automatic rifle, said tooth comprising a housing slot for said interference pivot.

12. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 11, wherein said tooth is arranged as a rear and lower extension of said track.

13. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 11 or 12, wherein said tooth is directly fastened onto the frame of the automatic rifle in order to define a rear fastening point for said gun fore-end.

14. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 13, wherein said rear fastening point of said gun fore-end directly on the frame of automatic rifle allows the gun fore-end to be free to rotate around an axis transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

15. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 14, wherein said rear fastening point comprises a coupling pivot being transversally inserted between the gun fore-end and frame of the automatic rifle, at the tooth of the gun fore-end.

16. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 15, wherein said tooth has a cross hole in order to accommodate the coupling pivot.

17. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 16, wherein the cross hole of said tooth is located at the rear side of the housing slot of the interference pivot of the interference means.

18. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 11, wherein said gun fore-end comprises a wrapping portion embracing the barrel of the automatic rifle at the lower side and sideways thereof, by overhanging the same barrel at least in one front portion of said gun fore-end in which there are provided inserting seats of a cross fastener being adapted to be rested on the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten said front portion of said gun fore-end.

19. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 2, wherein the track has a “T-shaped” cross section.

20. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 19, wherein said track comprises sloping surfaces adapted to define a bilateral fastening which locks the grenade launcher in a plane which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

21. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 2, wherein said track has a plurality of notches being located transversal to the barrel of the rifle at one outer and lower surface of the track.

22. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 1, wherein said second portion of the mutual coupling means comprises an abutment surface adapted to abut against a striking surface being associated to said gun fore-end and located at a portion directly associated to a frame of the automatic rifle.

23. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 22, wherein said striking surface is located, in an assembled position of the grenade launcher and automatic rifle, at the front side of interference means being adapted to provide a constraint for the relative sliding motion between the automatic rifle and grenade launcher, parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

24. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 1, comprising a rear and lower portion of said gun fore-end being integral directly to a frame of the automatic rifle.

25. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 24, wherein said rear and lower portion of said gun fore-end is adapted to be directly fastened onto a frame of the automatic rifle.

26. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 25, further comprising means for locking a front portion of said gun fore-end on the barrel of the automatic rifle, said barrel holding the front portion of said gun fore-end at the lower side thereof by means of said locking means, thereby said gun fore-end is fastened to the front and upper sides of the barrel and directly to the rear and lower sides of the frame of the automatic rifle.

27. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 24, wherein said rear and lower portion of gun fore-end directly integral to a frame of automatic rifle is arranged as a rear and lower extension of the first portion of the mutual shape-coupling means.

28. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 27, wherein said rear and lower portion of said gun fore-end comprises a tooth extending in the lower and rear sides of gun fore-end in order to be inserted into a slot of a frame of the automatic rifle located on the lower side of barrel of the automatic rifle.

29. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 28, wherein said tooth is arranged as a rear and lower extension of said first portion of the mutual shape-coupling means.

30. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 29, wherein said tooth is directly fastened onto the frame of the automatic rifle in order to define a rear fastening point of said gun fore-end.

31. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 30, wherein said rear fastening point of said gun fore-end provided directly on frame of automatic rifle allows the gun fore-end to be free to rotate around an axis transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

32. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 31, wherein said rear fastening point comprises a coupling pivot being transversally inserted between the gun fore-end and the frame of the automatic rifle, at the tooth of the gun fore-end.

33. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 32, wherein said tooth has a cross hole in order to accommodate the coupling pivot.

34. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 33, wherein cross hole of said tooth is located on the rear side of interference means adapted to provide a constraint for the relative sliding motion between the automatic rifle and the grenade launcher, parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

35. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 34, wherein said interference means comprise an interference pivot being transversally inserted between the frame of the grenade launcher and said gun fore-end.

36. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 35, wherein said interference means comprise at least one elastic element adapted to transversally lock said interference pivot between the frame of the grenade launcher and said gun fore-end.

37. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according claim 36, wherein said elastic element is housed inside said interference pivot and comprises a coupling portion adapted to pass through an aperture of said interference pivot.

38. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 35, wherein said interference pivot is located at the rear side of mutual abutment and striking surfaces of said first and second portions of the mutual shape coupling means.

39. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 35, comprising at least one fastening wing extending on the rear side from the frame of the grenade launcher and comprising a housing for said interference pivot.

40. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 39, comprising two fastening wings extending from frame of the grenade launcher on the rear side and opposite sides, and wherein said fastening wings comprise their respective housings for said interference pivot and are adapted to be arranged on their respective opposite sides of said tooth.

41. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 24, wherein said gun fore-end comprises a wrapping portion embracing the barrel of the automatic rifle at the lower side and sideways thereof, by overhanging the barrel at least at one front portion of said gun fore-end in which there are provided inserting seats for a cross fastener adapted to be abutted on the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten said front portion of said gun fore-end.

42. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 24 or claim 2, wherein said rear end of said sliding seat defines an abutment surface adapted to abut against a striking surface being associated to said gun fore-end and located at the rear and lower portion of said gun fore-end directly integral with the frame of the automatic rifle.

43. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 1, wherein said gun fore-end is made integral and as one piece with a frame of automatic rifle.

44. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 43 or claim 2, wherein the track has a “T-shaped” cross section.

45. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 44, wherein said track comprises sloping surfaces adapted to define a bilateral fastening which transversally locks the grenade launcher to the barrel of the rifle in either directions.

46. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 2, wherein said track has a plurality of notches being located transversal to the barrel of the rifle at an outer and lower surface of the track.

47. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 24, wherein said rear and lower portion of said gun fore-end is made integral and as one piece with the frame of the automatic rifle.

48. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 1, wherein said gun fore-end comprises at least one sidetrack adapted to accommodate accessories.

49. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 48, wherein the sidetrack is provided as one piece in the gun fore-end.

50. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 48, wherein the sidetrack has a “T-shaped” cross section.

51. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 50, wherein the sidetrack comprises sloping surfaces adapted to define a bilateral fastening for an accessory.

52. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 48, wherein the sidetrack has a plurality of notches (being located transversal to barrel of the rifle at an outer surface of the sidetrack.

53. The device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle according to claim 48, wherein said gun fore-end comprises two sidetracks either for the assembly of more accessories or in order to allow front sights or other accessories to be right or left mounted.

54. A kit comprising an automatic rifle being provided with a gun fore-end integral to a barrel of the rifle and having a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means externally between a frame of a grenade launcher and said gun fore-end, the kit further comprises either at least one covering element, or more covering elements being different from one another in shape, size, material, surface cover or other features, said covering element comprising a further second portion of mutual shape coupling means being similar to a second portion of mutual shape coupling means associated to a frame of the grenade launcher in order to fasten the covering element to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle when the grenade launcher is not fastened to the automatic rifle.

55. A frame of an automatic rifle having integrally and as one piece a gun fore-end having externally a first portion of mutual shape coupling means adapted to be mutually coupled with a second portion externally associated to an additional device, such as a frame of a grenade launcher, an accessory or a covering element, said first and second portions being adapted to mutually slide one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the additional device to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

56. A gun fore-end of an automatic rifle adapted to be fastened directly onto a frame of the automatic rifle, said gun fore-end having externally a first portion of mutual shape coupling means adapted to be mutually coupled with a second portion externally associated to an additional device, such as a frame of a grenade launcher, an accessory or a covering element, said first and second portions being adapted to mutually slide one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

57. The gun fore-end according to claim 56, comprising a rear and lower portion adapted to be made integral directly with a frame of the automatic rifle such as to carry out a rear fastening point adapted to allow the gun fore-end to be free to rotate around an axis transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

58. The gun fore-end according to claim 57, wherein the rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end is provided in the shape of a tooth being adapted to be inserted into a slot of the frame of the automatic rifle.

59. The gun fore-end according to claim 56, further comprising means for locking a front portion of the gun fore-end on a barrel of the automatic rifle such that the barrel holds the front portion of gun fore-end at the lower side thereof by means for locking, thereby said fore-end is fastened to the front and upper sides of the barrel and directly to the rear and lower sides of the frame of the automatic rifle.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect, the object of the present invention is a device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle.

According to further aspects, the object of the present invention is a kit for an automatic rifle, a frame for an automatic rifle and a gun fore-end of an automatic rifle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A known example of a device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,733,489 comprising an additional element being inserted inside an outer protective cover of the barrel of the automatic rifle. Therefore, the coupling occurs between this additional element and the grenade launcher. The additional element as well as the outer protective cover are directly mounted on the barrel at front and rear portions thereof.

The example stated above presented some drawbacks, requiring a large number of components which complicate the structure thereof and make it overloaded. Moreover said example seems to be somewhat poor from the point of view of compactness and resistance, especially to the impulses following the firing, given that the additional element and thus the grenade launcher is directly fastened only onto the barrel of the automatic rifle.

Furthermore it should be noted that the need for having a versatile weapon, which is compact and strong and easy to be adapted to different requirements is felt more and more in the field.

The problem at the heart of the present invention is to provide a device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle which has such structural and functional characteristics as to meet said need and, while overcoming said drawbacks mentioned with reference to the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This problem is solved by means of a device for coupling a grenade launcher with an automatic rifle in accordance with claim 1. The dependent claims relate to further aspects or embodiments of the coupling device according to the present invention.

Further aspects of the present invention are the object of claims 54-56.

Particularly, the carrying out of a mutual shape coupling, a first portion of which is directly associated to the gun fore-end of the automatic rifle makes the weapon more compact, simpler and stronger. Furthermore the weapon strength is incremented by providing a rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end directly associated to the frame of the automatic rifle. This characteristic may be achieved either by a gun fore-end being integral and made as one piece with the rifle frame, or by a gun fore-end comprising a lower and rear portion adapted to define a rear and lower fastening point directly on the frame of the automatic rifle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and the advantages of the coupling device according to the invention will be understood from the description of a preferred embodiment example thereof as set forth hereinbelow, which is given by way of indicative and non-limiting example, with reference to the annexed figures, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a schematic side view of a first embodiment of an automatic rifle and a coupling device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows the automatic rifle from FIG. 1 associated to a grenade launcher;

FIG. 3 shows the automatic rifle from FIG. 1 in a mounting step;

FIG. 4 shows the automatic rifle from FIG. 1 in a different operating condition;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a detail of the automatic rifle from FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 shows a cut-away perspective view of the automatic rifle, grenade launcher and coupling device according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows a longitudinal sectional view of a detail from FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 shows a sectional view according to line VII-VII from FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 shows a sectional view according to line IX-IX from FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 shows a schematic side view of a further embodiment of an automatic rifle, the grenade launcher and the coupling device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 11 shows the automatic rifle from FIG. 10 in which the grenade launcher has been omitted in order to highlight a part of the coupling device according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to said figures, with 10 has been indicated an automatic rifle as a whole. Furthermore with 12 has been indicated a grenade launcher adapted to be coupled with the lower side of automatic rifle 10 as a whole.

In the following of the present description, the terms “lower”, “upper”, “front” and “rear” will be employed with reference to the shouldered rifle.

With reference to the automatic rifle 10, with 14 has been indicated a barrel and with 16 has been indicated a frame. Particularly, FIG. 1 shows a schematic side view of a first embodiment of an automatic rifle 10 in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 2 shows automatic rifle 10 from FIG. 1 associated to grenade launcher 12. FIG. 3 shows the automatic rifle 10 from FIG. 1 in a mounting step, and finally FIG. 4 shows the automatic rifle from FIG. 1 in a different operating condition.

A first aspect of the present invention relates to a device for coupling the grenade launcher 12 with the automatic rifle 10. Advantageously, this coupling device comprises a gun fore-end 18 of the automatic rifle, which is integral to the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle.

FIG. 1-9 show a first embodiment of the coupling device according to the present invention in which the gun fore-end 18 is provided by means of an element being detached from the frame of the automatic rifle and adapted to be fastened to the frame and the barrel of the automatic rifle.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, the gun fore-end 18 is adapted to embrace the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle at the lower side and sideways thereof. Particularly FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of the gun fore-end 18, in which with 20 has been indicated a wrapping portion embracing the barrel of the automatic rifle at the lower side and sideways thereof. Advantageously the wrapping portion 20 overhangs the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle on either side at least in one front portion 22 of the gun fore-end. In accordance with the preferred embodiment shown in the figures, such as in FIG. 5, wrapping walls 23 of the gun fore-end 18 are adapted to wrap the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle on either side.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, a rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end 18 is adapted to be directly fastened onto the frame 16 of the automatic rifle. Advantageously this rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end comprises a tooth 24 extending on the lower and rear sides of the gun fore-end in order to be inserted in a slot, not shown, of the automatic rifle frame 16. This slot is located at the lower side of the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle.

In accordance with the preferred example shown in the figures, such as in FIG. 5, the tooth 24 extends in the lower and rear sides in a cantilever manner relative to the wrapping walls 23 of barrel 14.

Advantageously, the tooth 24 is directly fastened onto the frame 16 of the automatic rifle in order to define a rear fastening point on the gun fore-end. Preferably this rear fastening point allows the gun fore-end to be free to rotate around an axis 26 transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle (FIG. 3).

In accordance with a possible embodiment, such as illustrated in the figures, the rear fastening point comprises a coupling pivot 28 being transversally inserted between the gun fore-end 18 and the frame 16 of the automatic rifle, at tooth 24. To this purpose, the tooth 24 has a cross hole 30 in order to accommodate the coupling pivot 28 and the rifle frame comprises its respective side holes 31. The coupling between the coupling pivot 28 and the tooth 24 allows the gun fore-end to be free only to rotate around axis 26 between an inserting position of the tooth into the slot (FIG. 3) and a mounting position of the gun fore-end 18 on the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle (FIG. 1).

In accordance with a possible embodiment, there are further provided means for locking the front portion 22 of the gun fore-end 18 on the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle, such that the barrel holds the front portion of the gun fore-end at the lower side thereof by means of said means for locking. Preferably, the front portion 22 of the gun fore-end 18 has inserting seats 32 for a cross fastener 34 adapted to rest on the upper side of the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the front portion 22 of the gun fore-end. In FIG. 6 an example of cross fastener 34 is shown in which there is provided a portion 34a having a section conjugate to the shape of the inserting seat 32, for example “T-shaped”. The portion 34a defines for example a striking element against the rifle barrel.

In the preferred embodiment as shown for example in FIG. 5 and 6, the cross fastener 34 extends from one side to another of the front portion 22 of the gun fore-end 18, thus being firmly hung on the rifle barrel.

According to the embodiment such as shown in the figures, the gun fore-end 18 is advantageously fastened to the front and upper sides of the barrel and directly to the rear and lower sides of the frame of the automatic rifle, at a lower area than the same barrel.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, the gun fore-end 18 comprises at least one sidetrack 35 adapted to accommodate some accessories such as front sights or other equipment. In accordance with a preferred embodiment, the sidetrack 35 is provided in the gun fore-end 18 as one piece. Furthermore, the sidetrack 35 has a “T-shaped” cross section preferably comprising sloping surfaces 35a adapted to define a bilateral fastening for the accessory.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, the sidetrack 35 has a plurality of notches 35b being located transversal to the rifle barrel at an outer surface of the track. The shape, size and arrangement of these notches are adapted to allow the accessories to be locked in certain positions along the length of the same track.

Preferably, the gun fore-end 18 comprises two sidetracks 35 either for mounting more accessories or in order to allow front sights or other accessories to be right or left mounted.

In the coupling device according to the present invention, the gun fore-end 18 has a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means externally between the frame of the grenade launcher and the gun fore-end. Preferably, the gun fore-end is manufactured as one piece in polymeric material.

A second portion of the mutual shape-coupling means, and accordingly the coupling device according to the present invention, is externally associated to a frame 36 of grenade launcher 12. Preferably the second portion of the mutual shape coupling means is provided in the frame 36 of the grenade launcher as one piece, for example manufactured in polymeric material. Advantageously, the first and second portions mutually slide one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the grenade launcher to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle. The preferred example shown in the figures provides that the first portion comprises a track 38 being directly associated to the gun fore-end 18 and extending in the lower side of and parallel to barrel 14 of the automatic rifle between a front end 38a and a rear end 38b. Preferably, the track 38 is provided as one piece with the gun fore-end 18. Moreover the second portion comprises a sliding seat 40 being defined in the frame 36 of the grenade launcher and extending in the upper side of the grenade launcher and parallel to the barrel 14 of the automatic rifle between a front end 40a and a rear end 40b. Preferably, the sliding seat 40 is provided as one piece with the frame 36 of the grenade launcher.

The sliding seat 40 is capable of being slidingly engaged on the track 38 from the front end 38a to the rear end 38b of the same track in order to fasten the grenade launcher to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle. More precisely, the coupling between track 38 and sliding seat 40 causes the grenade launcher to be fastened onto the automatic rifle in a plane that is perpendicular to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment, the track 38 has a “T-shaped” cross section preferably comprising sloping surfaces 42 adapted to define a bilateral fastening which transversally locks the grenade launcher to the rifle barrel.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, the track 38 has a plurality of notches 44 being located transversal to the rifle barrel at an outer and lower surface of the track. The shape, sizes and arrangement of these notches are adapted to allow, in certain positions along the same track, accessories (not shown) to be locked, when the grenade launcher is not mounted on the automatic rifle.

In accordance with an embodiment in which the gun fore-end comprises tooth 24, this tooth is preferably arranged as a rear and lower extension of track 38. In general terms, the tooth 24 is arranged as a rear and lower extension of the first portion of the mutual shape-coupling means. In other words the rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end 18 adapted to be fastened directly onto the frame 16 of the automatic rifle is arranged as a rear and lower extension of track 38, or more generally the first portion of the mutual shape-coupling means.

With reference to the preferred embodiment as shown in the figures, the track 38 extends in the lower side along the length of the wrapping walls 23 and the tooth 24 projects from the rear end of the track in a cantilever manner.

According to a possible embodiment, the rear end of the sliding seat 40 defines an abutment surface 46 adapted to abut against a striking surface 48 associated to the gun fore-end. Advantageously, the striking surface 48 is located at a portion of the gun fore-end directly associated to frame 16 of the automatic rifle. In the example such as shown in FIG. 1-9, in which the gun fore-end is mounted on the frame 16 of the rifle, the striking surface 48 is provided at the rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end adapted to be fastened directly onto the frame 16 of the automatic rifle. By providing the tooth 24, the striking surface 48 is defined by the same tooth extending in the lower side of track 38.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, the coupling device according to the present invention comprises interference means adapted to act as a constraint for the relative sliding motion between the automatic rifle and the grenade launcher, parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle. Preferably, the striking surface 48 is located, in an assembled position of the grenade launcher and the automatic rifle, at the front side of the interference means.

According to a possible embodiment the interference means comprise an interference pivot 50 being transversally inserted between frame 36 of the grenade launcher and gun fore-end 18. Advantageously, the interference pivot 50 is located at the rear side of the mutual abutment 46 and striking 48 surfaces of sliding seat 40 and track 38.

In the case where tooth 24 is provided, the interference means transversally pass through said tooth. Particularly, the tooth 24 comprises a housing slot 51 in order to accommodate the interference pivot 50. Preferably, the cross hole 30 of tooth 24 adapted to accommodate the coupling pivot 28 is located at the rear side of the housing slot 51 of the interference pivot 50 of the interference means.

According to a possible embodiment the interference means comprise at least one elastic element 52 adapted to transversally lock the interference pivot 50 between the frame of the grenade launcher and the gun fore-end. Preferably, the interference pivot 50 is hollow inside and the elastic element 52 is housed therein. A coupling portion 54 of the elastic element 52 is adapted to pass through an aperture 56 of the interference pivot 50 and be inserted into a recess 58, for example of the housing slot 51 of gun fore-end 18.

In accordance with a possible embodiment, the coupling device according to the present invention comprises at least one fastening wing 60 extending from the frame of the grenade launcher on the rear side of its respective sliding seat 40. The fastening wing comprises a housing 62 for the interference pivot 50. Advantageously, the frame 36 of the grenade launcher comprises two fastening wings 62 extending from the frame of the grenade launcher on the rear side and the opposite sides of their respective sliding seat 40. Each fastening wing 62 comprises a respective housing 62 for the interference pivot 50. The two fastening wings 62 are further adapted to be arranged externally on the opposite sides of the gun fore-end, for example at tooth 24, if provided.

The mode of use of the coupling device according to the present invention will be described hereinbelow.

FIG. 3 shows a mounting step of the gun fore-end 18 on the automatic rifle. The tooth 24 has been inserted into its respective slot of the rifle frame and the coupling pivot 28 has been inserted into the side holes 31 of the frame and the cross hole 30 of tooth 24. Thereby, a rear fastening point of the gun fore-end that allows the latter to be free to rotate around axis 26 in order to embrace the rifle barrel has been defined directly on the rifle frame.

In fact, FIG. 1 shows the subsequent mounting step in which the gun fore-end is caused to rotate until it embraces the rifle barrel and is fastened onto the front and upper side of the latter. The cross fastener 34 is set into inserting seats 32 such that the gun fore-end 18 is hung on the front side of the rifle barrel.

The thus arranged automatic rifle may be employed both with the grenade launcher 12 (FIG. 2) and individually (FIG. 1 or 4). A possible embodiment, such as shown for example in FIG. 4, provides a covering element 64 associated to the first portion of the mutual shape-coupling means. Particularly, the covering element expands so as to cover at least one portion of track 38 and comprises a sliding seat, not shown, similar to the one provided in the frame 36 of grenade launcher 12. In accordance with a possible embodiment, the covering element 64 is locked on the gun fore-end 18 by means of the interference pivot 50.

A further aspect of the present invention relates to a kit comprising a gun fore-end 18 adapted to be mounted on an automatic rifle by a lower and rear fastening directly onto the rifle frame and a front and upper fastening being provided such that a front portion of the gun fore-end is hung on the front side of the rifle barrel. The kit further comprises either at least one covering element 64, or more covering elements being different from one another in shape, size, material, surface cover or other features. The kit further comprises at least one grenade launcher, the frame of which comprises a second portion of mutual shape-coupling means adapted to be coupled with a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means being associated to the gun fore-end, such as described above.

A further aspect of the present invention relates to a kit comprising an automatic rifle, the frame of which comprises a gun fore-end, integrally and as one piece. The kit further either comprises at least one covering element 64, or more covering elements being different from one another in shape, size, material, surface cover or other features. The kit further comprises at least one grenade launcher, the frame of which comprises a second portion of mutual shape-coupling means adapted to be coupled with a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means associated to the gun fore-end, such as described above.

From what has been stated above, it should be appreciated that the fact of providing a coupling portion according to the present invention enables to meet the need for a compact and versatile weapon, which can be easily and quickly adapted to different conditions and requirements.

Furthermore, the coupling portion according to the present invention enables to achieve an optimum compromise between lightness and resistance.

Since the first portion of shape coupling means is directly associated to the gun fore-end, the coupling device is made simpler and further adapted to be provided with a gun fore-end being manufactured as one piece.

The use of a track/sliding seat coupling facilitates and stabilizes the assembling, also due to the configuration of the cross section in which there are provided sloping surfaces adapted to provide a bilateral fastening between the rifle and the grenade launcher. Moreover both the track shape and the presence of the notches make the same track very versatile and adapted for the standardized use as a coupling element for accessories.

The advantageous configuration of the interference means and particularly the arrangement thereof in a rear position relative to their respective abutment and striking surfaces facilitates the manufacture and the assembly, besides making the step of discharging the impulse due to the firing on the rifle frame more effective. To this purpose, it is particularly original that a tooth 24 extending the track 38 and being inserted into and associated directly to the rifle frame on the lower side of the barrel is provided, thus making the mutual interaction between the abutment and striking surfaces even more effective and more resistant following the firing.

Advantageously, the gun fore-end is mounted on the rifle frame by means of a rear and lower fastening point which allows the latter to rotate only around a cross axis, thereby making the gun fore-end positioning on the rifle barrel immediate and firm. Furthermore the gun fore-end is mounted onto the front and upper sides of the rifle barrel, thus making the fastening particularly firm due to the provision of two opposite points relative to the barrel.

A further advantage of the coupling device according to the invention is the unusual structural simplicity of the latter, which allows the latter to be manufactured with a very low cost.

It is understood that variants and/or additions to what has been described and shown above may be provided.

FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 illustrate a different embodiment of the coupling device according to the present invention corresponding to what has been described above, except that the gun fore-end is made integral and as one piece with the frame 16 of the automatic rifle 10. With reference to this embodiment, the term “gun fore-end” will be employed in order to show the portion of frame 16 of automatic rifle 10 which corresponds to the gun fore-end 18 being described above, i.e. the portion embracing the barrel of the automatic rifle.

By proceeding with the description, the elements in common with the previous embodiment have been indicated with the same reference numbers.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 10 and 11, the gun fore-end 18 also has a first portion of mutual shape coupling means on the outside thereof, between the frame 36 of the grenade launcher and the gun fore-end. Moreover the coupling device comprises a second portion of the mutual coupling means being externally associated to the frame 36 of the grenade launcher. The first and second portions are mutually sliding one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the grenade launcher to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

The description of the mutual shape coupling means corresponds to the one of the exemplary embodiment previously described. Particularly, the rear end 40b of sliding seat 40 defines the abutment surface 46 adapted to abut against the striking surface 48 located at a portion directly associated to a frame of the automatic rifle. In fact, in this embodiment, the striking surface 48 is located at a portion made as one piece with the frame of the automatic rifle.

Even in the embodiment shown in FIG. 10 and 11, the striking surface 48 is located, in an assembled position of the grenade launcher and the automatic rifle, at the front side of the interference means being adapted to provide a constraint for the relative sliding motion between the automatic rifle and the grenade launcher, parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle. These interference means may comprise, for example, the interference pivot 50 such as described above. In other words, the interference pivot 50 is located on the rear side of the abutment and striking surfaces of the sliding seat and the track, respectively.

The shape of the frame 36 of the grenade launcher may be similar to the one previously described. For example, there can be provided at least one fastening wing 60 extending from the frame of the grenade launcher on the rear side of its respective sliding seat and comprising a housing for the interference pivot. Also in this case, there are preferably provided two fastening wings 60 extending from the frame of the grenade launcher on the rear side and the opposite sides of their respective sliding seat such as described above.

In accordance with a further aspect, the present invention relates to a gun fore-end 18 adapted to be fastened directly onto a frame of the automatic rifle. The gun fore-end has externally a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means with a second portion externally associated to an additional device, such as a frame of a grenade launcher, an accessory or a covering element 64. The first and second portions are adapted to mutually slide one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the additional device to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

Advantageously, the gun fore-end has a rear and lower portion adapted to be made integral directly to a frame of the automatic rifle such as to provide a lower fastening point as previously described. Preferably, the rear and lower portion of the gun fore-end is provided in the shape of a tooth 24 such as described above.

Furthermore, there are advantageously provided means for locking a front portion of the gun fore-end onto the barrel of the automatic rifle such that the barrel holds the front portion of the gun fore-end by means of locking means at the lower side thereof, thereby said gun fore-end is fastened to the front and upper sides of the barrel and directly to the rear and lower sides of the frame.

Further features relative to said gun fore-end have been described above with reference to the preferred embodiment of the invention.

In accordance with a further aspect, the present invention relates to a frame of an automatic rifle having a gun fore-end integrally and as one piece as described above. Particularly, the portion defining the gun fore-end has externally a first portion of mutual shape-coupling means with a second portion externally associated to an additional device, such as a frame of a grenade launcher, an accessory or a covering element 64. The first and second portions are adapted to mutually slide one inside the other along a direction which is parallel to the barrel of the automatic rifle in order to fasten the additional device to the automatic rifle in a direction which is transversal to the barrel of the automatic rifle.

To the preferred solution embodiment of the described coupling device, those skilled in the art, aiming at satisfying contingent and specific needs, will be able to carry out several modifications, adjustments and replacements of elements with other elements being functionally equivalent thereto, without thereby departing from the scope of the following claims.