Title:
Shooting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paintball marker (10) comprises a barrel (11), through which paintballs may be fired by a firing mechanism (not shown). A handle (12) is provided to allow a user to comfortably grip the marker (10) and a trigger (13) is provided, for activating the firing mechanism. A trigger guard (14) is also provided to help prevent accidental activation of the firing mechanism. A hopper (15) is also provided for loading the marker (10) with one or more paintballs. The marker (10) with one or more paintballs . The marker (10) is fitted with a switching means (20) operative to switch the marker (10) between two modes, a live mode in which the firing mechanism can be activated and a safe mode in which the firing mechanism cannot be activated. The device is switched between said modes in response to signals received by a signals receiving means from a remote source.



Inventors:
Pitt, Michael Raymond (Birmingham, GB)
Application Number:
10/570454
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
09/06/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
42/70.01, 124/40
International Classes:
F41A17/00; F41A17/06; F41A17/46; F41A19/01
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ABDOSH, SAMIR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PEARSON & PEARSON, LLC (LOWELL, MA, US)
Claims:
1. 1.-54. (canceled)

55. A shooting device for firing a projectile, the device having a live mode wherein the device is able to fire a projectile and a safe mode wherein the device is temporarily inhibited form being able to fire a projectile, the device comprising signal receiving means and means for switching the device between the live and safe modes, in which the switching means and the signal receiving means are configured to enable the device to be switched from the live mode to the safe mode and from the safe mode to the live mode in response to signals received by the signal receiving means from a remote source.

56. A shooting device as claimed in claim 55, wherein the switching means is connected to the signal receiving means and the switching between live and safe modes takes place in response to control signals outputted by the signal receiving means in response to the signals from the remote source.

57. A shooting device as claimed in claim 55, wherein the signal receiving means is adapted to receive radio frequency (RF) signals.

58. A shooting device as claimed in claim 57, wherein the frequency of the RF signals are 315 MHz; 433 MHz; or 816 MHz,

59. A shooting device as claimed in claim 57, wherein two or more different coded signals on the same RF frequency are used.

60. A shooting device as claimed in claim 56, wherein the signal receiving means comprises an aerial and a processing unit, the processing unit operable to process signals received by the aerial and thereby output suitable control signals to the switching means.

61. A shooting device as claimed in claim 55 wherein: the switching means comprises an engaging element and a locking bar, the engaging element being spring biased and projecting toward the back of the trigger such that it engages with the trigger if a user attempts to pull the trigger and the locking bar being movable from a safe position wherein it locks the engaging element in position and a live position wherein it does not lock the engaging element in position, such that when the locking bar is in the live position, operation of the trigger causes the engaging element to engage the trigger; sufficient force applied to the trigger overcomes the spring bias of the engaging element and permits full operation of the trigger, and when the locking bar is in the safe position, it locks the engaging element in position and prevents full operation of the trigger.

62. A shooting device as claimed in claim 61, wherein movement means are provided to move the locking bar between said live and said safe positions in response to signals outputted by said signal receiving means.

63. A shooting device as claimed in claim 62, wherein the locking bar is spring biased such that it is maintained in the safe position unless a force is applied by the movement means.

64. A shooting device as claimed in claim 62, wherein the locking bar is moved between said live and safe positions by a solenoid.

65. A shooting device as claimed in claim 64, wherein the distal end of the locking bar is connected to a metallic rod or similar, said rod projecting into a solenoid such that when a current flows in the solenoid, the rod is drawn further into the solenoid, thereby moving the locking bar from the safe position to the live position.

66. A shooting device as claimed in claim 61 wherein a power source is incorporated into the shooting

67. A shooting device as claimed in claim 55, wherein the shooting device is a paintball marker and the projectiles are paintballs.

68. A shooting device as claimed in claim 67, wherein the shooting device is a mechanical paintball marker.

69. A shooting device as claimed in claim 67, wherein the shooting device is an electric paintball marker.

70. A system comprising: a shooting device for firing a projectile and a remote control unit, said shooting device having a live mode wherein the device is able to fire a projectile and a safe mode wherein the device is temporarily inhibited from being able to fire a projectile; said shooting device comprises control means including means for receiving a signal from the remote control unit; and said control means being configured to switch the device between the live and safe modes on receipt by the signal receiving means of a signal from the remote control unit wherein the remote control unit is operable by someone other than the user of the shooting device to cause the control unit to transmit a signal to switch the shooting device between the live and safe modes.

71. A system as claimed in claim 70, said system comprises a plurality of said shooting devices, the system being configured such that all active shooting devices of the system within range of the remote control unit are switched between live and safe modes on transmission of a signal from the remote control unit.

72. A system as claimed in claim 70, said system comprising a plurality of said shooting devices, in which the signal transmitted by the remote control unit is addressed to selected individual shooting devices in the system such that only the selected shooting devices of the system within range are switched between live and safe modes on transmission of a signal from the remote control unit.

73. A method of remotely controlling the use of a shooting device, said method comprising the steps of: providing a shooting device having a live mode wherein it is able to fire a projectile and a safe mode wherein it is temporarily inhibited from firing a projectile; providing a control means within said shooting device including means for receiving a signal from a remote control unit, said control means being arranged to switch the device between live and safe modes in response to receipt by the signal receiving means of signals form the remote control unit; providing said remote control unit with a transmitter, the remote control unit being selectively operable to transmit a signal to switch the shooting device either from the safe mode to the live mode or from the live mode to the safe mode; and actuating the remote control unit to cause the remote control unit to transmit a signal to switch said at least one shooting device either form the safe mode to the live mode to enable the shooting device to be used or from the live mode to the safe mode to prevent the shooting device from being used.

74. The method as recited in claim 73, wherein said method comprises the step of enabling said remote control unit to be operated by a person other than the user of the shooting device.

Description:

The present invention relates to a shooting device switchable between a live mode in which the shooting device may be fired and a safe mode in which the shooting device may not be fired and in particular to such a shooting device wherein the shooting device switches between live and safe modes in response to remotely generated signals.

In a paintball game, players use paintball markers, typically styled to resemble firearms, to fire paint balls at their opponents. The paint balls are designed to burst on impact and thereby mark an opponent. A marked opponent is usually out of the game, and has to leave the playing area.

If the correct clothing and safety equipment is used including (full face and ear protection goggles), and people adhere to safety rules which they are informed of before play, then paintball is an enjoyable pastime with a very low risk of injury. However, if players do not wear safety equipment as instructed, remove safety equipment during play or ignore safely rules, then there is a risk of serious injury if play continues. For instance if a player were to remove their eye goggles during play and is subsequently hit in the eye by a paint ball, they could quite easily be blinded. In order to reduce this danger, present paintball markers have manually actuated safety switches which prevent them being fired when the switch is placed in the safe position. Players are instructed to put these switches into the “Safe” position immediately upon on hearing a signal ending the game.

Often, when a game is ended or stopped for any reason, some players may have a number of paintballs remaining and may for some reason be it excitement, failure to hear the end of game signal or otherwise, continue to shoot. This is the most dangerous part of any paintball game, because whilst these players continue to fire paint balls, other players may have removed their eye goggles assuming the game had finished. Paintball game operators must therefore either trust all their patrons to stop shooting immediately at the end of a game, or they must provide marshals to either personally check and actuate the manual safety switches on each individual marker or confiscate player's markers as quickly as possible at the end of a game.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a safer paintball marker.

According to the present invention there is provided a shooting device for firing a projectile, having a live mode wherein the device is able to fire a projectile and a safe mode wherein the device is unable to fire a projectile, wherein the device is switched between said live mode and said safe mode in response to signals received by a signal receiving means from a remote source.

In this manner, a paintball marker may be provided which can be switched from live mode to safe mode remotely. This allows, for instance, a paintball game operator or marshal to switch some or all paintball markers in use in a game to safe mode instantaneously when necessary, thereby reducing the possibility of injuries to players if other players continue to fire paintballs after the end of a game.

Preferably, the shooting device comprises a firing mechanism for firing a projectile, a barrel along which the projectile is fired, a handle provided for a user to hold the device and a trigger which activates the firing mechanism. The shooting device may additionally comprise a magazine adapted to store a number of projectiles and may further comprise means for automatically loading projectiles from the magazine into the firing mechanism.

Preferably, the shooting device is a paintball marker and the projectiles are paintballs, however the invention may additionally be adapted to switch other firearms between live and safe modes including but not limited to BB guns, shotguns, pistols and other handguns, machine guns, rifles, blank firing replica firearms, starter guns including starting pistols and similar, and crossbows.

Preferably the switching between live and safe modes is carried out by a switching means. Most preferably, the switching means is connected to the signal receiving means and the switching between live and safe modes takes place in response to control signals output by the signal receiving means.

Preferably, the signal receiving means is adapted to receive radio frequency (RF) signals. Particularly preferred RF frequencies are 315 MHz for use in the USA and 433 MHz for use throughout Europe. Other frequencies, for instance 816 MHz, may of course be used if desired or necessary due to licensing requirements or otherwise. In particular two or more different coded signals on the same frequency may be used if two paintball games are to be operated in close proximity to each other. Preferably the signal receiving means comprises an aerial and a processing unit operable to process signals received by the aerial and thereby output suitable control signals to the switching means.

Preferably a manually activated safety switching means may also be provided whereby the shooting device may be switched to safe mode manually, as well as remotely.

Preferably the switching means comprises an engaging element and a locking bar, the engaging element being spring biased and projecting toward the back of the trigger such that it engages with the trigger if a user attempts to pull the trigger and the locking bar being movable from a safety position wherein it locks the engaging element in position and a live position wherein it does not lock the engaging element in position. When the locking bar is in the live position, operation of the trigger causes the engaging element to engage the trigger; but sufficient force applied to the trigger will overcome the spring bias of the engaging element and permit full operation of the trigger, thus allowing the marker to be fired. When the locking bar is in the safe position, it locks the engaging element in position and prevents full operation of the trigger and thus prevents the marker from being fired.

In a preferred embodiment, the locking bar is moved by pivoting about one end, between a safe position and a live position: in the safe position, the locking bar extends substantially parallel to and alongside the engaging element, the distal end of the locking bar located such that it engages a sidearm of the engaging element, if the trigger is pulled; in the live position the locking bar is pivoted away from the engaging element, and is unable to engage the sidearm of the engaging element if the trigger is pulled. The movement of the locking bar between said live and safe positions is preferably controlled by signals output by said signal receiving means. Movement means are preferably provided to move the locking bar in response to said signals received by the signal receiving means. Preferably, the locking bar is spring biased such that it is maintained in the safe position unless a force is applied.

The locking bar may be moved between said live and safe positions by any suitable means however particularly preferred means of moving the locking bar are a solenoid, a servomotor, an electro magnet, or a metal nanomuscle, wherein a nanomuscle is comprised of a single piece or multiple layers of metal alloy operable to contract when an electric current is passed therethrough. A particularly preferred metal alloy for this purpose is that sold under the registered trade mark “FLEXINOL”.

In embodiments wherein the locking bar is moved by a solenoid, preferably the distal end of the locking bar is connected to a metallic rod or similar, said rod projecting into a solenoid such that when a current flows in the solenoid, the rod is drawn further into the solenoid, thereby moving the locking bar from the safe position to the live position. As the locking bar is spring biased, when no current flows in the solenoid, the locking bar returns to the safe position. Alternatively, of course any other suitable electromagnet may be used either to move a rod or other metallic article connected to the locking bar, or to move the locking bar itself directly.

In embodiments wherein the locking bar is moved by a servo-motor, the servo-motor is connected to the distal end of the locking bar by any suitable means such that the servo-motor is operative to move the locking bar from the safe position to the live position. As the locking bar is spring biased, when the servo-motor is not operated, the locking bar returns to the safe position.

In embodiments wherein the locking bar is moved by a nanomuscle, the nanomuscle is preferably attached to the distal end of the locking bar by any suitable means and contracts when a current is passed therethrough, thus moving the locking bar from the safe position to the live position. As the locking bar is spring biased, when no current flows through the nanomuscle, the locking bar returns to the safe position.

In each of the above cases the engaging element, the locking bar and the movement means the locking bar are preferably located in the handle of the shooting device. Preferably, the movement means are located below the engaging element and locking bar within the handle and are operable to move the distal end of the locking bar from the safe position down in to the live position.

In further alternative embodiments, it is of course possible to omit the locking bar and to use one or other of the movement means described above to control the movement of the engaging element directly.

Preferably, a power source is incorporated into the shooting device in order to provide power for the operation of the signal receiving means and the switching means. The power source is preferably a battery and most preferably a rechargeable battery.

Preferably, a visual indicator is provided which indicates whether the shooting device is in live mode or safe mode. In a preferred embodiment, the visual indicator is a tri-coloured light emitting diode (LED) one colour of which is lit to indicate that the shooting device is in live mode, another colour being lit to indicate that the device is in safe mode. Preferably the live mode is indicated by a green colour and the safe mode is indicated by a red colour.

Alternatively and or additionally, other indications of the mode of the shooting device may be provided. For instance a liquid crystal display (LCD) may provide information on the current mode of the device along with other information including not limited to, current battery power, current game time and or game time remaining, number of projectiles remaining or similar. In further possible embodiments the device may emit an audible signal indicating when the device switches between live mode and safe mode. The audible signal may be a tone, a repeating tone, a tone sequence, sampled speech or any other suitable audible signal.

Preferably, a control unit is provided operative to transmit an RF signal to the shooting device from a remote location and thus cause the shooting device to switch between live mode and safe mode. Preferably, the control unit is a handset operable to switch the mode of any shooting device within range of its signal. In alternative embodiments however the handset maybe adapted such that it addresses selected individual shooting devices and causes only the selected shooting devices to switch between live mode and safe mode.

It is envisaged that such control units may be provided to enable those running paintball games or other persons supervising the use of firearms to remotely switch a number of paint ball markers or other firearms between live and safe modes. In particular preferred embodiments, the control units will be provided with at least two control buttons, the first button when actuated, switching the shooting devices to live mode and the second button when actuated switching the devices to safe mode. Alternative embodiments of the control unit may have further control buttons if desired.

In a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the control unit has four control buttons and is used in conjunction with paint ball markers adapted to emit a sampled speech signal when switched between live mode and safe mode. In such an embodiment: actuation of the first button switches markers to live mode and causes the markers to emit an audible signal “game on” or similar; actuation of the second button switches the markers to safe mode and causes the marker to emit an audible signal “safety situation” or similar; actuation of the third button switches markers to live mode and causes the markers to emit an audible signal “play on” or similar; and actuation of the fourth button switches the markers to safe mode and causes the marker to emit an audible signal “game over” or similar.

The particular details of any or all of the above embodiments of the present invention may of course be adapted to enable such remote mode switching to be fitted to a wide variety of paintball markers and other shooting devices being of different sizes and having different layouts.

The foregoing has in general been directed to providing a mechanical paintball marker or shooting device which is remotely switchable between a live mode and a safe mode, however the invention may additionally be adapted to fit electric paintball markers as described above. Alternatively, as electric markers are fired by pulling a trigger to activate a solenoid to release the firing mechanism, the signal receiving means may be directly connected to this control signal and may be operative to control a relay to enable or disable its operation.

In order that the invention be more clearly understood embodiments of the invention will be described further herein, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1a shows a paintball marker, switchable between a live mode and a safe mode according to the present invention;

FIG. 1b is a more detailed view of the handle of the paintball marker of FIG. 1a showing the means for receiving control signals and consequently switching the paintball marker between live and safe modes;

FIG. 2 shows a schematic block diagram of the means for receiving control signals and consequently switching the paintball marker between live and safe modes;

FIG. 3 shows a control unit for transmitting control signals to switch the paintball marker of FIGS. 1 & 2 between live and safe modes;

FIG. 4a shows the relative positioning of an engaging element and locking bar used to switch the marker between live and safe modes when the marker is in safe mode;

FIG. 4b shows the relative positions of the engaging element and the locking bar during live mode; and

FIG. 5 shows four different means, which may be used to move the locking bar.

Referring now to figures 1a and 1b, a paintball marker 10 according to the present invention is shown. The marker 10 comprises a barrel 11, through which paintballs may be fired by a firing mechanism (not shown). A handle 12 is provided to allow a user to comfortably grip the marker 10 and a trigger 13 is provided, for activating the firing mechanism. A trigger guard 14 is also provided to help prevent accidental activation of the firing mechanism. A hopper 15 is also provided for loading the marker 10 with one or more paintballs.

The marker 10 is fitted with a switching means 20 operative to switch the marker 10 between two modes, a live mode in which the firing mechanism can be activated and a safe mode in which the firing mechanism cannot be activated. Referring now to FIG. 4, the switching means 20 comprises an engaging element 23 which projects from the handle 12 towards the trigger 13 and is movable towards and away from trigger 13, a locking bar 21 adapted to lock the engaging element 23 in a particular position and movement means 22 for moving the locking bar 21. The engaging element 23 is capable of sliding towards or away from the trigger 13 within a suitable housing 29 provided in the handle 12. The engaging element 23 is biased by a spring 25 such that if no external force is applied it projects from the handle 12 by a sufficient distance that it engages the trigger 13, if a user pulls the trigger 13. The locking bar 21 is pivotable about one end and may be moved by the movement means 22 from a safe position wherein it is located alongside the engaging element 23 to a live position wherein the distal end 27 of the locking bar 21 is pivoted away from the engaging element 23 in response to a force applied by the movement means 22. A biasing spring 26 is further provided which acts to retain the locking bar 21 in the safe position except when force is applied to the bar 21 by the movement means 22. The distal end 27 of the locking bar 21 is adapted to abut a sidearm 28 projecting from the engaging element 23.

In safe mode the locking bar 21 is in the position shown in FIG. 4a and thus if the trigger 13 is pulled, the locking bar 21 prevents the engaging element 23 sliding within the housing 29 thereby blocking the movement of the trigger 13 and preventing activation of the firing mechanism. When the marker 10 is switched to live mode however, the movement means 22 exerts a force on the locking bar 21 causing it to pivot into the position shown in FIG. 4b, if the trigger 13 is pulled now, the engaging element 23 slides within the housing 29 and spring 25 deforms allowing the firing mechanism to be activated.

The movement means 22 may be provided by any suitable means with four suitable embodiments shown in FIG. 5. In FIG. 5a, a FLEXINOL nanomuscle 51 is connected to the locking bar 21, the nanomuscle 51 contracting when an electric current is passed therethrough, thereby providing the necessary force to move the locking bar 21. In figure 5b, a one end of a metallic rod 52 is connected to the locking bar 21, the other end of the rod 52 projecting into the core of a solenoid 53. When a current flows in the solenoid 53, the rod 52 is drawn into the core of the solenoid 53 and thus provides the necessary force to move the locking bar 21 from the safe to the live position. Alternatively, as is shown in figure 5d, any suitable metallic article 58 may be connected to the locking bar 21 and be used in conjunction with an electromagnet 57 to provide the force necessary to move the locking bar 21. In FIG. 5c, the locking bar 21 is connected to one end of a rod 55 threaded onto the drive shaft 56 of a servomotor 54. When a suitable current is supplied to the servomotor 54 the drive shaft 56 rotates and consequently moves the rod 55, thereby providing the necessary force to move the locking bar 21.

In each of the above cases, current flowing in the movement means 22 thus equates with live mode and no current flowing in the movement means 22 equates with safe mode. In each of these cases, once the current is switched off, the locking bar 21 returns to the safe position under the influence of the biasing spring 26 This has the advantage that if the current supply fails the switching means 20 defaults to safe mode.

The marker 10 is switched between live and safe modes remotely by use of radio frequency (RF) signals. A signal receiving means 40 comprising an RF aerial 41 and a processing unit 42 is provided in the marker 10 to receive such signals. The processing unit 42 processes the signals received from the aerial 41. As is shown in FIG. 2, the processing means 42 is connected to the movement means 22 and is adapted to control the supply of current to the movement means 22 thereby controlling whether the marker 10 is in live or safe mode in response to the signals received. In some embodiments, a manually actuated switch may additionally be provided for switching the marker 10 between live and safe modes. In these cases however the processing unit 42 may override the manual switch if particular RF signals are received.

The processing unit 42 may in some embodiments be connected to indication means 16, 17 to provide a visual or aural indication of the mode the marker 10 is in or a visual or aural indication that the marker 10 has switched from one mode to the other mode. In particular, the visual indication may be provided by a tri-coloured light emitting diode (LED) 17, the LED being coloured red to indicate safe mode and green to indicate live mode. A loudspeaker 16 or other suitable audio signal generator may additionally or alternatively be provided in the marker 10 to generate an audible warning that the marker 10 has changed from one mode to another. The audible warning may be a tone or tone sequence or in preferred embodiments is a speech sample such as “marker live” or similar.

A power source 18 is also provided in the marker 10 to power the signal receiving means 40, indication means 16, 17 and the movement means 22. Typically the power source 18 is a rechargeable battery.

A paintball marker 10 of this type is suitable for improving the safety of paintball games. Players may be each provided with a marker 10 of this type and instructed in its use before proceeding to the playing area. At this time each player's marker 10 will be in safe mode. At a predetermined signal from a marshal play will commence. Along with signaling the start of play, the marshal will transmit an RF control signal switching all the markers 10 to live mode. The players may then play as normal. At the end of the game or if the game needs to be stopped for any other reason the marshal can use a predetermined signal to stop the game and additionally transmit an RF control signal to the markers 10 which switches all of the markers 10 to safe mode. This prevents any players firing when the game has ended or is paused for any reason.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a control unit 30 is shown which a marshal may use to transmit control signals to one or more markers 10. The control unit 30 comprises an RF transmitting aerial 31, control buttons 32-35, and additionally suitable transmitting, processing, and control circuitry (not shown) is provided within the control unit 30.

In a preferred embodiment, the marshal starts a game by use of a bell, whistle, siren or other suitable signal to the players and presses control button 32 which causes the control unit 30 to transmit a control signal to each marker 10, switching all the markers 10 to live mode. Each marker 10 may indicate this to the player by playing a recorded speech sample of “game on” or similar, and or turning the tri coloured LED 17 to green.

To end the game the marshal uses a prearranged end signal to the players and presses control button 33 causing the control unit 30 to transmit a control signal switching each marker 10 to safe mode. Each marker 10 may indicate this to the player by playing a recorded speech sample of “game over” or similar, and or turning the tri coloured LED 17 to red.

If during a game a safety or other incident occurs requiring the game to be stopped immediately, the marshal can pause the game using a prearranged signal to the players and pressing control button 34 causing the control unit 30 to transmit a control signal switching each marker 10 to safe mode. Each marker 10 may indicate this to the player by playing a recorded speech sample of “safety situation” or similar, and or turning the tri coloured LED 17 to red. The markers 10 may continue to play the recorded speech sample at regular intervals until the marshal has investigated the incident and decided whether the game can safely be resumed or not. If the game cannot be safely resumed the marshal ends the game as described previously by using the prearranged signal and pressing control button 33. If however the game may be safely resumed the marshal indicates this by using a prearranged signal and pressing control button 35 causing control unit 30 to transmit a control signal to each marker 10, switching all the markers 10 to live mode. Each marker 10 may indicate this to the player by playing a recorded speech sample of “play on” or similar, and or turning the tri coloured LED 17 to green.

It is of course possible to provide such a control unit 30 with control buttons 32 and 35 only if desired. Either this control unit 30 or any similar control unit with more or less buttons may be used, and markers that do not have indication means or only use simple visual or tonal indication means if desired.

In other embodiments of the invention, the processing unit 42 in each marker 10 may be programmed with a unique identification (code) number. This would allow a marshal to switch particular markers 10 to safe mode individually if necessary.

In a further embodiment of the invention, safe areas are provided near the paintball playing area for reloading markers 10, resting, or waiting for particular games to finish etc. In such safety areas a low power automatic RF transmitter may be provided, typically at the center of the safety zone and having a range which substantially covers the safety zone but no further. Such a transmitter unit transmits a control signal at regular intervals switching all markers 10 within its range to safe mode. The markers 10 may indicate this by playing a recorded speech sample “safety area” or similar. Typically when the marker 10 passes through a predetermined area leading back to the playing area the marker 10 may be allowed to revert to live mode again and indicate this by playing a recorded speech sample “game on” or similar.

The above described technology may additionally be used on firing ranges. A control unit 30 can be used by a firing range superintendent to activate or make safe any firearms in use on the range as the situation demands. A transmitter unit may also be provided by an exit of the firing range to switch all firearms leaving the range to automatically switch to safe mode.

It is of course to be understood that the invention is not intended to be restricted to the details of the above embodiment which is described by way of example only. In particular it should be understood that the invention has been described mainly in relation to paintball markers but the invention may of course be adapted to other types of firearm.