Title:
Sling for automatic rifle to prevent injury by accidental discharge
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sling for an automatic rifle enables the rifle to be mounted on a first individual in action carry in an orientation which eliminates or significantly minimizes the likelihood that a second individual walking along side the first individual will be injured if the rifle accidentally discharges.



Inventors:
Gallagher, Richard N. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/444054
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
05/31/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
42/94, 42/85
International Classes:
F41C33/00; F41C23/02; F41C27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HELVEY, PETER N.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOD R NISSLE (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
Having described the presently preferred embodiments and best mode of the invention in such terms as to enable those of skill in the art to understand and practice the invention, I claim:

1. A method for a first individual to action carry an automatic rifle in an orientation that significantly reduces the likelihood the a second individual walking next to the first individual will be shot in the event the automatic rifle accidentally discharges while in action carry, the automatic rifle having a muzzle end, a stock end opposite the muzzle end, and a center of gravity intermediate said stock end and said muzzle end, the method comprising the steps of (a) providing a sling having a first end and a second end and shaped and dimensioned to extend in the action position from the stock of the automatic rifle over a shoulder of the first individual, across the back of the individual, and around the side opposite the shoulder to the automatic rifle; (b) attaching said first end of said sling to the stock end of the rifle; (c) determining the near center-of-gravity location at which said second end of said sling can be attached to the rifle so that in action carry the rifle assumes a vertically oriented balanced orientation at an angle from the vertical of less than twenty degrees; (d) attaching said second end of said sling to said near-center-fo-gravity location; and, (e) placing the rifle and said sling on the individual in action carry.

2. The method of claim 1 including the additional step of attaching an optical sight to the rifle intermediate the muzzle end and said attachment location.

3. The method of claim 1 including the additional step of attaching a target designator to the rifle intermediate the muzzle end and said attachment location.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein a shotgun is utilized in place of the automatic rifle.

5. A method for a first individual to action carry a shotgun in an orientation that significantly reduces the likelihood the a second individual walking next to the first individual will be shot in the event the shotgun accidentally discharges while in action carry, the shotgun having a muzzle end, a stock end opposite the muzzle end, and a center of gravity intermediate said stock end and said muzzle end, the method comprising the steps of (a) providing a sling having a first end and a second end and shaped and dimensioned to extend in the action position from the stock of the shotgun over a shoulder of the first individual, across the back of the individual, and around the side opposite the shoulder to the shotgun; (b) attaching said first end of said sling to the stock end of the shotgun; (c) determining the near center-of-gravity location at which said second end of said sling can be attached to the shotgun so that in action carry the shotgun assumes a vertically oriented balanced orientation at an angle from the vertical of less than twenty degrees; (d) attaching said second end of said sling to said near-center-of-gravity location; and, (e) placing the shotgun and said sling on the individual in action carry.

Description:
This invention relates to hand held weapons and slings for such weapons.

More particularly, the invention relates to a weapon—sling system to prevent injury by accidental discharge of the weapon.

In a further respect, the invention relates to a weapon—sling system to minimize the likelihood of injury by accidental discharge of an automatic rifle or shotgun.

The action carry of a rifle and sling is defined as the position of a rifle and sling on an individual in which the rifle extends muzzle-down across the front of an individual's body, in which the sling extends from the stock of the rifle up over the shoulder of the individual, across the back of the individual, around the opposite (from the shoulder over which the sling extends) side of the individual and back to a portion of the rifle that extends downwardly from the stock.

FIG. 1 illustrates the action carry of a prior art automatic rifle and sling, as shown in US Patent Application Pub. No. US2004/0188476, published Sep. 30, 2004. As is illustrated in FIG. 1, it is common practice to attach one end of a sling near the muzzle end of the rifle. This procedure has evidently been utilized for many years to attach a sling to a rifle. In the system illustrated in FIG. 1, the weight of the stock and middle portion of the rifle act to rotate the rifle in the direction indicated by arrow A. As a consequence, the rifle assumes a balanced position like that illustrated in which the muzzle of the gun is pointing at an angle B of about thirty degrees from the vertical. A balanced position or orientation of the rifle is achieved when the rifle, in conjunction with its sling, is not attempting to move on the individual's body. When the rifle is in a balanced orientation, any rotational forces acting in the direction of arrow A (when the individual is standing upright and still) are generally offset by forces acting in the direction of arrow C, and the rifle stays in the stabilized canted orientation it has assumed in the action carry.

A significant disadvantage of the sling—rifle system of FIG. 1 is that if the rifle accidentally discharges, it can inflict a serious wound on a second individual who is walking alongside the individual that has the rifle in the action carry. This problem has existed for many years in connection with the M-16/AR15 automatic rifle, and has been the cause of serious injuries, particularly during the Vietnam war and other conflicts. Lengthening the sling does not solve this problem. The cant of the rifle and propensity for injury persist.

Accordingly, it would be highly desirable to provide an improved weapon—sling system that would reduce the likelihood of injury by an accidental discharge of the weapon.

Therefore, it is a principal object of the instant invention to provide an improved sling—weapon system and method.

A further object of the invention is to provide an improved sling system for an automatic rifle, particularly an M16/AR15 rifle, that reduces the risk of injury by accidental discharge when the rifle is in action carry on an individual.

These and other, further and more specific objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those of skill in the art from the following detailed description thereof, taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view illustrating the action carry for a prior art automatic rifle—sling system;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating an automatic rifle—sling system constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating the mode of operation of the rifle—sling system of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view illustrating the action carry for the rifle—sling system of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a front view illustrating the mode of operation of the rifle—sling system of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a side view illustrating the mode of operation of the rifle—sling system of the invention; and,

FIG. 7 is a side view illustrating an attachment plate that can be utilized in conjunction with a shotgun.

Briefly, in accordance with the invention, I provide an improved method for a first individual to action carry an automatic rifle in an orientation that significantly reduces the likelihood the a second individual walking next to the first individual will be shot in the event the automatic rifle accidentally discharges while in action carry. The automatic rifle has a muzzle end, a stock end opposite the muzzle end, and a center of gravity intermediate the stock end and the muzzle end. The method comprises the steps of providing a sling having a first end and a second end and shaped and dimensioned to extend in action carry from the stock of the automatic rifle over a shoulder of the first individual, across the back of the individual, and around the side opposite the shoulder to the automatic rifle; of attaching the first end of the sling to the stock end of the rifle; of determining the near center-of-gravity location at which the second end of said sling can be attached to the rifle so that in action carry the rifle assumes a vertically oriented balanced orientation at an angle from the vertical of less than twenty-five degrees; of attaching the second end of the sling to said near-center-fo-gravity location; and, placing the rifle and the sling on the first individual in action carry.

Turning now the drawings, which depict the presently preferred embodiments of the invention for the purpose of illustration thereof, and not by way of limitation of the invention, and in which like characters refer to corresponding elements throughout the several views, FIG. 2 illustrates an automatic rifle—sling system constructed in accordance with the invention and including an M16/AR15 10 (or other desired hand-held weapon) having a muzzle end 12, a stock end 11, and a center of gravity G. The sling 20 includes strap 21 attached at end 22 to clip 23 and at end 24 to stock end 11 by strap 25 circumscribing end 11 and connected to end 24. Clip 23 is removably received by receiver 26. Strap 27 interconnects eyelet 31 of receiver 26 and eyelet 30 of connector 28. Eyelet 29 of connector 28 slides along strap 32 in the directions indicated by arrows F and H. Connector 28A of FIG. 3 can be substituted for connector 28. End 33 of strap 32 is fixedly attached to strap 25. End 34 of strap 32 extends through connector 35. End 37 of strap 36 also extends through and is affixed to connector 35. End 38 of strap 36 is stitched or otherwise affixed to strap 39. Strap 39 seats in and circumscribes the “Delta Ring” of the M16/AR15 identified by reference character 10. The Delta Ring comprises a inset circumferential groove. Receiver 41 slides along strap 38 in the directions indicated by arrows D and E. The greatest distance that receiver 41 can move along strap 36 is, however, limited, to less than about two and one-half inches, preferably to less than about two inches, and most preferably to less than about one inch. Strap 36 functions to maintain receiver 41 adjacent rifle 10 and adjacent strap 39. This is important because it stabilizes receiver 41 and facilitate reassembly of clip 40 with receiver 41.

Receiver 41 detachably receives clip 40. Clip 40 is secured to strap 27 by strap 43.

End 24 can be affixed to stock end 11 by any desired means. End 38 can be affixed to weapon 10 by any desired means.

Attaching end 38 of strap 36 to rifle 10 at the Delta Ring 44 (FIG. 3) is important. Prior art sling systems connect to a rifle at points closer to the muzzle end 12 and farther away from the center of gravity G of rifle 10. This causes rifle 10 to cant significantly in action carry, in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1. In the practice of the invention, it is important that end 38 be secured to rifle 10 at a position much closer to the center of gravity G, typically with six inches, preferably with five inches, and most preferably within four inches of the center of gravity. When end 38 is attached in this manner and the weapon is placed in action carry in the manner illustrated in FIG. 4 with strap 21 extending over the shoulder and around the opposite side of the individual, the longitudinal axis of the rifle is at an angle R from the vertical of less than twenty-five degrees, preferably of less than twenty degrees, and most preferably less than fifteen degrees. Provided, however, when rifle 10 is in action carry, it is preferred that the angle R in FIG. 4 functions both to minimize the likelihood that an accidental discharge can strike an individual walking or standing to the side of individual 50 and to minimize the likelihood that an accidental discharge will strike individual 50 in the foot. To this end, the angle R is preferably adjusted such that an accidental discharge in action carry normally will pass to either side of the foot 60 of the individual, but close enough to individual 50 to minimize the likelihood that the discharge will strike a person standing or walking near individual 50. It is possible that the center of gravity of a weapon can be altered by mounting auxiliary equipment on the weapon, by constructing the weapon with materials of differing density, or by otherwise altering the construction or configuration of the weapon. In such cases, the spirit and purpose of the invention are still achieved by mounting strap 36 on the weapon such that in action carry the weapon is at an angle from the vertical of less than twenty-five degrees, preferably of less than twenty degrees, and most preferably of less than fifteen degrees. As used herein, less than twenty-five degrees means at least one-tenth of a degree (i.e., 24.9 degrees) less than twenty-five degrees, less than twenty degrees means at least one-tenth of a degree (i.e., 19.9 degrees) less than twenty degrees, etc.

FIG. 6 illustrates the normal firing position of rifle 10 after a right handed individual grasps rifle 10 when rifle 10 is in the action carry, and then lifts the rifle 10 to the firing position of FIG. 6. In the event individual 50 wishes to transition rifle 10 to his other shoulder for firing, the individual removes clip 40 from receiver 41 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3. This permits connector 28 (or 28A) to slide along strap 32 in the direction of arrow F, which allows ready movement of rifle 10 to the transition position illustrated in FIG. 5.

In the event individual 50 wishes to completely remove sling from his person, individual simply grasps and squeeze clip 23 to remove it from receiver 26. Once clip 23 is removed from receiver, strap 21 can, as can be readily seen in FIG. 2, be permitted to fall free so individual can set down rifle 10 or otherwise position rifle 10 without movement of the strap around the body interfering with positioning of rifle 10.

FIG. 7 illustrates a C-shaped plate 60 that can, instead of strap 39, be engaged by an end 38A of strap 37. The opening 61 in plate 60 can be shaped to extend around the Delta Ring 44 of an M16/AR15, but, in the event the sling of FIG. 2 is utilized on a shotgun, is presently configured to fit around a barrel of a shotgun at a location which permits the longitudinal axis of the shotgun—when the shotgun is mounted on an individual in action carry in the general manner illustrated in FIG. 4 with strap 21 extending over the shoulder and around the opposite side of the individual—to be at an angle from the vertical of less than twenty-five degrees, preferably of less than twenty degrees, and most preferably of less than fifteen degrees. When the sling of FIG. 2 is utilized on a shotgun, strap 25 is configured to be mounted on the stock end of the shotgun, or, one end 24 of sling 20 is otherwise adapted to be secured to the stock end of the shotgun. Similarly, strap 25 need not be utilized to secure sling 20 to the stock end of a rifle. End 24 of sling 20 can, instead of or in combination with strap 25, include a clip or any other desired means to secure one end of sling 20 to the stock of a rifle or other weapon.

In use, a sling 20 is provided with a pair of ends 24, 38. One of the ends 24 is connected to the stock end 11 of an automatic rifle 10 or other hand-held weapon. The other of the ends 24, 38 is connected to an automatic rifle 10 at a “near center-of-gravity” point intermediate the muzzle end and center of gravity G of the rifle. The near center-of-gravity point at which end 38 is attached in order to achieve the desired angle R in action carry is selected such that angle R is less than 25 degrees, preferably less than 20 degrees, and most preferably less than 15 degrees, and, such that angle R preferably minimizes the risk that an individual 50 will be struck in the foot by an accidental discharge. The “near center-of-gravity” point likely can be determined with mathematical algorithms utilizing the center of gravity of rifle 10, weight distribution data for rifle 10, and/or other data. However, simple trial-and-error usually suffices and takes a limited amount of time. Trial-and-error is accomplished by attaching one end of a sling 20 to rifle 10 at end 11 and the other end of sling 20 at various points between end 12 and center of gravity G, and by, for each attachment point between end 12 and the center of gravity G, noting the angle R achieved when the rifle or other weapon is mounted on an individual in the action carry orientation. Attempting to mount sling 20 on a rifle or other weapon in action carry such that angle R is zero normally is, as would be appreciated by those of skill in the art, impractical. While angle R can, as noted vary, angle R typically is greater than ten degrees.

After end 38 and end 24 are attached, the rifle 10 and sling 20 are worn by an individual in action carry as illustrated in FIG. 4.

Quick release clip—receiver 23, 26 is large to facilitate operation thereof by a solider or other individual wearing gloves. Clip—receiver 23,26 has a width of at least three-quarters of an inch, preferably at least one inch, and most preferably at least one and one-half inches. Clip—receiver 40, 42 has a width of at least one-half inch, preferably at least three-quarter inch, and most preferably at least one inch.