Title:
Gun-Holstering Ballistic-Shielding Briefcase
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A briefcase is disclosed that is adapted for holstering a gun, as well as for providing an interior space for other items and for providing ballistic protection to a user. The briefcase includes a pair of oppositely disposed five-sided hinged case halves. A pair of case locks may be included in a handle so as to maintain the briefcase in the closed position until the locks are disengaged. A gun holster includes an elongated rigid door flap that is pivotally attached at one end thereof proximate to one short end of an elongated door aperture formed in one side edge of one case half. The door flap is fixed to one side of a gun pocket, the other side of which is fixed to an elongated inner wall that is pivotably attached to the briefcase. In a closed position, the outer surface of the door flap is substantially flush with an outer surface of the briefcase. In an open position, the gun pocket and the door flap extend outwardly therefrom, the gun being presented in the gun holster outside of the briefcase and readily accessible for use. A plurality of ballistic shields may be included, each shield for mounting against the largest interior side of each case half via a mounting means. As such, the briefcase may also be used as a ballistic shield when the briefcase is in its fully open position.



Inventors:
Shane, Fred (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/466743
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUICKPATENTS (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A briefcase for holstering a gun and containing other items, comprising: a pair of oppositely disposed five-sided case halves each hinged together at corresponding sides thereof, the sixth and open side of each of the two case halves coming together when the briefcase is in a closed position to define a substantially closed interior space; a gun holster comprising an elongated door flap pivotally attached at one end thereof proximate to one end of an elongated door aperture formed in one side edge of one of the case halves, the door flap including an outer surface and an inner surface, the inner surface fixed to one side of a gun pocket, the other side of the gun pocket fixed to an elongated inner wall that is pivotably attached at one end thereof proximate to the one end of the elongated door aperture; whereby with the gun holstered in the gun holster, the door flap in a closed position such that the outer surface thereof is substantially flush with an outer surface of the one case half, and with the briefcase in the closed position, the door flap may be placed in an open position such that the door flap, gun, and inner wall all pivot outwardly to present the holstered gun for ready access.

2. The briefcase of claim 1 wherein the one end of the elongated door aperture is one of the short ends thereof.

3. The briefcase of claim 1 wherein the one side edge of one of the case halves is adjacent to the sixth and open side of the one of the case halves.

4. The briefcase of claim 1 further including a rigid, arcuate guide track projecting inwardly from the one side edge of the one case half, the arc of the arcuate guide track having a focal point generally coincident to a pivot point of the door flap and the inner wall, the guide track and an arcuate guide aperture formed therein and capturing a guide pin fixed to and projecting laterally from the inner wall, such that the inner wall and the gun holster are guided in their pivoting movement from their closed position to their open position.

5. The briefcase of claim 1 further including a handle means formed in one side edge of the one case half opposite the hinged side, the briefcase further including a door latch actuator adjacent the handle, the door latch actuator comprising a spring-biased button that is mechanically connected to a door latch fixed adjacent the gun holster, such that a person carrying the briefcase with a hand may depress the button of the door latch actuator to allow the gun holster to assume its open position.

6. The briefcase of claim 5 wherein the gun holster is spring biased to assume the open position, whereby upon actuation of the door latch actuator the gun holster springs out into the open position.

7. The briefcase of claim 1 wherein the gun pocket further includes at least one flexible strap and the inner wall and the door flap may pivot independently, whereby with the gun pocket empty the gun holster may be placed into a collapsed position to increase the volume of the closed interior space available for the other items.

8. The briefcase of claim 5 further including a pair of case locks, such that with the briefcase in the closed position the case locks may be engaged to keep the briefcase in the closed position, and such that with the case locks disengaged the briefcase halves may be pivoted with respect to each other to open the briefcase.

9. The briefcase of claim 8 wherein each case lock further includes a combination lock means to prevent disengagement of the lock unless a pre-set combination is displayed.

10. The briefcase of claim 8 wherein each case lock further includes a key lock means to prevent disengagement of the lock unless a pre-set key is engaged therewith.

11. The briefcase of claim 1 further including a plurality of ballistic shields, each shield for mounting against a large interior side of each case half with a mounting means, whereby the briefcase may be used as a ballistic shield when the briefcase is in an open position.

12. The briefcase of claim 11 wherein the mounting means is at least one ballistic shield fastener that cooperate with at least one aperture in each case half.

13. The briefcase of claim 6 wherein a coil spring is included adjacent a pivot of the door flap and the inner wall, the spring force being adjustable via a spring force adjustment means adjacent the coil spring.

14. The briefcase of claim 7 wherein the flexible strap includes a length adjustment means and wherein the inner wall of the gun holster is larger than the elongated door aperture, such that the extent to which the door flap extends outwardly from the case half when in the open position may be adjusted by the flexible strap length adjustment means.

15. The briefcase of claim 11 further including an open locking means adjacent to at least one hinge means of at least one of the case halves, whereby when the case is in a fully open position such that the ballistic shields achieve substantially coplanar alignment, the open locking means may be actuated to keep the case in the fully open position.

16. The briefcase of claim 15 further including an interior handle located adjacent to at least one hinge means of at least one of the case halves, whereby the briefcase may be held from the interior handle with the briefcase locked in the fully open position.

17. The briefcase of claim 5 further including an interior handle located opposite the handle means of the one side edge of the one case half, whereby the briefcase may be held from the interior handle when the briefcase is locked in the fully open position.

18. The briefcase of claim 15 wherein the hinge means includes a detent for at least temporarily halting the opening of the briefcase when one of the case halves becomes substantially orthogonal to the other case half.

19. The briefcase of claim 11 wherein at least one of the ballistic panels includes a ballistic window co-aligned with a window pane formed in at least one of the case halves.

20. The briefcase of claim 11 wherein the mounting means comprises at least one hook-and-loop type strap such that each ballistic shield may be removed from the briefcase and secured with the hook-and-loop type strap to an object.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to briefcases, and more particularly to a gun-holstering ballistic-shielding briefcase.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Police, military, and other armed personnel must sometimes have a discrete means of concealing a weapon. One such means is inside of a briefcase, and several prior art devices have been devised to accommodate the storage of and ready presentation of a firearm. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,671,830 to Wood on Sep. 30, 1997 discloses such a device, wherein a secret holster-containing compartment in an otherwise ordinary looking briefcase can be opened to facilitate quick deployment of a gun. Likewise, US Patent Application 2004/0163913 to Tschudy on Aug. 26, 2004 teaches a similar device.

The Tschudy device, however, includes a smaller compartment that has certain advantages over the Wood device. For instance, as the compartment door is smaller than one entire side of the briefcase, the Tschudy device can present the gun in a less-obvious manner than the Wood device, which requires considerably more special clearance for the side of such a device can be fully opened. Further, the Wood device dedicates an entire side of the briefcase to the storage and presentation of a handgun, far more volume than is actually necessary.

Likewise, the Tschudy device dedicates at least 40% of one side of the briefcase to the storage of the firearm, which, if a firearm is not being carried, effectively reduces the amount of space inside such a case for other items. Moreover, since the spring-loaded door on the Tschudy device is on a larger side panel of the briefcase, that side is not available for use as a ballistic shield. Further, the Tschudy device does not present the firearm in an orientation that is most easily grasped by the user, as does a standard belt holster.

Clearly, then, there is a need for a briefcase that allows for a concealed weapon to be presented in an emergency to its user in a subtle fashion, and allows for the briefcase to be opened fully and locked so that it can be used as a ballistic shield. Such a needed device would allow the interior volume in the briefcase to be maximized and used for other items when the briefcase was not being used to conceal a weapon. Further, such a needed device would allow for adjustments of the spring force on a spring-loaded door so as to optimally set the spring force for the weight of any particular firearm be used therewith. Such a device would be, at first glance, an ordinary briefcase, with a gun holster door latch button being visually concealable if desired. The gun holster door of such a device would be subtly blended into one of the short sides of the briefcase so as to be less conspicuous, and such a gun holster door would present the firearm in an emergency in an orientation that is more easily grasped and from which is quicker to deploy than those devices of the prior art. The present invention accomplishes these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a briefcase that is adapted for holstering a gun, as well as providing an interior space for other items and providing ballistic protection to a user. The briefcase includes a pair of oppositely disposed five-sided hinged case halves. A pivotable handle is fixed to one side edge of one case half. The sixth, open side of each of the two case halves come together when the briefcase is in a closed position to define a substantially closed interior space.

A pair of case locks may be included in the handle such that with the briefcase in the closed position the case locks may be engaged to keep the briefcase in the closed position. With the case locks disengaged, the briefcase halves may be pivoted away from each other so that the briefcase may assume its open position.

A gun holster comprises an elongated rigid door flap that is pivotally attached at one end thereof proximate to one short end of an elongated door aperture formed in one side edge of one case half, preferably the one side edge being a shorter and adjacent side to the sixth, open side. The door flap is pivotally attached to the one case half. The door flap includes an outer surface and an inner surface, the inner surface 150 being fixed to one side of a gun pocket. The other side of the gun pocket is fixed to an elongated inner wall that is pivotably attached at one end thereof proximate to the one short end of the door aperture.

In a closed position of the gun holster, the outer surface of the door flap is substantially flush with an outer surface of the one case half. In an open position, the inner wall, which is larger than the door aperture, contacts, and is limited in its travel by, the one case half, the gun pocket and the door flap extending outwardly therefrom. As such, the gun is presented in the gun holster outside of the briefcase, the gun being readily accessible for use. A door latch actuator is formed adjacent to the handle and, in an actuated position, allows for the gun holster to assume its spring-biased open position. In a non-actuated position the door latch actuator maintains the gun holster in its closed position.

A plurality of ballistic shields may be included, each shield for mounting against the largest interior side of each case half via a mounting means. As such, the briefcase may be used as a ballistic shield when the briefcase is in its fully open position. An interior handle may be further included with the briefcase, such that the briefcase in the open position may be held with one hand thereby, the interior handle being shielded by at least one of the ballistic shields.

The present invention is a briefcase that allows for a concealed weapon to be presented in an emergency to its user in a subtle fashion, and allows for the briefcase to be opened fully and locked so that it can be used as a ballistic shield. The present device allows the interior volume in the briefcase to be maximized and used for other items when the briefcase was not being used to conceal a weapon. Further, the present invention allows for adjustment of the spring force on the holster so as to optimally set the spring force for the weight of any particular firearm be used therewith. Such a device is, at first glance, an ordinary briefcase, with a gun holster door latch button being visually concealable if desired. The door flap of the present device may be subtly blended into one of the short sides of the briefcase so as to be less conspicuous, and its gun holster presents the firearm to the user in an orientation that is more easily grasped and from which is more quickly deployed than those devices of the prior art. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a briefcase of the present invention, illustrating the briefcase in an open position and a gun holster of the briefcase in a closed position;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the invention, illustrating the briefcase in a closed position;

FIG. 3 is a right-side elevational view of the invention, illustrating a gun holster door flap in the closed position;

FIG. 4 is a right-side elevational view of one of the case halves;

FIG. 5 is a partially cut-away front elevational view, illustrating the gun holster in an open position;

FIG. 6 is a partially cut-away front elevational view, illustrating the gun holster in a collapsed position;

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view of the briefcase in different positions, illustrating detent positions of each hinge.

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of one hinge; and

FIG. 9 is a close-up elevational view of the invention, illustrating in more detail the hinge and a portion of the briefcase in the closed position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is a briefcase 10 (FIG. 1) that is adapted for holstering a gun 20, as well as providing an interior space 70 for other items (not shown) and providing ballistic protection to a user. The briefcase 10 includes a pair of oppositely disposed five-sided case halves 30, each being hinged together at corresponding sides 40 thereof with a pair of hinges 45. Each case half 30 is preferably made from a rigid plastic, composite, or metal material as is known in the art. A handle means, such as a pivotable handle 270, is fixed to one side edge 280 of one case half 130, the one side edge 280 being opposite the cooperating edge 40 of the one case half 130 (FIG. 4).

The sixth, open side 50 of each of the two case halves 30 come together when the briefcase 10 is in a closed position 60 (FIG. 2) to define the substantially closed interior space 70. A pair of case locks 340 may be included in the handle means such that with the briefcase 10 in the closed position 60 the case locks 340 may be engaged to keep the briefcase 10 in the closed position 60. With the case locks 340 disengaged, the briefcase halves 30 may be pivoted away from each other so that the briefcase 10 may assume its open position 65. Combination locks 342 or key locks 344 may be included in the case locks 340 so that only users dialing the correct combination or inserting the proper key, respectively, may open the briefcase 10 (FIG. 2). Such a combination lock 342 and key lock 344 are commonly known in the art, and any such suitable such locking means, or other locking means, may be used herein.

A gun holster 80 comprises an elongated rigid door flap 90 (FIG. 5) that is pivotally attached at one end 100 thereof proximate to one short end 230 of an elongated door aperture 110 formed in one side edge 120 of one case half 130, preferably the one side edge 120 being a shorter and adjacent side to the sixth, open side 50. The door flap 90 is pivotally attached to the one case half 130 at a pivot point 250 via a pivot 410. The door flap 90 includes an outer surface 140 and an inner surface 150, and the inner surface 150 is fixed to one side 160 of a gun pocket 170. The other side 180 of the gun pocket 170 is fixed to an elongated inner wall 190 that is pivotably attached at one end 200 thereof proximate to the one short end 230 of the door aperture 110.

A rigid, arcuate guide track 240 projects inwardly from the one side edge 120 of the one case half 130 and has a focal point generally coincident to the pivot point 250 of the door flap 90 and the inner wall 190. The guide track 240 has an arcuate guide aperture 245 formed therein which captures a guide pin 260 that is fixed to and projects laterally from the inner wall 190, such that the inner wall 190 and the gun holster 80 are guided in their pivoting movement from their closed position 210 (FIG. 1) to their open position 215 (FIG. 5).

In a closed position 210 of the gun holster 80, the outer surface 140 of the door flap 90 is substantially flush with an outer surface 220 of the one case half 130. In an open position 215, the inner wall 190, which is larger than the door aperture 110, contacts the one case half 130 proximate the door aperture 110, the gun pocket 170 and the door flap 90 extending outwardly therefrom. As such, the gun 20 is presented in the gun holster 80 outside of the briefcase 10, the gun 20 being readily accessible for use.

A door latch actuator 290 is formed adjacent to the handle 270 and includes a spring-biased button 300 that is mechanically connected through a mechanical linkage 305 to a door latch 310. A door latch actuator cover 295 may be included that slides over and covers the door latch actuator 290 when it is desired to shield from sight the door latch actuator 290. The actuator cover 295 is preferably made from the same material as the handle 270 and appears to be a part thereof. The door latch 310 is fixed adjacent to the door flap 90 and in an actuated position allows for the gun holster 80 to assume its open position 215. In a non-actuated position the door latch 310 maintains the gun holster 80 in its closed position 210.

Further, the gun holster 80 may be spring biased to assume the open position 215, such as through a coil spring 400 fixed adjacent to the pivot 410 of the door flap 90 and the inner wall 190. The spring force of the coil spring 400 may be adjustable through a spring force adjustment means, such as a knob 420 that tightens or loosens the spring 400 against the door flap 90 with respect to the one case half 130.

As such, with the knob 420 set so as to forcefully propel the door flap 90 open against the weight of the gun 20, and upon depressing the spring-biased button 300 to cause the door latch 310 to assume its actuated position, the door flap 90 is released and the coil spring 400 forces the gun holster 80 into its open position 215, the inner wall 190 stopping the extension of the gun holster 80 at a desired point sufficient for complete extension of the gun 20 through the door aperture 110. In this regard, the gun pocket 170 may further include at least one flexible strap 320 and at least one length adjustment means, such as a strap cam lock 430 (FIG. 5), thereby allowing the distance between the inner wall 190 and the door flap 90 to be adjustably selected based on the size of the gun 20, and thereby defining a maximum distance between the inner wall 190 and the door flap 90, that is, the effective size of the gun pocket 170. As the at least one strap 320 is flexible, the minimum distance between the inner wall 190 and the door flap 90 may be essentially zero when the gun holster 80 is empty, the gun holster assuming a collapsed position as illustrated in FIG. 6. Accordingly, the inner wall 190 may be snapped into an essentially flush position with the one side wall 130, in substantially adjacent parallel alignment with the door flap 90, so as to maximize the interior space 70 when the briefcase 30 is not being used to carry the gun 20.

To return the gun 20 into the briefcase 30 and return the gun holster 80 into the closed position 210, the gun 20 may be inserted into the gun pocket 170 and the door flap 90 pushed into the briefcase 30. As such, the gun 20 presses against an optional internal gun spacer 195 to cause the inner door 190 to slide along the arcuate guide and into the interior space 70 of the briefcase. Upon contact of the door flap 90 with the door latch 310, the door latch 310 momentarily slides into its actuated position and then back into its non-actuated position, thereby capturing the door flap 90 and locking the gun holster 80 into its closed position 210.

In one embodiment of the invention, a plurality of ballistic shields 350 may be included, each shield 350 for mounting against the largest interior side 360 of each case half 30 via a mounting means 370. As such, the briefcase 10 may be used as a ballistic shield when the briefcase 10 is in its fully open position 65. Preferably the mounting means 370 includes at least one manually-usable fastener 380, such as a thumb-screw, for securing one of the ballistic shields 350 to one of a plurality of fastener apertures 390 of each case half 30 (FIG. 1). Each ballistic shield 350 may be rated for threat levels II through IV as measured by the National Institute of Justice, a part of the U.S. Justice Department. Each ballistic shield 350 may further include at least one flexible hook-and-loop type strap 490 (FIG. 1), preferably nylon, such that any one ballistic shield 350 may be removed from the briefcase 10 by unfastening each fastener 380 and then strapping the ballistic shield 350 onto a person or another object (not shown) and securing thereto with the strap 490. Further, at least one ballistic shield 350 may include a ballistic window 470, made from transparent polycarbonate or the like, and formed therein and aligned with a window pane 480 formed in at least one of the case halves 30 when the at least one ballistic shield 350 is fastened therein. As such, a person shielded by the ballistic shields 350 in the briefcase 10 may view the environment through the window 470 and the window pane 480 through the briefcase 10 without becoming exposed to potentially hostile projectile fire, for example.

In such an embodiment, the briefcase 10 may further include an open locking means 460 adjacent to each hinge 45, or integrated therewith, that locks the briefcase 10 in its fully open position 65, wherein the ballistic shields 350 of each case half 30 are in substantially coplanar alignment. The open locking means 460 may be a coil spring in each hinge 45 (FIG. 7), or a mechanical lock means for selectively holding each hinge 45 open, as is known in the art. Additionally, each hinge 45 may include a spring-biased temporary detent 465 that urges the case halves 30 each into mutually orthogonal orientation 63 (FIG. 7). Each hinge 45 is fastened to each case half 30 via a hinge screw means 43, or the like. As such, the briefcase 10 can be opened 900 as with normal prior art briefcase operation, or opened further into the fully open position 65, whereby the open locking means 460 may be actuated to maintain the briefcase 10 in the fully open position 65.

An interior handle 450 may be further included with the briefcase, the interior handle 450 located either on the other side of the one side wall 280 from the handle 270 (FIG. 1), or on the other side of the cooperating wall 40 from the hinges 45 (not shown), such that the briefcase 10 in the open position 65 may be held with one hand thereby, the interior handle 450 being shielded by at least one of the ballistic shields 350.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the briefcase 10 may be made with the gun holster 80 projecting not from the one side 130 but rather from the side 280 having the handle 270. The exact placement of the various components may vary as those skilled in the art may desire. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.