Title:
Paintball field garment and gas delivery system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paintball field garment with gas delivery system provides improved maneuverability and competitive advantages over prior art equipment. The invention features a gas supply system with a integrated conduit for the umbilical to reduce interference with the user and the environment. The garment also features a body armor system that deflects paintballs and reduces injuries from paintball impacts.



Inventors:
Putman, Claude Glen (Norco, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/899999
Publication Date:
03/12/2009
Filing Date:
09/06/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
141/231, 2/456
International Classes:
A41D13/00; B65B37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Claude Glen Putman (Norco, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An integrated battle garment and gas delivery system for paintball activities comprising; a hose assembly to provide compressed gas from a supply tank to a paintball gun, having a first hose, a second hose, a first connector for connecting to the supply tank of compressed gas, a second connector for connecting the first hose to the second hose, and a third connector for connecting the second hose to the paintball gun; and a garment having a conduit providing a pathway to guide the first hose of said hose assembly from the supply tank of compressed gas to the second hose.

2. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 1 where said garment includes deflective body armor.

3. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 1 where said conduit comprises a strip of fabric attached to the garment using stitching.

4. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 3 where said garment includes deflective body armor.

5. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 3 where said strip of fabric is looped to provide the pathway to guide the first hose.

6. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 3 where said strip of fabric is stitched above and below the pathway to guide the first hose.

7. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 1 wherein said conduit further comprises: a strip of looped fabric for forming a guide path for the first hose of the hose assembly; and at least one path of stitching attaching the strip of looped fabric to the battle garment.

8. The integrated battle garment and gas delivery system of claim 1 wherein said conduit further comprises: a strip of fabric for forming a guide path for the first hose of the hose assembly; a path of stitching above the guide path for said first hose of the hose assembly; and a path of stitching below the guide path for said first hose of the hose assembly.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

The present invention relates to the field of paintball battle game events and the equipment used for such activities. Paintball battles and war games are becoming popular recreational activities. In such events the players compete by seeking out and then shooting paintballs at opponents. The paintball is a round gelatin capsule filled with paint. A paintball gun using compressed gas is used to project a paintball at a target object which often is the opponent. The target object is often located at short distance away or up to several hundred feet away. Upon impact, the paintball outer covering ruptures, thereby releasing a quantity of paint leaving a visible mark. The mark is used to indicate a hit. The hit indicates that a player has been shot. Assuming that an actual battle or war occurred, the paintball marks indicate the player has been killed or wounded. As such, the players who have paintball marks in the mock battle event are thereby eliminated.

A common problem inherent in paintball activities includes the methods used to supply compressed gas to the paintball launching device. The launching device has the appearance of a small combat weapon such as a pistol, sub-machine gun, or assault weapon. The launching device also operates in similar fashion to a small combat weapon. The launching device shall also be referred to as the “gun” or “paintball gun”. In competitive paintball activities three methods are generally used to supply compressed gas to the gun to operate the mechanism that projects the paintball at a high velocity. The first method to supply compressed gas is to have the supply source of compressed gas inside the gun itself. The second method to supply compressed gas is to attach an external gas cylinder to the gun. The third method is to use a tank or cylinder of compressed gas and a high pressure gas hose that connects the tank to the gun. In this case the tank is often attached to an outer garment worn by the user. Each of the three methods of supplying compressed gas has advantages and disadvantages during the battle games or related events.

The first method to supply compressed gas to operate the mechanism is shown in FIG. 1, which is labeled “Prior Art”. FIG. 1 was obtained from FIG. 1 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,282, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,282 discloses a paintball gun 100 that uses a compressed gas cylinder 130. The cylinder 130 is often referred to as a CO2 cartridge (CO2 is the molecular formula of carbon dioxide, often pronounced as “see-oh-two”). The advantage of this compressed gas supply is the compact size of the cylinder. It is fully contained within paintball gun 100. There are no external obstructions to interfere with movement during its use in paintball events. The disadvantage of this supply method is that the number of shots is extremely limited. When the supply is exhausted, the cylinder 130 must be removed from the gun 100. A new full cylinder 130 must then be inserted into the gun. The cylinder must then be properly activated before the gun can be shot again.

The second method to supply compressed gas to the paintball gun or the launcher increases the physical size and weight of the gun. Often the cylinder is connected above or below the barrel of the gun. The cylinder of this second method often contains a larger supply of compressed gas than the method shown in FIG. 1. This means more shots can be fired without replacement of the cylinder. The second method is shown in FIG. 2 which is labeled “Prior Art”. FIG. 2 of was obtained from FIG. 1 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,819,609, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. In FIG. 2 an external compressed gas supply tank or cylinder 25 is attached to the paintball gun 200. The supply of compressed gas is larger than the internal compressed gas supply disclosed in FIG. 1. The advantage is that more shots can be fired and that no supply hose is required. However, the physical size of compressed gas supply 25 of FIG. 2 must have a reasonable size and weight. Otherwise, the handling of the gun becomes difficult. As such the attached tank has a limited supply of gas. When the supply of gas is depleted, the user must remove and replace the cylinder before the paintball gun can be used again in the ongoing combat activity. This is a distinct disadvantage in competitive events. The attached cylinder often interferes with swift movement of the paintball gun during the combat event. The cylinder can snag or collide with equipment or other objects in tight spaces.

The third method to supply compressed gas to the paintball launcher is to use an umbilical or hose from a compressed gas tank to the gun. The use of the hose or umbilical from the gas cylinder provides even a larger supply of gas to the paintball gun. FIG. 3, which is labeled “Prior Art” discloses the third method to supply gas to supply gas to the paintball gun. FIG. 3 was obtained from FIG. 1 of U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,611, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. In FIG. 3 the tank 28 may be detached from the paintball gun 300. Although the cylinder or tank 28 is external, the umbilical 32 still provides compressed gas to operate the gun 300.

When the tank 28 is detached, and a longer umbilical 32 is used, the tank can be placed on the back or hip of the user. The tank may then be placed within a backpack or attached to a utility belt. This provides an improved maneuverability than the second method when using the paintball gun. As such, the third method provides more compressed gas than the first method or the second method. The disadvantage of the third method is the umbilical or hose can be snagged or caught on objects during the paintball activity. In addition the umbilical has a limited range of movement by the user. Using a longer hose or umbilical extends the range of movement. However, the longer hose becomes more cumbersome to use and increases the likelihood of being snagged.

The fundamental problem of using paintballs is the high velocity at which the paintballs travel towards the target. If the target is a person, the impact is often painful. In some cases the high velocity impact produces welts, blisters and bruises. Under certain circumstances, the velocity of the paintballs produces even more serious injuries. To address this problem, some companies market protective body armor that reflects or absorbs the kinetic energy of the paint ball.

The protective garment is shown in FIG. 4, which labeled “prior art”. FIG. 4 was obtained from FIG. 1 of U.S. Pat. No. 6,745,400, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The protective garment 400 provides protection from impact of paintballs traveling at high velocity. The garment 400 of FIG. 4 also provides added utility during paintball activities by providing pockets and elastic loops. These pockets and loops allow attachment of the compressed gas cylinder, additional supply of paintballs, food and equipment. Various designs of paintball combat garments and vests have been developed by various companies.

The assortment of paintball guns, compressed gas cylinders, garments and other equipment still suffer from problems encountered during paintball activities. The problems include limited maneuverability when using an external tank attached to the gun, and using an umbilical to supply the compressed to the gun. The present invention disclosed in this specification shall address these problems. In addition, the present invention shall also provide competitive advantages during paintball games and events.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 discloses a prior art paintball gun with internal compressed gas supply. Labeled “Prior Art”, the diagram is FIG. 1 from U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,282.

FIG. 2 discloses a prior art paintball gun with external compressed gas supply. Labeled “Prior Art”, the diagram is FIG. 1 from U.S. Pat. No. 4,819,609.

FIG. 3 discloses a prior art paintball gun with external compressed gas supply using an umbilical or hose. Labeled “Prior Art”, the diagram is FIG. 1 from U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,611.

FIG. 4 discloses a prior art garment for paintball activities. Labeled “Prior Art”, the diagram is FIG. 1 from U.S. Pat. No. 6,745,400.

FIG. 5 discloses a block diagram of the claimed invention, which is an integrated field garment and gas delivery system for paintball activities.

FIG. 6 discloses an umbilical or hose gas delivery system of the claimed invention.

FIG. 7 describes a vest of the claimed invention which includes a conduit for the umbilical or hose gas delivery system.

FIG. 8 describes various embodiments of the conduit for the gas delivery system.

FIG. 9 describes the body or main section of the body armor.

FIG. 10 describes the arm section of the body armor.

FIG. 11 describes the head or helmet section of the body armor.

FIG. 12 describes the layers and components of the deflective section of the body armor.

OVERVIEW OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a plurality of improvements to the cited prior art and to other prior art equipment used in paintball activities. The invention improves the maneuverability of using the paintball gun while decreasing the likely hood of snagging or entanglement of the umbilical or supply hose. As such, the compressed gas supply is large, such as in the third method, and it allows even a larger supply of compressed gas to be used. The present invention also includes a protective garment that provides improved protection from the high velocity impact of paint balls. The present invention also provides a competitive advantage in paintball events. The invention has the option emulating body armor used by combat forces. This advantage allows the user to stay in the event longer and gain experience and confidence. Such an advantage is extremely useful for novice players. Likewise, these advantages shall also be employed by experienced players who seek a competitive advantage.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a system of delivering compressed gas from a storage tank or cylinder to the paintball gun using the garment worn during paintball battles and events. The invention utilized a special umbilical system that is specifically adapted to improve the maneuverability of the paintball gun. The invention includes a protective garment that is specifically adapted for the umbilical system. Together the garment and umbilical supply system operate in a cooperative manner to provide improved maneuverability when using the paintball gun. As such the invention is a special compressed gas delivery system as well as a protective garment.

The invention includes numerous embodiments. The best contemplated embodiment is described within this document. However, it will become obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that alternative configurations of the claimed invention can also be developed. Such alternative embodiments are within the scope and spirit of the present invention. As such, the claimed invention encompasses such other embodiments in addition to the specific embodiments of this document. Therefore, the claims are intended to include all obvious alternative configurations of the described invention.

FIG. 5 is a generalized block diagram of the invention. The invention is a integrated system 500 that includes a supply of compressed gas 510, an umbilical or hose assembly 520, and a battle garment 540 adapted to the umbilical or hose assembly 520. The integrated system 500 is intended supply compressed gas to a paintball gun 550 operated by the user 590. The umbilical or hose assembly 520, which is used along with the field garment 540, provides improved maneuverability to the user 590. This improved maneuverability is obtained while simultaneously reducing the risk of snagging or entangling the umbilical assembly 520. In addition the deflective body armor 560 is attached to the field garment 540 to provide a competitive advantage in paintball events.

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the details of a preferred embodiment 600 of the umbilical or hose assembly 520 of FIG. 5. The hose assembly 600 comprises a first high pressure hose 610 with a supply end 612 and a coupling end 614. The supply end 612 of the hose 610 has a connection 616 for connecting the hose to the supply of compressed gas 510 of FIG. 5. The coupling end 614 of the hose 610 has a connection 618 adapted to connect to a second high pressure hose 620. The second hose 620 has a coupling end 622 and a gas output end 624. The coupling end 622 of the second high pressure hose 620 has a connector 626 for connecting to the coupling end 614 of the first high pressure hose 610.

The first hose 610 of the hose assembly 600 is used to pass compressed gas from the compressed gas supply 510 of FIG. 5 to the second hose 620 of the hose assembly 600 of FIG. 6. The first hose of 610 is used to provide compressed gas that passes through the protective garment 540 of FIG. 5. The second hose 620 is used to pass compressed gas from the first hose 610 to the paintball gun 550 of FIG. 5. The first hose 610 is intended to follow a simple path, guided by a hose conduit in the garment. As such, this preferred embodiment of the invention uses a semi-rigid, non-coiled hose for the first hose 610 of the hose assembly 600. In addition a preferred embodiment also uses a coiled hose for the second hose 620 of the hose assembly 600. It shall be noted that the second hose could also be a non-coiled hose, yet having greater flexibility than the first hose 610.

The preferred embodiment of the hose assembly 600 uses compressed gas “quick disconnect” hose connections. The preferred embodiment also uses a shut off valve on the second hose of the compressed gas delivery system 600.

FIG. 7 discloses details of the preferred embodiment of the vest portion of the protective garment 540 of the integrated gas delivery system 500. The vest and gas delivery system 700 includes the body of the vest 710, the gas hose conduit 720 for the gas hose assembly 600 of FIG. 6, and attachment surfaces 740 for the deflective body armor 560 of FIG. 5. The body portion of the vest 710 includes a right shoulder support strap 712, and a left shoulder support strap 714. The vest 710 also includes utility pouches 750, a gas supply holding strap 764, and a gas supply support bra 762. The gas supply holding strap 764 and the gas supply support bra 762 are used to hold and carry the tank or compressed gas cylinder. The utility pouches 750 are used to carry paint ball ammo tubes that hold paintballs. In addition other items secured in the pouches 750 perhaps include water bottles, energy food, or communication gear.

FIG. 7 shows the right hand view of the body of the vest 710. The vest 710 comprises mesh material 730 and 731 similar to the mesh used in the vests worn by survey and highway crews. The mesh acts as a useful material surface and provides ventilation which is extremely important during the physical demands of paintball events. The vest 710 of FIG. 7 also includes islets and draw strings used to adjust the fit of the vest 710 to the thoracic region of the user 590. The top rear islet 770 of the right hand portion of the vest is identified in FIG. 7 as component 770. The vest shown in FIG. 7 shows 10 islets for the right hand side of the vest. A vest 710 of FIG. 7 having a symmetrical set of corresponding islets requires 10 islets on the left side. The islets are used along with the draw string 771 to firm up contact of the vest with the thoracic region of the user. Increased surface contact is achieved by pulling the ends 772 of the draw string 771 through the draw string clamp 773. The proper fit of the paintball garment provides a competitive advantage in paintball events.

FIG. 7 is used to show the essential claimed feature of the invention. The vest and gas delivery system 700 of FIG. 7 includes a gas supply hose conduit 720 attached to the fabric of the body of the vest 710. The conduit 720 comprises a fabric suitable to hold and secure the compressed gas supply hose 610 of the gas supply assembly 600 of FIG. 6. The conduit 720 includes an input or opening 722 and an output or exit 724 for the supply hose 610. This means of routing the hose around the user 590 provides the specific advantage of preventing snagging and entanglement of the hose during the paintball activity. The conduit provides the ideal means of supplying compressed gas from the supply container 510 around the user 590 to the paintball gun 550 of FIG. 5. The conduit 720 prevents entanglement of the hose 610 with other objects while routing the ample supply of gas in a comfortable and convenient way around the user. The conduit also prevents the supply hose 610 from being snagged or entangled on the user's arm, neck, clothing, or other equipment.

There is a plurality of embodiments for the conduit 720. In a first embodiment as shown in FIG. 8a the conduit comprises at least a single layer of fabric 810 that has stitching below and stitching above along the intended path of the hose 610 on the inside of the vest of the protective garment. A second embodiment of the conduit 720 is disclosed in FIG. 8b. The second embodiment comprises single layer of fabric 820 that is looped lengthwise with stitching applied to the top of the looped fabric 820 on the inside of the protective garment. A third embodiment of the conduit 720 is shown in FIG. 8c. This embodiment comprises a single layer of fabric 830 that has stitching below and stitching above the intended path of the hose 610 on the outside of the vest of the protective garment. A fourth embodiment shown by FIG. 8d comprises a single layer of fabric 840 that is looped lengthwise with stitching above the intended path of the hose 610 on the outside of the vest of the protective garment.

A simple tradeoff occurs for each embodiment of the conduit 720. When attached to the inside of the garment, the first hose 610 is more secure. However, there is a slight increase in contact pressure with the user along the conduit seam. When the conduit is on the outside of the garment the hose 610 is slightly less secure, but the contact pressure to the user 590 is reduced. The use of a bottom and top stitch along the path of the conduit provides improved security for the hose 610, but perhaps adds to the fabrication cost of the garment 700. Other embodiments for the conduit 720 are also possible. For example, a protective garment 540 includes the first hose 610 of the hose assembly 600 fully integrated into the garment, which then provides an optimal routing path and thus providing optimal security and comfort.

The present invention of the gas delivery system includes embodiments with protective body armor. This protective body armor has the advantages of reducing pain from paintball impacts and lowering the score of hits of opposing players. Both of these advantages improve the confidence of novice users and provide a strong competitive advantage for experienced players. The protective body armor is intended to emulate the function of combat body armor in the paintball activity.

The protective body armor 540 is used in the claimed invention 500. FIG. 9 is a drawing that discloses the main body region of the protective body armor 540. The protective body armor comprises multiple means for securing the body armor to the vest 700 of FIG. 7. The preferred embodiment of the invention has the multiple surfaces of the body portion of the body armor attached to the vest or jacket using a combination of Velcro (or similar product) along with fabric snaps as the means of attachment. The fabric snaps are essentially the same as or similar to the familiar snaps used on athletic jackets.

The main section of body armor 900 comprises of the following parts as described by FIG. 9. First, the individual body portion 900 of body armor 540 includes a first and second shoulder strap 942 and 944. The first and second straps include means for attaching the main piece of body armor to the vest 700 of FIG. 7. In the preferred embodiment of the invention the first and second straps 942 and 944 both include a webbed nylon strap along with attached Velcro or similar product and fabric snaps. The Velcro and snaps are used to securely fasten the main body armor 900 of FIG. 9 to the vest 700 of FIG. 7. The first strap 942 of FIG. 9 is fastened to the first shoulder strap 742 of the vest 700 of FIG. 7. Likewise the second strap 944 of FIG. 9 is attached to the second shoulder strap 744 of FIG. 7.

The main section of body armor 900 of FIG. 9 also includes the multiple fabric snaps 980 on the right and left hand side of the main piece which also attach to the corresponding snaps 780 of the vest 700 of FIG. 7. In addition other additional Velcro surfaces on the main body armor 900 attach to additional corresponding Velcro surfaces on the vest 700 of FIG. 7. The main body armor 900 also includes deflective surfaces at the right and left shoulder region 954 and 958 respectively. The main body armor includes deflective surfaces 950 for the thoracic and abdominal regions of the user 590. The main section of body armor 900 also includes right and left deflective surfaces 951 and 952 to protect the upper thigh regions of the user. The thigh armor 951 and 952 are shown as flaps. The main body armor 900 of has a camouflage outer surface as shown in FIG. 9.

The body armor also includes armor 1000 for the right and left arm as shown in FIG. 10. The body armor 1000 for the arms of user 590 includes a first and second strap 1010 and 1020 and a first and second cinch buckle 1030 and 1040. The straps and cinch buckles 1010, 1020, 1030 and 1040 are used to fasten the body armor for the arm 1000 to the arms of the user 590. The body armor for the arms 1000 include deflective surfaces and camouflage outer surfaces as shown in FIG. 10. The body armor also includes armor for the head or helmet 1100 as shown by FIG. 11. This body armor comprises deflective surfaces and camouflage outer surface as shown in FIG. 11

The preferred embodiment of the body armor deflective surface 1200 is shown by FIG. 12. The deflective surface 1200 of the body armor consist of the following layers. A durable cloth fabric 1210 used as an outer layer or envelope, a intermediate layer 1220 of medium density foam rubber, an optional zipper 1230 to allow removal of the foam rubber 1220, and means of attachment further comprising Velcro and garment snaps. It is possible to attach the individual piece 1200 to the garment using other means, including zippers, Velcro, double sided adhesive tape, or snaps. The intermediate layer 1220 of the individual piece of body armor 1200 comprises medium density foam rubber. It shall be noted that soft or hard foam rubber can also be used, but the medium density provides the best deflective properties. The outer layer 1210 of the individual piece 1200 of body armor 540 comprises a durable cloth fabric with a camouflage pattern. The individual pieces of camouflage fabric include zippers that facilitate removal of the foam rubber for washing the soiled fabric.

The disclosure of the invention describes an integrated body armor and gas delivery system for paintball activities. Numerous embodiments have been addressed including all best embodiments so far contemplated. However, others having ordinary skilled in the arts can adopt different embodiments by substituting equivalents for those means disclosed herein. As such this description of the invention should not be strictly limited to the means disclosed. Rather the scope of the invention includes all embodiments that recite on the appended claims.