Title:
Switch for the control of weapon mounted electronic assemblies, a weapon having a control switch and a method for using a weapon
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A switch assembly 250 which is selectively deployed upon a weapon 10 and which normally causes electrical power to be communicated to a visible energy emission assembly 252 from a source of electrical power and which requires positive actions to interrupt such communication. A method of using switch assembly 250 is also provided.



Inventors:
Nudyke, Richard (Van Nuys, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/974778
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
10/16/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F41G1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, STEPHEN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniel M. Cislo (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A weapon switch assembly for controlling a selectively energizable emission assembly, comprising: a body portion; a first control lever which is selectively coupled to a source of electrical power, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable emission assembly is interrupted; a second control lever which is selectively coupled to a selectively energizable emission assembly, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable light is interrupted; and a selectively movable disable portion which is selectively movable from a first position in which said selectively movable disable portion normally allows electrical power to be communicated to said selectively energizable emission assembly, effective to normally activate said electrically energizable light, to a second position in which said disable portion prevents communication of electrical power from said source of electrical power to said selectively energizable light, thereby effective to control said selectively energizable light.

2. The firearm switch of claim 1 wherein said movement of said first control lever requires a force to be applied to said first control lever.

3. The firearm switch of claim 2 wherein said movement of said second control lever requires a force to be applied to said second control lever.

4. The firearm switch of claim 3 wherein said second portion of said first control lever remains within said second position only if force is continually applied to said second portion.

5. The firearm switch of claim 4 wherein said second portion of said second control lever remains within said second position only if force is continually applied to said second portion.

6. A weapon switch assembly for controlling a selectively energizable emission assembly, comprising: a body portion; a first control lever which is selectively coupled to a source of electrical power, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable emission assembly is interrupted, and wherein said first control lever requires a force to be applied to said first control lever; a second control lever which is selectively coupled to a selectively energizable emission assembly, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable light is interrupted, and wherein said second control lever requires a force to be applied to said second control lever; and a selectively movable first disable portion which is selectively movable from a first position in which said selectively movable disable portion normally allows electrical power to be communicated to said selectively energizable emission assembly, effective to normally activate said electrically energizable light, to a second position in which said disable portion prevents communication of electrical power from said source of electrical power to said selectively energizable light, thereby effective to control said selectively energizable light; a selectively movable second disable portion which is selectively movable from a third position in which said selectively movable disable portion normally allows electrical power to be communicated to said selectively energizable emission assembly, effective to normally activate said electrically energizable light, to a fourth position in which said disable portion prevents communication of electrical power from said source of electrical power to said selectively energizable light, thereby effective to control said selectively energizable light;

7. A method of using a firearm in a left hand comprising the steps of providing a selectively energizable light assembly; mounting said selectively energizable light assembly upon said firearm; and causing said selectively energizable light assembly to generate light unless force is applied to a certain portion of said selectively energizable light assembly by a left hand.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein said selectively energizable light assembly comprises a selectively energizable light; a source of electrical power; and a switch that is coupled to said selectively energizable light and to said source of electrical power.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein said switch normally occupies a first position in which said source of electrical power is communicatively coupled to said selectively energizable light.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein said switch is selectively movable to a second position in which said communication is interrupted.

Description:

This application is a Continuation-In-Part application and claims the benefit of Original patent application Ser. No. 11/820,051 filed on Jun. 18, 2007.

GENERAL BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to a switch for the control of weapon mounted electronic assemblies, a weapon having such a control switch and a method for using a weapon and more particularly, to a switch which allows various types of dissimilar electronic assemblies which are operatively attached to and/or mounted upon a weapon to be selectively operated in an efficient and highly desired manner, effective to increase user safety and reduce the likelihood of inadvertent or unintentional injury or death.

2. Background of the Invention

A weapon, such as and without limitation a firearm, may include one or more electronic assemblies, such as a visible energy generating assembly, such as a light. Particularly, these visible energy generating assemblies are generally deployed upon the weapon (e.g., either as “originally provided equipment” or as an aftermarket or “add-on” accessory) in order to allow the user of the weapon to accurately view a person of interest (e.g., be able to identify if a real threat exists). Of course, such visible energy generating assemblies are particularly useful in dark environments in which a threat may not be readily and visually perceived.

While such weapon-mounted visible energy generating assemblies do selectively provide needed light or visible energy, such assemblies suffer from many drawbacks. By way of example and without limitation, these assemblies all require that the weapon user take some “positive action” in order to “switch on” or allow the visible energy emitting assembly to become selectively activated (i.e., the term “activated”, in this context, means a state in which the assembly selectively generates visible energy). Such positive action typically manifests itself in the required movement of a switch (such as a rocker switch or shuttle switch or a tape type switch) which causes electrical energy to be communicated to the visible energy emitting assembly, effective to allow the assembly to generate visible energy or to become “activated”. Thus, these prior visible energy generating assemblies are normally “deactivated”.

The required “positive action” undesirably adds a level of complexity to one who knowingly already faces a dangerous situation. That is, whether used by a soldier, police officer, or a citizen these visible energy emission assemblies are used when a perceived threat is present or potentially present. In the context of the existence of a very real threat, even professionally trained and well-practiced weapon users are hard pressed to skillfully employ the weapon. It is well documented that in such stressful situations, fine motor skills, such as those required to operate a weapon, rapidly deteriorate. Thus, requiring further action on the part of these individuals to energize or actually activate the visible light emission assembly further increases the already complex actions of properly operating the weapon and such additional complexity occurs at a time in which fine motor skills are deteriorating.

Further, since the consequences of failing to properly allow visible energy to be emitted from the visible light emission assembly are oftentimes deadly (e.g., the threat has not been identified in sufficient time to engage it), such increased complexity is very undesirable and actually increases the probability of death or injury to the weapon user or to an innocent or “non-threat” who is not correctly identified, by the weapon user, as a non-threat because of the decision of the weapon user to “shoot first and activate the visible energy emission device later”.

Thus, the existing requirement of the weapon user to provide positive motion or action to activate a normally de-energized energy emitting assembly (e.g., one which is normally in the “off” or non-energy emitting state) is undesirable and this undesirability is a common attribute to each of the existing switch assemblies which are currently utilized.

Additionally, many rocker switch implementations have an additional drawback in that they require constant force or pressure in order to allow desired energy to be emitted (i.e., requiring a constant amount of positive action) or require complex movement that requires a user to select one of three states (i.e., the respective states of constant “on”, momentary “on” or “off”), each of which is represented by a respectively unique position of the multi-position switch. Such complex operation, as described above, is undesirable and increases the likelihood of death or injury.

Further, the tape type switches generally suffer from additional drawbacks in that they typically comprise a flexible wire conduit which attaches to the body or switch housing of the energy emitting assembly and extend along the underside of a trigger guard of the weapon or firearm until it meets the intersection of the rear of the trigger guard and the top forward portion of the grip of the weapon or firearm (i.e., a front strap). A portion of the flexible wire conduit normally extends down the front strap and terminates in a membrane switch that is located on the front strap.

The placement of the membrane switch on the front strap requires that, in order to allow the weapon, such as a pistol, to be drawn from a holster without activating the energy emission assembly, it must be done only with the two smallest and weakest fingers of the user. This attribute not only compromises the weapon draw but also undesirably impacts the ability to assume a proper grip on the weapon which is critical to shooting accuracy. Further, the membrane switch is immediately adjacent (i.e., the membrane switch is separated from the trigger by about one-quarter of an inch) to the trigger and is operated in the same manner as the trigger (i.e., by a squeezing motion). Thus, it is quite possible that one may accidentally squeeze the trigger (e.g., causing the firing of one or more bullets) when it was intended that only the membrane switch was to be squeezed in order to just allow visible energy to be emitted. Thus, inadvertent death or injury of an individual may result.

Lastly, the tape type switch implementation is un-aesthetically pleasing and is not fully attached to the weapon, making it prone to “snagging” or damage. Yet further, the pressure switch embodiment provides a dimensional change in the grip area of the weapon and in those situations in which the pressure switch is used only on an “as needed” basis (i.e., attached to the weapon as needed), a user will encounter two distinct grips which add yet further complexity to the overall operation of the weapon and makes it difficult for a user to obtain a “consistent” grip on the weapon.

The present invention overcomes these and other disadvantages and drawbacks of prior and currently utilized weapon switches in a new and novel manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a first non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a weapon switch which allows for a weapon mounted energy emission assembly to be selectively controlled in a desired manner which overcomes some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of prior and existing switches.

It is a second non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a weapon switch which includes a new and improved switch assembly which overcomes some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of prior weapon switches, such as by way of example and without limitation those which are set forth above.

It is a third non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a method for using a weapon which overcomes some or all of the drawbacks which have been delineated above.

It is a third non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a visible energy emission switch assembly which allows visible energy to normally emanate from a weapon unless and until some positive action is accomplished.

It is a fourth non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a method for using a weapon in which light normally emanates from the weapon whenever the weapon is taken out of a holster.

It is a fifth non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a weapon switch which allows for a weapon mounted energy emission assembly to be selectively controlled in a desired manner by either hand of a user and which overcomes some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of prior and existing switches.

According to a first non-limiting aspect of the present invention, a weapon switch assembly is provided comprising A weapon switch assembly for controlling a selectively energizable emission assembly, comprising a body portion; a first control lever which is selectively coupled to a source of electrical power, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable emission assembly is interrupted; a second control lever which is selectively coupled to a selectively energizable emission assembly, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable light is interrupted; and a selectively movable disable portion which is selectively movable from a first position in which said selectively movable disable portion normally allows electrical power to be communicated to said selectively energizable emission assembly, effective to normally activate said electrically energizable light, to a second position in which said disable portion prevents communication of electrical power from said source of electrical power to said selectively energizable light, thereby effective to control said selectively energizable light.

According to a second non-limiting aspect of the present invention, a weapon switch assembly, for controlling a selectively energizable emission assembly, is provided and comprises a body portion; a first control lever which is selectively coupled to a source of electrical power, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable emission assembly is interrupted, and wherein said first control lever requires a force to be applied to said first control lever; a second control lever which is selectively coupled to a selectively energizable emission assembly, and which is selectively movable within said body portion to a second position in which said communication of said electrical power to said selectively energizable light is interrupted, and wherein said second control lever requires a force to be applied to said second control lever; and a selectively movable first disable portion which is selectively movable from a first position in which said selectively movable disable portion normally allows electrical power to be communicated to said selectively energizable emission assembly, effective to normally activate said electrically energizable light, to a second position in which said disable portion prevents communication of electrical power from said source of electrical power to said selectively energizable light, thereby effective to control said selectively energizable light; a selectively movable second disable portion which is selectively movable from a third position in which said selectively movable disable portion normally allows electrical power to be communicated to said selectively energizable emission assembly, effective to normally activate said electrically energizable light, to a fourth position in which said disable portion prevents communication of electrical power from said source of electrical power to said selectively energizable light, thereby effective to control said selectively energizable light;

According to a third non-limiting aspect of the present invention, a method of using a firearm in a left hand comprising the steps of providing a selectively energizable light assembly; mounting said selectively energizable light assembly upon said firearm; and causing said selectively energizable light assembly to generate light unless force is applied to a certain portion of said selectively energizable light assembly by a left hand.

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art from a reading of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, including the subjoined claims, and by reference to the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a weapon which includes an energy control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teaching of the preferred embodiment of the invention and shown being operatively deployed within the right hand of a user.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the weapon which is shown in FIG. 1 and further being shown as being operatively deployed within the right hand of a user.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the weapon which is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 but being deployed within a holster and held in the right hand of an individual.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the weapon which is shown in FIG. 3 after it has been removed from the holster.

FIG. 5 is a top sectional view of the energy emission control switch assembly which is shown in FIGS. 1-4.

FIG. 6 is a rear sectional view of the energy emission control switch assembly which is shown in FIGS. 1-5.

FIG. 7 is a view which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 6 but in which the energy emission control switch assembly being in the “on” or activated position.

FIG. 8 is a view in which the energy emission control switch assembly being in an “off” or deactivated position.

FIG. 9 is a view which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 5 but in which the energy emission control switch assembly being in an “on” or activated position.

FIG. 10 is a view which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 9 but in which the energy emission control switch assembly is in the “off” or deactivated position.

FIG. 11 is an unassembled view of the energy emission control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of the preferred embodiment of the invention and which is shown in FIGS. 1-10.

FIG. 12 is a top sectional view of a energy emission control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of an alternate embodiment of the invention and which is in the “on” or activated state.

FIG. 13 is a view which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 12 but in which the energy emission control switch assembly is in the “off” or deactivated state.

FIG. 14 is an enlarged top view of the combination of a light emission assembly and energy emission control switch assembly as shown in FIGS. 1-10, and which is shown as being fully deployed within the holster.

FIG. 15 is a view which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 14 but in which the combination of the light emission assembly and energy emission control switch assembly is partially removed from the holster.

FIG. 16 is a top view of an energy emission control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of an alternate embodiment of the invention but in which the weapon switch is in the “on” or activated state.

FIG. 17 is a top view of an energy emission control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of an alternate embodiment of the invention and which is shown in FIG. 16, but in which the switch is in the “off” or deactivated state.

FIG. 18 is a top view of a switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of an alternate embodiment of the invention and which is shown in the “on” or activated state.

FIG. 19 is a side view of a weapon which includes an energy emission control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of an alternate embodiment of the invention, which is shown in FIG. 18, and which is being deployed proximate to the trigger of the rifle.

FIG. 20 is a side view of a weapon which includes an energy emission control switch assembly and which is shown in FIGS. 1-10 and which is shown as being removed from a holster to provide for a “stealth draw”

FIG. 21 is a top view of a weapon which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 1 but in which the weapon is deployed on a surface.

FIG. 22 is a side view of a weapon which includes an energy control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teaching of an alternate embodiment of the invention and shown being operatively deployed for a left handed operation.

FIG. 23 is a top view of the weapon which is shown in FIG. 22 and further being shown as being operatively deployed within the left hand of a user.

FIG. 24 is a top sectional view of the energy emission control switch assembly which is shown in FIGS. 22-23 but in which the energy emission control switch assembly being in the “on” or activated position and provided for use by a left-handed user.

FIG. 25 is a view which is similar to that which is shown in FIG. 24 but in which the energy emission control switch assembly being in the “on” or activated position and provided for use by a left handed user.

FIG. 26 is a rear view of an energy emission control switch assembly which is shown in FIGS. 22-25 and which is shown with the switch in the “on” or activated state.

FIG. 27 is a top view of an emission control switch assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of another alternate embodiment of the invention and being shown for either a left-handed or a right-handed user.

FIG. 28 is a top view of an energy emission control switch assembly, which is made in accordance with the teachings of yet another alternate embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a weapon which is made in accordance with the teachings of the preferred embodiment of the invention. Particularly, while weapon 10, in FIGS. 1 and 2 generally comprises a pistol, it should be appreciated that the current inventions are not limited to any particular type of weapon or firearm (e.g., in this application these terms “weapon” and “firearm” are used synonymously to mean any device or assembly which selectively emits a projectile or other type of potentially harmful emission). Rather, the inventions are applicable to substantially any type of weapon or firearm and that the pistol which is depicted within the various drawings are done so for illustrative purposes only.

Further, as shown, the weapon 10 includes a barrel or projectile directing or emission portion 12 upon which is contained a visible energy emission portion 14 (e.g., such as a selectively activatable light assembly) and the visible energy emission portion 14 includes a weapon switch or switch assembly 16 having a selectively depressible or movable lever 30 which is made in accordance with the teachings of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

It should be appreciated that the weapon 10, except for the addition of the switch assembly 16 and perhaps with the addition of the visible energy emission portion 14, may comprise a conventional and commercially available pistol. Some conventional firearms may have as an “add-on” accessory the assembly 14 or may include the visible energy emission assembly (i.e., be actually produced at a factory with such an assembly 14).

It should be further appreciated that the visible energy emission portion 14 may comprise a selectively energizable light assembly, which may be commercially available and, by way of example and without limitation, may comprise a Surefire® model X200 light emission assembly. Thus, at the outset it should be appreciated that the switch assembly 16 may be used with existing weapons (e.g., those having a visible energy emission assembly) and may thus be selectively and operatively coupled to existing weapon visible light emission assemblies, such as the Surefire® model X200 which then may be operatively deployed upon a weapon. That is, the switch assembly 16 may be provided as “original equipment: (i.e., from the factory) with the weapon 10 or placed upon the weapon 10 in an “aftermarket” application. This non-limiting embodiment may therefore represent a “retrofit” application in which switch assembly 16 is made to be operatively coupled to an existing firearm which includes (e.g., which has an accessory or an integral part thereof) a visible energy emission assembly. Alternatively, the invention may equally comprise the combination of the switch assembly 16 and a new and improved visible energy emission assembly 14 and some non-limiting examples of such a visible energy emission assembly 14 may comprise an infrared emission assembly or substantially any other desired assembly which emits visible energy.

To understand the operation of the switch assembly 16 and the visible energy emission portion 14, reference is now made to FIGS. 5-11. Particularly, as shown, the switch assembly 16 includes a switch body 20 having a first interior “central” cavity 22 which includes electrically conductive and spaced apart material segments 24, 26, 27 (e.g., each of which may respectively comprise copper or substantially any other desired type of electrically conductive material). As shown in FIG. 6, material segments 24, 26, and 27 do not physically touch one another.

The switch assembly 16 further includes a selectively movable lever member 30 which is attached to the body 20 by a pin 32 and such attachment allows the lever 30 to selectively pivot about the pin 32 (e.g., pin 32 traverses and is physically embedded within body 20). Importantly, pin 32 allows lever member 30 to selectively move or “swing” toward and away from the first central interior cavity 22 along arc 3. The switch assembly 16 also includes a second pin 38 having a bulbous shaped head 42 and a shaft portion 44 which integrally terminates into and emanates from the head 42; and a spring 50 which receives the shaft portion 44. In the most preferred embodiment of the invention, the shaft portion 44 traverses the spring 50 and has an end 52 which is disposed within the first internal central cavity 22 (i.e., end 52 is opposite the bulbous shaped head 42). In one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the spring 50 comprises a compression spring with a force which ranges from about one to about three pounds and resides within a second internal cavity 60 which is formed in the body 20 and the second internal cavity 60 communicates with the first cavity 22. Importantly, the shaft portion 44 lies along a longitudinal axis 45, which passes through both ends of the cavity 60, and the spring 50 (i.e., the force exterted by the spring 50 normally) causes the bulbous shaped head 42 (absent some forced intervention) to be biased in close proximity to the lever member 30.

Further, as shown, upon the shaft 44 is placed conductive material 68 (e.g., the conductive material 68 is disposed along an axis 69 which is orthogonal to axis 45) and, in the most preferred embodiment of the invention, the spring 50 is normally positioned, as shown best in FIG. 8, such that conductive material 68 physically touches and is coupled to the conductive material 26 and 27 (e.g., the compression force of the spring 50 normally, in the absence of counter forces created by a user, causes material 68 to physically touch and to actually impinge upon the material segments 26 and 27) and further positions head in close proximity to lever member 30. Particularly, the impingement of the material 68 upon the material segments 26, 27 prevents the force exerted by the spring 50 from causing the pin 40 to exit cavity 60 along direction 4.

The switch assembly 16 further includes, in one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, a disable rotary switch assembly 70 which includes a shaft portion 72 which is disposed within and traverses through a third internal cavity 74 which is formed in the switch body portion 20 and which communicates with cavity 22. Shaft 72 includes conductive material 80 which is attached to and which protrudes from the portion 72 which is operatively and normally deployed within the first cavity 22. The disable switch assembly 70 further includes a second portion 84 which includes a cavity 81 which receives and into which portion 72 may integrally terminate. Particularly, the received portion 72 may selectively rotate within the cavity 81 along arc 91. Portion 84 is operatively deployed on the outermost surface 86 of the body 20.

As is shown perhaps best in FIG. 7, the conductive material 80 is physically decoupled or disconnected from material segments 24, 27 when the second portion 84 is placed in a first position (see, for example FIG. 6), thereby preventing the completion of a conductive path by material segments 26, 27, 24. This first position is achieved when, in one embodiment, axis of symmetry 89 of the cavity 81 is made parallel to segment 26. Rotating second portion 84 around arc 91 couples or connects conductive material segments 80, 24, and 27, thereby allowing a full conductive path to be achieved by conductive segments 26, 68, 27, 24, and 80. (See, For example, FIG. 7) In this second position, axis of symmetry 89 is 45 degrees from the axis of symmetry 91 of the first position.

In operation, as best shown in FIG. 7, the spring member 50 compressibly biases the shaft member 44 such that conductive material 68 is physically coupled to conductive material segments 26 and 27 while the portion 72 is positioned such that conductive material 80 is physically coupled to the conductive material segments 24 and 27. Particularly, the conductive material 68 will both retain the shaft 44 against the compressible force of the spring 50 (e.g., by engaging material segment 26), and acts to restrain the spring 50 and shaft 44 within the body 20.

In this manner, electrical power is normally sourced from the battery or other power source 90 to the visible energy emission assembly 14 through the physically coupled conductive materials 68, 80 and the segments 24, 27, and 26 (e.g., an electrical circuit is “completed”) and in this manner visible energy, such as light, is normally emitted from the visible energy emission assembly 14 and thus the user of the weapon 10 need not have to perform the “motions” or other types of required positive actions associated with current and prior assemblies which are required to activate the visible energy; rather the visible energy emission assembly 14 is already and normally activated. The battery or power source 90 may also reside within the body 20 of the visible energy emission assembly 14 or attached to the body 20 and be removably connected and removed from the body or the surface of the body 20. In the event that the user of the weapon 10 determines that visible energy is not desired, then the user would selectively depress or otherwise move the lever 30 along arc 3 in the manner which is shown by way of example and without limitation in FIGS. 8 and 10, thereby ensuring that material 68 does not contact material segments 26 and 27.

That is, to prevent visible energy from being emitted from the visible energy emission assembly 14 (e.g., and from the firearm), the lever 30 is selectively moved against the bulbous shaped head 42 which is effective to move the end 52 further into the cavity 22, thereby interrupting the physical connection of the conductive material 68 from the conductive material segments 26 and 27 and preventing or interrupting electrical power from being sourced from the source of electrical power 90 to the visible energy emission assembly 14.

Moreover, in one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, even when the conductive material 68 is physically coupled to the conductive material segments 26 and 27, such sourcing or communication of electrical energy may be interrupted between the source of electrical power 90 and the assembly 14. That is, the selective movement of the portion 84 of the disable switch 70 to the position where the axis 89 is parallel to segment 26 is effective to cause the conductive material 80 from disengaging from the conductive material segments 26, 27, thereby preventing electrical power or energy from being sourced to the visible energy emission assembly 14 from the source 90. The movement or operation of the disable switch assembly 70 is independent, in one non-limiting embodiment, from the operation of the switch assembly 16, and requires positive action on the part of the user to cause the material 80 from being removed from contact with material segments 26, 27 (i.e., even the disable switch assembly 70 allows energy to flow from source 90 to emission assembly 14 absent some positive action on the part of the user).

Thus, as should be appreciated by reference to FIGS. 3, 4, 14, and 15, since switch assemblies 70 and 16 normally each allow power to flow from source 90 to assembly 14, when the firearm/weapon 10 is selectively and removably placed within a holster, such as holster 100, the inside surface 102 of the holster 100 automatically (e.g., without user intervention) exerts a depressive force against the lever member 30 which counteracts the compression force of the spring 50 and which causes the lever member 30 to move such that material 68 is moved in a “non-contact” relationship with the material segments 26, 27, thereby preventing electrical power from being communicated to the visible energy emission assembly 14 from the power source 90. Hence, visible energy is “automatically” (e.g., without user intervention) prevented from being emitted from the assembly 14 when the weapon is placed in the holster 100.

When the weapon 10 is removed from the holster 100, at some point in time during the removal procedure, the surface 102 is no longer in a “contact relationship” with lever 30 (see, for example, FIG. 15), thereby allowing the compression force exerted by the spring 50 to automatically (e.g., without user intervention) move the lever 30 away from the cavity 22 and allowing material 68 to physically contact material segments 26, 27. In this manner, visible energy (e.g., light) is automatically (e.g., without user intervention) emitted from the assembly 14 when the weapon 10 is removed from the holster 100.

In an alternate and non-limiting embodiment of the invention, as best shown in FIG. 20, drawing the firearm 10 from the holster 100, by hand 95 of a user, allows the lever 30 to be captured by the finger 99 and selectively depressed by the user's trigger finger 99, and thereby cause no visible energy to be emitted from the emission assembly 14 when the firearm 10 is retracted from the holster 100, and thereby allowing for a “stealth draw”.

Furthermore, in other non-limiting embodiments, such as that depicted in FIG. 21, placing the firearm 10 on a night stand or similar type of surface 206 causes the lever member 30 to be “automatically” depressed (e.g., by contact with the surface by the member 30 and the weight of the pistol), thereby causing no visible energy to be emitted from the emission assembly 14. However, when the firearm 10 is removed and/or held away from the surface 206, energy is automatically communicated to the light emission assembly (see, e.g. FIG. 15), thereby allowing for a “night stand” mode of operation.

In another alternate and non-limiting embodiments, as is best perhaps shown in FIGS. 22, 23, 24, and 25, the weapon switch assembly, such as weapon switch assembly 250 may be adapted and utilized for left-handed installation. That is switch assembly 250, which is substantially identical to switch assembly 16 as previously disclosed in FIGS. 5-11, has switch assembly 250 which is rotated relative to the energy emitter 252 and lever 251 and is suitably positioned for a “left-handed” user (that is, Switch assembly 250 is positioned where forefinger 260 of left hand 264 operatively and selectively controls control lever 251 while disable switch is 257 is positioned on opposite end of switch assembly 250). Thus, in a “normal” state and with the disable switch 265 positioned so that conductive material 254 engages the conductive material segments 255, 256, and 258, electrical power is sourced from the battery or other power source 261 to the visible energy emission assembly 252 through the physically coupled conductive materials 254, 255, 256, and 258 (thus completing an electrical circuit) and in this manner, visible energy, such as light, is normally emitted from the visible energy emission assembly 252. To prevent visible energy from being emitted, the user would selectively depress lever member 251 with a finger 260 of the “left hand”, such as hand 264, along arc 270, causing material 253 to be removed from contact with material segments 255, and 258 (thus interrupting the electrical circuit) and thereby utilizing the weapon switch assembly 250 for “left-handed” installation. It should be appreciated that such sourcing or communication of electrical energy between the source of electrical power 261 and visible energy emission assembly 252 may be interrupted (that is by a positive action by a user) by the selective movement of portion 257 of the disable switch 265. That is and as shown in FIG. 26, portion 257 is rotated or moved along arc of rotation 259 to a position where conductive material 254 does not contact material segment 256, and thereby causing conductive material 254 to not engage the conductive material segments 255, 258, thereby “breaking” the circuit and preventing electrical power or energy from being sourced to the visible energy emission assembly 252 from the source 261, and this movement or operation of the disable switch 265 is independent from the operation of the switch assembly 250, and requires positive action on the part of the user to cause the material 254 from being removed from contact with material segments 255, 258. It should also be appreciated that weapon switch assembly 250 provides a “left-handed” user with a switch assembly to control a visible energy emission assembly, such as energy emission control assembly 252, and provides all of the benefits of previously mentioned weapon switch assemblies, such as weapon switch assembly 16.

In other alternate, although non-limiting embodiments, as is best perhaps shown in FIGS. 12, and 13, a “molded self-hinge” 122 is utilized in order to eliminate pin 32.

That is, switch assembly 110 is substantially identical to switch assembly 60 except that pin 32 is not used and lever member 30 is replaced with a lever member 120 which is integrally coupled and/or formed with self hinge 122. The self hinge 122 is flexible and selectively movable from a first position (see, for example FIG. 12) in which no substantial counteracting force is exerted on spring 50 (e.g., no force which counteracts the compression force of the spring 50), to a second position (see, for example FIG. 13) in which the shaft end 52 in moved further into the internal cavity 22 and material 68 is made to be in a “non-contact” relationship with material segments 26, 27 in a manner which prevents electrical power from being communicated from the source of electrical power 90 to the visible energy emission assembly 14. This alternate embodiment is less costly than the first described embodiment and is expected to have a longer working life than the previously delineated embodiments due to the creation of relatively low frictional energy. In one embodiment, the portion 120 occupies this second position only during the presence of a constant application of force.

In yet another non-limiting embodiment, the pin 32, lever 30, and shaft 44 are replaced with switch portion 140 (see

FIG. 16). Particularly portion 140 comprises a pair of conductive metallic strips, 142, 144, which are separated by an insulating layer of material 146. Particularly, the insulating material 146 does not fully lie between the entire length of the linearly coextensive metallic strips 142, 144 and these strips 142, 144 are coupled to the source of electrical power 90 through conductive segments 24, 26, 27 and material 80, 68 and to the visible energy emission assembly 14.

The switch assembly portion 140 further includes a selectively movable lever member 155, which is attached to the body 20 by a leaf spring 153. A first end of leaf spring 153 is housed within groove 157 and a second end 156 is attached to the lever 155 and such attachment may be achieved by the use of glue or some other method or material. Thus, lever member 155 may selectively move or “flex” toward and away from end 152 of metallic strip 144 along arc 7, thereby connecting and disconnecting end 152 with end 150 (e.g., in a first position, as shown in FIG. 10), member 155 is forced to cause end 152 to physically contact end 150, thereby allowing power to be sourced from source 90 to assembly 14 through connected segments 24, 26, 27, and materials 80, 68 while in a second position (shown in FIG. 17), member 155 is moved out of contact with end 152 thereby disconnecting end 152 with end 150 and preventing the flow of power from source 90 to assembly 14.

In this non-limiting embodiment, the switch 140 is placed upon a weapon such as weapon 10, and the leaf spring 153 (i.e., the force exerted by the leaf spring 153 normally) causes lever member 155 to “squeeze” ends 150, 152 together in order to “complete a circuit”. When the force is removed (e.g., directly by a hand of a user), by flexing lever member 155 away from end 152 along arc 7, conductive strip 142 is disconnected from conductive strip 144 causing the power flow to be interrupted. Thus, positive action is required by the user to disconnect or interrupt the power flow to the energy emitting assembly 14.

In yet another non-limiting embodiment and as best shown in FIG. 27, the switch assembly 300 comprises a plurality of leaf spring and membrane switch portions 310, 320 and a disable switch 330 in order to utilize the switch assembly 300 in either a left-handed or a right-handed operation (i.e., in an “Ambidextrous” operation). The switch assembly 300 includes a first interior “central” cavity 375 which includes electrically conductive and spaced apart material segments 301, 302, 303, 304, 307, and 308. More specifically, switch portion 310 comprises a pair of conductive metallic strips 311, 312 which are separated by an insulating layer of material 313 while switch portion 320 comprises a pair of conductive metallic strips 321, 322 which is also separated by an insulating layer of material 323. The respective insulating materials 313, 323 do not fully lie between the entire length of the respective linearly coextensive metallic strips 311, 312 of switch portion 310 and coextensive metallic strips 322, 322 of switch portion 320 respectively. Switch 300 is coupled to the source of electrical power 350 and to the visible energy emission assembly 360 by coupling metallic strip 307 to a source of electrical power 350 while coupling conductive metallic strip 308 to a visible energy emission assembly 360. Thus, The switch assembly 300 provides for a user to use a weapon switch assembly 300 in either their left or right hand, while retaining full control of the energy emission assembly 360 in circumstances where a user sustains an injury to the dominant hand or as may be desirable for any reason, and which will be described more fully below.

Further yet, and as was seen in a previous embodiment and as was shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the switch portion 310 includes a selectively movable lever member 314, which is attached to the body 305 by a leaf spring 315 and which resides in groove 316 formed in body 305, while switch assembly portion 320 is attached to the body 305 by a leaf spring 325 and which resides in groove 326 formed in body 305. It should be appreciated that switch portions 310, 320 are substantially identical across vertical axis of symmetry 400 of body 305 (that is switch portion 310 operates in substantially the same manner as switch portion 320), and leaf spring 315 being deployed in groove 316 causes lever member 314 to selectively move or “flex” toward and away from metallic strip 312 along arc 370, thereby connecting and disconnecting metallic strip 312 with metallic strip 311 (i.e., metallic strip 312 selectively making physical contact with strip 311 by being moved along arc 370). Also, leaf spring 325 being deployed in groove 326 causes lever member 324 to selectively move or “flex” toward and away from metallic strip 322 along arc 380, thereby connecting and disconnecting metallic strip 322 with metallic strip 321 (i.e., metallic strip 322 selectively making physical contact with strip 321 by being moved along arc 380). Switch assembly 300 also includes a disable rotary switch 330 which includes a shaft portion 341 which is disposed within and traverses a cavity 342 which is formed in the switch body portion 305 where cavity 342 communicates with cavity 375 of body 305. Shaft 341 includes a conductive material 309 which is attached to and protrudes from portion 341 and which is normally and operatively deployed in contact with metallic portions 301, 302. In “normal” or resting state, lever 314 is forced into contact with metallic strip ,312 by spring 315 (i.e., by the “straightening” force normally applied by spring 315), while lever 324 is forced into contact with metallic strip 322 by spring 325 (i.e., by the “straightening” force normally applied by spring 325), and causes metallic strip 312 to maintain contact with metallic strip 311 and spring 325 causes metallic strip 322 to maintain contact with 321, thereby completing an electrical circuit and allowing power to be sourced from source 350 to assembly 360 through connected segments 301, 302, 303, 304, 307, 308, and conductive material 309. In order for a user to selectively deactivate switch assembly 300 (i.e., interrupt power from being sourced from power source 350 to emission assembly 360), lever 314 is “flexed” away counter clockwise along arc 370 and causes strip 312 to move out of contact with strip 311, thereby removing (i.e., breaking) electrical connection between 321, 322, 304, 302, 308, 309, 301, 303, 312, 311, 350, and 360. A user may also selectively deactivate switch assembly 300 (i.e., interrupt power from being sourced from power source 350 to emission assembly 360), lever 324 is “flexed” away clockwise along arc 380 and causes strip 322 to move out of contact with strip 321, thereby removing (i.e., breaking) electrical connection between 321, 322, 304, 302, 308, 309, 301, 303, 312, 311, 350, and 360. It should also be appreciated that disable rotary switch 330 works independently of switch assemblies 310, 320 (i.e., regardless of the position of control levers 314, 324) and sourcing or communication of electrical energy between the source of electrical power 350 and visible energy emission assembly 360 may be interrupted by the selective movement of the portion 340 of the disable switch 330 to a position, as was described in the preferred embodiment of the invention as previously seen in FIGS. 5-11, where the conductive material 309 does not engage the conductive material segments 301, 302, thereby preventing electrical power or energy from being sourced to the visible energy emission assembly 360 from the source 350.

Particularly, a disable rotary switch assembly 330 which includes a shaft portion 341 which is disposed within and traverses through internal cavity 342 which is formed in the switch body portion 305 and which communicates with cavity 375. Shaft 341 includes conductive material 309 which is attached to and which protrudes from the portion 341 which is operatively and normally deployed within the first cavity 375. The disable switch assembly 330 further includes a second portion 340 which receives and into which portion 341 integrally terminates. Particularly, the received portion 341 may selectively rotate along arc 390.

Also, the conductive material 309 is physically decoupled or disconnected from material segments 301, 302 when portion 340 is selectively placed in a second position by selectively rotating portion 340 along arc 390, as was previously seen in FIGS. 5-11 of the preferred embodiment. This second position is achieved when, in one embodiment, portion 340 is rotated by 45 degrees either clockwise along arc 390 or counter-clockwise along arc 390. Rotating second portion 340 around arc 390 decouples conductive material segments 301, 309, and 302, thereby preventing a conductive path to be achieved and thus decoupling segments 307, 311, 312, 303, 301, 309, 302, 322, 321, and 308, and thereby preventing electrical power or energy from being sources to the visible energy emission assembly 360 from the source 350. It should be appreciated that disable rotary switch assembly 300 may be returned to the first enabled position where source of electrical power is communicated to from source 250 to the visible energy emission assembly 360 by selectively rotating portion 340 around arc 390.

In yet another non-limiting embodiment and as best described in FIG. 28, the switch assembly 500 may comprise a plurality of leaf spring and membrane switch portions 510, 520 and a plurality of disable switches 530, 535 in order to utilize a switch assembly 500 in either a left-handed or a right-handed operation (“Ambidextrous” operation). That is, switch assembly 500 is symmetrical across vertical axis of symmetry 595 so that switch portion 510 is substantially identical to switch portion 520 and also first disable switch 530 is substantially identical to second disable switch 535. The switch assembly 500 also includes a first interior “central” cavity 575 which includes electrically conductive and spaced apart material segments 507, 503, 548, 504, and 586. Further, the operation of leaf spring and membrane switches 510, 520 and disable switches 530, 535 operate in substantially the same manner as was described in a previous embodiment (FIG. 16).

Particularly, switch portion 510 comprises a lever 514, a leaf spring 515, and pair of conductive metallic strips 511, 512 which are separated by an insulating layer of material 513 while switch portion 520 comprises a lever 524, a leaf spring 525, and a pair of conductive metallic strips 521, 522 and separated by insulating layer of material 523. Particularly, the insulating materials 513, 523 do not fully lie between the entire length of the linearly coextensive metallic strips 511, 512 of switch portion 510 and coextensive metallic strips 522, 521 of switch portion 520 respectively. Moreover, strips 511, 521 are coupled to the source of electrical power 550 and to the visible energy emission assembly 560 through conductive metallic segments 507, 503, 548, 504, and 586 (that is strips 511, 512 contact 507, 503 respectively and strips 521, 522 contact metallic segments 586, 504 respectively and 503, 548, and 504 are connected to each other). Switch assembly 500 also includes a plurality of disable rotary switches 530, 535. Disable rotary switch 530 has a shaft portion 541 which is disposed within and traverses through a cavity 546 which is formed in the switch body portion 505 and which communicates with cavity 575 of body 505. Shaft 541 includes a conductive material 542 which is attached to and protrudes from portion 541 and which is normally and operatively deployed in contact with metallic portions 503, 548. Disable rotary switch 535 has a shaft portion 551 which is disposed within and traverses through a cavity 547 which is formed in the switch body portion 505 and which communicates with cavity 575 of body 505. Shaft 551 includes a conductive material 543 which is attached to and protrudes from portion 551 and which is normally and operatively deployed in contact with metallic portions 504, 548. Disable rotary switch 530 and disable rotary switch 535 are coupled to each other through conductive metallic segment 548 within switch body 505. In “normal” or resting state, lever 514 is forced into contact with metallic strip 512 by spring 515 while lever 524 is forced into contact with metallic strip 522 by spring 525, and causes metallic strip 512 to maintain contact with metallic strip 511 and also causes metallic strip 522 to maintain contact with 521 respectively, thereby completing an electrical circuit and allowing power to be sourced from source 550 to assembly 560 through connected segments 507, 503, 542, 548, 543, 504, and conductive material 586. In order for a user to selectively deactivate switch assembly 500 (i.e., interrupt power from being sourced from power source 550 to emission assembly 560), either lever 514 or lever 524 is “flexed” away (such as a force applied by a hand of a user) from metallic strip 522, or 512 respectively to cause either strip 522 to move out of contact with strip 521 or strip 512 to move out of contact with strip 511, thereby removing (or breaking) the electrical connection between 550, 207, 511, 512, 503, 542, 548, 543, 504, 522, 521, 586, and 560. And also as described in a previous embodiment (FIG. 27) disable rotary switches 530, 535 work independently of switch assemblies 510, 520 (i.e., regardless of the position of control levers 514, 524) and sourcing or communication of electrical energy between the source of electrical power 550 and visible energy emission assembly 560 may be interrupted by the selective movement of the portion 540 of the disable switch 530 or by the selective movement of the portion 545 of the disable switch 535 to a position, as was described in the preferred embodiment of the invention, where the conductive material 542 of disable switch 530 does not engage the conductive material segments 503, 548, or where the conductive material 543 of disable switch 535 does not engage the conductive material segments 548, 504, thereby preventing electrical power or energy from being sourced to the visible energy emission assembly 560 from the source 550. Thus, this “ambidextrous” switch assembly provides a switch assembly, that can be controlled by either left hand or right hand while also being able to be disabled through either left hand or right hand, thereby providing a switch assembly 500 adapted for all users.

In other alternative and non-limiting embodiments as best shown in FIGS. 18 and 19, a mounting bracket 171 may be utilized to attach an energy emission control switch assembly 170 to a long-arm weapon (e.g. a rifle). In one non-limiting embodiment, the energy emission control assembly 170 may comprise any of the foregoing energy emission control switch assemblies which have been discussed in combination with a new and novel bracket 171.

Particularly, mounting bracket 171 provides a way to attach the energy emission control switch assembly 170 to a magazine well 204 of a rifle 208 while allowing the assembly 170 to operatively control the delivery of power to energy assembly 190 in the manner previously delineated.

In one non-limiting embodiment, the mounting bracket 171 comprises a “U-shaped” body and may be about 1.15 inches wide, along axis 5, and about 2.4 inches long, along axis 6. The mounting bracket 171 includes a generally flat surface 181 which may be selectively attached to surface 185 of magazine well 204 of rifle 208 by the use of screws or nylon strap or some other conventional method.

Due to this attachment, the open end 205 of bracket 171 faces the trigger 202 of rifle 208 and is adapted to frictionally and selectively receive body 176 of energy emission control switch assembly 170 and such body 20 176 may further be attached to the bracket 171 by the use of a screw or some other fastener assembly or method.

Thus, the bracket 171 fixedly positions the energy emission control switch assembly 170 proximate to the trigger portion 200 of the rifle 208 such that the selectively movable lever 172 is proximate to the trigger portion 200.

The bracket 171 provides advantageous features of allowing various types of other emission assemblies attached to a rifle to be selectively operated in an efficient and highly desired manner and allows these assemblies to be positioned in a fixed manner and at a desired position. It should be further appreciated that the mounting bracket can be manufactured from metal or molded plastic and can be adapted based on the particular rifle.

In another non-limiting embodiment and as best shown in FIG. 18, the energy emission control switch assembly 170 may also include a selective and detachable connecting jack 178 formed in the body 187 of the energy emission control switch assembly 170 and which allows an energy emission source to be selectively and removably coupled to an energy emission control switch assembly 170. That is, conductive segment 174 is normally coupled to conductive segment 179, due to the normal biasing of end 180 against metallic segment 179 by the force exerted by the leaf spring 177 on lever 172. Additionally, disable switch is 173 is normally biased to make a connection between conductive segment 174 with conductive segment 175 through conductive member 80, and as best described in an earlier embodiment in the preferred embodiment. Moreover, conductive segment 175 terminates into cavity 184 at end 182 and conductive segment 179 terminates into cavity 184 at end 183. Thus, the placement of a conductive member 186 into cavity 184 allows the placed conductive member 186 to physically touch the exposed connectors 182, 183 and form a connection between connectors 174, 179, 186, 175, and 80 and “complete a circuit” (e.g., the member 186 is also physically attached to an energy emission assembly 190) thus allowing the energy emission control assembly 170 to selectively and removably control an energy emission assembly 190. It should be appreciated that the energy emission control assembly 170 may comprise any of the foregoing energy emission control switch assemblies previously described and as best shown in FIGS. 5 and 16. Also, the conductive segment 175 can also be “hard-wired” or physically and electrically connected to conductive segment 179 at first surface 182 and second surface 183 so as to complete a circuit between conductive segment 174, 175 and conductive segments 180 and 179, thereby obviating the need for conductive member 186.

Thus, it should be appreciated that the foregoing inventions, in part, provide a switch assembly and a weapon which allows visible energy, such as light, to be emitted from the weapon without user intervention or the need for “positive action”. The “normal state” of the foregoing energy emission assembly is therefore “on” or activated. It should further be appreciated that the foregoing described switch assemblies, such as switch assembly 16, may be adapted to selectively “control” (i.e., source electrical power) to a wide variety of dissimilar weapon mounted devices/assemblies. It should be further appreciated that switch 16, including disable switch portion 70, may be placed at substantially any convenient location upon the weapon 10 and that, in the most preferred although non-limiting embodiment, the disable switch portion 70 comprises a rotary movement.

In yet another non-limiting embodiment of the invention, it should be appreciated that any of the foregoing switch assembly embodiments may replace current switches used on long arms and crew served weapons when the device to be controlled is located some distance from the firing mechanism of the weapon.

It is to be understood that the inventions are not limited to the exact construction or methodology which has been described above, but that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and the scope of the inventions as they are more fully delineated in the following claims.