Cross Reference to Related Application
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/566,104 filed Apr. 29, 2004 entitled Portable Ballistic Unloading Device.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a portable unloading device for handguns and similar ballistic weapons.
Clearing handguns and specifically semi-automatic handguns, generally poses a danger for accidental discharge since the round last fed from the magazine, if unfired, will still remain in the chamber. In this aspect accidental firing of the handgun may occur if the trigger is accidentally pulled after the magazine has been removed or if the gun is accidentally dropped. Such weapon confiscated from the possession of criminals must be carefully cleared generally in the presence of nearby bystanders, security and medical personnel without the knowledge of the status of any last chambered round.
Clearing a semi-automatic handgun first requires ensuring that the safety is engaged and the magazine removed. The safety must then disengaged, that is moved to the off, ready to fire position and the slide pulled back which cocks the hammer. Any round in the chamber can be accidentally fired at this point and caution is required to ensure that it is safely ejected. A final visual inspection is then done to confirm that the chamber of the handgun is empty. The slide is then closed, the trigger depressed and the hammer released.
There is, therefore, a need for a readily portable, inconspicuous ballistic unloading device which can be carried in plain view in such places, as for example, on public transport, or at public gatherings, or otherwise in public places by plain clothed safety or security personnel. Such an unloading device may, according to the present invention be manufactured from suitable ballistic material and is specifically intended for the safe containment of the projectile accidentally discharged during the clearing of a weapon such as a semi-automatic handgun and to prevent the associated injury or death of a person struck by such a projectile.
In the prior art the applicant is aware of U.S. Pat. No. 5,149,203 which issued Sep. 22, 1992 to Sacks for a Bullet-Proof Bag. The portable bag has an internal space surrounded by ballistic material. The internal space is accessible through an opening in the bag. It is intended that the weapon be fully inserted within the bag for either unloading or for its transportation in a loaded state.
Applicant is further aware of U.S. Pat. No. 4,877,131 which issued Oct. 31, 1989 to Patros for a Firearm Recovery Bag, into which a loaded weapon can be inserted for safe transportation. The Firearm Recovery Bag is manufactured from suitable ballistic material and has an internal impact absorbing stop member positioned adjacent to the muzzle of a weapon inserted within the bag.
Neither of the above inventions are specifically noted as being easily carried about ones person, with the benign appearance of a commonly carried article such as a handbag, purse or a large wallet as is the case in the present invention. Further, the complete visual inspection of the weapons chamber after manual clearing is of great import and may be difficult in more bulky ballistic bags.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a ballistic unloading device, which is of a size and appearance that plain clothed security personnel can carry it without concealment in public areas, with the intention that the benign appearance of the device will not cause alarm.
It is a further object that the unloading device have an internal alignment collar into which the muzzle of the weapon is inserted or other restraint means for properly aligning the muzzle thereby ensuring proper positioning of the muzzle relative to a packet of ballistic material contained within the unloading device.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is a further object that according to one embodiment of the present invention the unloading device has a pocket which is exposed or opened during use so as to arrest and retain a cartridge ejected from the chamber of the weapon during unloading.
The present invention is a portable ballistic unloading device, manufactured from suitable ballistic material, which in its closed aspect resembles a handbag, or large wallet, having an exterior closure flap which when opened reveals an internal compartment.
An internal compartment is formed by clamshell folding of opposed walls of the device. The opposed walls are retained in a closed aspect by cooperating fastener segments, the ends of which segments being spaced apart so as to form an opening between the ends of the fastener segments.
A generally cylindrical alignment collar, sized to receive journalled therethrough the muzzle of a ballistic weapon, is mounted within the internal compartment such that the longitudinal axis of the barrel of the weapon is aligned generally orthogonally to the opening between the ends of the fastener segments.
An adjustable restraining strap may be provided, secured with the portable ballistic unloading device in proximity to the opening between the ends of the fastener segments. The restraining strap may be tightened over the handgrip of the weapon to secure the barrel of the weapon within the cylindrical alignment collar.
A trapping envelope for trapping an ejected ballistic-round is formed internally between the closure flap and the adjacent exterior wall of the internal compartment by means of a separate flap formed therebetween. An end of the adjustable restraining strap may be secured to the closure flap and the opposite side of the internal compartment so that, with the portable ballistic unloading device in its open aspect, tightening of the strap results in the internal flap being pulled away from closure flap creating the ballistic-round trapping envelope.
A packet of ballistic material is mounted within an interior pouch formed between the flexible walls within the internal compartment.
In summary, the portable ballistic unloading device of the present invention for unloading a ballistic round from a weapon having a barrel, includes a clamshell container having first and second clamshell sides defining an interior cavity of the container between the sides. The container includes a hinge between a first pair of adjacent edges of the clamshell sides. The hinge provides for pivoting the clamshell sides between open and closed clamshell positions. A releasable fastener partially seals closed the container when in the closed clamshell position. The fastener does not fully seal together the perimeter edges of the clamshell sides of the container so as to leave an opening into the cavity when the container is in the closed clamshell position. The opening is sized to receive a barrel of the weapon snugly inserted through the opening and into the cavity. Flexible ballistic material is mounted to the hinge and to the clamshell sides. A barrel guide is mounted in the cavity. The barrel guide cooperates with the opening into the cavity when the container is in the closed clamshell position so that the barrel of the weapon, when inserted through the opening, is urged into, and maintained in, substantially perpendicular alignment relative to the hinge.
A means for urging the muzzle of the barrel against the hinge, when the barrel is inserted through the opening and the container is in the closed clamshell position, may be mounted to the container. The means mounted to the container for urging the muzzle of the barrel against the hinge may include a flexible harness mountable to the weapon for releasably supporting the barrel inserted through the opening so as to abut the muzzle against the hinge. The harness may include or consist of a flexible strap extending between a second pair of adjacent edges of the clamshell sides when in the closed clamshell position, wherein the second pair of adjacent edges are opposite from the first pair of adjacent edges of the clamshell sides. The flexible strap may further include a means, such as a buckle, for selectively tightening the strap over the weapon so as to selectively securely mount the weapon with its barrel through the opening into the cavity.
The container may further include a flexible cover flap mounted to the first clamshell side adjacent the opening. The flap is advantageously sized to cover at least the opening and over-lap an exterior surface of the second clamshell side when the flap is folded over the opening and the exterior surface of the second clamshell side.
In a preferred embodiment the clamshell sides are flexible and the hinge is a continuous flexible hinge contiguous to the clamshell sides. The clamshell sides may be substantially parallel to each other when the container is in the closed position. The barrel guide may include a barrel receiving member cooperating with the barrel of the weapon so as to align the barrel with a barrel insertion axis which is substantially perpendicular to a hinge axis lying along the hinge when the barrel is inserted through the opening so as to position the muzzle of the barrel adjacent to or abutting against the hinge. The fastener may include at least one zipper fastener extending around the perimeter edges of the clamshell sides. For example, the zipper fastener may include a pair of zipper fasteners extending around opposite portions of the perimeter edges so as to define the opening between terminal adjacent ends of the pair of zipper fasteners.
The hinge may be formed as a flexible sleeve and ballistic material mounted within at least the sleeve. The clamshell sides may also include corresponding flexible pouches and ballistic material may be advantageously mounted in at least the pouches in addition to the sleeve along the hinge. Further advantageously the sleeve and the pouches define a continuous enclosure for the ballistic material, wherein the ballistic material includes a plurality of sheets of ballistic material supported as a continuous blanket lining the clamshell sides and the hinge so that sheets of the ballistic material are substantially parallel to the clamshell sides and the hinge. Thus, the ballistic material flexes as the clamshell sides are pivoted between the open and closed clamshell positions.
The barrel receiving member may include a collar having a collar cavity therethrough. The collar cavity extends along the barrel insertion axis. The collar and the collar cavity may advantageously extend from adjacent to the opening to adjacent to the hinge. In one embodiment the collar is sized to extend substantially the full length of the barrel of the weapon.
In one embodiment, the first clamshell side includes a pocket having an opening into the pocket. The opening into the pocket may be adjacent the cover flap where the cover flap is mounted to the first clamshell. The pocket is for receiving a spent cartridge of a ballistic round when cleared from the chamber of the weapon when the weapon has been mounted through the opening so as to place the muzzle perpendicularly against the hinge and the weapon discharged. The pocket may be formed by an internal flap. The flexible strap may extend between the second pair of adjacent edges of the clamshell sides when in the closed clamshell position, that is, between the pair of adjacent edges opposite from the first pair of adjacent edges of the clamshell sides. One end of the flexible strap may be mounted to an upper edge of the internal flap adjacent the cover flap. When the strap is mounted taut over the weapon when the weapon is mounted through the opening and into the cavity and engaged by the barrel guide, upon discharge of the weapon, expanding gas exiting from the chamber of the weapon urges the pocket to open and in particular opens the opening into the pocket so that the spent cartridge exiting the chamber may fall into the pocket, for example by rebounding from the cover flap and into the pocket so that the cartridge may be recovered.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In one embodiment, the clamshell sides are each substantially rectangular in shape and are of substantially the same size, so that, with the cover flap overlapping the second clamshell side, the device is adapted to outwardly appear to be a manually carried personal accessory for example chosen from the group which includes a tote, a handbag, a purse, a wallet, a case for carrying compact discs, a case for carrying a personal music player.
FIG. 1, is a perspective view of the portable unloading device of the present invention in a closed aspect.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the portable unloading device of the present invention in an open aspect.
FIG. 3 is a left hand elevation view of the present invention in the open aspect.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the portable unloading device with the internal compartment fully open.
FIG. 4 a is a sectional view taken on line 4a-4a of FIG. 4.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the portable unloading device with the internal compartment partially open and the alignment collar operatively positioned.
FIG. 6 is a left hand elevation view of the present invention in the open aspect with a weapon and ammunition clip appropriately inserted.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 6 a is a sectional view taken on line 6a-6a of FIG. 6.
As seen in FIG. 1, in one embodiment the portable ballistic unloading device according to the present invention, when fully closed, resembles a handbag, purse or tote, or for example a compact-disc or so-called CD case or large wallet. When fully closed, portable ballistic unloading device 10 has flap 12 folded over compartment 14 so as to cover opening 16. Compartment 14 is formed by a clam shell folding of compartment walls 14 a and 14 b about a fold axis A, best seen in FIG. 4, so as to bring together the cooperating pairs of fastener segments 18 a, 18 b, and 20 a, 20 b into contiguous abutment. In the illustrated example, the pairs of fastener segments are pairs of zipper fasteners which, with compartment walls 14 a and 14 b folded one onto the other, may be closed, that is, the pairs of fastener segments are mounted to one another so as to close compartment 14. Opening 16 into compartment 14 is defined between the adjacent ends of the pairs of fasteners.
A collar 22 may be mounted into the interior of compartment 14 so that the opening 22 a of collar 22 is aligned with opening 16. Collar 22 may be generally cylindrical, with the long axis B of the collar, as seen in FIG. 2, directed into compartment 14 generally orthogonally to a plane containing opening 16 and perpendicular to axis A. As illustrated, collar 22 may be mounted into the interior of compartment 14. For example, collar 22 may be formed by inserting a flexible stiffener into a fabric tube and folding the stiffener and tube over so as to form the generally cylindrical cavity within the collar and sewing the ends of the tube to one edge of compartment wall 14 b. Thus collar 22 is hingedly mounted to wall 14 b by the ends 24 of the fabric tube. The stiffener 26 may be held in place within the tube by a stitch line 28. A mating pair of hook and loop fastener strips 30 a and 30 b may be employed to maintain collar 22 aligned with opening 16.
Opening 16 and collar 22 are sized so as to snugly receive therethrough the muzzle and barrel 32 a of a ballistic weapon such as a semi-automatic pistol 32. The length of collar 22 along axis B, and the corresponding depth of the compartment 14 as measured from opening 16, is sufficient so that preferably at least a substantial portion of the barrel 32 a of weapon 32 may be contained within compartment 14 when the weapon is positioned so that the longitudinal axis of the weapon barrel is generally parallel to axis B.
With the barrel 32 a of weapon 32 inserted into collar 22 through opening 16, strap 34 may then be fastened so as to assist in securing weapon 32 with its muzzle and barrel 32 a into collar 22, for example by fastening strap 34 behind the handgrip 32 b of weapon 32 as seen in FIGS. 6 and 6 a. In the example where weapon 32 is a semi-automatic pistol, once the weapon is secured by the use of strap 34 into collar 22, the magazine of the weapon may be removed in direction C and the slide of the weapon retracted in direction D so as to eject the chambered round in direction E.
A flap 36 of material may be provided along the wall of flap 12 adjacent compartment 14. Flap 36 may be attached at its free edge to one end of strap 34 so that, with strap 34 fastened around for example the pistol grip 32 b of weapon 32, flap 36 is held away from the wall of flap 12 so as to form a ballistic-round trapping envelope 38 between flap 36 and flap 12 for receiving the round ejected from the chamber of weapon 32 as the weapon's slide is translated in direction D. The ejected round is thus captured in envelope 38 and retained therein.
In the event that, during the unloading of weapon 32, the chambered round inadvertently is discharged, the ballistic projectile exits the muzzle of the weapon generally along axis B and engages the wall of compartment 14 where axis B intersects axis A.
A packet of ballistic material 40 is mounted so as to cover along axis A of compartment 14 and so as to also cover at least a portion of walls 14 a and 14 b adjacent axis A. In a preferred embodiment the ballistic material extends the full length and height of the compartment walls. The packet of ballistic material 40 may be contained within a pouch 42. Ballistic material 40, for example contained within pouch 42, is mounted behind the flexible lining 44 of compartment 14, for example through slit opening 46.
Compartment 14 may, in one embodiment, be of a sufficient size so that, where weapon 32 is for example a small pistol, once the pistol has been unloaded, the pistol may be stored within compartment 14. With flap 12 then re-folded over compartment 14, for example so as to engage hook and loop fasteners 48 to hold flap 12 closed over compartment 14, weapon 32 may be carried entirely enclosed within the device 10 according to the present invention.
As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.