CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
- FIELD OF INVENTION
This application claims priority to U.S. Application No. 61/020,135, filed Jan. 9, 2008, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
This invention relates to a holster for carrying a concealed handheld firearm, wherein the body of the holster includes a front panel with latching means that swings open and away from the body of the person wearing the holster. When the front panel is opened, the firearm is exposed for easy and rapid withdrawal for use, and simultaneously, the interior of the front panel is exposed to view and displays credentials of the wearer to carry and use a concealed firearm.
In many jurisdictions, including the United States, Canada, many European countries, and Japan, police and other law enforcement officers are required to carry a firearm at all times, even when off duty. This is often a difficult requirement, since carrying a weapon while off duty usually means the officer must conceal the weapon. Additionally, in many jurisdictions, private citizens have a legitimate security need for carrying a weapon, and such private persons must also typically conceal any weapon they carry. Still further, there is a legitimate need for some law enforcement officers to be “undercover,” that is, to perform police duties while not wearing a police uniform. Such law enforcement officers must also conceal the firearm they carry.
Handheld firearms must usually be concealed by persons not wearing a police officer uniform as a matter of social policy. As a general rule, private citizens are not permitted to routinely carry a firearm. Only police and licensed persons are permitted, in most jurisdictions, to carry a firearm, and additional strictures normally apply to carrying a concealed firearm. Additionally, it is not socially acceptable in most places for a person not in a police uniform to display a firearm.
Prior art methods for concealing firearms have many drawbacks. Prior art holsters for concealing a weapon often are poor at concealing the weapon, and are difficult to use and draw the weapon from in an emergency. They are often in difficult to reach parts of the body, such as the lower back or ankle.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Still further, when a person licensed to carry a weapon must use the firearm in an actual emergency, uniformed police on the scene may not know that the person is licensed to carry and use the weapon. A licensed person must carry a badge and simultaneously display the badge when they draw the weapon. Failure to do so puts a person licensed to carry a weapon at risk for being shot by uniformed police on the scene who won't know that the licensed person is a law abiding citizen, if the uniformed police cannot see a badge.
Accordingly, disclosed herein is a holster for storing a concealed firearm on the body of a person, wherein the holster includes a front panel that both aids in the concealment of the weapon, and also stores a badge showing that the person bearing the weapon is licensed to do so. The holster is designed so that opening the front panel simultaneously exposes the firearm for use and displays the badge mounted in the interior of the panel.
Thus, in an embodiment of this invention, a holster for concealing a firearm is provided, which employs a frame with a pocket therein for safely storing a handheld firearm while being carried by a person, wherein the firearm is ready for use and can be quickly drawn; a means for attaching the frame and pocket to the body of the person wearing the holster; and a front panel hingeably attached to one edge of the frame with a latching means on the opposite edge of the panel. The inside face of the front panel contains a mounting means for storing a badge or other medallion that can be displayed to demonstrate that the bearer has a license for carrying and using a concealed weapon. The front panel conceals the firearm when in the latched position, and the front panel can be quickly unlatched, and when unlatched, the panel can rotate about the hingable attachment axis to expose the firearm for use and simultaneously display the badge.
In another embodiment of this invention, the holster the latching means is selected from a snap, a Velcro strip, and a plastic connector. Preferably, the latching means is selected from a Velcro strip. In some embodiments, the latching means is a Velcro strip mounted on the top edge of the frame, and the front panel swings down when unlatched.
In another embodiment, the holster the attaching means includes at least one loop for attachment to a belt worn around the waist of the person.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In another embodiment of this invention, the frame has an approximately square or rectangular shape, and where there is a top and bottom edge parallel to each other, and intended to be approximately level to the to the ground when worn, and where the front panel is hingeably attached to the bottom edge of the frame. The latching means may be one or more Velcro tabs mounted on the top edge of the frame, and the front panel swings down when unlatched. The latching means may also include Velcro strips on the vertical edges of the frame to provide additional security and prevent accidental unlatching.
FIG. 1 a is a perspective view of the simplistic embodiment of the holster.
FIG. 1 b is a perspective view of the holster with an optional accessory compartment.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the holster with the front panel open.
FIG. 3 a is an elevation of the side of the holster.
FIG. 3 b. is an elevation of the side of the holster with an optional accessory compartment in the unzipped position.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the back of the holster.
FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of the thigh mounted embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the thigh mounted embodiment of this invention.
The present invention is designed for safely and efficiently carrying a concealed firearm, which is an important need for law enforcement personnel and other persons licensed to carry concealed weapons. The instant invention effectively conceals a firearm in a package that appears to be conventional luggage, such as a waist mounted wallet. When opened, the holster of this invention exposes a firearm that can be rapidly drawn in an emergency situation.
Simultaneously, the present invention exposes to view credentials showing that the bearer is licensed to carry and use a concealed firearm. This is an important safety feature, since others on the scene, particularly uniformed police, may not be aware that a person, in civilian dress, is licensed to carry and use a weapon. Police on the scene may mistake a legitimate firearm bearer for a criminal and shoot the person if suitable ID is not presented. Obviously, in a heated emergency, this can be difficult. By displaying a shield, badge, police ID, or the like, the user of this invention is less likely to be a casualty of mistaken police gunfire in an emergency situation.
In the most basic embodiment of the holster of this invention, as shown in FIG. 1 a, there is provided a compartment 14, perimetrically surrounded by a square or rectangular frame 35 that imparts some stiffness to the overall structure. The bottom is marked as 29. The front panel 30 is capable of swinging down along a hingable attachment axis 36. The top flap, 3 a, flips up and out to open the holster.
In an embodiment, there may be an accessory compartment 2 affixed to the front panel, or comprising part of the front panel, as shown in FIG. 1 b. The accessory compartment 2 is useful for storing personal effects, such as a wallet. The accessory compartment may further include zipper enclosures 16 along the sides, and a top flap, 3 a.
The holster in the open position is shown in FIG. 2. The back panel 38 would be worn against the body of the wearer. On the back panel is mounted at least one strap for restraining a firearm, marked in the drawing as 9 and 10. The vertical sides of the holster, 15, are relatively stiff, and essentially comprise a flap extending away from the back panel with tabs 8 pointing inward. The sides and top of the vertical sides 15 have Velcro strips, that mate to corresponding strips affixed to the front panel part, marked 25, and the adjacent planar surfaces of the front panel 30. The hingable attachment is 36. The front panel includes a top flap 3 with a tab, or finger grip, 11. Additional Velcro strips on the top flap 3 mate with surfaces on the vertical sides of the back panel.
The closed or latched position of the holster is shown in FIG. 1 a. In FIG. 1 a, the finger grip 11 is concealed from view. To open the holster, the wearer grasps the tab 11 and must employ a fair amount of force to open the front panel, due to the large amount of Velcro employed. Note the Velcro strips 4 on three surfaces comprising the top panel assembly.
The top panel assembly also includes a badge holder and mounting means 6 for displaying appropriate credentials in the event the wearer opens the holster and uses the firearm in an emergency. As the holster is opened, the top panel 30 must swing down along the hingeable axis 36, simultaneously exposing the firearm for use and displaying the credentials.
FIG. 3 a is a side view of the holster, showing the belt loops 12 and the top panel 3 and finger grip 11. In use, the wearer grasps the finger grip 11 and pulls the tab 11 away from the body of the wearer. The front panel rotates around the hinge axis 36. The open position in side view is shown in FIG. 3 b. The front panel 30 has swung out and is pointing towards the ground. The bottom panel 29 has rotated open also. Also shown are Velcro strips 4 along side walls 25 of the front panel assembly, that affix to the interior of the walls of compartment 14 in the closed position. The top flap 3 is shown pointing down, as is finger grip 11.
FIG. 3 c is a side view of an embodiment of the holster with an accessory compartment 27, and an open zipper 16. The firearm compartment 14 is worn adjacent to the body of the wearer, and the accessory compartment is outside the firearm compartment. The entire accessory compartment would swing downward when the front panel is opened.
FIG. 4 is the back of the holster, showing the outside of rear panel 38 that would be in contact with the body of the wearer. Also shown are belt loops 12, bottom panel 29, top flap 3, and finger grip 11.
FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of alternative embodiment of this invention, where the body of the holster is strapped to the thigh of the wearer. Two straps are shown, but one strap may suffice, that wrap around the thigh of the wearer. The straps include a belt 30 with a buckle 31. The top of this embodiment has an additional loop 17 that loops into the belt of the wearer.
FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the thigh mounted embodiment, showing the straps 30 and 31 that would be strapped around the thigh of the wearer, and the belt loop 17. Also shown in cross section is the finger grip 11. In this illustration, the front panel would swing to the left as drawn.
This holster can be made in a variety of sizes for different size firearms.
Also contemplated is a variation with the long sides parallel to the ground, so that the weapon would be drawn to the rear of the wearer. Still further, other embodiments can be conceived where the hingeable axis is on another edge of the back panel, such as a side edge, so the panel swings to the right or left.
The latching means illustrated in this description employs Velcro strips along the top and sides of the holster. Other latching means can be employed, such as straps or plastic or metal buckles. An essential consideration is that the latching means must balance the need for quick opening of the holster in an emergency with the need to keep the weapon secure and prevent accidental or unintended opening of the weapon compartment.