Feb. 3, 1970 A. o. SWENSQN 3,492,743
I PISTOL SAFETY MECHANISM ADAPTED FOR RIGHT OR LEFT HAND OPERATION Filed A ril 5. 1968 Armand D. Swensom INVENTOR.
United States Patent Olfice 3,492,748 Patented Feb. 3, 1970 3,492,748 PISTOL SAFETY MECHANISM ADAPTED FOR RIGHT OR LEFT HAND OPERATION Armad D. Swenson, 3223 W. 145th St., Gardena, Calif. 90249 Filed Apr. 5, 1968, Ser. No. 719,100 Int. Cl. F41c 17/08 US. C]. 42-70 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A safety mechanism constructed for a conventional pistol such as the 1911-A1 model automatic in dilferent calibers (.22, 9 mm., 38 Super, 38/45) and similar types of other pistols. A second thumb lever operated latch is located on the right side of the gun and arranged to be operated by the thumb of the left hand. The safety catch is located on the left side of the gun and operates in the normal manner by pivoting about a shaft located in the bifurcated handle portion. The end portion of the shaft and a hub portion of the second thumb lever are mated together, for example, as in a press fit or are splined together. Operation of the second thumb lever transfers torsional motion through the shaft to the safety latch which is caused to move and operate in the normal manner.
This invention relates to conventional automatic pistols of the type having a pivot type hammer safety catch (safety) usually in the form of a finger actuated lever mounted on one side of the pistol near the hammer. The normal safety for a right handed person is located on the left side of the gun and is operated by the thumb of the right hand. More particularly the invention is concerned with an attachment device for such an automatic pistol which is primarily intended to facilitate the use of the gun by left handed people as well as by right handed people. In the practice of this invention a second thumb lever operating device is attached to the right side of the gun for use by left handed people while at the same time maintaining the original safety mechanism located on the left side of the gun thereby allowing the gun to be used with equal dexterity by either left handed or right handed people.
The significantce of the present invention will not be appreciated by right handed people until it is realized that the world contains devices primarily adapted for use by right handed persons and as a result the left handed person must adapt his bodily functions to the right hand standard. In many fields it is possible for the left handed person to purchase special tools. However, it is recognized that he pays a premium for these special tools when and if they are available. The left handed rifle, for example, costs considerably more than a similar rifle constructed for a right handed person. A set of golf clubs constructed for a left handed person similarly costs considerably more than the same clubs constructed for a right handed person when and if they are available. In the field of firearms and particularly in the use of automatic pistols it has been the custom for a left handed person to order a special safety located on the right hand side of the gun. In firing a pistol the safety is operated by the thumb of the hand holding the gun. Preparatory to shooting, the thumb operates the safety mechanism thereby placing the gun in a safe condition until he is on target at which time the thumb releases the safety allowing the trigger to be operated. After firing, the thumb is again used to operate the safety which places the gun in a safe condition. It is impossible for a left handed person to safel operate a pistol with a right handed safety.
In this invention the original safety mechanism supplied with the gun and located on the left side of the frame is not altered but rather is left in place. A second thumb operating lever located on the right side of the frame and contaning a hollow cylindrical hub is mated with the shaft of the safety. The end portion of the shaft is adapted to mate with the hollow cylindrical portion whereby movement of the second thumb lever will cause a rotational movement of the shaft that is transmitted through the mating surfaces to thereby operate the safety mechanism located on the left side. This invention does not add a second safety mechanism but only adds a second thumb lever operating device adapted for use by the thumb of the left hand which motion is imparted to the original safety device still located on the left side of the gun. A gun constructed to the teachings of this invention is adapted for use by either a left handed or right handed person.
Further objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent as the description progresses, reference noW being made to the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a left side elevation of a conventional type automatic pistol having a safety mechanism adapted for use by the thumb of the right hand;
FIGURE 2 is a rear view of the gun illustrated in FIGURE 1 illustrating the relative position between the conventional safety mechanism located on the left side and the newly added thumb operating lever added to the right side of the gun as provided by this invention;
FIGURE 3 is an exploded view illustrating the cooperation between the original thumb operated safety and the newly added thumb actuating lever added according to the teachings of this invention; and
FIGURE 4 is a section of a right side elevation of the gun illustrated in FIGURES l and 2 and illustrates the added second thumb lever shown in FIGURE 3.
Referring now to FIGURE 1 there is shown a conventional automatic pistol 10 of a conventional type. Pistols of this type normally incorporate safety features such as a grip safety 11 and the original slide stop safety 12 for holding the slide 13. While normally not thought of as a safety device the trigger guard 14 covering the trigger 15 is also a safety feature for preventing accidental discharge of the hammer 16. The important feature of the present invention resides in the fact that the added thumb operating lever placed on the right hand side of the gun does not alter or change the safety feature of the originally installed safety devices of the gun. For example, the grip safety 11 and the trigger guard 14 still opearte in the manner as originally designed. In addition, the original safety 12 still operates in the same manner as originally designed for the pistol 10.
As shown in the back view of FIGURE 2 a second thumb operating lever 17 is located on the right hand side of the gun 10 and is arranged to co-act with the original safety 12 whereby movement of the thumb lever 17 open ates the original safety 12. The second thumb lever 17 is located directly opposite the safety 12 thereby making the gun appear completely symmetrical. The handle portion 18 is bifurcated with the left section 19 supporting safety 12 and the right section 20 supporting lever 17.
Referring now to FIGURE 3 there is shown an ex ploded view of the original safety 12 located on the left side of the gun and the thumb operating lever 17 located on the right side of the gun. The slide stop safety 12 is comprised of a substantially flat metal portion 21 having a contour approximating that of the handle portion of the gun which abuts the safety. The thumb operating portion 22 of the original safety 12 protrudes from the side of the plate 21 and extends laterally in the direction of the slide 13 to accommodate the thumb of the right hand. The particular shape of the thumb portion 22 is of no importance to the present invention and is dictated solely by the desire of the shooter. Member 23 is attached to plate 21 and protrudes into and cooperates with the hammer of the gun in a conventional manner to prevent movement of the hammer when the safety mechanism is in the operated position. The original safety 12 also contains a shaft 24 having an end portion that is formed preferably as a regular polygon 25.
The shaft 24 is pivotly mounted within the bifurcated handle portion 19 shown in FIGURE 2. The handle portion 18 is bifurcated in order to allow the hammer 16 to be located therebetween. The shaft 24 is pivotly mounted in the handle at 19 and extends through the bifurcated handle portion and extends to section 20 but preferably does not pivot in the opening in 20. As shown in FIGURE 3 the thumb operating lever 17 contains a thumb operating portion 26 and a hollow cylindrical hub 27 which is adapted to receive and mate with the polygon end 25 of the shaft 24. An extension member 28 forms an integral portion of lever 17 and is used to prevent accidental loss of the lever 17 due to accident or carelessness. The outside diameter of the cylindrical hub 27 is preferably greater than the outside diameter of shaft 24 for strength reasons. It is necessary that the pivotal opening in the right hand portion 20 of the bifurcated handle portion 18 have a diameter sufficient side of the gun 10 with the outside diameter of the hollow cylindrical hub 27 pivotly located at 20. The safety 12 is inseited in the normal manner in the left hand side of the gun which causes the polygon end 25 of shaft 24 to mate with the hollow cylindrical hub 27. Due to the close fit in the mating surface existing between the shaft 24 and the hub 27 any motion imparted to the thumb lever 17 at portion 26 will cause a torsional force to be transmitted from the lever 17 to shaft 24 which will operate and rotate the safety 12 thereby locking the slide 13 and the hammer 16 in the normal and conventional manner. In order to prevent accidental loss of the thumb lever 17 the projection 28 has a substantially tapered portion made long enough to extend into and under the right hand grip plate 29 located on the right hand side of the gun. The grip plate 29 is undercut a suflicient amount to accept the projection of the extension 28. The width of the extension 28 is chosen so that movement of the thumb lever 17 from the extreme up or down position will not disengage the extension 28 from engagement under the grip plate 29. In this manner the grip plate provides simple and effective means of preventing the second thumb lever 17 from becoming disengaged and falling off the gun.
This completes the description of the embodiment of the invention illustrated herein. However, many modifications and advantages thereof will be apparent to persons skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. For example, it is recognized that different mating means may be used to join the shaft 24 with the thumb lever 17. It is not necessary that a polygon end portion be used since other suitable and acceptable mating surfaces such as a splined shaft and accepting hub may also be used. In addition different means for locking the second thumb lever 17 to the shaft may be used such as a simple set screw located at the end of the shaft 24 and having a head portion sufficient to hold the thumb lever 17 firmly against the screw may also be used. In addition it is possible for the shaft 24 to pivot on both sides of the bifurcated handle portion as at 19 and 20 rather than having the shaft 24 pivot only at 19 and the cylindrical hub 27 pivoting at 20. The embodiment described herein is a preferred embodiment only and is meant to illustrate how a pistol having a conventional safety device can be modified to include a second actuating device thereby making the gun ambidextrous without altering or changing the originally designed safety features of the pistol. The specific means for connecting or interconnecting the added thumb operating lever to the original safety device is dictated only by the design criteria of the individual pistol and technology of the art.
What is claimed is:
1. A safety mechanism for an automatic pistol having a bifurcated handle portion defining a first slide and a second side comprising:
a first safety latch adapted to be thumb operated and located on the first side of said handle portion; said safety latch mounted for pivotal motion about a shaft supported by said handle portion;
said shaft integrally connected with said safety latch and extending transversely through said handle portion whereby said shaft is exposed on the opposite or second side of said handle;
the exposed end of said shaft compirsing a first mating portion; and
a second thumb lever operating latch adapted to be located on the second side of said handle portion and having a second mating portion for connecting said shaft and said latch together whereby rotational movement of said second thumb lever imparts a torsional force through said mating portion causing said first safety latch to operate.
2. A mechanism according to claim 1 in which said second thumb lever includes a hollow cylinder for mating with said shaft.
3. A mechanism according to claim 2 in which said shaft pivots only in the first side of the handle and said cylinder pivots in the second side of the handle.
4. A mechanism according to claim 1 in which the exposed end of said shaft defined as said first mating portion is a polygon.
5. A mechanism according to claim 2 in which said internal hollow cylinder is a polygon.
6. A mechanism according to claim 1 in which said handle includes a pair of grip plates one for each side and in which said grip plate on said second side covers a portion of said second thumb lever thereby preventing its removal.
7. A mechanism according to claim 1 in which said second thumb lever contains a projecting portion which extends under a grip plate located on the second side of the handle thereby preventing the loss of said second thumb lever.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,376,165 4/1921 Rosebush 4270 3,109,345 11/1963 Norman 4270 BENJAMIN A. BORCHELT, Primary Examiner C. T. JORDAN, Assistant Examiner