Electronically controlled target positioning system for training in marksmanship and target identification
A fixed and portable, remote controlled moving target system to train shooters in marksmanship and correct target recognition comprising supported target assemblies on horizontal cables which are connected to vertical support assemblies. The targets are driven by an operator programmable, electronically controlled, computer based motor drive assembly. The targets are positioned by the operator inputs and the positions of the targets at start and during their movements behind an obscuring medium are programmed into the system. Once inputted into memory, the program can be replayed until it is overwritten. The targets exhibit humanoid movements owing to their unique suspension system and cable attachments.
This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application No. 60/672342 FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH—Not applicable SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM—Not applicableBACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to target systems, specifically to target systems used to train shooters to correctly recognize and accurately shoot a target.
2. Related Art
Target systems used today to train civilian and military shooters are predominantly of the following types:
- a. A target system wherein the target image is placed in front of the shooter and is stationary and visible at all times. This system has the disadvantage of allowing the shooter to constantly recognize the target image as a threat; the shooter knows he is in a shoot condition. The shooter is not required to recognize whether the target image is of a threat or not a threat. The shooter simply draws his weapon as quickly as possible and shoots the target image as accurately as possible.
- b. A target system wherein the target is suspended from a motor driven cable. The system allows the target to be located closer or further away from the shooter. This action is meant to decrease or increase the difficulty in hitting the target image by altering the distance from the target to the shooter. This system has the disadvantage of the target system as described in a) above.
- c. A target system wherein the target image is stationary and rotates in a horizontal plane and is positioned to face toward or away from the shooter. The target image is first hidden from view by being positioned at 0 degrees. The target image is then rotated 90 degrees to face
- d. A target system wherein the target image is in a stationary location and is physically moved into the shooters field of view. As an example, a pneumatic system with rubber targets that are brought into view by filling them with air. This system has the disadvantage of having stationary targets that simply appear and disappear from view in a location that is known to the shooter after they appear one time. This system has the disadvantage of the target system as described in a) above.
- e. A target system wherein the targets are driven to different locations by means of a reversible cable drive with a manually engaged switch. The shooting instructor moves the target to various locations and manually controls the speed and direction of the target movement. This system has the disadvantage of not allowing accurate programming of the targets direction of movement, speed and the time the target is held stationary before moving to a new location. The speed of movement and positioning is random and is not repeatable. Repeatability is required in order to accurately assess the skills of the shooters. It also has the disadvantage of the target system as described in a) above.
3. Objects and Advantages
We determined that all the disadvantages of the aforementioned systems could be overcome and the training of the shooter could be of a higher quality, more consistent and subjectively gradable if the target movement is controlled by a programmable system. The programmable system moves single or multiple targets in a predetermined, programmed direction and speed. The programmable system also moves and halts the targets in direct relationship to other targets. The programmable system allows the operator to challenge the shooter with an infinite number of variables.
As an example, multiple targets with target images presenting multiple threats to the shooter can be presented at the same time, requiring the shooter to constantly be aware of the location of each threat target. Alternately, one target image can depict a threat to the shooter and another target image can depict no threat to the shooter. This scenario requires the shooter to constantly locate the target that is not a threat and not shoot it. At the same time the shooter must constantly locate and shoot the target that is a threat. She must ensure that she does not shoot the target that is a threat when it is in a location that could expose the target that is not a threat to injury due to an inaccurately placed bullet or projectiles.
The invention proposed has target obscuring panels located in front of the targets. These panels prevent the shooter from seeing the target unless the target is in an opening in the panels or a location that is purposely void of a panel. As an example, the target obscuring panels may be made of cardboard with simulated window and door cut outs to represent the front of a house. This configuration greatly adds to the realism and difficulty in recognizing the threat level of the targets and accurately shooting them. In the proposed invention the targets are first positioned out of the shooters field of view behind the obscuring panels. The targets are then quickly moved into the cutout representing a window, the cutout representing a door or are positioned in the shooters field of view directly above a panel made to resemble a fence.
After stopping in this location for a period of time selected by the operator the targets are then removed from the shooters field of view by quickly moving them back behind the target obscuring panels where there is no cutout area.
The difficulty and realism is further increased by the target system's ability to change the target transport speed, direction of travel and the location and amount of time the target stops at that location. The location at which the target stops can be chosen by the operator to be either in a location that is within the shooters field of view or a location that is not within the shooters field of view. After stooping in the chosen location for an operator determined period of time, the targets are moved to a new location. The speed and direction of movement, and locations and times the targets are stopped are all operator selectable.
The difficulty and realism the invention presents is further increased by ability of the operator to quickly change the physical makeup of the target obscuring panels. The panels may made to resemble any number of locations including a bus, interior of an airplane, control room of a nuclear power plant, a business, etc.
The operator can use panels that depict actual locations where an armed conflict occurred and train the shooter to not repeat mistakes know to have been made during a previous documented armed conflict.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The proposed invention comprises a means of accurately and with repeatability, controlling the speed and direction of movement and the location and duration of time single or multiple targets are stopped before resuming movement.
The mechanical assembly used to suspend the target is part of the invention. Existing target systems use a cable or framework to rigidly suspend the target carrier on pulleys or rolling wheels positioned on a framework. The target follows the motion of the target carrier along a horizontal plane because the cable or framework and target carrier are rigid and inflexible. The target carrier portion of the invention we propose is unique in that the target carrier has several independently movable arms on each of its sides. These moving arms suspend the target mounting medium, which is usually cardboard. The target image is affixed to the target mounting medium, usually by staples or tape. The moving arms independently pivot and rotate, causing the target image to execute unpredictable, random movements when the target carrier is driven from one location to another location; when the target carrier is stopped or when the target carrier is made to abruptly change direction while in motion. This mechanical action more closely mimics the movements of a person as they move from one location to another, adding to the realism and difficulty. As an example, a person moving quickly to the left or right does not stay perfectly horizontal to the ground. Leg and body muscle movements require that they move in several low angle arcs as they overcome inertia. As they begin to move they lower their head and push off with one leg or the other. This action is displayed by the target image using our invention.
The proposed invention incorporates target obscuring panels used to alternately obscure and not obscure the target from the field of view of the shooter. The target obscuring panels are designed to overlap, thus preventing the shooter from looking between the panels if the panels do not exactly mate. Should the shooter have the ability to see between the target obscuring panels due to a slight mismatch in their alignment to one another, the shooter could anticipate the next location of the target and/or the direction in which the target was moving.
Target systems in use today usually depict an image of a person or persons or the likeness of the human anatomy. The image on the target has a pattern superimposed on it which designates points given to the shooter for their accuracy in placing bullets into specific sections of the target image. The more likely the shooter's hits are to immediately incapacitate the person depicted on the target image, the higher the points. The target image is affixed to a target mounting medium. The most prevalent target mounting medium in use today is inexpensive cardboard. The target image is stapled or taped to the target mounting medium and mounted to the target carrier, usually by inexpensive spring clips of the type used to hold many sheets of paper in order. For many years shooters have been using target mediums suspended by a trip device which causes the target mounting medium to fall to the ground when it is hit in an area that depicts the human anatomy that would immediately incapacitate a person if they were hit in a corresponding location. These target mounting mediums have a problem because the target mounting medium, being made of inexpensive cardboard, is presently manufactured with a flat bottom. After disengaging from the target carrier, the target mounting medium falls to the ground and can remain upright and in the shooters field of view. As a part of our invention the target mounting medium is manufactured with the bottom section having a longer center section dimension than the dimensions of the left and right sides. This design causes the target mounting medium to land on its center section and having insufficient area to remain upright, to fall over. The target then remains out of the shooters field of view.
Additionally, as part of the invention, the targets incorporate a movable arm which quickly comes into the shooters field of view as the target is moved into an open area in the target obscuring panels such as a window cutout. The moving arm can be configured to hold one of any number of objects. These objects may depict no threat to the shooter, such as a can of soda, a cell phone or a flashlight. When these types of images are quickly brought into the shooters field of view the shooter must quickly recognize them and if they are not a threat to not shoot the target. Alternately, if the movable arm on the target is holding the image of a weapon, the shooter must instantly react and shoot the target as quickly and accurately as possible.
Additionally, the invention incorporates a means of covering the cutouts in the target obscuring panels that simulate a window glass with a plastic material that has the approximate reflective properties of glass. This condition is advisable for training as the reflective properties of the simulated glass can obscure or alter the shooters perspective and visual acuity. This condition is especially true when the simulated glass is illuminated in a night condition and the target images are behind the simulated glass.
Our invention allows instructors to train military, law enforcement and civilian shooters, using live fire weapons, in both target threat recognition and speed of accurate shot placement on moving targets. This invention approaches realism by forcing the shooter to immediately and correctly identify and then accurately shoot targets that rapidly appear in openings or from behind target obscuring panels and then moves the targets to new locations that do not allow the shooter to see them. These actions all take place in real time. The shooter must engage targets that are at one moment stationary and in view and the next moment are moving at controlled speeds and directions. In the next moment the targets disappear and in another moment reappear. In multiple target scenarios the targets an be selected so both target images represent a threat to the shooter, or alternately the target images can be selected so one target image represents a threat and the second target image represents no threat.
There are also target images available with the image of a hostage in the control of an assailant. These target images can be selected to further complicate the decision making process of the shooter. Any combination of aforementioned target images can be selected to increase the complexity and diversity of the training scenario. The targets are programmed to alternately appear from behind the target obscuring panels into cutouts representing windows, doors, fences, etc. and then disappear from view.
The invention has the following distinct advantages over present target systems.
- 1. It requires the shooter to quickly and accurately:
- a. recognize the target image as a threat or not a threat,
- b. bring a weapon to a shooting position and accurately shoot the target image if the image is a threat,
- c. refrain from bringing the weapon to a firing position if the image is not a threat,
- d. recognize the possibility of multiple threats and their interaction against the shooter,
- e. decide if and when to shoot the threat target if the target is alternately moving and remaining stationary. This is especially significant if the target image is one the specially designed types having an image of a hostage being threatened by an assailant.
- f. decide if and when to shoot the threat target if the threat target is moving and then remaining stationary when a non-threat target is moving and remaining stationary in the same locations.
- 2. The invention is operator programmable, which allows the operator the flexibility to:
- a. increase, decrease or leave unchanged the level of difficulty presented to the shooter during training or assessment,
- b. present one or multiple target scenarios during the running of a program, which greatly adds to the training difficulty and realism,
- c. accurately assess the level of training level of an individual shooter and other shooters in a peer group by presenting the same accurate and repeatable programs to all the shooters,
- d. present target images to the shooter wherein the shooter has no prior knowledge of the type of target image they will be exposed to. The target image may be selected from any number of target images including a threat, no threat, various hostage and assailant depictions, etc.
- 1. It requires the shooter to quickly and accurately:
The system can be operator programmed to move the targets at controlled speeds and in predetermined directions. It also allows halting the movement of the target assembly for operator selectable periods of time before moving the target assembly to a new location. The operator programs these parameters into the system. The targets move from locations where no shot by the shooter is possible, as when they are behind the target obscuring panels, to locations in openings in the panels where the shooter has a visible field of fire. The targets can be operator programmed to halt in the visible location for a predetermined period of time and are then programmed to move to locations where they are not visible. The various parameters the operator may program include the location at which the target is stationary before the training sequence starts. This is known as the target start location. This location is any area behind the target obscuring panels and is operator selectable. The direction of the target movement, the speed at which the target moves and the length of time the targets are located in visible and not visible locations are operator programmable.
Additionally, these parameters can be coordinated between targets. One target can be made to move, halt and change its speed of movement relative to the second target. As an example, the 1st target can be programmed to quickly move into the simulated window opening of the target obscuring panels. When the shooter is mentally affixed on that target, and at a predetermined period of time subsequent to the target being visible to the shooter, the 2nd target can be moved into the field of view of the shooter. These actions require the shooter to not concentrate only on the 1st target. The shooter will be trained to constantly be aware of and recognize the possibility of multiple threats. Because of the availability of hundreds of target images, coupled with the ability of the operator to program thousands of combinations of target movements, speed, direction and location parameters, there are infinite variations of scenarios available for the operator to present to the shooter.
The proposed invention allows the operator to intermix threat target images with innocent bystanders or target images of a hostage being held by an assailant. Because of the inventions ability to accurately and with repeatability, reproduce its programmed parameters, the operator can evaluate the shooters ability to not only quickly and accurately hit the correct threat target image but to also assure that the shooter does not hit a no-threat target image.
Because of its multiple target capability, the system teaches a shooter to not concentrate only on a single threat target. The shooter must at all times be aware that multiple threats and innocent bystanders may appear, disappear and reappear during a gun battle. They cannot be fixated on one target as they are with the training systems available today.
The invention can be more easily understood by reading the subsequent detailed description and examples with references made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
- 10. target #1 carrier
- 11. target carrier cross support
- 12. mounting point for the left end of the drive cable
- 13. left-upper suspension arm
- 14. left-middle suspension arm
- 15. left-lower suspension arm
- 16. spring clip
- 17. left-upper pivot
- 18. left-lower pivot
- 19. target carrier pulley
- 20. right-upper suspension arm
- 21. right-middle suspension arm
- 22. right-lower suspension arm
- 23. right-upper pivot
- 24. right-lower pivot
- 25. mounting point for the right end of the drive cable
- 26. target mounting medium
- 27. target image
- 28. target system suspensions
- 29. target #1 carrier drive motor
- 30. target #1 carrier suspension cable
- 31. target #1 carrier drive pulley
- 32. target #1 carrier drive cable
- 33. target #1 carrier turn around pulley
- 34. target #2 carrier
- 35. control unit
- 36. target #control signal cable
- 37. target start location
- 38. 1st target location
- 39. 2nd target location
- 40. target obscuring panels
- 41. overlap in target obscuring panels
- 42. cutout in target obscuring panel simulating a window
- 43. cutout in target obscuring panel simulating a door
- 44. not used
- 45. not used
- 46. anchor point for the actuating cable
- 47. moving arm target mounting medium
- 47. moving arm
- 48. pivot point
- 49. actuating cable connecting point
- 50. actuating cable
- 51. not used
- 52. not used
- 53. target mounting medium centerline
- 54. target mounting medium left edge
- 55. target mounting medium right edge
- 56. not used
- 57. target #2 carrier suspension cable
- 58. target #2 carrier drive cable
- 59. target #2 carrier drive motor
- 60. target #2 drive pulley
- 61. target #2 carrier turn around pulley
- 62. target #2 carrier control signal cable
- 63. plastic sheet
- 64. power supply
- 65. power cable
- 66. not used
- 67. wireless electronic transmitter
- 68. program selection, initiation and halt signals
- 69. #1 signal cable
- 70. motor control #1 feedback signal cable
- 71. target #1 carrier motor control unit
- 72. not used
- 73. not used
- 74. #2 signal cable
- 75. motor control #2 feedback signal cable
- 76. target #2 carrier motor control unit
- 77. target #2 carrier motor drive
The present embodiment of the invention provides mechanisms for moving and positioning targets in relationship to themselves and in relationship to a series of panels placed in front of the targets. These panels have openings which allow the shooter to at times see, and at other times to not see the targets. This configuration allows the system operator to present varying scenarios with various levels of difficulty to the shooter. The difficulty of the scenarios chosen depends on the level of training of the shooter and her ability to rapidly and correctly identify a target image and accurately shooting the correct target images at the correct time.
Correspondingly, one end of the right-upper suspension arm (20) is rigidly connected to the target carrier cross support (11). The opposite end of the right-upper suspension arm (20) and one end of the right-middle suspension arm (21) are joined at the right-upper pivot (23). One end of the right-middle suspension arm (21) and one end of the right-lower suspension arm (22) are joined at the right-lower pivot (24). The right side of the target mounting medium (26) is connected to the right-lower suspension arm (22) by use of a common spring clip (16).
When the target #1 carrier assembly (10) is not moving, the target mounting medium (26) is parallel to the target #1 suspension cable (30) due to gravity.
The operator then programs this location into the control unit (35). This location is known as the target start location (37).
The operator continues to enter multiple target locations into the control unit (35), the number of which is limited only by the number of memory allocations in the control unit (35). Each new target location is sequentially designated as a new target location. After the programming sequence is complete the entire programming sequence is saved in the control unit (35) and is now known as the program. The control unit (35) stores multiple programs, the number of which is limited only by the number of memory allocations within the control unit (35).
The operator then selects to replay one of the programs. Upon initiation of the program, the target #1 carrier (10) will move to the target start location (37). The shooter is then positioned in front of the target obscuring panels (40). The remainder of the program is initiated using the control panel (35) or the wireless electronic transmitter (67). The operator has the ability to pause the program at any moment during the program execution. The target #1 carrier (10) will stop. The operator can then restart the program and the program will begin at the time at which it was stopped. The program will then run until completion, unless it is again halted. After the program execution is complete, the target #1 carrier (10) returns to the target start location (37). The program can be replayed to further train the same shooter; another shooter may be trained; anyone of the multiple programs stored in the control unit (35) may be selected and executed. A new program may also be entered.
It is easy for the casual observer to envision the moving arm target mounting medium (46) being used with the target obscuring panels (40), specifically with the cutout in the target obscuring panel simulating a window (42). As the target #1 carrier (10) and moving target mounting medium (46) begin to come into view, the shooter is unable to see what the target image (27) is holding in the moving arm (47). When the target image (27) becomes completely into view, the moving arm (47) quickly rotates into view. The instructor may choose to have any one of a number of images in the hand of the moving arm (47). These images may be of either lethal weapons or non-lethal items.
Referring to the
The target system may also be installed with the target carrier movement toward and away from the shooter. This configuration simulates a “frontal attack mode.”
The system is usable with all types of lethal and non-lethal projectiles and radiation generating devices such as infrared or laser.
The plastic sheet affixed to the window cutout can be made of any of a number of transparent or translucent materials.
The target obscuring panels may be designed to simulate and depict any number of different locations and surroundings such as the interior of a nuclear power plant control room or the interior of an airplane or bus.
1. A programmable electronically controlled target carrier positioning system comprising, in combination:
- movable target carriers used to transport targets whose direction of movement, speed of movement, and the length of time between said movements are precisely and independently controlled.
2. The system according to claim I wherein said programmable electronics allow multiple, user defined programs to be created, stored, retrieved, and executed in a repeatable fashion.
3. The system according to claim 1 wherein said target carrier movement and execution of said programs are controlled by use of a wireless remote communication device.
4. The system according to claim 1 wherein said target carriers are moved to and from precise, repeatable locations behind or in front of panels depicting a simulated environment.
5. The system according to claim 1 wherein said programmable electronics co-ordinates said direction of movement, said speed of movement, said length of time between said movements and said location of said target carriers, in relationship to the direction and speed of movement, length of time between movements and location, of one or more additional targets carriers.
6. The system according to claim 1 wherein the movement of said target carriers may be momentarily halted and when said target carrier movement is reinitiated, starts at the point in time at which said program was previously halted.
7. The system according to claim 1 wherein said panels are overlapped to prevent said shooter from observing said target carrier movements when said target carriers are in locations between said panels.
8. The system according to claim 1 wherein the cutouts in said panels, used to simulate windows, are covered with a material that simulates the glass that is usually found covering a window opening.
2. A target carrier device wherein said target carrier device moves said targets in a random, unpredictable and non-horizontal plane.
3. A target mounting device wherein said target mounting device causes said targets, when disconnected from said target carriers by the actions of said shooter, fall to the ground and topple to one side, removing said target from view.
1. The device according to claim 3 wherein said target mounting device has a movable arm designed to quickly enter said shooters field of view as said target is moved to a precise location.
International Classification: F41J 9/02 (20060101);