STABILIZED NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE SYSTEMS
Projectiles and projectile systems are provided herein employing an inhibiting and/or marking substance for impairing/marking a living target. In some embodiments, the systems include a first part being non-spherical and having an exterior, a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with the exterior of at the first part, and a second part have a hollow portion containing an inhibiting substance, wherein the second part is sealed with the first part to seal the inhibiting substance within at least the hollow portion. The first part can similarly have a hollow portion such that a volume is defined by the hollow portion of the first part and the hollow portion of the second part, wherein the inhibiting substance is contained within the volume. The fins can be angled to provide spin stabilizing.
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This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 10/731,684, filed Dec. 8, 2003, entitled STABILIZED NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE SYSTEMS, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/446,657, filed Feb. 10, 2003, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a non-lethal projectile system and, more particularly to non-lethal projectiles that deliver an inhibiting and/or marking substance to a target, especially a living target.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Steadily rising crime rates have led to an increased need for technologically enhanced crime devices. There is particularly a need for non-lethal devices that are capable of at least temporarily incapacitating, slowing or inhibiting a suspected criminal and/or marking such individuals for later identification. As populations increase, the risk that a criminal will be surrounded by or in close proximity to innocent persons when officers are trying to subdue him/her also increases. Whereas non-permanently injuring an innocent bystander, while subduing a suspected criminal, is acceptable, killing the bystander is not. Thus, there is great need for non-lethal (or less-than-lethal), highly effective weapons that may be used by officers and others to slow, stop and/or mark criminals. Presently available, non-lethal devices include, for example, stun guns, mace, tear gas, pepper spray devices and similar devices that impair the vision, breathing or other physical or mental capabilities of the target.
One attempt to provide a non-lethal device for delivering an inhibiting substance is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,921,614, issued to Fogelgren for a COMPRESSED GAS OPERATED GUN HAVING VARIABLE UPPER AND LOWER PRESSURE LIMITS OF OPERATION, which patent is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Fogelgren describes a gas-operated gun and associated projectiles. In one illustrated embodiment, a projectile consists of a projectile casing that houses a structure in which a firing pin is situated so as to detonate a primary charge upon impact of the projectile with a target. Deterioration of the primary charge causes the expulsion of a load carried in a load chamber. The load chamber may contain various types of load, such as tear gas, dye, flash-powder or wadding.
Disadvantageously, the projectiles described by Fogelgren, particularly those projectiles described that would be suitable for delivering loads such as tear gas or dye, are complicated and expensive to manufacture. The embodiment employing pressurized gas to both expel the projectile and to expel the load upon impact with the target requires a great amount of pressurized gas, that is, a sufficient quantity to both fire the projectile and to provide the portion of pressurized gas necessary to ensure expulsion of the load. In addition, such embodiment requires complicated and tedious methods to manufacture components such as a microminiature ball valve (through which the portion of the pressurized gas enters the rear chamber upon firing), wax sealer within each of the plurality of apertures and a holding pin that must fall away from the projectile in flight.
The embodiment employing the breakable glass vial is also complicated to manufacture, because it also employs a holding pin that must fall away during the flight of the projectile and employs numerous structures that must be precisely fitted together to allow them to separate during firing and in flight. This embodiment also must be carefully handled so that the breakable glass vial does not shatter while being handled by the user. This can be particularly problematic, for example, when the Fogelgren device is being used by a police officer in pursuit of a fleeing criminal (or when used by a police officer threatened by a suspected criminal). Thus, significant room for improvement still exists in the development of non-lethal projectiles.
Another approach to providing non-lethal projectiles for delivering an inhibiting substance to a living target is suggested in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379, issued to Kotsiopoulos, et al., for a PAINT BALL, which patent is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The Kotsiopoulos, et al., device is directed primarily to a paint ball projectile for delivering a load (or blob) of paint to a target, and for expelling the blob of paint onto the target upon impact. The paint ball shown by Kotsiopoulos, et al. consists of a shell that fractures in a predetermined pattern upon impact with a target.
The Kotsiopoulos, et al. disclosure includes a passing reference to the use of such a paint ball for delivering dyes, smoke or tear gas to a target, however, provides no mechanism for dispersing an inhibiting load upon explosion of the projectile, which is important for a non-lethal inhibiting projectile to be effective. Specifically, when the Kotsiopoulos, et al. projectile impacts the target, by-design, the load is dispersed rather locally. Thus, even if one skilled in the art were to act upon the passing reference to using tear gas in the Kotsiopoulos, et al. patent, to using tear gas, the present inventors believe that such a device would be generally ineffective because the tear gas would not be dispersed to the target's face, where it needs to be to be effective.
Furthermore, as Kotsiopoulos, et al. is an unpressurized projectile, the amount of tear gas delivered would necessarily be limited to an unpressurized volume having dimensions of a paint ball. Even if this amount of tear gas were delivered to a target's face, it is unlikely that this amount of tear gas would be sufficiently effective to impair the target in a useful way.
Still other non-lethal projectiles are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,009,164, issued to Grinberg (Apr. 23, 1991), 5,221,809 issued to Cuadros (Jun. 22, 1993) and 5,565,649, issued to Tougeron, et al. (Oct. 15, 1996), each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. Grinberg describes a projectile that changes its shape upon impact with a target, thereby reducing the danger of penetration into a live target. For example, Grinberg uses a double leaf construction to facilitate rupture of the projectile upon impact. Cuadros describes a projectile that increases in size either during flight or upon impact to spread its force over a large area to provide a knock-down effect without body penetration, and Tougeron, et al., describe a self-propelled projectile intended to deliver an active substance to a living target.
While each of the devices described by these patents attempts to provide a projectile that may be used to stop or slow a living target without causing lethal injury, all of the devices have proven to be less than ideal. They are complicated and expensive to manufacture, and they are variously difficult to use and unreliably effective. As a result of these problems and others, there is no widely commercially accepted non-lethal projectile in use by law enforcement or military personnel today that delivers an inhibiting substance to a target.
As such, there is a need for a reliable and cost effective non-lethal devices and/or method for delivering non-lethal force.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention advantageously addresses the above-identified needs, as well as other needs, by providing a non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile system for delivering a substance to a target, especially a living target, such as a human or animal target. In some embodiments, the projectile system is better maximizes its effectiveness by providing a kinetic impact against the target at a first location on or near the target combined with a more optimum dispersement of the substance on and/or about the target at a second location.
In one embodiment, a system is provide that can comprise a first part have a hollow portion containing an inhibiting substance, a second part being non-spherical and having an exterior, wherein the first part is sealed with the second part to seal the inhibiting substance within at least the hollow portion, and a plurality of stabilizing fins secured with the exterior of at the second part. The second part can additionally include a hollow portion such that a volume is defined by the hollow portion of the second part and the hollow portion of the first part, wherein the inhibiting substance is contained within the volume. Further, the second part has a length and the first part has a width, where the length of the second part is greater than one and a half times the width of the first part. In some embodiments, the plurality of fins are angled relative to an axis of the second part such that the angled fins provide a spin stabilizing effect.
In some embodiments, a projectile system is provided for use in delivering a substance to a target. The projectile system can include a projectile that has a first part that is at least partially hollow, a second part that is secured with the first part such that the hollow portion is sealed, wherein the projectile is non-spherical, an inhibiting substance sealed within at least the hollow portion of the first part, and stabilizing fins secured with the second part along an exterior of the second part. Further, the inhibiting substance is dispersed into a cloud upon impact of the projectile with a target. In some embodiments, the projectile system further comprises a cartridge coupled with the second part wherein the cartridge includes means for launching the projectile.
In some embodiments, the second part of the projectile is at least partially hollow where the hollow portion of the second part cooperates with the hollow portion of the first part defining a volume within the first and second parts, and the inhibiting substance is sealed within the volume. The first part can additionally be frangible such that the inhibiting powder is radially dispersed when the projectile contacts the target.
Some embodiments provide a system that comprises at least one fin and a frangible portion housing a payload. The system, in some embodiments, can further comprise a generally non-frangible nose section. The payload includes irritant powder, an inert substance for training, a Capsaicin, Capsaicin II, at least one capsaicinoid, Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC), at least one of CS and CN, maloderants, a liquid substance a marking substance and/or a weighting substance.
In further embodiments, a system is provided that comprises at least one stabilizing fin, means for launching containing compressed gas, and a frangible portion housing at least a portion of a dispersible payload. The system can further include a shock absorbing nose section. Some embodiments provide a projectile system that includes at least one stabilizing fin, a frangible portion housing at least a portion of a dispersible payload, and a cartridge coupled with the frangible portion, wherein the cartridge includes means for launching the frangible portion. A flexible nose section can additionally be included.
A projectile system is provided through some embodiments that include means for spin stabilizing, and a frangible portion encasing at least a portion of a dispersible payload. The system, in some embodiments, can further include a cartridge coupled with the frangible portion, wherein the cartridge includes means for launching the frangible portion.
The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings wherein:
The following description of the presently contemplated best mode of practicing the invention is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims.
As used herein, the term “projectile system” or “projectile” or “non-lethal projectile” refers generally to the entire projectile apparatus of the various embodiments of the present invention that travels to the target. For example, in all embodiments contemplated herein, the projectile system or projectile at least includes a projectile body that contains a substance for delivery to the target. For example, this projectile body may be embodied as a capsule having a hollow volume within that contains the substance. The terms “capsule”, “casing” and “shell” are used interchangeably herein to refer to an embodiment of the projectile body as being a container portion of the projectile system within which the substance is contained, whether or not a deliverable substance is actually contained therein. This projectile body may be a variety of shapes, for example, the projectile body may be oblong, spherical or other shapes depending on the specific embodiment. In some embodiments, the projectile includes stabilizers or other aspects to provide a straighter or more accurate flight path. In some embodiments, the projectile body may be embodied as a stabilizer body, for example, which apparatus travels to the target.
Referring now to
The inhibiting substance can comprise finely powdered capsaicinoid, a combination of a plurality of finely powdered capsaicinoids, oleoresin capsicum (such as may be purchased from Defense Technology of America in Casper, Wyo. (for example, Blast Agent oleoresin capsicum 943355, Cas. No. 8023-77-6, #T14, #T16, #T21 and/or #T23)), other pepper derivatives or other inhibiting substances.
Oleoresin capsicum (OC), a pepper substance, contains one or more active ingredients or capsaicinoids primarily responsible for the inhibiting or irritant effects including capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin and pelargonic acid vanillylamide (PAVA), also known as nonivamide. Capsaicinoids are naturally occurring or synthetically reproduced, for example, one form of Oleoresin capsicum includes a synthetically produced version of nonivamide. Individual capsaicinoids function similarly to a collection of capsaicinoids. Oleoresin capsicum functions as an inhibiting substance due to the presence of one or more capsaicinoids. Oleoresin capsicum may be processed into a liquid, an oil, or a powder fill material. A capsaicinoid or capsaicinoids derived or extracted from naturally occurring oleoresin can be used, or a synthetic capsaicinoid or capsaicinoids can be used.
In the present embodiment, the oleoresin capsicum powder, to be used for the substance 2111, in some embodiments, (referred to with respect to the present embodiment as “powder”) is preferably purchased at a concentration of about 0.05%, e.g., between 0.1% and 30%, e.g., 0.3% and 15%, e.g. about 5% by weight. Thus, the substance should be, for example, at least 0.5% oleoresin capsaicin by weight, more preferably at least 3%, and most preferably at least 5% by weight.
Alternatively, in terms of capsaicin, the powdered inhibiting substance should comprise at least 0.1% capsaicin by weight to be effective, preferably at least 0.5% capsaicin, most preferably about 1% capsaicin. In either case, the powder may be diluted, to a desired concentration, by mixing with an inert powdered substance, such as talcum, corn starch, baby powder or other inert substances.
Thus, in the broadest sense, in some embodiments, the inhibiting substance can in part comprise a pepper-derived powder substance, including for example, one or more of oleoresin capsicum, capsaicin I or II, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, Nonivamide, PAVA, or combinations of the above pepper or pepper-derived substances.
Furthermore, in the powdered embodiments, it is advantageous that the substance 2111 is a finely ground powdered substance such that the particle sizes or grain are less than 1000 microns in diameter, and preferably less than 500 microns, more preferably less than 100 microns, and most preferably less than 50 microns. It has been found that the generally the smaller the particle diameter in a powdered substance, the more effective the radial dispersal of the substance upon impact and the larger the volume of the dispersal providing a “cloud-like” dispersion.
For example, particle diameters above 500 microns and specifically above 1000 microns, tend to simply splatter, spray, or scatter on the target and/or quickly fall to the ground. Furthermore, particle diameters generally above 250 microns and above 500 microns are easily prevented from entering a targets nostrils or mouth by placing a handkerchief there against. Furthermore, a powdered substance having, for example, a particle size of greater than 500 microns, or greater than 1000 microns, may only disperse into a very small volume, whereas a finely ground powdered substance will create a cloud of a much larger volume.
It is preferable to produce a “cloud” of the powdered substance to disperse radially and envelop a relatively large volume upon impact with the target and rupture of the nose 2113 and/or body 2112, for example, a cloud that is formed when clapping erasers together. As will be seen, it is advantageous that the substance produce a fine cloud of the powdered substance such that the cloud will be dispersed on and about the target, such that the target inhales the substance.
In some preferred embodiments, the substance comprises a powdered capsaicinoid powder, oleoresin capsicum powder or capsaicin powder that has an average particle size of less than 500 microns, preferably less than 100 microns, more preferably less than 50 microns, and most preferably less than 20 microns, e.g. 8 microns in diameter. Thus, when such powder is contained within projectile 2110, such as shown in
The projectile can be designed to produce a cloud of desired size. The size of the cloud produces depends on the size of the projectile 2110, the size of the cavity 2114, the particle size of the substance 2111, the speed of impact and other similar factors. In some embodiments, the size of the cloud is about 1 foot in diameter, and preferably about 2 feet or more in diameter. This cloud advantageously “wafts” in the air for several seconds, for example, between 6 and 10 seconds before settling, allowing sufficient time to inhale the powdered substance.
Furthermore, and advantageously, the powdered inhibitor substances, such as capsaicinoids, oleoresin capsicum and capsaicin, are more than topically acting substances. These substances react internally by entering the mouth and nostrils of the target and contacting the lung tissue, for example, causing a temporary irritation, choking, coughing, panic and/or feeling of inability to breathe, whereby the target is inhibited.
In other embodiments, the projectile 2110 may also be used to deliver other substances such as marking substances, including for example, dyes or paint, or the like, to a living or an inanimate target, and may also be used to deliver inert substances, such as, baby powder, corn starch, talcum powder, water and other inert substances. Such dyes may be colored dyes, such as those found in common paint ball technologies, or may contain other markers, such as an inferred, ultraviolet (UV) or glow-in-the-dark marker, which may be useful for marking a suspect at night, making it easier for law enforcement personnel to see the marked suspect at night. In one embodiment of a marking substance, a chemical marker or chemical fingerprinted paint, such as produced by Yellow Jacket, Inc. of California, can be used which effectively leaves a chemical ID or chemical fingerprint on the target, which can be used by the police to verify that a person was struck by a specific non-lethal projectile and place the suspect at a crime scene. As such, the chemical marker includes a chemical ID formulated into the paint substance during manufacture, identifying the batch of the chemical marker. For example, a fleck of the chemical marker found on a suspect two weeks after the being impacted with the chemical marker, can be chemically identified and traced to the shooter; thus, the suspect may be linked to a crime scene by the chemical marker.
Furthermore, chemical compounds having a particularly offensive odor, i.e. malodorants, may be contained within the projectile 2110, to be used to mark suspects by scent or to repel or keep people away from desired areas. In still further embodiments, the projectile may be used to deliver both inhibiting and marking substances, or even inert substances to the target.
Still referring to
Similarly, the body 2112 can generally taper, may be generally oblong, be shaped similar to “A-bombs”, or have another desirable shapes according to the specific embodiment; however, some body shapes may provide for more stable flight paths and/or more desirable dispersal of the substance contained within upon impact. In some embodiments, the body includes fins 2118 and/or other stabilizers 2119 to provide added stability during flight. The projectile 2110 can include substantially any number of fins. For example, the projectile shown in
Still referring to
The projectile systems 2110 contemplated according to one embodiment herein further includes a generally tapering, hollow body 2112. The body can be formed from plastic, PVC, polymer substances, or other materials and/or combinations of these materials. The body is at least partially hollow or includes a bore, well or chamber 2116. The hollowed portion 2116 typically also tapers similar to the tapering of the body 2112. The mouth 2117 of the hollowed portion is positioned proximate the nose 2113. However, the hollow portion can be formed in substantially any configuration depending on any number of considerations, including, but not limited to, dimensions of the projectile, dimensions of the body, the amount of substance to be delivered, the weight of the substance, the desired center of gravity, the desired flight path, dispersment of the substance at the target and other similar factors.
The body 2112 has an outer diameter at the mouth 2117 that is preferably from between about 1.0 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.8 cm. Typically, the outer diameter is configured to have a diameter substantially equal to the diameter of the nose 2113. Further, the outer diameter of the body, in some embodiments, is less than the inner-diameter of a shotgun shell (see
The projectile 2110 can be designed and configured to have substantially any outer diameter to deliver substantially any amount of payload at the target. The diameter is limited only by the means for propelling and/or delivering the projectile at or near a target. For example, the projectile can have a diameter from less than 0.5 mm to greater than 10 cm. For example, projectiles can have diameters of about 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 9 mm, 10 mm, 11.4 mm, 14.5 mm, 20 mm, 25 mm, 30 mm, 37 mm, 40 mm, 63.5 mm, 76 mm, 105 mm, 127 mm, 155 mm, 1.7 cm, 5.0 cm and other similar diameters that correspond with the size of existing ammunition for various existing weapons. Similarly, the total length of the projectile can have substantially any length to achieve the desired flight stability and deliver a desired payload. In some embodiments, for example, the projectile can have lengths between less than 0.5 inches and over 65 inches.
The body tapers to reduce the weight of the projectile, maintain a preferred center of gravity and optimizes preferred flight path. The tail 2115 is designed to have a length and diameter large enough to provide stability, maintain desired fin rigidity and achieve the desired center of gravity. The fins 2118 and stabilizers 2119 enhance flight stability and thus accuracy. In some embodiments, the span across two fins and the tail is equal to or less than the outer diameter of the body 2112 and/or nose 2113.
The inner-diameter of the hollowed portion 2116 (which defines part of the volume in which the substance 2111 is carried) preferably tapers. The diameter of the mouth 2117 of the hollow portion 2116 is from between about 0.5 mm to greater than 10 cm. For example, the mouth diameter can be between 0.3 cm and 5.0 cm, e.g., 1.7 cm, and it typically about equal with the inner diameter of the nose 2113.
The cavity 2114 formed between the inner hollow of the nose and the hollow portion 2116 of the body 2112 houses or retains the substance to be delivered, and preferably dispersed, at a target. In preferred embodiments described in detail herein, the cavity 2114 is filled to at least about 30%, preferably 40% to less than 100%, more preferably 85% to 95%, and most preferably to about 90%, of its volume with a substance, for example an inhibiting, inert and/or marking substance, to be delivered to the target, for example a human target.
Because of the length of the body 2112, the hollow portion is typically configured with a volume greater than the volume of the nose 2113. This allows the projectile to carry and thus deliver a greater amount of substance, such as an inhibiting substance, to the target. Typically, the hollow portion 2116 of the body has a greater volume than spherical structures of previous devices, such as paint balls (e.g., those paint balls discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379 (Kotsiopoulos et al.)).
The body 2112 is typically designed with a length greater than the radius of the hemispherical nose 2113. The body is more preferably greater in length than the diameter of the mouth 2117. In some preferred embodiments, the body is greater in length than one and a half times the diameter of the mouth 2117.
In some embodiments, the nose and body, the nose and lid, and the body and tail are secured together. Preferably the nose and body are additionally sealed to one another, such as using ultrasonic welding techniques, using an appropriate solvent or glue, by snapping the nose and body together or other similar techniques, such as combinations of these techniques. In some embodiments, the nose 2152 and body 2154 are also preferably sealed, such as using ultrasonic welding techniques, using an appropriate solvent or glue, or by snapping the nose and body together, such as combinations of these techniques.
One implementation of the body 2154 is shown in
The fins 2176 may be made of the same material as the tail 2156 or other flexible material, such as rubber, urethane, polyethylene and other similar materials to withstand the launch loads without structurally failing. Typically, the tail and fins are formed as a single, continuous piece. However, the fins 2716 can be individual fins or may be a single fin body including more than one fin, for example, four fins, that are attached or bonded to the projectile tail 2156.
In some embodiments, the fins extend up along the body providing greater fin length than the tail. In some of these embodiments, the fins can additionally be secured with the body. Alternatively, the fins can have a length equal to or less than a length of the tail 2156.
The use of multiple parts to construct the projectile can be utilized in any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein. In some embodiments, a nose can be configured to fit a plurality of different body configurations. Similarly, a tale can be configured to fit a plurality of different body shapes. Additionally, a body can be constructed to fit any number of nose and/or tail configurations.
The projectile 2110 with loaded substance 2111 is designed to have an optimal center of gravity. The optimal center of gravity provides for a more accurate flight path and further enhances the rupture of the frangible nose 2113 and thus enhancing the distribution of the substance. For example, the center of gravity can be directly at a center of the length of the projectile when the projectiles are constructed such that the tail counter balances the nose. Alternatively, the center of gravity can be positioned slightly toward the nose to better ensure that the projectile contacts the target nose first.
The nose 2113 and/or body 2112 are preferably formed, by injection molding or by being hot pressed; however other methods are also suitable. For example, the hemispherical nose 2113 can be formed using a carefully temperature controlled draw of polystyrene, similar to the formation of spherical capsules described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,254,379, incorporated herein by reference, (hereinafter the '379 patent).
Production of the capsule of the '379 patent in this fashion can, however, be time consuming and, where being manufactured for the purpose of delivering paint to a target, requires careful attention to feed rates and maintenance of temperature differences between injection feeds of the paint and forming of the capsules. In contrast, and as discussed further herein, the preferred projectiles of the present invention may be quickly formed, filled and sealed at very high production rates, in part, because the nose 2113 and body 2112 are typically formed separately. In some embodiments, the nose and body are then appropriately filled, joined and sealed. Alternatively, in some preferred embodiments, the nose and body are joined and sealed. Then the substance 2111 is delivered to the cavity 2114 through a fill opening 614 (see
The body 2112 of the projectile 2110 can be configured to be more structurally stable than the nose 2113. As such, in some embodiments, the body can be reused. Once a projectile 2110 is launched or fired, the nose ruptures upon impact dispersing the substance 2111. The body can then be retrieved, a new nose affixed, re-filled with a desired substances and again launched.
The size of the propulsion block 2256 is designed to harness a majority of the propulsion force provided by the ignited substance 2264. As such, in some embodiments, the diameter of at least a portion of the propulsion block 2256 is typically at least equal to or larger than the diameter of the shell 2252. The diameter of the propulsion block 2256 is typically designed to create a seal between the propulsion block and the inner diameter of the shell 2252. Further, some embodiments of the propulsion block are designed to have an extended seal region where the seal created between the propulsion block and the shell has an increased length further ensuring a seal and a maximum transfer of propulsion energy to the projectile 2254. Additionally and/or alternatively, the seal between the projection block and the shell can include a plurality of seals spaced across a length of the projection block 2256. In some embodiments, a small amount of lubricant and or sealant, such as oil, graphite or other lubricant can be included at the seal between the propulsion block and the shell to improve the seal and/or reduce friction and allow for an increased velocity.
The propulsion block 2256 can be of substantially any relevant shape and/or configuration that established the desired seal effect within the shell 2252. In some embodiments the propulsion block is partially hollow, such as hollow cylinder or a cup shape to reduce the weight of the propulsion block and limit the distance of travel of the propulsion block. The hollow portion is typically closed at one end by a plate or cap. The plate, in some embodiments, extends out beyond the cylinder portion to form a portion of the desired seal with the shell. The propulsion block 2256 can include one or more lips 2253 that protrude away from a central axis of the propulsion block and extend around the perimeter of the propulsion block, typically near or at one end of the propulsion block (such as at the opposite end from the plate). The protruding lip 2253 can define a larger diameter for the propulsion block that is greater than the diameter of the shell. Further, in some preferred embodiments, the lip is flexible and tends flex to establish greater contact with the interior of the shell producing an enhanced seal. The lip 2253 can further be perpendicular to the central axis or taper from the central axis at an angle.
Reinforcement structures can also be included in some embodiments of the propulsion block 2256. For example, the hollow, cylinder shaped embodiment can include the plate to close the end. The plate can further includes radially extending reinforcement structures that add rigidity and stability to the propulsion block. Some embodiments further include additional ribbing and/or one or more structural rings positioned along the length of the block. The ring(s) extends around the perimeter of the interior or exterior of the propulsion block. This ribbing and/or ring can add further structural support. The ring can additionally enhance and/or provide an additional seal between the ring and the shell, when the ring is formed on the exterior of the block.
In some embodiments, the propulsion block can be eliminated and the projectile 2254 is configured with a diameter that is substantially equal to or just greater than the inner diameter of the shell 2252. The diameter of the propulsion block is typically of a sufficient size to chock off the flow between the high pressure, flame front and the low pressure, atmosphere side. As such, the projectile produces a seal between the projectile and the shell such that the propulsion force produced by the ignited substance 2264 is directly applied to the projectile. Similar to some embodiments of the propulsion block, the projectile 2254, in some embodiments, can be configured such that the seal between the projectile and the shell 2252 is a long seal and has a length that extended along a portion of the length of the projectile to establish the seal. The seal between the propulsion block and/or the projecting can equally be employed with other types of propulsion, for example, compressed gas and other similar propulsion techniques.
The propulsion block can be constructed of substantially any material capable of withstanding the pressure and temperatures exerted on the block from the ignition of the ignitable substance 2264 (or compressed air applied to the block as described below). For example, the propulsion block can be constructed of plastic, metal or metals, ceramics, other similar materials and/or combinations thereof. Similarly, the projectile can be constructed at least in part of similar materials when the propulsion block is not used, or simply to provide added strength to the projectile or provide an additional seal within the shell.
The projectile 2212 includes a nose 2220, a body 2222 and a projectile seal 2224. In some embodiments, the body includes stabilizing fins, which can be similar to those described above with reference to
The seal secures the projectile 2212 with the cartridge 2214. Typically, the seal fits into a cavity 2232 of the cartridge. In some embodiments, the seal 2224 includes a recess 2228 that is formed in the seal opposite to the projectile body and nose. This recess 2228 focuses a propulsion force towards a central axis of the projectile 2212.
The cartridge 2214 provides propulsion to the projectile 2212. The cartridge typically includes a propellant, such as compressed gas, gun powder, other flammable and/or explosive substances, and other propellants. In one embodiment, the cartridge includes a cavity 2232 in which at least a portion of the projectile seal 2224 is secured. The cavity can also be configured to hold the propellant or is configured to allow the propellant to disperse so than a distributed force is applied on the projectile 2212.
Referring back to
The cartridge can be formed of metal, plastic, PVC and other similar materials or combination of materials. The cartridge can be constructed to be reusable.
It has been discovered, by the present inventors, that the effectiveness of projectile systems employing projectiles to deliver powdered non-lethal substances, such as powdered oleoresin capsicum, to a target are maximized by filling the projectile volume to at least about 30%, preferably 40% to less than 100%, more preferably 85% to 95% of their maximum volume, and most preferably to about 90% of their maximum volume. The present inventors' discovery of an optimal fill range represents a significant improvement, one that enables the use of powdered inhibiting substances in a commercially viable non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectile. This optimal fill range further represents an unexpected result. The fill range is further described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,965,839, filed Nov. 18, 1996, entitled “NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE FOR DELIVERING AN INHIBITING SUBSTANCE TO A LIVING TARGET”, and 6,393,992, filed Apr. 9, 1999, entitled “NON-LETHAL PROJECTILE FOR DELIVERING AN INHIBITING SUBSTANCE TO A LIVING TARGET”, and co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/146,013, filed May 14, 2002, entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR STORING AND LAUNCHING NON-LETHAL PROJECTILES” each of which are incorporated herein in their entirety.
However, at the same time, this optimal fill range poses a different problem, which is addressed herein below, that is, how to fill each of the nose 2113, 2212 and body 2112, 2222 so that a resultant projectile has the optimal fill range, without significant spillage of the substance contained therein during closure of the nose and body.
In alternative embodiments, the cartridge 2214 is replaced with a caseless propellant. The caseless propellant is ignited and generates the propulsion force similar to that of gun powder, a primer, a primer and gun powder mix and other similar ignitable substances. The caseless propellant is formed such that the cartridge portion 2214 is rigid and stable until ignited, for example with an electric charge or a primer. Once ignited, the caseless propellant is almost completely consumed or completely consumed as it generates the propulsion force that is exerted on the projectile 2212.
In a still further preferred aspect, the sealed cavity of the projectile system 2110 is shaken or otherwise subjected to sufficient force to cause rupture of the membranes 2120, 2121 within the projectile 2110, such that the substance 2111 within the projectile becomes mixed and moves relatively freely within the projectile. It is noted that the glue/solvent is not illustrated in
Membranes can be utilized to aid in filling any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein.
In an alternative preferred assembly method, illustrated in
Referring now to
Thus, in a preferred method, the nose 2113 and body 2112 are fabricated using suitable molding or forming techniques (Block 702), and each is filled (Block 704) to about 90% of its volume with the substance 2111, to be delivered to the target, especially a powdered substance, and most preferably an inhibiting powdered substance. In one alternative, a thin membrane 2120, 2121 (see
In practice, one or both of the nose and body, after having been mechanically compressed and/or covered by the membranes, are then preferably rotated to align with the other or with one another, and brought together (Block 708). For example, the nose can be filled, the substance compressed and covered by a membrane, the body filled and the substance compressed, then the nose rotated to align with the body, and then brought down onto the body.
The nose and body are then preferably sealed to one another (Blocks 709, 710, 712, 714), such as using ultrasonic welding techniques (Block 709), or using an appropriate solvent or glue (Block 710) or by snapping the nose and body together (Block 712), or other similar techniques or combinations of these and other techniques. For example, if polystyrene is used to construct part or all of the nose and/or body, many known solvents are available that will dissolve the polystyrene just enough to result in sealing of the same as the plastic hardens upon evaporation of the solvent. Polystyrene is commonly used for plastic models, and thus, various modeling glues are available that provide suitable sealing. With respect to the alternative of sealing, the snapping together, such as using interlocking flanges, is described and depicted in detail in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839 and 6,393,992, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/146,013, each previously incorporated earlier in their entirety.
The method of assembly can be utilized in any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein.
In embodiments employing membranes, the membranes 2120, 2121 (see
Various preferred embodiments of the projectile systems 2110, 2210 are constructed wherein the nose 2113, 2220 and/or body 2112, 2222 include structurally weakening features or fracture points on the exterior and/or interior surfaces thereof, which fracture points primarily facilitate rupture of the nose 2113, 2220 and/or body 2110, 2222 upon impact with a target. These fracture points can be implemented similar to weakening features or fracture points described and depicted in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839 and 6,393,992, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/146,013, each previously incorporated by reference above.
The fracture points can be one or more dimples, a pattern of exterior and/or interior dimples, scoring, a matrix pattern of exterior and/or interior scoring, and other such fracture points. These fracture points serve the tripartite purposes of facilitating rupture of at least part of the projectile, atomization of the substance (e.g., inhibiting substance) upon impact with the living target, and of decreasing drag and increasing lift during flight of the projectile system.
Referring next to
Furthermore, the nose 2313 includes a fill hole 614 formed at a pole of the hemispherical nose. The fill hole includes a flange 616 at its perimeter that is designed to receive the lid or third part 618. The lid 618 includes a rim 620 that is adapted to be inserted into the fill hole 614 against the flange 616 such that the top surface of the lid 618 fits preferably flush with the exterior surface of the nose 2313. Note also, that the nose 2313 has interior surface scorings 47, in a longitudinal and/or latitudinal pattern formed within the nose 2313. In some embodiments, similar scoring can additionally be included within the body 2112. Such interior scorings 47 are not required, but are preferred since they provide a controlled fracturing of the nose and/or projectile which optimizes the dispersal of substances contained therein.
The addition of the fill hole 618 formed in the nose 2113 advantageously allows for a simple and effective operation of filling the projectile 2310 with either liquid or powder substances in a manner wherein a majority of the volume contained within the projectile is filled with the substances. For example, using the three-part projectile, the cavity may be filled with at least 90% of its interior volume with either a liquid or a powder substance.
The three-part projectile is manufactured by adhering and sealing the body 2312 to the nose 2313 (Step 1404 of
The fill hole 614 is large enough such that the substance, whether liquid or powder, may be poured into the projectile without spilling, at least when properly filled. Advantageously, the fill hole is large enough such that spillage rarely occurs with the proper techniques, for example, using a pipe, funnel, automatically or manually driven auger system, or similar pouring and/or guiding device. As an optional step, particularly for use with a powdered substance, the powdered substance is compressed (Step 1408 of
Once the substance is filled into the projectile 2310, the lid 618 is placed or positioned into the fill hole 614 (Step 1412 of
It is noted that the use of membranes, such as described above, or other devices to hold a substance or substances within respective halves, is not required. This provides a much simpler assembly. Further advantageously, a single projectile design will support the filling of both liquid substances and powder substances. Thus, a manufacturer does not need to design two types of projectiles, one to be filled with a liquid substance and one to be filled with a powder substance.
The method of assembly shown in
Referring next to
Referring back to
In one embodiment, the scoring 47 is preferably “VI”-shaped in cross-section with an angled or slightly flat bottom portion of the “V” providing a basal portion of such scoring. The scoring preferably has a minimum depth of about 10% to 75%, e.g. 20% to 40% of the thickness of the nose casing or shell 2313 depending on the thickness of the nose shell.
Preferably, there are from between about 1 and 10, e.g., between 2 and 6, circumferential (i.e., latitudinal) scores and from between about 2 and 10, e.g., between 6 and 8 longitudinal scores in the surface of the nose and/or body so as to provide omnidirectional atomization of the inhibiting substance upon impact and a maximal decrease in drag and increase in lift for the projectile.
Referring next to
The fins 1802 may be individual fins that are attached, bonded, or molded to a portion of the projectile body, so as to help stabilize the projectile 1800 in flight in order to increase the range of the projectile 1800. The fins 1802 may be made of the same material as the projectile or other flexible material, such as rubber, urethane, polyethylene and other similar materials to withstand the launch loads without structurally failing. Furthermore, the fins 1802 may be individual fins or may be a single fin body including more than one fin 1802, for example, four fins 1802, that are attached or bonded to the projectile body 604. Note that although shown as a three-part projectile, the projectile 1800 may be a two-part projectile.
Referring next to
The body 1804 in this embodiment is modified so as to be integrated with the fins 1802 and is not hemispherical in shape. The modified body 1804 is illustrated as cup shaped and is configured to carry a larger payload of substance or material within the cavity of the projectile 1900 than the projectile 1800 of
Referring next to
Advantageously, the projectile systems contemplated herein are muzzle safe, that is they may be safely and effectively fired at close range, including, for example, at arm's length. In contrast, other long range non-lethal projectiles have not proven to be safe immediately outside a muzzle. A further important feature of the present projectile systems is that they are not only easy to manufacture in large quantities, but they are also very inexpensive compared with prior art projectiles.
The embodiments of
The solid material 902 may be, for example, crushed walnut shells, rice, metal particles, such as metal powder or filings, wood particles, such as wood shavings or wood dust, or any other readily available solid that can be added to the substance 605. Facts such as cost, density, and toxicity factor into selection of the solid material 902. Advantageously, the solid material 902 helps to disperse the substance 611 by carrying the substance quickly away from the point of impact in a generally radial (or lateral) direction.
Addition of a solid material can be made to the inhibiting substance of any of the projectiles depicted and/or described herein.
To further facilitate maximum dispersal of the contents of the projectile in a non-lethal projectile system, the substance should be formulated so that it is not strongly cohesive. For example, where a liquid substance is employed, it should be selected to have very low surface tension (or should be placed under pressure), and where powders are concerned, highly structured surfaces are to be avoided. Thus, for example corn starch is a smooth surfaced powder that will readily disperse in a cloud-like manner; whereas other powders may require micro-grinding to remove structured surfaces.
Various substances, well known to those of skill in the art, may be used in the present projectile systems. Particularly preferred herein, however, is a powdered capsaicinoid, capsaicinoids or oleoresin capsicum, which are pepper-derived substance, i.e., essentially a food product. When powdered oleoresin capsicum is delivered to a target, in accordance with the apparatus and methods described herein, the target inhales the substance into its lungs, which not only is painful to the target but also results in a temporary inability to breathe effectively. Although the inability to breathe is temporary, it is of sufficient duration to cause panic in the individual, thereby providing adequate time for apprehension. Furthermore, like the liquid form, powdered oleoresin capsicum causes significant irritation and pain when it contacts the mucous membranes, such as for example, eyes, nose, mouth or throat, of a living target.
Referring back to
In addition, the metal filings increase the mass of the projectile, thereby increasing the kinetic force applied by the projectile against the target upon impact of the projectile against the target. As a result, the variation shown may offer as an advantage, not only enhanced inhibiting of a target, due to a more widely dispersed cloud of inhibiting substance, but also enhanced kinetic “thumping” against the target, thereby increasing the initial stunning blow delivered by the projectile. This increase in kinetic force may also enhance the ability of the projectile to leave a bruise on the target, thereby enhancing the projectile's ability to serve not only as a tool for inhibiting a target, but also as an evidentiary tool, should doubt arise as to whether a certain individual is one that has been hit by a projectile of the embodiments specified herein.
Furthermore, the “thumping” from the impact of the projectile should be with a sufficient force to temporarily stun the target, e.g. at least 2 to 3 ft-lbs of force for a human target, preferably at 6 ft-lbs, and most preferably at least 10 ft-lbs of force, which slows the target and allows the inhibiting substance to work more effectively. In comparison a typical paint ball impacts at about 10 ft-lbs of force and a non-lethal bean bag type projectile impacts at about 120 ft-lbs (i.e. at about 90 mph).
The present projectile can be used against human and animal targets. Further, the projectiles can be used defensively or offensively. Some situations where the projectile can advantageously be used include hostage situations, domestic disturbance situations, riot control, vehicle extraction, fleeing suspects, suicide by police, armed suspects, and other situations where non-lethal force would be advantageous.
Referring next to
Quite advantageously, the projectile system of the present embodiment may be rapid fired, for example referring to
A rapid fire weapon can be rapidly fired in a vertical direction, such as illustrated in
Referring next to
The variation illustrated in
Within a matter of seconds, and as illustrated in
This present embodiment, then, provides a method of slowing and/or stopping and/or marking a living target. According to this method, the projectile system is fired at a target; the mechanical force of the impact causes rupture of the capsule, thereby permitting dispersal of the capsule contents, additionally, the force is sufficient to cause the target to move towards the dispersing substance, resulting in inhalation of the same, as the target attempts to catch his/her breath following the impact. As the substance is inhaled and/or contacts the mucous membranes in the face region, the target is stunned, that is physically impaired, and thus, collapses.
Further contemplated herein, is providing a projectile system wherein the projectile, is sufficiently hard and is delivered with sufficient force to result in bruising of the target at and surrounding the point of impact. In this way, the target is not only exposed to an inhibiting substance, but is also temporarily marked for later identification. For example, if any confusion arises as to who has been hit by the non-lethal projectiles, such as where the target is able to recover from or escape the effects of the inhibiting substance before officers are able to apprehend him/her, then the target may later be identified by the bruising, should he/she ultimately be apprehended. Those of skill in the art, will readily appreciate that the force required to fire a projectile system in accordance herewith, at a target, such that the projectile ruptures upon impact with the target, will generally also be sufficient to cause bruising to the target. It will further be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the capsules of the present embodiment may alone be used to mark a target, by bruising of the same, with or without delivery of any substances.
Referring next to
Thus, for example, as the weapon is rapid fired at a suspected criminal who is within a vehicle, the first rounds of capsules would be kinetic capsules or breaker balls that simply break the windows (solid line shows trajectory) of the vehicle to facilitate entry of the subsequent, impairing capsules that would then fill the vehicle (dashed line shown trajectory), at least in the vicinity of the criminal, with the inhibiting substance, thereby rendering the target unable to operate his or her vehicle.
Referring next to
Advantageously, the impairing capsules need not actually impact the target to be effective. Specifically, so long as the capsules impact sufficiently near the target that the cloud is inhaled by the target, or otherwise affects the target's respiration or other mucus membranes, such capsules will be effective at achieving their intended purpose, i.e., inhibiting or impairing the target. Thus, for example, where an animal, such as a dog or large cat, e.g. mountain lion, is being targeted, the capsules, in accordance herewith, may be impacted on the ground near the animal's face or on another object near the animal's head or may be targeted directly to the animal's head or body. In this case, (except, perhaps where the animal's head is targeted) the present embodiment provides a non-lethal means for subduing an animal that may pose a danger to humans or that may be in need of assistance itself.
Thus, in accordance with the present aspect, and quite advantageously, the projectile systems, because their dispersal mechanism is so optimized, may be used to inhibit a target when the target cannot actually be targeted. By way of further example, an individual hiding within a bathroom stall cannot be seen and thus for law enforcement personnel to attempt to confront the individual could place the law enforcement personnel in great danger. However, with the projectile systems of the present system, the officer need simply fire the projectiles at the wall above the stall within which the target is hiding or at a solid object near the target individual. The capsules of the system will rupture and the contents thereof will waft down into the stall, where they will be inhaled by the target and/or contact the target's mucous membranes, thereby incapacitating him/her. In fact, the inventors have tested this scenario using the projectiles of the present embodiment and have found the results to be quite impressive. The individual could not escape the effects of the inhibiting substance and was well incapacitated thereby.
In any case, absent a solution to the problem of residual inhibiting substance or irritant, it is highly questionable whether any law enforcement or military agency (particularly law enforcement agency) would adopt a powder-filled projectile as a non-lethal or less-than-lethal solution. Presently, all commercially viable non-lethal or less-than-lethal approach used by law enforcement and the military, at least to the best of the inventors' knowledge, either do not employ a chemical irritant, or employ a gas, which is diluted and carried away by ambient air currents. In the case of tear gas, however, for example, residual tear gas is a significant problem for personnel operating in an area after tear gas has been deployed.
For example, if medical personnel are needed in an area, they are required to wear a breathing apparatus, such as a gas mask, following the use a tear gas, at least until an area can be vented. With the present approach, however, an area can be sealed with hair spray or another spray adhesive following use of a powdered irritant projectile, after which personnel, such as medical personnel, can operate in the area almost immediately without the need for cumbersome and awkward breathing apparatuses with which such personnel may not have any training. Further, if, for example, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation needs to be performed, the present technology allows medical or law enforcement personnel to perform this type of resuscitation without first moving a victim out of an area contaminated by an inhibiting substance. Thus, the ability to seal both a target and an area around a target following use of the projectiles described herein provides a significant, and heretofore unaddressed, solution to a very real problem with heretofore available non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectiles that employ a chemical inhibiting substance or irritant.
Next referring to
For example, the prisoner is temporarily unable to breath, which will typically cause the prisoner to panic and fall to the ground. This allows the officers ample time to subdue and control the prisoner. Advantageously, even though the prisoner is obstructed from direct view by the object, for example, by the mattress, the projectile system can effectively inhibit the prisoner by impacting one or more projectile systems at a target near the prisoner. Firing multiple projectile system further enhances the “cloud” of dispersed substances.
This tactic applies to any situation where a suspect is not in a direct line of fire with law enforcement. For example, the suspect may be hiding behind a wall, or within a bathroom stall. The officer merely shoots the projectile systems at a target near the suspect, e.g. a ceiling or a bathroom stall wall, and waits for the resulting finely dispersed cloud containing an inhibiting powder, for example, a powdered oleoresin capsicum or a powdered capsaicin, expands to enter the suspects lungs. Thus, the suspect is effectively inhibited without actually impacting the suspect.
Furthermore, this tactic may apply to inhibit a living animal, such as dog or other animal that may be hiding out of a direct line of fire, for example, behind a rock. The projectiles used may be any of the projectiles as described above, although in this application, powder containing substances are preferable.
Further examples of applications and tactics for use are shown and described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,965,839 and 6,393,992, and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/543,289 filed on Apr. 5, 2000, 10/146,013 filed on Apr. 14, 2002, and 10/208,727 filed on Jul. 29, 2002 each fully incorporated earlier by reference.
The present embodiments solve many of the significant disadvantages in many prior art devices. For example, one of the disadvantages of many prior devices is that they do not take into consideration the need to deliver an inhibiting (or active) substance under fairly precise dispersal conditions to insure effectiveness thereof. When a target is impacted with a projectile delivering a substance thereto, to be maximally effective, the substance should disperse in a generally radial manner (or transverse to the motion of the projectile) such that the target's face is quickly and fully contacted thereby as provided by the present embodiments.
The present embodiments, at the same time, can be aimed with a degree of precision so as to be able to avoid hitting the target in, for example, the face. Further, the present embodiment provides sufficient dispersion of the inhibiting substance so that, for example, a projectile impacting on a target's chest delivers inhibiting substance to the target's face where it can be effective. Many prior projectiles, not only rarely contemplate these problems, but also frequently fail to provide for dispersal of the inhibiting substance to a target's face after impacting the target at a remote area.
More specifically, for example, while powdered inhibiting substances, in the view of the inventors, offer distinct advantages over the vast majority of prior devices that deliver inhibiting substances to a target, most prior devices fail to address the problem of both accurately delivering the projectile to the target at a location remote from the target's face, and dispersing a powered inhibiting substance in a cloud-like, radial manner so as to assure that the powdered inhibiting substance reaches the target's face. The present embodiments is capable of providing tactical advantages with non-lethal or less-than-lethal projectiles that can be accurately delivered to a target, impacting the target in an area other than the target's face, while at the same time providing dispersal of a powdered inhibiting substance to the target's face, where it is effective.
The present embodiments are both sufficiently safe to be used at close range and, at the same time, effective at longer ranges, such as 10 feet or more, e.g., 20 or 30 feet or more. Most non-lethal weapons heretofore known, however, are either operated at close ranges, for example, pepper spray canisters, or operated at long ranges, for example, rubber bullet devices, but do not operate at both close and long ranges. In particular, the close range weapons are generally not deployed with sufficient force to travel further than a few meters, and the longer range weapons generally are not “muzzle safe” in that they cannot be safely deployed at very short distances because of the chemical/explosive nature of the launching mechanism. As a result, law enforcement and military personnel are often required to employ two different technologies, one for close range applications, and another for long range applications.
In being able to use a single device for both applications the present embodiments provide numerous advantages. For example, cost is a significant factor recognized universally by governmental agencies, but perhaps even more importantly is a tactical disadvantage imposed by the use of both short range and long range non-lethal or less-than-lethal technologies. Many available technologies require that a user make a decision as to whether a particular situation calls for a short range non-lethal technology or a long range non-lethal technology. This requires not only spending time to assess a situation in order to determine whether non-lethal or lethal technology should be employed, but also requires expenditure of more time determining which non-lethal technology is appropriate, that is whether the situation calls for short-range technology or long-range technology. As a result, non-lethal and less-than-lethal projectiles are rarely used by law enforcement and military personnel, and, when used, are generally used only in situations where sufficient time exists for the user to make the chain of decisions necessary to first select non-lethal technology and second, to select what range of non-lethal technology is appropriate.
Cost becomes an important consideration in these tactical issues as well. Because two types of non-lethal technology must, using previous technologies, be available, many, if not most, law enforcement and military agencies cannot afford to fully equip their personnel. This cost constraint is further exacerbated because heretofore available non-lethal technologies, at least the ones that are effective, and thus actually useable, are complicated and highly specialized and most non-lethal devices do not offer a low-cost inert training version. Training is costly and therefore, use is infrequent. As a result, the actual costs of previous devices are still prohibitive and therefore dictates only limited deployment.
The present embodiments provide a cost effective and highly versatile apparatus and method for dispersing inhibiting substances. Further, the present embodiments allow for accurate and rapid dispersement. Still further, the present embodiments allow the projectiles to be directed at objects other than the target while still achieving sufficient dispersement of the inhibiting substance to affect the intended target. Additionally, because the present embodiments can be used at both close and long range, only a single device is needed. This significantly reduces cost for both equipment as well as training.
The present embodiments provide muzzle safe projectiles and/or systems that provide optimum dispersal of the substances contained therein. Further, projectile and/or systems can be readily incorporated into existing officer training programs, so that officers can be quickly, cost effectively, and easily trained in the use of the projectiles and/or system, which, in turn would be of particular advantage to the officer when attempting to use the system under stressful situations, as would normally be the case. Additionally, the present projectiles impact a living target in such a way as to actually facilitate the effectiveness of the system.
While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.
1. A projectile system for use in delivering a substance to a target, comprising:
- a projectile comprising: a first part; a frangible second part that is at least partially hollow, wherein the second part is secured with the first part to seal the hollow portion defining a volume, wherein an exterior of the projectile is non-spherical; an inhibiting substance contained within the volume; and stabilizing fins secured with the second part; and
- wherein at least the second part, when the projectile is launched at a non-lethal velocity, the non-lethal velocity is defined as a velocity that results in a non-lethal impact when impacting a torso of a typical adult human at a distance of 10 feet from a point where the projectile is launched, ruptures upon impacting a target, dispersing the inhibiting substance upon the rupturing of the projectile.
2. The projectile system of claim 1, wherein the first part is at least partially hollow where the hollow portion of the first part cooperates with the hollow portion of the second part defining the volume such that the inhibiting substance is contained within the volume.
3. The projectile system of claim 2, wherein the second part tapers to a smaller diameter away from the first part, and the second part has a length that is greater than a width of the first part.
4. The projectile system of claim 3, wherein the first part is frangible and the inhibiting substance comprises a powdered inhibiting substance, such that both the first part and the second part rupture upon impact of the projectile with the target such that the powdered inhibiting substance is omnidirectionally dispersed into the cloud proximate the target.
5. The projectile system of claim 4, wherein the first part comprising a fill hole cooperated with the volume and a lid removably secured within the fill hole, wherein the lid seals the fill hole when secured within the fill hole.
6. The projectile system of claim 3, wherein the inhibiting substance is a powdered inhibiting substance, and where an average particle size of the powdered inhibiting substance is less than 100 microns; and
- wherein the powdered inhibiting substance is omnidirectionally dispersed into a cloud proximate the target upon the rupturing of at least the second part.
7. The projectile system of claim 6, wherein the average particle size of the powdered inhibiting substance is less than 20 microns; and
- wherein the powdered inhibiting substance is dispersed into the cloud such that the cloud expands to have a length greater than a size of an adult human head within a time of a human target reflexively reacting to being impacted by the projectile.
8. The projectile system of claim 6, wherein the first part is generally non-frangible when launched at the non-lethal velocity, and wherein the first part is reusable and further comprises support structures.
9. The projectile system of claim 1, further comprising:
- a cartridge cooperated with the projectile, wherein the cartridge comprises compressed gas, stored in a compressed state prior to activation in launching the projectile; and
- where a release of the compressed gas, from the stored compressed state in response to an activation, acts directly on the projectile and propels and launches the frangible projectile at the non-lethal velocity.
10. The projectile system of claim 1, further comprising:
- a shell; and
- an ignitable substance;
- wherein the projectile is positioned within the shell proximate an opening of the shell through which the projectile is launched upon ignition of the ignitable substance, and
- the ignitable substance is positioned within the shell separated from the opening of the shell by the projectile, wherein the ignitable substance propels the projectile from the shell upon ignition of the ignitable substance such that the projectile is launched at the non-lethal velocity.
11. The projectile system of claim 10, wherein the ignitable substance comprises only one or more primers.
12. The projectile system of claim 11, further comprising:
- a propulsion block positioned within the shell between and separating the projectile from the ignitable substance, and further positioned proximate to the stabilizing fins;
- wherein the propulsion block maintains substantially all of a propulsion force, produced upon the ignition of the ignitable substance, behind the propulsion block and to evenly distribute the propulsion force to the projectile during launching of the projectile.
13. The projectile system of claim 12, wherein the propulsion block comprises a lip extending radially and circumferentially away from an exterior wall of the propulsion block where the lip is flexible and defines a diameter that is greater than a diameter of the shell when the propulsion block is external to the shell and the lip flexes when the propulsion block is positioned within the shell such that the lip establishes a seal with the shell.
14. The projectile system of claim 13, wherein the inhibiting substance includes a capsaicin.
15. The projectile system of claim 1, wherein the second part comprises a body portion removably secured with a tail portion;
- the body tapers to a smaller diameter away from the first part, the second part has a length that is greater than a width of the first part;
- the tail portion is secured with a tapered end of the body portion opposite from the first part and separated from the first part by the body portion, where the tail portion comprises the stabilizing fins extending away from the body portion.
16. A method of inhibiting a human target, the method comprising:
- activating the launching system;
- launching, in response to the activating of the launching system, a frangible projectile at a velocity such that the projectile upon impacting a target impacts at a non-lethal force when the projectile impacts a torso of the human target at a distance of 10 feet from a point of launch of the frangible projectile;
- impacting, in response to the launching of the frangible projectile, the frangible projectile with the target at the non-lethal force;
- rupturing, in response to the impacting of the frangible projectile with the target, the frangible projectile; and
- omnidirectionally dispersing, in response to the rupturing, a powdered inhibiting substance into a cloud proximate the target, where the powdered inhibiting substance is contained within the frangible projectile.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the omnidirectionally dispersing comprises omnidirectional dispersing of the powdered inhibiting substance into the cloud such that the cloud has a length that is greater than a size of an adult human head within a time of a human target naturally reflexively reacting to being impacted by the frangible projectile.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein the launching comprises igniting only one or more ignitable primers, such that the igniting of the one or more primer generates propulsion gases that drive the frangible projectile from the launching system.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the launching comprises igniting only the one or more primers such that the ignited one or more primers generates the propulsion gases that drives a propulsion block and the driven propulsion block drives the frangible projectile from the launching system, where the propulsion block maintains substantially all of the propulsion gases behind the propulsion block and evenly distributes propulsion force to the projectile during the launching of the projectile.
20. The method of claim 17, wherein the launching comprises:
- independently and sequentially launching each of a plurality of frangible projectiles at the target along a generally vertical pattern, wherein each of the plurality of frangible projectiles comprise a volume that houses the powdered inhibiting substance;
- the impacting the frangible projectile comprises impacting the plurality of frangible projectiles with the target along the generally vertical pattern; and
- the rupturing comprises rupturing each of the plurality of frangible projectiles such that each frangible projectile ruptures omnidirectionally dispersing the powdered inhibiting substance into a cloud proximate the target.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein the launching the each of the plurality of projectiles comprises:
- sequentially igniting each an ignitable substance contained within one of a corresponding plurality of shells where each shell houses at least one of the plurality of projectiles prior to launching and the corresponding ignitable substance, wherein the ignitable substance comprises only one or more primers;
- wherein the ignitable substance propels the projectile from the shell upon ignition of the ignitable substance such that each of the plurality of projectiles are launched at the non-lethal velocity upon ignition of the corresponding ignitable substance.
22. The method of claim 21, wherein one or more of the plurality of projectiles comprise:
- a first part;
- a frangible second part that is at least partially hollow, wherein the second part is secured with the first part to seal the hollow portion defining a volume, wherein the projectile is non-spherical;
- the powdered inhibiting substance being contained within the volume; and
- stabilizing fins secured with the second part; and
- wherein the rupturing comprises rupturing at least the second part, when the projectile is launched at the non-lethal velocity, upon impacting the target and the omnidirectionally dispersing the powdered inhibiting substance into the cloud.
23. The method of claim 16, wherein one or more of the plurality of projectiles comprise:
- a first part;
- a frangible second part that is at least partially hollow, wherein the second part is secured with the first part to seal the hollow portion defining a volume, wherein the projectile is non-spherical;
- the powdered inhibiting substance being contained within the volume; and
- stabilizing fins secured with the second part; and
- wherein the rupturing comprises at least the second part, when the projectile is launched at the non-lethal velocity, rupturing upon impacting the target and the omnidirectionally dispersing the powdered inhibiting substance into the cloud.
- wherein the launching comprises launching the frangible projectile such that a propellant gas acts directly on the frangible projectile to propel and launch the frangible projectile and where an ignitable substance is not used in launching the frangible projectile.
24. The method of claim 23, wherein the launching the frangible projectile without an ignitable substance comprises releasing stored compressed gas stored in a compressed state prior to activation, such that the propellant gas comprises the gas released from the stored compressed gas in response to the activating the launching system.