(19)
(11)EP 2 938 958 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
14.08.2019 Bulletin 2019/33

(21)Application number: 13868650.6

(22)Date of filing:  31.12.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F41C 23/16  (2006.01)
F41C 27/16  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2013/078504
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/106250 (03.07.2014 Gazette  2014/27)

(54)

UTILITY FOREGRIPS FOR USE WITH FIREARMS

NÜTZLICHER HANDGRIFF ZUR VERWENDUNG MIT SCHUSSWAFFEN

POIGNÉES DESTINÉES À ÊTRE UTILISÉES AVEC DES ARMES À FEU


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 31.12.2012 US 201261747705 P
30.12.2013 US 201314143987

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.11.2015 Bulletin 2015/45

(73)Proprietor: Switch Grip LLC
Massillon, Ohio 44646 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • ADCOCK, Torrance L.
    Bethesda, MD 20816 (US)
  • RICE, Michael Christopher
    Massillon, Ohio 44646 (US)

(74)Representative: Raffay & Fleck 
Patentanwälte Grosse Bleichen 8
20354 Hamburg
20354 Hamburg (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2012/021216
CN-A- 1 195 105
US-A- 5 594 967
US-A1- 2007 271 832
CN-A- 1 195 105
GB-A- 559 146
US-A1- 2006 162 224
US-A1- 2009 133 309
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] Embodiments of the present disclosure relate to firearms, and in particular, to a foregrip removably attachable to the forward part of a rifle, and to methods of making and using such a foregrip.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] The Armalite Rifle (AR) platform has been the standard battle rifle platform of the United States for the past fifty years. Introduced in the 1960s as a replacement for the M-14 rifle, M-16s were deployed in Vietnam as the military's new standard battle rifle. The M-16 was originally known as the AR-15, the designation originating from the Armalite Company that produced the first M-16s.

    [0003] In the intervening years, the AR platform evolved to more sophisticated configurations and capabilities. One major innovation was the introduction of the Picatinny rail system adopted as a standardized mounting system that allows accessories from multiple vendors to be mounted on the battle rifle and interchangeable from one weapon to another.

    [0004] The Picatinny rail, alternatively known as the U. S. MIL-STD- 1913 rail, NATO STANAG 2324 rail, or simply "Tactical Rail," is a bracket used on firearms in order to provide a standardized mounting platform. The Picatinny rail is a dovetail or T-shaped mount with transverse grooves that prevent the mounting accessory from moving back and forth due to recoil. The rail comprises a series of ridges with a T-shaped cross-section interspersed with flat "spacing slots." Accessories are mounted either by sliding them on from one end to the other by means of a mount that is clamped to the rail with bolts, thumbscrews or levers, or onto the slots between raised sections.

    [0005] With the advent of the Picatinny rail system, manufacturers began producing various accessories to aid soldiers in the field with a wide array of products ranging from multiple telescopic sights, range-finding devices, red-dot aiming devices, laser aiming devices, rail-mounted flashlights, alternate sights, and bi-pods, all of which represent the majority of categories of accessories available for mounting on the Picatinny rails. Vertical foregrips and other accessories mounted at the six o'clock position on shoulder-fired weapons have become known in military, law enforcement and civilian arenas.

    [0006] A vertical foregrip is designed to attach to a firearm for the forward hand (or "offhand"). Such vertical foregrips aid in the maneuverability of the firearm, since the natural angle of a person's outstretched hand is more oriented to grasping objects at a vertical angle, rather than a horizontal one perpendicular to the body. Prior art foregrips attachable to rifles provide some levels of utilization but are less functional in design. Most foregrips of this type are constructed whereby the interior of the foregrip is a hollow cavity for storing "small parts." Other uses comprise installing batteries inside the foregrip cavity to power Picatinny rail-mounted flashlights, or where the foregrip and flashlight are an integral unit and the batteries again are contained within the foregrip cavity. Some prior art grips provide the option of allowing the foregrip to be positioned at various angles.

    [0007] Some prior art has taught various examples of accessories attached to firearms. For example, WO 2012/021216 A2 (16 February 2012) broadly discuses a foregrip for a firearm that include bi-pods or flashlights. Additionally, CN 1,195,105A (7 October 1998) broadly discusses a handgun having an integrated knife in the grip positioned rearwardly from the trigger. Similarly, GB 559,146A (7 February 1944)) broadly discusses a handgun having an integrated knife in the grip positioned rearwardly from the trigger.

    DISCLOSURE



    [0008] The invention is a foregrip according to claim 1.

    [0009] In another embodiment that falls not within the scope of the claims, a method of manufacturing a foregrip for a firearm may comprise forming a mounting device configured to mount to a mounting rail of a firearm, forming a grip body including a top portion configured to removably attach to the mounting device and a lateral side portion configured to be gripped by a firearm user, and providing a blade disposed within a cavity of the grip body. The blade may be moveable between a retracted and a deployed position.

    [0010] In yet another embodiment that falls not within the scope of the claims, a method of using a firearm may comprise coupling a mounting device to a rail of the firearm, removably attaching a foregrip including a utility device therein to the mounting device, the foregrip including a grip body having a top portion configured for attachment to the mounting device, a lateral side portion configured to be gripped by a firearm user, and a blade disposed within a cavity of the grip body, the blade being moveable between a retracted position and a deployed position relative to the grip body, detaching the foregrip from the mounting device and the firearm, and moving the blade from the retracted position to the deployed position.

    [0011] In yet another embodiment that falls not within the scope of the claims, a foregrip for a firearm may comprise a mounting device configured to attach to a mounting rail of a firearm, a grip body with a top portion configured to be removably attached to the mounting device and a lateral side portion configured to be gripped by the hand of a person using a firearm, a cavity disposed within the grip body, and a utility device disposed at least partially within the cavity.

    [0012] Applicant has devised several accessories configured for the Picatinny rail system that are not only unique in design, but are highly functional as well. The functionality is in keeping with the demands of soldiers, police and civilian shooters who require ease of use, practicality, and ruggedness from the equipment they must rely on when in the field and under harsh conditions. Additional variations on the present invention incorporate multi-functionality within these devices. The differences lie in the use of the functional devices incorporated into vertical foregrips making them not only unique but practical as well, all of which feature requested "one-handed" operation.

    [0013] To accomplish this, the present invention provides a vertical foregrip (VFG) in several configurations. Each configuration provides end-users with a secure grip for holding the weapon in a firing position while also providing additional functionality in the form of tools and other functional devices that are incorporated into the grip itself for use while in the field.

    [0014] The invention grip is not merely used to store articles, but is an integral part of the tool itself.

    [0015] For purposes of this application, Applicant provides six configurations as follows:

    Version #1 (VFG-1) provides a vertical foregrip with an integral sliding blade.

    Version #2 (VFG-2) that falls not within the scope of the claims provides a vertical foregrip with an integral razor (or box- cutter).

    Version #3 (VFG-3) that falls not within the scope of the claims provides a vertical foregrip with an integral multi-tool configuration (similar to a Swiss army knife).

    Version #4 (VFG-4) that falls not within the scope of the claims provides a vertical foregrip with an integral flashlight).

    Version #5 (VFG-5) provides a vertical foregrip that may be rotated to a horizontal position; the ability to re-position the vertical foregrip (VFG) affects the angle at which the weapon is held while in the firing position thus making it easier for the operator/shooter to position the weapon when firing.



    [0016] These, together with other objects of the invention, along with various features of novelty that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the drawings and specification annexed hereto and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by and that engage the flanges it uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the invention.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0017] While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming what are regarded as embodiments of the present invention, advantages of the embodiments may be more readily ascertained from the following description of certain example embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

    FIG. 1 is side view of an M-16 battle rifle with vertical foregrip;

    FIG. 2 is a diagrammed view of a vertical foregrip with integral sliding blade attached to a rail mounting device;

    FIG. 3 is a diagrammed view of the vertical foregrip with blade fully inserted and separated from the mounting device;

    FIG. 4 is a diagrammed view of the vertical foregrip with blade deployed;

    FIG. 5 is a diagrammed view of the vertical foregrip with box-cutter enclosed that falls not within the scope of the claims;

    FIG. 6 is a diagrammed view of the vertical foregrip with multi-tool enclosed that falls not within the scope of the claims;

    FIG. 7 is a diagrammed view of the vertical foregrip with spare flashlight that falls not within the scope of the claims;

    FIG. 8 is a diagrammed view of the vertical foregrip with a trunnion;


    MODE(S) FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION



    [0018] The illustrations presented herein are not meant to be actual views of any particular vertical foregrip or components thereof, but are merely idealized representations that are employed to describe embodiments of the present disclosure. Additionally, elements common between figures may retain the same numerical designation.

    [0019] Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like elements are indicated by like numerals, there are the five versions of the VFG as briefly described above. VFG-1 (FIGS. 2-4) provides a vertical foregrip with an integral sliding blade. VFG-2 (FIG. 5) provides a vertical foregrip with an integral razor. VFG-3 (FIG. 6) provides a vertical foregrip with an integral multi-tool configuration. VFG-4 (FIG. 7) provides a vertical foregrip with an integral flashlight. VFG-5 (FIG. 8) provides a vertical foregrip that may be rotated to a horizontal position.

    [0020] FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional combat firearm 10, i.e., a U.S. M-16. The firearm 10 has a stock 11 forming the firearm rearward portion. The stock 11 terminates forwardly in a lower receiver 13 from which a pistol grip 14 downwardly and rearwardly protrudes. A magazine 15 protrudes downwardly and forwardly from the lower receiver 13. A trigger 16 protrudes downwardly from the lower receiver 13 between the pistol grip 14 and magazine 15. A rifle barrel 17 extends forwardly from an upper receiver 12 attached to the lower receiver 13 and defines the forward portion of the firearm. The longitudinal axis of the firearm 10 is defined by the stock 11, upper receiver 12, and barrel 17. A Picatinny rail assembly 20 extends from an upper receiver top 18 forward about a portion of the barrel 17, including rails 21 along the barrel's twelve, three, six and nine o'clock positions.

    [0021] Referring to FIGS. 2-4, the VFG-1 (a vertical foregrip 30 with an integral sliding blade) may be attached to the Picatinny rail system rail 21 at the six o'clock position to provide shooters with a firm grip of the weapon to help position the rifle securely in the "pocket" of the shoulder as a solid platform from which to shoot the weapon and engage threats. The forward foregrip 30 may be hollow and may include a top 31, bottom 32, and sides 33 extending from bottom to top, and the top 31, bottom 32, and sides 33 may define a grip interior 34. The grip top 31 may be removably connected to a rail mounting device 25 by locking lugs, threads or similar complementary interlocking features 26 that removably attach the grip top 31 to the rail mounting device 25. The rail mounting device 25 may be adapted to connect to a Picatinny rail 21. The grip interior 34 may contain an elongated knife blade 40 having a distal end 41 and a proximal end 42. The knife blade distal end 41 typically will terminate in a point.

    [0022] The integral knife blade 40 and foregrip 30 mounting device 25 may attach to the Picatinny rail 21 via the mounting device 25, which may be a circular, threaded component to which the top 31 of the foregrip itself may be attached. Attachment may be achieved by abutting the foregrip 30 against the mounting device (e.g., by inserting the top 31 of the foregrip into the mounting device 25), pressing upward to engage complementary interlocking features 26 such as special threads or lugs, and rotating the foregrip to lock the lugs into place to the mounting device. This action is similar to how the cap for some popular water bottles is attached to the bottle. As the cap is twisted it unlocks from the special internal threads, then the cap is separated from the bottle. To reattach the cap, the cap is pressed down onto the bottle to engage the special threads and twisted to lock the cap to the bottle. In similar fashion, the VFG threads may require that the foregrip be inserted in a vertical manner then twisted to engage the locking threads/lugs, thus securing the foregrip to the weapon.

    [0023] The complementary interlocking features 26 may be engaged with one another to attach the grip 30 to the mounting device 25, and may be disengaged from one another to remove the grip 30 from the mounting device 25. For example, the complementary interlocking features 26 may include protrusions disposed on the top 31 of the grip 30 configured to engage complementary recesses in the mounting device 25 as the grip top 31 is inserted into the mounting device 25 and rotated. Attaching the grip 30 to the mounting device 25 may require less than a full turn (i.e., a 360° (three hundred sixty degree) turn) to engage the attachment features 26. In some embodiments, it may be required to turn the grip 90° (ninety degrees) or less to engage the attachment features 26. In some embodiments, it may be required to turn the grip 45° (forty-five degrees) or less to engage the attachment features 26. Similarly, removal of the grip 30 from the mounting device 25 may be accomplished by a turn of less than 90° (ninety degrees) or a turn of less than 45° (forty-five) degrees. The amount of rotation required to remove the grip 30 from the mounting device 25 may be chosen to enable the grip 30 to be removed from the mounting device 25 conveniently and quickly. Rotation of the grip 30 may be generally about a longitudinal axis thereof.

    [0024] Additionally, the grip 30 may be constructed in two halves and secured by threaded screws or pins. The two halves may be machined or milled on the interior face to form a cavity 34 to accept the sliding knife blade 40 that resides on the foregrip interior 34. The channel for the knife blade 40 may include two "stops" or blocks 35 machined into the surface just below the locking mechanism 36 that engage lateral flanges 43 on the knife blade proximal end 42 to prevent the blade 40 from sliding completely out of the foregrip interior 34.

    [0025] The grip 30 may include a locking mechanism 36 comprised of a thumb-activated toggle switch-type component that may perform several functions. (1) Starting with the blade 40 retracted within the foregrip 30, the toggle switch 36 may be pressed or rolled forward (or backward) to disengage from a top notch 44 machined into the blade 40 itself, thus freeing the blade 40 to slide out of the foregrip 30. Owing to different construction approaches, the toggle switch 36 can be made alternately to release the blade 40 upon pressing forward on the toggle switch 36 or pulling back on the toggle switch 36, and also can use springs to re-set the position of the toggle switch 36 with each action. (2) After activating the toggle switch 36, releasing or deploying the blade 40 requires that the foregrip 30 be given a quick flick of the wrist (or pointed downward to allow gravity to deploy the blade 40) so the blade 40 slides out the top 31 of the foregrip 30. The toggle switch 36 may be activated to engage a second lower notch 45 on the blade 40 thus locking the blade 40 in a deployed position. (3) To retract the blade 40, the toggle switch 36 may again be activated to release from the lower blade notch 45, and the blade 40/foregrip 30 may be held in an upright position permitting gravity to return the blade 40 to a retracted position and the toggle switch 36 is again re-set into the top notch 44 to retain the blade 40 within the foregrip interior 34.

    [0026] The sliding knife blade 40 may include several features to make it functional with the foregrip 30. A spine or back edge (non-cutting surface) 46 may include two half-moon indentations 44, 45 milled into the blade 40 at a specified distance apart to properly engage the toggle switch 36 and position the knife blade 40 in the correct positions, whether deployed or retracted. The proximal end 42 of the blade may include two slightly protruding flanges 43 that engage the "stops" 35 within the foregrip interior 34 to prevent the blade 40 from sliding completely out of the foregrip 30.

    [0027] The body of the foregrip 30 that holds the knife blade 40 may be manufactured in such a manner that the toggle switch 36 falls naturally under the thumb as the hand grasps the foregrip 30 and activates the release mechanism. Also, the body of the foregrip 30 may be manufactured in two halves and joined by removable screws or pins so the blade 40 can be serviced for cleaning, re-sharpening, or replacement. Lastly, the top 31 of the foregrip may be manufactured in such a manner as to engage with the Picatinny rail mounting device 25, such that when the foregrip 30 is rotated, the special threads or lugs on the interior of the grip disengage and the foregrip 30 is pulled free of the Picatinny mounting device 25.

    [0028] In use, the end-user (soldier, police officer, or civilian shooters) grasps the grip 14 of the rifle 10 with the firing hand and the vertical foregrip 30 with the free hand. Using the vertical foregrip 30, shooters pull the rifle 10 tight against their shoulder to provide a stable platform for aiming and shooting the weapon 10.

    [0029] When shooters need to deploy the knife 40, as they already are grasping the body of the foregrip 30, they push the grip 30 tighter into the mounting device 25 and twist the foregrip 30 to release the locking threads/lugs from the mounting device 25 then pull down on the foregrip 30 to free it from the mounting device 25. With the thumb of the hand grasping the foregrip 30, shooters activate the locking toggle switch 36 to release the blade 40 within the foregrip 30. With a sharp flick of the wrist, or by pointing the foregrip 30 downward, the blade 40 slides out of the body of the foregrip 30 with the grip 30 acting as a blade handle. Activating the locking toggle switch 36 again locks the blade 40 with distal end 41 protruding in the deployed position. Shooters can then use the blade 40 as needed.

    [0030] Besides the uniqueness and functionality of the combined foregrip and knife, shooters can use this device in a one-handed operation without the need to release the grip on their battle rifle. Cited time and again, soldiers prefer AR-mounted accessories to be a one-handed operation wherever possible. The present invention knife satisfies that request.

    [0031] The present disclosure provides more than one function by offering soldiers or shooters both a functioning foregrip and a field knife, which, as every soldier knows, there is always a need for edged-tools when in the field. Having a readily available blade makes their job much easier, thus providing multi-functional devices to aid soldiers and other shooters as well.

    [0032] The VFG-2 (vertical foregrip with an integral razor or box-cutter blade; FIG. 5) may be similar in design to the VFG-1 wherein the foregrip top 31 attaches via the mounting device 25 to the Picatinny mounting rail 21. This embodiment of the vertical foregrip 30 may include an internal box cutter-type configuration 50 whereby industrial razor blades (dry-wall razors) can be installed in the foregrip for use when an edged-tool is required. This alternative design recognizes that in many jurisdictions within the United States, "gravity" knives are considered illegal. And many other jurisdictions limit the acquisition and use of switchblades and "gravity" type knives to active-duty military and police. This omits usage by a large section of the civilian population of the VFG-1 knife. To meet the needs of civilian users and to provide soldiers/police officers with alternatives to the VFG-1 knife configuration, applicant provides a box cutter design.

    [0033] In place of the locking toggle switch found on the VFG-1 knife, the box cutter configuration 50 may include a spring-loaded sliding/locking mechanism 51 to deploy a standard-sized industrial razor blade 50. The foregrip 30 can be disassembled and the position of the razor blade reversed to make use of the other half of the blade length. When both ends of the blade are completely dulled by excessive use, the end-user can easily replace the old blade with a fresh one.

    [0034] Again, activation and usage are a one-handed operation, thus making the box cutter configuration as simple to use as the VFG-1 knife. And, too, replacement razor blades are easily acquired in large quantities at minimal expense.

    [0035] In use, end-users simply press down on the spring-loaded slide lock 51 and push the button forward out the grip top 31 to deploy the razor blade. To retract, end-users again press down on the spring-loaded slide lock 51 and pull back on the button to withdraw the razor blade 50. The end-user again is provided a multi-functional tool that is both a foregrip and box cutter contained within the same unit, the foregrip providing a handle. This provides soldiers and others a useful edged-tool when deployed on field maneuvers and satisfies the need for one-handed operations. And, too, this makes the integral edged-tool available to those who otherwise would not be permitted to acquire the "gravity knife" configuration as described previously with the VFG-1 knife.

    [0036] The VFG-3 (integral multi-tool configuration; FIG. 6) may be similar in design to the VFG-1 and VFG-2, wherein the body of the foregrip 30 attaches via a mounting device 25 to the Picatinny mounting rail 21. A multi-functional foregrip 30 that incorporates a unique multi-tool device 60 is provided. Contained within the interior 34 of the foregrip is the multi-tool device 60 that may be comprised of a "frame" or backbone 61 to which the various tools are attached.

    [0037] The frame 61 may attach to the Picatinny mounting device 25 via a threaded knob 27 that is inserted into the mounting device 25 and screwed into place. When needed, the foregrip 30 may be removed as previously described, and the multi-tool 60 may be unscrewed from the Picatinny mounting device 25. Each of the tools mounted to the frame 61 may be folded away from the frame 61 on their individual hinge points for use. The various tools may range from commonly needed tools such as flat-tipped or Phillips-head screw drivers, small cutting blades, chisel points, or hex wrenches of various sizes, the types and mix of tools to be determined by the manufacturer, but the multi-tool device is intended to provide end-users with handily accessible tools without the need to carry a separate tool box. In use, the multi-tool device may be unscrewed from the Picatinny mounting device and the tools, which are folded along the body of the frame, may be rotated outward for use, then folded again and re-inserted into the body of the foregrip. Other prior art vertical foregrips do not generally use multi-tool devices.

    [0038] The VFG-4 (integral spare flashlight; FIG. 7) may be similar in design to the VFG-1, VFG-2 and VFG-3 configurations (FIGS. 2-6), wherein the body of the foregrip 30 attaches via the mounting device 25 to the Picatinny mounting rail 21. While other manufacturers offer Picatinny rail-mounted flash or spotting lights, the present invention foregrip with integral flashlight 70 offers a handily accessible spare flashlight that does not require the end-user to remove components already mounted to their battle rifle. Often, Picatinny rail-mounted flashlights have external touch-pads to activate the flashlight when the end-user needs to deploy the light source in, say, clearing a room or when confronting a potential assailant. In that regard, the rail-mounted flashlight is more of a permanent component and part of the overall battle rifle configuration.

    [0039] However, when a handy flashlight 70 is required, rather than remove a component from the battle rifle, soldiers (and other users) can quickly detach the present invention foregrip 30 with its internal spare flashlight 70 for those times when a quickly accessible light source is needed. In use, the spare flashlight contained within the vertical foregrip is removed by twisting and unlocking the foregrip threads/lugs similar to the previous configurations. The flashlight 70 within the foregrip 30 is activated, depending on manufacturing techniques, by a push-button 71 on the bottom of the flashlight 70 protruding through the foregrip bottom 32 or by a side-mounted on/off switch 72 protruding through a foregrip side 33, again depending on manufacturing techniques. The integral spare flashlight 70 provides an easily accessible light source that does not require the end-user to disassemble their rail-mounted flashlight, thereby compromising the setup of their battle rifle. The present invention VFG with spare flashlight provides a handy, readily available light source that is always available when needed.

    [0040] The VFG-5 (sliding/rotating mounting trunnion; FIG. 8) provides a trunnion 80 comprised of a half-round mounting device that attaches to a rail 21 in the Picatinny rail system 20 and allows for a full 180 degree movement of the VFG handle 30. For example, the VFG handle 30 may be positioned in either the six o'clock and nine o'clock positions (for right-handed shooters), the six o'clock and three o'clock positions (for left-handed shooters), or any position (i.e., angle) in between. The trunnion 80 may be manufactured in a manner that permits the unit to be reverse-mounted for either left- or right-handed shooters, but is essentially just one component. The vertical foregrip top 31 may be attached to the trunnion 80 in the same manner that other components are mounted to the Picatinny rail system 20, only the trunnion 80 is curved to permit movement by the vertical foregrip 30.

    [0041] With the two components mounted together, i.e., trunnion 80 and rail 21, the vertical foregrip 30 would start in the normal six o'clock position. A release button 81 near the top 31 of the vertical foregrip releases the frictional grip on the trunnion 80 so the VFG 30 can be rotated upwards to the nine o'clock position. When the button 81 is released, the VFG 30 engages a notch in the trunnion to retain the VFG in the, now, horizontal position. When ready, end-users simply press the VFG release button 81 and return the foregrip to the six o'clock position. When the trunnion is mounted in reverse, the action of a left-handed shooter would be the same as for right-handed shooters, only the positions are six o'clock for the vertical deployment and three o'clock for the horizontal position. In use, grip positions can be changed from vertical to horizontal by depressing the release button built into the VFG and rotating the grip to either the nine o'clock or three o'clock positions, depending whether shooters are right- or left-handed.

    [0042] Typical prior art vertical foregrips are just that, mounted in the vertical position. However, some modern tactical and firearms training courses advocate the "hand over foregrip" method of gripping the fore-end of the AR battle rifle to "drive" the weapon either left or right when the weapon is used in tactical situations. The ability to control how far the weapon swings when "driving the weapon" left or right means that shooters have more control over the weapon and can align on target faster without swinging too far in a given direction when moving from one position to another. The present invention VFG with trunnion mount 80 allows shooters to re-position their attached vertical foregrips 30 to virtually achieve the "hand over fore-end" type grip without having to release their hold on the rifle, while also being able to control the movement of the weapon just as securely and positively as if they were using the handover-fore-end grip method. Additionally, with the VFG able to move into either the nine o'clock or three o'clock positions, for shooters who are engaged in urban defense or house-clearing situations, the vertical foregrip can be moved to the horizontal position and the end of the foregrip can be placed against a door frame, thereby giving shooters a more stable platform from which to provide covering fire or engage an assailant. Being in the horizontal position and wedged against a door frame acts as a brace to stabilize the weapon to help achieve a more accurate sight-picture.

    [0043] In summary, the present invention VFG configurations present shooters with options and tools not previously available in the firearms industry. This versatility helps end-users (whether soldiers, police officers, or civilians) to select the multifunctional tool that best suits their mission, surroundings, or personal needs.


    Claims

    1. A foregrip for a firearm, comprising:

    a mounting device (25) configured to attach to a mounting rail of a firearm (10);

    a grip body (30) with a top portion (31) configured to be removably attached to the mounting device (25) and a lateral side portion (33) configured to be gripped by the hand of a person using the firearm (10);

    a securing feature (26) on the grip body (30) adjacent the top portion (31) adapted to removably secure the grip body (30) to the mounting device (25); characterized in that

    an interior cavity (34) is formed within the grip body (30);

    a blade (40) is disposed at least partially within the interior cavity (34), wherein the blade (40) is movable between a retracted position and a deployed position relative to the grip body (30), and

    wherein the grip body (30) further comprises a locking mechanism (36, 51) configured to lock the blade (40) in the deployed position, wherein the blade (40) has a recess (44) on an outer surface of the blade (40), and wherein the locking mechanism (36, 51) includes at least one movable locking feature configured to engage the at least one recess (44) in the blade (40) to preclude relative movement between the blade (40) and the grip body (30) when the at least one movable locking feature is engaged with the at least one recess (44) in the blade (40).


     
    2. The foregrip of claim 1, wherein the blade (40) is moveable along a direction substantially parallel to a length of the grip body (30).
     
    3. The foregrip of claim 2, wherein the blade (40) moves out from the interior cavity (34) within the grip body (30) through an opening formed in the top portion (31) of the grip body (30) as the blade (40) moves from the retracted position to the deployed position relative to the grip body (30).
     
    4. The foregrip of claim 2, wherein the blade (40) is precluded from moving from the retracted position to the deployed position relative to the grip body (30) when the grip body (30) is attached to the mounting device (25).
     
    5. The foregrip of claim 2, wherein the blade (40) is configured to drop from the retracted position to a deployed position by gravity when the firearm user holds the grip body (30) with the top portion (31) facing generally downward.
     
    6. The foregrip of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism (36, 51) is further configured to lock the blade in the retracted position.
     
    7. The foregrip of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism (36, 51) further comprises a release button (81, 1210) on an exterior of the grip body (30) and coupled with the movable locking feature, such that depressing the release button (81, 1210) disengages the movable locking feature from the at least one recess in the blade (40) to allow relative movement between the blade (40) and the grip body (30).
     
    8. The foregrip of claim 1, wherein the mounting device (25) is configured for attachment to a Picatinny rail.
     
    9. The foregrip of claim 1, wherein the mounting device (25) and the grip body (30) include complementary interlocking features (26) that may be engaged with one another to attach the grip body (30) to the mounting device (25), and that may be disengaged from one another to remove the grip body (30) from the mounting device (25).
     
    10. The foregrip of claim 9, wherein mechanical interference between the complementary interlocking features (26) of the grip body (30) and the mounting device (25) secures the grip body (30) to the mounting device (25) when the complementary interlocking features (26) are engaged with one another.
     
    11. The foregrip of claim 10, wherein the complementary interlocking features (26) of the grip body (30) and the mounting device (25) are engaged with one another by abutting the grip body (30) against the mounting device (25) and rotating the grip body (30) relative to the mounting device (25) .
     
    12. The foregrip of claim 11, wherein the complementary interlocking features (26) of the grip body (30) and the mounting device (25) are engaged with one another by abutting the grip body (30) against the mounting device (25) and rotating the grip body (30) relative to the mounting device (25) about a longitudinal axis of the grip body (30).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorderer Handgriff für eine Schusswaffe, umfassend:

    eine Befestigungsvorrichtung (25), die dazu ausgelegt ist, an einer Befestigungsschiene einer Schusswaffe (10) angebracht zu werden;

    einen Griffkörper (30) mit einem oberen Abschnitt (31), dazu ausgelegt, entfernbar an der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) angebracht zu sein, und einem lateralen Seitenabschnitt (33), dazu ausgelegt, von der Hand einer die Schusswaffe (10) nutzenden Person gegriffen zu werden;

    ein Sicherheitsmerkmal (26) an dem Griffkörper (30) angrenzend an den oberen Abschnitt (31), dazu ausgebildet, den Griffkörper (30) entfernbar an der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) zu sichern;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    innerhalb des Griffkörpers (30) ein innerer Hohlraum (34) ausgebildet ist;

    ein Blatt (40) mindestens teilweise in dem inneren Hohlraum (34) ausgebildet ist, wobei das Blatt (40) relativ zu dem Griffkörper (30) zwischen einer zurückgezogenen Position und einer ausgefahrenen Position bewegbar ist, und

    wobei der Griffkörper (30) ferner einen Verriegelungsmechanismus (36, 51) umfasst, der dazu ausgelegt ist, das Blatt (40) in der ausgefahrenen Position zu sichern, wobei das Blatt (40) eine Vertiefung (44) auf einer äußeren Oberfläche des Blattes (40) aufweist, und wobei der Verriegelungsmechanismus (36, 51) mindestens ein bewegbares Verriegelungsmerkmal beinhaltet, das dazu ausgelegt ist, in die mindestens eine Vertiefung (44) in dem Blatt (40) einzugreifen, um eine relative Bewegung zwischen dem Blatt (40) und dem Griffkörper (30) auszuschließen, wenn sich das mindestens eine bewegbare Verriegelungsmerkmal im Eingriff mit der mindestens einen Vertiefung (44) in dem Blatt (40) befindet.


     
    2. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Blatt (40) entlang einer Richtung, die im Wesentlichen parallel zu einer Länge des Griffkörpers (30) ist, bewegbar ist.
     
    3. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 2, wobei sich das Blatt (40) durch eine im oberen Abschnitt (31) des Griffkörpers (30) ausgebildete Öffnung aus dem inneren Hohlraum (34) innerhalb des Griffkörpers (30) herausbewegt, wenn sich das Blatt (40) relativ zu dem Griffkörper (30) von der zurückgezogenen Position in die ausgefahrene Position bewegt.
     
    4. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Blatt (40) daran gehindert wird, sich relativ zu dem Griffkörper (30) von der ausgefahrenen Position in die eingefahrene Position zu bewegen, wenn der Griffkörper (30) an der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) angebracht ist.
     
    5. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Blatt (40) dazu ausgelegt ist, durch Schwerkraft von der zurückgezogenen Position in eine ausgefahrene Position zu fallen, wenn der Benutzer der Handfeuerwaffe den Griffkörper (30) hält, wobei der obere Abschnitt (31) allgemein nach unten gewandt ist.
     
    6. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Verriegelungsmechanismus (36, 51) ferner dazu ausgelegt ist, das Blatt in der zurückgezogenen Position zu verriegeln.
     
    7. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Verriegelungsmechanismus (36, 51) ferner einen Freigabeknopf (81, 1210) an einem Äußeren des Griffkörpers (30) umfasst und mit dem bewegbaren Verriegelungsmerkmal gekoppelt ist, sodass das Drücken des Freigabeknopfs (81, 1210) das bewegbare Verriegelungsmerkmal aus der mindestens einen Vertiefung in dem Blatt (40) ausrückt, um eine relative Bewegung zwischen dem Blatt (40) und dem Griffkörper (30) zu gestatten.
     
    8. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) zur Befestigung an einer Picatinny-Schiene ausgelegt ist.
     
    9. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) und der Griffkörper (30) ergänzende Verriegelungsmerkmale (26) beinhalten, die sich miteinander im Eingriff befinden können, um den Griffkörper (30) an der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) anzubringen, und die voneinander ausgerückt werden können, um den Griffkörper (30) von der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) zu entfernen.
     
    10. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 9, wobei mechanische Interferenz zwischen den ergänzenden Verriegelungsmerkmalen (26) des Griffkörpers (30) und der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) den Griffkörper (30) an der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) sichert, wenn sich die ergänzenden Verriegelungsmerkmale (26) miteinander im Eingriff befinden.
     
    11. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 10, wobei sich die ergänzenden Verriegelungsmerkmale (26) des Griffkörpers (30) und die Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) dadurch miteinander im Eingriff befinden, dass der Griffkörper (30) an die Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) angrenzt und der Griffkörper (30) relativ zu der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) gedreht wird.
     
    12. Vorderer Handgriff nach Anspruch 11, wobei sich die ergänzenden Verriegelungsmerkmale (26) des Griffkörpers (30) und die Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) dadurch miteinander im Eingriff befinden, dass der Griffkörper (30) an die Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) angrenzt und der Griffkörper (30) um eine Längsachse des Griffkörpers (30) relativ zu der Befestigungsvorrichtung (25) gedreht wird.
     


    Revendications

    1. Poignée pour armes à feu, comprenant:

    un dispositif de montage (25) configuré pour se fixer à une glissière de montage d'une arme à feu (10);

    un corps de poignée (30) avec une partie supérieure (31) configurée pour se fixer de manière amovible au dispositif de montage (25) et une partie latérale (33) configurée pour être saisie par la main d'une personne utilisant l'arme à feu (10);

    un système de fixation (26) sur le corps de poignée (30) adjacent à la partie supérieure (31) conçue pour fixer de manière amovible le corps de poignée (30) au dispositif de montage (25); caractérisée en ce que

    une cavité intérieure (34) est formée dans le corps de poignée (30);

    une lame (40) est disposée au moins partiellement dans la cavité intérieure (34), la lame (40) pouvant se déplacer entre une position rétractée et une position déployée par rapport au corps de poignée (30), et

    dans laquelle le corps de poignée (30) comprend en outre un mécanisme de verrouillage (36, 51) configuré pour verrouiller la lame (40) en position déployée, dans laquelle la lame (40) présente un évidement (44) sur une surface extérieure de la lame (40) et dans laquelle le mécanisme de verrouillage (36, 51) comprend au moins un système de verrouillage mobile conçu pour mettre en prise ledit au moins un évidement (44) dans la lame (40) afin d'empêcher tout mouvement relatif entre la lame (40) et le corps de poignée (30) lorsque ledit au moins un système de verrouillage mobile est en prise avec au moins un évidement (44) dans la lame (40).


     
    2. Poignée selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle la lame (40) est mobile le long d'une direction sensiblement parallèle à une longueur du corps de poignée (30).
     
    3. Poignée selon la revendication 2, dans laquelle la lame (40) se déplace hors de la cavité intérieure (34) à l'intérieur du corps de poignée (30) à travers une ouverture formée dans la partie supérieure (31) du corps de poignée (30) lorsque la lame (40) passe de la position rétractée à la position déployée par rapport au corps de poignée (30).
     
    4. Poignée selon la revendication 2, dans laquelle la lame (40) ne peut pas se déplacer de la position rétractée à la position déployée par rapport au corps de poignée (30) lorsque le corps de poignée (30) est fixé sur le dispositif de montage (25).
     
    5. Poignée selon la revendication 2, dans laquelle la lame (40) est configurée de manière à s'abaisser de la position rétractée vers une position déployée par gravité lorsque l'utilisateur d'arme à feu maintient le corps de poignée (30) avec la partie supérieure (31) faisant face généralement vers le bas.
     
    6. Poignée selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le mécanisme de verrouillage (36, 51) est en outre configuré pour bloquer la lame dans la position rétractée.
     
    7. Poignée selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le mécanisme de verrouillage (36, 51) comprend en outre un bouton de libération (81, 1210) à l'extérieur du corps de poignée (30) et couplé au système de verrouillage mobile, de telle sorte que le fait d'appuyer sur le bouton de libération (81, 1210) libère le système de verrouillage mobile dudit au moins un évidement dans la lame (40) afin de permettre un mouvement relatif entre la lame (40) et le corps de poignée (30).
     
    8. Poignée selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le dispositif de montage (25) est configuré pour se fixer à une glissière Picatinny.
     
    9. Poignée selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le dispositif de montage (25) et le corps de poignée (30) comprennent des systèmes d'enclenchement complémentaires (26) pouvant se mettre en prise l'un avec l'autre afin de fixer le corps de poignée (30) au dispositif de montage (25) se dégager l'un de l'autre pour retirer le corps de poignée (30) du dispositif de montage (25).
     
    10. Poignée selon la revendication 9, dans lequel l'interférence mécanique entre les systèmes de verrouillage complémentaires (26) du corps de poignée (30) et le dispositif de montage (25) fixe le corps de poignée (30) au dispositif de montage (25) lorsque les systèmes de verrouillage complémentaires (26) sont en prise l'un avec l'autre.
     
    11. Poignée selon la revendication 10, dans lequel les systèmes de verrouillage complémentaires (26) du corps de poignée (30) et du dispositif de montage (25) sont en prise l'un avec l'autre en faisant buter le corps de poignée (30) contre le dispositif de montage (25) et en faisant tourner le corps de poignée (30) par rapport au dispositif de montage (25).
     
    12. Poignée selon la revendication 11, dans lequel les systèmes de verrouillage complémentaires (26) du corps de poignée (30) et du dispositif de montage (25) sont en prise l'un avec l'autre en faisant buter le corps de poignée (30) contre le dispositif de montage (25) et en faisant tourner le corps de poignée (30) par rapport au dispositif de montage (25) autour d'un axe longitudinal du corps de poignée (30).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description