Patent application title: ADHESIVE AND BOLT-ON TYPE GUN GRIP, GUN EQUIPMENT AND ACCESSORY SYSTEMS
Frederick J. Diamond (Warren, OH, US)
Michael E. Stein (New Philadelphia, OH, US)
Michael E. Stein (New Philadelphia, OH, US)
Frank J. Michal (Medina, OH, US)
Frank J. Michal (Medina, OH, US)
Advanced Innovation and Manufacturing, Inc. (A.I.M., Inc.)
IPC8 Class: AF41C2700FI
Class name: Firearms implements
Publication date: 2013-12-05
Patent application number: 20130318851
Gun accessories and gun grip devices and systems for attachment by
adhesive or fasteners to various gun parts and components including gun
1. A gun accessory configured for attachment to a gun rail, the gun
accessory having a body with a substantially planar mounting surface, and
one or more projecting features which project from the body and away from
the substantially planar mounting surface.
 This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/650,105 filed on May 22, 2012.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present disclosure and related inventions is in the general field of firearms and firearm accessories which fit with or attach to firearms.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Certain firearms are equipped with mounting systems in the form of rails which generally run along the length of the barrel or elsewhere for mounting of accessories such as sighting scopes, lights, lasers or infrared sights. The MIL-STD-1913 rail is one type of standardized rail which has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Defense as a standardized mounting platform for use on the M16, M16A4 or 5.56 mm and AR-15 and other weapons platforms. The MIL-STD-1913 rail mounting system is also sometimes referred to as the "Picatinny" or "Weaver" rail, as further described in the co-pending and commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/505,764, incorporated herein by reference. As shown in that application, a MIL-STD-1913 rail has a series of spaced-apart flanges each of which have a generally T-shaped profile with a generally planar central surface F1, lateral and outwardly angled surfaces F2, inwardly angled surface F3 and base surface F4 which extend from a rail body. Each of the flanges of the rail are spaced apart a distance of 0.206 inches (5.23 mm) to define a slot width. The uniform spacing of the flanges of the rail provides a standardized mounting system for different types of accessories, and also function to dissipate some heat from the barrel so that the rail does not expand and contract with the barrel temperature. The spacing of the slot centers is 0.394 inches (10.01 mm), and the slot depth is 0.118 inches (3.00 mm). Other specifications and dimensions are set forth in MIL-STD-1913, incorporated herein by reference.
 Another type of standardized mounting rail is known as the Weaver rail, which has the same general configuration as the MIL-STD-1913 rail but with a slightly smaller slot width of 0.180 inches (4.572 mm). The MIL-STD-1913 or Picatinny or Weaver rails, also generally and collectively referred to herein as "rails" or "rail", are generally disposed along the length of the barrel proximate to the breach, and are commonly arranged in tandem, for example on opposing sides of the barrel, or in a quadrant with one rail facing up, one down, one to the right and one to the left. The rails are formed integral with or otherwise attached to a mounting structure which is secured to the gun, such as to the exterior of the gun barrel. The rails are made of machined steel, aluminum, alloys or polymers.
 Another type of gun barrel protection system is in the general form of a cylinder or sleeve that is positioned over a segment of a barrel, with a single Picatinny or Weaver type rail projecting from one radial position on the sleeve. Additional rails can be fastened to the sleeve at other radial positions. Another design variation of the rails is the inclusion of through-holes formed through a cross-section, whereby the rails can be fastened to a barrel sleeve or other structure or component of a gun by fasteners such as bolts or screws.
 Many different types of attachments and accessories have been developed for attachment to fun rails such as the MIL-STD-1913 rail, including aiming, telescopic, reflex and red dot sights, lights, lasers and laser sights and accompanying switches, forward hand grips, bipods and bayonets. These accessories are generally configured to fit or clamp over the cross-section of the rail and against the lateral edges of the flanges. Devices with wires, such as for example running from a switch to a light, present the challenge of wire management in trying to keep the wire or wires closely proximate to the rail. This is particularly important for combat and tactical users to avoid snagging of wires or other interference with the gun, although many of the current solutions still leave wires exposed and closely secured to the rails. The different prior art types of covers developed for attachment to the MIL-STD-1913/Picatinny and Weaver rails are made of hard plastic with clip configurations for snap-fit over the rail. Although such rail covers provide a smooth surface for gripping a gun about the rails, they do not provide any improved or enhanced functionality, and relay solely on the strength of the plastic material to establish and maintain a firm grip on the rail. The hard plastic of such covers can be slippery, brittle and does not perform any other function than to cover the flanges and slots of the rail and has minimal heat resistance.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present disclosure and related inventions include gun rail attachments, components, accessories and systems which engage securely and work with any style gun rail, including but not limited to the MIL-STD-1913, Picatinny or Weaver style rails or the NATO Accessory Rail (NAR) STANAG 4694 or 2324, and perform a multitude of functions as described herein. One novel aspect of the attachments and components is the use of relatively lower durometer polymeric material in an approximate range of 5 Shore A or lower and up to 90 Shore A. The novel use of this type of material for the gun rail attachments and components described provides the benefits of a superior gripping material and structures, durability and abrasion resistance, noise reduction, heat resistance and protection, waterproof and chemical resistance, shock absorption, and adaptability to a wide variety of device applications including packaging of electronic devices, switches, batteries, wires and internal compartments and passageways. Other advantages of the use of relatively lower durometer polymeric material for gun rail attachments including insulative properties against thermal shock, the ability to cut or mold to different lengths, high friction tactile gripping surface in any conditions, reduction of infra-red heat signature and mirage effect, and the ability to mold and manufacture in different colors and with different additives for desired properties.
 Another novel aspect of the attachments and components of the systems is the use of spring-biased clips as attachment, securement and reinforcing members configured to fit on standardized rails, such as the military standard MIL-STD-1913 rails as used on the M4 and M16, M16A4 guns, on AR-15 rifles and the like, and on hunting rifles and shot guns and pistols. The clips, which can be made of steel, spring steel, stainless steel, carbon fiber or polymeric material, are over-molded or bonded with a high performance polymeric material which forms the body of the attachment and which is abrasion and damage resistant, heat resistant and formed with various durometers for optimization of desired performance features, further described. The gripping strength of the steel clips on the rail provides strong engagement and resistance against sliding.
 In accordance with one aspect of the present disclosure and related inventions, there is provided a gun attachment for attachment to a gun rail having flanges with multiple surfaces, the gun attachment having a body which is configured to fit over three or more surfaces of the flanges of the gun rail, the body having a material hardness in a range of 40 Shore A to 80 Shore A, and a reinforcement member attached to the body, the reinforcement member configured to fit over three or more surfaces of the flanges of the gun rail.
 In accordance with other aspects of the present disclosure and accompanying inventions, there is provided a gun attachment for attachment to a rail of a gun, the gun attachment having a body configured to fit over one or more flanges of a rail of a fun, each of the flanges of the rail having at least five adjoining profile surfaces including a first central profile surface, two symmetrical outwardly angled surfaces which extend outwardly from the first central profile surface, and two symmetrical inwardly angled surfaces which extend inwardly from the respective outwardly angled surfaces; the gun attachment body having an underside which includes a central planar region configured to extend over the first central profile surface of a flange, the two outwardly angled regions configured to extend over the two outwardly angled profile surfaces of the flange, two lateral inwardly angled regions configured to extend over the two inwardly angled profile surfaces of the flange; and an upper body portion which extends beyond the profile surfaces of the flange, and a reinforcing member attached to the gun attachment body.
 The present disclosure and related inventions include these and other aspects and innovations, as further described with reference to the accompanying drawing Figures.
 In another aspect of the present disclosure and related inventions, gun grips and accessories have a generally planar mounting surface configured for attachment to a gun rail, such as to a generally planar surface formed by aligned profiles of the series of flanges of the Mil-STD-1913 type rails, by adhesive or by fasteners which extend through the grips or accessories and into or through the rail or rail mounting structure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FIGURES
 In the accompanying drawing figures:
 FIG. 1 is perspective view of a gun with a rail system and a gun accessory of the present disclosure attached to the rail system;
 FIGS. 2A-2E are perspective and profile views of a first embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 3A-3E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 4A-4E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 5A-5E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 6A-6E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 7A-7E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 8A-8E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 9A-9E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure;
 FIGS. 10A-10E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure, and
 FIGS. 11A-11E are perspective and profile views of an alternate embodiment of a gun grip accessory of the present disclosure.
DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF PREFERRED AND ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS
 FIG. 1 illustrates a gun G, such as a rifle or carbine, with a typical installation of multiple rails such as MIL-STD-1913 or NAR rails arranged about the barrel, for example in a four-sided arrangement as shown. As noted, any of the attachments, components, accessories and systems can be used on any MIL-STD-1913 rail or similar rails in any arrangement or length or location. A representative embodiment of a gun accessory is indicated generally at 10 and includes a body 12 which is molded of a polymeric material and preferably an elastic polymer or "elastomer" and thermoplastic elastomers which exhibit viscoelasticity in durometers in the approximate hardness ranges of, for example, 5 Shore A to 90 Shore A, 40 Shore A or lower end up to 80 Shore A, and a more preferred range of 40 ShoreA to 70 Shore A, and an even more preferred range of 50 Shore A to 70 Shore A, and an even more preferred range of 35 Shore A to 60 Shore A. Such materials include, for example, one or more of the following: synthetic rubber, natural rubber, neoprene, butyl rubber, silicone, urethane viscoelastic urethane, nylon, PVC, polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene, PVB, PVDF or Nanbrol®, a nano-particle reinforced nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), and thermoplastic polymer alloys with SBR, EPDM or urethanes as base polymers and blended to optimize dynamic properties, dimensional stability and elasticity, thermal resistance and fatigue performance. Additives which can be used with these materials in the manufacture of the described gun rail attachments, including glass beads, Expandacel®, Kevlar®, Mylar®, fiberglass, cotton or other woven or non-woven materials in internal layers with the gun rail attachment bodies. Additives or coatings (such as for example Nomex® or Nitrile®) can be selectively incorporated into the gun rail attachment body material or design for improved heat resistance, durability, strength, tackiness or surface friction, or any other desired properties.
 The present disclosure and related inventions pertain to gun accessories, including bolt-on and adhesive type gun covers, gun grips, and gun equipment for accessory mounting and accessory wiring. One of the principle components of the system(s) are the flexible material(s) such as rubber, silicon, neoprene or any other suitable moldable compound or polymer that can be directly adhered to a weapon platform or accessory via adhesive compounds, or optionally over-molded mechanically and/or chemically bonded to clips, bars or rigid skeleton components that can be adhered to, or attached anywhere on a weapon, by means of adhesives, hardware or the inherent rigid structure of the internal component. Such components can be configured to fit on most M4 carbines, M16s, AR-15s, and on hunting rifles and shot guns or any weapon platform or accessory that may help in the operation of the said platform. One particular embodiment of these panels of the present disclosure are generally referred to herein as planar mount rail attachments, and are further described herein and depicted in various embodiments in the accompanying drawings of the disclosure.
 Planar mount rail attachments, also referred to herein as "panels", in the various alternate embodiments shown at 210-1110 in FIGS. 2A-11E, are an innovative new series of products that greatly improve the functionality and/or grip on any weapon platform. Planar mount rail attachments can be molded out of flexible material(s) such as rubber, silicon, neoprene or any other suitable moldable compound or polymer. The flexibility of the molded material combined with the optional unique interior skeleton design reduces recoil and vibration, and provides a superior gripping structure. A preferred material compound resists extreme heat and cold temperature fluctuations and will maintain its flexibility and tactile feel in most environments. The ergonomic design of the planar mount rail attachments along with the tactile surface ensure the most secure grip, allowing the operator greater control even if conditions are wet. As illustrated in the various alternate embodiments 210-1110 depicted in FIGS. 2A-11E, in various preferred and alternate embodiments, the planar mount rail attachments conform or substantially conform to the shape or contour of the mating surface, such as to a substantially planar surface of a MIL-STD-1913 rail as defined by aligned surfaces of adjacent flanges of the rail. The attachments can then be affixed to the mating surface by an adhesive, screws, bolts or any suitable fastening means. The placement of the panel will help with the operation of the weapon or weapon accessories and will provide a more secure grip and or protect any surface that it may be attached to or protect any accessory that it may be mounted in conjunction with. The panels 210-1110 have a common feature of one or more projections 211-1111 which project from the body of the panel and away from the substantially planar mounting surface. The projections provide an optimal gripping profile and the material from which the panels are made provides a high friction tactile contact for optimal weapon handling and control and heat insulation. The panels may also provide a means to route or protect wires or pressure pads that are typically utilized on weapon platform installations that use gun accessories such as lights and lasers, etc. The panels may be manufactured in various lengths, widths, thicknesses, and shapes and may be installed individually or in a sequence of planar mount rail attachment.
 Various embodiments of the Planar mount rail attachment, which can be made with or without an internal structure, skeleton or clip system as disclosed in the co-pending and commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/505,764, including: weapon panels with or without an internal cavity in the form of micro pocket or pockets which are centrally and or laterally disposed and which can receive and hold one or more components including but not limited to switches, wires, lights including LEDS and lasers, batteries, sensors or other devices which may be operatively connected within one or more panels; weapon panel covers with or without internal cavity or cavities; weapon panels with cavities and cooperating components such as rods or connecting rods or pins or electrical connectors which run along a length of the cover or between panels, and; each of the weapon panels able to be manufactured or modifiable into varying lengths and configurable to be joined in series along the length of a weapon; each of the weapon panel covers being moldable with any exterior configuration, including but not limited to gripping bars arranged transverse to a length of the grip, a central longitudinally ribbed area which may be recessed, distinct or raised features within the central longitudinal areas such as a button or other tactile feature, and any other grip configuration or contours or texture; cylindrical or vertical grip which may have an external ribbed configuration or other gripping surface and a planar or curved section in which is formed an internal cavity or pocket which can receive and hold one or more components such as a switch and/or wires; and gun rail wire clips also configured to positively engage the mating surface and with or without an internal skeleton components, and an internal cavity for passage of one or more wires in a direction such as aligned with a length of a gun or gun barrel.
 The Planar mount rail attachment unique optional "Micro Pocket" designs, as depicted in FIGS. 2A-3E allow for (but is not limited to) the installation of wires and pressure pad membrane tape switches and other objects or devices. The "Micro Pockets" eliminate the need to glue or tape an unprotected pressure switch to the exterior side of the weapon or weapon accessory. Once a pressure pad switch has been positioned in the "Micro Pocket" it can be activated by pushing on the outside of the "Micro Pocket" at the point where the switch is located. The user may also choose to install an optional button made out of similar materials that would be applied to the outside of the "Micro Pocket" directly above the switch. This allows for ease of operation, and as a reference point in low or inhibited visibility conditions. The molded cavity of the "Micro Pocket" is configured to flex upwards to allow for various thicknesses of objects to be routed within the pocket and rail cover. It also allows for wires to be run coiled or straight within the internal "Micro Pocket" channel cavity, eliminating the possibility of loose or exposed wires becoming caught or pulled from the weapon. The panel design may, or may not, include the "Micro Pocket" channel in varying heights, widths and configurations to allow objects to interface with, in, on or through the panel, as further shown and described. The "Micro Pocket" may be recessed from the exterior surfaces or ribs of the grip for tactile location and to prevent interference from an objection or accidental activation a switch or other device contained in the pocket cavity. The "Micro Pocket" may be formed as a one-piece design or by connecting portions, which form a pocket. The connecting portions may be installed from each piece joining together from the sides or joining together from the top and bottom, or any combination thereof. A two-piece design can be two separate pieces or be attached at one or more points forming a hinge. The internal "Micro Pocket" wire channels can be run parallel to each other on opposing sides of the internal "Micro Pocket" cavity. These wire channels are expandable to accommodate difference wire sizes. The location of the internal wire channels and their circular design allow them to act as a hinge. This hinging action will engage when a thicker item is placed within the center channel cavity. When the center channel cavity cap is stretched upward, the hinging action of the wire channels will start to engage as the pressure from the stretching increases. The flexibility of the center channel "Micro Pocket" cap and the hinging action of the wire channels will hold items in place that are routed in or through the center "Micro Pocket" cavity channel.
 The planar mount rail attachments can be manufactured in various colors and sizes and can be cut, shaped or formed into different profiles for custom fitment. The planar mount rail attachments may have one or multiple indents on the underside that will allow the user to open a hole through the panel which may allow it to be bolted, screwed or fastened to the mating surface when an adhesive compound is not used. This prevents any movement along the mating surface and provides an indexing system for positive location and engagement on the weapon or weapon accessory.
 The planar mount attachment skeleton or internal structure can be made from any type of ferrous, non-ferrous, plastic or rigid material. The skeleton shape may be able to be conformed prior to or during installation. Optional "Wire Clips" or "Cross Clips" can also be used in conjunction with the Manta Panel or used alone in wire retention applications. The "Wire Clips" or "Cross Clips" will also embody the same materials, components, designs or similar profiles of the "Wire Clips" or "Cross Clips." The "Wire Clips" or "Cross Clips" will allow the user to place the clip on any area of a weapon or the like for wire or accessory retention and protection, and eliminate the danger of loose or unprotected wires on a weapon or surface. Wires or small accessories can be routed through the center wire arch anywhere that the "Wire Clip" or "Cross Clip" can be attached, or may allow a wire to be transversely routed between adjacent Planar mount rail attachment and/or hold a wire parallel to the length of a gun or gun barrel. Any of the panel configurations can also be used as indexing points.
 The "non-skeleton" embodiments may be manufactured with a contoured or flush (flat bottom) whereby a panel may be attached to a mating surface with an adhesive bonding agent or tape applied for mounting to other surfaces. The adhesive or tape may or may not come applied to the panels and can be applied at any time during installation, or re-installation, of the panel. One side of the adhesive or tape will for a semi-permanent bond with the weapon surface and underside of the panel system or component. The adhesive or tape may also feature the ability to install mechanical or magnetic attaching features or devices such as, but not limited to, any interlocking "Connector," "Bristle," "Hook Loop" or "Velcro"® designs with the ability to be separated and re-installed. The ability to install planar mount rail attachment feature "Micro Pocket(s)" or other embodiments will allow users to utilize or protect other surfaces of their weapons not previously accessible for protection and wire or accessory management.
 The disclosure and related inventions thus provide grip and the means of wire(s) and accessory management on gun equipment, weapons and or any accessory systems. These planar mount rail attachment are designed to have a very strong mechanical and/or chemical engagement with the mounting surface and will provide improved gripping surfaces and materials, integral pockets or cavities for concealment and containment of accessories such as switches, wiring, batteries, lights or sensors or other devices, and combinations thereof for increased gun utility, safety and performance.
Patent applications by Frank J. Michal, Medina, OH US
Patent applications by Frederick J. Diamond, Warren, OH US
Patent applications by Michael E. Stein, New Philadelphia, OH US
Patent applications in class IMPLEMENTS
Patent applications in all subclasses IMPLEMENTS