Patent application title: Adjustable Paintball Marker Feed-Neck Accessory Holder
Gregory W. Hastings (Elmer, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AF41B1170FI
Class name: Mechanical guns and projectors element
Publication date: 2014-03-13
Patent application number: 20140069406
Most standard paintball markers or guns have no mounting apparatus for
desired marker accessories such as a light or camera. The present
invention is directed toward an accessory holder that includes a clamp
adapted to be secured to the feed neck and which includes a pair of
spaced apart arms carried by the clamp. The arms extend forwardly from
the sides of the clamp. They are located just above the barrel and
parallel thereto. The accessory is located between the arms and is
secured directly thereto through the use of screws or the like or can be
held by a strap connected to the arms that encircles the accessory. In
addition, the vertical position of the arms can be adjusted relative to
1. An accessory holder for a paintball marker wherein said paintball
marker includes a feed neck extending substantially vertically from the
top thereof and a substantially horizontal forwardly extending barrel,
said accessory holder comprising: a clamp adapted to be secured to said
feed neck; at least one arm carried by said clamp and extending forwardly
parallel to said barrel, and means for securing an accessory to said arm.
2. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 wherein said clamp is secured around said feed neck.
3. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 2 wherein said clamp is fits around said feed neck and includes a lever that is operable to secure the clamp to said feed neck and to remove said clamp from said feed neck.
4. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 further including means for adjusting the vertical height of said arm relative to said clamp.
5. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 including a strap secured to said arm and adapted to surround said accessory to hold the same in place.
6. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 wherein said arm is located on a side of said clamp.
7. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 including a second arm carried by said clamp.
8. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 7 wherein said first mentioned arm and said second arm are parallel to each other but are spaced apart from each other.
9. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 8 wherein said accessory is adapted to be held between said arms.
10. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 9 wherein said arms are located on either side of said paintball marker above the height of said barrel and parallel thereto.
11. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 9 including a strap secured to at least one of said arms and adapted to surround said accessory to hold the same in place.
12. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 wherein said accessory is a light.
13. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 wherein said accessory is an infrared spotter.
14. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 wherein said accessory is a camera.
15. The accessory holder as claimed in claim 1 wherein said accessory is a global positioning system.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of prior U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/536,165, filed Sep. 19, 2011.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to an accessory holder for a paintball marker or gun and more particularly to an adjustable accessory holder that attaches to the feed neck of substantially any paintball marker.
 A popular game has developed over the years which uses compressed gas guns commonly referred to as paintball guns or, preferably, paintball markers. The game itself is generally referred to simply as paintball. In the game, each of two or more teams tries to capture the opposing team's flag. The players on each team carry paintball markers that shoot paintballs, gelatin-covered spherical capsules which contain a colored liquid. When a player is hit with a paintball fired from a marker, the paintball ruptures and leaves a colored mark on the hit player who must then leave the game.
 As the game of paintball has grown in sophistication, players have sought to utilize accessories such as flashlights, lasers, infrared spotters or cameras in combination with a paintball marker. Some have even been attached to the gun or marker utilizing tape or specialized clamps. These have proven to be awkward or unstable or, because of their position on the marker, interfere with the use of the paintball marker. To applicant's knowledge, no system has been devised for easily attaching a wide variety of accessories in such a way that does not interfere with the use of the marker and, particularly, that does not interfere with the normal field of view of the user.
 There is, therefore, a need for a system that allows a wide variety of accessories to be easily attached and detached from a paintball marker and which holds the accessory in such a way that it does not interfere with the normal use of the paintball marker.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention is designed to overcome the deficiencies of the prior art discussed above. It is an object of the present invention to provide an accessory holder for a paintball marker.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide an accessory holder for a paintball marker that allows accessories to be easily attached or detached from the marker.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide an accessory holder for a paintball marker that allows accessories to be easily attached or detached from the marker and which holds the accessory in such a position to not interfere with the normal operation of the paintball marker.
 Semi-automatic paintball markers that sequentially fire individual paintballs as fast as the trigger can be repeatedly pulled, have also become prevalent. The high firing rate capability of semi-automatic paintball markers has necessitated the use of bulk paintball loaders in conjunction with such markers.
 Typically, existing paintball loaders or hoppers include a housing which is placed on a paintball marker. The hopper is shaped to hold a large quantity of paintballs and has an outlet tube extending downwardly through which the paintballs are fed to be fired by the gun. The outlet tube leads to an inlet tube or feed neck located on the upper portion of the paintball marker. Several paintball loaders are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,213,110; 6,502,567 and 6,792,933. Applicant has discovered that the feed neck is the ideal location for attaching accessories. Locating accessories at the feed neck does not interfere with the normal use of the paintball marker and particularly does not interfere with the user's line of sight.
 In accordance with the illustrative embodiments demonstrating features and advantages of the present invention, there is provided an accessory holder that includes a clamp adapted to be secured to the feed neck and which includes a pair of spaced apart arms carried by the clamp. The arms extend forwardly from the sides of the clamp. They are located just above the barrel and parallel thereto. The accessory is located between the arms and is secured directly thereto through the use of screws or the like or can be held by a strap connected to the arms that encircles the accessory. In addition, the vertical position of the arms can be adjusted relative to the clamp.
 Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be readily apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the accompanying drawings one form that is presently preferred; it being understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
 FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a paintball marker or gun of the type with which the present invention can be used;
 FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a clamp that forms a portion of the present invention and shown attached to a feed neck;
 FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of the clamp shown in FIG. 2;
 FIG. 4 is a side perspective view similar to FIG. 2 but with arms attached to the clamp;
 FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the combination shown in FIG. 4;
 FIG. 6 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 4 and showing an accessory being held by the holder;
 FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the combination shown in FIG. 6, and
 FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the accessory holder of the present invention secured to the feed neck of a paintball marker and shown holding an accessory therein.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like reference numerals have been used throughout the various figures to designate like elements, there is shown in FIGS. 4-8 an adjustable accessory holder for a paintball marker constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention and designated generally at 10. FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional paintball marker or gun 12 without the accessory holder while FIG. 8 illustrates the paintball marker 12 with the accessory holder 10 attached.
 The conventional paintball marker 12 shown in FIG. 1 includes a handle 14, forward grip 16 and trigger 18. The marker 12 also includes a barrel 20 and a pressurized gas cylinder 22. Paintballs are delivered to the paintball marker 12 from the hopper or feeder 24 through a feed neck 26.
 The feed neck 26 is actually comprised of two parts. The first is an outlet tube that extends from the bottom of the feeder 24, and the second in an inlet tube that extends upwardly from the top of the marker 12 and is connected to the outlet tube of the feeder 24. For the purposes of the present invention, either the outlet tube of the feeder 24 or the inlet tube of the marker 12, or the combination thereof, will be referred to as the feed neck.
 As will be understood by those skilled in the art after reviewing the following description, in some instances, because of a particular feeder-marker combination, the accessory holder 10 of the present invention may be connected to the outlet tube of the feeder. In other combinations, because of the configuration thereof, the accessory holder 10 may be connected to the inlet tube of the marker 12. Again, for this reason, either the outlet tube or the inlet tube, or the combination thereof, is being referred to herein as the feed neck.
 The accessory holder 10 shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 is comprised essentially of two parts. The first is a clamp member 28 and the second part is a pair of arms 30 and 32. The clamp member 28 is essentially a circular ring which is adapted to fit around the feed neck 26, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. A lever 34 in combination with an over-the-center locking mechanism well known in the arts, securely clamps the clamping member 28 to the feed neck 26.
 The above described clamping member is, of course, by way of example only. Other types of clamping members could be utilized. For example, a pair of mating half rings or a split ring could be screwed or bolted together around the feed neck 26 or a device similar to a hose clamp could be utilized.
 In the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in the drawings, the clamp member 28 includes a block 36 at the forward end thereof. Passing horizontally through the block 36 and perpendicular to the barrel 20 of the marker 12 is a vertically elongated slot 38. The slot 38 passes entirely through the block 36.
 The second primary part of the accessory holder 10 is comprised of a pair of forwardly extending elongated arms 30 and 32, as pointed out above. As shown most clearly in FIGS. 5 and 7, arm 32 includes a rearward portion 40 that is angled upwardly from the horizontal and a forwardly extending portion 42. The forward portion 42, when assembled, will be parallel to but above the barrel 20 of the marker 12 and includes a plurality of apertures therein such as shown, for example, at 44 and 46. The second arm 30 is constructed in the identical manner. In fact, the two arms 30 and 32 are interchangeable.
 The arms 30 and 32 are attached to the clamp member 28 through the use of a bolt 48 that passes through the slot 38 in the clamp member 28. The bolt 48, of course, passes through openings (not shown) in the rear portion 40 of the arms. Because the slot 38 is vertically elongated, the height of the arms 30 and 32 relative to the clamping member 28 and, therefore, relative to the marker 12, can be adjusted. As should also be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, the arms 30 and 32 can be inverted so that the forward portion 42 lies above rather than below the rear portion 40. This may be necessary in some installations.
 FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate how an accessory such as a flashlight 50 can be secured to the accessory holder 10. More particularly, the barrel 52 of the flashlight is positioned between the arms 30 ad 32. A bolt 54 passes through apertures at the rear end of the arm 32 to hold the back end of the barrel 52 of the flashlight while a set screw 56 passing through one of the forward apertures in the arm 32 is threaded directly into the barrel 52. While not shown, a similar screw can be secured to the barrel 52 through the other arm 30 on the other side.
 The above described means for securing the accessory 50 to the holder 10 is also by way of example only. Other means could be utilized. By way of example, one or more straps or rings could be secured to either or both of the arms 30 or 32 that surround the barrel 52 of the flashlight 50. In addition, a split ring secured to one or both of the arms could be utilized with the accessory being held by the spring action of the split ring.
 As should also be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and as pointed out above, the use of the flashlight 50 as an accessory is by way of example only. Numerous other accessories could be attached such as a laser, a global positioning system, and infrared spotter, a barrel swab, a parts kit or substantially any other accessory that may desired.
 FIG. 8 shows accessory holder 10 secured to the feed neck 26 and secured to the marker 12. As shown, the arms 30 and 32, and, therefore, the accessory 50, lie above the height of the barrel 20 and parallel thereto. Because the accessory 50 lies directly forward of the feed neck 26 and in line with the barrel 20, it does not interfere with the normal use of the paintball marker 12 and particularly does not interfere with the user's line of sight.
 There may, of course, be situations where it may be desired to locate the accessory to one side or to the rear of the marker 12. This is easily accomplished by loosening the clamp member 28 and rotating the holder 10 into any position desired before the clamp member is again secured.
 The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims rather than to the foregoing specification as indicating the scope of the invention.
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