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United States Patent Application 20170199013
Kind Code A1
SENSENIG; ETHAN VERLAN ;   et al. July 13, 2017

SELF RESETTING PORTABLE SHOOTING TARGET WITH SELECTIVE HOLD

Abstract

A self-resetting portable target assembly that is configured with a housing design to withstand repeated impacts from projectiles striking the target assembly without adverse effect on the target assembly function, that includes a moveable target face that eschews active operations to move the target face between positions visible to a shooter and hidden from a shooter. The target assembly further comprises a user-controllable means for retaining the moveable target face in a first position in which the target face is hidden from view of a shooter and selectively releasable whereupon the target face returns to a second position in which the target face is visible to the shooter. An operator interface enables a remote operator to manage the state of a target retainer means which, in turn, holds the target face in a hidden position or releases the target for viewing by a shooter allowing the operator to simulate a pop-up target to the shooter.


Inventors: SENSENIG; ETHAN VERLAN; (DENVER, PA) ; SENSENIG; KIRBY RICHARD; (DENVER, PA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

TACTICAL AR500 TARGETS, INC.

EPHRATA

PA

US
Family ID: 1000002033259
Appl. No.: 14/994407
Filed: January 13, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F41J 1/10 20130101; F41J 7/04 20130101
International Class: F41J 7/04 20060101 F41J007/04; F41J 1/10 20060101 F41J001/10

Claims



1. A portable target assembly comprising: a housing having an interior portion, a top cover above the interior portion and an opening in the top cover; a target face generally positioned externally of the housing generally above the top panel; and a movement mechanism disposed within the interior portion of the housing, the movement apparatus having an elongate target arm pivotally coupled to the housing by a shaft disposed within the interior portion and adjacent to the opening, the target face being connected thereto at a first end and a counterweight being connected at an opposite end of the target arm such that the shaft is positioned therebetween, the movement mechanism configured to permit movement of the target face upon impact energy imparted by projectile moving along a downrange trajectory from a generally upstanding resting position to a deflected position upon impact energy imparted by a moving projectile striking the target face, the target face returning to the resting position from the deflected position by gravitational force acting upon the movement mechanism.

2. The target assembly of claim 1, further comprising a holding apparatus configured to selectively retain the target face in the deflected position.

3. The target assembly of claim 2, further comprising a switch disposed outside of the interior portion and configured to enable a user to manage the state of the holding apparatus and thereby retain the target face in the deflected position or permit the target face to return to the resting position.

4. The target assembly of claim 3, wherein the holding apparatus comprises a magnetic element positioned within the interior portion for contact with the movement mechanism when positioned in the deflected position, the magnetic element having magnetic and non-magnetic states selectable by the switch.

5. The target assembly of claim 4, wherein the switch is wirelessly operably connected to the holding apparatus.

6. The target assembly of claim 1, wherein the movement mechanism is adjustable to enable movement of the target face when impacted by projectiles having differing impact energies.

7. (canceled)

8. The target assembly of claim 6, wherein the movement mechanism may be adjusted by altering the mass of the counterweight, altering the mass of the target face, altering the position of the counterweight or the target face in relation to the shaft, or combinations thereof.

9. The target assembly of claim 1, further comprising an external deflector disposed on the top cover uprange of the opening.

10. The target assembly of claim 1, wherein the shaft coupling to the housing comprises low-friction bearings.

11. The target assembly of claim 7, further comprising a lateral shield extending into the interior portion from the opening proximate to the shaft and oriented to inhibit the projectile or a portion thereof from impacting the shaft coupling to the housing.

12. A portable target assembly comprising: a housing having a front portion, an interior portion, and a top cover with an opening; a shaft rotatably coupled to the housing and substantially disposed within the interior portion adjacent to the opening; an elongate movable target arm connected to the shaft, the target arm being moveable by rotation of the shaft between a generally upright deployed position and a generally lowered, deflected position, a portion of the target arm extending through the opening to exterior of the housing; a target face connected to the target arm adjacent to a first end and moveable therewith, the target face externally disposed from the interior portion; a counterweight connected to the target arm adjacent to a second end opposite of the first end, the counterweight being disposed within the interior portion, and configured to permit movement of the target arm from the upright deployed position toward a deflected position upon impact with the target face of a projectile moving downrange along a trajectory, and restoring the target arm to the upright deployed position using gravitational forces acting on the counterweight; and a user-controlled holding apparatus configured to retain the target arm in the deflected position until released by a user.

13. The target assembly of claim 12, further comprising a holding apparatus configured to selectively retain the target arm in the deflected position.

14. The target assembly of claim 12, wherein the counterweight or the target face mass, or the counterweight or target face position in relation to the shaft, or a combination thereof, are adjustable to enable operation of the target assembly with projectiles imparting differing impact energies into the target face.

15. The target assembly of claim 14, further comprising a switch configured to enable a user to manage the state of the holding apparatus and thereby retain the target face in the deflected position or permit the target face to return to the resting position.

16. The target assembly of claim 15, wherein the holding apparatus comprises a magnetic element positioned within the interior portion for contact with the target arm when positioned in the deflected position, the magnetic element having magnetic and non-magnetic states selectable by the switch.

17. The target assembly of claim 16, wherein the switch is wirelessly operably connected to the holding apparatus.

18. The target assembly of claim 12, further comprising an external deflector disposed on the top cover uprange of the opening, the deflector having surfaces that are angled in relation to the projectile trajectory.

19. The target assembly of claim 12, further comprising a lateral shield extending into the interior portion from the opening proximate to the shaft and oriented to inhibit the projectile or a portion thereof from impacting the shaft coupling to the housing.

20. The target assembly of claim 12, wherein the front panel is angled in relation to the projectile trajectory.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to reactive and moving targets for firearms practice and recreational shooting and, more particularly, a portable, self-resetting target with a means for selectively holding the target in a non-visible orientation.

[0002] There are a variety of shooting targets on the market that are designed to implement a single, specific type of training exercise or target function. Some targets are reactive and move when hit to provide shooter feedback, typically deflecting momentarily and then returning to the original position. Other targets create movement to increase the difficulty in scoring a target hit by impact of the projectile or through kinetic energy imparted by hand prior to shooting. A desirable feature found on permanently installed targets, but not typically present in portable targets, is the capability to maintain the target in a concealed orientation and then reveal the target to the shooter, typically by swinging, turning, or popping up at a time typically chosen by an instructor or range operator.

[0003] There are a variety of reactive steel, resetting targets on the market. Many such products use a spring to return the target to the upright position after being knocked toward the horizontal by impact pressure or bullet. When the target is hit and moves toward to the horizontal position, spring tension increases. Depending on the ammunition used, these targets often do not reach the full horizontal position before resetting

[0004] It would be advantageous to provide a portable, self-resetting shooting target that relies only on gravitational force to reset the target once deflected. Additional advantages would be realized with a portable, self-resetting target that includes a holding means to retain the target in a lowered position, not visible to a shooter, until selectively released whereupon gravity returns the target to a raised position visible to the shooter. Still additional advantages would be realized by a self-resetting shooting target that is configured to withstand repeated impacts of bullets without impediment of the target movement mechanism or holding means.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Accordingly, the present invention, in any of the embodiments described herein, may provide one or more of the following advantages:

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to provide a self-resetting shooting target assembly that relies only on gravitational force to reset the target once deflected. The shooting target may function in a purely passive manner without need for input power to restore the target to a position for shooting. The target assembly includes a movement mechanism that may include a counterweight to maintain a target face in an orientation visible to a shooter. The counterweight is configured to enable the target face to be deflected by the impact force of a projectile striking the face to a position at which the target face is no longer visible to the shooter and then return the target face to a visible position.

[0007] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a self-resetting shooting target assembly that includes a user-controllable means for retaining a moveable target face in a first position in which the target face is hidden from view of a shooter and selectively releasable whereupon the target face returns to a second position in which the target face is visible to the shooter. An operator interface enables a remote operator to manage the state of a target retainer means which, in turn, holds the target face in a hidden position or releases the target for viewing by a shooter allowing the operator to simulate a pop-up target to the shooter. In one embodiment, the operator interface comprises a wireless transmitter and receiver.

[0008] It is another object of the present invention to provide a self-resetting shooting target assembly that is configured to withstand the impact of projectiles fired at the target without adverse effect on the self-resetting or position-holding functions. The target assembly includes a housing that is fabricated primarily from ballistic steel plate to enclose the mechanism that enables target movement. An opening is provided through which the movable target portion extends. A deflecting barrier is provided ahead of the opening on the housing exterior to reduce the projectile impacts on the target adjacent to the opening. Internal shields disposed adjacent to the opening protect the movement mechanism from impact by shrapnel that might enter the opening. Any shrapnel entering the housing is directed by the shields to an area within the housing that does not interfere with movement of the target mechanism.

[0009] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a self-resetting shooting target assembly that is durable in construction, inexpensive of manufacture, carefree of maintenance, easily assembled, and simple and effective to use.

[0010] These and other objects are achieved in accordance with the instant invention by providing a self-resetting target assembly that is configured with a housing design to withstand repeated impacts from projectiles striking the target assembly without adverse effect on the target assembly function, that includes a moveable target face that eschews active operations to move the target face between positions visible to a shooter and hidden from a shooter. The target assembly further comprises a user-controllable means for retaining the moveable target face in a first position in which the target face is hidden from view of a shooter and selectively releasable whereupon the target face returns to a second position in which the target face is visible to the shooter. An operator interface enables a remote operator to manage the state of a target retainer means which, in turn, holds the target face in a hidden position or releases the target for viewing by a shooter allowing the operator to simulate a pop-up target to the shooter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The advantages of this invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed disclosure of the invention, especially when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 in an elevation view of a self-resetting target embodying aspects of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a vertical section view of the self-resetting target shown in FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 3 is a vertical section view of the self-resetting target of FIG. 2 wherein the target is positioned to obscure the target plate from view;

[0015] FIG. 4 is a section view of a front elevation of the self-resetting target of FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 5 is a partial plan view of the internals of the self-resetting target of FIG. 1; and

[0017] FIG. 6 is a diagram of a selective control system for use with the self-resetting target.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

[0018] Many of the fastening, connection, processes and other means and components utilized in this invention are widely known and used in the field of the invention described, and their exact nature or type is not necessary for an understanding and use of the invention by a person skilled in the art, and they will not therefore be discussed in significant detail. Also, any reference herein to the terms "upward" or "downward" are used as a matter of mere convenience, and are relative to the generally level ground or any references to "horizontal" or "vertical" planes. Furthermore, the various components shown or described herein for any specific application of this invention can be varied or altered as anticipated by this invention and the practice of a specific application of any element may already be widely known or used in the art by persons skilled in the art and each will likewise not therefore be discussed in significant detail. When referring to the figures, like parts are numbered the same in all of the figures.

[0019] Turning now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 through 5 illustrate aspects of a portable, self-resetting shooting target assembly 5 having a hold feature to selectively retain a target hidden from a shooter's view. The target assembly 5 comprises a housing 10 surrounding an interior space 17 containing a movement mechanism 30 of the target assembly. The housing 10 includes a base 15 for portably supporting the target assembly 5 on a generally level surface 3, a pair of spaced apart and upwardly extending side walls 16, an optional rear wall 11, a uprange-facing front wall 12, and a top cover 13. An opening 19 is provided in the top cover 13 to permit a portion of the movement mechanism 30 to extend to the exterior of the housing 10 to support a target face 22 in a position visible to a shooter. A deflector 14 may be attached to the exterior of the top cover 13 uprange of the opening 19 to reduce the risk of projectile passage through the opening. Angling of the deflector 14 relative to the trajectory 101 directs shrapnel from projectiles impacting thereon away from the opening.

[0020] The housing 10 is constructed of high-strength material intended to protect the mechanism 30 contained therein. In one embodiment, at least the uprange-facing portions of the housing and the deflector 14 are fabricated from AR500 high-strength steel plate to withstand impacts by projectiles. The front wall 12 is preferably angled relative to the trajectory to direct impacting projectiles downwardly into the ground to improve safety and reduce the impact energy imparted to the front panel further improving the ability of the housing to withstand projectile impacts.

[0021] The rear wall 11 may or may not be present depending upon the possibility of projectiles being fired toward to the rear of the target assembly. Its absence improves access to the internals of the assembly.

[0022] A movable target arm 20 is connected to the housing 10 by a movement mechanism 30 which enables the target arm to pivot about axis 100 between a normal resting or raised position (FIG. 2) and a deflected or lowered position (FIG. 3) when impacted by a projectile 1 moving along a downrange trajectory 101. The target arm 20 comprises a target face 22, a lever arm 21, and a counterweight 24 and is connected to the movement mechanism 30 to position the target plate 22 and the counterweight 24 on opposite ends of the lever arm 21. The movement mechanism 30 comprises a shaft 32 rotatably connected to the housing 10 by one or more bearings 34 which permit relatively easy rotation of the shaft 32 and the attached movable target arm 20. In one embodiment, ball bearings are utilized for their low friction and low cost. Other bearing types are also contemplated as might be necessary to minimize friction in the mechanism. The low friction rotation of the bearing supported shaft is necessary to allow projectiles of small caliber, low velocity weapons to impart sufficient energy into the target plate to cause the target arm to rotate to the deflected position.

[0023] The target arm 20 is connected to the shaft 32 along the lever arm 21 using bolts or other well-known fastening means and arranged so that the target face 22 and counterweight 24 are substantially radially arranged about the axis 100. Radial distances to the respective centers of mass 222, 242 are similar and established to enable the energy of the projectile 1 moving along the downrange trajectory and impacting the target plate 22 to cause the target arm 20 to rotate from the resting to the deflected position.

[0024] Means for adjusting the movement mechanism 30 are provided to enable the target assembly 5 to be configured for use with a variety of firearms and projectiles. The relative positioning of one or both centers of mass 222, 242 may be adjusted in relation to the shaft axis 100. The connection between the lever arm 21 and the shaft 32 may include slotted openings permitting linear movement of the lever arm 21 relative to the shaft 32. Similarly, the connection of the face plate 22 and/or the counterweight 24 to the lever arm 21 may permit radial adjustment relative to the axis 100. The counterweight 24 may include provisions to permit adjustment of its mass by the addition or removal of portions of the counterweight or by use of counterweights having a different mass specific for each weapon/projectile to be used with the target assembly. Similar results may be achieved by varying the mass of the face plate 22. Any or all of these approaches, either alone or in combination, are contemplated means by which the target assembly 5 may be adjusted to function with various firearms and projectile impact energies.

[0025] The movement mechanism 30 is disposed within the housing 10 to protect the mechanism from damage by impacting projectiles. The target face 22 is necessarily externally disposed, thus lever arm 21 extends through an opening 19 in the housing, preferably top cover 13. The opening 19 is configured to minimize open area while allowing for full range of movement of the target arm 20 between the raised and lowered positions. Minimizing the open area of opening along with the inclusion of the uprange barrier 14 reduces the likelihood of intrusion of projectile shrapnel into the interior space 17 of the housing 10. One or more lateral shields 36 may be provided on the interior of the housing adjacent to the opening 19 to protect at least the bearings 34 and end mounting positions of the shaft 32 from shrapnel impacts. The shields 36 preferably extend for at least the fore-aft length of the bearings 36 and extend downwardly from the top cover to a position at least equal to the lowermost extent of the bearings 36. The shields 36 may extend to partially surround the fore and aft portions of the opening, but the vertical extension of the shields will be necessarily reduced to provide necessary clearance for movement of the target arm 20.

[0026] The target assembly 10 further includes a holding apparatus to selectively retain the target arm 20 in the deflected or lowered position. This features enables the target to be selectively raised into view of a shooter as would be desirable in shooting training simulations. The apparatus includes a magnetic retainer 40 having energized and de-energized states corresponding to the presence or absence of a magnetic force generated by the magnetic retainer 40. The state of the magnetic controller may be selectively energized by a controller 60. The magnetic controller 60 is preferably disposed within the interior portion 17 and housed with a protective case 67. In the illustrated embodiment, the magnetic retainer 40 is an electro-magnet in which a magnetic force is selectively generated by passing a current through the magnetic element 62. Electro-magnetic devices are well-known and not discussed in further detail herein. A magnetic target 26 is provided on the target arm 20 in a position enabling adjacent contact with the magnetic retainer 40 when the target arm is in the lowered position.

[0027] Referring to FIG. 6 in conjunction with the other figures, the controller 60 comprises a control element 61, a power supply 65, and a magnetic element 62. A switch 72 may be connected to provide an input to the control element 61 and thereby direct the flow of electrical current to the magnetic element 62 controlling its magnetic state and energizing the magnetic retainer 40 to retain the target arm in the lowered position. In one embodiment a wireless connection comprising a transmitter 70 having the switch 72 and a first antenna 74, and a second antenna 64 operably connected to the control element 61 allows a signal initiating energization or de-energization of the magnetic retainer 40 to be communicated to the control element 61. Numerous wireless communication standards are contemplated within the scope of the invention, including but not limited to Bluetooth, FM, and infrared. The switch 72 may also be connected to the control element 61 by a conductor/wire; however, such an arrangement may not be convenient for a user to actuate the target assembly when the target is being fired upon and such conductors are at risk of damage from the projectiles.

[0028] The control element 61, power supply 65, and conductors to the magnetic element 62 are preferably disposed within the housing 10 where they are shielded from projectiles. In order to prevent damage by any shrapnel inadvertently entering the interior portion 17, a protective case 67 is provided to shield the controller 60 from damage. The conductors connecting the control element 61 and the magnetic element 62 are similarly protected from damage by a conduit 68 or the like. Multiple protective cases 67 may also be used in the event that the spatial layout of the controller 60 does not conveniently fit within a single case. It is also preferable to locate second antenna 64 on a downrange surface of the housing 10 to minimize the risk of projectile impact thereon. It is also envisioned that the second antenna could be remotely positioned from the target assembly 5 and connected to the controller 60 by shielded conductors, whether protected by conduit, buried, or otherwise separated from the potential paths of projectiles and shrapnel.

[0029] Naturally, the invention is not limited to the foregoing embodiments, but it can also be modified in many ways without departing from the basic concepts. It will be understood that changes in the details, materials, steps and arrangements of parts which have been described and illustrated to explain the nature of the invention will occur to and may be made by those skilled in the art upon a reading of this disclosure within the principles and scope of the invention. The foregoing description illustrates the preferred embodiment of the invention; however, concepts, as based upon the description, may be employed in other embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention.

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