US 20050205621 A1
A weapon holster includes a mounting device for releasably supporting a tactical illuminator or other accessory item on the outside of the holster body. The mounting device preferably includes an accessory mounting rail located adjacent an outer surface of the holster body. In one embodiment, the accessory mounting rail includes a dovetail rail extending along a front spine of the holster body. In some embodiments, the mounting rail or other mounting device is integrally formed of one-piece construction with a molded plastic holster body.
1. A holster, comprising:
a holster body sized to receive and hold a handgun or other handheld weapon; and
an accessory mounting rail positioned adjacent an external surface of the holster body for supporting an accessory item thereon.
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14. A handgun holster, comprising:
a holster body defining a handgun receiving cavity having a top opening sized to admit at least a portion of a handgun into the cavity, the body having an outer surface; and
an elongate mounting rail extending along the outer surface of the holster body, the mounting rail including a dovetail shaped cross section, an outer face, and opposing side channels extending along the length thereof adjacent the outer face and a retention slot extending across the outer face between the side channels.
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This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/552,958, filed Mar. 11, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference.
This application relates to holsters for handguns and the like.
It is known to fabricate handgun holsters from plastic resins. One known holster includes a handgun receiving body made by thermoforming a sheet of thermoplastic resin, such as acrylic/PVC sold under the name KYDEX® by Kleerdex Company, Aiken, S.C., USA. Holsters formed of KYDEX sheet material commonly include handgun retention features comprising opposing indentations integrally formed in the sidewalls of the holster body. The opposing indentations are sized to fit within and releasably engage a trigger guard of the handgun to hinder removal of a handgun and prevent the handgun from accidentally sliding free of the holster. For secure holstering and proper operation of retention features, the cavity of the holster body must be sized and shaped to follow contours of the handgun, with relatively little free play.
Another known handgun holster, sold by Michaels of Oregon Company, Oregon City, Oreg., USA, includes a handgun receiving body that is made of an injection molded KYDEX® resin.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,282,559 of Wisser et al. describes a handgun holster including a pouch formed of a flexible laminate material that is supported by a rigid external plastic frame, which may be formed of KYDEX sheet material.
A common handgun accessory for law enforcement and military personnel is a tactical illuminator. Examples of tactical illuminators include the models M2, M3, M4, M5, and M6 illuminators and a combination illuminator/laser aiming module (“LAM”), all sold by Insight Technology, Inc., Londonderry, N.H., USA. Such tactical illuminators typically include mounting systems that slidably mate with a dovetail rail or other mounting feature formed in the frame of a handgun underneath the handgun barrel and forward of a trigger guard of the handgun. U.S. Pat. No. 6,184,854 of Solinsky et al. describes such a sliding attachment mechanism for detachably mounting a tactical illuminator or other auxiliary apparatus to a handgun.
Some fabric holsters are sized to receive and hold a handgun with a tactical illuminator attached to the handgun. However, when an illuminator is not attached to the handgun, the handgun may float within the holster pocket, which can defeat any handgun retention features such as straps and trigger guard engagement mechanisms.
The present inventor has recognized that some users prefer to detach the tactical illuminator from the handgun when carrying the holstered handgun. For example, it may be desirable to have convenient access to a tactical illuminator for handheld operation separately from a handgun. Furthermore, a tactical illuminator may not be needed for daytime operations and merely adds weight and bulk to the handgun. If the illuminator is carried separately from the handgun, the gun can remain holstered and the illuminator can be made more conveniently accessible. However, known independent-carry solutions for tactical illuminators require a pouch or clip that is separate from the handgun holster. The present inventor has recognized that independent carry pouches and clips can be bulky or inconvenient to use.
The present inventor has recognized a need for a more convenient device for storing tactical illuminators and other small accessories and service items.
In accordance with the invention, a weapon holster includes a mounting device for releasably holding a tactical illuminator or other service item on the outside of the holster body. The mounting device may include a mounting rail located adjacent an outer surface of the holster body, preferably extending along a front spine of the holster. In one embodiment, the mounting rail or other mounting device is integrally formed of one-piece construction with an injection molded plastic holster body.
Additional aspects and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.
With reference to
An accessory holder 19 of holster 10 preferably includes a mounting rail 20 that extends along the outer surface 22 of a front spine 24 of holster body 14. Mounting rail 20 is preferably an accessory mounting rail such as a Picatinny rail or a Weaver rail. The Picatinny mounting rail, named after the U.S. military's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, is specified by U.S. military specification MIL-STD-1913, which is incorporated herein by reference. The Weaver rail is named after its original manufacturer, the former W.R. Weaver Co., and does not typically conform to the strict dimensional specifications of MIL-STD-1913. As is understood by those skilled in the art, Picatinny and Weaver rails have conventionally been used to accurately removably mount on an automatic rifle certain accessories, such as riflescopes and laser range finders. Clamps and other mounting devices that will attach to a Weaver rail will generally also attach to a Picatinny rail. Many variations on the standard 1913 and Weaver rails exist and are considered within the scope of the present disclosure.
Generally speaking, mounting rail 20 includes an elongate rail with a cross section sized to securely support an accessory device that includes a mating attachment device, such as a tactical illuminator 26 (
With particular reference to
Mounting rail 20 preferably extends along a lower portion of front spine 24 of holster 10 to provide clearance for a rotating security hood 38 or strap of holster 10. However, in alternative embodiments (not shown) accessory holder 19 may be positioned in other locations, such as an upper portion of spine 24, an outer side surface 42 of holster body 14, along a welt (rear margin) 44 of holster body 14, at the bottom 46 of holster 10 or in any other location on holster 10. In yet other embodiments, multiple mounting rails 20 or other mounting devices may be provided on holster body 14 for holding and carrying multiple accessory items in various locations around the holster 10.
Mounting rail 20 or other accessory holders and mounting features are preferably formed integrally with holster body 14 in a one-piece construction by injection molding of a thermoplastic resin such as nylon resin, glass-filled nylon resin, or KYDEX® brand acrylic/PVC resin, for example. An exemplary one-piece molded holster is shown in
When molded integrally with body 14, mounting rail 20 may extend only a few millimeters beyond the outer surface of body 14 and along only a few centimeters of the length of spine 24. In another embodiment (not shown), mounting rail 20 may comprise a pair of channels extending in a generally vertical direction along opposite side surfaces of holster body 14 just aft of spine 24.
In accordance with the embodiment of
In the various embodiments shown in
It will be obvious to those having skill in the art that many changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. For example, holsters in accordance with the various embodiments can be used to holster other kinds of weapons and law enforcement tools, such as stun guns or energy weapons of the type sold under the name TASER®, for example. Mounting rails 20, 20 a, 20 b can also be used to mount accessories other than tactical illuminators. For example, mounting rails 20, 20 a, 20 b may be sized to store a riflescope or other gunsight when not in use. The scope of the present invention should, therefore, be determined only by the following claims.