Würkner-Personal-Weapon-Lock (short: WPW-Lock) is a new method for personalization of weapons, thus binding the functions of a weapon to a person (smart gun). The special of this solution is, that it can be done in a purely mechanical manner, thus reliability is entailed as it is generally valid for weapons, as no electronics is needed. In addition, the safety of the everyday use of the weapon is increased significantly as any dropped weapon is always secured and locked automatically..



The Problem has been Known for a Long Time - and yet Unsolved:

A weapon can be used by anybody who gets it in their hands.

Whether it is the child who reaches for it in a careless moment of curiosity, or the youth who accidentally finds it and suddenly feels incredibly mighty with it, the friend who is intrigued by it but handles it carelessly, or the enemy who steals it from the defender and uses it against him.

The latter plays an increasingly important role especially in the executive authority, because the weapons are carried visibly and respect for the police is constantly decreasing:

A weapon always induces self-endangerment in a conflict situation. Trying to steal a police-man's gun does not happen seldomly – and can end dramatically.


A Competent Assessment:

The state chairman of the German Police Union Berlin, Bodo Pfalzgraf, mentions the im-portance of this special situation to the police:

"It happens to almost every police officer on duty at least once that criminals try to grab his weapon. In a brawl with professional criminals this can happen very quickly."

Here is a small selection of such cases in the last years, especially from the German-speaking area:

Passau - After a marital dispute, a 27 year old drunk snatched the service weapon from a police officer in the police station in Passau and shot him in the head.

Hessen - The attempt at arresting a 25-year-old became a disaster for two policemen in the Hessian Niederwalluf. The man ended up shooting them with one of their own service weapons. One of the officers died in the evening at the hospital.

Bremen - It is the nightmare of all policemen: An arrested thief in Bremen snatched the service weapon from an officer and shot his colleague in the leg.

Sauerland - According to the accusal, the supposed Islamist snatched the ser-vice weapon from the policeman in the following brawl and shot twice. The today 28-year-old policeman confirmed this in court.

And just recently in the South of France, June 2012 - When shortly afterwards both policewomen arrived, the man fought with the women. He knocked one policewoman down, snatched her service weapon and killed the 35-year-old mother of two children with it. The 29 year-old colleague could escape at first but the shooter chased the woman and shot her as well before he fled with his girlfriend.

However, we are not just about police weapons. In the area of private gun ownership, the missing connection of the weapons to their authorized owners always represents a security risk. This was particularly clearly visible concerning the killing spree in the German Winnenden, that lead to a discussion on the personalization of weapons which reached its peak once again. At that time, the "Zeit" reported on the view of the former German Federal Minister of the Interior Schäuble, with the title "Schäuble wants to secure weapons by fingerprint":

For the Minister of the Interior the matter is clear: Only "authorized" individuals should have access to their weapons. In order to achieve this, there are "interesting technical possibilities." In order to prevent killing sprees like the one in Winnenden and shootings as in the Landshut District Court, Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) wants to provide weapon cabinets and the weapons with a biometric security. The containers and guns would have to be protected in a way that "only entitles authorized persons" are able to use them, he said to the Rheinische Post.

However, in this respect, nothing substantial has happened until now. The reasons lie mainly in the technical area, as Silke Stokar, domestic policy spokesperson of Alliance 90/The Greens commented on Schaeubles proposition in a corresponding statement in an interview in Germany Radio:

Stokar: Mr. Schäuble should show me the weapon which one can be protected with a finger-print. Today something like that is not available at the market and it probably will not be available the next ten years.

The Problem of Freely Usable Weapons Has Been Re-peatedly Tried to Be Solved:

• By blocking

But none of these shutoff devices could assert themselves as the process of unlocking them in an emergency situation consumes far too much time and the weapon remains permanently unlocked until it is blocked again. Therefore, neither a rapid availability nor the exclusive use by its owner is ensured.

Lately, there have been a number of attempts to solve this problem with the help of wire-less technology (RFID). But this is not reliable, since it is vulnerable because of:

• necessary power supply
• sensitive electronics
• jammer (deactivation by interference)

Hence, these concepts could also not assert themselves.

The above-mentioned biometric protection by fingerprint sensors features such a compli-cated and susceptible electronic technology too, that, in the foreseeable future, its installation in a firearm is out of the question. Although there are prototypes which demonstrate the technical feasibility, a realization in the mass market with the reliability which one expects from a weapon is to intangible that it does not make sense to wait for this to happen.


This is Where the New Invention WPW Lock by Gerald Würkner Begins

Starting with a simple question the logic and solution easily becomes clear: Where does a weapon belong? (If it is not locked stored away)

The answer is simple and tolerates only two points:

• In its owner's hand
• In its owner's holster

And nowhere else!

Using this logic, a reliable solution for this problem can be achieved by means of traditional, simple, and proven mechanics as it is installed by default in any weapon, and a safety lock.


The Principle:

If the weapon is pulled out of the holster, it is always activated automatically as long as its owner constantly holds it in his hand. This is caused e.g. by a lever which is attached to the front or the back of the grip which responds to the pressure of the hand as in classical grip protections which have been used successfully for over a hundred years (e.g.: Colt 1911).

The moment the owner lays the weapon aside or it is knocked out of his hand, a security automatically clicks into place which not only makes it impossible for any more shots to be fired, but it also prevents the disassembling of the weapon in order to remove the blocking device.

A new activation is only possible by means of a release member, in this example a key in the own holster, by putting the weapon in it and taking it out once more if necessary.

Thus the new principle is: The weapon is unlocked by a release member (key, RFID, bar-code, etc.) and the active state is maintained by a grip sensor (mechanical lever, any electronic sensor such as e.g. ultrasound).

Hence, the scene which was described above would take a totally differently turn with a weapon with WPW-Lock.


The Solution:

The principle is shown subsequently by means of an accordingly modified widespread police gun in a purely mechanical version. The gun is in a safety holster which was especially designed for WPW-lock. The upper half of the holster is faded out in order to get a first look at the concept.

In the holster, a key is fixely implemented which protrudes into a safety lock in the weapon. By pulling the weapon shortly, the arrangement can be easily recognized.

Each weapon has its own holster with its individual, only for particular weapon matching key.

The weapon remains activated as long as its owner incessantly holds it in his hand, because, by this way, he presses a lever which is attached either on the front

of the grip of the weapon or on its back

As soon as the pressure on the grip lever is interrupted a protection snaps in which locks the weapon permanently against use as well as against disassembling. The current off-state of the weapon, whether the weapon is activated or not, can be easily sensed in the clearly perceptible grip lever which protrudes or is folded in, whereby this can also be supported with visual indicators, depending on the implementation.

Due to the application of this logic, it is possible to solve the problem of the personalization of weapons in a purely mechanically manner without any electronics. This entails a reliability which is generally valid for weapons, and the previous reservations against a personalization of weapons, on account of the unreliable electronics which were mounted in a weapon, have become obsolete.

The construction is functionally designed in such a way that the weapon is always automatically fixed in the holster, whereby it is deactivated. It can only be activated by the grasp of the grip lever and can only be pulled out subsequently. Thereby, an accidental operation in a stress situation cannot occur. It is impossible to pull a locked weapon or to forget to unlock the protection. Once the weapon is pulled, it is always ready to fire, but as soon as it is dropped stored, knocked out of one’s hand or stolen in any other way, it is immediately locked automatically and permanently. It is only possible to reactivate the weapon with the matching holster.(1)

So that the last remaining possibility, namely the unexpected grasp of a foreign weapon in a foreign holster, can also be largely excluded, WPW-Lock is installed by default with a safety holster.


The Safety Holster

The key is welded into the holster and secured in place by a steel band. In this example, this steel band is optimized in such a way that it extends even around the belt, whereby a breaking out of the key is impossible. The safety catch, which snaps into 2 positions in the holster, operates and fixates a fuser flap which extends into the trigger guard of the weapon. The safety catch, due to its position on the inside, practically only can be served by the carrier of the weapon.


Alternatives to the holster:

Apart from the standard case of application with a holster, the "counterpart" to the weapon in which the key is mounted can be designed differently, depending on which objective is pur-sued with it.

For private weapon owners and a quick availability for self-defense at home, the integration in a box is of-fered for a maximum of security in the shooting gallery a hold device.

In order to increase the security further, the legislator may decree that the weapon and the counterpart with the key must be stored separately. The protection against unauthorized use is thereby increased considerably.

In the following example the key is incorporated into a storage or transport box.

Either simply directly

or better with a special trigger guard as with a holster.


Synergies:

The weapon form developed for WPW-Lock with the housing for the WPW-Lock also can be used for other applications to raise its economic efficiency. Thus, various different functional modules can be used in the safety lock case of the weapon if a personalization of the weapon is not expedient, as e.g. in the military sector, as laser, camera, target illuminators, laser-based training systems, complete systems like STORM etc. In addition, the grip lever can be also used equally for the activation of the respective system.

As a matching holster for WPW Lock already exists, there are no problems with bulky at-tachments that do not fit into a standard holster like other typical cases. A type of modular system can be developed, whereby each version with other internal components and additional features automatically adjusts to the existing security holster.

Electronic Solutions

Although the special and extraordinary features of WPW-Lock are that it allows the personalization of weapons in a purely mechanical manner, the principle of WPW-lock can also be implemented by means of a large variation of electronic methods. For the new principle is: The weapon is unlocked by a release member (key, RFID, barcode, etc.) and the active state is maintained by a grip sensor (mechanical lever, any electronic sensor such as e.g. ultrasound). Thus, very large varieties of solutions as well as a transition to electronic versions are possible anytime, as long as the appropriate and reliable components are available. An obvious version would be e.g. to replace the key by an RFID chip with a very short range (NFC) and to detect the hand by means of an ultrasonic sensor. Here, the problem of interference by a Jammer cannot emerge, because the direct RFID communication area in the holster can be shielded easily.

The current off-state of the weapon, whether the weapon is activated or not, is indicated optically, in this example by a red LED. If the grip sensor is detecting the hand (blue area) and the looking module is in the area of the NFC-chip (red) at the same time, the weapon is unlocked electromechanically.

At the same time the fixing hook is released by the locking module and the weapon can be pulled. Thus the weapon can be pulled only if it is activated. Withal the red LED is indicating the on-state.

Now the weapon can be used as usual as long as it is constantly in the hand. Of course the NFC-chip witch is enabling the activation of the weapon, does not has to be mounted absolutely in the holster. It can be integrated in any object, like a watch

or it can be fixed directly on the body, preferably hidden, whereby even an usage with long guns like rifles is possible without any handicap in case of operation.


Integration of Biometrics

Even a combination with biometric security is possible, without any electronics to be installed in the weapon. Here the gun e.g. is locked in the counterpart, so only after an identity check, for example by fingerprint, it can be taken ore activated within a specified period, or the release member is activated biometrically.

In this case these electronics is being built in exclusively in the counterpart (holster, box, hold device, pure release member, that is fixed somewhere on the body, may be hidden, etc.) and therefore will not affect the weapon. The length of time in which the weapon can be pulled or activated can be limited automatically or last indefinitely until a manual termination, the latter for example at the police for the duration of the current service.(2)

Above an example with a fingerprint sensor at a holster and below at a box.

Naturally very large varieties of solutions are possible at this as well.

It is obvious, that WPW-Lock is much more reliable than previous electronic systems even as electronic version with electronic components because of its principle, since no delicate radio communications is necessary and with integration of biometrics the delicate section of biometric identification can take place previously thus it does not hamper the case of operation.


With WPW-Lock to More Security:

Aside from these options, there are also other possible solutions of WPW-Lock which can possibly be applied to rifles or machine guns. However, the main use cases certainly concern handguns:

• Namely, on the one hand, in connection with a holster for individuals who need to carry a weapon, especially for those who have to carry it freely. This applies primarily to organs of the security and law enforcement authorities. They are often the ones who inevitably bring weapons into conflict zones, perceivable for everybody. These weapons can sometimes awaken desires in the conflicting parties, which occasionally leads to an escalation in which a security guard’s service weapon is stolen from him and subsequently used against him and others.

• And, on the other hand, in connection with a holding device or storage box which can also be stored separately for private gun owners.


Whoever can agree with the logic "A weapon belongs in its owner's hand or in its owner's holster, and nowhere else", will receive a solution with WPW Lock that finally raises the security in dealing with guns to a level which is required and has been required by many for a long time. Thereby, the personal right to own a weapon and to defend oneself is not affected. On the contrary, the weapon is thereby bound to the authorized individual. Thus, a broad consensus can be expected with the introduction of such a technology.

There is no doubt that systems for the personalization of firearms will be standard in the future. The train in this direction has long departed. The question which remains open is only when. With WPW-Lock, the first step in this direction is finally possible.


Overview of Possible Solutions

• Handguns (pistols, revolvers), mechanical: as shown in the standard solution with a key and a grip element for pressure

• Handguns (pistols, revolvers), electro-mechanical/electronic: The activation takes place by an optical (bar code) or electronic (NFC) code that is attached to or emit-ted by an object which is connected to the owner of the weapon. Therefore each subject is suitable, that should not necessarily be a holster. The weapon just for a moment must be placed in the position to receive the unlock code. The advantage of the holster is that the activation takes place in a way automatically, thus, keeping in mind the additional activation is not necessary, which is particularly of fundamental importance for use at the police. However, in this respect, of course, a wide variety of variations are imaginable in other applications.

• Long gun (rifle, shotgun), mechanical: The key is attached to a short chain connected with the belt of the gun owner. To enable the weapon, the key is put shortly into the lock, the weapon is grasped and the key removed. The weapon is enabled then just as long as it is kept continuously in the hand. For shooters (whether on the wheel or clay pigeons) in any case sufficient. For police this may be a problem because a long weapon due to its bulkiness must be encompassed sometimes, and then a new activation with the key would take too long, because it would have to be inserted again. In this case, the next solution is possible:

• Long gun (rifle, shotgun), electro-mechanical/electronic: The weapon has e.g. an ultrasonic sensor in the field of the grip at the base of the butt and is enabled e.g. via NFC. Example: The long gun is grasped and with the butt briefly held to the belt in which the NFC chip is incorporated. Immediately the weapon is activated and remains activated as long as the hand is not more than a defined distance away from the grip at the end of the butt (detected by the ultrasound). If the long rifle must be put completely out of hand, it has to be activated again in the same way, what as automated process needs only a fraction of a second thus is possible also in case of operation.

• Any of those solutions can be combined with biometrics whereby the gun e.g. is locked in the counterpart, so only after an identity check, for example by finger-print, it can be taken ore activated within a specified period, or the release member is activated biometrically.



WPW-Lock Therefore Is Characterized by the Following Points:


By a natural logic, a weapon belongs

• in the hand of its owner
• in the holster of its owner

and nowhere else, hence:



the inventive characteristics in the main application with a holster:



The weapon can be activated only in the holster



The weapon can be pulled only if it is activated



As long as the weapon is constantly in the hand of its owner, it remains activated (by a pressure device or a sensor on the grip)



If the weapon is dropped or stolen, it will automatically and permanently be deactivated, thus a shot can no longer be fired



In addition, the disassembling of a deactivated weapon is not possible, thus, the lock cannot be removed and a stolen weapon cannot be manipulated without a substantial destruction



A reactivation is only possible by placing the weapon back in its holster and pulling it again, or by bringing it into contact with its activating element in any other way.


Furthermore:



WPW-Lock can be installed in any small arms, but it is particularly suited for handguns



WPW-Lock can be installed correspondingly modified in both pistols as well as revolvers



An existing protection can be activated by WPW-Lock, or an additional one can be installed



Existing grip protection levers can be integrated, but also an electronic sensor (e.g. ultrasonic) can be used to detect the hand



With WPW Lock, the gun requires a counterpart with a key that can be of any shape. It may be a holster, but also a storage or holding device.



Concerning submachine guns and rifles, a key on a short chain is also possible, or an elecronic solution with a NFC-chip, witch is fixed hidden somewhere on the body.


Thus, WPW-Lock is a simple, reliable and economical solution for the personalization of weapons. In addition, the safety of the everyday use of the weapon is increased significantly, which prevents accidents due to the fact that a dropped weapon is always secured and locked automatically.

With WPW-Lock, the Step Towards a Simple Personali-zation of Firearms Is Finally Possible!





(1) With a weapon such as the Glock with a pre-stessed trigger, depending on the type of construction, it may be necessary to pull back the slide in order to fully pre-stress the trigger, in case an unauthorized individual had tried to fire a shot in the off-state. (This is necessary in types of construction, where the trigger is blocked directly, such as in the standard example. But this can be avoided by blocking e.g. the trigger safety instead of the trigger in the locked state. Then this problem does not arise.)

(2) This special identity check can also be done with any other available technology such as iris, retina, voice verification or code entry or NFC identification.


This site was published in German first on 20.09.2012 here. On 21.09.2012 layout has been corrected. On 28.11.2012, 14.12.2012, 9.1.2013, 17.1.2013 and 2.6.2013 a few words or sentences or pictures have been added. For details see Patentanmeldeunterlagen veröffentlicht, only in German.