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..

This site with the english translation was published on 17.03.2014.
Diese Seite mit der englischen Übersetzung wurde am 17.03.2014 publiziert.


ELECTROMECHANICAL LOCKING DEVICE FOR A FIREARM
SO AS TO ENABLE USE ONLY BY THE AUTHORIZED USER

 

Filed at the Austrian patent office

Patent application number: A50732/2013
Date: 05. 11. 2013


Inventor:

Ing. Mag. Gerald Würkner
2551 Enzesfeld-Lindabrunn
Niederösterreich
AUSTRIA



Represented by:

Matschnig & Forsthuber
Siebensterngasse 54
A-1070 Wien
AUSTRIA

Tel: +43-1-523 34 96
Fax: +43-1-526 48 86

web: http://www.matschnig-patent.at



ABSTRACT

A locking device for firearms (1), wherein a locking unit (5) is arranged on the firearm (1), wherein the locking unit (5) has at least one electromechanical locking mechanism (6) and at least one active hold element (11), wherein the locking device further comprises an unlock- ing element (4) formed separately from the firearm (1), wherein this unlocking element (4) is attached to an unlocking unit (3), which has a receiving region into which the weapon (1) can be inserted, at least in part, wherein the locking mechanism (6) can then only be brought into a release state (22) if the weapon (1) is inserted, at least in part, into the receiving region of the unlocking unit (3).

 


The invention relates to a locking device, in particular an electromechanical locking device for firearms for enabling releasable locking by blocking or interrupting a triggering mecha- nism of a firearm.

The invention further relates to a firearm having such a locking device, in particular a fire- arm having those components of the locking device which are arranged on the firearm.

In addition, the invention relates to an unlocking unit having those components of such a locking device which are arranged on the unlocking unit.

Lastly, the invention also relates to a method for releasing a locking of a triggering mecha- nism of a firearm, wherein an above-mentioned locking device is used for enabling releasa- ble locking by blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism of the firearm.

The object of locking firearms so that they can be used only by the authorized owner has already resulted in various shutoff devices.

An older mechanical approach attempts to solve the problem by ensuring that the firearm will remain activated as long as a pin or key is inserted in it, wherein said pin or key is connected by a cord to the owner of the firearm and is removed as soon as the firearm is stolen, as in US 4 866 811 A or US 5 361 525 A or DE 43 00 532 A1. However, these approach- es are unsuitable for many applications, because anyone who comes close enough to the owner of the firearm can deactivate the firearm by pulling the cord. Therefore, these pro- posals have never gained significance.

There are also different solutions, in which an unlocking element directly determines the state of the weapon, such as DE 43 00 532 A1, US 6 474 011 B1, WO 2011/154858 A1 and AT 412823 B.

Most of the shutoff devices, for example as also in EP 1 443 295 B1 or DE 100 52 466 C1, are characterized in that, in cases of emergency, the unlocking process takes far too long and once the firearm has been unlocked it will remain permanently unlocked until it is locked again manually. As a result, neither a rapid availability nor the exclusive use by its owner is ensured, since a firearm that is unlocked can easily fall into the wrong hands as a result of carelessness or hand to hand fighting and can therefore also be used against its owner.

To solve this problem, methods in which, using radio technology, communication is enabled between a transmitter and a receiver to initiate the activation of the firearm have thus far been proposed primarily. Methods of this type have long been known in the prior art, as demonstrated in US 4 003 152 A, US 4 563 827 A, US 4 682 435 A or DE 4303333 A1, and in more recent documents, as described in US 2003/0070343 A1, DE 44 46 020 A1 or US

2002/0112390 A1. Solutions in which the transmitter functions in the manner of a transpond- er, wherein, for example, energy is transmitted from the weapon to the transmitter, have also long been disclosed, inter alia in US 4 488 370 A or US 5 461 812 A. The disadvantages of these proposals are that a deliberate deactivation can be implemented by disrupting the identification signal using interfering transmitters, or what are known as jammers, and that they require a comparatively large amount of energy for the constant communication, since the radio connection has to be maintained permanently or at least repeated at short intervals in order to keep the weapon released. Based upon these problem areas, users feel they cannot trust these approaches and, as a result, they have not gained acceptance. Fingerprint sensors have not become established due to their restricted scope for use and reliability previously in weapons.

A solution is disclosed in US 2001/0032405 A1, in which, inter alia, a grip guard actuates a switch, of which the state is electronically considered, wherein the weapon is released with simultaneous authorization by an authorizing signal, and wherein this state can be main- tained by the switch of the grip guard. This solution forms the basis for DE 60313227 T2, in which a transponder having a biometric sensor is used as an unlocking element and in which the active state of the weapon is maintained by a grip sensor. These two solutions also have the disadvantage however that the release can be prevented by jammers. US 2001/0032405

A1 attempts to overcome this problem by the use of magnetic communication, however this solution is unsatisfactory.

In AT 511571 B1, a very robust and reliable method was disclosed by the same inventor and is able to solve this problem in a very reliable manner and also purely mechanically.

The object of the invention is to create a locking device for firearms that will allow a firearm to be assigned to a user in a reliable manner and that will block or prevent the use of the firearm in the case of loss or theft.

This object is achieved by means of a locking device of the type mentioned in the introduc- tion, wherein, in accordance with the invention, the locking device comprises:

+) a locking unit arranged on the firearm, wherein the locking unit

*) comprises at least one electromechanical locking mechanism, and further

*) comprises at least one active hold element, which is able to detect a user’s hand on

the firearm, preferably on a grip of the firearm,

+) an unlocking element formed separately from the firearm, wherein the unlocking element is attached to an unlocking unit, which has a receiving region for receiving the weapon at least in part, and wherein

the locking mechanism of the locking unit has a locking mechanism coupling region, and wherein the unlocking element has an unlocking element coupling region corresponding to the locking mechanism coupling region or forms an unlocking element coupling region corresponding to the locking mechanism coupling region, and wherein

the locking mechanism is coupled to the triggering mechanism of the firearm in such a way that, in a locking state of the locking mechanism, the triggering mechanism for firing a shot is blocked, and, in a release state of the locking mechanism, the triggering mechanism can be released,

and wherein the active hold element is coupled to the locking mechanism in such a way that the locking mechanism, when in the release state,

a) is in the release state as long as the active hold element is in an active position or in an active state, and

b) changes into a locking state,

and wherein the locking device further comprises at least one switch, by means of which at least one switch can be switched on or can be switched on and switched off via an electronics system, for example at least one electrical circuit, the unlocking element coupling region and/or the locking mechanism coupling region, and wherein, as a result of the coupling of the coupling regions, the locking mechanism changes from its locking state into the release state, wherein the coupling regions are coupled as a result of the fact that

-) the firearm is inserted at least in part into the receptacle of the unlocking unit or is inserted into the receptacle, and

-) at least the at least one switch simultaneously is actuated or is in an actuated state.

Here, “actuation” of the switch means that the switch is brought from an “off” switch position into an “on” switch position and the electronics system is therefore switched on.

Here, the locking device in a preferred solution is designed such that the locking mechanism changes from the locking state into the release state when the two coupling regions are coupled and the active hold element simultaneously is located in an active position or in an active state.

In an alternative preferred solution, the locking device is designed here such that the locking mechanism changes from the locking state into the release state when the active hold ele- ment is located in an active position or in an active state, wherein the active hold element can only be brought into an active position or into an active state when the two coupling regions are coupled. This can be achieved, for example, in that a power supply for the active hold element is only activated by the coupling of the coupling regions.

In another alternative preferred solution, the locking device is designed here such that the locking mechanism changes from the locking state into the release state when the two cou- pling regions are coupled, wherein the two coupling regions can only be coupled when the active hold element is located in an active position or in an active state. This can be implemented, for example, in that a power supply for the coupling of the coupling regions is only activated by the activation of the active hold element.

Furthermore, the object mentioned in the introduction is achieved by a method mentioned in the introduction, said method comprising the following steps:

1) inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the receiving region of the un- locking unit,

2) actuating the switch, preferably by pressing the switch or inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the unlocking unit or removing or drawing the firearm, at least in part, from the unlocking unit or pressing the firearm into the unlocking unit,

3) bringing the active hold element from a locking position or a locking state into an active position or into an active state, this being performed by a user, and simultaneously coupling the two coupling regions,

with the result that the locking mechanism changes from the locking state blocking or inter- rupting the triggering mechanism of the firearm into a release state releasing the triggering mechanism of the firearm.

The problem mentioned in the introduction is also achieved by a method mentioned in the introduction, said method comprising the following steps:

1) inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the receiving region of the un- locking unit,

2) actuating the switch, preferably by pressing the switch or inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the unlocking unit or removing or drawing the firearm, at least in part, from the unlocking unit or pressing the firearm into the unlocking unit,

3) coupling the two coupling regions,

4) bringing the active hold element from a locking position or a locking state into an active position or into an active state, this being performed by a user,

with the result that the blocking mechanism changes from the locking state blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism of the firearm into a release state releasing the trigger- ing mechanism of the firearm.

Lastly, the object mentioned in the introduction is achieved by a method mentioned in the introduction, said method comprising the following steps:

1) inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the receiving region of the un- locking unit,

2) actuating the switch, preferably by pressing the switch or inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the unlocking unit or removing or drawing the firearm, at least in part, from the unlocking unit or pressing the firearm into the unlocking unit,

3) bringing the active hold element from a locking position or a locking state into an active position or into an active state, this being performed by the user,

4) coupling the two coupling regions,

with the result that the locking mechanism changes from the locking state blocking or inter- rupting the triggering mechanism of the firearm into a release state releasing the triggering mechanism of the firearm.

The advantage of the present invention is that the weapon can then only be brought into a state allowing a shot to be fired if it is inserted, at least in part, into the unlocking unit match- ing said weapon and is simultaneously held by the user at the grip of the weapon, wherein, by one of these measures, a process is triggered that, by coupling of coupling regions, checks, due to the presence of a matching unlocking element, whether the user is also authorized to use the weapon, wherein the weapon can then only be fired if the active hold element is activated by the hand on the grip (that is to say is located in what is known as the active position/what is known as the active state). If the active hold element is deactivated (that is to say it changes into what is known as the locking position/what is known as the locking state), which occurs automatically as soon as a hand is no longer detected on the grip of the weapon, the locking mechanism changes into the locking state and the weapon therefore can no longer be fired, that is to say the trigger cannot be actuated or the actuation of the trigger does not lead to the firing of a shot. Disassembly of the weapon is also preferably not possible in this locking state in accordance with a method known from AT 511571 B1 as prior art and not described here in greater detail. In order to bring the weapon again into a state that allows the firing of a shot, it has to be inserted again, at least in part, into an unlocking unit matching it. Since the weapon can only be released when it is inserted, at least in part, into the unlocking unit, the coupling regions are coupled in a protected area that can additionally also be screened very easily by the selection of suitable materials, and therefore a disruption of this coupling by means of what are known as jammers can be prevented and therefore excluded, even in the event of a coupling via electromagnetic waves, such as radio (RF). Here, a switch ensures that a coupling of the coupling regions is then only attempted when this is also constructive, whereby no energy is consumed in the rest state, which is crucial for a weapon, since a functional deficiency caused by a lack of power may have serious conse- quences.

The following application scenario can therefore be implemented, for example; the unlocking element is located in a holster, which is worn by the user, on his body for example. When the user intends to use the weapon, he draws the weapon from the holster, whereby the weapon is released. In so doing, the active hold element, for example an ultrasonic sensor for distance measurement, changes into the active state and remains in this state as a result of the hand on the grip. Provided the active hold element is activated, that is to say provided the weapon is then held in an uninterrupted manner by the same hand, the weapon can be fired. In an advantageous embodiment, it is indicated here on the weapon, for example optically by an LED, that the weapon is released. The coupling of the coupling regions, or the corresponding attempt, may also be indicated, for example optically by an LED.

For example, if the weapon is knocked out of the hand of the user, the active hold element necessarily loses contact with the hand of the user, then switches into the deactivated state, and the weapon can thus no longer be actuated.

Thus, an “enemy” cannot fire the weapon. Only when the weapon has been returned to the holster can it be released again, etc.

The features according to the invention generally result in a situation in which, as long as the locking mechanism is in the locking state, the firearm cannot be fired, because in this locking state, the triggering mechanism is locked against use either by blocking the transmission of the trigger impulse at any point on the triggering mechanism or by interrupting the trans-mission of the trigger impulse at any point. One characteristic of these features is that, once the locking unit has been switched to the release mode by the unlocking element, the firearm remains continuously in a state which will allow a shot to be fired as long as the firearm is held in the hand, and thus by the person who switched it to the release mode, since the hand, which is preferably situated on the firearm grip, is a precondition for the active hold element remaining in the active position or active mode. Any interruption of holding the firearm in the hand will cause the active hold element to switch to a locking position or locked mode, and, as a result, firing of a shot will be continuously prevented until a reactivation is initiated by means of the unlocking element.

This will ensure that only the person who is in possession of the unlocking element can use the firearm, and any other person who comes into possession of the firearm, be it by chance or intentionally, will not be able to fire a shot. Here, the two coupling regions can be coupled by any kind of technology or method that is capable of implementing identification via the coupling, and the active hold element can apply any kind of technology or method that is capable of detecting a hand on a weapon. Here, the electrics or electronics necessary in each case are activated by a switch so that no energy is consumed in the rest state.

In the ideal case, the locking device is designed such that the switch or switches is/are activated by the drawing of the weapon, since this corresponds to the normal handling of a weapon, however a partial insertion or introduction of the firearm into the receiving region of the unlocking unit or at least partial removal or drawing of the firearm from the receiving region of the unlocking unit or pressing of the firearm into the receiving region of the un- locking unit may also actuate the switch or switches as necessary. Preferably the entire electronics in the weapon are activated, that is to say the power supply thereto is activated, by the switch or one of these switches, with the result that the weapon can carry out its respective function, this concerning both the locking mechanism and the active hold element in an electromechanical or electronic embodiment, for example as a sensor. This switch preferably has no function for maintaining the power supply, and is preferably used only for activation. Here, in an advantageous embodiment, the activation of a switch is indicated by a signal, for example an optical signal by a light-emitting diode. The status of the functions can therefore be monitored, and consequences of malfunctions can therefore be prevented.

Here, the switches are arranged in a preferred solution such that the switch or the switches on the unlocking unit is/are actuated by the weapon and the switch or switches on the weapon is/are actuated by the unlocking unit, since automatic actuation is thus possible.

In an alternative embodiment, the switch or switches is/are actuated by gripping the weap- on and/or intentional pressing, wherein the switch or switches in this case is/are preferably attached to the grip of the weapon. Switches of this type on a weapon are a very simple and cost-effective solution, and require no changes to an existing design.

Here, the coupling regions may also be coupled as the weapon is drawn from the unlocking unit, wherein this coupling of the coupling regions is triggered by the drawing of the weap- on. Due to this procedure, the locking device may be designed such that it is hardly noticea- ble with normal handling of the weapon. The unlocking element and therefore the unlocking coupling region can also be attached in any arbitrary position in the opening region of the unlocking unit, and therefore the locking mechanism coupling region, for example as the weapon is drawn, slides past the unlocking coupling region and detects it.

In a preferred embodiment, the coupling regions are only coupled until the locking mecha- nism is changed into a release state, since this is sufficient for identification. Only very little energy is thus used for the coupling process.

In an advantageous embodiment, the unlocking element with the unlocking element cou- pling region is designed as a transmitter, and the locking mechanism coupling region is designed as a receiver, and the coupling regions are then coupled when a transmitter signal matches a defined pattern in the receiver. It is thus possible to assign an unlocking element unambiguously to a weapon.

In an alternative embodiment, the unlocking element with the unlocking element coupling region is designed as an optical code, and the locking mechanism coupling region is de- signed as an optical sensor, and the coupling regions are then coupled when a code per- ceived by the optical sensor matches a defined pattern. Optical codes are a widespread and reliable technology, for example in the form of what are known as barcodes, for which very favorable components are therefore also available.

Here, it is also possible for the optical sensor to detect the reflections of a laser beam, where- by the optical code may also be designed and dimensioned three-dimensionally, wherein, besides the optical two-dimensionality, a third spatial dimension can be detected, which considerably increases the complexity and therefore the protection against forgery of the code further.

In the ideal case, a laser already incorporated into the weapon is used to assist the aim for this coupling of the coupling regions, whereby the application does without an additional laser, which constitutes a very economical solution.

In another alternative embodiment, the unlocking element with the unlocking element coupling region is designed as a three-dimensional code for measuring by means of ultra- sound, and the locking mechanism coupling region is designed as an ultrasonic sensor, and the coupling regions are then coupled when a code perceived by the ultrasonic sensor matches a defined pattern when the unlocking element is exposed to ultrasound. The power of ultrasonic sensors currently enables accurate detection of three-dimensional structures, whereby a very large number of unique codes is also possible in the non-optical range.

In order to increase the protection against forgery further still, the unlocking element, which is formed as an optical and/or three-dimensional code, may also be formed from different materials, preferably having surfaces that reflect differently. Simple automated copying, even with the newest technology, therefore is not currently possible.

In a further alternative embodiment, one of the coupling regions is formed as an electronical- ly stored code, and the other is formed as an identical electronically stored code, and the coupling regions are then coupled when a code comparison produced by direct electrical contact matches. This is a very simple solution that can be implemented particularly easily and favorably, wherein signatures already assigned to the user from other fields of applica- tions, for example as are used in chip cards, can be used. For example, a chip card can thus be inserted into an unlocking unit provided for this purpose and takes on the function of the unlocking element. Complex algorithms that are protected against forgery because they are incorporated into the hardware in the chip of the chip card can thus also be used. Of course, a chip of this type can also be used as an unlocking element installed fixedly in the unlocking unit.

In a preferred embodiment, the transmitter and receiver communicate electromagnetically. Communication of this type constitutes a current standard and is applied in many cases. In this regard, reference can therefore be made to tried and tested concepts.

In the case of an electromagnetic coupling of the coupling regions, so that this coupling cannot be disturbed by interfering radiation by what are known as jammers, the opening region of the receptacle of the unlocking unit can be formed surrounding the firearm at least in part, with an opening region for introducing the firearm into the receptacle, wherein the receptacle is preferably formed at least in regions or completely from a material or is provid- ed with material inserts which is/are suitable for screening electromagnetic radiation. A coupling that cannot be disturbed from the outside is thus ensured, even with the use, for example, of radio (RF) in order to couple the coupling regions, wherein a particular ad- vantage of this invention lies in the fact that it thus ensures a reliable application of even complex radio methods, such as active and passive transponders. One of the most important criticisms of this technology in its application for weapons is thus invalidated.

In the case of an optical coupling of the coupling regions, this coupling between the transmit- ter and receiver can be implemented both in the visible spectrum and in the range of the non- visible spectrum. The latter, in the case of optical solutions, may constitute an advantage with use in darkness.

With this use of sound waves between a transmitter and receiver for coupling the coupling regions, both the audible and non-audible range of the spectrum can be used. The latter has the advantage that the transmitter and receiver can also communicate in a manner not perceptible by the human ear.

Here, the locking device can be designed such that the transmitter receives its energy by induction since the weapon, by means of a transmitter, irradiates a radiation suitable for energy transfer, for example electromagnetic radiation. The unlocking unit thus does not require its own power source, whereby operation is considerably simplified, which in turn considerably increases the functional reliability and therefore also acceptance among users.

Here, the coupling regions may also be coupled in the manner of a transponder since the transmitter responds directly to a power signal or a request signal. There is thus no need for an additional switch on the unlocking unit, said switch activating the unlocking element when this is provided in the form of a transmitter. The construction is thus simpler, and the operating reliability is increased.

In an alternative embodiment, the transmitter can also be activated in that a switch on the unlocking unit activates the transmitter by inserting or introducing the firearm, at least in part, into the receiving region of the unlocking unit or removing or drawing the firearm, at least in part, from the receiving region of the unlocking unit or pressing the firearm into the receiving region of the unlocking unit.

Here, the active hold element can be formed in a wide range of different manners, for exam- ple the active hold element can be formed as a mechanical active hold element, for example as a mechanical grip lever. Here, the active hold element can be formed as a grip lever which is mechanically coupled to a locking bar by a method known from AT 511571 B1 as prior art, with the result that the grip lever moves the locking bar, wherein the locking bar can then only be moved if the locking device allows this on account of a release state, and wherein the locking bar is blocked against movement in a locking state. For example, a principle with a locking hook positioned by a spring, as known from AT 511571 B1, can used, wherein the function of the mechanical lock from AT 511571 B1 in this embodiment is produced by an electronic lock, which is formed electromechanically with arbitrarily formed coupling re- gions. The electromechanical locking mechanism must therefore only be supplied with current in order to reach the release state. If the locking device and therefore the weapon is brought into the release state once the coupling regions have been coupled and the mechani- cal active hold element has been actuated, the entire electronics system can be switched off, which can be implemented automatically once the release state has been reached, for exam- ple in that the position of the locking bar is sensed by an electric contact maker (switch). The release state is subsequently maintained by mechanical pressure of the hand on the active hold element. If the pressure on the active hold element is interrupted, it changes into the locking position as a result of a restoring force, for example introduced by a spring as known from AT 511571 B1, whereby the locking hook as known from AT 511571 B1 also blocks the locking bar. The advantage of this solution is that current is only required in order to reach the release state, however the release state can then be maintained without current, which constitutes a very energy-saving embodiment.

The active hold element may also be formed as an electromechanical active hold element, for example as an electromechanical switch, for example as a normal electric pressure switch.

However, the active hold element is preferably formed as an electronic sensor, for example as an ultrasonic sensor and/or a capacitive sensor and/or a pressure sensor and/or an optical sensor and/or a resistance sensor and/or a thermal sensor. An adaptation to all conceivable requirements and application scenarios is thus possible. Here, an ultrasonic sensor for example may operate in such a way that it transmits a short ultrasonic signal at short intervals and measures the time until the reflection signal and therefore determines the removal of the hand on the grip of the weapon.

The locking device may also be formed such that the weapon can be drawn only after suc- cessful coupling of the coupling regions, whereby the weapon can only be drawn in an activated manner. Here, the weapon is fixed in the unlocking unit, for example by a fixing element, for example a fixing hook, which is released by an electromechanical device once the coupling regions have been coupled. The user thus knows when he can draw the weap- on, the weapon also being safely activated, otherwise the weapon is fixed in the unlocking unit, which in turn minimizes the risk of losing the weapon.

In order to further increase safety, the coupling of the coupling regions may only be enabled after a prior biometric examination of the unlocking unit. Examinations of this type in order to access a weapon have been known in the prior art for some time and in a number of variants. It is thus ensured that the weapon cannot be used by unauthorized parties, even if the unlocking unit is passed on. A further advantage of such a solution is that the sensitive biometric electronics system does not have to be installed directly in the weapon if im- portance is attached to this weapon.

Here, the locking device may also be formed such that the weapon can only be drawn from the unlocking unit once a biometric examination of the unlocking unit has been carried out. Here, the firearm is locked in the unlocking unit by means of an additional locking unit in the unlocking unit, and the unlocking unit has at least one arrangement for checking bio- metric features of a user, wherein this additional locking unit only releases the firearm once a biometric examination of the unlocking unit has been carried out, with the result that the firearm can be drawn from the unlocking unit. A maximum level of security is thus pro- duced, since the weapon is thus blocked in the unlocking unit in the rest state.

In an embodiment, the unlocking element can be inserted into an unlocking unit without unlocking element and also removed therefrom again, or the unlocking coupling region obtains its characteristic coupling properties by an element to be inserted, for example in that the properties of a transmitter signal are determined by a chip of a chip card that can be inserted into the unlocking unit. On the one hand, identical unlocking units, which are produced more favorably, can thus be used, and on the other hand the authorized user of the weapon, for example on a bunch of keys or in a wallet, can carry with him at any time the unlocking element or the element that lends the unlocking element its properties, provided the weapon is to be locked against use.

The invention is thus characterized in that the firearm can only be activated when located at least in part in a receiving region of the matching unlocking unit with the corresponding unlocking element, as a result of which the coupling regions are coupled and at the same time an active hold element on the grip of the weapon is activated or is in an activated state. The weapon then remains activated as long as the hand grasps the grip, whereby the active hold element remains activated. As soon as the grip is no longer grasped, the locking device switches into the locking state, whereby the firearm can no longer be used and can only be activated again if inserted again into the opening region of the unlocking unit and if the grip is again grasped. The locking device may be a locking or safety device installed in addition for this purpose or may be a locking or safety device already provided in the firearm.

Here, the invention can be used on or in all types of small arms. Small arms in this context are especially mobile firearms with explosive ammunition, but also all other types of mobile firearms, such as those that fire a wide variety of objects, particles, fluids or gases by means of the pressure of gases or compressed springs or another type of acceleration, including those on electrical lines with an electrical charge, such as a Taser.

In the following, the invention will be described on the basis of a number of preferred solu- tions. In these preferred solutions, the firearm in which the device is shown installed is one of the most widely used pistols, especially by the executive forces, the active hold element is an ultrasonic sensor, and the unlocking unit, to which the unlocking element is fastened, is a holster matching the pistol. Different solutions for the coupling of the coupling regions and the switches are illustrated and explained.

The advantages of the shown solutions in particular lie in the fact that the locking device is hardly noticed with normal handling of the illustrated pistol, and there is thus no hindrance during use, and in that a maximum level of safety and efficiency is achieved by the illustrat- ed embodiments.

The invention along with further advantages will be specified in greater detail in the follow- ing in the context of several exemplary, non-restrictive embodiments which are illustrated in the respective figures.

The drawings show:

Figure 1 a perspective view of a firearm as it is carried in a holster, with a switch on the weapon in a partial section,

Figure 2 the switch on the weapon in the rest position as a detail from Figure 1,

Figure 3 a perspective view of the firearm with the switch on the weapon in a partial section, said firearm having just been drawn from the holster,

Figure 4 the switch on the weapon in the activated position as a detail from Figure 3,

Figure 5 a perspective view of a firearm as it is carried in a holster with a switch on the holster in a partial section,

Figure 6 the switch on the holster in the rest position as a detail from Figure 5,

Figure 7 a perspective view of the firearm with the switch on the holster in a partial section, the firearm having just been drawn from the holster,

Figure 8 the switch on the holster in the activated position as a detail from Figure 7, and

Figure 9 perspective view of a firearm with a fixing hook in a partial section, the firearm having just been drawn from the holster.

Figure 1 shows a firearm 1 with a weapon body 2, as it is carried in an unlocking unit 3, which in this example is designed as a holster 3, in a partial section. An unlocking element 4, which forms the unlocking element coupling region 4, which in this example is designed as a transponder 4, is attached in the holster 3.

The weapon body 2 contains a locking unit 5 consisting of an electromechanical locking mechanism 6 comprising a locking mechanism coupling region 7 designed as a transmit- ter/receiver 7, comprising a switch 8, and comprising a driver 9, which is movable by an electromagnet and positions a locking bar 10. Furthermore, the locking unit comprises an active hold element 11, which in this example is formed as an ultrasonic sensor 11, wherein the active hold element 11 is connected to the electromechanical locking mechanism 6 by one or more electrical lines 12. The electromechanical locking mechanism 6 also contains the electrics and electronics necessary for producing the logical circuit and forming an electronic evaluation unit, and also contains an electrical power source (not illustrated).

Figure 2, as a detail of Figure 1, shows the switch 8, as it protrudes into a recess in the holster 3, whereby it is located in a rest position. The weapon is therefore located in a rest position. The active hold element 11, designed as an ultrasonic sensor 11, is in the locking state 13, and the electromechanical locking mechanism 6 is thus in its locking state 14, and the weapon 1 is thus locked. No electrical circuit is activated (or the electronics are not activated), and no power is consumed. The driver 9 is located in the illustration in a right stop position, where- by the locking bar 10 is also brought into a right stop position. The locking bar 10 thus blocks a triggering mechanism 15, which is known from the prior art and is not described here in greater detail, in that, in accordance with prior art known from AT 511571 B1, a rotational motion link on the locking bar 10 is displaced in such a way that a trigger 16 as part of the triggering mechanism 15 is blocked and therefore cannot be actuated. Here, the weapon is introduced in the receiving region 17 of the holster 3 up to its limit.

Figure 3, in a partial section, shows how the weapon 1 is drawn from the receiving region 17 and therefore from the holster 3. The switch 8 is pressed by a motion link 18 on the holster during the drawing process, and the entire electrics/electronics in the weapon 1 are thus activated, with the result that they can carry out their respective function, this concerning both the locking mechanism 6 and the active hold element 11 in the form of the ultrasonic sensor 11. The ultrasonic sensor 11 checks by means of a distance measurement whether a hand 19 is located on the grip of the weapon 1 and, if it detects this, it is thus located in the active state 20, illustrated by concentric rings, and the transmitter/receiver 7 transmits a signal, preferably a high-energy signal, and checks whether the transponder 4 responds thereupon with a code as a return transmission, illustrated as concentric rings 21, and whether this returned code matches a code stored in the transmitter/receiver 7. The result of these two checks is processed in the electronic evaluation unit. If both checks are positive, the electronic evaluation unit activates an electrical circuit, which moves the driver 9 to the left in a linear manner by means of the electromagnet against a restoring element, for example a spring, into a stop position, whereby the locking bar 10 is also moved to the left into a stop position. The motion link on the locking bar 10 thus releases the counter motion link on the trigger 16 of the triggering mechanism 15, and the trigger 16 can be actuated. The weapon, of which the dismantling mechanism was blocked, for example by a method known from AT 511571 B1 as prior art and not described here in greater detail, in which a locking slide is blocked by a locking bar, can also now be dismantled. The electromechanical locking mecha- nism 6 is thus located in the release state 22, and the weapon 1 is thus enabled. The weapon 1 then remains enabled as long as the active hold element 11, designed as an ultrasonic sensor 11, detects the hand 19 on the grip of the weapon 1, since the electronic evaluation unit activates the electrics/electronics and holds the driver 9 to the left in the stop position by means of the electromagnet as long as the ultrasonic sensor 11 detects the hand on the grip of the weapon 1. If the ultrasonic sensor 11 no longer detects the hand 19, which means that the hand 19 exceeds a predetermined distance from the grip of the weapon 1, the electronic evaluation unit switches off the entire electrics/electronics. The electromagnet, which holds the driver 9 in position against the restoring element (against the spring), is thus also deac- tivated. The driver 9 and with it the locking bar 10 thus passes back into the stop position to the right, whereby the weapon 1 is locked. The weapon 1 can no longer be fired, it can no longer be dismantled, and in addition no power is consumed. Reactivation of the weapon 1 is only possible by introducing it again into the holster 3.

Figure 4, as a detail of Figure 3, shows how the switch 8 is pressed through the motion link 18 of the holster 3.

In an alternative preferred embodiment, the entire structure is as in Figures 1 to 4, however the unlocking element 4 forming the unlocking coupling region 4 is designed as an optical code and the locking mechanism coupling region 7 is designed as an optical sensor 7, for example as a camera sensor 7. In this case, the camera sensor 7 must perceive a specific optical code so that the two coupling regions 4, 7 are considered to be coupled. Everything else is the same as already described.

Figures 5 to 8 show a further preferred embodiment of a firearm 1 with a holster 3, in which a switch 23 on the holster 3 is interconnected to an unlocking element 4 and a power source 24 by an electrical circuit 25, wherein the unlocking element 4, which forms the unlocking coupling region 4, is designed as a transmitter. This embodiment is then advantageous in particular if a power source is required in the holster 3 for further functions. Only the differ- ences from the previously presented embodiments will be described hereinafter. In Figure 5, the weapon 1 is in the deactivated and locking state. The active hold element 11 is in the locking state 13, the electromechanical locking mechanism 6 is in the locking state 14, and the weapon 1 is deactivated. The switch 23 protrudes into a recess 26 in the weapon 1 and is therefore not active, the electrical circuit 25 is deactivated.

Figure 6, as a detail of Figure 5, shows the switch 23 in the deactivated state.

Figure 7 shows how the weapon 1 is drawn from the receiving region 17 and therefore from the holster 3, the ultrasonic sensor 11 is in the active state 20, the locking mechanism 6 and therefore the weapon 1 are in the release state 23. The switch 23 leaves the recess 26 and is pressed against the weapon 1 thereby during the drawing process, the electrical circuit 25 is thus activated, and the transmitter 4 transmits its characteristic signal, illustrated by concen- tric rings 21. In this embodiment, the entire electrics/electronics in the weapon 1 are either activated just like in the previously presented embodiments or by another activation switch to be operated, for example on the grip of the weapon 1 (not illustrated). The locking mecha- nism coupling region 7 is designed purely as a receiver 7. Everything else is the same as the previously presented embodiments.

Figure 8, as a detail of Figure 7, shows how the switch 23 is pressed by the weapon 1 during the drawing process.

Figure 9 shows a further preferred embodiment of a firearm 1 with a holster 3, in which a fixing hook 27 is introduced into an electromechanical locking mechanism 6 and is received thereby as the firearm is drawn from the receiving region 17 and therefore from the holster 3. The coupling regions can be designed arbitrarily, for example as described in the other presented variants. The ultrasonic sensor 11 is in the active state 20, the locking mechanism 6 and therefore the weapon 1 are in the release state 22. A switch (not illustrated) for activating the electrics/electronics of the weapon is located in this embodiment within the electrome- chanical locking mechanism 6, and this is activated by drawing the weapon 1 in that the hook of the fixing hook 27 hooks into this switch when the weapon is in the locking state 14, whereby it fixes the weapon in the holster 3 and is actuated as soon as the weapon 1 is drawn. As soon as this switch is activated, the coupling regions 4, 7 and the grip sensor (active hold element) 11 are checked. If the status is positive in both cases, the weapon 1 is enabled and at the same time the electromechanical locking mechanism 6 releases the fixing hook 27 in that the switch is moved away from the region of the hook of the fixing hook 27 by an electromagnet. The weapon can thus be drawn. Otherwise, it remains fixed in the holster 3. Everything else is the same as the previously presented embodiments.


PATENT CLAIMS

1. A locking device for firearms for enabling releasable locking by blocking or interrupt- ing a triggering mechanism (15) of a firearm (1), wherein the locking device comprises

+) a locking unit (5) arranged on the firearm (1), wherein the locking unit (5)

*) comprises at least one electromechanical locking mechanism (6), and further

*) comprises at least one active hold element (11), which is capable of detecting a

user’s hand on the firearm (1), preferably on a grip of the firearm (1),

+) an unlocking element (4) formed separately from the firearm (1), wherein the unlocking element (4) is attached to an unlocking unit (3), which has a receiving region (17) for receiv- ing the weapon (1), at least in part,

and wherein

the locking mechanism (6) of the locking unit (5) has a locking mechanism coupling region (7), and wherein the unlocking element (4) has an unlocking element coupling region (4) corresponding to the locking mechanism coupling region or forms an unlocking element coupling region (4) corresponding to the locking mechanism coupling region,

and wherein

the locking mechanism (6) is coupled to the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1) in such a way that the triggering mechanism (15) for firing a shot is blocked in a locking state (14) of the locking mechanism (6), and the triggering mechanism (15) can be released in a release state (22) of the locking mechanism (6),

and wherein the active hold element (11) is coupled to the locking mechanism (6) in such a way that the locking mechanism (6), when in the release state (22),

a) is in the release state (22) as long as the active hold element (11) is in an active posi- tion or in an active state (20), and

b) changes into a locking state (14) if the active hold element (11) changes into a locking position or into a locking state (13),

and wherein

the locking device further comprises at least one switch (8, 23), by means of which at least one switch (8, 23) can be switched on or can be switched on and switched off via an electron- ics system, for example at least one electrical circuit, the unlocking element coupling region (4) and/or the locking mechanism coupling region (7),

and wherein, as a result of the coupling of the coupling regions (4, 7), the locking mechanism

(6) changes from its locking state into the release state (22), characterized in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are coupled in that

-) the firearm (1) is inserted, at least in part, into the receptacle (17) of the unlocking unit (3)

or is in a state inserted into the receptacle (17), and

-) at least the at least one switch (8, 23) simultaneously is actuated or is in an actuated state.

2. The locking device according to Claim 1, characterized in that the locking mechanism (6) changes from the locking state (14) into the release state (22) when the two coupling regions (4, 7) are coupled and the active hold element (11) is simultaneously in an active position or in an active state (20).

3. The locking device according to Claim 1, characterized in that the locking mechanism (6) changes from the locking state (14) into the release state (22) when the active hold element (11) is in an active position or in an active state (20), wherein the active hold element (11) can then only be brought into an active position or into an active state (20) if the two coupling regions (4, 7) are coupled.

4. The locking device according to Claim 1, characterized in that the locking mechanism (6) changes from the locking state (14) into the release state (22) when the two coupling regions (4, 7) are coupled, wherein the two coupling regions (4, 7) can then only be coupled if the active hold element (11) is in an active position or in an active state (20).

5. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the switch or switches (8, 23) is/are actuated by inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, preferably manually, into the receiving region (17) of the unlocking unit (3) or re- moving or drawing the firearm (1), at least in part, from the receiving region (17) of the unlocking unit (3) or pressing the firearm (1) into the receiving region (17) of the unlocking unit (3).

6. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the switch or switches (8, 23) is/are arranged on the weapon (1) and/or on the unlocking unit (3), wherein a switch (23) arranged on the unlocking unit (3) is actuated by the weapon (1) and a switch (8) arranged on the weapon (1) is actuated by the unlocking unit (3).

7. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the switch or switches (8, 23) is/are arranged on the grip of the weapon (1).

8. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are coupled as the weapon (1) is drawn from the unlocking unit (3).

9. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 8, characterized in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are only coupled until the locking mechanism (6) is changed into a release state (22).

10. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 9, characterized in that the unlocking element (4) with the unlocking element coupling region (4) is designed as a transmitter (4) and the locking mechanism coupling region (7) is designed as a receiver, and in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are then coupled when a transmitter signal matches a defined signal pattern in the receiver.

11. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 9, characterized in that the unlocking element (4) with the unlocking element coupling region (4) is designed as an optical code and the locking mechanism coupling region (7) is designed as an optical sensor, and in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are then coupled when a code perceived by the optical sensor (7) matches a defined code pattern.

12. The locking device according to Claim 11, characterized in that the optical sensor (7) detects the reflections of a laser beam.

13. The locking device according to Claim 12, characterized in that a laser incorporated into the firearm, for example for assisting the aim with the firearm, is used for the coupling of the coupling regions.

14. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 9, characterized in that the unlocking element (4) with the unlocking element coupling region (4) is designed as a three- dimensional code for measurement by means of ultrasound, and the locking mechanism coupling region (7) is designed as an ultrasonic sensor (7), and in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are then coupled when a code perceived by the ultrasonic sensor (7) matches a defined pattern when the unlocking element (4) is exposed to ultrasound.

15. The locking device according to any one of Claims 11 to 14, characterized in that the unlocking element (4) is formed as an optical and/or three-dimensional code (4) from differ- ent materials, and is preferably designed with surfaces that reflect differently.

16. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 9, characterized in that one of the coupling regions (4, 7) is an electronically stored code and the other is an identical elec- tronically stored code, and in that the coupling regions (4, 7) are then coupled when a code comparison carried out by direct electrical contact matches.

17. The locking device according to Claim 10, characterized in that the transmitter (4) and the receiver (7) communicate electromagnetically.

18. The locking device according to Claim 17, characterized in that the receptacle (17) of the unlocking unit (3) is formed surrounding the firearm (1) at least in part, with an opening region for introducing the firearm (1) into the receptacle (17), and wherein the receptacle (17) is preferably formed at least in regions or completely from a material or is provided with material inserts which is/are suitable for screening electromagnetic radiation.

19. The locking device according to Claim 10, characterized in that the transmitter (4) and receiver (7) communicate optically, for example in the range of the non-visible spectrum or in the range of the visible spectrum.

20. The locking device according to Claim 10, characterized in that the transmitter (4) and the receiver (7) communicate by sound waves, for example in the range of the inaudible spectrum or in the range of the audible spectrum.

21. The locking device according to any one of Claims 10 and 17 to 20, characterized in that the transmitter (4) receives its power by induction in that the weapon (1), by means of a transmitter, irradiates a radiation suitable for energy transmission.

22. The locking device according to any one of Claims 10 and 17 to 21, characterized in that the unlocking element (4) functions in the manner of a transponder.

23. The locking device according to Claim 21, characterized in that the transmitter (4) is activated in that the switch (8, 23) on the unlocking unit (3) activates the transmitter by inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the unlocking unit (3) or remov- ing or drawing the firearm (1), at least in part, from the unlocking unit (3) or pressing the firearm (1) into the unlocking unit (3).

24. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 23, characterized in that the active hold element (11) is formed as a mechanical active hold element, for example as a mechanical grip lever.

25. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 23, characterized in that the active hold element (11) is formed as an electromechanical active hold element, for example as an electromechanical switch.

26. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 23, characterized in that the active hold element (11) is formed as an electronic active hold element, in particular as a sensor, for example as

*) an ultrasonic sensor and/or

*) a capacitive sensor and/or

*) a pressure sensor and/or

*) an optical sensor and/or

*) a resistance sensor and/or

*) a thermal sensor.

27. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 26, characterized in that the weapon (1), when deactivated, is fixed in the unlocking unit (3) by a fixing element, for example a fixing hook (27), and can only be drawn following a successful coupling of the coupling regions (4, 7), which releases the fixing element, for example the fixing hook (27), whereby the weapon (1) can only be drawn in the activated state.

28. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 27, characterized in that the unlocking unit (3) has at least one arrangement for checking biometric features of a user, and in that the coupling regions (4, 7) can only be coupled following a prior biometric check carried out on the unlocking unit (3).

29. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 28, characterized in that the firearm (1) can be locked in the unlocking unit (3) by an additional locking unit in said unlocking unit, and the unlocking unit (3) has at least one arrangement for checking bio- metric features of a user, wherein this additional locking unit only releases the firearm (1) once a biometric check has been carried out on the unlocking unit (3), with the result that said firearm can be drawn from the unlocking unit (3).

30. The locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 29, characterized in that the unlocking element (4) is inserted into an unlocking unit (3) and can also be removed again, or the unlocking coupling region receives its characteristic coupling properties by an element that is to be inserted and that can be removed again.

31. A firearm comprising a locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 30 or comprising those components of a locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 30 which are arranged on the firearm (1).

32. An unlocking unit comprising those components of a locking device according to any one of Claims 1 to 30 which are arranged on the locking unit (3).

33. A method for releasing a locking of a triggering mechanism (15) of a firearm (1), wherein a locking mechanism according to any one of Claims 1 to 30 is provided in order to enable releasable locking by blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1), said method being characterized by the following steps:

1) inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the receiving region (17) of the unlocking unit (3),

2) actuating the switch (8, 23), preferably by pressing the switch or inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the unlocking unit (3) or removing or drawing the fire- arm (1), at least in part, from the unlocking unit (3) or pressing the firearm (1) into the un- locking unit (3),

3) bringing the active hold element (11) from a locking position or a locking state (13) into an active position or into an active state (20), this being performed by the user, and also simul- taneously coupling the two coupling regions (4, 7),

with the result that the locking mechanism (6) changes from the locking state (14) blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1) into a release state (22) releasing the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm.

34. A method for releasing a locking of a triggering mechanism (15) of a firearm (1), wherein a locking mechanism according to any one of Claims 1 to 30 is provided in order to enable releasable locking by blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1), said method being characterized by the following steps:

1) inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the receiving region (17) of the unlocking unit (3),

2) actuating the switch (8, 23), preferably by pressing the switch or inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the unlocking unit (3) or removing or drawing the fire- arm (1), at least in part, from the unlocking unit (3) or pressing the firearm (1) into the un- locking unit (3),

3) coupling the two coupling regions (4, 7),

4) bringing the active hold element (11) from a locking position or a locking state (13) into an active position or into an active state (20), this being performed by the user,

with the result that the locking mechanism (6) changes from the locking state (14) blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1) into a release state (22) releasing the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm.

35. A method for releasing a locking of a triggering mechanism (15) of a firearm (1), wherein a locking mechanism according to any one of Claims 1 to 30 is provided in order to enable releasable locking by blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1), said method being characterized by the following steps:

1) inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the receiving region (17) of the unlocking unit (3),

2) actuating the switch (8, 23), preferably by pressing the switch or inserting or introducing the firearm (1), at least in part, into the unlocking unit (3) or removing or drawing the fire- arm (1), at least in part, from the unlocking unit (3) or pressing the firearm (1) into the un- locking unit (3),

3) bringing the active hold element (11) from a locking position or a locking state (13) into an active position or into an active state (20), this being performed by the user,

4) coupling the two coupling regions (4, 7),

with the result that the locking mechanism (6) changes from the locking state (14) blocking or interrupting the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm (1) into a release state (22) releasing the triggering mechanism (15) of the firearm.