Patent application title: Close quarter ballistic chaps with extensions and/or release system
Donald Bennett (Katy, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AF41H102FI
Class name: Apparel guard or protector penetration resistant
Publication date: 2011-03-31
Patent application number: 20110072545
Ballistic chaps for protecting the femur and femoral artery region of a
wearer as well as the knee portions and lower leg portions include leg
portions with ballistic armor inserts that extend downwardly from a
wearer's waist region to terminate at a point above the wearer's ankles,
thereby covering at least a front portion of the wearer's upper thighs,
preferably also the hip and flank, as well as the knee region and the
frontal lower leg region. The leg portions terminate at the sides of the
wearer, thereby providing flexibility of movement and minimizing heat
entrapment. A plurality of attachment regions may be provided on the
exterior surface of the leg portions to provide a mounting platform for
various types of peripheral equipment. A quick release system is employed
to allow rapid detachment of the ballistic chaps from the wearer.
1. A ballistic outer garment, comprising:a body mounting portion to
detachably secure the outer garment to the wearer;a pair of upper leg
portions coupled to the body mounting portion and configured
tosubstantially cover at least a front portion of an upper leg of the
wearer and to terminate above the knee;a pair of knee pads detachably
secured to said pair of upper leg portions and configured to
substantially cover the knee portion of the leg of a wearer;a pair of
lower leg portions coupled to the knee pad portion and configured
tosubstantially cover at least a front portion of a lower leg of the
wearer and to terminate above the ankle; anda plurality of ballistic
armor portions,wherein each of the leg portions are configured to
removably retain at least one of the ballistic armor portions such that
the ballistic armor portion substantially covers at least the front
portion of the upper and lower leg of the wearer when the outer garment
is worn by the wearer.
2. The ballistic outer garment as recited in claim 1, comprising a plurality of attachment portions coupled to an exterior surface of each leg portion and configured to support peripheral equipment when attached thereto.
3. The ballistic outer garment as recited in claim 2, wherein each of the attachment portions comprises an elongate strap secured at spaced apart intervals along the length of the strap to the exterior surface of each leg portion.
4. The ballistic garment of claim 1, further comprising a quick release system, said quick release system providing a rapid detachment of the ballistic garment from the wearer.
5. Ballistic chaps, comprising:a belt;a first leg portion and a second leg portion coupled to the belt, each of the first and second leg portions configured to substantially cover at least a frontal portion between a waist region and a knee of the wearer;a first knee portion and a second knee portion coupled to said first leg portion and said second leg portion to substantially cover at least a frontal portion of a knee of the wearer;a third leg portion and a fourth leg portion coupled to the first knee portion and the second knee portion, respectively, each of the third and fourth leg portions configured to substantially cover at least a frontal portion between a knee region and an ankle region of the wearer;a plurality of equipment mounting portions coupled to an exterior surface of each of the first, second, third, and fourth leg portion; anda plurality of ballistic armor portions;wherein the first, second, third, and fourth leg portions each comprises a front portion and a rear portion that define a receptacle therebetween, the receptacle being configured to retain at least one of the ballistic armor portions therein in a position that substantially covers at least the frontal portion of the wearer, the receptacle having an opening for removably receiving the ballistic armor portion.
6. Ballistic chaps, comprising:a waist portion securable about a waist of the user;a plurality of ballistic armor portions;a pair of upper leg portions extending from the waist portion and terminating above the knees of the user and terminating at the sides of the user, each of the upper leg portions configured to enclose at least one of the ballistic armor portions, each of the upper leg portions having a frontal portion and a flank portion, wherein when the ballistic chaps are secured to the user, each of the ballistic armor portions substantially covers a hip, a side portion, and a front femoral portion of an upper leg of the user;a pair of lower leg portions extending from the knee portion and terminating above the ankles of the user and terminating at the sides of the user, each of the lower leg portions configured to enclose at least one of the ballistic armor portions, each of the lower leg portions having a frontal portion and a flank portion, wherein when the ballistic chaps are secured to the user, each of the ballistic armor portions substantially covers a side portion, and a front portion of a lower leg of the user;a pair of knee portions substantially covering the front and side portions of the user's knee, wherein the knee portions are releasably attachable to the corresponding upper and lower leg portions; anda releasable attachment portion coupled to each of the leg portions to releasably secure the leg portion to the corresponding leg of the user.
The present application claims the benefit of the filing date of
U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/125,276 filed on Apr. 23, 2008
(now pending) (which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes
and made a part of the present disclosure).
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to a ballistic outer garment and, more particularly, to ballistic chaps that protect the wearer's upper and lower legs, including the femur and femoral artery regions, while also providing a mounting platform for the wearer's equipment and affording the wearer great flexibility of movement.
Combat environments, whether in a military or police context, benefit from the use of protective garments designed to shield the wearer from injury from small arms fire as well as from shrapnel and other debris propelled from an explosive device or compound. A particularly vulnerable body region is the combatant's upper leg, as a penetration in the upper leg region that damages the femur or femoral artery can result in serious injury or death in a very short period of time. Unfortunately, most known outer body armor either does not provide adequate coverage for the upper leg region of the body, is too cumbersome to easily move about in, and/or traps too much body heat which can lead to heat exhaustion. These drawbacks are a particular problem in physically taxing, close quarter combat environments in which a high degree of mobility and the comfort of the assaulter or entry team member's gear are paramount.
Such environments also often require the use of various types of combat-related equipment, such as magazine and grenade pouches, holsters, sheathes, radios, and first aid kits, which the combatant must carry and to which ready access is needed. Traditionally, such equipment has been carried on the upper part of the body, such as on a vest or jacket. However, the cumulative weight of the extra equipment creates a heavy load, often resulting in lower back pain. Thus, in conjunction with providing needed protection for the femur and femoral artery regions, it would be desirable to provide a mounting platform for the equipment that transfers the extra weight to a lower portion of the body, such as the hips and upper legs.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 shows a front view of a wearer wearing a pair of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 shows a side view of the wearer wearing the ballistic chaps of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 shows a rear view of the wearer wearing the ballistic chaps of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a view of the exterior or outermost side of an exemplary embodiment of the ballistic chaps according to the invention;
FIG. 5 shows a view of the interior or innermost side of one leg of the ballistic chaps of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a partial cutaway view taken through the interior side of one leg of the ballistic chaps of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a view of the inner side of an exemplary embodiment of the ballistic chaps showing the coupling of an accessory to the chaps according to the invention;
FIG. 8A is partial cutaway view taken through the innermost side of one leg of the ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 8B shows the exterior side of the leg of the ballistic chaps of FIG. 8A.
FIG. 9 is a simplified front view illustration of another embodiment of one side of a pair of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 10 is a simplified front view illustration of a knee pad portion of an embodiment of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 11 is a simplified front view illustration of an embodiment of the bottom leg portion of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 12 is a simplified front view illustration of a wearer wearing a pair of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 13 is a simplified side view illustration of a wearer wearing a pair of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 14 is a simplified side view illustration of a wearer wearing a pair of ballistic chaps according to an embodiment of the invention; and
FIGS. 9A-12 illustrate an exemplary quick release system for a ballistic chaps, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
In the following description, numerous details are set forth to provide an understanding of the present invention. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these details and that numerous variations or modifications from the described embodiments are possible.
FIG. 1 shows an exemplary embodiment of a ballistic chaps 10 being worn by a wearer. The ballistic chaps 10 are secured to the body of the wearer via a body mounting portion that includes a releasable belt 12, a pair of suspenders 14, and an adjustable leg attachment system 16. As shown in FIG. 1, the ballistic chaps 10 include a pair of leg portions 18 which are secured to the mounting portion of chaps 10 at the belt 12, suspenders 14, and leg attachment system 16. The leg portions 18 generally extend downwardly from the waist region of the wearer to terminate at a point above the wearer's knees, such that the leg portions 18 substantially cover at least the front portion of the wearer's upper legs.
Each leg portion 18 of ballistic chaps 10 is configured to receive one or more ballistic armor inserts 20 (shown in dashed lines in FIG. 1). In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the ballistic armor insert 20 is of substantially the same shape and size as each leg portion 18. When the ballistic chaps 10 are worn by the wearer, the ballistic armor inserts 20 are positioned such that they substantially cover at least the front of the upper leg portion of the wearer, thereby providing frontal protection for the wearer's femur and femoral artery region. In other embodiments, armor inserts 20 may be of various sizes and shapes and mayor may not extend into the belt or waist region of the chaps 10. Armor inserts 20 also may be a single insert as shown or may include multiple inserts 20 placed at appropriate locations to protect vulnerable regions of the wearer's upper legs.
Turning next to FIG. 2, a side view of the wearer wearing the ballistic chaps 10 of FIG. 1 is shown. As can be seen in this view, each leg portion 18 of ballistic chaps 10 extends along the side of the wearer such that it substantially covers the wearer's hip and flank region. Similarly, each ballistic armor insert 20 also extends around the side of the user such that it substantially covers and protects the wearer's hip and flank. In some embodiments, a separate armor insert 20 may be used to protect the hip and flank rather than a single armor insert that protects both the front and side. A trailing edge 22 of each leg portion 18 terminates substantially along the side of the wearer. By terminating at the sides, the ballistic chaps 10 provide a large degree of flexibility such that the wearer's mobility is not impeded. Further, by leaving the back side of the upper legs exposed, the chaps 10 minimize the amount of body heat retained by the wearer, thus reducing the risk of heat exhaustion.
FIG. 3 provides a rear view of the wearer wearing the ballistic chaps 10 of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 further illustrates the manner in which the leg portions 18 are coupled to the leg attachment system 16. In the embodiment shown, the attachment system 16 includes an elongate strap 23 and a buckle or clip 24 which is attached to trailing side edges 22 of leg portions 18. A free end 26 of each strap 23 is configured to engage with a buckle or clip 28 which is attached to a leading side edge 30 of each leg portion 18. To secure the chaps 10 about the upper leg of the wearer, the free end 26 folds back on itself and is secured in place by a hook and loop type closure system 32. The hook and loop type closure system 32 facilitates quick removal of the attachment system 16 from about the upper legs of the wearer and also provides for a large degree of adjustability such that the chaps 10 may be fitted to a variety of different sized wearers. It should be understood, however, that other types of closures for attachment system 16 are contemplated, including various types of buckles, snaps, and/or quick-release systems. In the embodiment shown, each strap 23 is made of flat nylon webbing to which the hook and loop type closures 32 are secured. In other embodiments of the chaps 10, the attachment system 16 may be made of or include different types of materials, such as mesh, elastic, etc.
FIG. 4 shows the exterior or outer side (i.e., the side furthest from the wearer's body) of an exemplary embodiment of the chaps 10. In this embodiment, not only are the leg portions 18 configured to retain ballistic armor portions 20 that cover the front and sides of the upper leg of the wearer, but the leg portions 18 also provide a mounting platform for supporting various different types of peripheral equipment, such as ammunition pouches 34, accessory pouches 36, radios, first aid kits, etc. Towards that end, the mounting platform includes a plurality of attachment points 38 to which the various pieces of peripheral equipment may be secured. In the embodiment shown, the attachment points 38 are formed by an elongate strap 40 (e.g., flat nylon webbing) that is secured (e.g., sewn) to the exterior surface of each leg portion 18 at spaced apart intervals along its length. By securing each strap 40 to the exterior surface of the leg portion 18 in this manner, a plurality of loops or attachment points 38 are formed along the length of the strap 40 to which the various pouches and/or peripheral equipment may be attached, hooked or otherwise secured. Attachment in this manner provides for easy access to the peripheral equipment and also distributes the added weight from this equipment about the hip and thigh region, thus avoiding strain on the wearer's lower back. Any number of straps and/or attachment points may be provided. However, providing multiple attachment points 38 distributed over substantially the entire exterior surface provides the wearer with a large degree of versatility in positioning his equipment about the hips and upper legs. Other configurations of attachment points 38 also are contemplated, such as various loops, hooks, hook and loop closures, etc. that are secured to the exterior surface or edges of the leg portions 18 in an appropriate manner.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show the interior or inner side (i.e., the side of the chaps 10 which is closest to the wearer's body) of leg portions 18. As can be seen in the cutaway view provided in FIG. 6, each leg portion 18 includes an outer panel 42 and an inner panel 44 that define a compartment or pocket 46 therebetween. In the embodiment shown, panels 42 and 44 are made of a nylon material. In other embodiments, panels 42 and 44, and particularly inner panel 44, may be made of a breathable material, such as mesh, or configured as a plurality of straps or other configuration that facilitates airflow between the wearer's upper legs and chaps 10.
In the embodiment of the chaps illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the enclosure 46 has an opening 48 disposed in the waist or belt region of the leg portion 18. The opening 48 provides access into the compartment 46 such that a ballistic armor portion 20 may be easily inserted and removed. In the embodiment shown, the ballistic armor 20 is soft ballistic armor, preferably level IIIA ballistic armor. However, hard armor plates also may be inserted through opening 48 into compartment 46 in lieu of or in addition to the soft armor inserts 20. Yet further, in other embodiments of the invention, the opening 48 leading into the enclosure 46 may be disposed in other regions of the leg portion 18. For instance, the opening 48 may be placed along a bottom edge 50, trailing side edge 22, or a leading side edge 30. Alternatively, opening 48 may extend through any portion of outer panel 42 or inner panel 44 of each leg portion 18.
In the embodiment of chaps 10 illustrated in the figures, the armor inserts 20 are held in the compartment 46 which is defined between the outer and inner panels 42 and 44 of each leg portion 18. In other embodiments, armor inserts 20 may be secured to leg portions 18 in other manners and mayor may not be removable. For instance, various pockets or channels may be formed on either the exterior or interior sides of leg portions 18, one or more armor portions 20 may be inserted therein, and such pockets or channels may even be sewn shut such that the armor portions 20 are a more permanent component of each leg portion 18.
Returning to the embodiments shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, leg portion 18 further includes a flap 54 which is moveable between an open and a closed position. When in the open position, as shown in FIG. 5, the flap 54 provides access to the opening 48 of the compartment 46. When in the closed position, as shown in FIG. 6, the flap portion 54 defines a belt channel 56 through which the belt 12 is routed. When in the closed position, the flap 54 is secured by one or more closure systems, such as hook and loop type closure 58a, 58b and/or a plurality of complementary snaps 60a, 60b.
Referring again to FIG. 5, belt 12 may be secured within belt channel 56 in various manners. For instance, belt 12 may be held in belt channel 56 by routing belt 12 through one or more belt loops 62. In addition, to prevent slippage of belt 12 as well as to prevent undesired movement of leg portions 18 relative to belt 12, belt 12 may be secured within belt channel 56 via a hook and loop type closure system 64a, 64b. For instance, both sides of belt 12 may be covered with a loop type tape 64b and the corresponding hook type tape 64a may be secured to the inside surface of the flap 54. In this manner, the belt 12 is firmly secured to the flap 54 via the hook and loop type closure 64a and 64b, thus preventing slippage of the belt 12. Further, when flap 54 is in a closed position as shown in FIG. 6, the loop type tape 64b on belt 12 engages with the hook type tape 58b which is secured to the inner panel 44 of leg portion 18, thereby preventing movement of leg portions 18 relative to belt 12.
Belt loop 62 may also provide a fail-safe attachment point for suspenders 14. For instance, loop 62 may be configured such that an end of loop 62 extends through the folded edge 55 of flap 54 and is terminated by buckle or clip 57. To attach the suspenders 14 to chaps 10, a free end of suspenders 14 maybe coupled with buckle 57 and secured by a hook and loop type closure or other releasable closure. In the event that the attachment point of belt loop 62 to flap 54 fails, suspenders 14 will still be attached to chaps 10 via belt 12 (i.e., belt 12 is routed through loop 62 and thus, will provide the coupling between suspenders 14 and chaps 10).
As can be seen in FIG. 5, belt 12 is adjustable in that a free end of the belt strap folds back on itself and is secured in position by a hook and loop type closure. Belt 12 further includes a quick release buckle system 66a, 66b, although other types of releasable buckles are contemplated.
Flap portion 54 may also include one or more tabs 68 which are affixed proximate an edge 70 of flap 54. Tabs 68 provide a gripping surface for the wearer to easily grab flap 54 and disengage the closure system 58a, 58b and/or 60a, 60b.
In the embodiment of chaps 10 shown in FIG. 6, the armor insert 20 may be secured within compartment 46 via an attachment system 72, such as a hook and loop type attachment system. One portion of the hook and loop closure 72 is secured to an interior surface of the outer panel 42, while the complementary portion of the hook and loop type closure 72 is secured to the armor insert 20. Securing the armor insert 20 within the compartment 46 using the attachment system 72 may allow the wearer of chaps 10 to position armor insert 20 in an optimal location relative to the wearer's upper leg and may also prevent slippage of armor insert 20 within compartment 46. In other embodiments, particularly where the armor inserts 20 have substantially the same shape as compartment 46, attachment system 72 may be used to secure a hard armor insert that is used instead of or in addition to a soft armor insert 20 or may be omitted altogether.
Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 6, in some embodiments, the chaps 10 may also include a tourniquet 74 coupled to one or both leg portions 18. Tourniquet 74 includes an elongate strap 76 and a windlass or winding stick 80 for tightening the elongate strap 76 about the wearer's upper leg in the event of an injury. In the embodiment shown, the elongate strap 76 extends through compartment 46 such that opposing ends 82 and 84 of tourniquet 74 generally extend outwardly from trailing edge 22 and leading edge 30 of leg portion 18 in parallel with leg strap system 16. The windlass 80 is secured to the elongate strap 76 and, preferably, also may be secured to the leg portion 18 itself (not shown), such as by a hook and loop type closure that secures the windlass 80 to the trailing edge 22. As can be seen in FIG. 6, the strap 76 may be coupled to leg portion 18 via an attachment system 86 located within compartment 46. Attachment system 86 may be configured as one or more hook and loop type closures which secure the elongate strap in an appropriate position. In other embodiments, tourniquet 74 may be coupled to leg portion 18 in other manners, such as via an attachment portion that is disposed on the surface of inner panel 44 that abuts the wearer's upper leg.
For normal wear, tourniquet 74 is loosely secured about the wearer's leg by threading the free end 84 of strap 76 though an adjustable buckle or clip 75 (see FIG. 8B). When in use, strap 76 may be tightened about the wearer's leg by pulling the free end 84 through the buckle 75, winding the windlass 80 to achieve the desired tension, and then securing one end of windlass 80 in triangle buckle 77. A lock screw 79 may then be turned to maintain the tension about the wearer's leg.
Various other types of accessories also maybe coupled to chaps 10. For instance, as shown in FIG. 7, chaps 10 may be configured to be used with a climbing harness or extraction seat 90. Harness 90 includes a releasable belt 92 and a pair of leg straps 94 which are attached to the belt 92. The harness 90 may be secured to chaps 10 by routing the harness belt 92 through belt channel 56 as shown. The belt 92 may be secured within the belt channel 56 via an appropriate attachment system 96, such as a hook and loop type fastener. Harness 90 also may include one or more steel links 98 secured to the belt 92 in locations which facilitate the use of the harness 90 for climbing and/or extraction.
FIGS. 8a and 8b illustrate yet another accessory that may be coupled to chaps 10. In this embodiment, the accessory is an inflatable bladder system 100 which may be secured to one or more leg portions 18 in a location relative to the wearer of the chaps 10 (see FIG. 1) in which pressure may be applied along the wearer's inguinal crease when the inflatable bladder system 100 is activated. The inguinal crease is the crease formed by the union of the upper leg and hip along the frontal aspect of the wearer's body, and is the region where the femoral artery is closest to the surface of the body.
Inflatable bladder system 100 includes an inflatable bladder 102, an inflation bulb 104, a hose or tube 106 interconnecting the bulb 104 and the bladder 102, and a release valve system 108a, 108b. Bladder 102 may be placed within compartment 46 and held in place by an appropriate attachment system, such as a hook and loop type attachment system, or may be coupled to the leg portion 18 in another manner appropriate to provide optimal pressure along the inguinal crease when the chaps 10 are worn by the wearer and bladder 102 is inflated. Easy access to the inflation bulb 104 may be provided by placing the inflation bulb 104 in a pouch 108 which is secured to the leg portion 18 at an attachment region 38. The hose 106 may be routed through the compartment 46, through the belt channel 56, and then exit the belt channel 56 through an opening 110 that extends through outer panel 42.
FIG. 9 shows another embodiment of the ballistic chaps described hereinbove. In this embodiment, a multi piece ballistic chap allows the chaps to protect the front section of the wearer's entire leg including the knee region. The upper section 10a and the lower section 110 (FIG. 11) are constructed similar to ballistic chap 10 as described hereinabove. Ballistic chap 10a comprises similar features as ballistic chap 10, such as, but not limited to, the belt 12a, leg straps, suspenders (not shown), and pockets for the armor inserts 20. This embodiment also includes grommets 90 at the bottom end to secure the knee portion 100 (FIG. 10) thereto. It should be understood that grommets 90 and attachment members 102 (FIG. 10) may be a variety of attachment members such as, but not limited to, snaps, quick release connections, loop and buckles, Velcro, and the like. It should be further understood that the plate pockets may be internal or placed in other accessible areas.
FIG. 10 shows a knee portion 100 of the ballistic chap. In one embodiment, knee portion 100 may have pockets therein for additional armor plates 20. The knee portion 100 may include an additional padded area 103. This provides impact protection to the wearer's knee as well as providing traction to allow the user to maneuver on their knees and also to stay in place when firing various weapons. It should be understood that an embodiment of the knee portion 100 may not have any additional padding. Knee portion 100 also provides for lower connections 104. The lower connections 104 are preferably attached to lower leg portion 110 (FIG. 11). Similar to attachment members 102, lower connections 104 may be a variety of attachment members such as, but not limited to, snaps, quick release connections, loop and buckles, Velcro, and the like. It should be understood that the knee portion 100 is preferably free from attachment straps as such straps would hinder the wearer's knee mobility.
FIG. 11 shows the lower leg portion 110 of the ballistic chaps. The lower leg portion 110 provides adjustable leg straps 112, 114 which are similar in material and design to the leg straps of the upper leg portion 10, 10a. The knee portion 100 attachment points 116 are further illustrated. Similar to attachment members 102 and lower connections 104, the knee portion attachment points 116 may be a variety of attachment members such as, but not limited to, snaps, quick release connections, loop and buckles, Velcro, and the like. It should be further understood that the plate pockets may be internal or placed in other accessible areas.
In at least one embodiment, the ballistic chaps is further equipped with a quick release system that allows the wearer to quickly and efficiently shed the ballistic chaps as desired. This quick release system may be composed an interconnected system or network of handles 17 (FIG. 9), cables, and strap and cable combinations. The quick release system preferably includes the buckles and straps of the suspenders, the belt, and the leg straps. A wearer activates the system by pulling at handles preferably positioned in the groin area. The handle is connected by cable cables and the strap cable combinations free from the leg straps, frees the belt and suspenders, thus releasing the attachments and causing the modular ballistic chaps system to fall away from the wearer. It should be understood that the quick release system may have several embodiments and should not be viewed as a limitation herein. The quick release system may be a combination of various separate releases such as a release for the belt and suspenders and separate releases for the upper and lower leg portions. A further embodiment of the release system is evident from FIGS. 12-14.
FIG. 12 shows a front view of a wearer in the full leg ballistic chap 10a, 100, 110.
FIG. 13 shows a side view of a wearer in the full leg ballistic chap 10a, 100, 110.
FIG. 14 shows a side view of a wearer in the full leg ballistic chap 10a, 100, 110. Here it is further illustrated the knee mobility of the full leg ballistic chaps. It should be appreciated that the full leg ballistic chaps allows the wearer to maintain full battle mobility while at the same time be afforded extra protection of the entire leg area as opposed to only the upper portion of the leg.
FIGS. 9A, 10A, 11A, and 12A depict a preferred embodiment of the ballistic chap with lower leg chaps extensions and a quick release system, in accordance with the present invention. The illustrations of FIGS. 9A, 10A, and 11A correspond with the earlier described illustrations FIGS. 9-11. In these illustrations, the quick release system is highlighted and is generally shown in dash lines. The quick release system preferably includes a pair of soft handles H, interconnecting cables, and straps and cable combinations. As shown in FIGS. 10A and 11A, the handles H are preferably positioned in the front near the groin are and as such, is readily accessible by the wearer. Operation of the handle activates the quick release system and generally pulls the cables and strap cable combinations free at both leg straps, the belt, and the suspenders. In this manner, with the leg straps, suspenders, and belts released, the modular ballistic chaps system falls away from the wearer.
The quick release systems may be described as having an anchoring system. Referring to the Figures, the anchoring system is provided by such components as straps with loops formed in one end, plastic D-rings sewn to the chap component, and anchoring cables with eyes crimped on an upper end. Preferably, all anchoring points in the anchoring system are identical. For example, all straps (leg or suspenders) may be equipped with a loop formed in one end, which loop may be inserted into the anchoring system. Further, anchoring cables are preferably attached to the handle by a nylon strap, and/or are secured to nylon straps by a Velcro. All components are linked to the quick release handles located in the groin area in each side respectively. In further embodiments, the handles may be linked together. Thus, the quick release system may be initiated by the user by manipulating the handles in the groin area. The user pulls the handle to retract the connected cables.
In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 9A, 10A, 11A, the quick release system includes, for each side of the ballistic chaps, one handle H and four interconnecting connecting assemblies A-D attached to and operable by the handle. Interconnecting assemblies A and B are provided primarily by cables 1 and 2, while interconnecting assemblies C and D are provided by primarily by a strap (3,4) and cable (5,6) combination. Cable 1 extends generally upward from handle H and then along the top edge of the chaps, before attaching to the suspender strap and belt. Cable 1 is attached to the suspender strap by passing it through an eye formed in the end of the suspender strap, once it has passed through the rectangular D-ring type anchor point. Once the cable has been inserted into the eye of the suspender strap the aforementioned strap can not be retracted until such time as the cable has been removed. Cable 1 is initially secured at anchoring point A1 near the edge of the chaps. By pulling on handle H, cable 1 is retracted and detached from anchoring point A1, thereby releasing the suspender and belt strap. Cable 2 extends generally downward from handle H to anchoring points A2, A3 near the lower outside corner. The end of cable 2 is connected to the two upper leg straps in the same fashion that cable 1 is attached to the suspender strap and belt. By pulling handle H, cable 2 is retracted and detach from anchoring points A2, A3, thereby releasing the two upper leg straps. Assembly C is provided by a strap 3 connected to handle H. Strap 3 extends downward from handle H and connects with cable 5 at the lower leg chap portion. By pulling on handle H, strap 3 and cable 5 are retracted and detached from anchoring point A4, thereby releasing the knee armor component's leg strap. Assembly D provides a strap 4 connected to handle H. Strap 4 extends downward from the handle H, through and beneath the upper leg armor, the knee armor, and connects with cable 6 at the lower leg chap portion. By pulling on handle H, strap 4 and cable 6 are retracted and detached from anchoring points A5 and A6, thereby releasing the lower leg armor leg straps.
Certain advantages and benefits are provided by the inclusion of a quick a release system of the invention. In one aspect, the quick release system facilitates the expedient doffing of heavy armor in the event that the wearer has to move more quickly or away from the situation. The quick release also enables a soldier or medical first responder to rapidly uncover, access, and treat a wound. Furthermore, the quick release system, as described herein, enables a solider to readily jettison the armor if caught on a stationary object (i.e., during an offensive or defensive operation). The quick release system also makes it possible to discard the armor in the event that the armor or components are caught on fire.
To further describe at least one preferred embodiment of the quick release system, provided below is an inventory of preferred components and further description of attributes of the preferred components: Material--Flame Retardant 1000D Material Quick release Scalable to suit mission threat Articulates with the leg Suspenders 200--Broad load bearing suspenders ride comfortably under IOTV while easily disbursing the weight across to shoulders. Adjustable front and rear to customize fit and pitch of padded belt system. Belt 202--rear adjustment padded belt eliminates pressure and point loading on hips and kidney area. Chaps--The ballistic chaps cover the frontal and flank aspects of the upper leg thus protecting the areas most often struck by IEDs and small arms fire. The chaps come with NIJ IIIA armor inserts and can include Enhanced Small arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) plates which are custom shaped for the upper leg. Triangle buckles 204 and lug assemblies on leg straps enable rapid donning and doffing and facilitate rapid leg strap adjustment process. Chaps have a molle exterior to enable the soldier to rig combat equipment to suit his or her mission Knee Armor--Knee armor is attached or detached via specialized shock absorption straps (SAS) 102. Straps secure with lift-the-dot fasteners (snaps). Armor covers front and flank of knee region Knee armor may be worn with or without lower leg armor Knee armor protected with knee cap. Lower Leg Armor--Covers front and flank of leg Attaches with SAS connectors 102 and leg straps. Configured with Molle Strap System to afford more options to the soldier for the mounting of Combat Equipment.
Exemplary System Components
 Handle H is strategically located near groin area for handling by the user. Handle H is preferably veneer 1000D Nylon. Cables 1, 2 are preferably 1/8'' wire rope, plastic coated. Cables 1 and 2 provide assemblies A and B, and are operable to release the suspender/belt straps and two upper leg straps, respectively. Straps 3, 4 are preferably flat nylon webbing with hook tape connection points on lower end. Cables 5, 6 are preferably 1/8'' wire rope, plastic coated. Cables 5 and 6 provide assemblies C and D, and are operable to release the knee armor and lower leg armor leg straps respectively. Anchoring Point A1 is preferably a plastic rectangular D-type ring with one side sewn to the 1000D shell of the Chap System. Anchoring Point A2 is preferably a plastic rectangular D-type ring with one side sewn to the 1000D shell of the Chap System. Anchoring Point A3 is preferably a plastic rectangular D-type ring with one side sewn to the 1000D shell of the Chap System. Anchoring Point A4 is preferably a plastic rectangular D-type ring with one side sewn to the 1000D shell of the Chap System. Strap 900 is preferably flat nylon webbing and routes through typical anchor point. Eyelet-Handle Connection 901 is preferably constructed of nylon webbing and is sewn back to itself and onto handle H after passing through the eyelet formed onto the end of the cable. Connection 902 is preferably flat nylon webbing sewn directly to Handle H. Connection 903 preferably loop tape sewn back on itself after having passed through the eye formed on the end of the cable 5. Connection 904 preferably is preferably loop tape sewn back on itself after having passed through the eye formed on the end of the cable 6.
While the invention has been disclosed with respect to a limited number of embodiments, those skilled in the art, having the benefit of this disclosure, will appreciate numerous modifications and variations there from. It is intended that the appended claims cover such modifications and variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class Penetration resistant
Patent applications in all subclasses Penetration resistant