|Currently, assault rifle grips are fixed at a specific angle. This angle is primarily based on the ability to fire a rifle with the center of mass aligned to the forearm, with little to no wrist movement. The grip angle best accommodates shooting from the hip and a traditional bladed rifle stance. When using a bladed stance, the shooter's weak-side shoulder faces the target and the dominant elbow is positioned away from the body. Tactical shooting has led to the development of a squared, or athletic, stance. With the squared stance, the shooter's shoulders are squared-up with the target. The buttstock of the rifle is placed near the centerline of the body and high up on the chest with elbows kept down and tucked in. With current rifle grips, this stance results in ulnar deviation of the wrist causing wrist fatigue and injury.
There are a variety of rifle grips on the commercial market that claim to be ergonomic. The majority of ergonomic grips address gripping itself. Instead of being entirely of plastic, the grips often have a rubber coating that conforms more to the shooter's hand. They often have grooves for finger placement as well. Other ergonomic grips attempt to address trigger span or reach, for example a grip that permits the shooter to effectively shim the grip backward to accommodate for a larger trigger reach. Another example is a grip designed to force the shooter to keep their elbows tucked-in to maintain a proper squared/athletic stance. This grip actually results in not only ulnar deviation of the wrist, but also supination (rotation) and extension of the wrist.
NSWC Crane has designed, developed, and patented an adjustable ergonomic rifle grip that allows the grip angle to be modified to accommodate different shooting stances. By rotating the grip, wrist fatigue and injury can be minimized by allowing the shooter to hold the weapon at, or closer to, the natural wrist position. Additionally, the rotatable grip could be folded up to the body of the firearm to make it more compact for concealment or storage.
Associated intellectual property includes US Patent Application No. 14/984,290 (allowed) and US Patent Application No. 15/432,484.
Dec 30, 2015
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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