The various embodiments relate to personal protective devices comprising carrying bags, such as purses and side bags, normally adapted to be worn on the side or front of a person for carrying various personal items, and protective vests which are selectively positionable within a carrying bag and selectively deployable from a ready state to a deployed configuration to protect all or a portion of the wearer's torso.
In light of the incidence and related media coverage of random, multiple shootings and knife attacks, there is a need for personal protection devices which are close at hand and quickly deployable. Various personal carrying cases and bags which are convertible into protective vests have been disclosed. Many such bags have been in the form of backpacks which are not desired to be carried by some users and/or used during certain occasions. Other previously disclosed bags and cases appear larger than desired by some users.
The various embodiments of the present invention comprise carrying bags, such as purses and valises. A separate bullet resistant vest or penetration resistant (to stab wounds) vest comprises at least one neck sling and at least one and preferably a plurality of torso straps. The bullet/penetration resistant vest is dimensioned to fit within the carrying bag. The protective vest can be carried within the carrying bag when the user believes she may be going to a place with a risk of danger, such as a public place, or can be left out of the carrying bag if the user believes she is going to a place with no risk of attack, for example, to the home of a close relative. The carrying bags therefore provide the user with total flexibility with respect to whether to include the protective vest, along with its inherent weight and bulk, on any particular outing.
The carrying bags are configured to provide a “ready state” wherein the protective shield and neck sling are positioned within the carrying bag and at least a portion of the deployable torso strap(s) is on the exterior of the carrying bag and available for immediate deployment. The carrying bags comprise at least one and preferably a plurality of small slots or openings, preferably on the rear surface of the bag, i.e. the surface which would normally face the person wearing the carrying bag when the person is walking with the bag over her shoulder. The slots are designed to allow a portion of the torso strap(s) including the connectors to be pre-fed from the interior of the carrying bag to a position exterior of the carrying bag, preferably adjacent to or abutting the exterior of the carrying bag. In this “ready state”, it is preferred that the majority of the torso strap is maintained within the interior of the carrying bag. When a portion of a torso strap is located on the outside of the carrying bag, the remainder of the torso strap can be rapidly deployed by the user by grasping the exterior portion of the strap and pulling the rest of the torso strap through the slot from the interior of the carrying bag. As the user is withdrawing the torso strap from the interior of the carrying bag, the strap can be wrapped around the torso of the user and secured to maintain the protective vest in the deployed position.
Three personal protective devices are described below and shown in the figures. The illustrated personal protective devices share the following features including a carrying bag and a protective vest. The carrying bags can be in many forms and are usable as a side bag to carry items, e.g. personal items. For example, the carrying bag can be in the form of a mid-size side bag, such as a messenger bag, courier bag, sling bag, etc., can be a smaller carrying bag such as a purse, tote bag or a larger carrying bag such as a computer bag. The carrying bag can be designed to be normally worn only over the wearer's shoulder or with shoulder straps extending across the wearer's chest so that the bag rests on the wearer's lower back and/or hip. The carrying bags are not bags which are designed to be carried primarily on a wearer's back, such as a backpack. The bag preferably has one or more inner compartments for holding various items such as cash, credit cards, small personal items, concealed weapons, etc., in addition to the protective shield.
Each carrying bag comprises at least one shoulder strap for supporting the carrying bag from the wearer's shoulder and/or a handle to facilitate carrying the bag at the user's side during normal use. Each carrying bag also comprises a selectively openable access to the interior of the carrying bag and at least one slot, and preferably at least two slots extending through the rear side of the carrying bag, for the torso strap(s) of the protective vest.
A bullet resistant vest is designed to prevent penetration of bullets, bomb fragments, shrapnel, knife points and similar harmful projectiles in an emergency. The bullet resistant vest is selectively insertable and removable from the carrying bag. Since it is selectively removable, the ballistic vest can be removed and the carrying bag can be used as an ordinary purse, briefcase, side bag, valise, computer bag, etc. without the additional bulk and weight of the bullet resistant vest.
A protective vest comprises a shield envelope, a protective shield, a normally concealed but rapidly deployable neck sling and at least one retractable/deployable torso strap which preferably has a permanently secured end and a securable, free end. The neck sling and the torso strap(s) are connected to the shield envelope. The protective shield, which is located within the shield envelope, is preferably a soft armor, multi-layered insert, e.g. formed of multiple layers of polyethylene, or polyurethane with Aramid fabric, KEVLAR®, ARTEC® or other bullet-resistant fabric composition. The protective insert can be entirely rigid, soft and pliable, or can have both rigid and pliable portions where the rigid portions are foldable relatively to each other. The bullet-resistant insert preferably meets or exceeds Type IIA body armor classification as set forth in Ballistic Resistance of Body Armor NIJ Standard-0101.06, established by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice. At a minimum, the protective shield has a penetration resistance equal to at least Protection Level 1 of the “Spike” protection class as set forth in Stab Resistance of Personal Body Armor, NIJ Standard-0115.00, established by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice. Therefore, the protective shields can have a penetration resistance of Levels 1, 2 or 3 for “Spike” or “Edged Blade” protection classes of stab resistance or Levels IIA, II, IIIA, III or IV for penetration resistance to gunfire.
As used herein, the term “penetration resistant” indicates that the item being described, e.g. a vest, shield or insert, exhibits at least penetration resistance level 1 for “Spike” protection classes of stab resistance as described above. The term “bullet resistant” indicates that the item being described, e.g. a vest, shield or insert, exhibits at least level IIA penetration resistance to gunfire as described above. The term “protective”, when used to describe a vest, shield or insert, includes items which are either or both “penetration resistant” and/or “bullet resistant” as defined herein.
While examples discussed below refer to women users, the personal protective devices are equally applicable to men and younger users such as teens and children. Various aspects will be understood with reference to the figures.
Carrying bag 10 is designed and dimensioned to selectively carry a protective vest 70.
The protective vest 70 comprises a shield envelope 72 and a protective shield 74. The shield envelope 72 is preferably entirely waterproof or has a waterproof liner and preferably blocks UV rays since moisture and UV rays may be harmful to the protective shield 74. The protective vest 70, shield envelope 72 and penetration resistant shield 74 are shown in
The protective shield can take any desired regular or irregular shape such as rectangular or elliptical and can have squared or rounded edges. The illustrated, exemplary protective vest 70 comprises a neck sling 60 which is secured to spaced, upper right portion 62 and left portion 64 of the shield envelope 72. The attachment of the neck sling 60 at portions 62 and 64 is preferably a secure connection, and can be by stitching as best illustrated in
Neck sling 60 can have a fixed length but is preferably formed of a stretchable material. The deployable neck sling is preferably shorter than a standard shoulder strap commonly found on a women's or men's purse which is designed to be positioned next to the wearer's hips while strolling. The neck sling is designed and dimensioned to support the protective vest in front of the wearer's chest. When the terms “front” and “rear” are used with reference to a bag or portions of a bag, the terms refer to the same directions as the front and rear of the wearer, respectively, when the bag is positioned in front of the wearer in the deployed position.
As best shown in
The carrying bag 10 comprises a pair of spaced slots, namely right slot 20 and left slot 21, which extend through the rear panel of carrying bag 10.
Carrying bag 10 also comprises a zipper 30 and a zipper pull tab 32 which, when the zipper is open, provide access to the interior of bag 10 and neck sling 60 of protective vest 70.
In an alternative embodiment, illustrated in
In the version shown in
The arrangement of the disclosed embodiments, namely providing a protective shield within a protective vest, when properly deployed on the front of a wearer's torso, is preferable to other bullet resistant devices which are deployable as handheld shields since a handheld shield is more likely to deflect an incoming bullet while a bullet-resistant vest worn on a person's torso is more likely to stop a bullet. The contact between the bullet-resistant vest and a wearer's torso will cause the torso to absorb the force of a bullet's impact but prevent penetration of the bullet or knife into the protected portion of the wearer's body. On the other hand, a hand-held shield can easily deflect a bullet into the wearer or a nearby person, or the shield can be knocked out of the person's hand by the force of the bullet. After deployment, the disclosed embodiments keep the wearer's hands free and in a more natural position enabling the wearer to engage in desired activities such as running, crawling, crouching, throwing, fighting, etc.
In the version shown in
While the personal protective devices can have different shapes and sizes, the devices can be configured so that a single protective vest can be utilized with several different carrying bags. For example, the protective vest 70 illustrated in connection with the personal protective device shown in
In each of the illustrated embodiments, the neck sling and torso sling/cord are readily returnable to their stored and mostly concealed positions when desired. Each embodiment provides a carrying bag which generally appears to be a common bag but is quickly and easily convertible into a protective vest, e.g. a bullet-resistant vest, which can provide protection to the wearer under life threatening conditions. The neck sling is substantially and preferably entirely hidden within the carrying bag when the personal protective device is in the ready state and is substantially outside of the carrying bag when the personal protective device is in the deployed configuration. The torso strap(s) are positioned substantially within the carrying case when the personal protective device is in the ready state and are substantially outside of the carrying bag when the personal protective device is in the deployed configuration after being pulled through slots in the carrying case.
In the illustrated versions, the protective shield stays within the carrying bag during deployment. Therefore, except for the straps, the personal protective device retains the same shape of the carrying bag when reconfigured from the ready state to the deployed configuration.
In terms of size, the purses may be smaller than other known ballistic bags. For example, purses of some versions have a width of 16-25 cm and a height of 25-37 cm. Such small sizes are believed to be more preferred by some users of purses.
The various embodiments provide personal protective devices which can provide lifesaving protection while being small, simple in terms of both construction and everyday use, and easy to deploy relative to other ballistic protection devices.
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/841,756, filed May 1, 2019, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
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