Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • jdun1911

    That concept is DOA IMO. A rail on top of another rail isn’t a good idea. It adds weight. It screw up a lot of optic mounts that are design to co-witness BUIS. As newer technology consume less power than previous generation devices I don’t think this product will take off. And than there are the redi-mag/magazine coupler end users that won’t like it.

    God that think looks freaking heavy.

  • vtb

    guys just take a china-born idea from airsoft as a base:
    http://shop.ehobbyasia.com/bb-battery/batteries/gandp-m4-m16-ready-mag-w-10-8v-battery-and-dummy-magazine.html

    and if to place a battery on weapon – why not to hide it inside the stock?

  • SpudGun

    Hmm, mounting a big honkin’ battery in the shape of a magazine right next to the magazine well? Surely there will be no confusion at night or in the heat of battle.

    If you go along with the main premise of using one battery to power all of your rail mounted gear, wouldn’t it make more sense to use a flatter battery that could be hidden away inside one of the rail covers?

    In it’s current configuration, I would have to say fail.

  • Canthros

    vtb: that’s a (clone of the) Redi-Mag. The real thing lets you carry a spare mag on the side of the gun for fast magazine changes. If you replace the internals of the magazine with a battery, you a) gain nothing over the RIPR solution and b) run the risk of confusing your spare battery with a normal magazine.

    I can see some reasons why it might not be desirable to mount the battery in the stock:
    * It shifts the center of gravity of the weapon farther back on the rifle. Mounting the battery pack at the mag well moves the center of gravity nearer to the magazine well, which seems to be preferred.
    * It makes for more external wiring, which would also run the risk of getting caught in the charging handle of your AR-15/M-16.
    * It makes a collapsible stock more complicated or less adjustable. If the battery is in the stock, you either need a way to take up/let out wire out to the maximum adjustment of the stock. Lots of solutions to that (a coiled cord being the simplest), but it’s another change.
    * Replacing a battery in the stock probably means taking the gun off the shoulder and out of action for a moment. Replacing a battery next to the magazine well can be done with rifle in place and without losing sight picture.
    * It would mean replacing the existing stock system, and make it more expensive to change later.

    I’m not an expert (or even a talented amateur) on anything involved here, but that’s how it seems to me.

  • Rob

    VTB- That.

    This seems useless IMO. Countless companies make stocks, grips etc that have the ability to carry extra batteries. They don’t get in the way, they don’t look awful, and they don’t fck with your optics. The rail screw up co-witnessing, unless of course you have an EoTech or something similar.

  • Zach

    The battery mounted on the side, shaped like a magazine, is an incredible non-starter. Stupid, IMHO. That just about guarantees serious mistakes under stress.

    The integrated power rail is I think a very good concept, but I anticipate a lot of teething issues and “Betamax” type technologies before any standard is achieved. I’m going to sit back and let NATO and .mil figure out what they think works, which will almost certainly become the standard someday. Until then I’m good with individual batteries in the little gadgets that need them.

  • CSeaBass

    Didn’t Wilcox already do something like this a few years back?? Wouldn’t their patent cover this?(if the article mentions this. I admittedly didn’t read it)

  • Sian

    Wouldn’t the devices need their own backup power anyway?

    I’d rather lose power to just one accessory instead of losing the flashlight, laser, RDS, NV and teapot all at once.

  • Trango

    I agree with others here, the overall design and placement could certainly lead someone to mistake the battery for their mag in the heat of a fight.

    Also, the article says they recommend you carry spare batteries in case this thing goes down, which right now it seems it would do so fairly easily. Not all lasers, optics, etc are designed to easily replace the batteries. If you need to replace everything at once you’re in trouble, not to mention your dialed-in weapon will likely be not so dialed-in anymore once you’ve removed your gear to drop in a new battery.

    Just seems like there’s a lot more work needed on this thing to make it a real option for real operators.

  • John C.

    Seems like a good idea, but the battery is much too big. Also, if the thing breaks, then ALL of your electronics go down.

  • letti

    I’m not sure if you have blogged about NATO RAIL (“STANAG 4694 ‘NATO Accessory Rail'”) before, but it’s a more elegant way of doing this. Original picatinny is replaced with rail that has power and the battery is in either pistolgrip or foregrip.

    Mr Arvidsson has presented this in 2008 and you should check google with “nato rail arvidsson” keywords.

    This should be also interesting to few of the commenters as well.

  • 6677

    if the main battery dies then everything dies. Give each object its own battery and keep things simple.

  • drewogatory

    Rechargeable battery in the stock feeding rails with built in induction charging like your toothbrush. You run a connector from the sling mount up the weak side right into the rail. Just clip on and go.

  • drewogatory

    Although in future designs maybe you could incorporate some kind of generator. I mean a bolt carrier and a receiver is just two pieces of metal reciprocating, seems to me you could use that potential somehow. Or maybe use the buffer tube somehow, then the battery is docked right there.

  • Scott

    I think this is Gen One – similar to the original cell phones, that looked like a shoe box; they looked ridiculous when held up to your head.

    Over time, it became smaller and more integrated. I’d see Gen2 as a device that slotted over the rail itself underneath that was half the size and a quarter of the profile — not perfect, but better…

  • Martin

    At first this thing is just one big hunk o’ fail. First, it’s huge! Second, it’s in the way! What on Earth are they expecting this thing to power, and for how long? I can think of three places to put a good sized rechargeable battery; the stock, the grip, and a foregrip.

    If they wanted to be super high-tech, they should have incorporated supplemental power into the magazines. Fresh mag = fresh power. Oh crap, there goes another one of my patent ideas…

  • Todd

    Why couldn’t a lithium polymer batter pack be mounted on the rail itself instead of risk being confused with a magazine in high-stress situations? Microelectronics need tiny voltage requirements. Bright lights need big batteries.

  • Brandon

    Looks expensive, heavy and awkward. And you’d still have to carry a spare batteries. Even if powered rails are the future, that thing will be an obscure footnote in history.
    If anything, I’d put the battery in the pistol grip (HK 416 has a compartment there already)

  • Dear Jdun1911 and friends;

    RIPR adds less than one pound to the weapon, while removing twice that in battery housing, mount and associated weight. It turns a 20.5 ounce total light and laser combo into a a 4.5 ounce light and laser with more power. Lighter accessories mean a faster weapon…weight off the forend is a good thing…work with me now:

    We take all the CR-123s, N’s, AAs or what have you and replace them with the world beating L-91. Unlike what your devices use, our pack will work when it is cold, let me paraphrase Energizer: “At high load the CR-123 lasts less than 7 minutes, while the L-91s last over 80…at 20 degrees below the CR-123 will not even deliver 2 volts when new”.

    It powers all lights, lasers and sights…including night visions…and changes all of the cells at once. While you may be fumbling with your CR-123s, the ‘Ripped weapon will be slapping in 6000 milli-amp hours at once. The Power Pack will not fit in the well of the RIPR, but you can keep an extra 30 round magazine up there if you like.

    We could go on…but you just need to get your hands on one and the purpose built accessories to feel the difference RIPR makes.

    And I should know…I’m on the patent.

    -HK

    Howard Kent
    RESET-INC.com

  • Rodolfo

    Looks like a single point of failure.

  • greensquares

    Let me put the IT guy spin on all this now that Howard has had his say:

    The technology is a great idea, but the execution, to me at least, looks like it could use some work. When I build a system (like a network or server or somesuch) the last thing I want to do is force any of my critical components, much less all of them, to rely solely on one single failure point. The battery may last a long time, and put out enough juice through any kind of hell, hot or frozen over, but that’s not the only thing that’s going to go bad with this kind of system. I can change the battery, but what happens if the contacts ice over during a battery change? I had that happen to my car during a blizzard in CO a handful of years ago. What happens if there is some other sort of internal issue with the rail’s electronics? From what I can surmise about the design it’s probably pretty tough, but if it fails it still means everything battery-powered is going down, unless I carry spare batteries for everything on my gun, which defeats the purpose of the RIPR system.

    I’d much rather have accessories that have single-purpose power supplies for that reason. Now, integrating improved battery technology into those roles, as well as a common battery design for all those accessories would be awesome. Having a central power source, however, is just introducing a failure point that’s going to require major recovery when it goes down.

  • Pete

    That certainly makes a lot of sense Mr. Kent. Battery housing does take up a lot of space and weight, plus, with this rail, the battery is near the center of gravity. If some major accessory manufacturers accept this idea and start making some stuff for this system this thing could really become a standard.

    Good luck with your work.

  • Nathaniel

    The soldier is getting rapidly more electrified, and it only figures that the rifle will follow suit. There are many benefits to having an electrified rifle, from greater reliability through electrically-driven actions and ignition, to greater accuracy and speed through automated distance estimation/compensation and even automated reloading.

    But will someone invent some lighter friggin’ batteries.

  • Nadnerbus

    Sorry, I’m still not convinced. In the not too distant future, I can see small arms moving in that direction. Everything is going to need power, and more of it. Assault rifles will be designed from the get-go with built in power supples. But as an ad hoc solution for the present generation of small arms, it just leaves a lot to be desired for all of the reasons menioned. Not to mention the accessories for it need yet to be created.

    I would be more interested in finding a way to get this battery technology to the current generation of devices, if it is so much superior, in standard battery format.

    So in summary, I think this tech might be trying to skip a generation of development, and may not be ready for prime time. But then I am a professional at being wrong.

    Also, why hasn’t the military made an attempt to standardize battery type between its devices? We have two small arm calibers for our infantry, and a dozen different battery types for our widgets.

    As a side note, I love my Aimpoint, and have yet to need a new battery for it in three years.

  • subase

    This is basically a contemporary version of the ‘brick’ phone only waaay less useful http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7432915/

  • This is a bad idea! Wow! Then everything can fail simultaneously and you’ll need an electrical engineer to try to figure out why. K.I.S.S.

  • West

    This is certainly a Gen-1 platform that will no doubt improve and decrease in size as time goes by just like anything else.

    Battery size is key.

    Check this out…
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/03/22/100322fa_fact_wright

  • Dear Nadnerbus:

    Like your comments, here’s some answers;

    We have adapters for DBAL, ATPIAL, EOTech (which keeps it’s own battery capability as a backup) and virtually anything with a replaceable battery door can by adapted. Sorry about the AimPoint, though we do have some sci-fi work going with them and some crosshair scope guys so you can hit things from helicopters.

    Old heads for weapon lights will screw into the adapters and your stick light tailcap/tape switch will screw on the back. These are not just our ideas…we asked the Rangers, SOCOM operators and Army weapon researchers for input. Everything is MIL-STD, armored, hard anodized and there are no dangling wires or battle rattle.

    RESET is one of five companies answering a NATO requirement, ours being the only one designed for retrofit to any weapon with a top rail. The battery compartment is integral in this version, but the development process is toward Soldier Power and computing support so power will be channeled in a different way. We are the only ones going to the US Army AEWE this year.

    You see, the RIPR for military purposes is a “Powered Data Bus” with very deadly consequences for the enemy…but you can buy a “Power Only” version on November 1st. There are also multiple choices in RIPR purpose built accessories from inexpensive lights and green lasers to LE-MIL Only high-performance items which will come out at the same time. To your IT friend, this is a MIL-STD-1553/1773 data bus and, if you check out our website, you’ll find we are an IT company who now makes weapon rails.

    For a civilian, there is nothing like RIPR. You can scrounge any AA battery and fire up your light, sight and laser far into the future, since whatever happens, there will be a few packs of those lying around. L-91s weigh nothing, so you can carry more of them and few people know RIPR is a “SWAP-C” item; improved Size, Weight, (And) Performance plus Cost saving item…when I buy things for my rifles, that’s what I look for.

    Give us a call some time,

    HK

    • Howard, thanks for replying to the comments.

  • Bryan S

    I think looking at bigger batteries is the wrong way to go. more efficient gear, coupled with better storage systems (like capacitors) or using excess energy from other sources… there is lots of power generated by recoil, how about that to recharge cells?

    Interesting idea, and i understand it, but dont think it is the way of the future. I would rather not have a rifle that has a grounding issue, or snag a wire and all the sudden have a LiPo bomb in my hands.

  • Chris

    I would have to get my hands on one of these to determine if the hype is worth it.

    FWIW, I’ve been in combat arms units since 1996 and have been in and out of combat for about 8 years now. I’ve used all the wizz-bang toys out there and this appears to be an answer to a question no one has asked AFAIK. Changing batteries is not that big of a deal. Aimpoint optics have ridiculous battery life and rarely need to be changed.

    Single point failure as others have discussed is a bad idea IMO when it comes to things like weapons systems that you rely on for your life.

    I think the major fail here is yet another proprietary battery design for another gadget. I remember being a young infantryman in the 90s and having to lug around all kinds of different batteries to power the different toys we had. Today we generally only require AAs and 123s to keep the snakeaters happy.

    I’m sorry I just don’t buy that you are removing 2lbs from the weapon system by way of batteries. I’ll have to see it to believe it.

  • greensquares

    I did not know that there was an additional data bus requirement as part of the military requirements. I can only imagine what kinds of freaky things the military could do with that in terms of larger-scale weapon guidance and automation. In that application it makes sense to have a powered system like this as the bus needs the power anyways.

  • charles222

    I’ve been a light-infantryman since 2003 and I gotta say I don’t really see a need for this either. Batteries, until you get into nasty things like BA-5590/5593s for the ASIP radio, are not a weight concern.

  • jdun1911

    The Aimpoint micro IMO is the best red dot optic out there. It use CR2032 batteries (wrist watch) and the average life is 5 years continuously at setting 8 or below out of 12.

    Another thing to considered is the battery rechargeable? While rechargeable batteries are great for home uses and keep the price down it is not so in the field. Rechargeable batteries does not keep it charge for long period of time. The decay on rechargeable batteries are very fast.

  • subase

    It’s about battery/power integration. Soon we’ll have ballistic computers, gps helmet navigation and team coordination systems, night vision/thermal vision.

    Juggling all these power requirements will become a nightmare, so a integrated power source that’s hot swappable and durable is useful. Especially in a team environment.

    I can see how this would useful in a military environment.

  • Nadnerbus

    Thanks for the feedback Mr. Kent. Always have to give props when a company takes the time to answer questions about a product in one of these blog posts. Shows they actually care about the end user.

  • charles222

    I don’t see it as being particularly useful for rifle-based accessories; things like Land Warrior, sure-and that battery is definitely vest-wearable-size.

  • subase

    Almost always the rifle and vest (armor or equipment) are integrated as one weapon system. Instead of the battery mounted on the gun, a vest mounted one will no doubt be optional.

    A Apple notebook magnet power cord of sorts could also connect the battery on ones weapon to the powered equipment on ones vest (and helmet). Or the cord could serve in lieu of the gun mounted battery.

    Also the battery on the gun can just be viewed as a backup power source. In case operations continue longer than expected, slapping in a battery in a few seconds is easy as pie. Also using different types of batteries in the field. (AA,AAA)

    A ‘power meter’ like a notebook can also be used in the future, telling one how much power is left in each of ones devices or in total. Computer power management (in a wrist mounted ipod like device) one can select which device should use the electricity currently available.

    Say what you will, if you could actually afford nighvision/thermal vision and small team HUD coordinating system. As well as infrared lazers to go with night vision, pinhole cameras, surveillance craft/robots etcetera. This battery gizmo would come in handy.

  • Arjan

    Why not use the action of the recoil for induction? charge the battery while you shoot.

  • CharlesA222

    I can see integrating different things on your body…NODs, a wrist Garmin if you happen to have one, a radio, etc. to one battery; usually if you’re submerged in water you have more important things to worry about than your tech going dead, like not drowning. 😛