We last heard from Constitution Arms re: their Palm Pistol in September. Since then, the Jersey gunmaker’s been at hard work making guns. The weapon’s launch date of 2010 has come and gone. But our experience with the Chiappa Rhino (and life in general) indicates that it’s better to get a product right before launch then launch and play defense. Here’s the latest . . .
After months of design and multiple latch safety iterations, the drop test was successfully completed. The test involved dropping the working prototype, loaded with a primed casing, onto each of its six cardinal directions (muzzle, rear of stock, latch side, barrel hinge side and two trigger sides) from a five foot height onto steel plate without the gun firing.
The gun was dropped under two configurations. These were “normally cocked” and “latch safety engaged” condition. The latch side drop with latch safety engaged proved to be the crux that made the test so difficult and time consuming. An additional latch safety over-rotation spring was added which enabled the latch and the latch safety to work independently of each other and proved to be the key to passing the test. This installation required modifications of the latch, latch safety and receiver.
Another issue that surfaced during endurance testing was light strikes of the primer. This was resolved by design of a custom striker guide rod spring with a higher spring rate. The prototype now fires 100% reliably.
The completion of the design work, finite element analysis (computer simulations), working prototype build, 10,000 round/100 proof load endurance test and drop test means we now have a fully tested and developed product nearly ready for production.
There is a punch list of about 30 items involving ergonomics, tolerancing, finish, and other matters that came to light as a result of the endurance testing and which will need to be addressed. A small and large backstrap that bolts to the rear of the stock have been designed which add .50 and .75 inches of the depth respectively. This will allow custom fitting of the gun to the user’s hand. The part count currently stands at 67 including the optional thread protector and Picatinny rail.
Although we did not meet our self-imposed deadline of being in production by the end of 2010, this was missed for several reasons. First, the computer simulations intially estimated to take 1-2 weeks ultimately took three months. Second, the prototype build originally estimated at five weeks took an additional three months. Finally, the drop test proved to be more challenging than anticipated and ultimately required over five months of work.
Once the punch list items and production drawings are complete, we can obtain final price quotes from the various machine shop specialties such as investment casting, injection molding, Swiss screw machining and wire EDM. Administrative tasks will follow including insurance, legal review, package design and the all important production financing. We dare not hazard another guess as to when we will finally start production but we hope it will be sometime this year.
Two additional milestones were achieved. First was the issuance by the USPTO of the Palm Pistol (r) design patent number D628,259S dated November 30, 2010. And second, USPTO issued a Notice of Allowance (NOA) for the utility patent. This first action allowance of all 23 claims were accepted as filed with no prosecution following examination. This means the patent is very strong with respect to the allowed claims. The design is indeed unique!
We have also been making significant progress on the Tri-Plex ™ multi-projectile .38 special low recoil cartridge specifically designed for the Palm Pistol (r), Bond Arms (r) handguns and snub nose revolvers. The top and base bullets have been designed and swaged. Powder selection and load have been developed, measurement and assembly equipment purchased, test shots fired to quantify chamber pressures in accordance with SAAMI specifications and bullet spread/velocities measured. QA/QC procedures are being developed and reviewed in consultation with an independent certified ballistic testing laboratory.
Clamshell packaging has been purchased. Labeling design and research on shipping procedures are nearly complete. The Tri-Plex ™ will come to market before the Palm Pistol (r) and revenue from that endeavor will be plowed back into firearm production. A letter was issued by our attorney Steve Halbrook that opines the Tri-Plex ™ is permissible under existing ATF] regulations.
Your continued patience is appreciated. We will communicate again when there is additional significant progress to report.