Remington was one of the first firearm manufacturing companies to file a patent for laser initiated firearms, in 1969. Nearly 40 years later, the development of laser initiated firearms has not become a mainstream technology in the civilian market. Requiring a battery is definitely a short coming, so it is easy to see how such a concept would be problematic. Having a firearm operate reliably and the delivery of laser energy in an efficient manner to ignite the
shock-sensitive explosive primer mixtures is a tall task indeed. There has been considerable research on optical element based methods of transferring or compressing laser energy to ignite primer charges, including windows, laser chip primers and various lens shaped windows to focus the laser energy. The focusing of laser light needs to achieve igniting temperatures upwards of >400°C. Many
of the patent filings covering this type of technology discuss simple approaches where a single point of light might be sufficient to perform this task. Alternatively a multi-point method might provide better performance, especially for mission critical applications,
such as precision military firearms. This paper covers initial design and performance test of the laser beam shaping optics to create simultaneous multiple point ignition locations and a circumferential intense ring for igniting primer charge compounds. A simple
initial test of the ring beam shaping technique was evaluated on a standard large caliber primer to determine its effectiveness on igniting the primer material. Several tests were conducted to gauge the feasibility of laser beam shaping, including optic fabrication and mounting on a cartridge, optic durability and functional ignition performance. Initial data will be presented, including testing of optically elements and empirical primer ignition / burn analysis.