The rifle light is a pyrotechnic device developed during the World War. The rifle light performs a dual function. It is used for lighting purposes, when the illuminating device is swung from a small parachute projected into the air, or it is used for signaling in which case a parachute may or may not be used. If used for illumination, white or colored lights are suspended from a parachute; and if used for signaling, small briquettes of composition are used which will burn with a brilliant light and produce a meteor effect. By reason of the fact that the rifle light is more scientifically designed and by reason of its size, approximately 6 5/8 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter, it is capable of quantity production, an important feature, which has resulted in the standardizing of the compositions used and the methods of manufacture to such an extent that the rifle light is a rather well-developed pyrotechnic device. When the light is used for signaling purposes it is usually fired to a height of 500 feet. When used for illuminating purposes a lower altitude is attained. The rifle light is fired from a mortar or discharger, which device is attached to the muzzle of a rifle barrel. The light is shot out by means of the explosion of a blank cartridge in the rifle barrel. The special mortarlike fitting is portable and may be attached to any standard type of rifle barrel. Due to the rather high recoil, it is not usual 150 to hold the butt of the rifle against the body at the time of discharge, the butt being placed upon the ground and the desired angle obtained which will project the light either for signaling or for illuminating purposes. The explosion of the blank cartridge in the rifle barrel causes the expulsion of the light from the mortar and at the same time detonates a sensitive cap. The cap in turn ignites a time fuse in the light, and the fuse is regulated to fire the expelling charge which subsequently lights the illuminating or signal composition.
Fig. 129. - Parachute rifle light.
Fig. 130. - Rifle-light discharger.
Figure 130 shows the rifle-light attachment and at the attachment in place on the rifle barrel.
The picture shows very clearly the method of making this attachment, which is not unlike the fixing of a bayonet to the rifle barrel. In the same picture is shown the rifle light, and a light after having been inserted into the fixture. The operation of firing is shown in figures 131 and 132.
Fig. 131. - Placing rifle light in discharger.
Figure 131 shows an officer slipping the rifle light into the fixture.
Fig 132. - Firing rifle light.
Figure 132 shows the position in which the rifle is held at the time of discharge.