For several days now there is an issue regarding he safety of using the P320 Sig Sauer pistol. We collected all the information into one article.
It all started in Dallas, where the local police officers were forbidden to use the P320 as their service weapon. The firearms users community was in shock - this weapon has been rigorously tested and also won a tender for the service weapon of the US Army.
As it turned out,in their manual Sig Sauer placed information about a risk of the pistol firing by itself when dropped on the ground. The note was noticed by an officer responsible for maintaining the armory. Most people saw it as a standard safety clause aim at protecting the company against legal issues in case of any accident. Fortunately, non such event took place before the weapon was recalled from police use in Dallas and the whole procedure was simply aimed at increasing the safety of both the police officers and the bystanders.
One of the journalists from Omaha Outdoors sport blog decided to conduct tests to see if the problem occurs and what could be the cause:
The fears of Dallas police were justified - unfortunate fall of the weapon can cause it to self fire. Usually the pistols are tested against a drop on the top/slide of the gun, its bottom and its side. At Omaha Outdoors they also tested another scenario in which the pistol falls on the back of its slide/grip. In this case there was a self fired shot in almost all Sig P320 units tested. What is interesting is the fact that the problem was non-existent in P320 X-Five version. As it turned out later, the problematic component of the pistol its the heavy trigger (its own weight and not its pull weight) - after installing a lighter trigger the problem was solved. The video below one can clearly see the exact moment the trigger moves when the pistol hits the ground.
After this discovery the shop immediately contacted Sig Sauer to find a solution and stopped the sales of the P320 pistols. Omaha Outdoors pointed out two possibilities:
a) exchanging the triggers for lighter ones
b) exchanging the triggers for a model with an integrated safety feature (as the ones used in Glocks), which was installed in units presented at SHOT SHOW 2014.
A few days ago Sig Sauer issued an official statement about the events in Dallas. To keep it short - the company stated that it did not receive any information from the commercial market about any undesirable firing of the weapon after a fall. The manufacturer is also sure of the safety, resilience and effectiveness of its product. The weapon passed the ANSI and SAAMI safety tests and also rigorous tests of the US Army, not to mention about the tender it won. Further in their statement Sig Sauer mentions that despite having all the necessary safety systems against self firing after a fall, the P320 pistol, as any other mechanical device, can work in ways not intended by the design if it is subjected to external forces such as impacts, vibrations or several instanced of dropping it on the ground. It also mentions that such information is typically placed in manuals of the most popular weapons manufacturers on the market.
The case could end there, yet Sig Sauerwas sued by a police officer who was shot with the P320 pistol which he dropped accidentally at a parking lot. The bullet hit him below the left knee. This event took place in January this year, yet the lawsuit was only submitted on the 4th August. The policeman underwent several surgeries and currently went back to active, although lighter duty. Since that event, the police from Stamford recalled all P320 pistols to the armory. The injured policeman seeks 6 million USD compensation and a recall of the product from sales or placement of warning label, in a visible place, about the hazard of the pistol self firing when dropped on the ground.
After a weak of an intensive buzz in the net, Sig Sauer placed another statement at their website, informing about a voluntary upgrade of the P320 pistols, which will start on 14th August. Its interesting that it will not concern the M17 variant which was chosen by the US Army as part of the Modular Handgun System program.
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