Sig USA P320 Lawsuit 2020
Before we get started, I’m going to shill a little bit. I’m now an ambassador for Lox Hair Wax Company; a company that produces products I’ve loved. With that you get a discount code (Cat10) which gives you 10% off your total order. Get some pomade, tattoo balm, or even some beard oil!
Okay, shilling complete, Sig is being sued again for the P320, BUT it isn’t because of the drop issue, no. It’s because the P320 is discharging, uncommanded, in the holster. Yes, you read that correctly. The P320 is discharging in holsters without the trigger being pulled; no, I’m not making this up. In the lawsuit there are documents that Sig Sauer’s lawyer had to disclose during discovery which means they aren’t just hearsay; they actually happened. And they were documented by Sig Sauer themselves.
Honestly, this whole situation is reminiscent of the Remington 700 problems of years gone by, that if I remember right, have never actually been fixed and people actually died because of them…so let’s dive into this lawsuit.
Before this gets started, THIS HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH THE DROP SAFETY ISSUE!
Let me say it again for clarity’s sake: THIS HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH THE DROP SAFETY ISSUE!
This lawsuit got brought up by a New Hampshire man after his P320 discharged while he was removing the holstered firearm from his waistline. Yes, the gun was fully seated in the holster, and it discharged as he pulled it out of his pants (it was an OWB paddle holster that Sig USA sold for the P250, for those that are unaware, the P250 and P320 share holsters).
The lawsuit, however, brings to light a great many things beyond design flaws with the P320. It brings up that these design flaws have potentially been known about before 2016 and that Sig USA actively attempted to misguide and cover-up potential issues with this platform. For instance, to the right (on PC) you’ll see a picture of page 25 in an original owner’s manual (a cited image in the lawsuit) next to an original info-pic from Sig USA’s website:
Basically what you’re seeing here is a contradiction by Sig. In the info-pic they had on their website it states:
“We’ve designed safety elements into every necessary feature on this pistol. From the trigger, to the striker and even the magazine, the P320 won’t fire unless you want it to.”
Then in the owner’s manual:
“If dropped, the pistol may fire. Keep the chamber empty unless actually firing!”
Which takes this lawsuit from being about the potential design flaws in the P320, to being about how Sig USA knowingly misguided and lied to customers as well.
Since the lawsuit does hit on the drop safety issue (to point out Sig being less than truthful with it’s customers), I do want to talk about it for a second. Back in 2017 (August 4th) a Stamford, Connecticut SWAT officer had his holstered P320 drop from a height of less than 3 feet (as cited in the lawsuit) and discharge, sending a bullet into his knee.
This resulted in the officer suing Sig Sauer. But, before we get to the press release Sig dropped literally 4 days later… let’s talk about what the believed issue was at the time to spread out the images in this article.
When Omaha Outdoors did their testing, their best guess as to what the issue was with the P320 and failing drop tests, was the physical weight of the trigger. Without a trigger blade safety, or a hinged trigger, there is nothing preventing the trigger from falling backwards as the gun smacks the ground. They also discovered that the X5 trigger (?) didn’t experience this same issue and weighed marginally less.
Apparently Sig came to the same conclusion, as their “voluntary upgrade” put a lighter trigger (physical weight, not pull weight) into the P320s. Apparently though, that didn’t solve the issues entirely. Before going on let’s look at the statement Sig released four days after the Connecticut officer got shot in his knee.
Leaving it at it’s full size (as extracted from the lawsuit), Sig stated that they had never, again, never had a report of a drop safety issue with the P320 from commercial sales… I’m pretty positive LE sales are commercial sales. Unless it was a deal set up with Sig Sauer directly, at which point this is them playing with words (which is deceitful in my opinion). It then goes on to state some concerning safety concerns about the P320:
“All SIG SAUER pistols incorporate effective mechanical safeties to ensure they only fire when the trigger is pressed. However, like any mechanical device, exposure to acute conditions (e.g. shock, vibration, heavy or repeated drops) may have a negative effect on these safety mechanisms and cause them to not work as designed. This language is common to owner’s manuals of major handgun manufactures.”
So, at this point in time, not only is it not drop safe… but vibrations may cause it to discharge…Well, I just went through 2 Walther manuals, 2 CZ manuals, and a Smith & Wesson manual. I had a friend go through his Glock manual. None of our manuals state that the gun’s safeties won’t work if the gun is subjected to shock, vibration, or drops… almost like they’re supposed to prevent discharges during those events.
Edit: Riley Bowman from Concealed Carry Inc. did find in the Glock manual where Glock stated that if the gun was subjected to unusual/extreme forces that part failure could occur. He also found on Walther/Smith & Wesson’s online manuals where they say to, “never rely on mechanical features alone” meaning the firearm’s safety features.
I digress. With the drop safety stuff, the issue was thought to have been that the trigger’s physical weight was too much. Enough force on the gun that could cause the trigger to move rearward would result in a discharge since there wasn’t a safety preventing the trigger from traveling back… Now things are being seen differently.
Moving forward to 2020, there have been several incidents of the P320 discharging while in a holster without being dropped. Sig Sauer’s lawyer had to make quite a few of these known during discovery and you can read all about them in the lawsuit (which will be linked at the end). One of these incidents was even record on an officer’s body camera while getting out of his vehicle for a traffic stop.
This is all supporting evidence for Kyle Guay’s case which states his gun randomly discharged as he was taking it (while holstered) off of his body.
In the lawsuit the Guay’s lawyer has cited that one of the potential issues with the design is that the striker sear isn’t adequately holding the striker in place. The following is what Major Peter J. Villani (a certified Sig Sauer armorer) of the Veteran Affairs police said after Frank J. Kneski’s (a Veteran Affairs police officer) discharged while holstered, a case cited in the lawsuit:
“After reviewing the Officer’s sidearm, it was noted that the P-320 came from Sig Sauer
to the distributor prior to the point of sale already with the “upgrade” completed. The
sidearm had approximately 100 rounds through it since purchased.
Upon further examination of the internal parts of the frame module, I noticed that the foot
of the striker that catches the [sear] has noticeable side to side and up and down
movement within its channel along with upward movement of the slide from the frame.
Also, the edge of the striker foot which has a height thickness of approximately 2mm, is
only making contact with approximately .25 of a mm of the leading edge only of the
disconnector hook. Since the striker has been changed with a lighter weight version
during the “upgrade program”, it is quite possible that any abrupt movement or twisting
of the P-320 while holstered, could cause the foot of the striker to disengage itself from
the disconnector hook on its own since there is so little contact between the striker foot
and the [sear].”
Now the question begs, what about a firing pin safety? Is there one present on the gun? If there is, is there enough wiggle room for the striker to be able to jump the firing pin safety? If so, why hasn’t Sig addressed this problem?
Per the information in the lawsuit, it looks like Sig has been actively trying to cover up, or excuse any design flaws with the platform at the beginning of 2016, with the potential of it going further back than January of 2016. This includes Sig not disclosing that they had received multiple safety complaints from the Department of Defense (and a demand that Sig fixes the M17/18 issues immediately), and from multiple law enforcement agencies.
Before I get berated with the, “bUt ArE tHeY pOsT rEcaL?!”
Per the quoted incident and investigation by a certified Sig Sauer armorer, P320’s post upgrade are dishcarging while holstered. They’re discharging when individuals are removing the holster weapon from their body, they’re discharging when individuals are getting out of their vehicles, and the incidents aren’t isolated to law enforcement guns, or civilian guns.
I don’t know what’s going on with the P320. I don’t know what the potential design flaw is. It appears to me that there is a lot of dishonesty on Sig’s end, a lot of false advertisement on Sig’s end, and not a whole lot of trying to figure out what’s going on with their platform. And they’ve been set in doing everything they can to avoid even doing a mandatory recall on the platform; arguably putting countless lives at risk.
I think the biggest question I have, is why the hell didn’t they just perform a mandatory recall of the P320 in 2016, and solve the issue then? Why let thousands upon thousand of people purchase potentially defective and dangerous firearms? Is there any concern at Sig Sauer’s headquarters for the end user? Or just for profit?