Amended Complaint in Case of Cop Shot by Sig P320

I apologize for a lack of updates to the blog. I have been working feverishly for Omaha Outdoors writing product descriptions and creating video reviews.

As a result of one of those reviews, we discovered that the Sig P320 would fire when dropped at certain angles on the rear of the slide. At almost exactly the same time, a lawsuit was filed against Sig Sauer by a police officer who was injured when his holstered Sig P320 fell from the rear of his vehicle and discharged a round upon impact with the ground.

News of that lawsuit was spread far and wide in the gun community with some people blaming the officer or saying it was much ado about nothing and some questioning Sig’s contradictory statements on the matter.

I fall firmly in the latter camp, as Sig marketed the P320 as being drop safe without a tabbed trigger safety.

Unbelievably, this false claim is still present on Sig’s website for the P320 as of September 5, 2017, almost a month after they announced a “voluntary upgrade” for the pistol relating to drop fires.

On August 31, Sheperis – the Connecticut police officer – filed an amended complaint. This complaint contains more of the “drop safe” claims from Sig Sauer as well as some very interesting allegations, and some pretty clear logic.

Let’s start with the logic. First, on August 4, 2017, Sig claimed that “there have been zero (0) reported drop-related P320 incidents in the U.S. Commercial market…” As Sheperis’ amended complaint clearly states, his police department purchased the commercial version of the P320 handgun, not the military XM17/M17.  Sig was made aware of the injury to Sheperis, which occurred in January of 2017, within days of the incident.

Therefore, Sig was undeniably aware of at least one (1) drop-related P320 incident in the US Commercial Market prior to August 4, 2017.

As a followup to this note, the amended complaint states that Sig never drop tested the P320 which injured Officer Sheperis – that their only testing of the gun was to fire approximately 50 rounds through it and call it good. Despite attempts by the Stamford Police Department to assist Sig in investigating and testing the P320 for drop safety, “…Sig ceased communications with Officer Sheperis and the Stamford Police Department thereafter.

This is in line with what I observed when I attempted to contact Sig with the results of our drop testing. Rather than proceed in good faith and treat the issue like the serious matter that it was, they chose not to respond before news of the testing broke elsewhere. This crisis was entirely created by, and fueled by, the actions of Sig Sauer.

Sheperis’ amended complaint also alleges that “the P320 failed German drop tests in April 2017, specifically the Ulm Proof House tests.

If this is false, it will be very easy for Sig to simply produce results or statements from the Ulm Proof House to the contrary. However, given the events of the past month, my money is on Sheperis’ amended complaint being far more accurate than not on this issue.

I’ll leave you with this bit of humor from the amended complaint:

The safety standards SIG claims the weapon passed all require a pistol to be dropped on a one-inch thick rubber mat, and land on the same rubber mat after being dropped, a testing criterion which is plainly outdated and absurd given that end users of the weapon do not walk around on rubber mats when carrying the weapon.

AMENDMENT: The amended complaint adds a fourth count at the end, one of “Intentional infliction of emotional distress.” This is based upon the claim that “…defendant had knowledge of the drop safety defect with the commercial version of the P320 before Officer Sheperis was shot in January 2017.

As I see it from my layperson’s perspective, Sig can either try to settle this or allow the case to proceed to discovery (there’s no way a motion to dismiss will be successful, at least not in full) and hope the fact that they knew the pistol had problems before 2017 doesn’t come out. I know they knew it had problems. They know they knew. Allowing the case to proceed would be foolish on Sig’s part – then again, so would selling a firearm as drop safe when it wasn’t.

I found it interesting that among the requests for relief made to the court was that Sig would have to “issue a recall notice or other enhanced, unambiguous warning to all purchasers of the P320 stating that the weapon is not drop safe with a chambered round, and can fire without a trigger pull.” This would be a far cry from the “voluntary upgrade” of August 8.

19 thoughts on “Amended Complaint in Case of Cop Shot by Sig P320”

  1. I’m surprised a class action suit hasn’t been filed yet that would allow any consumers who purchased the gun to return them to Sig for a full refund because of the false advertising associated with the false representation of the design flaw. Could it happen in the future?

    1. I don’t know. I think that would take a lot of effort, and I suppose it depends on what this lawsuit reveals.

      1. If you don’t care why did you read it why did you waste the time to write to tell people you don’t care, that don’t care that you don’t care. I’m intrigued and I thank the writer for his investigation and concerns to inform gun enthusiast.

  2. I can’t imagine a best way to start a new pistol model. Now I wonder if there is anything else to come. We’ll see. Sooner or later flaws arise of they are there.
    Anyways, I’ve never considered the P320, and after this I don’t think I will ever consider it. A lot of pistols to choose from with no known problems.

    1. I agree, I never considered a Sig. And especially after this I never will. They are a big company and they’re looking at the bottom dollar. My life am I safety at least to me is worth more than their company. And if they don’t want to take that seriously I won’t take them seriously. And then you got the people that wanted to fend the company don’t drop your firearm I never dropped mine. There’s people out there with $900 phones the last thing they want to do is drop them you know how many cracked phones there are. Just about every other one. When I was considering my firearm I only considered 2 major companies Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory. And the only reason not Glock is the grip angle.

  3. I’m disappointed in Sig this cannot end well. They even say the guns that they gave to the military are ok. I would love to get my hands on one of those and have a rubber mallet. I don’t think this upgrade their doing is going to fix it Andrew Touchy do you know if anyone has tested one of the p 320 with upgraded trigger??? I think it’s a flaw in the design and when the trigger assembly gets a Good Vibration it’s releasing the fire pin.

  4. I don’t understand why the public consumers cannot purchase the xm17 or xm-18 being advertised as a P320 but it’s not it’s a military grade P320 which is definitely a way to get normal consumers to buy a gun they’re thinking is military grade but it is not very deceitful

  5. Even the now much maligned Sprinfield Armory swiftly moved to fully recall the XDs when they found it had a “potential issue”. Sig should shove every one of those 320s that comes in for the “voluntary upgrade” right up their asses. They underbid the MHS contract and probably are aware that they’ll lose money there, so I assume they meant to make up for it with consumer sales. I’m wondering how that’ll go when a few years down the road dozens of their customers have shot their dicks off on accident.

  6. I’m disappointed with Sig.

    My hunch is issues will come up with the military model. You can’t learn everything in a lab or simulated environment.

  7. Thanks for your work reporting on this.

    I traded my Glock 17 Gen4 for a first-gen P320 when they were relatively new, and I was pretty happy with it until all of this came to light. To be honest, while I am not exactly thrilled to learn that the pistol’s design has a drop vulnerability, I do understand that mistakes happen, and major manufacturers issue recalls, and things carry on.

    Sig’s handling of this whole thing, however, is getting tiresome to follow. I think everyone agrees that the ‘right’ thing to do would have been to immediately issue a recall the minute the issue became known.

    FWIW, I have put my pistol up for the ‘voluntary upgrade’ but because I live in Canada, I’m sure I’ll have to wait even longer because of the added hassles of trying to move a registered firearm across the border.

  8. just an FYI…I have two P320s waiting for their shipping labels.

    The gun industry is the only manufacturer of a consumer product that is exempt from federal health and safety regulation. As such, there is no federal agency that can require a gun manufacturer to recall defective guns or ammunition.

    Firearms escaped safety regulation in the 1970s when the U.S. Congress created the major product safety agencies most likely due to the efforts of the Gun Lobbyists.

    I think I read on the Truth About Guns a quote from a National Shooting Sports Foundation stating that about 40 percent of all new guns contain some type of defect.

    The gun industry’s lack of health and safety regulation means that manufacturers cannot be compelled to fix defects except by lawsuits brought by injured gun owners. In response to one such lawsuit, Remington agreed to replace millions of triggers in its popular Model 700 hunting rifle.

    To be honest, I can see how “product safety” could be abused to skirt 2nd Amendment Protections but I think limiting firearm “product safety” to the operation of the firearm to 1) the safety of the operator and 2) prevent unintended discharge of the firearm that does not impede the intended function of the firearm would be appropriate .

    ATF or Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), who should be the responsible agency? For vehicles, the DOT does not issue the recall, they work together but it is the CPSC that would issue the recall. I would want the ATF to work with CPSC but the decision to stay with the CPSC to require a recall or not.

    1. Thoughtful comment.

      I would rather see the gun industry fix itself than have some abuses of liability protection result in said protection being stripped away through legislation.

      Unfortunately Sig doesn’t seem to be on the same page.

      1. Andrew, until this incident I would have argued with you against having any consumer product safety review of firearms.

        What changed my mind is the quote by Ron Cohen, the CEO of Sig who said, “if [Sig] builds pistols completely drop safe, [Sig] legitimize mishandling. ”

        If they build it too safe then they promote unsafe handling??? That has to be one of the stupidest comments about firearms that I have ever heard in my life.

        To be fair, I think Sig was aware of the problem and planned to upgrade the P320 before this all came to light. Unfortunately I don’t think they weren’t planning to upgrade any of the previously sold pistols until this blew up in their faces.

        The Ford Pinto fiasco comes to mind where Ford knew of the problem with the bolt in the gas tank that could cause an explosive fire during a rear-end impact. Ford evaluated the costs of the fix vs. the cost of the potential pay-outs and determined paying for any future lawsuits was probably less expensive.

        This is how I think Sig put themselves into this position and I further think this comment by their CEO explains (to me at least) where the real problem exists.

        To be fair, here is the complete quote by Sig’s CEO made to a group of firearm industry reporters:
        “Drop safe, those two words don’t exist together. No gun is drop safe. It’s a function of angle, height and surface. If you build it completely drop safe, you legitimize mishandling. Inherently guns are not meant to be dropped, and are unsafe when dropped.”
        http://soldiersystems.net/2017/08/08/sig-sauer-acknowledges-p320-trigger-issues-with-30deg-drop-m17-mhs-unaffected-announces-voluntary-p320-upgrade/

  9. I bought the Sig P320 because I liked the way the original trigger is curved and is wide.So if I get th upgrade I’m stuck with a trigger I don’t like.UNREAL

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