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.
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.