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SIG Sauer Asks Judge to Dismiss Suit Over 'Drop Fire' Issue with Pistol

Rouven74/Wikimedia Commons

SIG Sauer is asking a federal court judge in Texas to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit that centers on the safety of its popular P320 pistol, arguing that the weapon is safe.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Dante Gordon of Katy, Texas, claims SIG Sauer knowingly sold hundreds of thousands of pistols that could fire when dropped. In court papers filed Tuesday, the Newington-based gunmaker denies that “there is a drop fire defect,” and argues that the suit should be denied class action status because it is “improperly overbroad.”

[Read NHPR's previous coverage of this story here.]

In his complaint, Gordon alleges that the U.S. Army discovered the P320 would discharge during drop fire testing in 2016. Gordon says that SIG Sauer then modified the weapon to alleviate the risk, but continued to sell a flawed version of the gun on the civilian market until August 2017. Gordon describes the weapon as “unreasonably dangerous.”

In its response filed Tuesday, SIG Sauer admits “that it worked with the Army to develop an engineering change to enhance the performance” of the gun, but it denies that the Army “provided any information about the drop testing” to the company. In January 2017, the U.S. Army announced it had selected the P320 as its new standard issue sidearm for its soldiers, a deal worth more than half a billion dollars for SIG Sauer.

In August 2017, Omaha Outdoors, an online gun seller, published a video detailing its concerns over the P320’s  drop fire potential. The following day, SIG announced it would offer to retrofit the gun with a new trigger and other internal components for free.

In its court filing, lawyers for the company point out that Gordon purchased his P320 in 2014, two years before Gordon’s claim that SIG first learned of the drop fire issue. SIG's website continues to describe the original P320 as safe, and says that “careless and improper handling of any firearm can result in an unintentional discharge.”

SIG Sauer settled a lawsuit with a Connecticut law enforcement officer who was shot in the leg when his P320 allegedly discharged after falling to the ground. There’s also an ongoing civil case in Virginia, where a sheriff’s deputy claims her P320 fired without pulling the trigger.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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