According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, the SIG Sauer P320 pistol is defectively designed, potentially allowing it to fire when dropped.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Derick Ortiz in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire on September 27, seeking class action status for all who purchased the gun.
Ortiz indicates that he bought his SIG P320 for about $500, under the pretenses that it was “drop safe”, meaning it would not fire when dropped. However, this turned out to be untrue, according to the complaint, and he feared to use the gun for some time.
SIG Sauer has since announced a voluntary upgrade program, but Ortiz says that does not make up for the time he was unable to use the gun because it was unsafe, nor its diminished resale value.
The lawsuit indicates SIG Sauer has known about the problem with the P320 since at least 2014, when it conducted its own internal testing. The problem was also discovered by the U.S. Army in 2016, when it field tested the pistols.
Army investigators determined the P320 had a heavy and defective trigger and sear, and required the manufacturer fix the defect, which it did by installing a modified sear and a lighter trigger. However, it continued to sell the defective version to the public until late 2017.
The lawsuit indicates there are about half a million SIG P320 pistols on the market, which may fire when dropped.
“Pistols should not discharge upon mere impact with the ground,” the lawsuit states. “Drop fires are extremely rare and are abnormal in the firearms industry.”
This is not the first time SIG Sauer has faced a lawsuit over unexpected discharge problems with the P320. In late August, the manufacturer reached a settlement with Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy Marcie Vadnais, who said she suffered a serious leg injury after her pistol discharged without having pulled the trigger in February 2018.
The SIG Sauer settlement was reached a day after jury selection and opening arguments began in a trial over the complaint had already occurred. No details on the agreement were released.
Ortiz’s class action lawsuit presents claims of warranty violations, unjust enrichment, fraudulent concealment, fraud and violations of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act.