P320 Drama Continues—Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy Sues SIG Sauer over Discharge

Another law enforcement officer sued SIG Sauer in what seems is a never ending drama over their allegedly unsafe P320 handgun. Detective David A. Cole filed the suit in Somerset County Superior Court, and alleges SIG Sauer: designed a defective firearm and negligently marketed it without warning customers of its flaws.

9mm

Side by side-the original P320 Compact, and the new XCompact

Brief Background of the Claims the SIG P320 is Unsafe—

SIG's P320 modular, striker-fired handgun debuted in 2014 and challenged Glock's universal claim to the Law Enforcement duty firearm market. However, around three years later, Omaha Outdoors uncovered and reported on an issue where, if someone dropped their P320 and the back part of the slide struck the ground at a certain angle, the gun could fire on its own. SIG Sauer did not recall the firearm, but offered a trigger upgrade that addressed this issue.

It appeared no sooner than the internet stopped with the relentless jokes about P320 firing when dropped; another issue seemed to pop up.

In 2018, reports of P320 pistols firing on their own surfaced. The issues involved civilians and law enforcement officers who claimed with no trigger manipulation, their P320s discharged. Many of the guns involved in these alligations had the upgraded trigger, and did not involve being dropped. A commonality was that the guns fired while they were being carried in a holster.

Individual and class action lawsuits claiming SIG Sauer is being deficient in addressing a known safety issue with the gun grew, causing many law enforcement agencies across the country to stop using the P320 as their assigned duty handgun. If you're interested in reading a bit more about these legal battles, check out this post called, Is the Sig Sauer P320 Handgun Safe to Carry, or Can it Fire on its Own?

Recent Claim of a Self-Discharging SIG P320—

Now on to this recent filing by Detective David A. Cole. In a press conference conducted by his attorneys from the law firm Saltz, Mongeluzzi and Bendesky, laid out their complaint. This is what they claim happened.

On May 4, 2022, Cole and other law enforcement officers were executing a search warrant in Sangerville. After completing the search, Cole exited a building. According to attorneys, Cole had both of his hands holding his jacket, away from his holstered P320 handgun.

While walking to his vehicle, Cole and the other officers heard a gunshot, immediately assuming that they were being fired upon.

Riley Bowman Shooting a Sig P320 X5 Legion

They took cover and moments later, Cole realized a bullet from his holstered, department-issued P320 struck his right leg. The bullet fractured several bones as it entered and exited through his thigh, then re-entered his calf, where it lodged in his ankle. Cole was transported to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, followed by months of physical therapy and “permanent physical and emotional injury”.

Cole's attorneys say the suit intends to hold SIG Sauer accountable for its “unreasonably dangerous designed firearm” and the injuries Cole sustained.

You can see a video of the press conference embedded below.

 In conclusion—

I've followed this issue from the beginning and I had no dog in the fight back then, and I still don't.

There are over 100 different claims of SIG P320s firing without the user pressing the trigger.

I'm sure many will disagree, but I think some of these accounts are real, and some are because of user error. There are just too many accounts to lump them all in as negligence on the gun owners part. I'm not even going to speculate on the number of each, because I don't think it matters. Here is what matters. If only one of the 100 incidents is real, is it a concern? I think the answer is yes, especially if you're the one who owns that sole lemon.

People who know a lot more about the P320's engineering say that the design makes it impossible for the gun to fire without pressing the trigger. I believe them. I don't think SIG Sauer designed the gun to fire on its own. But even if just one claim is legit, something happened that SIG Sauer didn't design the gun to do.

Could it be something in the manufacturing process, like a defective component or a tolerance that is out of specification in a specific production run of firearms? Could it be something that happens under a certain combination of unconnected conditions? I think it's worth looking into.

If I'm proven wrong on this issue, I'll be happy.

It's probably much better to learn that every person claiming their P320 fired on its own is a money hungry, blame shifting, negligent firearm owner. If not, then a well-respected firearm manufacturer put millions of firearms in the hands of people,  knowing there was a safety issue. And if that is the case—and I'm not saying it is—it wouldn't matter how safe any other SIG handgun is. I would abandon the company out of principle.

Frankly, I don't know how long these lawsuits can continue before we see some resolution. I hope that some documents and depositions will become available and we will see what really is going on. The public deserves to know, especially those who carry them on duty or out of preference.

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About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.

8 Comments

  1. Spencer on July 26, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Hey Matt, this is one reason why I don’t carry a round in the chamber. Yeah I know it may be slower. But again the odds of not needing it are high but the risks like this are even higher. Daily we loose train of thought working or distracted by kids. An accident like this would/could put me into the poor house. I am a mechanic and I see things fail all the time. Anything man makes can fail. Nothing we make is 100% safe. Thanks, love the show/being a member.

    • Matthew Maruster on July 26, 2023 at 11:42 am

      Hi Spencer, thanks for the thoughtful comment and kind words! Stay safe and God bless!

      • Spencer on July 26, 2023 at 3:48 pm

        God bless you as well thank you.

  2. Jim Ferrara on July 26, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    I love my P320! I had heard about these claims and that bothered me so I quit carrying it. I recently contacted Sig and arranged for my P320 compact to be returned to the factory Custom Shop to have a manual safety installed, I assume like the M-17 & M-18. The modification was completed and the weapon returned to me in approximately 4-5 weeks! I have been a Concealed Carry member for about 5 years now! Keep up the Great Work Guy’s!

    • Matthew Maruster on July 26, 2023 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Jim and for your support! God bless

  3. Johnny Felix on July 27, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    I would never buy a p320. They are flawed and there are over a hundred incidents of this happening. Sig needs to be sued for this. Another Officers p320 went off the other day in Connecticut, and there is video. The gun clearly just fired by itself. Watch the video and see for yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9Xp3PwFRlQ

  4. Brandywine8753 on August 2, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    I have been carrying Sig Sauer P320’s for 5 years. With FCU being usable in 6 different configurations of P320’s, you can have many usable combinations. That involves 9mm, .40. S.W., .357 Sig, which are even greater in full size firearms. Every P320 has been repaired by Sig Sauer and they all are operational to their best.

    The improper handling and replacement back in your holster can be dangerous with snagging on clothes and fingers.

    Training always to watch with both eyes to re holster your firearm when finished operating your firearm. Clothing is a big concern that can snag a trigger and another problem is some operators change out their to be lighter, 5.5 lbs. to 2.5 lbs. triggers. It only takes a shirt tail
    to pull that trigger with bad results.

  5. Brandywine8753 on August 10, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    Engineers’ said the P320 could NOT of discharged without personnel involvement. Negligence or Accidental!

    You will have to get Sig Sauer reports.

    I will take a stand for Sig Sauer, because in 7 years of owning 6 – P320s’, they all have been upgraded to their best and safe.

    Please, with all respect, follow those
    4 Safety Rules. Stress plays hell on the
    Body and mind. Thank you.

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