After SIG Sauer's announcement of a "Voluntary Upgrade" program for the P320 pistols in the hands of civilians and military or police operators worldwide, new revelations seem to indicate that the issue may not be as easily solved as initially thought it would be
Rumors continue around the SIG Sauer P320 pistol trigger issues, first spotlighted after a number of shooters in the United States tested the firearm independently and posted their findings on YouTube showing how the P320 would indeed fire if dropped at a "minus 30-degrees angle" – a type of drop not envisioned by any industry or military testing protocol.
Rumors had started to spread around last week, when the SIG Sauer P320 had been withdrawn from duty by some local Police Departments in the United States; at least one confirmed injury seems to have already been recorded and to be tied to the mentioned "safety flaw" of the P320.
After reaffirming the safety of the P320 pistol for days, SIG Sauer, Inc. – the U.S. branch of the well-known European conglomerate – officially acknowledged the issue two days ago, and announced a "voluntary upgrade program" (probably an elegant name for a "safety recall") whose details will be published on the Company website on Monday, August 14, 2017.
Day by day, however, news and rumors concerning the safety flaw of the SIG Sauer P320 seem to accumulate and frustrate all hopes for a quick, easy and effective solution.
A new independent test published yesterday by a very popular U.S.-based website (Thefirearmblog.com) would seem to indicate that the SIG Sauer P320 does not need a drop, but indeed a simple bump, to discharge accidentally. If confirmed, this would refute the initial impression – which we at GUNSweek.com also adhered to – according to which the SIG Sauer P320 would fire when dropped due to the momentum transfered to the trigger upon impact with a surface.
And this, in turn, would automatically mean that a simple trigger safety would not be enough to solve the issue, but that an extensive modification of the trigger group would be required instead.
And indeed a full replacement of the trigger system seems to be the way SIG Sauer, Inc. is determined to go, according to U.S. sources which indicate that the P320 pistols to be submitted to the "voluntary upgrade" program may be retrofitted with the exact same trigger group as the M17 MHS – a variant of the SIG Sauer P320 that was officially adopted in January 2017 as the new sidearm for the U.S. military, replacing the ageing M9 / Beretta M92-FS.
Known as the XM17 during the test phase and officially adopted as the M17, the MHS pistol sports a 30% lighter trigger if compared with the baseline trigger of the P320 – something it has in common with the P320 X-Five competition variant, which among all the commercial-grade versions of the system has been independently reported to be the only one not affected by the accidental discharges issue. But the trigger of the M17 MHS is not just lighter: it was improved in many ways over the standard P320 trigger, following the strict requests of the U.S. military.
Whether or not the replacement of the entire trigger group will quell what is now nothing short of a scandal, is yet to be seen. But more doubts arise: the SIG Sauer P320 has been first launched officially in 2014, and tens of thousands have already been sold worldwide.
When interviewed by Soldier Systems Daily, Tom Taylor – Executive Vice President of Commercial Sales for SIG Sauer, Inc. – stated that the company had been working on the implementation of the M17 MHS trigger on commercial P320 versions for some time, due to the "vulnerability with the P320 at the -30deg drop", but it wasn't imminent; based on what they’ve found, that has been accelerated.
How does this link with the fact that the M17 MHS pistol already had a better trigger than the baseline SIG Sauer P320 way before the unaffected P320 X-Five competition-grade variant was introduced? Does it, by any means, imply that the Company knew about the "vulnerability" but kept silent about that, focusing on the MHS competition (and the inherent figures in terms of earnings following the adoption!) while tens of thousands of civilian shooters, private security operators, Police officers and military personnel purchased or were issued with a defective pistol bearing the SIG Sauer brand?
That's a question worth millions of dollars – in damages, potentially.