Law enforcement officers are suing firearms manufacturer Sig Sauer over a handgun that has been known to fire on its own when dropped, according to a CNN investigation.
At least three law enforcement officials say they have suffered gun shot wounds from certain P320 handguns after dropping or rattling the weapons, CNN reported.
The company has fought back against one of the lawsuits, which was filed by Stamford, Conn., police SWAT team member Vincent Sheperis. Sheperis alleges that a holstered P320 went off after he dropped it when trying to load tactical gear into his car. According to his lawsuit, a bullet ripped through his left knee.
“Sig denies any allegations that suggest that the P320 model pistol was subject to a recall or is otherwise defective,” the company said in a court filing in response to Sheperis’s lawsuit.
The company has yet to respond to a second lawsuit filed last month by Loudon County, Va., Sheriff’s Deputy Marcie Vadnai, who alleges that a bullet shattered her femur as she removed a P320 from its holster.
The company was reportedly aware of the problem before putting the guns on the market, according to CNN. As Sig Sauer sought a lucrative deal to sell the weapons to the military, officials apparently discovered the potentially dangerous issue.
Eventually, the company was awarded the military contract, and fixed the problem before the guns were shipped. But more than 500,000 P320 pistols were sold before the problem was acknowledged publicly, CNN reported.
Sig Sauer has since started shipping an upgraded version of the gun to retailers. Still, many of the older pistols, both new and secondhand, remain on the market.
The company never issued a recall of the older guns, and insists on its website that the unrepaired P320 “meets and exceeds all U.S. safety standards.” Sig Sauer announced a “voluntary upgrade” program for the guns in August 2017. The company said that “usually after multiple drops, at certain angles and conditions, a potential discharge of the firearm may result when dropped.”
From The Hill