This story has been updated as up 8/6/2017 with a statement from Sig Sauer.
Is the Sig Sauer P320 safe for use? Maybe not, according to some rumors. The internet was abuzz with whispers and hearsay all week long. Like gators in the city sewers and mole people under your house, the internet is often rife with “fake news”, hoaxes, and major exaggerations. So, we wanted to keep mum on the issue until we heard for sure. Late Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas PD finally responded to my question and gave us definite answer.
The Rumor Begins…
For me it started Monday afternoon watercooler talk in the Defender office. There were posts on AR15.com and other gun forums discussing the Sig P320 having accidental discharges and being pulled off the streets by Dallas PD. But, anytime a new gun is adopted, there’s lots of crazy stories. (Who all remembers John McClane talking about how the “Glock 7” was made out of porcelain to pass through X-ray machines and costs more than you make in a month? Well, that last part may be true.)
I scoured the internet, and the most definitive source I could find was a post from user PFranklin on the DefensiveCarry.com forums:
Well, its been confirmed. There was an AD during training at the Dallas PD Firearms Training Center in which a SIG P320 (striker-fired) which was recently approved for individual purchase by officers and approved for on-duty use. The use of the P320 has been discontinued by the Dallas PD having determined that the pistol is not drop safe. SIG has been notified and an examination of the weapon is pending.
The Rumor Spreads
This post was then passed along to the SigTalk forums, then Ar15.com and other gun chat sites. But there was still no official word on this, just hearsay throughout these forums. Could it really be true? Or is just gun guys talking shop and passing along a false story?
Parts of it seemed to be true: Dallas PD did authorize new officers to purchase the Sig P320 for duty use earlier this year. Many officers train with this handgun and maybe preparing for qualification with the new pistol. Surely, if a handgun wins the military XM17/XM18 MHS contract, it would be good enough for our boys in blue.
We’ve even tested the P320 ourselves. Would there really be the possibility of spontaneous drop fires? What about the firing pin block, wouldn’t that prevent it from going off without a trigger pull? So many questions, too few answers. I reached out to the Dallas Police Department and City Hall through a couple of channels, but couldn’t get an answer. Seemed like if this story were true, then they were keeping it hush.
The Rumor Confirmed…Sort of
Finally, late Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from the Dallas Police Department:
The Dallas Police Department still issues the Sig Sauer P226 handgun, but did authorize officers to purchase the Sig Sauer P320 handgun for duty use. We have not currently had any issues with the Sig Sauer P320 handgun. The use of the Sig Sauer P320 handgun has been temporarily suspended due to safety precautions. The departmental Firearms Training Center staff is currently working with Sig Sauer to ensure the safety precautions are addressed.
So, it seems like the Sig Sauer P320’s that were privately purchased by Dallas Police officers for use while on duty may have had some sort of safety issue. Or at least the threat of a safety issue. Could it have actually had unintended discharges? What does this say about the rest of the Sig P320’s on the market? What about those heading to the 101st Airborne? Still so many questions to be answered. And neither the rumors nor DPD’s statement clears much up.
At this point,
Sig Sauer has not made an official statement regarding the safety of their P320’s. Off the record, a representative for Sig Sauer did say the rumor had no bearing and was just a spiteful fan of a different popular polymer-framed handgun spreading falshoods. It could be that the the P320’s are safe and maybe only a few guns have a faulty safety system…or that there never was a safety issue, just some nasty rumors. But, until some answers are given, I’d be careful with your P320. Maybe don’t load it and throw it down a flight of stairs—just to be safe. At least until more information comes to light, then maybe you can play Slinky with your new handgun.
[Update]The Rumor Explained Further
Sig Sauer has released a statement that further explains the issue and stood behind that safety and quality of the P320 handgun. We’ve reprinted the press release below:
In response to social media rumors questioning the safety of the P320 pistol, a variant of which was selected by the U.S. government as the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS), SIG SAUER, Inc. has full confidence in the reliability, durability, and safety of its striker-fired handgun platform. There have been zero (0) reported drop-related P320 incidents in the U.S. commercial market, with hundreds of thousands of guns delivered to date.
The P320 meets and exceeds all U.S. standards for safety, including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc. (SAAMI), as well as rigorous testing protocols for global military and law enforcement agencies.
All SIG SAUER pistols incorporate effective mechanical safeties to ensure they only fire when the trigger is pressed. However, like any mechanical device, exposure to acute conditions (e.g. shock, vibration, heavy or repeated drops) may have a negative effect on these safety mechanisms and cause them to not work as designed. This language is common to owner’s manuals of major handgun manufacturers.
As a result, individual attempts to perform drop tests outside of professionally controlled environments should not be attempted.
“SIG SAUER is committed to producing only the finest products,” said Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG SAUER. “Safety and reliability have been and always will be paramount to the SIG SAUER brand.”
For more information on SIG SAUER, please visit us at sigsauer.com.
To add more context, Tactical-Life.com filled in some of the unknowns in a recent exclusive post with a representative from Sig Sauer. Evidently, a lieutenant in the Dallas Police Department found an excerpt in an outdated user manual that stated that guns may fire if dropped. This warning, though common in many firearms manual, got blown out of proportion and the Dallas PD decided to the pull the weapons from active duty while they worked with Sig to ensure the safety of the officers. The memo sent to officers was leaked, the rumor mill got started, and eventually we have the rats’ nest of information and exaggerations.