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The handgun chosen to be the U.S. Army’s next-generation handgun can fire if dropped while loaded. Tests conducted by gun enthusiasts have confirmed the gun will fire if dropped at a particular angle. The testing followed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit by a Connecticut police officer who claims he was injured after his Sig 320 handgun went off, critically injuring him. That officer has now filed a $7 million lawsuit against Sig Sauer, alleging that the gun has a defective safety mechanism. Last week the Dallas Police Department suspended use of the P320 citing drop test concerns.
According to popularmechanics.com, recent rumors emerged on the Internet that the P320 was not “drop safe”, meaning it would fire if a round was loaded into the chamber. The same action cocks the pistol, and at that point, if the trigger is pulled the weapon will fire. Most modern handguns are “drop safe” in that, if accidentally dropped from waist-high level with a round in the chamber, they will not accidentally fire. Sig Sauer, the weapons’ manufacturer, claimed that the gun had been extensively drop tested.
Gun blogger Andrew Tuohy, in a video for gun retailer Omaha Outdoors, drop tested several versions of the Sig P320 and discovered all but one version would fire if dropped tail-first. It’s important to point out that the P320 passed drop tests, including those by the state of California, that test if the gun will go off dropped on its side or nose-first. Still, the manner in which it can be dropped is not unusual.
For its part, Sig notes that it has sold 500,000 P320s since their introduction in 2014, with only four reported negligent discharges by law enforcement. After the Omaha Outdoors and another article came out, Sig Sauer quickly issued a “voluntary upgrade” notice for civilian owners of the P320 that introduces a trigger that requires less weight to pull. In Tuohy’s video, he noted that of the several 320s he tested the only handgun that would not go off if dropped was the one with the lighter trigger pull. Interestingly, the M17 version pistols destined for military use reportedly already have this new, improved, lighter trigger.