January 29, 2023

CONCORD, NH (AP) – Police officers and federal law enforcement officers are among 20 people from several states who say they were wounded by a popular type of Sig Sauer handgun. The most recent lawsuit alleges that the gun can easily go off without the trigger being pulled.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, says there have been over 100 incidents of the P320 pistol being unintentionally fired when the user believed the trigger was not pulled .

“These men and women were highly qualified officers, veterans, and responsible and safety-conscious gun users who placed their trust in Sig Sauer, unaware that the gun they served with posed a danger to themselves and everyone around them,” said Robert Zimmerman. A lawyer representing the group of 20 and about a dozen spouses said in a statement.

Zimmerman said it was the largest P320 lawsuit against the New Hampshire-based gunmaker on behalf of injured people.

The incidents addressed in the lawsuit range from February 2020 to October of this year.

In many cases, the gun discharged while still in the user’s holster, seriously injuring the user’s leg or hip and rendering him unable to perform his usual duties, according to the lawsuit. They did not touch the gun, the lawsuit said.

Sig Sauer denies claims that the pistol has a tendency to discharge without using the trigger.

“The P320 is designed to fire when the trigger is pulled,” Samantha Piatt, spokeswoman for Sig Sauer, said in a statement Friday.

The lawsuit details negligence and product liability claims against Sig Sauer, as well as misleading marketing practices for the gun touting that “it won’t fire unless you want it to.”

One of the allegations of negligence is that Sig Sauer fitted a US Army version of the P320 with a manual safety that protected against accidental firing but kept it safe from non-military models, co-counsel Daniel Ceisler said. Only one non-military model of the weapon offered this feature as an option, the lawsuit said.

“Making a gun with such a short trigger and light without any external safety is reckless and unprecedented,” Ceisler said.

Piatt said the P320’s trigger pull “meets industry practice” and that Sig Sauer offers models with a manual safety.

“Some customers, including many law enforcement agencies, believe that incorporating a manual safety is a detriment to the safe and reliable use of a pistol given its intended use. Other customers see the opposite based on their intended use,” she said.

The weapon was first introduced in 2014. Sig Sauer offered a “voluntary upgrade” in 2017 to include, among other things, an alternative design that reduces the weight of the trigger. Zimmerman said the upgrade didn’t fix the problem of unintentional discharges.

The lawsuit seeks a trial and unspecified damages. The plaintiffs are from Texas, Georgia, Connecticut, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington and New Jersey.

Sig Sauer has also denied the allegations made in similar lawsuits filed by Zimmerman and others, including those involving a Philadelphia military veteran and a federal agent from a Philadelphia suburb. The Milwaukee Police Union sued the city over officers’ use of the P320, saying the handguns had accidentally misfired three times in the past two years, resulting in injuries to two officers.

Sig Sauer has partially prevailed. It has settled at least one nationwide class-action lawsuit involving P320 pistols manufactured before 2017, offering refunds or replacement guns to buyers.

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