New Jersey Sues SIG Sauer for Allegedly Selling Defective Handguns to State Police

Gunmaker SIG Sauer is in hot water after the state of New Jersey sued the company for breach of contract when they allegedly delivered defective handguns to their State Police. In mid-2014, SIG Sauer won a contract to provide pistols to the New Jersey State Police and reportedly subsequently delivered 3,000 SIG P229 handguns. However, according to the NJSP, the pistols proved irreparably defective.

Although the P229 performed well in testing, the handguns actually delivered to the NJSP that year were plagued by failures to eject, according to the official complaint filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey. SIG Sauer diagnosed the malfuntions as being caused by the pistol’s extractor pins, which were subsequently replaced; however, this did not remedy the problem. As a result, SIG representatives visited the NJSP and supplied 250 new extractor springs to fix the problem, but the problems still persisted.

By the end of October 2015, the document states, the NJSP began to identify the issue as being related to differences between the weapons trialed during the procurement process and those that were actually delivered. According to the document, while it was the SIG P229 Legacy that was trialed and that won the competition, the weapons that were delivered were of the very similar but distinct P229 Enhanced Elite model. Notably, the Enhanced Elite is alleged to differ from the Legacy in its extractor system, leading to reasonable speculation that this substitution was the cause of the malfunctions.

SIG Sauer agreed to replace the P229 Enhanced Elites with P229 Legacy models, but then allegedly failed to meet the deadline of January 2016 for the delivery of 750 of these weapons, having only delivered by that point 364 pistols. At this point, the document states that SIG Sauer informed the NJSP that it would only be able to deliver half of the 1,000 pistols it promised by the end of January 2016.

During a January 12, 2016 training course, the replacement SIG P229 Legacy handguns also exhibited failures to eject with both practice and duty ammunition. Consequently, SIG Sauer representatives and the NJSP met to inspect the most recent shipment of P229 Legacy handguns. During this inspection, SIG Sauer representatives “red lined” five of the 25 handguns randomly selected from the shipment, for exhibiting unacceptable manufacturing defects. Subsequent testing in the presence of SIG Sauer representatives produced more failures to eject, which continued even after the weapons were serviced by SIG gunsmiths.

After this incident, the NJSP decided to cease further discussion with SIG Sauer, and instead procure a new handgun, which resulted in procurement of the Glock 19 Gen 4.

Over the weekend, SIG Sauer released a statement regarding the lawsuit:


May 21, 2017 – Sig Sauer, Inc. is aware of the lawsuit recently filed by the State of New Jersey regarding its purchase of the Sig Sauer P229 model handgun by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).

The NJSP selected the Sig Sauer P229 handgun as its new duty weapon after conducting an in-depth review and exhaustive testing of available handguns. Sig Sauer developed a version of the P229 specific to the requirements of the NJSP, and delivered to the NJSP as scheduled in the summer of 2014.

Following delivery, the NJSP informed Sig Sauer that it was experiencing failures during qualification training with their training ammunition. Sig Sauer immediately began working with the NJSP to determine the cause of this failure and resolve the issue.

Sig Sauer’s investigation of the failure mode indicates a contributing factor may be a compatibility issue between this unique NJSP P229 and the specific training ammunition used by the NJSP. Importantly, these failures were limited to the training ammunition used by the NJSP, and the P229s functioned when using their duty ammunition.

Sig Sauer had been diligently working with New Jersey officials to resolve the issues associated with the P229 handguns it purchased. In light of these discussions, Sig Sauer was surprised that New Jersey filed a lawsuit. Sig Sauer is committed to customer satisfaction, and stands ready to continue these discussions and work with NJSP to reach an equitable solution.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Haulin’ Oats

    In other news, SIG counter Sues NJ for running a corrupt, defective government. These rights will never be infringed.

    • Juggernaut

      Sig should have removed the firing pins.

      • iksnilol

        Would cut down on NDs.

        • Ranger Rick

          Like the rash they had with their old HK squeeze cockers.

    • Starfish

      Have fun with that theory when you dial 911 because armed bad guys, who don’t abide by those laws, show up at your house and your responding police force is unarmed. Fully agree with you man about the unjustness of the laws that these states impose, but suggesting a course of action that would disarm the men and women who put their lives on the line to come to the aid of others at a moment’s notice and without hesitation, would do nothing but hurt the law abiding citizen just as much as the b.s. government imposed 2nd Amendment infringing laws. We need to work together to find solutions to government imposed 2nd Amendment violations, but one that prevents our men and women in blue from being able to do their job puts us all in danger.

      • no fun allowed

        You sound like every anti-gunner police apologist in the state of NJ.

        “Durr, what do you need a gun for? That’s why we have police.”
        *local police are filmed beating a black kid or shooting a guy’s dog while investigating the wrong house*
        “Hey, don’t do that.”

        • Starfish

          Sorry, didn’t mean it to come off that way. Fully support the 2nd Amendment and every law abiding citizens right to carry and protect themselves. Especially when, in many cases, a person being victimized does not have the time or ability to call for help. Simply meant that the idea of hindering the police’s ability to obtain weapons for duty as an effective way to combat state legislative infringements on the 2nd Amendment would not benefit the people anymore than the infringements themselves, and that there are probably better options. And out of the millions of contacts that police have with citizens, the vast majority go well and benefit the community they are serving.

          • Marc

            “…in many cases a person being victimized doesn’t have the time or ability to call for help.”
            So having a firearm is more important for whom; the person on the scene being victimized, or the guy that shows up after the assault has already taken place?

          • Starfish

            In my humble opinion, it is equally important for both to be adeqiately armed. Which is why I was only trying to say that it should be a unified front to fight for 2nd Amendment rights, together. And in the course of that struggle, not hinder the abilities of our law enforcement officers, which would only help those who seek to violate the rights of others and our laws. Which would ultimately put people at greater risk as we fight to change unconstitutional laws. The response of, “take their guns away too” is the type of knee jerk response I would expect to hear from a liberal media station, not a community of law abiding, gun owning, responsible citizens. Since when did police become the bad guys?

          • Anonymoose

            When they started working in New Jersey.

          • Haulin’ Oats

            Since when did law abiding citizens and their right to bear arms become evil in the eyes of government? The constitution guarantees citizens the same rights that government gives it’s self. Take one right away from us but not the gov and you have an imbalance of power.

          • albaby2

            Wow, you guys are reallyfeeding the anti gun people. Talk about knee jerk reactions!

          • albaby2

            Where did Starfish say anything to the contrary?

        • albaby2

          How did you come up with all that from Starfishes post? You didn’t read the full post, did you? Where did he say anything anti-gun? You guys are acting like Hillary supporters!

        • CanineCo

          “Down…Scan…Breathe,” gentlemen. I think we’re all on the same team, gang.

      • Haulin’ Oats

        Oh, I’d let the cops have guns as long as they were single shot break action pistols.

    • Kurt Akemann

      Bit of a non-sequitur, though. Whatever New Jersey problems (and they are legion) they did pay for pistols that functioned to spec. If SIG didn’t deliver, the NJ does have the right to sue.

      • Edeco

        Mostly, but it crossed my mind, an area with less-positive gun culture (put it that way) is less likely to turn out as many decent pistoleros, out of X number of candidates. I’m more suspicious they’re doing something weird causing the malfs than I would be if it were, well, Ohio or someplace normal.

        • retrocon

          It does say that the problems only occur with their range ammo. Red flag in a blue state.

      • retrocon

        Agree, if, and only if, there isn’t some issue with the training ammo. If, for example as Sig claimed, the firearm works fine with duty ammo, it is at least reasonable to ask whether they are using a standard range ammo, like Winchester range ball, or if they have some special low power ammo so as not to scare the NJ snowflake cadets.

        Ever try to get CCI “quiet” .22s to cycle a 1911 CMMG .22 conversion?

    • StephenC.

      +1 I agree with you.
      If every modern gun company did close off sales to the police departments until more rights were brought to New Jersey, the current government (and police chief ) there would just happily issue Russian 1895 Nagant revolvers to the incoming police force members….
      THEN maybe about six months after that, the citizens would finally revolt and insist on new politicians and changes to their state constitution. 🤣

    • BigJohnny

      I agree! The States that agree that the 2nd Amendment only applies to the weapons of that era when the 2nd Amendment was written, then go with the musket! Their always reliable!

    • retrocon

      Thread winner. Every gun mfg should do what Barrett does.

  • New Jersey needs to change their grip and stop limp-wristing.

  • John Craine

    My 229 9mm bought in 2013 also had FTE problems with all types of ammo. Called Sig and they said not to use Winchester White Box and I tried many other brands and still FTE. Spent casing stays in Chamber and new round jams into it. I sent the gun back and Sig replaced Extractor, Extractor Spring, and Retainer PIN. Couple hundred rounds later and no problems. The new long Extractor is unreliable and I regret dropping a $1,000 on this gun.

    • Edeco

      That’s disappointing, crummy answer for a company like Sig to give. Especially since a full-size should eat anything and white-box 115 is supposed to be 360 ft lbs, should be warm enough to cycle.

  • Major Tom

    Such problems wouldn’t happen if you shot the gun properly instead of gangsta style.

    • Haulin’ Oats

      Gangsta Style which is standard practice and part of every NJ cops training curriculum.

  • SPQR9

    Bizarre that a pistol as mature as the P229 would have these problems.

    • Ranger Rick

      I wouldn’t say so, it took me three different P220R’s and multiple times back to SIG to get a reliable duty weapon. Occasionally “to hell and back reliability” is not always so.

      That being said, I’ve had issues with Glock’s, Smith & Wesson’s and Colt’s that I’ve carried for duty or backup so these matters are not confined to just Sig. About the only pistols I never had a problem with were the old 1911’s or their M9 replacements while on active duty. Those M9’s worked the first time out of the box and everytime after that.

  • Nicks87

    I predicted this years ago. Sig has been making too many sweet heart deals with LE/military, trying to steal some of the market from Glock. Unfortunately to make those sweet deals Sig has had to cut corners somewhere (QC, materials, etc?). Only 4000 rnds before you need to change a recoil spring? What a joke. Sig used to be one of the best. Too bad.

    • USMC03Vet

      Well they are just playing by Glock rules!

      Or does jet fuel not melt plastic Glock sights?

      • DIR911911 .

        and yet glocks are NOT experiencing problems , so how does your statement make ANY sense at all??

        • Rob

          To say Glock hasn’t experienced problems is to have a selective memory. Plenty of departments have had various issues with guns that have Glock roll marked on them. Indianapolis still hasn’t issued their 17m pistols. Oakland had quite the experience getting the gen 4 guns into service.

          However, new generations of Sig pistols have had a large number of problems compared to older guns. I have heard repeated stories of 10-20% of pistols being rejected upon initial inspection. I struggle to find why Sig Sauer is still accosiated with quality despite the numerous and very public problems they have had. I think the only company that has had more spectacular failures is remington. I guess if you charge people gold prices for the garbage they bought they will think they have gold.

          • CanineCo

            Glock makes 17mm pistols? Dayem. Missed that.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          Glock rules:
          1.Sell to police departments at barely-above-cost
          2.Market guns as “what the cops use”

        • USMC03Vet

          Is reading comprehension a lost art now days? The original comments was about cutting corners. I mention Glock doing that since the beginning of time and somehow it’s not relevant?

          • Nicks87

            How has Glock cut corners? They are still the reigning king of reliability and my personal preference when it comes to striker fired triggers.

  • USMC03Vet

    Not sure if NJSP uses Tula ammo to train with or not…..

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Probably not, since my SIG (I used to own) ate Tula without issue by the box.

  • Gary Kirk

    And here come the glockanatics.. “Army shoulda got Glocks”..

    • Gus Butts

      The Army kind of did, though.

    • Get over it Fanbois

      The P320 is basically a Glock upper with a P250 pistol grip. So you nostalgia ninjas need to get over it already.

  • tarnishedcopper

    I have an old Sig P6 that will shoot anything well. Bought a new Stainless P220 and after less than a box of 50 rounds sold it. Never carried it on-duty, nor even bought a holster for it. It was very finicky with ammo and frequently would not chamber. It was just not as accurate as it should have been plus it was like dragging an anvil around on my gun belt. A friend sold it for me at his gun store, then the guy who bought it sold it back to him and someone else bought it. I should have bought the black one instead of the stainless.

  • tarnishedcopper

    meant to say it would have been like dragging and anvil around….

  • Will

    I would like to see the write up on the testing, malfunctions, attempted remedy to the problem, full ammo discription, who did the shooting, was a “Ransom Type” rest used to eliminate the human interaction/failures, etc.
    So many unanswered questions.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Agreed. So many ways that the issues encountered could be gun related, or ammo related, or user-induced. More info is need to come to a confident conclusion.

  • Gregory

    Everyone is an expert now. Glock sucks, Sig sucks, blah, blah, blah. I currently carry a Glock 22 Gen3 as a duty weapon. After approximately 6,000 rounds I had my 1st malfunction. The recoil spring was subsequently replaced and since then, there has not been a single issue. Will someone please let me know when I can expect my Glock to suck?

    • Mr. Confused


      • Gus Butts

        This post is comically fitting to your username and gave me a giggle.

    • Tom Currie

      Probably the first time you try to holster the gun without removing your finger from the trigger.

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        That sounds like operator error to me. Why would you have your finger on the trigger if your sights aren’t on target and preparing to shoot?

    • Edeco

      Gen 3, 40, recoil spring every 6K rounds… I would guess around 24K rounds the frame will crack. Really just a guess, I’m not a glock armorer.

  • John

    Okay SIG. You know how to make this right. New Jersey gets 1,000 P320s for free.

  • John

    Sig has sold out. It’s simple really, the needs of the shareholders become greater than the needs of the consumers.

    The shareholders scream “make the product CHEAPER!! CHEEEEAAAPEERRRR!!!”….and the CEO says “Yes, master, I will make it junk just to fill your pockets”.

    THIS is the future of ALL manufacturing in the United States.


    • John

      The original makers of the German Sigs wouldn’t bother to spit on the new models.

    • Juggernaut

      Sig is a privately held company.

    • CorruptionInColumbia

      John, you are so correct about this! A late friend used to frequently note the idiotic paradigm of most modern CEO’s, whereby the shareholders are supposed to ALWAYS be guaranteed a profit. This is not how it used to work in the real world. Shareholders took a chance and profit was not guaranteed.

  • Tom Currie

    So NJSP is suing Sig because NJSP had excessive FTE issues with the P229’s they bought.

    Would this be the same NJSP that switched from S&W to Sig because they had exactly the same issue with the S&W pistols they bought before?

    Could there be a common factor in that somewhere??

    • retrocon

      It’s NJ, they probably use primer only rubber bullet training ammo… just to be safe, and not scare the young millennial cadet snowflakes.

  • Avid Fan

    Shopping for a Sig is getting too damn confusing. This one has night sights and grips. However, THIS one has grips and night sights. They’re are totally the same but like exactly different. SEE? Worse than shopping for car wax.
    We don’t need 270 variations of the 226 or 906 variations of the 229. This one has plastic grips. This one has grips made of plastic. I want a 226 with some type of rust resistant finish. WITHOUT some damn Picatinny rail. WITHOUT some damn engraving, sticker, gee gaw, gadget, or satellite dish that is or has been endorsed by some alphabet agency. AND I want it SAO. Is that too hard?

    • Rocky Mountain 9

      You complained about having too many niche models, and then named off a niche model you’d like to buy. Lol.

      • Avid Fan

        Wellllll, just minus the stickers would be fine. But that is another all together different and separate model they’ve already quit making.

  • mig1nc

    I want to know what this training ammo is that Sig says doesn’t work.

    • CorruptionInColumbia

      Yeah, for some reason, that info seems to be carefully shrouded in the articles.

  • Michael

    Sounds like the same kind of boondoggle Sig had with the Dutch police contract they won. Test guns worked fine, everything that came after that was hot garbage.
    They had three chances to make it right, and the third time the Dutch actually subcontracted testing to a German proofing agency, just to avoid any signs of foul play.
    Still crap.
    The Dutch ultimately went with Walthers, and haven’t had a problem since.

  • HansonBro

    It’s the ammo. It’s always the cheap-ass ammo.

  • Doc

    Sigs are overpriced and, as this shows, no where as reliable as they claim. Like Kimber they spend more money on advertising than R&D. Glocks are good guns but not as flexible as Others. M&P guns work, as do Colts. Maybe if they bought “Made in America” they wouldn’t be going through all this. Did they learn from their mistakes? No. They bought Glocks. Maybe President Trump should give them a call.

    • Rob

      The Sig P320 is about as “made in America” as it can get. It was designed, built and manufactured completely in the United States by an American company.

  • Jack Evony

    That is a shame. I like SIg and have owned many, but they should have delivered the model they promised from the beginning.

  • uisconfruzed

    NJ, you coulda hada Glocka.

  • albaby2

    The story said they had problems with both training and duty ammo. Sigs reply says only training ammo. Which is it? What brand was the training ammo? Sig admitted the problem was with their when they agreed to fix a/o replace them, then they reneged on the delivery. Was the failure to eject the fault of the guns or limp wristed cops? Also, NJ contracted for one model and Sig shipped a similar but different model. It’s hard to tell whose fault it is. I would have thought Sig would have taken the “defective” guns and NJ Srate Police officials to a firing range and videotaped the defective guns being fired with both types of ammo but I guess that didn’t happen, maybe for a reason.

  • whamprod

    Ppppphhhhht! New Jersey. The G19 is a great pistol, and I carry one daily, but if they can’t get a Sig to function reliably, maybe they all have girly writsts or something. Sounds like a training issue to me. The P229 is a reliable pistol. If they are getting repeated failures with it, then they’re not likely to fare much better with the G19. If they do, then Glock ought to change its motto to “Proofed Against Incompetence”.

  • Kodi

    A relative is a career ICE agent and has told me he hates his Sig.
    Previously he had a Barretta 92FS which was fine but replaced by a Sig. About six months before the recent announcement that ICE was changing to the SIG P230, I had read an article stating that the upcoming award was at the time looking like ICE would procure Gen 4 Glock 19s and mentioned that to him.
    He stated he hated his Sig (P226R I think) and asked to fire mine for comparison after which he stated he was happy he might be able to ditch his Sig for a Glock. Now that ICE has chosen the P230, I wonder how that will play out.
    When we see the myriad of different handgun choices just within our federal government and even within some departments, the lack of uniformity is confusing. Almost every agency and department in our federal government has their own armed law enforcement agency and it seems each puts out its own requirements, even when there are no substantial operational differences to justify the many different choices. Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, H&K, Colt, etc. and with different models of each create a bewildering number, calibers, makes, models and logistics supply chains to be managed with none of these agencies communicating with each other. State agencies are another matter all together and even worse.
    Bureaucracy, where the guy at the desk in front of you hasn’t got a clue what you’re doing even when their functions are related.

  • Anyone who likes guns is in hot water in New Jersey; New York and Connecticut as well.

  • squareWave

    So what is this mysterious training ammo the NJSP uses? For an agency of that size, surely it’s commercially contracted ammo right? I would expect a duty pistol to work with any common, factory-made ammo out there.

  • Aries144

    HA HA HA. Finally, a big manufacturer gets slapped after flippantly throwing parts at the problem and saying it’s fixed- even though they don’t know that it’s fixed.

    Now it’s not just some lonely guy on a forum reporting it, and getting bashed by all the Fanboys, it’s a government agency that isn’t going to bend over and take it.

    Serves Sig right!

  • Andrea Goldstein