The SIG P320 Has Problems, and We Have Questions

    The following is the opinion of the author, and his alone. It does not represent the views of The Firearm Blog or any other TFB staff member. But I bet it represents the views of many of our readers.

    I think SIG owes the gun world some answers. We’ve seen behavior from them over the past nine days that is not only unbecoming of a major manufacturer (such as lying to a major police department), but bizarre and inexplicable (such as saying drop safeties “legitimize mishandling”). And so, we have questions.

    SIG chose to design the P320 as a striker-fired handgun with a relatively high mass metal trigger with no trigger safety – despite the fact that this safety feature has been included on almost every striker-fired handgun since the 1970s. Why? Trigger safeties are ugly, but functional and if designed properly do not interfere with the trigger’s feel. Did SIG leave this off the firearm for aesthetic, or maybe cost reasons? Did they believe the gun would sell better with a trigger that looked more “SIG” than “Glock”? Why was such an obvious safety feature omitted from a firearm that clearly needed it?

    When the decision was made to omit this feature – and this decision was consciously made at some point, as SIG initially advertised a trigger safety as an option for the P320 – was any testing involved? Did SIG make this decision sight unseen without even determining its impact to the pistol’s safety characteristics, or – worse – did they make the decision in spite of evidence that it would reduce the gun’s safety?

    At what point during the Modular Handgun System program did the drop safety issue resurface? Was it before or after their pistol was selected by the Army to be the M17? Did the US Army request the changes to the trigger’s design, or did SIG make these changes on their own? Why didn’t SIG begin rolling out P320s with safety triggers – which they had already designed – at this point in time, instead of waiting for it to blow up in their face?

    How long has SIG known about Vincent Sheperis’ injury, which occurred eight months ago? It seems difficult to believe that SIG would not be promptly notified about this incident, so have they known their pistol’s defect had already caused someone injury for that entire time, without notifying the public? If so, why didn’t they speak up then?

    When the Dallas Police Department rescinded authorization to use the P320, why didn’t SIG take that opportunity to admit the issue and make the changes they already had in the pipeline? Why convince the Dallas PD they were mistaken about an issue that SIG was obviously fully aware of at the time? Why lie, especially when the issue is so easy for third parties to independently verify? If anything, the Dallas PD’s announcement would seem to me to be the ideal time for SIG to come clean: A prompt, honest response would throw light on SIG as a company that takes user concerns seriously and acts quickly to fix them, and it doesn’t hurt that the recall occurred after Glock’s MHS protest had been rejected, either. It’s not like doing this would have been more expensive or difficult for SIG. The company appears to have had already arranged the media event announcing the MHS trigger upgrade, around or even before the time of the Dallas PD’s decision. So why not then?

    SIG’s actual behavior has had the opposite effect, though. It makes one wonder: If SIG will dismiss the complaints of one of the largest police departments in the country – complaints about a problem they have known is real for months, possibly since before the pistol was even released –  then how will the company treat the average Joe who has a problem? What does it say about a company whose CEO not only believes safety features just encourage negligence, but will say that publicly during a media event as part of damage control for a drop safety scandal?

    I am not SIG’s enemy. I stood up for SIG and called out Glock’s narrative about MHS, even though I personally prefer Glock handguns. However, SIG’s practices and behavior – not just over the past few days but since even before the P320’s release – compel me to ask the question: What the heck are you guys thinking, SIG?

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]