G&A staff and a handful of other media visited SIG Sauer’s United States headquarters last Monday, Aug. 7, to meet with SIG Sauer executive staff, engineers and project managers to discuss its P320 — all of whom had tirelessly worked over the weekend to pinpoint and finalize upgrades to make the P320 even safer. Over the weekend, SIG Sauer engineers conducted 2,200 drops using 11 pistols across three different test protocols, including dropping the pistol at a negative 30-degree angle.
All staff G&A spoke with acknowledged that the commercial P320, used by law enforcement officers and armed citizens, may unintentionally discharge when dropped from a negative 30-degree angle from a height of at least 1¼ meters. The drop safety, under some circumstances, could fail after repeated drops on a hard surface, such as a concrete slab.
The P320 meets and exceeds all U.S. standards for safety, including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, Inc. (SAMMI), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), FBI/Department of Justice, NATO, TOP (U.S. Army), Massachusetts Department of Justice (DOJ) and California DOJ, as well as the rigorous testing protocols for global military and other law enforcement agencies.
Unfortunately, none of the above listed parties test the pistol’s performance when dropped at a negative 30-degree angle onto concrete. The pistol could be drop-tested in every conceivable combination of angles on three different axes, but that would be 46 million different ways, which is why each party has a set of standards in place.
It should be noted that the U.S. Army’s M17/M18 Modular Handgun System is unaffected by this upgrade, as that model already features many of these enhancements built into its design, including the use of lightweight components. These enhancements were slated to be made to all future P320 pistols over time; however, the discovery of a chink in the P320’s armor has hastened these efforts. Current production of the P320 has ceased because shipping guns that could possibly be returned for the upgrade would be counterproductive. It wasn’t a decision dictated by safety concerns.
Going forward, SIG Sauer is issuing a complimentary, voluntary upgrade, with free shipping, the details of which can be found below. Several parts within the pistol’s slide and chassis will be upgraded with the components discussed momentarily. Both the slide and chassis will need to be returned to SIG Sauer to have these enhancements made.
- New skeletonized striker.
- New trigger which is visually different in width and a hollow is apparent behind the shoe.
- New mechanical disconnector, which looks like a small dinosaur head and is visible at the top rear portion of the removable chassis.
- New sear, that features a large cut on the bottom.
It should be noted that these new parts will not significantly increase the trigger-pull weight, nor should they change the feel of the trigger when pressed. The upgraded parts have been lightened by approximately 30 percent, which serves to mitigate the inertia generated when dropped.
G&A witnessed engineers drop-test three different P320s with the above enhancements, three times each from a height of 1¼ meters onto a concrete slab. Each pistol was rigged to impact the concrete at a negative 30-degree angle.
For those wondering if live ammunition was used, it was not. A bullet puller was utilized before-hand, removing the projectile and powder, leaving only a primed case.
To date, SIG Sauer has sold approximately 500,000 P320 pistols since it debuted in 2014. There are three documented cases of unintended discharges from within the law enforcement community and only one in the civilian market. The latter was not formally reported to SIG Sauer. All four of these incidents have occurred within the last year; two of the four were found to be negligent, while the other two are still under investigation. The sole civilian market incident was learned about on Aug. 6, 2017.
G&A is impressed with the way SIG Sauer has chosen to deal with questions arising about the safety of its P320 pistol — which is head-on. G&A can say without reservation that there is not a conspiracy, and SIG Sauer had no knowledge of this specific issue with the P320 until Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, after several videos went viral. The SIG Sauer team was made aware of the negative 30-degree drop vulnerability on that day, and after extensive testing, had a working solution by Monday, Aug. 7. An additional seven days were required to develop a logistics plan for potentially getting all 500,000 pistols back in-house for modification, as additional customer service and assembly staff must be hired and trained to handle the substantial influx of calls and modifications. This staffing was a requirement before SIG Sauer could release a formal plan to current owners, dealers and distributors.
G&A would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that the most important safety device is between your ears. Responsible handling of firearms is the only way to minimize risks associated with shooting sports. Manufacturer safety devices are in place should our internal safety device fail. Common sense rules the day. If your pistol, whether a SIG Sauer P320 or any other manufacturer, should be dropped, G&A recommends to immediately cease its use and take it to a competent gunsmith or send it to the manufacturer for a safety inspection. SIG Sauer and many other manufacturers offer this service free of charge.
Details of the SIG Sauer P320 Voluntary Upgrade Program follow:
SIG SAUER, Inc. – P320® Voluntary Upgrade Program
Is my P320 safe in its current configuration?
Yes. The P320 meets and exceeds all US safety standards. However, mechanical safeties are designed to augment, not replace safe handling practices. Careless and improper handling of any firearm can result in an unintentional discharge.
What is the P320 Voluntary Upgrade Program?
SIG SAUER is offering a voluntary program for P320 pistols. This will include an alternate design that reduces the physical weight of the trigger, sear, and striker while additionally adding a mechanical disconnector.
Why is this upgrade happening?
Through additional testing above and beyond standard American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Sporting Arms & Ammunition Institute (SAAMI), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Department of Justice (DOJ), Massachusetts, California, and other global military and law enforcement protocols, we have confirmed that usually after multiple drops, at certain angles and conditions, a potential discharge of the firearm may result when dropped. Although it is a rare occurrence, with very specific conditions, SIG SAUER is offering an upgrade to all of its current P320 owners.
Does the owner’s manual say it can be unsafe?
The language used in major manufacturer’s owner’s manuals with regard to drop safety is consistently written to warn the user that dropping a loaded firearm is not recommended and could possibly result in an accidental discharge. All precautions should be taken to avoid dropping a loaded firearm. Although extremely unlikely, it is still possible for any loaded firearm to discharge when dropped.
What calibers and models are affected?
Due to the modularity of the pistols, which all share the same trigger group, all calibers and pistol sizes are affected.
What type of ammunition was used during testing?
A variety of calibers and brands of ammunition were used. NOTE: Loaded ammunition is not used for drop testing, only primed cases with the powder and projectile removed are used.
What is different about the updated assembly?
The new design has a physically lighter trigger, sear, and striker assembly with the addition of a mechanical disconnector.
Will this affect the X-series P320’s?
Yes. However, the X-series flat trigger will not be replaced.
What about my CAL-X Kits?
You should send any and all P320 slides with your shipment, as the striker(s) will be replaced, and the slide(s) will need the disconnector modified.
Does this affect the MHS pistol?
No, the MHS pistol is a different variant of the P320 platform. It has passed the US Army’s testing protocols (TOP).
What are my next steps?
If you are a consumer and wish to participate in the voluntary upgrade, please go to:
If you are a U.S. domestic commercial dealer or distributor: There will be an online portal available in the near future for dealers to register. For additional support, please contact Dealer Services M-F 8:30am – 5pm EST directly at 603-610-3000, option 2.
If you are a domestic law enforcement agency (and Canadian Consumers and LE): There will be an online portal available in the near future for LE Agencies to register. Additional information regarding this program will be made available in the coming days.
If you are a domestic government agency/entity: There will be an online portal available in the near future for Gov’t/Fed LE to register. Additional information regarding this program will be made available in the coming days.
If you are an international customer (including Puerto Rico): Please contact your Global Defense Sales representative or local distributor.
Is there a charge to participate in this upgrade?
No. The upgrade is being offered to our consumers at no cost.
Will SIG SAUER cover the shipping both ways?
What if I don’t want to upgrade the trigger assembly on my P320?
This is a voluntary service, as the P320 meets and exceeds all ANSI/SAAMI, NIJ, DOJ, California, Massachusetts, and safety standards. Sig Sauer welcomes all of its P320 owners to take advantage of this program.
What if I have incorporated aftermarket items into my P320?
DO NOT RETURN YOUR P320 WITH ANY MAGAZINES, AFTERMARKET TRIGGER GROUPS, OR ACCESSORIES SUCH AS OPTICS, LIGHTS, OR LASERS. IF YOU SEND YOUR FIREARM IN WITH AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES, SIG SAUER CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT THOSE ITEMS WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU.
Is SIG SAUER still shipping the pistol without the enhanced trigger system?
Sig Sauer has temporarily suspended shipment of the P320 from the factory while we ramp up to implement the changes.
What is the turnaround time to receive my upgraded P320?
For the US Commercial market, once you contact Sig Sauer and register for the process, you will receive an email from us at a later date with a shipping label and instructions as to when you may return your P320. This may take several weeks, as we will need time to prepare for this program. Once your P320 is received at Sig Sauer, turnaround time will be approximately 4-6 weeks. This lengthy process is due to the high volume of pistols in the marketplace. Transit times may vary depending on your geographic location and receipt of your returned pistol.
Can I have the work performed at my local dealer instead?
No. This work must be done at the SIG SAUER factory.
What serial number ranges are affected?
All current serial number ranges are affected.
Am I required to send the entire pistol?
How will I know if the P320 has the upgraded trigger system without disassembling?
The most obvious external difference is the lightweight trigger. It has a thinner profile than the standard curved trigger. The other changes are minimal and would likely not be noticed.
How often has the incident described occurred?
Minimal reported drop-related P320 incidents have occurred in the US commercial and law enforcement markets, with hundreds of thousands of guns delivered to date. These instances occurred in conditions that appear to be outside of normal testing protocols. The current P320 design meets and exceeds all US safety standards. As it relates to the ad hoc media drop tests, these were not part of standardized testing protocols, and they were performed using firearms in unknown conditions.
How will this affect my current P320 trigger pull?
There should be no meaningful or significant change from the current P320 trigger pull.
Should I conduct my own test to determine if my pistol is safe?
NO. SIG SAUER DOES NOT RECOMMEND THAT ANY CONSUMER PERFORM DROP TESTING BEFORE OR AFTER THIS UPGRADE. Mechanical safeties are designed to augment, not replace safe handling practices. Careless and improper handling of any firearm can result in unintentional discharge. Be aware that ad hoc testing is occurring and individuals are testing guns in conditions outside accepted testing protocols. ALL STANDARDIZED DROP TESTING IS DONE IN CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS WITHOUT USING LIVE AMMUNITION.