The Military’s new Handgun already has Controversy

By  | August 21, 2017 | Filed under: News

Sig P320 .9mm

Recently the United States Army conducted testing to find a replacement for the Beretta M-9 .9mm Pistol.  The M-9 has been in service with the various Military Branches since 1985 when it replaced the 1911 .45ACP.  There was controversy back then when Beretta won the contract.  It appears now that there is controversy again.

Beretta M-9 .9mm

The Military has stated several times during the years that they wanted to test to find handguns to replace the .9mm, supposedly with the .45ACP cartridge.  So it was a surprise when the test were announced with that United States Army was looking for a .9mm.  Several companies submitted entries into the testing procedures.

Beretta U.S.A. had come out with a new model called the M9A3 .9mm that had most of the requirements for the

Beretta M-9 .9mm

new pistol.  Beretta offered to trade the M9A3 .9mm for the M9 pistols with a small difference between the pistols.  The economical aspect about this offer from Beretta was that the same magazines as well as holsters the Military already had could be utilized with the M9A3.  The Army refused this offer.

The tests were conducted and the Sig P320 .9mm pistol was declared the winner.  Right off the bat, controversy started.  Glock protested the awarding of the Sig p320 to the United States Army.  From the Army Times website:

The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest from firearms manufacturer Glock that sought to have the government reconsider its award of a 10-year, $580 million contract for the Army’s new handgun to a competitor.

Glock filed the protest in February after the Army announced in January that it would award the Modular Handgun Contract to Sig Sauer for the company’s P320 to replace the M9 Beretta, the soldier’s sidearm for more than 30 years.

Sig P320 Military Issue

Units with the 101st Airborne were the first divisions to get the new Sig Pistols.  The Army adopted 2 sizes of the P320, a Fullsize as well as a Compact model.

Sig P320 Military Issue

Several Law Enforcement agencies followed suit and adopted the Sig P320 pistols.  Sale for the civilian version of the P320 soared.  We were able to get the pistols but were having a hard time getting extra magazine at my business.  However, recently, a problem has come to light.  The Dallas Police Department released the following statement:

“The Sig Sauer P320 is no longer approved by the [Dallas] Police Department for any use.

Those officers that currently have a Sig Sauer P320 as a primary duty weapon will have the following two options:

Option 1 – Go to the Firearms Training Center on Monday, July 31st, during business hours, to be issued a city Sig Sauer P226 and qualify with that weapon.

Option 2 – Purchase another city approved weapon and respond to the Range on Monday, July 31st, during business hours, to qualify with that weapon.”

 

It appears that when dropped from a certain angle, the Sig P320 will discharge.  While originally these “rumors” were denied, we recently got a “Voluntary Recall Notice” from Sig Sauer about the P320.  The following was reported on the Gun Works website about the recall:

    Following records of accidental discharges, SIG Sauer is offering a voluntary upgrade program for all P320 pistol variants, and all P320 pistol owners are eligible  The world of gun enthusiasts, law enforcement and military agencies, gun-related media and the shooters’ community at large has been rocked last week by allegations – substantiated by independent tests carried on by shooters in the U.S. and published on YouTube – regarding the tendency of the SIG Sauer P320 to discharge accidentally if hit on the rear portion of the slide or dropped at a “-30 degrees angle”. Said revelations sparked a massive global controversy on the design and the manufacturing company, and generated what could be considered nothing short of a scandal within the American gun owners’ community.

Following those revelations – and as announced last week – SIG Sauer, Inc. launched an official web page for their Voluntary Upgrade Program(link is external) for all the 500.000 SIG Sauer P320 pistols that have been sold on the international commercial and MIL/LE/Govt. markets from 2014 onwards. Until the issue is addressed, SIG Sauer halted the manufacture and distribution of the P320 pistol system – exception made for the M17 MHS, which seems to be unaffected by the issue.

 

 

The dedicated webpage stresses SIG Sauer’s position concerning the P320 pistol – referred to as a substantially safe handgun that passed all industrial and military safety tests with flying colors, now being submitted to a “Voluntary Upgrade Program”, not a safety recall, to address a “vulnerability” that may cause a discharge only in a very specific set of highly unlikely circumstances.

All handguns submitted to the Voluntary Upgrade Program will be sent back to SIG Sauer for retrofitting: the work cannot be performed by local dealers or gunsmiths outside of the company. The Voluntary Upgrade Program also includes the P320 X-Five competition variants – which, according to independent testers, did not tend to discharge if dropped or bumped – as well as the CAL-X Kits and caliber conversion systems.

The company wishes to stress that all the P320 variants are eligible for the Voluntary Upgrade Program because all the versions of the P320 share the same modular design, using a serialized trigger pack, which makes basically every P320 model out there potentially affected by the vulnerability.

As of today, only U.S. Domestic Commercial consumers can register on the Voluntary Upgrade Program website(link is external); U.S. and Canadian Law Enforcement agencies, Canadian consumers and individuals who purchased on the Armed Professional Program (APP) or Individual Officer Program(IOP) will receive additional information in the coming due to the unique circumstances involving these customers requiring additional logistical planning.

The modifications planned for the SIG Sauer P320 pistol will include an alternate design that reduces the physical weight of the trigger, sear, and striker while additionally adding a mechanical disconnector. P320 owners will thus need to turn in their entire pistol, with all factory components, but stripped of any aftermarket part of accessory.

The upgrade is being offered to SIG Sauer consumers at no cost.

Now comes the question.  Did Sig Sauer rush production of the P320 for the Military Trials?  It is our understanding that the Military Models are not under this recall.  Were the Military Models made that different than Civilian or L.E. models?  I guess only time will tell.

As a side note, Sig Sauer was the runner up in 1985 Trials but lost to Beretta due to cost.

We will keep an eye on the development of this recall.

     Bobby Inman is retired from Law Enforcement after 21 years of Service.  He owns Hammer Down Gun & Pawn located in Sheffield, Alabama.  He has articles published in Law & Order Magazine, Police Marksman Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement Magazine as well as several published ebooks on Amazon, Kobo Writing, as well as Nook (Barnes & Noble).  He is owner of Poopiedog, an Animal Rescue Dachshund, who is his constant companion.   He is a Correspondent for the Quad Cities Daily

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