Sig Sauer is in the crosshairs of a $10 million lawsuit after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer experienced an accidental discharge with his P320.
According to Military.com, on September 21, 2o20, Keith Slatowski was participating in his quarterly weapons training, in New Castle, Delaware, when his pistol misfired. The gun went off when he took hold of the pistol grip, while it was in his holster, resulting in a 9mm round discharging into his hip and exiting through his leg.
Slatowski, a former Marine, with the assistance of his attorneys Jeffrey Bagnell and Robert Zimmerman, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, February 17th, in the U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Army is integrating an upgraded version of the P320, known as the Modular Handgun System (MHS), as the standard sidearm for the service. Sig Sauer stated that the MHS has “passed the U.S. Army’s testing protocols.”
The lawsuit stated that Slatowski was on the shooting line and was instructed to draw his weapon and fire two rounds. When he “placed his hand on the pistol grip to draw it out of his holster, the weapon fired.”
The suit claims that “Slatowski never touched the weapon’s trigger.” It went on to say that “the bullet struck him in his upper right hip and exited out the back of his lower thigh, causing substantial injury, maceration of tissue, blood loss, and nerve damage.”
Sig Sauer is being sued for “negligence, strict products liability, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress in view of Sig’s misrepresentations about the safety of the weapon.”
In a released statement, Slatowski said, “To this day I’m shocked that a firearms manufacturer would design, build and sell a lethal weapon knowing it could fire without the most highly trained soldier, agent, or civilian ever touching the trigger.”
Sig Sauer has not commented on the lawsuit.
This is not the first issue for the Sig P320. In March of 2020, Sig Sauer settled in a class-action lawsuit. The suit stated that P320s manufactured before August 8, 2017, did not have a mechanical disconnector. The purpose of a disconnector is to prevent a pistol from firing when the barrel and slide are in an unlocked condition.
As a result of the class-action lawsuit, Sig Sauer instituted a Voluntary Upgrade Program, reimbursing P320 owners, providing lifetime warranties on certain parts, and providing an upgraded pistol with the disconnector feature.
During this class-action lawsuit last year, Sig stated the following: “It is Sig Sauer’s position that the design of the P320 pistol, both pre-upgrade and post-upgrade, prevents the P320 pistol from firing in an unlocked condition. Sig Sauer has conducted extensive testing of both the pre-upgrade and post-upgrade P320 pistols to confirm its position that the pistol will not fire with the slide and barrel in an unlocked condition.”
With respect to the suit, Sig explained in a statement that “by entering into this agreement, Sig Sauer is not admitting that any of plaintiffs’ allegations have merit. However, to avoid the uncertainty and high costs of further litigation, Sig Sauer has reached an agreement to resolve this case.”
Slatowski’s suit alleges that the discharge he experienced was not due to an issue with the mechanical disconnector. The lawsuit claims that the P320 “possessed an inadequate sear-striker connection, even after implementing a ‘voluntary upgrade’ program for the gun; an inadequate internal striker safety; and lacked any external safety or tabbed trigger safety.”
The lawsuit’s supporting argument alleges that law enforcement agencies have reported 28 instances of accidental discharges with the P320.