Sig Sauer dominated the headlines earlier this year when it was announced that they had secured a contract with the U.S. Army to make their new modular pistol system, the P320, the standard issue service pistol branch wide.  Other contracts with law enforcement soon followed suit, and with good reason.  The pistol has received good to excellent reviews from a number of the nation’s most trusted experts, and it has been touted as the future of pistols in general, thanks to its modular design and simplicity of use.

However, Sig Sauer found its popular P320 back in the headlines this week… but for a decidedly less profitable reason: the new platform adopted by the Army and law enforcement all over the country (as well as sold commercially) will fire a round if you drop it.

Contrary to the common movie trope, modern firearms are designed specifically to ensure the weapon will not fire if dropped.  Not only is it the law, it’s just good business.  Customers tend to stop buying certain pistols soon after they’ve been shot by them accidentally, and with a significant anti-gun movement within the United States, such a ridiculous fault would certainly bolster cries for gun bans.  As a result, all pistols are now drop-tested prior to going on the market – and to be fair, the Sig Sauer P320 did pass the legally mandated tests.

The problem with the standard test parameters is that they specify the angle the pistol is to be dropped at, ensuring the weapon impacts the ground either barrel first, or on its side.  The P320 can safely be dropped in either manner without any risk of firing – but when dropped backward, so the dovetail of the pistol strikes the ground first, it will fire a majority of the time.  While this doesn’t constitute a failure according to legal requirements, it obviously presents a serious risk to those carrying the pistol at “condition one,” (loaded, with a round in the chamber) as is common practice for military and law enforcement applications – as well as for a fair number of tactically minded civilians.