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P320 Discharged in Transit Policeman’s Holster

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by <*(((><, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Contributing Member

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    Unless the officer isn’t telling the whole story which probably is the case, I’m beginning to wonder what is going on with Sig these days. I added the bold to the quote below, the SEPTA’s P320’s had already gone through the recall with Sig (see bold and underlined sentence below).

    Link: https://whyy.org/articles/septa-pol...istol-accidentally-fires-at-suburban-station/

    The Philadelphia Police Department is investigating an incident in which a SEPTA police officer’s service weapon fired without manipulation while holstered.

    The incident occurred on August 26 during rush hour at Suburban Station while the officer and his partner were on patrol, according to a statement prepared by SEPTA. As the officers were exiting a SEPTA police cart they both “heard a loud bang” then smelled discharged gun powder. One of the officers found that his Sig Sauer P320, SEPTA police’s standard service weapon, discharged while secured in his thigh holster.

    SEPTA police immediately alerted the PPD’s Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit about the discharge. There were no reported injuries.

    A preliminary inspection of the weapon found no cause for the weapon’s firing without manipulation.

    The agency will replace all service weapons used by officers, “out of an abundance of caution,” said SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch.

    Busch said SEPTA made an emergency purchase of 350 new Glock 17s and holsters to replace the P320s.

    He said the transit agency chose the Glock because the model is known to be safe and reliable, and manufacturers can produce the firearm quickly.

    SEPTA’s new firearms will take a few months to manufacture, Busch said, but in the meantime, the authority will borrow the 350 firearms from the PPD.

    The transit officers ought to have the borrowed weapons by the end of the week.

    A service weapon with an alleged ‘design flaw’
    This is not the first reported incident where the P320 unintentionally fired. In 2018, CNN found nine other incidents of the weapon discharging when dropped or jostled.

    While SEPTA police wait for new firearms, officers are nervous about carrying a weapon that could go off at any minute without manipulation, said Omari Bervine, president of the Fraternal Order of Transit Police Lodge 109.

    Bervine said officers have families and take the weapons home. If they’re fired there, results can be tragic.

    “We’re just as hopeful as the department to get these things out of our holsters as quickly as the department would like to,” said Bervine. It’s for the safety of officers, safety of the public, and safety of families, he added.

    Sig recently settled a $10 million lawsuit with Virginia law enforcement officer Marcie Vadnais after she filed a lawsuit claiming her P320 discharged as she was removing the holstered weapon from her belt, firing a round into her leg. The bullet shattered her femur “in several places” and caused permanent damage. The company settled for an undisclosed amount.

    Also, in Pasco County, Florida, a school resource officer’s P320 discharged while holstered in a middle school cafeteria, according to reports. No injuries were reported.

    Vadnais’ lawyer, Jeff Bagnell, said such incidents demonstrate the defective quality of the gun.

    “If it has not already, it will result in a fatality, because the CEO will not recall the weapon,” said Bagnell.

    The weapon is also at the center of a potential $5 billion federal class action lawsuit in Texas. Dante Gordon of Katy, Texas filed a complaint against the New Hampshire-based gun manufacturer on behalf of himself and those who purchased the P320 claiming the weapon is defective due to a design flaw that causes it to “drop fire,” or “discharge a round of ammunition when dropped on the ground.”

    Gordon claims Sig knew about the defect since April 2016 when the U.S. Army field tested the P320. The weapon had been selected to replace the M9 as the service sidearm. The Army demanded Sig fix the deficiency by making modifications to the firing system, which included a lighter trigger. Sig immediately fixed the problem for the military versions of the P320, but continued selling defective versions to the public well into 2017. About 500,000 are believed to be in circulation, according to the suit.

    Sig filed a motion for dismissal. Both parties are awaiting a judge’s final decision.

    But the company did respond to reports of drop firing with a “voluntary upgrade program” for owners. The program offered free modifications to the P320, including the lighter trigger, designed to prevent such occurrences. SEPTA’s guns were among those upgraded in 2017, SEPTA said.

    Also in 2017, Bagnell represented a Connecticut police officer Vincent Sheperis who was shot in the leg when his P320 fell to the ground and discharged while still in the holster. Sig and the officer also settled out of court.

    Firearm retailer Omaha Outdoors reported several P320 pistols failed their “drop test” in August 2017. The retailer suspended sales of the weapon at the time until the issues was “adequately addressed by Sig.”

    But incidents of discharge without manipulation continue to occur, Bagnell said.

    Bagnell said he receives calls about incidents related to the Sig’s unintentional discharge regularly.

    “Even minor movements of the body, impacts to the holster, a hand being placed on the gun can make this gun fire,” said Bagnell. “It’s firing and it’s failing across the country. I view it as not only a law enforcement safety issue, but it’s a serious public safety issue.”

    Sig could not be reached for comment, and PPD refused to share any information, as the incident is still under investigation
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Very little information to go on.

    I have noted significant play between the slide and frame in some of the P320s I have handled--more than I was comfortable with. That's the main reason I don't own a P320. In a typical striker design, just a little too much play between the slide and frame can result in insufficient engagement between the striker and "sear" which could result in the striker being dropped.

    That said, there's still a passive firing pin safety which would prevent the gun from discharging even if the striker drops. Which gets us to a very unlikely situation where two failures/problems would have to occur in the same gun at the same time (or there would have to be a problem with both the gun and the holster) for this story to be true.

    So I'm going to say that I think there might be more to this than we know right now...

    By the way, the Pasco, FL incident mentioned in the article was debunked. The officer who reported that the gun fired while holstered was not telling the whole story. Apparently he was playing with the gun when it went off, pulling it in and out of the holster. He was terminated.

    https://www.tampabay.com/news/pasco...se-gun-discharged-at-middle-school-cafeteria/

    "Nocco said surveillance video showed Cross lifting the Sig Sauer P320 in and out of its holster."
     
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Some posts deleted.

    Start another thread if you want to report discharge issues with other weapons.
     
  4. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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  5. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Here's an update to the story.

    https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2019/09/18/septa-p320/

    "The Philadelphia Police’s Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit declared a preliminary inspection of the SEPTA P320 involved in the incident “found no cause for the weapon’s firing without manipulation”, a follow up investigation by PPD’s Firearms Forensic Unit determined the pistol and it’s safeties were functioning as designed."
     
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  6. <*(((><
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    <*(((>< Contributing Member

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    I’m not ruling out “gunplay” by the police officer at all, I just thought it interesting as these P320’s have been through the recall. But I know weapons have been blamed for poor judgement, cavalier handling and down right stupidity before. But given the department has pulled all the P320’s and spent money on replacements, it seems the department feel there is nothing in the police officers actions to discuss.
     
  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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  8. <*(((><
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    <*(((>< Contributing Member

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    Hopefully their findings are substantiated with the P320’s continued use. Thanks for the follow up investigation link. So it appears the investigating unit couldn’t get the gun to reproduce a safety failure.
     
  9. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    It looks like at least 2 organizations examined the gun, the Piladelphia Police’s Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit and the PPD’s Firearms Forensic Unit. It does not appear that the gun was never even sent to SIG for examination, which says a lot.
     
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  10. <*(((><
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    <*(((>< Contributing Member

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    So it seems there is poor reporting going on, or poor information coming out of the department. As the first report I posted said the SEPTA’s guns went through the recall in 2017. Didn’t intend for it to be a drive by, it just caught my attention as the report stated the recall was performed.
     
  11. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think that there's any question about the SEPTA guns being upgraded. I was just pointing out that after the upgrade (which happened before the SEPTA discharge), and after the SEPTA discharge, two organizations examined the specific gun in question. They were unable to find a problem with it and apparently felt like that closed the matter without even having to consult the manufacturer.
     
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  12. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    I get the feeling that there is more to this story behind the scenes.
     
  13. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Pretty sure there is.
     
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  14. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    SEPTA stands for South Eastern Philadelphia Transit Authority. It makes me wonder about their training and gun etiquette.
    A company I worked for in the past rebuilt about 40 of their 1940s vintage street cars for Philly and their sister company in San Francisco.
    I too, think there is more to this than what their telling us. We will have to wait and see how this shakes out.
     
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  15. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    Exactly. Modern striker fire designs that include a trigger actuated firing pin safety interlock are some of the safest in the world. I'd like to see an engineering perspective of how it would be possible for a supposedly idle and safely holstered pistol to simply "go off".
     
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  16. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    Yeah this doesn't pass the smell test. I can see the 320 failing a drop test, but I just don't see it possible to go off without manipulating the trigger.
     
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  17. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    I notice in reviews from the sig pistol site:
    Fantastic trigger is a code word for lighter trigger pull. There are reasons why in the past service weapons had robust pulls and one them was safety. Any general issue of weapons will include some people that should not have loaded firearms in their possession. One can not design out the idiot factor at the level of the user if the gun can be possibly made to fire by a pull of the trigger.
     
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  18. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    We have found, and it's typically been the case 100% of the time, when officers have pistols discharge "in the holster," it's because something -- usually one of the plastic toggle adjuster thingies hanging from a string off one's sweatshirt, shell jacket, or vest, has migrated into the holster and worked into the trigger guard. I've seen any number of training and safety bulletins issued from numerous agencies out there since the advent of striker-fired pistols with no manual safeties riding in hard leather or kydex holsters, and I've been on the scene of one such discharge.

    The only other case is when an officer has had the pistol out of the holster and re-holster with a finger on the trigger. That's when the unfortunate officer chooses to lie about things and blame the gun.
     
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  19. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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  20. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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  21. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Meanwhile you can get a good deal on preowned Sig 320's at CDNN.;):)
     
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  22. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    That has always been my default first thought and I've seldom been disapointed.

    The one truthful account that stands out in my mind is the officer who admitted to catching a pistol that "fell" out of his shoulder holster
     
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  23. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    Whenever I read that a gun "just went off" by itself, in this case while in a holster, I'm suspicious if the report is true and accurate. My caution is based on years of reading about such incidents and learning to wait for more information. The initial stories are usually incomplete and often have facts wrong or out of sequence.

    The original story sounds fishy all the way through. According to the posted story one gun "went off" in an officer's holster and all the guns were immediately pulled and replaced by Glock 17s. Now who would do that?
     
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  24. dmurdach

    dmurdach Member

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    It says the officers heard a bang and smelled gunpowder, then they figured out that one of the guns had discharged. I can't imagine a gun going off in a holster I am wearing and not feeling when the gun fired. and maybe he did I just find it odd that that wasn't mentioned
     
  25. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    When a lie isn't pre-meditated, it often entails gaps in continuity
     
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