The Army’s New Handgun Is Under Fire Because of Troubling Safety Defects


Sig P320 Discharge
Left: Getty Images

Earlier this year, the U.S. Army announced the winner of their Modular Handgun System competition to be the Sig Sauer P320, the weapon that would replace the Beretta M9 as every soldier’s sidearm. 

Now there are alarming concerns that the totally killer new pistol might be unsafe, as online reports claim that the weapon prone to discharge when dropped. 

Two videos have surfaced that exemplify the issue. The first shows the P320 firing when dropped on its base.

Another, from gun store Omaha Outdoors, shows the weapon discharging when dropped on its rear slide assembly.

Task and Purpose has further details: 

Both videos clearly show the pistols’ trigger travelling rearward under inertia, suggesting that the mass of the trigger when jarred is causing it to move enough to trip the pistol’s sear.

Omaha Outdoors’ video has racked up 90,000 views in just a day and the retailer has temporarily discontinued sales of the P320. The Truth About Guns have also subsequently replicated the test with similar results.  

The Sig lacks a built in trigger safety like that used by its rival Glock; however, it is worth noting that the MHS -winning XM17 has a frame mounted manual safety which would theoretically prevent accidental drop discharges.  

The P320’s issues haven’t just been replicated in tests, either. According to, Sig Sauer was hit with a $7 million lawsuit filed on August 4 by a Connecticut police officer who was struck in the leg by a stray bullet after he dropped a P320 while loading equipment into a vehicle and it misfired. 

Photo: Getty Images

Initially, the gun giant issued a statement asserting its safety. 

On Aug. 4, Sig released a statement responding to the building allegations of P320 drop-test failures, stating, “The P320 meets and exceeds all U.S. standards for safety, including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc. (SAAMI), as well as rigorous testing protocols for global military and law enforcement agencies.”  

But, as Task and Purpose notes, the company now appears to have walked back their original stance. 

It seems that the weight of opinion has pushed Sig Sauer to acknowledge there is a problem with the P320. On Aug. 8, the company announced a voluntary upgrade program for the P320’s trigger.

While Sig have not outlined what the modification will be yet; their most recent press release claims that details of this program on Aug. 14. The statement goes on to reaffirm that the P320 passed the ANSI and SAAMI tests and stresses that the unintentional discharges only occur when the P320 is dropped “beyond US standards for safety.”  

Sig was keen to emphasize that “The M17 variant of the P320, selected by the U.S. government as the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS), is not affected by the Voluntary Upgrade.” It seems likely that the upgrade will be incorporated into pistols destined for the U.S. military.  

Hopefully Sig can figure all of this out soon, seeing as the U.S. Army awarded them a $580 million contract for developing the P320.