During testing on April 20, , the military says it discovered that the Sig Sauer pistol would fire on its own when dropped. The examination used a test version of ammunition, similar to a blank. A recent Department of Defense report describes what happened. But that timing means Sig Sauer provided a repair for the military at least four months before launching the same fix for the civilian market. CNN was unable to reach Sig Sauer to ask how many of the pre-upgrade Ps were sold to the general public. But the company told industry journalists that it sold more than , before it announced the upgrade, and before the Army put the pistol into the field.
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Sig Sauer received several notifications about incidents nationwide that occurred from April to August of last year, according to company disclosures made in court. Those included accidental discharges in Oregon and Texas. CNN has not been able to independently confirm these incidents.
The company was also notified about an incident that occurred in Howell Township, a small suburb near the New Jersey coast. The police department there confirmed the details to CNN. Bernie Fowler. The Dallas department declined to comment further. News of the decision leaked to firearm blogs.
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Sig Sauer remained publicly silent through the summer, even as rumors spread through the American gun community. But, after the Dallas decision, the company moved to defend its product. Three days after that statement, Omaha Outdoors, an online gun store that publishes popular product reviews, published a written and video report exploring the issue. Three of them, when dropped at a certain angle, went off more than half the time, Tuohy told CNN. The fourth had a lighter trigger and never went off when dropped.
In every case, Tuohy said, he found marks on the back of the ammunition that showed the gun had tapped the primer, the part of a cartridge that goes bang and initiates the explosion needed to send the bullet flying out of the gun. That video prompted the Houston Police Department to conduct testing of its own.
It went off four times, he said. The chief was alerted. Officers were warned immediately. So far, the gun maker has refused to issue a recall of the P pistol, which would acknowledge the dangers of the pistol and warn users to stop using it until it receives repairs.
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It has, by way of comparison, issued a recall for rifles with faulty triggers. And there is no US government agency that can force its hand. Guns are the only product that, if defective, cannot be recalled by the government, because of a special carve-out in the law that established the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Firearms enthusiasts and the National Rifle Association have pushed back against a change in the law, citing concerns that government-mandated gun recalls could be used as a means to confiscate guns and violate the spirit of the Second Amendment.
But the pro-gun crowd does look for safety in their weapons, and expects a sense of corporate responsibility. In , a decade-long effort by individual gun owners resulted in a historic class-action settlement with another company, Remington, for selling a popular hunting rifle with a defective trigger.
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The company still denies wrongdoing. Sig Sauer earned the business of several police departments across the country while selling the pre-upgrade version of the pistol. CNN contacted more than a dozen law enforcement agencies that have ordered the P All of them have sent in their pistols for an upgrade or are currently in the process of doing so. Sig Sauer covers the cost of all repairs and shipping. High Point Police Department in North Carolina, one of the first to adopt the weapon back in December , has replaced all pistols with the upgraded version.
The Alhambra Police Department in California is currently switching to the P and expects to receive the fixed version. The Cambridge Police Department in Massachusetts chose to wait for Sig Sauer to release its fixed version, and it will be transitioning to the P this fall.
None of the departments have experienced any accidental discharges, and all of them assert this purchase was the right decision. He went out and bought 37 of them soon after, in March Besides, this was the latest pistol from a gun maker with prestigious European origins and a long history of reliability and quality. A Glock is a Ford. I was really happy to give a higher-end labeled weapon to my officers to protect themselves. He felt the drop fire hazard was too real to wait around. He had Sig Sauer service the original pistols, which they did for free, and six months later, the department was back to using its Ps.
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