SIG SAUER has issued a voluntary recall for the civilian version of the Army’s new handgun to correct a defect that causes the pistols to fire when dropped from certain heights and angles.

The P320 is the civilian version of the M17, which the Army chose to replace the Beretta M9 as its standard sidearm earlier this year. The M17, selected as the Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS), is not affected by the voluntary upgrade, the company said.

The online blog Omaha Outdoors performed a series of “drop tests” on several P320s and discovered that the automatic handguns would consistently perform an “uncommanded detonation” if dropped from certain heights and at a certain angle. The blog was careful to point out its tests exceeded the standard drop test parameters used by industry and government.

Sig Sauer P320 Modular Handgun System (MHS)
Sig Sauer P320 Modular Handgun System (MHS)

Sig released a statement specifying that the drop testing that resulted in involuntary discharges was outside industry standards. Then on Aug. 8 the company issued a separate statement offering voluntary upgrades for P320 owners that would mitigate the defect.

“Recent events indicate that dropping the P320 beyond U.S. standards for safety may cause an unintentional discharge,” the company statement said. “The P320 meets U.S. standards for safety, including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) / Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc. (SAAMI®), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), as well as rigorous testing protocols for global military and law enforcement agencies.”

As a result of input from law enforcement, government and military customers, Sig has developed a number of enhancements in function, reliability, and overall safety including drop performance. SIG SAUER is offering these enhancements to its customers. Details of this program will be available at on Monday, August 14, 2017.

“The design of the SIG SAUER P320 overcomes the most significant safety concern in striker-fired pistols today: the practice of pressing the trigger for disassembly,” the company said. “This can be performed with a round in the chamber which has resulted in numerous incidents of property damage, physical injury, and death. The disassembly process of the P320, however, uses a take-down lever rather than pressing the trigger, eliminating the possibility of discharge during the disassembly process.”

Rumors circulated on Internet firearms blogs about the defect before Omaha Outdoors performed its tests. The Dallas police department briefly suspended use of the firearm after the rumors surfaced but then reinstated the sidearm, according to Omaha Outdoors.

“SIG SAUER is committed to our approach on innovation, optimization, and performance, ensuring we produce the finest possible products,” said Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG SAUER. “Durability, reliability and safety, as well as end-user confidence in the SIG SAUER brand are the priorities for our team.”