Police officers sue over handgun that allegedly fires on its own

Dozens of law enforcement officers have filed suit against firearms manufacturer SIG Sauer alleging injury after the weapon discharged without intent, even when holstered.

Based out of Newington, New Hampshire, the popular American company has been branded by some as responsible for producing “America’s most dangerously defective gun,” in the P320. The semi-automatic handgun is at the center of 82 cases being brought by personal injury attorney Robert Zimmerman and law firm Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky P.C.

Speaking with the New York Post, a number of plaintiffs detailed the circumstances of their injuries with the firearm used by roughly 1,000 different law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level, including the U.S. military.

“The P320 isn’t just a gun, it’s a ticking time bomb,” a law enforcement source told the Post.

“I never would have expected that my own gun would go off and shoot me,” explained 35-year-old detective Ashley Catatao of the Somerville, Massachusetts Police Department.

With her April 6, 2022 incident caught on security video, Catatao, a reported 12-year veteran, had parked her personal vehicle and was approaching her police cruiser to begin a shift “when I heard a loud bang and I felt this sharp pain in my upper right thigh.”

The surprising incident was similar to Troy, New York Police Sg.t Michael Colwell who detailed his realization that he had been shot through the leg on June 2, 2021 while engaged in target practice at a shooting range.

“I had holstered my duty weapon, tucked it away when we heard a pop,” he told the Post. ” We knew it was a gun that went off and we didn’t know if it was another officer participating int he [range practice] scenario.”

“The next thing, the firearms instructor who was monitoring looked at me and said, ‘Is that your gun? Are you hit?'” Colwell recounted. “I didn’t know. And then with disbelief and adrenaline rushing through me, I realized that a bullet kind of came crushing through my leg, and sure enough, there was a hole in my pants and that’s when the reality and panic set in on my part because the hole wasn’t there when I started the day.”

The damage to the sergeant’s meniscus has left him with difficulty walking and has forced him to remain on medical leave from his job. His testimony was one of 40 clients named in two separate mass action suits filed in New Hampshire.

Sig Sauer Lawsuit by ABC Action News

Meanwhile, the other cases accounting for the reported 150 people injured or nearly injured by the firearm were filed individually in state and federal courts in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania

“We’re calling on SIG to recall this weapon and redesign it to make it safe,” Zimmerman told the Post. “The issue is that SIG Sauer has advertised this gun as a gun that won’t fire unless the user wants it to fire and none of my clients wanted this gun to fire.”

“We have clients who have had their weapons in their holster, without their hands on the holster and it fired. We’ve had individuals who have had their guns in their holster and touched the back of the gun either to retrieve the weapon, or to put back in the holster, and it fired,” he added.

The pivotal flaw was said to be the lack of an external manual safety coupled with a short trigger pull incorporated to improve firing accuracy.

“SIG needs to put a tab trigger on this gun to make it safe. A gun should not fire unless a user wants it to fire,” the attorney said and described how the P320 “has an extremely short trigger pull and long with no safety makes it the most dangerous gun on the market.”

To compensate, Catatao noted that she still carries her P320, but no longer keeps a bullet ready in the chamber.

SIG Sauer reportedly did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.


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