Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Damnit, man, this is the Internet!"

"Gentlemen, you can't reason here! This is the Internet!"

So, you may recall over several previous posts that I (and Ms. Drang, on my advice) have switched over the Sig P320s as out primary sidearms.

You may also be aware that the entire Gunternet is having a collective meltdown over recent "revelations" regarding the Sig P320.

The American Rifleman's The Keefe Report has published a review of the situation.

This post has few links; they'll be easy to find on your own. There is so much pants shitting hysteria over this issue that I am giving myself a time out from most gun-specific fora.

Many of my fellow bloggers, over in the right sidebar, have addressed this situation, as has The Gun Feed.. The issue has been beaten to death so thoroughly at that the horse is not only dead, but they had to bring in a new dead horse because the first one had been reduced to a pile of rancid jelly.

To review, for any who have not been following:
  • A few weeks ago a video popped up in YouTube, on a channel with only that one video and no other content, purporting to demonstrating that, when dropped in a specific orientation, the Sip P320 would fire.
  • The video had no commentary at all, including a description of how many tries it took to get this to happen, or how they reached the conclusion that dropping this pistol such that it struck the ground at a specific angle would cause it to fire.
  • After a week or so, during which time people generally held to be In The Know arrived at the conclusion that the circumstances surrounding the video were so flaky as to render it suspect, at best; shortly thereafter, it disappeared.
  • At approximately the same time, however, it was noted that there was language in the Sig P320 manual stating that the pistol could fire if dropped, and one should take care. 
  • Note that this is standard lawyerese in most if not all firearms manuals, along with "use only quality, factory-loaded ammunition", and "modifications will void the warranty."
  • Also at approximately the same time, the Dallas, TX, Police Department issued a safety warning regarding the Sig P320, due to the fact that "it might fire if dropped."  (The P320 is not issued by the department, but is authorized as a personal purchase.)
  • Note that, contrary to rumors, no Dallas police officer has had a P320 fire accidentally.
  • Sig released a statement which pointed out that the P320 had passed all industry standard safety testing, including all industry standard drop testing; IOW, no one ever thought they had to test a gun dropped at this specific angle before.
  • Just as the furor over the original video and the verbiage in the manual was dying down, other videos popped up. These were better produced, and did seem to explain what happened better.
  • Note, however, that these all built on the original video, which means that they started with the knowledge that the pistol dropped in this specific orientation could or would fire.
  • Then... people started claiming that this previously unsuspected flaw applied to the M17 and M18 pistols, the Army having just awarded the contract for the Modular Handgun System to Sig for variants of the P320...
  • ...despite the fact that the M17 and M18 use different internal components which avoid this issue...
  • ...and which it turns out, Sig had already planned to offer as a voluntary upgrade to the P320. Details to be available the day after tomorrow. (That is, Monday, August 14th, 2017.)
 Of course, this latter fact gets reported to the effect of "What did Sig know and when did they know it?"

Notes for those who have been following along:
  1. I left out the lawsuit by a Connecticut police officer who alleges he was injured when his P320 unintentionally discharged, which came to light about when this was happening, on purpose. Claim is made that his holstered pistol went off. The lead time on a lawsuit is such that the timing may or may not be suspicious, and the description of what happened is still unproven.
  2. I am also not addressing the fact that one or more highly regarded personages came out and said that the P320 was as safe as any other gun, and questioned the original video, leading to their character and integrity being called into question when the full feeding frenzy hit.
  3. Seriously, Gunternet-wide the knicker-twisting approached Bernie Sanders rally proportions...

Tamara's take (more or less) here: View From The Porch: Absolutely unprecedented!

Note that she is not commenting on the allegations or sequence of events, just that this is not the first time we've seen the "blood-in-the-water" effect of a new, successful pistol design which might have a weakness.

And as Mr. Keefe says in his article referenced above, this whole thing has gone beyond "blood in the water" into full-on Sharknado. (Naturally, the first comment on that article claims Sig bought the NRA's compliance...)

Mr. Keefe also references a report from Soldier Systems Daily: SIG SAUER Acknowledges P320 Trigger Issues With -30deg Drop, M17 MHS Unaffected, Announces Voluntary P320 Upgrade. 
Although SIG was already working toward introducing the MHS-inspired Enhanced Trigger to the P320, this -30deg drop issue has hastened their effort. They have lightened the Trigger, Striker and Sear by about 30% overall and added a Disconnect (commercial only, not MHS). The trigger pull weight is unaffected, but rather the trigger part actually weighs less. The reason they lightened those parts is to mitigate the momentum gained by the heavier parts during a drop.

Taylor laid it out, “There is a vulnerability with the P320 at the -30deg drop.” They plan to incorporate the trigger enhancements for the M17 into the P320. They’d been working on them, but implementation wasn’t imminent. Based on what they’ve found, that has been accelerated. Details on their voluntary upgrade program will follow soon.

I want to put this perspective. Since it’s introduction in 2014, they’ve sold around 500,000 P320s. There are three recorded cases of unintended discharges in LE channels . There is one additional commercial incident which I am familiar with but was not formally reported to SIG. That’s four known incidents from 500,000 weapons, many of which are used on a daily basis. Additionally, those incidents have all been within the last year.
This report concludes with the following paragraph:
My take is that despite building their pistols to industry standards, SIG has acknowledged the issue and is taking steps to fix it. They didn’t waste any time. They’ve stopped commercial production of the P320 and are concentrating on the upgrade. It’s going to be more than just swapping parts. The slide and frame will need some work as well so the pistol will need to go back to SIG. Details will soon follow on how to participate in the voluntary upgrade program.
 As I noted earlier, details of the upgrade will be available Monday.

Not gonna lie, I'm not too crazy about the idea of sending our guns to New Hampshire to be upgraded, but expect to be doing so, if only to ensure parts compatibility down the road.

This whole series of events has left me disgusted with a large swathe of humanity, though.


Old NFO said...

At least it didn't take a number of fatalities, like Ford had, to get them to fix the issue. And yes, pretty much ANY gun can go off if dropped the wrong way. H/t to Sig for owning the issue and fixing it!

D.W. Drang said...

Apparently they were going to offer the upgrade anyway, the program just wasn't quite at the point where it was ready to go.