Sig Sour on Verdict After Jury Awards $2.3 Million to Man Shot By His Own P320

by Tommy Grant

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A federal jury has awarded $2.3 million to Robert Lang, a Georgia man, in a product liability case against gunmaker Sig Sauer, after he was shot by his own P320 pistol without allegedly pulling the trigger. The case marks the first time the New Hampshire-based firearms manufacturer has been found liable for a misfiring P320 pistol, which is the subject of multiple lawsuits claiming it has a design flaw that makes it prone to unintentional firing, New Hampshire Public Radio reports.

Lang, a self-described lifelong gun enthusiast who said in court documents that he has “hundreds of hours behind the trigger,” sued Sig Sauer after being shot in the thigh by his P320 pistol in December 2018 while removing it from its holster. According to his complaint, the gun discharged before he could lift it off his belt. The jury found Sig Sauer negligent due to the design of the weapon, particularly its lack of a trigger safety. Despite the concerns raised by others in lawsuits, court records indicate that more than 2.5 million P320 pistols have been sold, making it one of the country’s most popular guns. Most of those P320 owners have never had an issue with their firearm.

Sig Sauer announced plans to appeal the ruling, stating that the plaintiff did not meet the burden of proof to show the P320 was defectively or negligently designed. The company claims there is no evidence that Lang’s discharge was due to anything other than his own negligent handling causing him to pull the trigger.

According to New Hampshire Public Radio, since 2018, Sig Sauer “has been sued dozens of times” from both civilians and law enforcement officers alleging a design flaw in the P320. Until this week’s verdict in Georgia, no cases had resulted in a finding of liability against the company, though two cases were settled out of court.

In 2017, the news report notes, concerns about the P320’s risk of firing when dropped led Sig Sauer to initiate a voluntary upgrade of the gun, including changes to the trigger and striker. Despite these changes, the company maintains that the original design is safe. That same year, the U.S. Army adopted a version of the P320 as its official sidearm in a deal worth more than $500 million, with the Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy also selecting the Sig Sauer pistol for use. The military’s version, known as the M17 and M18, features an external safety.

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