What’s the Deal with the SIG P320 Exploding and Firing “Un-Commanded”?

Social media is very excited these days about “exploding” SIG 320s…so let’s consider what might actually be happening.

Of course, this discussion is invariably clouded by the fact that the P320 did have a legitimate drop-safety problem a few years ago. It was fixed, but many people don’t bother to distinguish between that issue and other alleged malfunctions. So are SIGs really exploding right and left, or is this a case of social media attention making a typical number of incidents with a variety of causes look like a huge trend?


  1. Nice review, however:
    The big current issue I see about the SIG P320 is allegations that there have been dozens of incidents of the pistol firing without the trigger being pulled. See for example this article from March 29 of this year about a lawsuit:


    The 320 does fully cock the striker when the slide moves back after firing, which means that the trigger pull does not do any of the work of cocking the striker. This somewhat different from most striker fired pistols that use some energy from the trigger being pulled to finish cocking the striker.

  2. 1) Doesn’t Mr. M also have a P365 in his armory? As featured in a previous video.

    2) Ian Hogg: “Many handguns have a superfluity of safety devices when the best safety device is a well-trained user.” (Quoting from memory, I’m sure I have conveyed the correct meaning if not the exact words.)

  3. SIG320 has no passive trigger safety… It might be by the cause of its trigger bar moves in opposite direction with trigger… This might be thought as creating a “Counter Weight” in case of a muzzle up drop but… Though the trigger having space to move backward… The trigger bar does not…

    Excepting the steel housing… All pieces of modular fire assembly seems based on MIM Production… Though this method being an excellent way to produce rather tiny parts… In case of an unnoticed issue in operation causes unexpected malfunctions in usage… Quality control during process and accepting the batches coming from provider should be made very precisely… MIM operation begins an injected metal dust with bondage and ends up usable pieces being shiriked nearly one fourth in starting size…

    The pistol contains a considerable massed decocking bar to work when magazine out and dismount latch is rotated but… Being not connected with this actuating latch… It simply props on the latch by the force of its spring… In case of a muzzle up drop with magazine out and chamber loaded… The gun is free to discharge if the drop discards the passive firing pin blog…

    Thinking the double teeth sear in case of a muzzle up drop seems rather optimistic since… Striker acts linear and sear acts rotational… Not similar to usual half cock safety…


  4. As an FFL, I happily sell Taurus G3Cs every weekend – b/c Taurus did resolve their uncommanded firing issue, after a few poor Brazilian cops took it in the leg. I’m not stocking the 320 – it’s not worth my time to give a 20 minute explanation of the issues when I can push a PSA Compact Dagger across the table for $330 out the door. I may stock the 365 at some point now that someone’s got a Ruger carbine magwell for it.

  5. I can’t recall any mass-issue weapons that didn’t require modifications to the original design, no matter how anally-retentive the fielding process might have been. Something always sneaks through…

    About all you can do, as a technologist or armorer, is look at the track record, do your best to avoid the really major errors, and grit your teeth. Because everyone is going to forget how many times the weapon yours is replacing had to be modified and have fixes applied in the field.

    Serious question, here: Has there ever been a mass-issue weapon that didn’t have to have modification and fixing, after being let out of design phase and into the wild as a mass-issue item?

    I can’t think of any. Ever.

    • For that, you’d pretty much have to go back to the days of muzzle-loaders.

      Was the English “dog lock” a useful addition to the “French” lock?

      Was the “fixed” trigger plus trigger guard on the Colt Walker a response to safety issues with the Paterson’s springloaded “folding” trigger, or was it just a way to make the revolver mechanically simpler and more rugged in combat service? Note that Paterson-type triggers had been around on things like “muff” pistols for most of the 18th and into the early 19th centuries, with few complaints.

      Speaking of Colts, was the grip safety on the 1911 really needed, or just there because Army Ordnance (or more precisely the cavalry) demanded it? The FN HP seems to have gotten along perfectly well without it for the last century.

      It’s worth noting that H.P. White tests in the 1970s showed that the 1911, the HP, and/or almost any other self-loading pistol could be fired accidentally, if you (a) dropped it at least 30 feet onto concrete and (b) it landed on its muzzle. Inertia did the rest, and it took a pretty tough “firing pin safety” to prevent the discharge; most broke under the G loading.

      The M1 carbine had only two major changes that could be defined as safety related. The original “flat” bolt (with the scallop on top) was replaced by the full-round version because the flat bolt tended to crack over time and use.

      And the original pushbutton safety (similar to those on so many pump-action shotguns even today) was replaced by the flip-lever because soldiers were hitting the magazine button when trying to release the safety, and dropping the magazine at the wrongest possible time.

      Of course, if you have a stiffer-than-average flip safety and your trigger finger slips off it and onto the trigger, BANG. The one-and-only AD of my entire career happened with an M1 carbine in exactly that way. The divot in the ground six feet in front of me was a sharp reminder to keep the muzzle down when doing such things.

      “Safety issues” are often cited as the reason for design changes. But a closer look may indicate that the motivation may have been more “make it cheaper and faster” than “safety first”.

      clear ether


    • Serious question, here: Has there ever been a mass-issue weapon that didn’t have to have modification and fixing, after being let out of design phase and into the wild as a mass-issue item?
      I bet this question might have counter-intuitive response. Very poorly performing design. So much that decision maker elected to get rid off rather than fix attempting.
      Potentially m/40 http://modernfirearms.net/en/machineguns/sweden-machineguns/knorr-bremse-m40-eng/ might be one, but without knowing Svenska I am unable to uncover if some changes were applied during its’ short service life or not.

    • I both agree and disagree, but that is dependent on semantics. I have followed the Glock design from its origin as the Austrian army P80, sold elsewhere as the G17 Gen 1, including to the Swedish military where I worked with it as an armorer. Has it been modified? Absolutely. Were the modifications far reaching and caused by safety issues? To my knowledge, to some extent, but only after literally millions of pistols had been sold to military and law enforcement world wide.. As Gen 1, 2 and 3 are parts-compatible, one could argue that the changes were cosmetically and production-oriented. With Gen 4 and 5 the backward compatibility is no longer present, but the general concept is still the same (even though shape of several parts have changed significantly. Is a G17 Gen 5 the same as a Gen 1? In concept, yes. Regarding compatibility, no. It all depends on your point of veiw.

      • The Glock design is basically the “lowest common denominator” theory as applied to handguns.

        Here in the US, we have a thing in wildlands firefighting called a “fire shelter”.


        Basically, it’s a reflective shelter you carry on your belt; get caught in a fire, you deploy it. Training for how to use one takes maybe an hour? It’s stupidly simple; anyone can use it with minimal training.

        That’s what the Glock is for self-defense: Something that is designed to be stupid-simple and effective for self-defense. It’s not a “pistol for experts”, it’s a “pistol for everyone“. Including the absolute lowest common denominator of pistol users and use-cases. It’s meant for that rear-echelon staff weenie to have on his or her gear for the ultimate exigency, and because of that, it’s basically got nothing between “carried” and “killing”. You’re meant to use the holster as the safety; if you draw, someone or something is meant to be shot. Period.

        That’s why I think it’s the ideal military pistol. I had way too many people screw up getting a Beretta M9 into operation. Way, way too many; as a trainer, it was incredible to me how many people couldn’t wrap their heads around the whole safety thing, or the different trigger pulls. You’d put a staff officer with a friggin’ doctorate degree into the fight, and they’d sit there for five minutes pulling the trigger incessantly while flinching, expecting a bang. And, never getting one.

        Mostly, it was inexperience with pistols that did it to them. Several times, I took some of these people out and desensitized them to pistols with one of my Glocks; that was always a much less painful experience, because it’s a binary thing: Is the pistol holstered…? Yes? It’s safe. Is it drawn? Now you’re ready to kill the bad guys…

        It’s a much simpler use-paradigm for the tyro. Maybe not for takedown of the pistol itself, but for everything else related? It’s the fire shelter of pistols…

  6. My buddy owns a Police Supply store, Glocks are still long and by far the number one sidearm for L.E. depts. Glock is very aggressive in this market. SIG, (and yes, I do like SIG overall), beat Glock in the military contract by under cutting them by $97 pre pistol. (The contract was basically written for the SIG, but that’s another story.) The cheapest, not best pistol won. Of note: when the British SAS retired their Browning Hi Powers, what replaced them? Glock 17s. Just saying.

  7. Sounds not syncing with video

    Not sure if it was a up loaded video , YouTube , or Apple TV I was watching it on but sound was not syncing with video when I watch this episode .

    Thanks for everything you’ve done and continue to do really appreciate the videos been a real education and we reducation over all these years

  8. Could this not be a business opportunity; your 80 + years old, simply throw the “grenade” at the kids who got you worried. Could we not work on a detontator at 29 degrees for the entire mag, I don’t know in Mississippi or something.

    Increase sales.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.