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Will drop safety standards change following the Sig P320 controversy?




A video showing the Sig Sauer P320 — the pistol design selected as the standard sidearm for the U.S. Army — discharging as it hit the ground divided the gun industry last week as many either hurled accusations at or tirelessly defended the gun maker. For its part, Sig reaffirmed its adherence to all industry safety standards in addition to offering a “voluntary upgrade” for the civilian P320.

With all the talk surrounding safety standards and whether or not the P320 fell through the cracks, it begs the question: what are the industry’s standards? To answer, we turn to the Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute.

Founded in 1926 at the request of the federal government, SAAMI creates and promotes technical, performance and safety standards for firearms, ammo and their components. The organization is accredited as a standards developer by the American National Standards Institute, the U.S. representative for the International Standardization Organization. SAAMI and ANSI together establish standards the gun industry uses as a baseline tool.

While manufacturers must volunteer to join SAAMI, which Sig has, membership requires following the organization’s regulations. The gun maker notably stated that the P320 design met SAAMI standards for drop testing, which requires the handgun — loaded with a primed case and magazine full of dummy rounds — fall 4 feet onto a 1-inch thick rubber mat backed by concrete at six specific, 90-degree angles to determine if the gun will discharge.While the design meets those standards, the video shows that the gun will discharge if it impacts the ground on the rear of the slide and frame when dropped at a 30-degree angle.

Andrew Tuohy, who introduced the Omaha Outdoors video, said his results proved why adherence to checklist style tests may not serve the industry’s best interests. “I do believe the P320 will pass the full SAAMI/ANSI test, but this simply indicates the inadequacy of that test,” he told Guns.com in an email.

“As for the various drop test standards, the pistol simply isn’t susceptible to drop fires when dropped at those perfect (0/90 degree) angles because they either don’t induce trigger movement or the slide comes out of battery too far to fire immediately upon impact,” Tuohy said. “This is the problem with mindlessly following a standard protocol without understanding why the protocol exists.”

It’s unclear if the industry has plans to expand the drop safety test to include more requirements. The trade association for the gun industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which both Sig and Guns.com are members, declined to comment, saying SAAMI would be a better source.

SAAMI executive director Richard Patterson explained that SAAMI must follow strict protocols enforced by ANSI and ISO to develop standards. “Part of that process includes a mandatory regular reaffirmation of each standard. This requirement ensures the existing ANSI/SAAMI standards continue to evolve to meet the needs of the marketplace,” he said, adding, “ANSI/SAAMI does not create unique tests for each individual product design in the marketplace.”

Whether or not the dilemma the Sig P320 drop safety issue reveals will influence change is also unclear, but Tuohy has his own take on what the gun industry could do to improve safety standards.

“Ideally the various organizations (Cal DOJ, SAAMI, US Army) which set drop test standards — and other test standards as well — would talk to each other to study how more modern pistols might fail this test and come up with a more comprehensive protocol which addresses additional angles,” Tuohy told Guns.com. “The organizations could then come out of this discussion with a single unified drop test so that there would be far less ambiguity as to whether or not a pistol could be considered ‘drop safe.’”

Tuohy went on to explain that he feels modern testing should also require the use of common duty holsters as well as unsecured pistols and that tests should ignore the presence of manual safeties.

“Essentially, they should come at this from a ‘worst case scenario’ mindset rather than the current mindset which seems to have set extremely minimal standards. Furthermore, the organizations should reconvene every X number of years (to be determined by them) to evaluate new pistol designs and whether or not their standards need to be updated,” he said.

Regardless of whether the industry changes the way in which it tests products, Sig has determined that the P320 needs an upgrade. Stopping short of calling it a recall, the company issued a press release Tuesday stating that commercial P320 pistols will be eligible for an “enhancement” to solve the drop issue.

Sig publicly stated that the quick fix, issued just a few days after being alerted by Omaha Outdoors to the drop problem, was the result of input from law enforcement, government and military customers that pushed “a number of enhancements in function, reliability and overall safety including drop performance.” Those enhancements are what the company is now offering as the voluntary upgrade to its customers.

While Sig attempts to correct the current batch of P320s, Tuohy said he’s not completely convinced the gun maker didn’t already know the drop issue existed. “I don’t think it slipped past Sig. If I could figure it out in about half an hour with a $600 consumer grade high speed camera, there is no way their advanced testing laboratory missed this over however many years of R&D and over three years of production,” he said. “The fact that they had a fix for the M17 pistol which was, literally overnight, announced as a fix for the P320 is further proof that this was a known issue to them.”

For its part, Sig maintains that the safety of its products and its customers is top priority. “Sig Sauer is committed to our approach on innovation, optimization, and performance, ensuring we produce the finest possible products,” said Ron Cohen, Sig president and CEO, in statement. “Durability, reliability and safety, as well as end-user confidence in the Sig Sauer brand are the priorities for our team.”

The gun maker is set to announce specific details on the P320 voluntary upgrade program Monday.

Source: http://www.guns.com/2017/08/14/drop-standards-sig-saur-p320/


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Naples Gun School - 5 stars  I've been a repeat customer for FFL transfers with Naples Gun School for quite some time. Dave's customer service and knowledge are second to none. After speaking with Dave for a few moments, you start to feel as if you have known him for quite a while. I look forward to continuing my business when the new location opens. - Robert Boyette

I really enjoyed the class yesterday, and it was very nice to meet David and Ginny. David is very knowledgeable, helpful, and best of all: has a sense of humor. I was more nervous than I thought I would be because this was the first time in my life that I've ever shot a semi-automatic weapon. David lives and breathes this stuff and his presence and ease with weapons was very calming for me when I was at the range. Ginny was also very supportive throughout the whole class. Thank you guys so much! It's a pleasure and I will be back to purchase supplies from you! - Shenandoah Webb

Naples Gun School - 5 starsTook the 3/31/18 class and loved it! Dave was very informative and his laid back teaching style made the 4 hour class fly by. Would recommend this class to anyone interested in a CWP. Thanks Dave and Ginny! - Kelly Gardner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars I’d like to thank The Naples Gun School for the time and effort they took in order to help me become a more responsible hand gun owner. By taking your CCWP class on 3.31.2018, I’m honestly a better person today than I was yesterday. Your course is not only interesting, but informative as well. The time we had together flew by. Throughout the whole process, they were calm and patient with every student. Especially after everyone seemed to drop their cartridges on the floor during the revolver training portion of the program. I highly recommend Naples Gun School to anyone that’s interested in becoming a CCWP holder. And I definitely will use their services by purchasing all my gun needs through their establishment. David & Ginny, thank you so much. I had a wonderful time!Chris Shaffer


Naples Gun School - 5 stars This class kept me very interested, informed and didn’t even realize 4 hours went by! Would recommend everyone to take this class! - Douglas Shaffer


Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Lurybella Lora Trejo


Naples Gun School - 5 stars Used Naples Gun School for a FFL transfer and after talking with David decided to take his CCW class and am glad I did. David is very knowledgeable and his class is small so you receive one on one training in the classroom and the range. I Highly recommend Naples Gun School. You won’t find a better class in Naples. Thank you David for a great experience. - Michael Ferrarelli


Naples Gun School - 5 stars Thorough, energetic, knowledgeable, PATIENT, and even entertaining at times! As an Educator, I know it can be daunting sometimes to teach the same material over and over, but David certainly didn't show it. You can tell how passionate he is about what he does.
I researched multiple options around town in choosing the provider for my CCW class. David & Ginny as a husband & wife team, provided the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in answering all of my questions thoroughly and promptly before even signing up. And somehow, Naples Gun School was also able to provide the LOWEST COST in town!
As a female and brand new to guns, David & Ginny made me feel safe, secure, and comfortable. THANK YOU! A+++ -
Jessica Payne


I took the class on 3/10/18 and I was blown away. David and his wife are excellent people and David is an excellent instructor. The class is excellent and exceeded my expectations with information on the laws of Florida, and as well to carry properly, load the weapons as well as placement of holding weapons. If your looking to buy a weapon he is the man to go to. I personally bought my firearm from and he equipped me with great knowledge during my time there. I give this class 100 out of 100 and highly recommended. David is a great guy and instructor with many years of experience!! - Cory Duffy


Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Larry Papola


Naples Gun School - 5 stars Awesome class. Great preparation for firearm handling and concealed carry details. - Jeffrey Alty


Naples Gun School - 5 stars Very informative. Was made to feel very comfortable. Had some prior gun knowledge, left with a lot more. I highly recommend anyone thinking about getting their permit go there. - Sara Bunker


Naples Gun School - 5 stars I attended the conceal carry and gun safety training class on Feb 17th, 2018. David was very knowlegable and provided a lot of information that I think should be part of any gun safety or conceal carry training. He was very professional and took the time after the class and before we met at the gun range to answer several questions I had as well as show me a few different gun options they sell. I highly recommend David and Naples gun shop & school for anyone wanting to seriously learn what they need to before purchasing or using a firearm. Thank you, David! - Amanda Daves


Thanks again! Not only was is very informative, but fun as well. So glad we came to y'all for the class. - Sara Bunker


I had a great experience and your class was very informative. Thank you - Robby Bunker


Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great experience, willing to give one on one instruction and very patient for beginners! - Tiffany Baker


Had a great experience at the CCW class. Dave explained the information throughly and made it very easy to understand. I would definitely recommend the class to anyone interested.. -Scott Sioma


Naples Gun School - 5 starsGreat class!!! David really takes his time to show you how to feel Comfortable with the fire arm. - Alonzo Gonzalez


Enjoyed the class very much! It was well taught and all the information was presented professionally and was easy to understand. I was nervous at first but our instructor put our minds at ease. Would definitely recommend! - Tony Aceto


Naples Gun School - 5 starsEnjoyed the class, everything well explained. The David(instructor )explain in a way everybody understand and in a dynamic way. I will recommend it without a doubt. Thanks guys! - Joel Davila


I had an amazing experience in the CCW class that David teaches! This class was so informative and interesting. The way David presented everything made it extremely fun and easy to retain. The size of the class was 12 people, so we all got one on one training and I feel it was the perfect size of class. I learned so many important things that I never would have even thought about without this class. Ginny was also so wonderful, and so supportive when I was nervous. I had so many questions that were answered, and the amount of knowledge Ginny and Davis shared with the class was astounding. I feel very confident now about gun safety and self defense and I would highly recommend this class!! David and Ginny know their stuff!! -Senae Hughes

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