A New Hampshire gunmaker is denying allegations by a Maine detective that one of its pistols is defective and prone to misfiring.

Somerset County Sheriff’s Deputy David Cole sued Sig Sauer in July, alleging he was shot by a defective handgun that the company has vigorously marketed to law enforcement agencies across the country despite being aware of problems with the weapon. Cole was executing a search warrant in 2022, he said, when his holstered striker-fired P320 pistol went off without any contact. The bullet went through his right thigh and lodged in his ankle.

Cole’s complaint, which was transferred from state to federal court last week, said there are more than a hundred others across the country who have had a P320 unintentionally discharge.

In its nearly 40-page response filed on Tuesday, Sig Sauer denied allegations that their pistol was defective, unsafe or lacked safety mechanisms found in other, similar guns.

The company denied the complaint’s categorizations of its safety manual and advertisements, including one advertisement in 2017 that said the company was voluntarily upgrading the P320 to comply with regulatory standards. Cole’s lawsuit says this was a false promise because there are no standards and no agency governing the manufacturing of firearms.

Sig Sauer said these messages were used out of context, industry standards do apply to gun-making, and that the P320 has “satisfied the relevant industry standards for abusive handling, including drop fire, in place at the time the pistols were manufactured.”


The company’s attorneys did not respond to questions Wednesday about industry standards for gun manufacturing.

Sig Sauer’s court filings also disagreed with the complaint’s description of the P320 – how it’s built, how it works, and particularly the claim that the gun is prone to misfiring without trigger contact.

“Just like every other firearm, the P320 model pistol is designed to fire if the trigger is pulled,” the company stated.

Sig Sauer said other courts have dismissed similar claims because they were “unsupported and could not be replicated.” In one case, a police officer agreed to drop his claims because an expert said the only way the gun could fire is “through trigger actuation,” court documents state. A judge dismissed two other cases, the company states, because the plaintiffs’ evidence was not reliable.

Attorneys did not respond to a request Wednesday for specific information about those cases.

David A. Cole, center, a deputy with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, filed a lawsuit against New Hampshire gunmaker Sig Sauer, alleging that one of its widely distributed P320 pistols unintentionally discharged while Cole was on duty in 2022, shooting him in the leg. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Cole’s attorneys said in July that they were aware of at least 120 other incidents of unintentional discharge of a P320. Their complaint described the circumstances of at least 60 of these incidents, involving sheriff’s deputies, police officers, corrections officers, federal agents and civilians.


Cole’s attorneys cited one incident in February 2016 when a Michigan officer was driving in a snowstorm and his fully holstered gun went off. Sig Sauer wrote that an investigation by the local sheriff’s office showed the gun discharged as a result of a seatbelt object becoming entangled with the pistol area of the trigger.

A year later, Cole’s complaint says, another Michigan law enforcement officer’s gun unintentionally discharged, striking a school teacher’s neck. Sig Sauer said it was their belief that this incident didn’t involve a P320 pistol.

Sig Sauer acknowledged and responded to each incident. The company said it was aware of most of the incidents, but only as “allegations.” Some incidents, the company said, were actually the result of someone inadvertently pulling a trigger.

Cole’s attorney, Michael Bigos, said Wednesday that he was “struck” the company addressed each case, stating the incidents were the result of mishandling, inadvertent trigger pulls or other factors aside from the gun’s make.

“Instead of simply denying facts regarding over 100 other similar incidents, we are surprised that Sig chose to blame dozens of victims for the same thing happening to so many law enforcement officers,” Bigos said.

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