Deputy Sues Gun Manufacturer Over Shattered Femur

A Loudoun County deputy said her SIG Sauer P320 discharged as she was removing her holster from her duty belt.

Loudoun County, VA – A Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy has filed a lawsuit against SIG Sauer alleging that her fully-holstered duty weapon discharged and sent a bullet into her leg.

The incident occurred on Feb. 7, when 37-year-old Loudoun County Deputy Marcie Vadnais went to the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy to attend a general instructor course, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reported.

In accordance with academy policy, Deputy Vadnais began removing her firearm from her belt when she arrived.

According to the lawsuit, as she fed the belt through the holster’s first tooth, her SIG Sauer P320 somehow “fired one nine millimeter bullet, which hit her in the upper right thigh,” the Blast reported.

“At no time during this incident did she touch the trigger, which at all times was inside and covered by a SIG-manufactured holster,” the lawsuit read.

The round shattered the deputy’s femur “in several places” and caused “massive blood loss and other internal injuries,” according to the suit.

Deputy Vadnais, a 7-year veteran of the force, still has shrapnel and bone fragments embedded in her leg. A steel rod now holds her femur in place.

Due to the extent of her injuries, she will likely “have trouble ever running or walking normally again, and may not be able to return to her position as a result,” the lawsuit said.

The deputy said that SIG Sauer misled the public regarding the safety of the P320.

“We’ve designed safety elements into every necessary feature on this pistol,” the gun manufacturer said in an advertisement, according to the deputy’s suit. “From the trigger, to the striker and even the magazine, the P320 won’t fire unless you want it to.”

In April of 2016, the U.S. Army put the P320 through drop testing as part of a potential $580 million contract with SIG Sauer – but there was a problem, CNN reported.

“During drop testing in which an empty primed cartridge was inserted, the striker struck the primer causing a discharge,” the Department of Defense noted in a report, according to CNN.

In order to keep the deal, SIG Sauer fixed the problem by using “lightweight components in the trigger group mechanism,” the report said.

The upgrade was implemented by the time the military ran testing trials on the P320 in April of 2017, but the gun manufacturer continued to sell the pre-upgrade versions of the weapon to the general public for at least four months, according to CNN.

In August of 2017, the company offered to apply the fix for civilians, as well. By that time, over 500,000 pre-upgrade P320s had been sold to the general public.

The “voluntary upgrade” was “presented to the public as purely optional, not urgent, and not mandatory,” Deputy Vadnais’ lawsuit read, according to the Blast.

The program was touted as a means by which “to make existing commercial versions of the P320 ‘better’ by installing a much lighter trigger, and internal disconnect switch, and an improved sear to prevent accidental discharges,” the lawsuit said.

Deputy Vadnais wasn’t the only law enforcement officer who has experienced an unintended discharge of the P320, according to CNN.

In January of 2017, a SWAT team member in Connecticut said that a bullet hit him in the knee when he accidentally dropped his holstered weapon.

A holstered P320 went off when it was dropped inside a New Jersey police station in June of 2017, and another holstered gun discharged in Georgia when a police officer slipped and fell in October of 2017.

On March 29, a SWAT team member in Florida accidentally dropped his holstered weapon as he was leaving his home to respond to a possible hostage situation. The gun sent a bullet into his leg and shattered his tibia near his knee.

Deputy Vadnais is seeking to have SIG Sauer recall the weapon – a move she estimated would cost the gun manufacturer approximately $100 million, the Blast reported.

The deputy otherwise suggested that the company issue an “enhanced, unambiguous warning to all purchasers of the P320 stating that it can fire without a trigger pull in its existing condition.”

Deputy Vadnais is seeking $10 million in damages.

Comments
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Dave_H
Dave_H

I read about this from Gun Tests Magazine. This is a "one off" incident. It has never occurred in testing, and there are no other reports of a similar discharge.

As I understand the incident, it occurred while removing her holstered gun from her belt. Without inspecting the firearm, and the expended shell casing, I wouldn't say for sure, but this sounds more like bad ammo. The only way I can see this happening is that the round's primer was not properly seated, and detonated against the bolt face.

I note that there is no report on an examination of the expended shell casing. There is no case if there is no dimple in the shell casing.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

I'm confusing myself - and I admit, I'm a well known bipolar in my town. I shouldn't even own a rubber band gun. Some days I think I know everything, and claim to also, and I'm also qualified in every walk of life. You boomers think you're so tough and smart, I've got 100 years experience squished into 34 years of young black metro racist pro Obama style liberalism.

NoSpecialRights4Cops
NoSpecialRights4Cops

I haven't carried my unmodified P320compact yet, but just bought a IWB vedder holster for it. Debating now... :-(

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@AZBIGDOG a .45 tactical pistol, huh?

Compensating?

And calm down, I was also Range Safety Officer and Firearms Instructor qualified. It's not that hard.

AZBIGDOG
AZBIGDOG

Really, criminal background? So, let me ask, can you buy a FN 45 Tactical with a 15 round magazine and a threaded barrel? Unless you are a police officer you can't. There are quite a few banned handguns on the kalifa list. Most are very good firearms and safe. As far as the Sig Sauer's they are as safe as any other weapon on the market, unless you buy a fake replica because those will get you killed. I do not live in kalifa, very seldom go to kalifa though I live less than a mile from the kalifa border. As far as easy, it was a joke as far as buying any firearm you can buy in most of the other states by simply walking in, submitting the ID of the state you are living in and buying in and filling out the feds paperwork. A few states require a Firearm ID card issued for you to buy a firearm. A few even require you to wait several days. And a select few will not sell it to you at all if it is on their banned list. kalifa is one. So unless you want to and enjoy the red tape and paperwork and being told what you can and can't buy as far as handguns and rifles are concerned, kalifa is a constitutional violating state and has recently even made it illegal to buy ammunition online and I believe you can not have more than 50 or 500 rounds, was laughing too hard at that one to remember. Oh, and you need to pass background check and pay for it and get a ammo buying card or ID. Of course you are paying for that and more when you do. As well as the extra firearm tax you pay. So, piled higher and deeper, what makes you think it is easy? This is what is easy, walk in present your state issued ID, after picking the firearm you want, fill the 4473 and wait for the check to come back, 15-30 minutes, pay for it and leave with it from the store where you bought it. By the way, veteran, 22 years retired Officer, and certified to teach firearms and run a range.

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