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 (30)
No. 1-30
spd522
spd522

Anyone else smell the bullshit in her story?

Moktor
Moktor

The problem was a drop issue, which was corrected. I don't understand how this gun can fire in a holster, but if it did then Sig is in deep shit. I carry it daily myself, but in reading this, all the other examples of AD were drops. This doesn't say she dropped it. it sounds like there would have to be access in that SIG holster that allowed the belt to depress the trigger. Not a gun issue, but a holster issue. I dunno, we don't have all the info.

Marxest
Marxest

I don't know how much success individuals have had suing gun manufacturers. It's an uphill battle for sure.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

I don't think this story is bullshit. When i bought my sig p220 and a drop leg thumb holster, i got scared when i reholstered the gun and the slide drew back about an inch. That was the last time i used that holster with that gun.

thebronze
thebronze

Yep.

LEO0301
LEO0301

I didn't think they allowed felons to possess firearms in California?!

KMdale
KMdale

My only opinion is inspect your equipment. I couldn't afford in-depth testing of all my firearms. I could afford a 2-hour inspection by a qualified gunsmith.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301 Well dumbfuck, CA isn't hard on pistols, just rifles (because Ronald Reagan was a racist son of a bitch who was scared of black people with rifles).

Or were you not aware that Republicans were responsible for some of the most restrictive gun measures that the country has today?

Snowdog
Snowdog

CA is terrible on handguns.

LEO0301
LEO0301

I thought felons or people who are mentally ill weren't allowed to possess firearms in California?!

Snowdog
Snowdog

This story is confusing. Why would you remove your holster from your belt? Was she unholstering the weapon? Because it say she removed her firearm from her belt, which makes no sense. What is the tooth of a holster? Holsters have slots, or loops, but teeth? This article should have been reviewed by someone with some knowledge of the equipment. I hope the author reads this and can offer some clarification. It says she fed the belt through the holster's first tooth. What does that mean? I have been to many firearms training sessions in LE and never once were we asked to remove our holsters from the belt.

LJR
LJR

Slide fire sucks. Go with a hammer.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301 They're not, but I'm of sound mind and body, plus I'm a veteran. Pistols are easy to obtain.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Snowdog Have you found it hard to obtain a pistol in CA? Do you have a record or something? Genuinely asking, because no one i know has had trouble getting a pistol.

Lots of trouble with rifles though.

DocRyder
DocRyder

“At no time during this incident did she touch the trigger, which at all times was inside and covered by a SIG-manufactured holster,” Amazing what can be learned by reading something other than the title...

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

SIG is going to loose big time here.

dsmarine
dsmarine

Dig should lose the suit AND forced to find every defective firearm and repair it free including ALL shipping costs!

dsmarine
dsmarine

Sorry for the bad spelling in my previous post. I usually check before I post/ submit.

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Sounds like Sig is "on the hook" for this one and several more. Imagine the logistics of recalling half a million pistols. Imagine the costs for transportation, having the parts made in that quantity, and the skilled labor necessary to install and test the upgraded pistols, plus the mere shipping, storage and cataloging of them. If officers who need those weapons daily have no other weapon what would they do in the meanwhile? An operation like this would probably take at least 6 months if not longer if the personnel and parts were available.....Turn-around-time would be excessive..

Britz
Britz

Has anyone done their research on this weapon. The DoD reported multiple malfunctions to Sig in 2017. The report sites 200 or more malfunctions with this weapon in 2016. Most malfunctions were corrected for the military version, but the faulty weapon was still sold to the public. The drop fire issue is the most well known issue simply because it was bright to light when a CT officer sued Sig when his fully holster weapon fell and shot him in the knee. That lawsuit is also what brought on the voluntary “upgrade.” The lawsuit was demanding a full on recall but Sig down played the issues and issued the “upgrade.”

“According to a study conducted in 2017 and released earlier this month, the Army’s new service pistol, a military variant of the Sig Sauer P320, has exhibited a number of persistent deficiencies and reliability issues through DoD testing, including but not limited to the drop test failures Sig has already announced voluntary recalls to correct.”

Just like any other company, they would rather deal with a suit than recall thousands of weapon and take the chance of losing the nearly 600 million dollar contract with the military. 10 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the military contracts they’ve gained.

Britz
Britz

After doing a little research on the agency, this appears to be an agency issued weapon and the holster was the Sig holster issued with the p320.. paddle holster.

AZBIGDOG
AZBIGDOG

Sorry, but kalifa is a state that will not allow citizens to buy any firearm they don't like and have extensive lists of ones that are prohibited and ones you can buy. They require manufacturers to even perform safety tests over and beyond what they have done to begin with. I have heard some manufacturers have quit selling to dealers in kalifa due to having to redo every test plus with any modification of the original pistol. And to top it all off no one is allowed more that a 10 round magazine except LEOs. Seems a shame that as a citizen I would be less equal to a LEO when it comes to having to protect myself.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@AZBIGDOG Do you live in california?

I do, and its easy to buy a pistol. If it's hard for you, you might have a criminal background.

Heezels
Heezels

I agree with HCD that her story isn’t bullshit. Apparently there was a lag time between which pre upgraded pistols were sold em masse. Yeah, the company needs to bite the bullet on this one. They’ve created a legitimate health hazard.

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.

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.

NoSpecialRights4Cops
NoSpecialRights4Cops

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

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.

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.