SIG SAUER Sues Attorney Jeffrey Bagnell for Allegedly False and Defamatory Statements About the Safety of the P320 Pistol

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(Jeremy S. for TTAG)

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Last August I wrote about lawsuits filed against SIG SAUER alleging that their ultra-popular P320 striker-fired pistol is prone to “un-commanded discharges.” In plain English, the plaintiffs — many of whom are law enforcement officers — say their P320s “went off,” some allegedly without even being touched.

It’s worth reading that post as a refresher on the questionable circumstances surrounding a number of those lawsuits and the treatment they got when ABC News picked up the story. You can read that post here.

The case primarily highlighted in the ABC News coverage, and a number of others (most, if not all with cops as plaintiffs) were filed by attorney Jeffrey Bagnell, who I spoke to at the time. As I wrote . . .

Bagnell told TTAG that he believes the problem with the striker-fired P320 is an “inadequate sear/striker connection” (he has images he says illustrate this on his website). Bagnell said he thinks the discharges are due to both design and manufacturing flaws on SIG’s part.

Today, SIG filed a lawsuit against Bagnell and his firm alleging that the animated images Bagnell has on his site, as well as statements he’s made about the P320’s sear and striker, are willfully false and defamatory. SIG’s suit says Bagnell’s allegedly inaccurate statements and misrepresentations of the sear and striker were fabricated to create a belief among the public that the P320’s design is inherently unsafe…and to secure more clients for his firm.

SIG P320
Dan Z. for TTAG

Below is SIG’s statement about the lawsuit that was filed today.

Today SIG SAUER Inc. filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the District of New Hampshire against attorney Jeffrey Bagnell and the Bagnell Law Firm, in relation to false and defamatory statements about, and animations of, the P320 model pistol. The animations in question, created by a litigation support firm with no apparent expertise in firearms engineering or design, are published to Mr. Bagnell’s firm website and YouTube channel with the apparent intent to harm SIG SAUER’s reputation.

Specifically, Sig Sauer, Inc. vs. Jeffery S. Bagnell, Esq., LLC and Jeffrey S. Bagnell alleges that Mr. Bagnell has published a plainly false and inaccurate animation of the P320, in an effort to induce a belief in consumers that the P320 is unsafe, and to attract new clients for the Bagnell Law Firm. These falsities and inaccuracies include, among others, “false depictions of key internal components” of the P320, specifically the striker, sear, and striker safety lock and notch. These misrepresentations are then used to support false “assertions about the mechanics of the firearm that are physically impossible” in order to make consumers believe that the P320 can discharge without a trigger pull.

As detailed in the complaint filed in this lawsuit, a basic visual examination of an actual P320 quickly illustrates extensive and flagrant falsities depicted in the animation. The degree of such flagrance is illustrated in this excerpt from the complaint, comparing the depiction of the firearm sear in the animation to an actual P320 sear:

Similar misrepresentations are made in the animation regarding the P320’s striker, striker safety lock, and striker safety notch. The animation even shows separate solid components of the firearm occupying the same space – a physical impossibility – in an effort to support their theory as to how the firearm can discharge without a trigger pull.

SIG SAUER believes that these misrepresentations are willful in nature and is taking action, with the filing of this complaint, to ensure that Mr. Bagnell is not allowed to continue deceiving the public about the safety of the P320 and use such deceptions in an attempt to generate business for his legal practice. SIG SAUER is confident that it will prevail on the merits of this case.

The P320 pistol is the most tested, proven, and successful handgun in recent small arms history. It has endured extremely rigorous testing to become the official sidearm of all branches of the U.S. Military, The Department of Homeland Security, as well as military and law enforcement agencies worldwide. The U.S. Army procurement office recently hailed the P320-based M17/M18 as the “safest, most reliable, most accurate handgun ever procured by the U.S. Military.” With over two million P320’s in service, it is one of the most widely carried firearms in the world today.

Travis Pike for TTAG

I talked to Jeffrey Bagnell late this afternoon and he hadn’t yet heard about SIG’s lawsuit. He said he’d have a statement regarding the suit. We’ll update this post with the statement when we receive it.

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