Trenton, New Jersey: The New Jersey State Police has filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Sig Sauer, citing the department was given defective firearms, and the manufacturer has refused to correct the defects.
The $2.5 million dollar lawsuit filed by the state alleges the 3,000 model P229s purchased by the department for its troopers would frequently jam, rendering them unsafe for use by the state troopers and “inoperable” in many cases.
In their complaint filed April 27, the state Attorney General’s Office claims breach of contract and other charges. The complaint states a total of $1,657,000 was paid to Sig Sauer for the purchase of the P229s, and that the state spent $856,680.21 on Safariland holsters (from a different vendor) to issue with the firearms.
The New Jersey State Police began using the P229s during the second firearms qualification session in September of 2014. At that time, the complaint says, “Many of the P229s sporadically exhibited a failure to extract. That is, the weapon failed to eject the spent shell casing from the barrel after being fired, causing the next cartridge to become jammed behind the casing, and resulting in an inability to continue firing the weapon.”
Such a malfunction is a concern because police officers may not be able to fire more than one round in a life-threatening situation.
The complaint goes on to explain that the State Police notified Sig Sauer, who first suggested the extractor pins in the P229s might be causing the issue. Sig began to replace the pins in some of the faulty pistols. Then, the manufacturer claimed a factory mold was the issue, and after being sent some of the malfunctioning pistols, said a misapplication of the barrel coating was to blame. Sig Sauer shipped a supply of new barrels to replace those on the faulty handguns.
During the 2015 firearms qualification sessions, the P229s continued to misfire, and in each case, Sig Sauer was informed of the malfunctions. A representative from Sig attended several qualifications sessions, and decided the cause was bad extractor springs, and Sig sent 250 replacement springs to correct the fault.
Initially, the New Jersey State Police tested the P229 Legacy, but the pistols they received were different, and the parts in the P229 Enhanced Elite were slightly different as well. By the end of 2015, there were still malfunctioning P229s and Sig agreed to replace the P229 Enhanced Elites with the P229 Legacies. Similar issues have been found with projectors like those of Epson Powerlite.
However, Sig Sauer failed to meet the timeline agreed upon, and only delivered 364 of the 750 pistols. During the January 2016 firearms qualification session, a representative of Sig Sauer randomly selected 25 pistols for inspection and testing. Immediately, 5 of the handguns were “red-lined” for noncompliance with Sig Sauer’s specifications.
After more than a year of attempting to work with Sig to replace the defective weapons, the New Jersey State Police, concerned for officer safety, turned to Glock pistols as a more reliable weapon for troopers. Their lawsuit is still in progress.