16 Nov 99

At a Defensive Handgun Course last weekend on the East Coast, we used a local Sheriff’s Dept Range. The Department Training Officer assisted us during the program.

His Department uses SIG 229s in 357SIG caliber. He showed me a new slide modification SIG has quietly invoked, as the result of at least one accident which occurred at this department.

During a training exercise, a department SIG experienced a round going off while half chambered. The cause was traced to the primer being unintentionally dented by the lower part of the bolt face. The bullet apparently nose-dove during feeding, froze in place, and part of the bolt face subsequently dented the primer sufficiently for detonation.

The case (factory hardball) ruptured and blew out the ejection port. The shooter was startled but uninjured. The gun was damaged slightly and out of action in the short term but was later returned to service.

As a result, SIG modified the lower part of the bolt face to preclude such a thing from happening again. The modification consisted of a beveling of the offending edge.

In addition, SIG has modified the left grip panel, so that shooters can use the thumbs-up grip (“flying thumb grip”) without inadvertently pushing upward on the slide-lock lever and prematurely locking the slide to the rear. This was also done as a result of customer input.

I mention this, because it strikes me that, unlike so many other manufactures, SIG didn’t quibble or blame everyone else. They simply fixed the problem, quickly and quietly. If more gun companies simply fixed problems, as SIG did in these cases, instead of insisting that they are perfect and therefor there that couldn’t possibly be a problem, there would be a lot fewer hard feeling on the part of customers. SIG deserves a pat on the back for its responsiveness in these cases.