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Safety Warning/Service Bulletin Safariland 6070 Raptor™ holster for SIG P220/P226 and SIG P228/P229

July 01, 2008

Summary

In June of 2008, an officer in Bridgeport Connecticut accidentally re-holstered a loaded SIG P229 pistol into a Safariland Raptor holster model 6070-744, with the hammer cocked in the single action mode. The pistol discharged in the holster resulting in a non serious injury.

Accident Investigation

Technicians at Safariland have studied this matter extensively. The Safariland holster, model 6070 for the SIG SAUER pistols, P220/P226 and P228/P229, require a middle finger locking device with an upper and lower cam, (refer to Figure below).

The cams are required to engage the trigger guard of the pistol upon initial holstering and to move the locking arm to the outside This allows the pistol and trigger guard to enter the holster, before snapping back into position and locking the weapon from being rotated rearward. Both cams are required for the listed holsters to accommodate the dimensional variations of the SIG pistols manufactured under the same model designations. Under certain conditions, such as when the weapon is re-holstered in an abrupt manner, the middle finger locking arm is displaced with extra energy and it returns with additional force. There is a slight interference caused by the upper cam touching the front side of the trigger, when the hammer is cocked and the pistol is in the single action mode. The cam is angled such that when it snaps back in place and touches the front side of the cocked trigger, it propels the trigger slightly in a rearward direction. This interference is not sufficient to maintain contact with the trigger and pull it all the way back to the firing position. However, the bumping action of the trigger with the returning finger locking arm, combined with the simultaneous rapid downward motion of the pistol, can impart enough force to the trigger to cause the trigger to move back under inertia and disengage the hammer from the sear. SIG pistols, as well as most other modern firearms have a firing pin safety device that helps to prevent such "inertial" firings. The firing pin safety device is designed to be moved out of the path of the firing pin by pulling the trigger to the most rearward position, while simultaneously releasing the hammer from the sear. The actions of the human body are such that the trigger finger cannot release the trigger as fast as the hammer can fall and strike the firing pin into the primer of the loaded shell. With an inertial release of the hammer, such as the case of a dropped pistol or the situation described above, the trigger return spring immediately moves the trigger forward after the sear has released the hammer and the spring loaded firing pin safety plunger immediately moves back into a position to try and prevent the firing pin from striking the shell. The two mechanisms are truly in a race to see which one can have control over the end result of the firing pin. If the firing pin safety plunger is well maintained, clean, properly lubricated, and is working smoothly, it can usually block the firing pin in an inertial type release of the hammer from the sear. If the action of the firing pin plunger is retarded in any manner for instance by a weak spring, dirt or old lubricant, it is not likely able to prevent an inertial firing of the weapon. Technicians at Safariland used a standard SIG P229 pistol loaded with a primed only shell. The pistol was placed in a single action mode with the hammer cocked back. It was repeatedly slammed into a Raptor 6070 holster. Numerous attempts were required to cause the hammer to fall. A count was made of each event that the hammer fell but the weapon did not fire. The weapon fired on the 14th hammer drop. The timing of the hammer fall and the return of the firing pin safety block is clearly separated by milliseconds.

In conclusion, Safariland has confirmed that an accidental discharge with a SIG P229 pistol and a Safariland 6070 can occur if all three of the following conditions are met during the same event:

  1. The operator fails to de-cock the pistol before re-holstering.
  2. The weapon is re-holstered in an abrupt manner.
  3. The timing of the firing pin safety device is such that it allows an inertial firing of the pistol.

It should be noted that Safariland has manufactured thousands of this model holster for SIGs, since 2001 and this accident is the first and only to be reported.

Action to be taken

This action concerns only Safariland Raptor holster model 6070 for the SIG P220/P226 and SIG P228/P229 pistols. Inspect your holster to see if it fits these criteria. If it has two cams as pictured in figure 1, you should return it to Safariland, at your earliest convenience, for proper modification. Until your holster can be upgraded, you should do the following to prevent an accidental discharge:

  1. Strictly follow the safety guidelines of both SIGARMS and Safariland operating manuals and de-cock a loaded pistol before attempting to re-holster it.
  2. Thoroughly clean and inspect the firing pin safety plunger in the slide of your pistol and insure that it is clean, lubricated with a fine oil, and is working smoothly before reassembling.
  3. Avoid jamming or quickly forcing the pistol into the holster when re-holstering.


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