Why are Milwaukee police Sig Sauer guns accidentally going off?

Milwaukee police officers' guns are going off when they're not supposed to.

It happened again Saturday, Sept. 10. It's something that is happening all over the country.

All sworn Milwaukee police officers are required to carry the Sig Sauer P320 9mm gun. You're paying for it. Its history of problems isn't hard to find.

So why are police departments still using it? FOX6 found at least one possible answer when examining records.

Saturday's investigation started with a hit-and-run. Police said one of their holstered guns fired off a round, hitting another officer in the leg.

"This isn’t the first time, and we do have major concerns about the duty weapon," said Andrew Wagner, Milwaukee Police Association.

The Milwaukee Police Association notified the city it planned to sue to remove the gun in 2021 after an officer was hurt in July 2020. Police said a holstered gun went off after a brief struggle.

"We don't know why," said then-Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.

This was all we could get from Morales.

"There are a number of different variables we have to look at in that incident," he said.

MPD had just switched to the weapon in 2019. The union counts at least four "accidental discharges" since, and every single sworn officer has one of these weapons. That's more than 1,600 guns.

"We just expect the city to provide us with safe firearms that aren’t going to fire into our partners," said Wagner.

FOX6 News asked for an interview with current Chief Jeffrey Norman. MPD said no. The department would only say there's been "multiple unexplained accidental discharges."

Federal lawsuits show the problem goes beyond Milwaukee.

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There are at least 19 open lawsuits filed against Sig Sauer just in federal court across the country and us territories. All but three claim injuries from being shot by a P320. Ten of those suits involved active or retired law enforcement officers; two from the same police department in Massachusetts and two federal agents.

Sig Sauer said they fixed the problem in 2017 with a voluntary upgrade. The lawsuits claim Sig Sauer knew that their product was defective and the upgrade didn't fix the problem.

At least 15 of the lawsuits claim deceptive marketing.

"I think a lot of it lies, obviously, with Sig Sauer, and they’re marketing that way and the cities are buying it that way, then yes," said Wagner.

FOX6 received no response from Sig Sauer or the City Attorney's Office.

"My chief concern is the safety of Milwaukee police officers," said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

Mayor Johnson said he didn't know about the lawsuit notice.

"I want to see recommendations from police that have the safety of police officers front and center," said Johnson. "That is what I think the most important thing is."

While city leaders explore options, when it comes to weapons, Milwaukee police officers only have one.

Mayor Johnson said he planned to speak with Chief Norman about the issue later in the week.

Officials with the Milwaukee Police Department did say they're concerned about safety and exploring legal options.

As for the officer whose gun went off, he was placed on administrative duty. The other officer was able to return home to recover.