Back in January, Sig Sauer signed a very prestigious and lucrative deal worth $580 million with the US Army to replace the Beretta M9 with Sig Sauer’s P320. A deal that has seemingly put Sig in rival manufactures cross hairs.
Along with Glock’s Government Accountability Office protest launched in February – which is still ongoing – Steyr Arms has also come forward with their own issues regarding Sig Sauer’s P320 handgun.
The P320/M17’s most distinct feature is it’s lower frame. A fiberglass-reinforced, polymer grip-frame module that is, as far as modularity goes, far superior when compared to the Berretta M9.
Not so fast though. . .
See, Steyr Arms is claiming they already hold the patent rights to this chassis system, and here’s an excerpt from their patent entitled, “Pistol, Whose Housing Is Comprised Of Plastic,” which was filed back in 1999, and granted in 2001:
“The pistol comprises a housing composed of plastic and a barrel slide (which contains a barrel and a breech and is guided in the longitudinal direction with respect to the housing) as well as a trigger mechanism. In order to allow plastics technology to be used to a large extent, with high precision and easy assembly, a single multifunction part, which is composed of metal, is inserted removably into the housing, on which multifunction part the guides for the barrel slide are formed and in which the elements of the trigger mechanism are mounted and guided. The multifunction part has a hole which holds the disassembly lever shaft and thus produces the connection between the housing and the multifunction part. Furthermore, a recess for a projection of the multifunction part is provided in the rear wall of the housing.”
Taking a look at the court documents filed by Steyr, it would appear the company has a compelling case, but these types of cases are known for taking months, even years before reaching a settlement. As far as Sig’s new contract with the US Army goes, it’s still too soon to tell what impact this will have. It’s not too soon however to assume that Steyr might just be seeking a large financial settlement from Sig Sauer in return for a licensing agreement. What do you think?