Why Is The Sig Sauer P320 Illegal In California?

The Sig Sauer P320 is a popular semi-automatic pistol, but it is banned for sale in California. If you’re wondering why you can’t buy a P320 in California, you’re not the only one confused by this prohibition.

In short, the Sig Sauer P320 does not have a manual safety and does not meet California’s strict handgun roster requirements, which mandate certain safety features. But there’s more nuance behind why the P320 is illegal in the Golden State.

Background on California’s Handgun Roster and Safety Requirements

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and one of the ways the state regulates handguns is through its Handgun Roster. The roster is a list of handguns that are deemed safe and legal for sale in California.

In order to be added to the roster, handguns must meet certain safety requirements and undergo testing by the California Department of Justice.

CA mandates drop safety and firing pin blocks

One of the safety requirements that handguns must meet in order to be added to the roster is the inclusion of a drop safety system and a firing pin block. A drop safety system is designed to prevent accidental discharges if the gun is dropped, while a firing pin block prevents the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled.

These safety features are mandated by California law to ensure the safe handling of firearms.

The Sig Sauer P320, unfortunately, does not meet California’s drop safety requirements. This has led to its exclusion from the Handgun Roster and its classification as illegal in the state. While the P320 is a popular and highly regarded handgun, its failure to meet these safety requirements prevents it from being legally sold in California.

Microstamping requirement also an issue for the P320

In addition to the drop safety requirement, California law also mandates that handguns be equipped with microstamping technology. Microstamping is a process that imprints unique identifying information onto the spent cartridge casings when a gun is fired.

This allows law enforcement to trace the firearm to its original owner. However, the Sig Sauer P320 does not currently incorporate microstamping technology, which further contributes to its illegal status in California.

Roster exempts law enforcement officers

It is important to note that while the Sig Sauer P320 is illegal for civilian purchase in California, it is still allowed for law enforcement officers. The Handgun Roster exempts certain firearms that are specifically designated for law enforcement use.

This means that while civilians are unable to legally own a P320 in California, law enforcement officers are still able to carry and use this handgun for their duties.

For more information on California’s handgun laws and the Handgun Roster, you can visit the official website of the California Department of Justice: https://oag.ca.gov/firearms.

Why the Sig P320 Does Not Have a Manual Thumb Safety

The Sig Sauer P320 is a popular handgun known for its reliability and versatility. However, it is illegal in California due to the absence of a manual thumb safety. Let’s explore the reasons behind this design choice.

Designed for internal passive safeties only

The Sig P320 was designed to incorporate a series of internal passive safeties, which are intended to prevent accidental discharges. These safeties include a striker safety and a trigger safety, which ensure that the firearm can only be fired when the trigger is fully pulled and the striker is fully cocked.

The absence of a manual thumb safety is based on the belief that these internal safeties provide sufficient protection against accidental discharges.

Sig markets it as having “striker safety”

Sig Sauer markets the P320 as having a “striker safety” mechanism, which is designed to prevent the gun from firing if dropped or subjected to impact. This safety feature is intended to provide an additional layer of protection, giving users peace of mind when carrying the firearm.

However, California law requires a manual thumb safety, and the absence of this feature makes the Sig P320 illegal in the state.

Lacks external switch safety CA requires

In addition to the manual thumb safety, California law also mandates the inclusion of an external switch safety on handguns. This safety mechanism is designed to prevent accidental discharges by requiring the user to switch it off before firing.

The Sig P320, being designed without an external switch safety, does not meet this requirement, rendering it illegal in the state of California.

It is important to note that California’s strict gun laws aim to prioritize safety and prevent accidents. While the absence of a manual thumb safety may make the Sig P320 illegal in the state, it is still a highly regarded firearm in other parts of the country.

The P320 Fails CA’s Drop Safety Test Protocol

The Sig Sauer P320, a popular handgun among gun enthusiasts, has been the subject of controversy in California due to its failure to meet the state’s drop safety test protocol. This test is designed to ensure that firearms will not accidentally discharge when dropped or subjected to impact.

Unfortunately, the P320 did not pass this test, leading to its prohibition in California.

High profile accidental discharge incidents

The P320 gained notoriety after a series of high-profile accidental discharge incidents, which raised concerns about the firearm’s safety. These incidents involved the gun discharging when dropped, leading to potential injuries or fatalities.

As a result, the California Department of Justice conducted thorough tests to determine if the P320 met the state’s safety standards.

The drop safety test protocol evaluates a firearm’s ability to withstand a drop from a certain height and angle without discharging. Unfortunately, the P320 failed to meet the standards set by California, indicating a potential safety issue that cannot be ignored.

Sig issued voluntary upgrades after issues

In response to the concerns raised by the accidental discharge incidents, Sig Sauer took action by issuing voluntary upgrades for the P320. These upgrades were aimed at addressing the drop safety issue and improving the firearm’s overall safety.

The company provided free upgrades to P320 owners, encouraging them to take advantage of the improvements.

While this gesture was commendable, it is important to note that these upgrades were not sufficient to meet California’s drop safety test protocol. Despite the efforts made by Sig Sauer, the P320 remains prohibited in the state due to its failure to comply with the required safety standards.

But upgrades don’t meet CA protocol

Although Sig Sauer made efforts to address the drop safety issue with the P320, the upgrades provided did not meet California’s stringent safety protocol. The state has specific requirements that must be met in order for a firearm to be deemed safe for sale and possession.

Unfortunately, the upgrades made by Sig Sauer did not meet these requirements, leading to the continued prohibition of the P320 in California.

It is worth mentioning that California’s drop safety test protocol is considered to be one of the most rigorous in the country. The state takes firearm safety seriously and has implemented strict regulations to ensure that firearms sold within its borders meet the highest safety standards.

While the P320 may be legal and widely available in other states, its failure to meet California’s safety requirements has resulted in its prohibition in the state.

For more information on California’s firearm safety regulations, you can visit the California Department of Justice’s website.

Other Compliance Issues Keeping the P320 Off CA Roster

While the microstamping requirement is a major factor in the Sig Sauer P320 being illegal in California, there are also other compliance issues that contribute to its absence on the CA roster. These issues further complicate the availability of this popular handgun in the state.

Microstamping requirement cannot be met

One of the main reasons why the Sig Sauer P320 is not allowed in California is because it cannot meet the microstamping requirement. This requirement mandates that firearms sold in the state must have the ability to imprint unique identifying information onto the cartridge case when fired.

However, the P320’s design does not currently allow for this technology to be implemented.

Microstamping has been a contentious issue in the firearms industry, with critics arguing that it is an unreliable and impractical requirement. The lack of a viable solution for microstamping has resulted in many popular firearms, including the P320, being unable to be sold in California.

Loophole allows police to buy non-compliant guns

Another compliance issue that has prevented the Sig Sauer P320 from being on the CA roster is a loophole that allows law enforcement agencies to purchase non-compliant firearms. This means that while the general public is unable to legally purchase the P320, law enforcement officers in California can still acquire and use it.

This discrepancy has raised questions about the fairness and effectiveness of California’s gun laws. Critics argue that if the P320 is deemed safe and reliable enough for use by law enforcement, it should also be available to responsible civilian gun owners.

It is worth noting that these compliance issues are not unique to the Sig Sauer P320. Many other popular firearms face similar challenges in meeting California’s strict requirements, resulting in limited options for gun enthusiasts in the state.

Options for CA Gun Owners Interested in the P320

California gun owners who are interested in the Sig Sauer P320 may be disappointed to learn that this particular model is currently illegal in the state. However, there are still several options available for gun enthusiasts who want to own a similar firearm legally.

Here are a few alternatives to consider:

1. Buy a CA-compliant variant like the P320 XVTAC

One option for Californians is to purchase a CA-compliant variant of the Sig Sauer P320, such as the P320 XVTAC. This model has been modified to meet the state’s strict firearm regulations and is legal to own and use in California.

It may have certain features, such as a fixed magazine or a barrel length restriction, to comply with the state’s laws. CA-compliant variants can be found at licensed firearms dealers in the state.

2. Build a single-shot exempt P320

Another option for gun owners in California is to build a single-shot exempt version of the Sig Sauer P320. Under California law, single-shot handguns are exempt from certain restrictions. Gun owners can legally convert a semi-automatic handgun, such as the P320, into a single-shot configuration by modifying the firearm to fire only one round per trigger pull.

Once the firearm is converted, it can be legally owned and used in California.

3. Consider legal challenges to the roster

Gun owners in California who are passionate about owning the Sig Sauer P320 may also consider participating in legal challenges to the state’s roster of approved handguns. The roster is a list of handguns that are deemed safe for sale and possession in California.

If successful, legal challenges could lead to the inclusion of the P320 and other currently banned firearms on the roster, making them legal to own and use in the state. It’s important to consult with legal experts and stay updated on any ongoing litigation regarding the roster.

While the Sig Sauer P320 may be currently illegal in California, gun owners in the state still have options to own a similar firearm legally. Whether it’s purchasing a CA-compliant variant, building a single-shot exempt version, or participating in legal challenges, individuals can explore these avenues to exercise their Second Amendment rights within the confines of California’s firearm regulations.


In summary, the Sig Sauer P320 is illegal for purchase in California because it lacks a manual thumb safety, failed drop safety tests, and does not comply with microstamping laws. While exemptions allow law enforcement to carry the P320, civilian gun owners have limited options due to California’s restrictive handgun roster. Some either find CA-compliant P320 models, modify their P320, or challenge the legality of the roster. Understanding the specifics behind the P320 ban provides insight into California’s complex firearms regulations.

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