Colonel Mark F. Delaney
Since 1987, the Massachusetts State Police have been issued semi-automatic weapons from Sig Sauer. All officers have familiarity with this weapon system and they have adopted the same weapon handling skills. The officers have carried the same .40 caliber weapons for the past ten years and the time came to seek replacements. The decision was made to switch from the P-226 .40 caliber, double action/ single action duty pistol to a double action only DAK P-226 .40 caliber pistol. This weapon is a simpler and safer weapon to handle and diminishes the likelihood of an "unintentional discharge". There is also a more consistent trigger pull and that results in better accuracy.
The 79 th Recruit Training Troop was the first to be issued and trained with these new weapons in the summer of 2006. There were no performance issues with those weapons.
On November 13 th, 2006 the Department started the transition to the new weapon for all officers. During the first days of training, four weapons malfunctioned. A thorough inspection was conducted by the armorer, and these weapons were identified as being outside of factory standard. This problem was discovered during the standard "break-in" testing.
When the Department was made aware of the malfunctioning weapons, we immediately ceased issuing these weapons until clarification and examination could be conducted by our armorer, his staff, and technicians, engineers and gunsmiths from Sig Sauer. The problem was quickly identified to be a recent modification to the trigger bar.
As an immediate precautionary action, all 152 weapons that had been issued to Department members were recalled and those individuals were re-issued their former weapons. All further issuance of new weapons and the associated training was stopped until we assessed the problem and took acute measures to confirm that the malfunction would not continue.
The weapon malfunctions were discovered during training and qualification, when the weapons were fired repeatedly under the direction and control of the Academy's Firearms Training Unit. The basis for weapons training and qualification is two-fold; first, to assure that the weapon is functioning in the acceptable manner and second, so that the member is competent and skilled in the handling and firing of the weapon.
On December 1 st and again on December 4 th, Sig Sauer sent a team of engineers and gunsmiths to inspect 400 new P-226 .40 caliber DAK's that had been delivered after our recall and shipment return. A detailed inspection was made of each and every weapon. In those weapons where a modified trigger bar was discovered, the proper modifications were made. All of the weapons were subjected to live fire function testing and some of them were put through an examination that included hundreds of rounds of live fire. At the conclusion of this testing and inspection of all weapons, it was determined they were acceptable for distribution to Department members.
The Department takes extensive steps to ensure the safety of its members and the action taken was an extension of that commitment. That is why I took the immediate steps to rectify the situation.