Trial date set for Sig ‘muzzle device’ case against ATF

MPX (Photo: Sig Sauer)

The Sig MPX on display at SHOT Show 2013 (Photo: Daniel Terrill)

A trial date has been set for determining whether or not a Sig Sauer muzzle device is a silencer like federal regulators say or a muzzle brake as the company claims.

The two-week bench trial will begin Aug. 4 in a New Hampshire federal court before Judge Paul J. Barbadoro, a President George H.W. Bush appointee. Pretrial statements will be due July 1 and objections due July 15.

The case between the gun maker and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives started its journey toward conclusion in January, when the court asked for final arguments. Sig filed suit in April 2014 after the ATF rejected the company’s rebuttal to its determination.

The ATF Firearms Technology Branch ruled the muzzle device submitted for review was the internal component for a silencer and not a muzzle brake like Sig claimed.

Sig introduced the device at the beginning of 2013 at an international trade show. The device — the 9.5-inch component welded onto a 6.5-inch barrel — was featured on a pistol-caliber carbine called the Sig MPX. Alone the device does not reduce the sound of a gunshot, but when fitted with a metal sleeve it serves as a fully functional silencer — something company reps touted as a selling point during the show.

Despite the introductory marketing efforts, Sig submitted the device for review claiming it was a muzzle brake. However, some gun rights advocates view the lawsuit as a way to chip away at federal laws that prohibit owning items like silencers without following strict regulations.

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