The Sig Sauer SP2022, a 9mm pistol, is not a Christmas image that comes easily to mind, especially as a gift from parents to an emotionally volatile 15-year-old.
But it’s perversely coincidental that the one used Nov. 30 to murder four Michigan teenagers is made of polymer, the same substance used to fashion many of the toys Santa carries in his sleigh – think Silly Putty, for example.
We’re tragically accustomed to hearing about assault rifles in mass shootings at schools, but here’s a profile of a different weapon: the luger-style handgun that Ethan Crumbley’s mother says he got for Christmas.
Made by a New Hampshire-based company with Swiss and German roots, it weighs nearly two pounds and has 54 parts, among them the hammer, the recoil spring, the firing pin, the extractor, the decocking lever, and, of course, the sights and trigger. Many outlets sell it with two 15-cartridge magazines for about $500. A single bullet for it, more than sufficient to snuff out a life, costs about 40 cents.
Sig Sauer says its SP2022 pistols “have earned an enviable reputation and proven track record of reliable performance in the hands of military and law-enforcement professionals around the world.”
The SP2022 is fashioned largely out of the same stuff that in various chemical forms makes up plastic grocery bags, soda and water bottles, and computers. You might know other forms of polymer as PVC, polyethylene, polyester, Teflon, and epoxy.
Variants of the Sig Sauer Crumbley used are considered so effective that in 2017, the U.S. Army awarded the firm a nearly $600 million contract for them over ten years, and since then all branches of the military have agreed to use them.
Ironically, the same qualities that make this pistol attractive to legitimate and lawful gun owners are the same ones so horrifying to contemplate inside a school.
In social media videos and comments about the gun, its advantages are variously described:
– “The trigger action is really nice. Very crisp.”
– “The recoil is very, very manageable.”
– “It’s extremely comfortable to shoot.”
– “The accuracy on this doesn’t leave anything to be desired.”
– “The pull is incredibly smooth and incredibly comfortable.”
One Sig Sauer owner did have a complaint, noting that after his gun had fired 100 rounds, grooves of wear appeared on the barrel.
“A lot of people call them Sig smiles,” he said.
Crumbley’s weapon – a hideous reflection of failed parenting and failed scrutiny – was new for Christmas, and smiles were anything but its legacy.
The gun’s grotesque destiny could not have been known by admirers of the SP2022 who, long before the Michigan shootings, succinctly described a Sig Sauer’s efficiency:
“Very easy to hit what you’re aiming at.” And, “It allows you to get that follow-up shot nice and easy.”
Gerry Goldstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a retired Providence Journal editor and columnist.