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SIG Sauer [ɛs iː ɡeː ˈzaʊ̯ɐ] is the brand name used by two sister companies involved in the design and manufacture of firearms. The original company, SIG Sauer GmbH, is a German company, formed in 1976 as a partnership between Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) of Switzerland and J.P. Sauer & Sohn of Germany.
|Products||Firearms and accessories|
|Parent||Lüke & Ortmeier Holding Gruppe|
|Founded||1 October 2007Exeter, New Hampshire, United Statesin|
|Ron Cohen (CEO and President)|
|Products||Pistols, rifles, airguns, electro-optics, ammunition, suppressors, shooting accessories|
Number of employees
|Parent||Lüke & Ortmeier Holding Gruppe|
SIG (now known as SIG Combibloc Group) no longer has any firearms business. Their firearms subsidiary, SIG Arms AG, was sold to L&O Holding in western Germany and was first renamed SAN Swiss Arms AG—commonly known as Swiss Arms—and in late 2019 was further renamed SIG SAUER AG.
A separate company was founded in Virginia in 1985 (with the name SIGARMS) to import and distribute SIG Sauer firearms into the United States; its headquarters were moved to New Hampshire in 1990. This company was renamed SIG Sauer, Inc. in 2007, and since 2000 has been organizationally separate from SIG Sauer GmbH.
L&O Holding is currently the parent company of German-based SIG Sauer GmbH & Co. KG, Swiss-based SIG SAUER AG and US-based SIG Sauer, Inc.
Schweizerische Waggon FabrikEdit
The origins of the SIG Sauer company lie in the company named Schweizerische Waggon Fabrik ("Swiss Wagon Factory"), which was founded in 1853 by Friedrich Peyer im Hof (1817–1900), Heinrich Moser (1805-1874) and Johann Conrad Neher (1818-1877). In 1860, a state-of-the-art rifle of their creation won a competition by Switzerland's Federal Ministry of Defense, resulting in the award of a contract to produce 30,000 Prelaz-Burnand rifles. The Prélaz-Burnand 1859 was invented by gunsmith Jean-Louis Joseph Prélaz and an army officer Edouard Burnand and adopted as M1863 rifle (15,566 made by SIG).
Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG)Edit
Upon receiving the government contract to produce rifles, the company name was changed to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG, German for "Swiss Industrial Company"), known as Société Industrielle Suisse in French-speaking regions of Switzerland, reflecting the new emphasis on their production.
The SIG P210 pistol was developed in 1947 based on the French Modèle 1935 pistol (the Petter-Browning design was licensed). It was adopted by the Swiss military in 1949 as the "Pistole 49". This single-action semi-automatic P210 brought SIG much acclaim, due to the precision manufacturing processes employed in its manufacture and its resultant accuracy and reliability. The P210 frame design incorporates external rails that fit closely with the slide, thus eliminating play in the mechanism during firing. The P210 was noted for its extreme accuracy. The Petter-Browning patent which was a refinement of the Browning Hi-Power (P35) which was John Moses Browning's last design which was created for the French 1935 pistol, but not adopted.
A new design of firearm was created in response to the Swiss military and police requirement for a handgun to replace the P210. The new design was based on the Petter-Browning design but was simplified. It should properly be called the SIG Sauer System, which is, in fact, the labelling on one of the first SIG Sauer handguns. A modified SIG Sauer P220 design was produced for the Browning Arms company in 1977. On the right side of the slide are the words "SIG Sauer System". This was the first SIG Sauer P220 type sold in the US. When the sales of the Browning BDA ceased in 1980 the P220 was sold in its own form.
Swiss law limits the ability of Swiss companies to export firearms. Swiss companies which wish to do this have to do so by using a foreign partner. In the case of SIG, they chose the German firm of J.P. Sauer & Sohn. In partnering with Sauer, SIG also combined their expertise in firearms design.
The Sauer 38H had been produced in competition with other German makers such as Mauser and Walther at a time with new designs began to feature a double/single action trigger. The Double Action trigger mechanism combined with the advanced safety features including the hammer lowering decocking lever, were contributed by Sauer to the new P220 design.
SIG Sauer's line of handguns began in 1975 with the SIG Sauer SIG P220. Prior to World War II, Sauer had been primarily a maker of shotguns and hunting rifles. During the war, they produced a handgun, the Sauer 38H, but afterwards had withdrawn from this market. With SIG as their partner/owner, Sauer returned to the business of manufacturing handguns.
SIG Sauer, Inc.Edit
In January 1985, SIG Sauer established a subsidiary, SIGARMS, in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, to import the P220 and P230 models into the United States. Two years later the firm moved to a larger facility in Herndon, Virginia, and introduced models P225, P226 and P228. SIGARMS moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1990 where production facilities had been established and production began on the P229 in 1992.
SIG's remaining firearms business was sold to Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier's L&O Holding in October 2000, and became known as Swiss Arms, although its products were still using the SIG Sauer brand. In 2004, according to CEO Ron Cohen, the company was near failure with just 130 employees. Cohen decided to add AR-15 style rifles to the company's product catalog, which he credits with saving the company. In late 2019, Swiss Arms was renamed SIG SAUER AG.
In 2007, SIGARMS changed its name to SIG Sauer, Inc. There are now two SIG Sauer sister companies, one in Newington, New Hampshire, in the United States (sometimes also called SIG Sauer USA); and the other in Eckernförde, Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. All new SIG Sauer offerings have been designed in the United States since the establishment of SIG Sauer Inc. By 2016, it had over 1,000 employees and was selling more than 43,000 firearms a year.
According to SIG Sauer, one-third of law enforcement in the United States use SIG firearms. SIG Sauer operates a firearms training school—SIG Sauer Academy in Epping, New Hampshire—with courses taught by experienced instructors many of whom have military and/or police backgrounds. SIG Sauer produces a wide range of accessories for the firearms and sporting goods industry.
US Modular Handgun System bidEdit
The US military has produced a requirement for a new handgun to replace the current M9 model (Beretta 92FS). In February 2016, bids were submitted by 12 companies to compete for this contract which was expected to result in purchases of more than 500,000 pieces. On 1 July 2016, SIG Sauer was reported to be one of three remaining competitors who were in consideration for this contract. On 19 January 2017, SIG Sauer was awarded the contract for the P320.
In 2015, SIG Sauer expanded to include suppressors, optics, ammo and airguns, aiming to provide its dedicated customer base with a greater range of firearm and firearm safety equipment and accessories. On January 12, 2016, SIG Sauer introduced its ASP (Advanced Sport Pellet) line of airguns, which included CO2 Powerlet-powered pistols and rifles featuring the proprietary RPM™ (Rapid Pellet Magazine) pellet drive system consisting of a belt inside a box magazine-shaped housing, reportedly capable of feeding 30 rounds in 3.5 seconds. These ASP airguns are engineered to have the same appearance, dimension and weight as well as similar trigger pull as the company's centerfire firearm models, for the purpose of sporting and training with the added benefit of reduced cost, minimal noise, the ability to practise outside dedicated shooting ranges and less restrictive laws. In addition to airguns, SIG SAUER also offered a wide variety of ASP targets and pellet ammunition.
In a press event on July 25, 2018, SIG Sauer announced that its airgun division was renamed to SIG Air, and introduced its Precision Line air rifles, starting with the ASP20 break-barrel air rifle. On April 24, 2019, SIG Air expanded the Precision Line by introducing its first pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle featuring its proprietary Rapid Pellet Magazine, the semi-automatic MCX Virtus PCP, based on the centerfire MCX Virtus Patrol rifle.
On November 5, 2018, the United States Coast Guard, which has long used the .40 caliber SIG P229 as its duty sidearm, announced that it will acquire the SIG Air ProForce P229 airsoft pistol (which was then produced under brand licensing by French airsoft manufacturer CyberGun) as its new training pistol to give cadets and guardsmen the ability to practice gun handling, conduct target practice in various environments, and train in realistic force-on-force scenarios. In response, SIG Air announced on January 17, 2019 the introduction of its own in-house ProForce high-end airsoft line for professional training, with the initial offerings include the M17 and P229 airsoft pistol. SIG Air also announced that "we are rapidly expanding the SIG AIR business, and it is important to us to assume full control to ensure all SIG Air products are of the highest quality", and they will no longer be licensing the "SIG" brand or trademarks for sale by commercial airsoft manufacturers.
Closure of German branchEdit
On June 4, 2020, SIG Sauer announced it intended to close its factory at Eckernförde by year's end, resulting in losses of about 125 jobs as well plans to fulfill purchase orders. SIG Sauer blamed "locational handicaps" hindering its sales, claiming "a few other local producers" were preferred in government purchases for the German police forces and the Bundeswehr. According to manager Tim Castagne, "due to its international orientation, SIG Sauer is systematically excluded from tenders [in Germany]." This was compounded by reports in April that Kiel prosecutors were investigating claims of SIG USA, SIG Sauer's North American branch, being implicated in exporting weapons to Colombia and Mexico without a legal export permit from the German government, drawing attacks from critics such as Sevim Dağdelen from the Left Party after Germany published its 2019 arms export data in May.
SIG Sauer brandEdit
Light machine gunsEdit
- MG-6.8 (NGSW-AR, chambered in 6.8mm SPC)
Gear & accessoriesEdit
SIG Air brandEdit
- SIG Air P226 ASP
- SIG Air P320 ASP
- SIG Air P320-M17
- SIG Air X-Five ASP
- SIG Air P365
- SIG Air 1911
- SIG Air Precision Super Target Air Pistol (single-stroke pneumatic pistol)
- SIG Air ProForce M17
- SIG Air ProForce P229
- SIG Air ProForce MCX Virtus AEG
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"It was a company on the verge of bankruptcy and about two seconds away from imploding," company CEO Ron Cohen recalled in a 2010 profile in Management Today. Then, Cohen made a swift decision that would save the company and turn it into the No. 4 gun manufacturer in America: He turned the company’s sites onto "AR-style" assault rifles that would be marketed to civilians.... In 2004 the company had a mere 130 employees. ... A decade later it sold 43,141 guns in a single year and today has more than 1,000 employees in manufacturing facilities across the country.
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