Tag Archives: sig arms

Put those German Sigs in the safe

In 1951, arms maker J. P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH relocated from Suhl in then Soviet-occupied East Germany and set up shop in Eckernförde near the city of Kiel.

In 1976, the firm was purchased by Swiss firearms giant SIG, forming Sig Sauer– largely to have an outlet to fulfill overseas orders for guns like the P220 without having to cut through layers of Swiss red tape.

This also led to a huge series of West German police contracts for the P225/P6 handgun.

After that, Sig Sauer came to America, where it has expanded operations in a big way ever since. Today, the U.S. branch of the company employs 2,300 and is responsible for most of the recent R&D.

Meanwhile, the original German branch of Sig Sauer has atrophied to just 130 employees.

By 2021, there will reportedly be -zero- left in Germany.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Giant Swiss battle rifle: the SIG SG 510

With a loaded weight going well over 13 pounds, this 1950s battle rifle was the go-to arm of the Swiss Army for decades and is a much sought after collectible here in the states.

Why was it designed?

The Swiss Army had a long history or innovative rifles including the tubular magazine Vetterli that was soon used all over Europe, the excellent Schmidt Rubin series guns that held the line in the Alps in World War I, and the K.31 rifles which equipped the country’s 500,000-citizen army in World War II.

The thing is, those straight-pull bolt action K.31s were by the 1950s becoming increasingly obsolete, as the armies of Europe were adopting semi-auto and select-fire battle rifles and assault rifles such as the NATO FN FAL, HK G3, and M-14 and the Warsaw Pact’s SKS and AK-47 series guns. Behind the evolutionary 8-ball for the first time in a long time, the Swiss went looking for the mother of all battle rifles and Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft Waffen-Department (SIG) had just what they were looking for.

Run up to the 510

SIG’s Rudolf Amsler came from a long line of firearms engineers. His grandfather had in the 19th century helped redesign Switzerland’s 1842 percussion muskets into the M59-67 Milbank Amsler breechloader while the younger Amsler held a number of international firearms patents around the globe. In 1955 he came up with a select-fire rifle that left other tried but rejected SIG semi-auto designs (the SK46 and AK53) behind.


The very heavy, part LMG, part rifle, AM55 Photo credit: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3730371

The very heavy, part LMG, part rifle, prototype AM55 Photo credit

Amsler’s AM55 rifle, which borrowed the same roller delayed-blowback system of the very successful German MG42 machine gun of WWII and Mauser’s Stg.45(M) assault rifle, but was chambered in the same standard 7.5×55 mm GP11 round used by the K.31 and Schmidt Rubin series bolt-action rifles. Its distinctive T” shaped cocking handle is very familiar to users of those guns.

The long action and full-sized round produced a rifle that was 43-inches long with a 23-inch barrel, which is almost a dead ringer in length to the FAL and M14, though a bit longer than the SKS and AK. However, unlike the SKS, Amsler’s AM55 rifle allowed for full-auto fire at the flick of a switch allowed the gun to be used as a relatively effective light machine gun. Of course, the 500 rounds per minute cyclic rate meant the 24-round curved detachable magazine would be drained in about three seconds of sustained fire, but it was still some serious volume for that brief time period– and could be used by every rifleman equipped with one such gun.

While the select-fire U.S. M14 had complaints of running away when on full-auto, the heavier Swiss gun, with a built in bipod in the forearm, vented metal handguard, a pistol grip and a recoil buffer in the oddly shaped buttstock, was much more controllable. Further, the Swiss Army tactics of being able to lay in ambush for invaders coming up winding mountain roads made the ability to have their soldiers chose between accurate single-shots out to the 174-grain 7.5mm’s effective range of 800-yards, and the ability to set a platoon of these rifles to full auto for an ambush, was ideal.

When tested by the Army, they liked Amsler’s SIG AM55, but asked for some changes to the 15-pound gun, including ditching its wood furniture for plastic, which saved some weight, and a modified folding trigger that allowed for use with mittens. The result was the 12.25-pound (unloaded) SIG 510, which was adopted in 1957 as the Sturmgewehr 57 (Stg 57).

swiss 2

And, while homely, it proved utterly reliable and is still in some military service today– as well as being the subject of intensive search by U.S. collectors…

sig 510

Read the rest in my article at Firearms Talk


To DAK or not to DAK, that is the question

One of the choices offered to the discerning Sig Sauer pistol owner for the past several years has been the ubiquitous Double Action Kellerman, or DAK system. The thing is, many have no idea what it is, why it is, or what it does. With that being said, let’s look at the good old DAK and see what questions we can answer.

Around 2004 SIG perfected a trigger system that was the design of one Harald Kellermann of Eckernförde, Germany, home to J.P. Sauer, the Teutonic home away from home of the Swiss-based company. This trigger system, to put it country simple, is like that of a double action only revolver, but with a few changes. When you pull it, the company’s specs advise that you get a full-time and constant 6.5-pound trigger squeeze and two reset points, one short, and one full-length. This allows the shooter to grow accustomed to the same trigger squeeze each time such as on a striker-fired gun like a Glock or X  D without sacrificing the benefits of a hammer-fired gun.

But why would you want it? Read the rest in my column at University of Guns

Two SIG P229R pistols. the top is a DAK trigger model, while the bottom is a DA/SA model.

Two SIG P229R pistols. the top is a DAK trigger model, while the bottom is a DA/SA model.

A tale of 10,000 troopers: SIG lands state police contracts left and right

In the world of domestic law enforcement, some of the largest and best-respected departments in the country are those of the state police and highway patrols. It only makes sense that the firearms they carry and use tend to be the subject of attention by not only other agencies seeking to cut to the chase, but also by civilian shooters looking for proven self-defense guns. Well, in the past month no less than three states have gone SIG.

Read the rest in my column at University of Guns

SIG’s all-metal subcompact: The P224

Sig Sauer has carved out a loyal following around the world from Navy Seals to suburban homemakers with their classic pistols. However, one gun that has long been missing from this lineup is a true subcompact. Well SIG fixed that with the P224.

Swiss arms powerhouse Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), with a history going back to the 1860s, cooked up their revolutionary “Pistole 75” in 1975 (hence the designation) for military and police sales. This, now classic, design is known as the P220 and it launched what was to become possibly the most admired family of combat handguns in use over the past forty years. With German firearms legend J.P. Sauer & Sohn providing overseas sales due to Swiss neutrality laws, the P220, and 226 was soon adopted by military and security forces around the globe. Heck the 226 only narrowly missed being the standard issue U.S. military sidearm, losing out to the Beretta 92F in 1984 over a bid price of a few dollars.

The P220 is SIG's grandfather design from which their whole 'classic' series of pistols is based on

The P220 is SIG’s grandfather design from which their whole ‘classic’ series of pistols is based on

Today the slightly more compact 229 is a hit with law enforcement ranging from the U.S. Coast Guard and Secret Service to your local beat cops. All of these guns share the same overall internal design features of their Pistol 75 grandfather, giving the whole family tree and instant familiarity to those who have ever used one.

With a lineage like this to stand on, the only thing that SIG needed to complete the portrait is a subcompact model, which begat the P224.

palm gun p224

Read the rest in my column at University of Guns

The SIG P556 Pistol, settling the 9 over 40 argument once and for all

How many times have you personally weighed in on the subject of what is better in a handgun, more powerful, etc., the 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP? Well SIG would have to weigh in on that with their P556 and bring something very different to the table with one of the coolest pistols on the planet.

Yes, Virginia, this IS a pistol

Yes, Virginia, this IS a pistol

Read the rest in my column at University of Guns.com

The Sig Sauer P6 P225 9mm

In 1996, the various German province police forces began to upgrade their handguns. With this, they were left with over 40,000 gently used Sig-Sauer P6’s on their hands that thankfully have arrived on our shores in good numbers. With the huge following these sleek mid-size pistols have gotten in the land of the red white and blue, I thought I would go over them for our readers. From my column at Firearms Talk.com