Tag Archives: SIG

Welcome (back), M16A4

The humble original M16 was originally Armalite’s AR-15, and was first ordered for military service with a contract issued to Colt Firearms in May 1962 for the purchase of early Model 01 rifles to be used by Air Force Security Police.

Note, these guns had waffle-pattern 20-round mags, no forward assist, a thin 1:14 twist barrel, and the early three-prong flash hider.

Fast forward to the XM16E1, which became the M16A1 in 1967, and you started to come closer to the standard Army/Marine rifle used in Vietnam and throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It used a forward assist and a 1:12 twist barrel.

By 1983, the M16A2 came about, it had a thicker barrel in front of the front sight, a modified flash suppressor (closed on bottom), a new polymer buttstock (lighter and stronger), faster barrel twist (from 1:12 to 1:7), and a spent case deflector for left-hand users. Considered downright vintage by the Army and Marines, the Navy still sports them these days.

M16A2- check
M9 in drop leg holster- check
Body armor- um, about that……

By 1998, the M16A4 was in play, primarily for the Marines, which had a removable carry handle, a Picatinny top rail to allow for optics, short rails on the handguard for accessories, and a 20-inch barrel with a 1:7 RH twist rate.

Note the size difference between the compact M4 Carbine, top, and the full-length M16A4 rifle, bottom. (Photos: Department of Defense)

Since the GWOT kicked off in 2002, the big shift over the years has been to move from the full-length M16 family to the more compact M4/M4A1 carbine, with its collapsible rear stock and stubby 14-inch barrel, leaving the increasingly old-school style rifle as something of a relic today. Heck, the Army for the past couple years has been very actively working on replacing their 5.56 NATO rifles and SAWs with a new 6.8mm weapon. 

Now jump to 2020, and the M16A4 is now apparently the Army’s designated rifle for Foreign Military Sales to equip overseas allies in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Nepal.

Colt and FN are competing in a contract to supply as much as $383 million smackers worth of M16A4s by 2025.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Sig wants you to carry 365 with their micro compact new 9mm

So SIG has a 3.1-inch barreled striker-fired 9mm with night sights right out of the box that weighs 17-ounces but brings a 10+1 capacity to the table, the P365.

For reference, the single-stack 6+1 Glock 43 is slightly heavier is an inch or so longer– and doesn’t have night sights. Interesting.

SIG Out-Glocks Glock to get Army Modular Handgun System contract

After the 7-year pistol search was brought up no less than 4 times during the recent confirmation hearings, the Army awards Sig a contract for $580 million for the XM17 (an FDE SIG Sauer P320 in two different configurations with a thumb safety).

A total of nine bids were submitted, including from Beretta, FN Herstal, Glock, Smith & Wesson and their partner General Dynamics Ordnance Tactical Systems (GDOTS), according to a separate Pentagon statement. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity

m17-xm17-sig-p320

From SIG:

SIG SAUER, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Army has selected the SIG SAUER Model P320 to replace the M9 service pistol currently in use since the mid-1980’s. Released in 2014, the P320 is a polymer striker-fired pistol that has proven itself in both the United States and worldwide markets. The P320 is the first modular pistol with interchangeable grip modules that can also be adjusted in frame size and caliber by the operator. All pistols will be produced at the SIG SAUER facilities in New Hampshire.

The MHS Program provides for the delivery of both full size and compact P320’s, over a period of ten (10) years. All pistols will be configurable to receive silencers and will also include both standard and extended capacity magazines.

“I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System Team,” said Army Acquisition Executive, Steffanie Easter in the release. “By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we truly have optimized the private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition and magazines and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our warfighters.”

IPSC World Champion Max Michel set a Guinness World Record last week, splashing six plate targets from the draw in less than 2.5 seconds with a SIG P320RX. Granted, it’s a supped up gun in the hands of a world master, but still..

Of course, a lot of people are butthurt that Glock wasn’t chosen, as many G19s are in U.S. military use already.

“Do you mean to tell me that the DOD just spent $580M on a pistol that has barely been on the market for three years? A gun that will be carried by US soldiers for at least a decade, more likely two or three, that has only been issued to a handful of law enforcement agencies in the United States? (Love ya Hooksett, NH Police!)” reads TFB.

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.

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 X5: Three Pounds of Target Slaying Steel

Sig Sauer, formed from a venture between Swiss military armament concern SIG and West German sporting firearms maker JP Sauer and Sons, is known for some of the best military service pistols in modern history. The bread and butter of this line has since the 1980s been the P226 model which is so good that the Navy SEALs, who could have used any pistol in production in the world, chose this gun as thier own.

Well, after making a name for themselves with their combat guns, Sig decided in 2004 to improve the gun for use as a precision target piece for competition users.

This led to the X5…

(Oh how sweet it is!)

(Oh how sweet it is!)

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