SIG Sauer

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SIG Sauer GmbH & Co.KG
FoundedSchleswig-Holstein, Germany
Area served
ParentLüke & Ortmeier Holding Gruppe
WebsiteSIG SAUER GmbH & Co.KG
SIG Sauer, Inc.
IndustryFirearms, Sporting goods
PredecessorSIGARMS, Inc.
Founded(1 October 2007; 11 years ago (2007-10-01)) in Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
United States
Area served
Key people
Ron Cohen (CEO and President)
ProductsHandguns, rifles, ammunition
ServicesGunsmithing, training
Number of employees
>1200 (2017)
ParentLüke & Ortmeier Holding Gruppe
WebsiteSIG Sauer, Inc.

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 Swiss-German company, formed in 1976 as a partnership between Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) of Switzerland and J.P. Sauer & Sohn of Germany.

SIG (now known as SIG Holding, AG) no longer has any firearms business. Their firearms subsidiary, SIG Arms AG, was sold to L&O Holding of Emsdetten, Germany and was renamed Swiss Arms.[1] L&O Holding is currently the parent company of SIG Sauer GmbH.[2][1][3]

A separate company was founded in the US in 1985 with the name SIGARMS to import and distribute SIG Sauer firearms into the United States. This company was renamed SIG Sauer Inc. in 2007 and since 2000 has been organizationally separate from SIG Sauer GmbH.[1][4]


Schweizerische Waggon Fabrik[edit]

The origins of the SIG Sauer company lie in the company named Schweizerische Waggon Fabrik or Swiss Wagon Factory (in English) which was founded in 1853 by Friedrich Peyer im Hof, Heinrich Moser and Johann Conrad Neher.[2][5] 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 rifle M1863 (15,566 made by SIG).[6]

Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG)[edit]

Upon receiving the contract to produce rifles the company name was changed to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), German for "Swiss Industrial Company" (in French-speaking regions of Switzerland was known as Société Industrielle Suisse),[2] reflecting the new emphasis on their production.[7][8]

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.

In the 1970s SIG purchased both Hämmerli[9] and J. P. Sauer and Sohn, which resulted in the formation of SIG Sauer.

SIG's remaining firearms business was sold in the year 2000 by L & O Holding.[10] It is now known as Swiss Arms.[11] In 2004, according to Cohen the company was near failure, with just 130 employees. Cohen decided to add AR-15-pattern rifles to the company's product mix, which he credits with saving the company. By 2016, it had over 1,000 employees and was selling more than 43,000 firearms a year.[12]

There are now two SIG Sauer companies, one in New Hampshire, US, and the other in Eckenforde, Germany. Since its creation in the US, all new SIG Sauer designs presented by this company have been designed in the US.

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 labeling 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.[13]

Swiss law limits the ability of Swiss companies to export firearms.[14] 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.[15]

SIG Sauer's line of handguns began in 1975 with the SIG Sauer SIG P220.[13] 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 US. Two years later the firm moved to a larger facility in Herndon, Virginia and introduced models P225, P226, and P228.[16]

SIGARMS moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1990 where production facilities had been established and production began on the P229 in 1992.[16]

SIGARMS and its European sister companies were bought by Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier in October 2000.[17] In 2007 SIGARMS changed its name to SIG Sauer Inc.[18]

According to SIG Sauer, one-third of US police use SIG firearms.[19] SIG Sauer operates a firearms training school in the US with courses taught by experienced instructors many of whom have military and/or police backgrounds. SIG Sauer Academy, in Epping, New Hampshire.[16] Sig Sauer produces a wide range of accessories for the firearms and sporting goods industry.[20]

US Modular Handgun System bid[edit]

SIG Sauer P320

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.[21] On 19 January 2017, SIG Sauer was awarded the contract for the P320.[22]

On July 12, 2018 SIG SAUER announced that the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) has integrated the SIG SAUER P320 as its official service firearm throughout its divisions.[23]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "About Us". Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "The History of SIG Sauer". Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ Ferrari, Steve (17 March 2016). "Is my "Made in Germany" (or West Germany) SIG Really German?". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  4. ^ Leghorn, Nick (25 April 2014). "Taking a Tour of SIG Sauer's Manufacturing Plant". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Photo of Founders". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Prelaz-Burnard rifle". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  7. ^ "The History of Sig Sauer". Sig Sauer. Sig Sauer, Inc. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ DiPiero, Diane. "Sig Sauer History:". Newsmax. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  10. ^ Grässlin, Jürgen; Harrich, Daniel; Harrich-Zandberg, Danuta (28 September 2015). Netzwerk des Todes: Die kriminellen Verflechtungen von Waffenindustrie und Behörden [Network of Death: The criminal links between arms industry and authorities] (in German). Heyne Verlag. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-3-641-18226-7. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Swiss Arms: Overview". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  12. ^ "This is how SIG Sauer cashed in on selling assault rifles". Newsweek. 27 June 2016. "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.
  13. ^ a b Ayoob, Massad (2014). Gun Digest Book of SIG-Sauer. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-1-4402-3920-5. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  14. ^ Pike, John. "Swiss Arms Industry".
  15. ^ Smith, W. H. B. (1968). Book of Pistols and Rifles (7th ed.). Stackpole. p. 287.
  16. ^ a b c Haas, Frank De; Zwoll, Wayne (31 October 2003). Bolt Action Rifles. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-87349-660-4.
  17. ^ Ayoob, Massad (29 May 2012). Massad Ayoob's Greatest Handguns of the World. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. pp. 237–238. ISBN 978-1-4402-2877-3.
  18. ^ Ramage, Ken (19 November 2008). Guns Illustrated 2009. F+W Media, Inc. p. 30. ISBN 0-89689-673-0.
  19. ^ "Military". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Sig Sauer Inc". Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  21. ^ Owens, Bob (1 July 2015). "The Top Three Contenders For The U.S. Military's XM17 Modular Handgun System Contract". Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  22. ^ "After 10-year effort, Army selects new pistol maker". 19 January 2017. Archived from the original on 20 January 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "The Only Sig Sauer You've Never Heard Of – SHR 970 Rifle". Retrieved 31 July 2013.

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