SIG Sauer

SIG Sauer
Industry Firearms
Founded Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Headquarters Newington, New Hampshire, United States
Area served
Products Handguns, rifles, Electro-Optics, Airguns, Suppressors, Ammunition, Shooting Accessorires
Services Gunsmithing, training
Owner Lüke & Ortmeier Gruppe
Number of employees
Parent L & O Holding

SIG Sauer GmbH is a firearms manufacturer and importer. A partnership between Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft of Switzerland and Sauer & Sohn of Germany, it is the subsidiary of Lüke & Ortmeier Gruppe (L&O Holding), which also owns Swiss Arms AG. Initially SIG Sauer Inc was established in 1985 with the name Sigarms (until October 2007) to import and distribute SIG firearms into the United States. Since 2000 SIG Sauer Inc has been organizationally separate from manufacturer SIG Sauer GmbH.


Schweizerische Waggon Fabrik

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.[1][2] 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).[3]

Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG)

Upon receiving the contract to produce rifles the company name was changed to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), German for "Swiss Industrial Company" (in French regions of Switzerland was known as Société Industrielle Suisse).[1] reflecting the new emphasis on their production.[4]

SIG produced other firearms and pioneered the first automatic rifle, The Mondragón Rifle which was produced by SIG between 1908 and ~1910.

The SIG P210 pistol was developed in 1937 based on the French Model 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, but not adopted, the French 1935 pistol.

In the 1970s SIG purchased both Hammerli[5] and J.P. Sauer and Sohn, which resulted in the formation of SIG Sauer.

SIG was purchased in the year 2000 by L & O Holding.[6] It is now known as Swiss Arms[7]

Sauer & Sohn

In the 1970s SIG developed a new and highly efficient type of production machinery referred to then as an Automatic Screw Machine. This allowed SIG to produce handguns at a major cost reduction with very high precision of parts fitting.

SIG began work on designing a handgun that would take advantage of the new production efficiency. Where the P210 had been a very expensive premium quality firearm SIG would now be able to produce a similar handgun at very low production cost. To this end the design of the P210 was simplified for efficient production on SIGs equipment.

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 be properly 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 USA. When the sales of the Browning BDA ceased in 1980 the P220 was sold in its own form.[8]

Swiss law limits the ability of Swiss companies to export firearms.[9] Swiss companies who 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.[10]

SIG-Sauer's line of handguns began in 1975 with the SIG Sauer SIG P220.[8] 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.

In January 1985 SIGARMS was established in Tyson's Corner, Virginia where the handgun models P220 and P230 were imported into the USA from SIG Sauer in Germany. Two years later the firm moved to a larger facility in Herndon, Virginia and introduced models P225, P226, and P228.[11]

SIGarms moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1990 where Production facilities had been established and production began on the P229 in 1992.[11]

The parent company, SIG Sauer GmbH is a subsidiary of manufacturing firm L&H Holding, which also owns Swiss Arms AG which was formerly known as Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG). Since 2000 SIG Sauer Inc has been organizationally separate from manufacturer SIG Sauer GmbH.[1]

SIGarms, and its European sister companies, Sauer & Sohn, Blaser USA, Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH, and Swiss Arms were bought by Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier in October 2000.[12] In 2007 SIGarms changed its name to SIG Sauer.[13]

Ron Cohen, SIG Sauer's president and chief executive officer joined the privately held firm in 2004. Born in 1963 and of Israeli ancestry, Ron Cohen studied at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Cohen was a commander of a combat unit between 1979 and 1984.[14] 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.[15] SIG Sauer is the largest of the five sisters companies and one of the largest firearms manufacturing entities in the world.[1]

According to SIG Sauer, one-third of US police use SIG firearms.[16]

SIG Sauer operates a firearms training school in the U.S. led by German specialists, the SIG Sauer Academy, in Epping, New Hampshire.[11]

US Modular Handgun System Procurement (XM17)

The U.S. 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. As of July 1, 2016, SIG Sauer was reported to be one of three remaining competitors who were in consideration for this contract.[17]

SIG Sauer submitted their P320 Handgun which met the requirements for the handgun part of the contract. SIG Sauer also has the production ability to provide the ammunition which is to be provided under this purchase.



Submachine Guns


Machine guns

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "About Us : Overview".
  2. Photo of Founder
  3. "Prelaz-Burnard rifle in Swiss Rifles Forum".
  4.| Sig-Sauer Law Enforcement
  5. GmbH, CARL WALTHER. "Home - Hämmerli Website".
  6. Grässlin, Jürgen; Harrich, Daniel; Harrich-Zandberg, Danuta (28 September 2015). Netzwerk des Todes: Die kriminellen Verflechtungen von Waffenindustrie und Behörden (in German). Heyne Verlag. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-3-641-18226-7.
  7. Kapella, Jürgen. "Swiss Arms: Startseite".
  8. 1 2 Ayoob, Massad (14 May 2014). Gun Digest Book of SIG-Sauer. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-1-4402-3920-5.
  9. Pike, John. "Swiss Arms Industry".
  10. Smith, W.H.B. (1968). Book of Pistols and Rifles (7th ed.). Stackpole. p. 287.
  11. 1 2 3 Haas, Frank De; Zwoll, Wayne (31 October 2003). Bolt Action Rifles. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-87349-660-4.
  12. 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.
  13. Ramage, Ken (19 November 2008). Guns Illustrated 2009. F+W Media, Inc. p. 30. ISBN 0-89689-673-0.
  14. "SIG SAUER Inc.".
  15. "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.
  16. "Military / Federal Government -> Overview".
  17. "The Top Three Contenders For The U.S. Military's XM17 Modular Handgun System Contract - Bearing Arms - APX, Beretta, Detonics Defense, Modular Handgun System, P320 MHS, Sig Sauer, STI". 1 July 2015.
  18. "SIG-Sauer P226 - Development and Operational History, Performance Specifications and Picture Gallery".

External links

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