Shop on PrimaryArms.com

The History and Legacy of Sig Sauer: From Swiss Roots to The Global Market

Table of Contents

SIG Sauer is one of the most notable and prolific firearm manufacturers of the 21st century and requires little introduction. For decades, they’ve been producing high-quality rifles and handguns for militaries, law enforcement groups, and civilians across the globe.  

Today, they still produce incredible firearms, but they now produce a wide array of scopes, red dot sights, and even ammunition, making them one of the most diverse firearm and accessory manufacturers around. 

Though their popularity has skyrocketed in recent decades, there are many enthusiasts who don’t know the origins of this incredible manufacturer. Below, we’re exploring SIG Sauer and going over their beginnings and rise to fame. 

Taxonomy Other Platforms Pistol 5782

Origins of SIG Sauer 

Many may be surprised to discover that SIG Sauer didn’t get their start making firearms. In fact, before SIG Sauer even was SIG Sauer, they originally got their start as a wagon manufacturer in Switzerland. After achieving some commercial success, the owners of the wagon company decided to venture into making small arms for the Swiss Military, and in 1864, they received an award for their first rifle, known as the Prelaz-Burnand rifle.  

The success of this endeavor made the owners switch from producing wagons and railcars to producing rifles under their new name, Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), primarily for Switzerland’s military forces. From this point and all the way to the 1980s, they would continue to develop a variety of successful firearms, with some of their most notable historic firearms being their P210 and P220 pistols, as well as their SG 510 rifle.  

Over the years, SIG would continue to produce firearms for the Swiss military and would even move into the international market. In 1985, they launched their subsidiary company, SIGARMS, which was headquartered in Virginia. This move allowed more Swiss SIG pistols to enter the US under import, and soon, SIGARMS was even producing P225, P226, and P228 pistols domestically.  

In 2007, SIGARMS was renamed again to SIG Sauer, which they have maintained to this day. Now, they offer an incredibly diverse line of products, and they’ve even won contracts with the United States Military, making their P320 and MCX-SPEAR/XM7 the new standard issue pistol and rifle for American soldiers.  

TacGas SWAT Training DSC05017 1 jpg

SIG Sauer’s Impact on the Firearms Industry 

SIG Sauer’s success extends beyond crafting technically advanced firearms. Their commitment to the community is evident through training seminars, specialized accessories, and classes for military, law enforcement, and civilians alike.  

One of their more recent handgun designs, the P320, is incredibly innovative with its Fire Control Unit, or FCU. The FCU is the actual serialized portion of the pistol, and it can easily be taken out of the grip module and placed into another one. By being able to easily switch the grip modules, enthusiasts have a near-endless possibility of configurations that can be tailored to different purposes. In fact, we have a guide all about P320 grip modules and sizes. Choosing a grip module and installing the FCU is easy, and it’s even something that’s taught at some of SIG’s training programs.  

A couple of these notable programs include the SIG Sauer Academy and ROSE Gun Community. The SIG Sauer Academy is a program that teaches everything from the basics of shooting and gun ownership, all the way to advanced tactics courses for seasoned enthusiasts and professionals. The training is done on-site at their facility, and led by SIG’s team of instructors, though they offer courses in different areas as well. ROSE Gun Community is like their main Academy, but is offered exclusively to women, teaching them the basics of gun ownership, safety, shooting, and defensive tactics.  

Sig Romeo 4T pro 01 1

SIG Sauer Optics 

As we mentioned before, SIG Sauer produces more than just firearms, and one of their most popular product lines available is their optics. Currently, they make a wide array of optics, ranging from variable power scopes to red dot sights. 

Scopes in the SIERRA, CANYON, and WHISKEY lines are more akin to traditional variable power scopes. Each one has options for different reticles, magnification levels, and colors as well. These scopes are commonly used for hunting or long-range precision. In addition to traditional style scopes, their TANGO series houses their LPVOs. Like the other lines, the TANGO scope series is available with different magnification ranges and reticles.  

In terms of red dot sights, SIG Sauer offers a plethora for both rifles and pistols. For pistols specifically, they offer the ROMEO1, ROMEO3, ROMEO3XL, and ROMEOZero as open emitter mini-reflex sights. The ROMEO2 and ROMEOM17 are enclosed pistol red dot sights and constructed with more durable materials. Almost all of these optics are compatible with the SIG Sauer P320 mounting footprint, except for the ROMEOZero, which is specifically made for the SIG Sauer P365. Of course, adapters are available for use on other pistol platforms.  

Their rifle red dots are just as diverse, and they offer many in their ROMEO line of optics. The ROMEO5, ROMEO7 and ROMEO-MSR are great entry level/budget-friendly red dot sights. They have low profiles, long battery lives, and are constructed from durable components. The remaining models are constructed to be more durable for harsher conditions.  

The ROMEO4 is available in a few distinct variations, the most notable of which being the 4XT-PRO. The 4XT-PRO differs from the standard model in that it utilizes a more robust construction, has multiple reticle patterns, and comes with more accessories than the standard model. The standard model is still a great red dot sight but doesn’t have any extras.  

Lastly, the ROMEO8T is a much more robustly constructed red dot sight with a similar profile to EOTech optics. It utilizes multiple reticle patterns and comes with a removable titanium shroud for extra protection against drops or other impacts. It has a much longer battery life than the previous optics, boasting a 100,000-hour run time. 

Sig Performance 9mm Ammo 1

SIG Sauer Ammunition 

Like some other brands, SIG Sauer also produces their own lines of ammunition. As of right now, they offer a wide range of ammunition for many calibers. They even offer different loads and projectile variants for different purposes, like hunting, competition, self-defense, and recreation.  

Generally, the more common a caliber is, the more variety and scope of choice you’ll have for it. For niche calibers, like .300 HAM’R, which is the one of the most unique rounds they carry, your options are limited. Still, you can rest assured knowing all the most common pistol and rifle calibers have ammunition that’s being produced by SIG Sauer.  

Popular SIG Sauer Firearms 

We’ve mentioned some of their models previously, but SIG Sauer produces a wide array of firearms. From pistols to semi-auto and bolt-action rifles, they produce multiple firearm platforms to serve their respective purposes.  

COM Backup Tactical barrels

Pistols 

SIG Sauer offers a solid lineup of pistols, with their popular models being the P320, P365, P226, and P229. 

We mentioned the P320 and how customizable it is earlier, but the standard models are great options too. It’s available in a full, compact, and carry size. Both the full-size and carry variants have the same grip length and 17-round capacity. The compact has a smaller grip size and 15-round capacity, but it utilizes the same slide and barrel length as the carry size. It’s currently SIG Sauer’s flagship pistol and successor to the P226 and P229. 

The Sig Sauer P226 and P229 were, and remain, some of their most popular handgun models. Available in multiple calibers, the P226 was created for the United States Military, but was passed up for the Beretta M9. That said, it’s still a great pistol. The main difference between the P226 and P229 is that the P229 has a shorter slide and barrel, with them having a 4.4-inch and 3.9-inch barrel, respectively. Both models utilize steel for the frame and are hammer-fired. If you aren’t familiar with the differences, our guide on hammer vs. striker-fired pistols will fill in the gaps. Both pistols come with 15-round magazines and either a safety or decocker depending on the model.  

SIG also has a few sub-compact pistols available, the most popular of which is the Sig Sauer P365. The P365 is a remarkably small firearm, but it’s unique in that it uses modified double-stack magazines for significantly larger capacity than most similarly sized pistols.  

There are currently three distinct models in the P365 lineup: the standard P365, the P365XL, and the P365 XMacro. Standard P365s are the smallest variant available, but still have a standard capacity of 10 rounds. The P365XL is a slightly larger model that’s still easy to conceal for carry purposes, and they come standard with 12 round magazines. For a larger pistol, the XMacro is still small enough to conceal comfortably, but it has a standard capacity of 17 rounds.  

Glx MD21s Red dot 02 1

Rifles 

There are multiple rifle variants in SIG’s lineup, including their TREAD AR-15 and alternative models like the MCX, MPX, and the Cross bolt-action rifle.  

The M400 TREAD AR-15 is SIG’s take on the AR-15 platform. It has similar features to other comparable AR-15s like a full-length M-LOK handguard, ambidextrous controls, and upgraded Magpul furniture. They do, however, include their own grip and a unique lower receiver with built-in QD (Quick Detach) points. For full-power rifle cartridges, SIG offers their 716i TREAD model, an AR-10 chambered in 7.62 NATO.  

The MCX is SIG’s flagship rifle model. Though its controls are like the AR-15, the upper and lower receivers have different designs. To start, the MCX is a short-stroke gas piston operated firearm and has a recoil system that’s captured within the upper receiver, allowing it to shoot even when the stock is folded. Additionally, there are a lot of variants of the MCX, with the most popular being the Rattler, Virtus, and SPEAR. Depending on the model, they’re available in multiple calibers, barrel lengths, and finishes.  

For close-quarters engagements, SIG has the MPX, a modernized 9mm sub gun with similar ergonomics to an AR15. Like the MCX, the MPX is a short-stroke gas piston operated firearm, and unlike other AR-9 rifles, the MPX has a captured recoil system, which allows the use of folding and PDW-style stocks. It’s agile, soft-shooting, and accurate out to a surprising distance. 

Last, we have the SIG CROSS. The CROSS is currently the only bolt-action rifle offered by SIG Sauer. It features a fully aluminum chassis system and the ability to take either AR-style or AICS-pattern magazines depending on the variant. Most of the rifle variants come with a folding stock that has an adjustable length of pull and comb, though the TRAX variant only has a folding stock. 

Conclusion 

There is an incredible story behind the brand of SIG Sauer, from starting as a wagon manufacturer to developing small arms for the Swiss Military. They’ve come a long way from their humble beginnings and now produce some of the world’s most sought-after firearms.  

With SIG’s commitment to innovation and outreach, it’s no surprise that SIG Sauer has gained immense popularity. Whether you’re interested in one of their handguns or rifles, SIG Sauer can also supply you with the necessary ammunition, tools, and training to become proficient with them.  

SIG has some great options if you’re shopping for defense. However, we recommend you check out our guide to buying a gun for personal defense. It breaks down everything you’ll need to know to help you choose the option that best fits your needs.