SIG is more than just a name in the firearms industry, it is a powerhouse. From a simple beginning to its current status, SIG has come a very long way. To the surprise of many, SIG Sauer actually started as a wagon-wheel factory in 1853. It quickly evolved into an industrial plant for building the most sophisticated wagons and railway cars in Switzerland. Things turned a different direction though when Switzerland’s Federal Ministry of Defense issued a nationwide challenge. They were looking to acquire a new state-of-the-art rifle for the Swiss Army. In 1864, the Swiss Wagon Factory accepted the challenge, winning a contract for its new Prelaz-Burnand rifle. It then parked the wagon business for an initial order of more than 30,000 rifles. It was at this point that the “Swiss Wagon Company” became the Swiss Industrial Company, or better known as SIG.
SIG Sauer: Firearms Industry Powerhouse
Fast forward to 1949 and a SIG legend was born. The P49 became very popular on the battlefield as well as in competition circuits. This gun would go on to be the impetus behind the more commonly known SIG P210. Later that same year it released the P220 destined for the Swiss military. The law enforcement circles began to clamor for a version of their own and soon the P230 compact was released. These pistols proved to be the cornerstone of SIG’s reputation for quality and reliability. The team at SIG continued to design and drive their business. It was during this period that SIG partnered with J.P. Sauer & Sohn, GmbH, of West Germany, known worldwide for hunting rifles. This would be the start of a well known household name – SIG Sauer.
Jump up to 1985 and SIG makes its first move to the United States. SIGARMS set up shop in Virginia and began to import its popular P220 and P230 pistols. To say that things went well would be a bit of an understatement. Everything that the Europeans liked about the SIG pistols carried over to the U.S. In 1992, with an eye on the future, SIGARMS moved to Exeter, New Hampshire. In 1992, SIG began production of the P229 in .40 S&W. Besides importing the SIG Sauer line of pistols, SIGARMS offered customer service from highly qualified gunsmiths in the reputable service department and state-of-the-art training at a separate training facility on 128 acres in Epping, New Hampshire. SIGARMS continued to expand its firearm lines with the Sauer rifle line and the Hämmerli line of target pistols and rifles.
With all the history behind us, the SIG corporate that we know today came to be on October 1st, 2007. On that day it changed the name from SIGARMS to SIG Sauer. SIG states: “The change reflected the vast worldwide growth in demand for SIG Sauer products. In response, the company more than tripled its workforce in the next 30 months, invested 18 million U.S. dollars in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and equipment, and significantly expanded its engineering base. The name change, coupled with major new product introductions in pistols and rifles, reflects the continued commitment to the high standards of production, service, and innovation the SIG Sauer brand has always represented.”