SIG Sauer Academy lies on the US Eastern Seaboard, nearly one hour by car outside of Boston. The exact location is Epping, New Hampshire. At the end of April 2018, we (Franco Palamaro, senior editor all4shooters.com and Stefan Perey, editor-in-chief at Caliber) had the opportunity to spend a few days on location. There, we were able to acquaint ourselves with the latest SIG Sauer models under professional instruction from SIG Sauer team, while pursuing numerous opportunities right on-site.
The idea behind SIG Sauer Academy
In the beginning, the express goal of the first academy director, Bank Miller (who had been chief firearms instructor of the DEA – Drug Enforcement Administration – for 12 years) was to offer military and police staff first-class training in shooting. For this purpose, SIG Sauer Academy (at that time SIG Arms Academy) was established as an institution, which with respect to buildings and grounds, was similar to the shooting range complex of the FBI, presenting ideal conditions for a realistic shooting training.
Up until the turn of the millennium, the courses of the SIG Sauer Academy were exclusively offered to professionals employed by the authorities. It first opened to civilians in the year 2000 and the present author participated, as early as in 2002, in a conceal carry pistol course led by Bank Miller.
Complete training program: up to 10,000 students each year
Today, 35 full-time instructors along with countless part-time trainers annually train up to 10,000 students.
That means that, together with the staff at the superbly equipped SIG Sauer shop which opened in 2006, there is a crew of 105 people at peak times. Nearly all instructors have a military/police background.
This was the case for the vice president of the academy, Steve “Mato” Matulewicz, a former Navy SEAL.
Stretching across an area of 57 hectares (!), the enormous shooting facility has everything to offer and excite experienced shooters. The SIG Sauer Academy currently offers an unbelievable total of 110 different shooting courses. The seminar program of the SIG Sauer Academy is divided into the following six main areas:
- Armorer Certification
These are gunsmith courses that provide in-depth details about the service, inspection and care of SIG Sauer firearms such as P320 and MCX.
- Instructor Development
Here you encounter a particular ‘train the trainer’ set-up: that is, courses for trainers in all types of weapons.
- Competitve Shooting
These are special courses for competitive shooting.
- Shooting Development
These courses are about expanding on individual marksmanship in a large number of course formats.
- Guest Instructor
This segment offers courses with reputable guest trainers. Among them are renowned shooters like Kyle Lamb from Viking Tactics or Travis Haley from Haley Strategic.
- Specialty Training
These are predominantly shooting courses for authorities. Here in each course area you can discover true specialization such as Mastering Moving Targets (shooting at moving targets in IPSC/action sport), Red Dot Defensive Pistol (shooting with pistols equipped with mini reflex sights) or Advanced Night Vision Operator (shooting with night vision technology for advanced students).
SIG Sauer Academy: a paradise for practitioners
Besides the two supremely equipped room shooting ranges, in the outdoor area there are rifle shooting ranges with maximum distances of up to 1,000 yards (914 meters), a 360-degree shooting stand, a ‘live fire’ house with ballistic walls and wrap-around catwalk where teams can train tactics for sharp shooting, an area with shipping containers for demanding force-on-force scenario training with color-marking ammunition, as well as Area 51 with nine shooting stands from 25 to 100 yards. To boot, there are additional shooting stands and classrooms, where in every nook and cranny you come across steel targets, scrapped cars and barricades in order to make training as efficient and practical as possible.
At about 250 USD per day and participant, the courses are surely worth every single cent. Truly a paradise for seasoned connoisseurs!