From its humble beginnings as SIGArms Inc., a small subsidiary in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, founded January 1985 to market imported products like the legendary P220 and P230 pistols by the richly traditional Swiss-German company SIG Sauer on the North American market, the company has grown steadily over the years to become one of the big players in the United States.
SIG Sauer: 33 years of growth
Just two years later – 1987 – the company moved to larger premises in Hendon, Virginia, where it launched today’s classics, the P225, P226 and P228, on the US market. It relocated again in 1990, taking up home in Exeter in the East Coast state of New Hampshire, not far from Boston, where the company remains to this day.
Besides importing SIG Sauer products from Europe, the US company began production of the P229 in caliber .40 S&W in 1992, introduced customer services in its gunsmith workshop and started offering first-class shooting courses. It extended the portfolio to include Sauer & Sohn rifles and Hämmerli sporting guns.
The ever-expanding SIG Arms Academy moved to its current location in Epping, New Hampshire, in 1996. The Blaser R93 straight-pull bolt-action rifle proved a valuable addition to the SIG Arms USA range in 1999, and in 2001 the company was awarded new government contracts for duty pistols, while adding to the courses for law enforcement and civilians at the SIG Sauer Academy all the time.
2007: SIG Arms becomes SIG Sauer
SIG Arms changed its name to SIG Sauer on October 1, 2007. The name was not the only thing that changed, as the company invested US$18 million in a new, state-of-the-art production facility while tripling the size of its workforce.
SIG Sauer completed the move to its new headquarters and production plant in Newington, New Hampshire, in January 2014. Spread over 19,000 square meters, the spacious company building is just a 20-minute drive from the factory in Exeter and the shooting academy in Epping, also New Hampshire.
Modern machinery with several quality control stations and an indoor, 100-meter shooting range are located here.
SIG Sauer as a system provider: a one-stop solution
Today, SIG Sauer has evolved into a full-service or system provider on the far side of the Big Pond. Its impressive product portfolio includes innovative handguns and long guns, as well as optics, suppressors, recreational firearms and ammunition.
Here, for instance, its ammo is not simply sourced from an external supplier and then – as is often the case – relabeled. SIG Sauer puts its money where its mouth is and just recently opened a cutting-edge, brand-new ammunition factory in Jacksonville, Arkansas. The facility currently produces around 200 million rounds per year, with volumes set to rise in future.
The headquarters in New Hampshire on the Eastern Seaboard employs a workforce of 1,550 in production, logistics and at the Academy, and is spread over five locations in Dover, Epping, Exeter, Newington and Portsmouth. Around 100 people work at the ammunition facility in Jacksonville, Arkansas, while SIG Sauer Electro Optics in Tualatin, Oregon, has another 50 employees.
SIG Sauer: prestigious purveyor of pistols for the US Army
SIG Sauer belongs to the big players in the US gun market, and not just since pocketing the U.S. Army tender for the “Modular Handgun System” (MHS) with its P320, alias M17/M18. Annual revenue in 2015 was €350 million, and the company expects to post results of around €500 million in 2016.
We (Franco Palamaro from all4shooter.com and Stefan Perey, editor-in-chief at Caliber) were given the opportunity to tour the facility in April 2018, as well as to conduct a roughly 20-minute interview with Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG Sauer USA. As expected, visitors to the plant will discover an incredible number of cutting-edge CNC milling machines, automated robot workflows and overall an extremely efficient production organization permeating all areas through to final assembly.
The company is reluctant to discuss its production figures, but given the 1.25 million shots fired each month in the state-of-the-art QA shooting range where all of the firearms are sent before shipping, it is reasonable to assume that the numbers are staggering.
Interesting: We noticed a fenced off, secure area of the plant, used exclusively to assemble the M17/M18 duty pistols for the American armed forces. Manufacturing for civilian and law enforcement customers remains strictly separated.
Exclusive interview with Ron Cohen, CEO of SIG Sauer USA since 2005:
We learned in our audience with Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG Sauer USA, that the company has a current output capacity of up to 6,000 MHS pistols per month. The extremely handy, spanking new P365 enjoys such immense popularity that the company currently has a significant supply backlog, despite the impressive output.
The charismatic business leader is a clever communicator of SIG Sauer’s spirit and philosophy. Immediately noticeable is the pride he feels at delivering tools to the military and law enforcement professionals who uphold the tenets of liberal democracy and protect lives day in, day out.
We extend our thanks to SIG Sauer for the invitation to the United States, the many wonderful meetings we enjoyed, and the specialized information we received about all the new products for the US and European markets in 2018.
Here is an overview of all the information we acquired during our visit to SIG Sauer :