In Guns.com’s ongoing Select Fire series, we talked SIG Sauer to let us into their sprawling modern facilities in Newington, New Hampshire.
While SIG Sauer originated in a 1976 team of SIGs based in Switzerland with West Germany’s JP Sauer & Sohn (which itself dates back to 1751), in 1985 an American spin-off, SIGARMS , was up and running in Tysons Corner, Virginia. After moving to New Hampshire in 1990, the latter company began domestic production here in America, turning steel and aluminum blocks into firearms.
And they haven’t looked back.
Moving from SIGARMS to SIG Sauer in 2007 and embarking on an aggressive expansion, the American company has long since eclipsed the former German company of Eckernförde, which is now a thing of the past. Today, with some 3,000 employees in no fewer than 11 locations in three states (New Hampshire, Oregon and Arkansas), SIG Sauer is about as American as apple pie and a bald eagle.
To underscore this fact, over the past few years the company has entered into high-profile contracts with the Pentagon for the Modular Handgun System to supply nearly 500,000 assorted devices. M17 and M18 serial pistols to all major branches of the military as well and selected this year for the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons Platforms, a military small arms demonstration program that is slated for more radical for more than 65 years.
And that’s not even mentioning the mainstream market, which saw SIG rewrite the concealed carry rulebook in 2018 with the P365 9mm micro-compact family – the one that has seen just about every other gun maker go to a catch-up game in an attempt to outperform the P365 since then and SIG returning the fire with their own updates .
With all that in mind, we visited the SIG factory in Newingham, New Hampshire, where the company has approximately 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Chances are if you have a SIG-marked gun made since 2015, it came from inside this building.
Robots = Repeatability
While it might sound like robots making robots – SIG has over 200 of them on the floor – these devices are simply relegated to repetitive actions that can be performed through strict settings. Don’t be Luddite about this, no one loses a job to a machine, machines are just tools for employees to increase the overall productivity of the factory. An extra high-tech pair of hands, if you will.
For example, the company has a bank of robots that produce P365 slides around the clock:
But this staging of quantity does not mean that there are no constant quality checks.
Speaking of test firing, SIG wouldn’t let us shoot in their test ranges because there’s a lot of secret sauce in there, but, with a combination of automated aiming pushers that set the guns to thousandths of an inch and With the rigorous quality control checks in place, they easily achieve very impressive standards of accuracy.
For example, part of the government contract for the MHS series is to place the 10 rounds fired from an M17 25 yards inside a 2.85 inch circle, about the width of a tennis ball. . To keep that in perspective, the M9 series it replaced only had to keep 10 rounds on a 9 x 11 inch sheet – a larger space than the college-lined paper you were scribbling on.
You can be sure that this powerhouse isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon.