Sig Sauer traces its roots to a Swiss wagon factory founded in 1853 that won a contract to produce rifles for the Swiss military. The company eventually grew to include pistols and hunting rifles manufactured in Switzerland and West Germany before establishing an American subsidiary, SIGARMS, as an importer in 1985. In 2007, SIGARMS became Sig Sauer, and in 2014, the company moved from Virginia to New Hampshire and began shifting all of its production to the U.S.
Today, Sig Sauer calls itself a “complete systems provider,” as it produces pistols, rifles, and even machine guns as well as a wide range of ammunition, silencers, optics, and airguns. The company prides itself on its military heritage, but its military-style weapons have been used to kill a number of American civilians.
For example, Sig Sauer semi-automatic rifles were used by mass shooters in Orlando, Florida, and Greenwood, Indiana. One of the company’s AR-10-style rifles was also recovered from the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel rooms, and Sig Sauer pistols have been used in several other mass shootings.
In addition, Sig Sauer offers “state-compliant” semi-automatic rifles that are slightly modified to remain legal under select states’ assault weapons bans but can be just as deadly, and in the past, it offered easily concealable “pistol” versions of rifles. In fact, Sig Sauer was the first company to offer an AR-style “pistol” with an arm brace in May 2013. (To learn more about AR- and AK-style “pistols” with arm braces, click here.)
In recent years, Sig Sauer has used military contracts to market similar weapons to civilians. The company previously produced P226 series pistols for the military, and to this day, the company still offers civilians models that mimic those used by Navy SEALs. Sig Sauer also released civilian versions of the P320 pistols that the U.S. military adopted in 2017 as the M18 and M17 — a fact Sig Sauer uses liberally in its marketing materials.
In 2022, the U.S. military chose Sig Sauer’s MCX-Spear rifle — designated the XM7 in military service — to replace the M4 carbine to give soldiers increased armor-piercing capabilities at a distance. The company then debuted civilian versions of the MCX-Spear rifle in various calibers.
Sig Sauer’s P320 pistols are popular — and have reportedly fired on their own. Sig Sauer debuted the P320 series in 2014 as the company’s first foray into striker-fired pistols, but they’re available without any external safeties, not even the trigger safeties common to Glocks and other competitors. Since they were introduced, P320 pistols have allegedly wounded at least 80 people, including law enforcement officers, after firing on their own, even after being voluntarily “upgraded” by Sig Sauer in 2017.
The U.S. military adopted the P320 as its standard-issue handgun in 2017. Those pistols (and commemorative editions available to civilians) feature thumb safeties, however.
P320 pistols are also modular, meaning owners can swap out the barrel, slide, and frame to create handguns of different sizes and calibers. The core component that does not change, the trigger group, is the only serialized component and is technically the “firearm” according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). This design allows people on the ghost gun market — including prohibited purchasers — to buy “80-percent”-complete P320 trigger groups and build untraceable pistols using Sig Sauer or aftermarket parts.
More recently, in March 2022, Sig Sauer unveiled a .22-caliber version of the P320, known as the P322. Sig Sauer has marketed it as a way to help teach people — including young children, as depicted in a Facebook post — how to use firearms. Similarly, the company produces airgun replicas of its most popular firearms, including its AR-15s, that fire BBs or pellets and may interest children and young adults in its products.
Sig Sauer has also helped popularize concealed carry. In 2017, the company unveiled the P365, a 9mm pistol that holds at least 10 rounds of ammunition — a significant increase over previous concealed-carry pistols — while still being able to fit within a pants or coat pocket. The company called it the P365 because it’s “the one gun you can carry every day of the year,” adding to the industry’s push for gun owners to always be armed. And the pistol’s popularity has helped create a new market for similar high-capacity, “micro-compact” 9mm pistols.
Sig Sauer admitted that it did not “have the means” to monitor or track deaths caused by its products, in particular AR-15s, to the House Oversight Committee. The company also refused to provide financial documents to the committee and “claimed it did not track revenue and profits from specific product lines.”
Sig Sauer promotes retailers who offer “shoot now, pay later” financing. Selecting “Buy Now” on the company’s website provides prospective buyers with a link to Guns.com, which offers financing through Credova. Buyers may not even need to make their first payment for 30 days.
It is unclear what measures Sig Sauer takes to secure its supply chain to prevent its products from entering the illegal market. For example, information is not publicly available on whether Sig Sauer requires distributors and dealers to secure their firearms, flag questionable customers, or report the results of ATF compliance inspections and crime gun trace requests. Nor does it appear to cut ties with sellers who rack up significant ATF violations. For example, at least three gun dealers identified as Sig “Elite Dealers” as of this writing received citations for multiple violations during ATF inspections between 2015 and 2017, a small snapshot of data made publicly available.
Considering the lack of legislative or regulatory action in this regard, gun manufacturers should, at a minimum, adopt stronger public codes of conduct to hold their distributors and dealers accountable in securing supply chains.
Sig Sauer is a major supporter of the NRA. The company sponsors NRA events, donates weapons to Friends of NRA fundraising events, offers discounts to NRA-certified firearms instructors, and has collaborated on special NRA-edition firearms. Ahead of the 2020 election, Sig Sauer also joined in the NRA-ILA’s “Partners for Patriotism” campaign to match $1 million in donations.