While it would be a wonderful thing to own a SIG Sauer 55x-series rifle straight from Europe, there are all these crazy things like laws that get in the damn way. Naturally, SIG manages to get rifles into this country just the same, however modified though they fore. Keeping compliant with 922(r) regulations, a certain number of foreign parts are replaced with their U.S.-made equivalents, and the fun button thrown away.
When SIG did this with the highly sought-after 551, they changed so much that they had to rename it the 556, reflecting just how different this new rifle was. One of the biggest differences between a SIG 551 and a SIG 556 is that they use completely different magazines.
The original Swiss SIG magazines are a proprietary design that you rock-and-lock, like AK magazines. They’re completely translucent, so you have a very good idea of what your remaining round count is, and they clip together like Lego so you can carry as much ammo as you want right there on the gun.
SIG 556 magazines are your standard STANAG/M16/AR-15 jobs. These have advantages, too. Like being everywhere, for starters. You can’t swing a dead cat at a gunshow without knocking over a pile of AR magazines.
But this does not please the purist. SIG, sensing this, (they’ve been “sensing” this for years and years of customer requests) has finally put together a SIG 551 for America, uh, provided you’re not Canada, or Mexico, or Antigua, or Cuba, or Grenada, or the Virgin Islands, or… provided you are in the United States. It too, is not called a 551, because of its many small variances made to reflect our import laws, and as such we present to you the 551-A1.
The 551-A1 is completely clad in Swiss-style furniture, with a folding stock, and a 16″ barrel with a 1:7 twist, and all the other amenities of a SIG rifle: the rotating bolt, the selectable gas piston, the flat top rail, the milled aluminum lower, the fluted muzzle brake, the 7lb 2-stage trigger to match it’s 7lb dry weight. And it comes with one 20-round and one 30-round Swiss magazines.
Yes, you can rock-and-lock away, at least once, anyway, with this cheeky new rifle. And we wish you all the best of luck finding Swiss magazines for less than $80 before shipping. For serious, SIG is going to have to get on the ball with their store if they want happy SIG owners, because those magazines are almost impossible to lay hands on. All that being said, this is definitely going to make those with a touch of the signess cry oh so happily.