SIG Sauer Factory Tour: Birthplace of the P365, P320, MCX & More
In Guns.com's ongoing Select Fire series, we talked SIG Sauer into letting us into its expansive and modern facility in Newington, New Hampshire.
While SIG Sauer had its origin in a 1976 team-up of Swiss-based SIG with West Germany's J.P. Sauer & Sohn (which itself dates to 1751), by 1985 a U.S. spinoff, SIGARMS, was up and running in Tysons Corner, Virginia. After moving to New Hampshire in 1990, the latter company started domestic production here in America-- turning blocks of steel and aluminum into firearms.
And they haven't looked back.
Rebranding from SIGARMS to SIG Sauer in 2007 and embarking on an aggressive expansion, the American company long ago eclipsed the old German-based concern at Eckernförde, which now is history. Now, pushing some 3,000 employees at no less than 11 locations in three states (New Hampshire, Oregon, and Arkansas), SIG Sauer is about as American as apple pie and bald eagles.
To underline that fact, in recent years, the company has slam-dunked high-profile Pentagon contracts for the Modular Handgun System to supply almost 500,000 assorted M17 and M18 series pistols to all primary branches of the military as well and being selected this year for the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon platforms, a showcase military small arms program that stands to be the most sweeping in more than 65 years.
With all that in mind, we visited SIG's Newingham, New Hampshire facility where the company has about 150,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space. Odds are, if you have a SIG-marked firearm that has been made since 2015, it came from inside this building.
Robots = Repeatability
While it may look like robots making robots-- SIG has over 200 of them on the floor-- these devices are just relegated to repetitive actions that can be done via tight parameters. Now don't get Luddite about it, nobody is losing a job to a machine, the machines are just tools allowing the employees to expand the plant's overall productivity. A high-tech extra set of hands, if you will.
For instance, the company has a bank of robots just churning out P365 slides around the clock:
But this staging for quantity doesn't mean there aren't constant checks on quality.
Speaking of test firing, SIG wouldn't let us film in their testing ranges as there is a lot of secret sauce in there but, with a combination of automated sight pushers that set sights on pistols to the thousandths of an inch and the rigorous quality control checks in place, they easily hit some very impressive accuracy standards.
For instance, part of the government contract for the MHS series is to place all 10 shots fired from an M17 at 25 meters inside a 2.85-inch circle, or 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 9x11-inch sheet-- a space larger than that college-ruled paper you used to doodle on.
You can be sure that this powerhouse doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon.