In 1853, Friedrich Peyer im Hof, Heinrich Moser and Conrad Neher began what they thought would become a successful wagon factory above the Rhine Falls in Switzerland.
Little did they know then, that their company would become one of the world’s most renowned manufacturers of small arms. Just seven years after constructing an industrial plant for building the most sophisticated wagons and railway cars, the three ambitious owners undertook a more serious venture.
In part to a challenge from Switzerland’s Federal Ministry of Defense, the Swiss Wagon Factory entered the competition to develop a state-of-the-art rifle with the hopes the Swiss Army would adopt it.
At this point, the Swiss Wagon Factory, with an order for 30,000 muzzle loading Prelaz-Burnand rifles in hand, changed the name of the company to the Swiss Industrial Company – Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft, known worldwide as SIG.
Fast-forward to the 20th century. In 1949, the SIG P49, the forerunner of the SIG P210, was developed for the Swiss Army and destined to become a legend on the battlefield as well as the competition field. That same year, the P220 made its appearance as the new pistol for the army, soon followed by the compact P230 for the Swiss police. These pistols offered new features and levels of reliability never before seen in the industry.
By the 1970s, SIG’s small arms division was expanding to include Hämmerli Target Arms from Lenzburg, Switzerland, and J.P. Sauer & Sohn, GmbH, of Eckernförde, West Germany, known worldwide for their hunting rifles. In the 1980s, SIG set its sights on the United States of America. The American market was a vital part of SIG’s business plan to continue to expand its market share and become an international leader in the small arms industry.
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