And made by four different companies.
Key point: Pistols made by SIG Sauer, Inc. have had a mixed reputation for quality.
The SIG P210 is quite possibly the most accurate service pistol in the world.
Designed to Swiss Army specifications to replace the Swiss variant of the Luger, the design saw service in multiple national militaries and has been produced in three different countries. However, it has phased in and out of production due to its costly nature.
Recently, SIG Sauer, Inc. reintroduced the pistol to the U.S. market as a fully “Made in the USA” pistol. The path that it has taken to get there mirrors the development of SIG brand itself, from an industrial concern that made guns for the Swiss Army to an almost fully American brand.
The P210 first came about as part of a wave of post-WWII small arms modernization across the Swiss Army. The Swiss wanted to replace their variant of the Luger as it was becoming too expensive to manufacture. Swiss industry already attempted to simplify the Luger, but the nineteenth-century design of the pistol meant that only so much could be done.
As a result, SIG, which means Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft, or literally Swiss Industrial Company, produced a variety of small arms to meet the needs of the military. Initially, a variant of the French M1935 pistol was bought, but the design was adapted to fit Swiss needs better and the pistol was redesigned for accuracy. Still, the recoil spring and locking mechanism were largely taken from the M1935 in the P210 design.
The design was finalized in 1949 and was rapidly adopted by the Swiss and Danish militaries. By all accounts, it had a relatively successful service, proving reliable and very accurate. P210s were also popular on the civilian market, where they were used to compete in target shooting competitions.
However, the intricately machined P210 was rather expensive to produce. In the 1970s, the Swiss SIG entered a partnership with J. P. Sauer and Sohn, a German firearms manufacturer. At the time, Sauer hadn’t designed a pistol in over twenty years, with their last pistol being the WWII era Sauer 38H police pistol. The partnership was to share expertise and to allow SIG to more easily export firearms.
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