by Rob Kay and RN Price
With its impeccable Swiss-German heritage, SIG has the deserved reputation of manufacturing some of the best handguns and rifles in the US. So the inevitable question is, why go into the ammunition business, which sure seems over-crowded and exceedingly competitive?
According to Bud Fini, VP of marketing at SIG “there is always room for a better product.” Fini says the company’s aim was to manufacture high performance ammo that is specifically designed for SIG’s guns.
The secret sauce is their “V-CROWN” patented design which they claim offers “exceptional” performance in a non-bonded bullet and their “TECHNI-CROM” brass plating which “significantly” aids in feeding and extraction.
The design goals of the new ammo are improved reliability and feeding, along with better penetration in clothing, plywood, wallboard, etc. Naturally, the holy grail of controlled expansion with penetration while delivering maximum energy always is part of the equation.
We suspect timing was another factor in their decision to create a new line of high end ammo.
With a great brand name, manufacturing a premium and presumably high margin product makes perfect business sense. Gun lovers are notorious hoarders and who can blame us?
We live in a highly charged, anti-gun environment characterized by looming legislation and possible government intervention. Who wouldn’t among us have their share of fear, uncertainty and doubt? Chronic shortages of ammo have unfortunately been a way of life over the last couple of years.
Producers can presumably sell as much as they can pump out from the assembly lines. If SIG can create a desirable new product and, another profit center, more power to them.
What’s the market for the new product?
On the surface it would seem that SIG’s new bullets would be a natural for the commercial/LE market, which was the company’s original intention. However, the shortage of ammo “opened markets of opportunity” said Sini.
He also pointed to another trend.
Law enforcement agencies are shifting gears when it comes to preferences for “bonded” vs. non-bonded bullets. SIG believes that a high quality JHP is better suited for many scenarios when penetration through glass is not a requirement. SIG may someday manufacture bonded bullets but for the near future it’s happy to sell to agencies that prefer the non-bonded bullets.
A little background is in order. A bonded core bullet is one in which the lead core is soldered or chemically bonded to the copper alloy jacket. The purpose of bonding is to positively prevent core/jacket separation after impact, promoting penetration and reducing the likelihood of fragmentation. A hollow point, on the other hand, is designed to expand upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration and disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target. Thus if your intent is to drop bad guys rather than penetrating inanimate objects, a hollow point bullet is better.
My first impression was that the new line of SIG products were merely a private label job where an OEM pumped out ammo with the SIG name on it. Our cynicism was (at least in this instance) misplaced.
The good news is that this is entirely a SIG SAUER product. SIG employees are actually producing and loading all ammunition at the company’s Kentucky operation. The plan is to eventually relocate to a larger facility in a state to be named later.
Currently the company produces .380, 9mm Luger, 357 SIG, .40S&W and.45 Auto but future rifle calibers such as 300 Blackout will be available. Handgun offerings in different weights, tailored for specific needs, will be ddressed. For example light loads optimized for short barrel/pocket/concealed carry pistols are in the works. Other loads will be designed with suppressor friendliness in mind.
How did the new bullets work?
For variety’s sake we thought it would be good to fire the bullets out of both old and new firearms.
We had a chance to test the 9 mm bullets in a brand new Walther PPQ M2 Navy SD and the .45 rounds in our trusty (old) SIG 220 of German manufacture and an older Glock 21.
In all cases the new SIG ammo was dependable and accurate. There were no extraction problems or failures with either gun. Of course the Walther, Glock and SIG 220 are high quality guns to begin with so you would expect they would consume just about any ammo and spit it them out reliably. Thus, no great revelation.
We shot at both paper and metal targets of up to 100 yards (with the 9mm) ammo. The results (at least what we could record on paper) were impressive with groups of up to 2” at 25 yards.
Is this plinking ammo?
At over a dollar a round (MSRP of $22.17 for boxes of 20) it’s not cheap. Could we see it used for competition? Absolutely. However, I suspect it’s most likely going end up used in home defense or in some law officer’s department issue pistol—which is what it was designed for.
After all short of an apocalyptic scenario or a zombie assault, chances are you’re not going to use a lot of these bullets defending the home front. Besides, if, God forbid you should need to use them to protect yourself and family from an intruder, the cost of the ammunition you’re using would be the last thing weighing on your mind.
In our estimation SIG Elite Performance ammo was impeccably dependable, accurate and we expect, quite effective if the scenario ever present itself.
With the name SIG behind, we’d feel very confident about it.
Photos courtesy of On Target staff. Graphic courtesy of SIG.
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