'Sweat, Lead and Steel' Episode 6: SIG Sauer

In this episode of Sweat, Lead & Steel we go behind the curtain with SIG Sauer, the global leader in firearms, optics, ammunition, and suppressor manufacturing. From their headquarters and manufacturing center in Newington, New Hampshire, you’ll learn how the brand that was selected as the leading sidearm producer for the US Military has developed and instituted cutting-edge practices in engineering and machining and has developed the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the industry. 

Insight from the brand’s leadership and key figureheads provide an introspective and rarely seen overview of how the second oldest continually operating company in the firearms industry evolved from the Swiss Industrial Group, a wagon wheel company founded in 1853, to becoming the undeniable force in the industry that they are today. 

At the center of this tale of evolution and revelation is SIG Sauer’s bid for the US Army’s Modular Handgun System contract. Sig’s approach to the “handgun of the future” is revealed in detail, including the development, final form, function, capability, reliability, accuracy, and other advantages that its M17/M18 systems presented, leading to it’s selection in 2017 by the US Army against all other candidates. Not to mention, the win was awarded a year early because the M17 platform exceeded expectations in multiple reviews and categories. 

Beyond the impressive technology, hardware, and immaculate processes inherent within SIG Sauer’s manufacturing facility, we also visit the legendary SIG Sauer Academy, a 140-acre firearms tactics and training facility featuring world-class instructors and specially designed courses. SIG’s leadership places tremendous emphasis on the academy as an integral component of the firearms brand, as the place where the individual, the end-user, can employ their intimate understanding and expertise regarding their experience with various firearms platforms during extensive use and provide them with direct feedback. And SIG listens, drawing from the seasoned backgrounds of over 100 military and LEO trainers that operate as instructors with the academy. 

Ron Cohen, President of SIG Sauer passionately notes, “The SIG Sauer Academy is the window to our soul, to who we are. It’s our DNA. It is the combination of hardware and experience.” Within this formidable training ground and testbed, some of the best in the world develop curriculum, train, and test SIG Sauer products daily alongside individuals of various specialized backgrounds. 

Whether it be achieving futuristic manufacturing practices, or placing an impassioned emphasis on training and the consumer experience, continuous improvement and innovation is the ethos at SIG Sauer and we think you’ll see what we mean in this episode of Sweat, Lead & Steel!


Sweat, Lead & Steel is an Athlon Outdoors original series profiling the history and passion of companies in the shooting sports industry, and taking an intimate and cinematically powerful look into the history and current state of manufacturers. Through interviews with key executives/founders, archival images and footage, plus a modern look at products and the current manufacturing process, we'll tell the story of each company and reveal their path to greatness and the people who have shaped them.

Watch past episodes of 'Sweat, Lead & Steel', including POF USA, Barrett Firearms, LMT Defense, Black Hills Ammunition & SCCY Firearms. Watch all of them here.