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Exclusive! HAM Reveals The SIG SAUER Airgun Strategy.

A couple of months ago, I travelled to New Hampshire and visited the US headquarters of SIG SAUER. The result was an exclusive insight into SIG SAUER airgun strategy…

Vice President and General Manager of the SIG SAUER Airgun Division Joe Huston was my host for the trip. While there, I also talked to the President and CEO of SIG SAUER, Ron Cohen. Both were very clear about the corporate direction for the SIG SAUER airgun business.

Below. From left to right, Archer, Cohen, Huston.

Exclusive! HAM Reveals The SIG SAUER Airgun Strategy.

Although other major firearms companies have become involved in the airgun market, none of them have approached it like SIG SAUER…

Ron Cohen explained that in 2013, the company took some major strategic decisions that would guide its future for years to come. One decision was that the company would enter the airgun market, starting with SIG SAUER airgun versions of some of their firearms.

Below. SIG SAUER Shooting Team Captain Max Michel with a MPX airgun at the SIG SAUER Academy training center in Epping, New Hampshire.

Exclusive! HAM Reveals The SIG SAUER Airgun Strategy.

This was the origin of the SIG SAUER airgun strategy. Ron Cohen told me that he views airguns as an extension of their firearms business. The only real difference is that the propellant is compressed air (or CO2 gas) instead of the combustion of powder in a firearm.

Other firearms companies have generally treated airguns as an off-shoot that’s somehow inferior to their “real guns”. That’s completely not the case at SIG SAUER!

Ron also went on to outline his belief that future technology changes will blur the line between what can be achieved with compressed air and powder-burning guns. And he plans to bring more of that technology to the SIG SAUER airgun range. That’s why SIG SAUER’s Research and Development spend is twice the industry average!

Below. The forthcoming SIG SAUER ASP20 air rifle includes many new Patent-pending features.

Exclusive! HAM Reveals The SIG SAUER Airgun Strategy.

He was emphatic that the company does not view airguns as “second class citizens” and that there’s only one standard for product quality in SIG SAUER – the best. Airguns are held to the same standards as firearms intended for, say, military Special Forces, he told me.

Obviously airguns are ideal to introduce young and new shooters to shooting. But, as Ron highlighted, they also are ideal as training tools to complement SIG SAUER firearms. Using airguns for training can provide invaluable experience at low cost, or where noise or range have to be limited.

There’s no doubt. SIG SAUER is investing in airguns for the long term. The company has extensive distribution and sales channels for the firearms business already. We can expect to see SIG SAUER airguns being sold alongside firearms in the future – just as the two types of guns will be manufactured together.

General Manager of the SIG SAUER Airgun Division, Joe Huston, confirmed that the company is investing significantly in new machinery for the manufacture of new airguns right here in the USA.

Among new SIG SAUER airgun models will be the ASP20 break barrel air rifle. Hard Air Magazine revealed this when a prototype was shown at the 2017 IWA Show. The ASP20 meets three big springer issues head-on: barrel lockup, cocking effort and trigger adjustability – all with new Patent-pending technology. That will surely be one model to make a big splash in 2018.

And Joe confirmed that not all SIG SAUER airgun models will be military replicas in the future, as the ASP20 shows.

Unlike the current generation of SIG SAUER airguns, many of these new products will be manufactured in-house in SIG SAUER’s huge New Hampshire manufacturing facility. Parts for these new airguns will be made using the same high-tech CNC machines that make firearms parts, right alongside each other and to the same high standards.

Below, ranks of CNC machines in the SIG SAUER manufacturing facility…

Exclusive! HAM Reveals The SIG SAUER Airgun Strategy.

… they change this rough pistol frame billet to that finished one in just one pass through a CNC machine!

Exclusive! HAM Reveals The SIG SAUER Airgun Strategy.

Joe emphasized that – although SIG SAUER and Diana are both owned by the same holding company, they operate completely separately and that they do not share common designs. So look for future SIG SAUER airguns to be very different from Dianas…

It’s pretty clear that there will be some major SIG SAUER airgun announcements at the January 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Hard Air Magazine will be there to bring you the news, as it happens!