Why Did It Take So Long To Get a Striker-Fired SIG?

10-Jan-14 – 02:48 by ToddG

The reign of the SFA (striker-fired action) pistol is all but complete. Why did it take so long for SIG to get on board? Well, at least one part of the story is a great example of how companies can become blindly biased by their own products. And like most of my favorite stories, it involves me, too.

Years ago SIG was on the cusp of introducing what would become the P250. It had already been in development for quite a while and it sounded awesome. We were told it was absolutely everything you ever liked about SIG pistols plus unparalleled paradigm-shifting modularity.

The company had also hired a new grand poobah, Ron Cohen. And at a critical point in the P250’s formation, Cohen called a bunch of the law enforcement/military sales guys to a meeting in Exeter. His question was simple: should we tap the brakes a bit and turn this into a striker-fired gun.

I stood up and made an impassioned plea to keep the gun hammer fired. Hammer fired guns are better, after all. I knew because that’s what I’d been telling my customers for years and I truly believed it (still do, to an extent). They’re more reliable. They’re safer. They’re more robust. I’d been telling customers for years that they were better than striker-fired guns. How could this guy possibly ask us to go back to our customers and explain how everything we’d said about hammer fired guns was wrong? Good heavens, man, you were raping my sales pitch and leaving it for dead!

Not a single person stood up in favor of a SFA SIG that day. 

Forget what the market was demanding. Forget who we were losing contracts to. Nope, we’d had a bathtub full of kool-aid and wouldn’t be turned from the path of righteousness.

So the P250 came into being and for years it was the gun that SIG tried to make work… both in terms of function and market penetration. New gun designs are monumental investments and once they’re on the market you’re stuck with them for good or ill. But what might have happened if the P250 got redesigned from the ground up as a SFA to begin with? It might have worked better. It would have opened up a whole new segment of the market. It could have made a real difference.

The SIG P320 may or may not be a success. It has the stigma of the P250 to overcome. The Smith & Wesson M&P beat it to market by quite a few years and has already established itself as the “other” SFA option. For the most part the shooting community hasn’t responded with much enthusiasm to the modular pistol concept. But maybe, just maybe, if the P320 had arrived in stores nine years ago…

But it didn’t. And while there are countless factors that go into such decisions, at least part of the reason was because a room full of sales guys at SIG — including me — ignored the giant neon flashing sign in front of us saying “SFA or bust!” in favor of listening to ourselves chant a sales pitch.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 17 Responses to “Why Did It Take So Long To Get a Striker-Fired SIG?”

  2. Did you guys have to do song and dance numbers every morning before work started? With a team leader getting up on a table chanting some horrible song about how great you were going to do that day? I had to do that for a company I worked for once. I was told all large, successful companies did that.

    By Rob E on Jan 10, 2014

  3. I don’t know, man. Why would they when they have DAK?

    It’s the same thing H&K does with the LEM. Instead of jumping on the half-cocked striker train, they have a half-cocked hammer and half-double action. They still compete because in the abstract it’s the same system, does the same job. No manual safeties, no long double-action pull.

    Granted, from what I hear about DAK it isn’t stellar compared to Glock or LEM, but then again nothing from SIG USA is stellar these days.

    SIG has many problems, but the lack of a striker fired gun is not one of them. They would sell hammer fired guns if they were any good, instead of coasting on an outdated reputation from the 80s, that has already tarnished rapidly to anyone in the know.

    Then again, even terrible striker-fired guns sell really well to people who don’t know any better, so this will at least keep them financially viable. That is not necessarily a good thing for the rest of us who care about quality, performance and reliability.

    By jellydonut on Jan 10, 2014

  4. So maybe I’ve missed the marketing train on this debate, but what are the arguments in favor of SFA guns? Is it just the ‘new’ thing, and that’s why companies are jumping on the bandwagon?

    I have a Glock that goes bang every time. I have a SIG that goes bang every time. I don’t really care how the firing pin gets struck, so long as it goes bang.

    The argument I can see in favor of SFA guns is that it eliminates some springs and lockwork that would otherwise go in the backstrap of the grip, thereby making it possible to shrink the grip circumference and trigger reach, which is important to some users.

    OTOH, the hammer-fired design allows the slide to be shorter, which means the back of the slide doesn’t jab you as much when carrying IWB.

    I tell people to first find the gun that fits their hand best. Then find a reliable version of that which meets their needs. I’ve never had occasion to debate the merits of striker-fired vs. hammer-fired guns.

    FWIW I happened to like the P250 that I shot once. I only put a magazineful through it, but it seemed to work for me and everyone else that day.

    By Redchrome on Jan 10, 2014

  5. Redchrome…

    The SFA give you the same trigger pull for every shot (and a short one). You do get that with the DAK and the LEM, but not with a traditional DA/SA Sig. That is the biggest plus I can think of.

    By JohnR on Jan 10, 2014

  6. JohnR:
    Yes, but DAO (as well as the fancy versions of it like DAK and LEM) does that as well (and gives you a second-strike capability which most striker-fired designs lack). Getting a short trigger squeeze (not necessarily a plus, and not my preference on a defensive gun) is a matter of part geometry and spring weight.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like both. I just don’t care about that design feature much one way or another. It’s a means to an end, and what your end goals are what defines which is better.

    By Redchrome on Jan 10, 2014

  7. How could this guy possibly ask us to go back to our customers and explain how everything we’d said about hammer fired guns was wrong?

    I have related before the bemusement with which I stood there and listened to my S&W rep, a man who just a year earlier had been condemning plastic and praising hammers, talk up the shiny new Sigma like it was the greatest and most novel thing since the invention of pre-sliced bread.

    By Tam on Jan 10, 2014

  8. I own a P250. Plus SFA from Glock, S&W. My EDC is the P250. Like Redchrome, I could care less. It fits me. I like it better than a Glock.

    Modularity is what attracted me. That feature I love.

    By JPD on Jan 10, 2014

  9. The M&P took a few years to catch on. You had lots of people in the; never will forgive S&W camp for not being 2A enough, and you still had the “Stigma” on lots of peoples minds… But, “What have you done for me lately” attitude regarding Glock, the fact the M&P actually is a good pistol, created a Perfect Storm…. It is simple regarding Sig. If it is a good pistol, it will be a success.

    By Matt S on Jan 10, 2014

  10. My M&P .45 Compact is a full-cocked striker design, so it’s technically a single-action pistol. Other than disengaging safeties, pulling the trigger only drops the sear.

    Just FYI.

    By Dave Noice on Jan 10, 2014

  11. SIG P250…when looks don’t count.

    By Tom RKBA on Jan 10, 2014

  12. So, can we get a “Todd Killed Sig” meme started after reading this?;)

    By Metron on Jan 11, 2014

  13. I still prefer DA/SA guns. It’s what I was trained on. Do you honestly think it matters to me that there is another gun on the market? Do you think I’ll need to go out and replace the sizable investment in perfectly working guns that I already have? No. What about when these wear out? Do you think I have some burning desire to completely retrain so I can get used to a new trigger system? No.

    Now, if I had to run a marketing campaign it might be a different story….

    By Bruce on Jan 13, 2014

  14. So… Either Todd kept Sig from joining the 1990s or, uh, yeah. Todd killed Sig.

    By Da Griz on Jan 14, 2014

  15. I don’t look to Sig for striker-fired pistols. I look to them, and HK, for uncompromising hammer-fired designs. For one thing, hammer fired designs ARE inherently safer. For another, I want to be able to put my thumb on the hammer when I reholster.

    Oh… By the way… I love my P250. Seriously. It’s my EDC. I even prefer it to my P2000 in light LEM.

    By Fred on Jan 15, 2014

  16. I handled several P320s at the Shot Show today. It was not awe inspiring. If I feel like carrying a strike fired weapon, I’ll stick to my M&P 40 with Apex FSS.

    I went in with an open mind, but at least one of the triggers I pulled had a very small click prior to the striker firing. Not ideal.

    By MatthewJ76654 on Jan 16, 2014

  17. Groupthink is a terrible disease that has infected many firearms companies. Based on what the P320 actually is, groupthink has not left the building for Sig Sauer. But, until I shoot one I should hold judgement.

    By Harm Uden on Jan 17, 2014

  18. So, basically, the P250 was doomed to fail from its very beginning, and it was because of Todd. Nice, LOL.

    By 987654321 on Jan 31, 2014

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