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