The SIG P210 pistol was created in 1947 bySchweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft, also known by the acronym SIG. Founded in 1853 as a train car manufacturing plant in Neuhausen am Rheinfall by Friedrich Peyer, Conrad Neher, and Heinrich Moser, SIG started making small arms in 1860.Three years later, master locksmith Johann UlrichHämmerliestablished his company in Lenzburgto fulfill the Swiss army order for rifle barrel manufacture. Servingthe Swiss passion for bullseyeshooting, Hämmerli became a world-class maker of target firearms for 50-meter pistol and300-meter rifle competition. In 1921 Ulrich’s son Rudolf took over the family business. After Rudolf’s death in 1947, Hämmerli was sold and converted into a joint stock company. Meanwhile,SIG fulfilled numerous Swiss government and private orders for military small arms and their commercial counterparts. Its designs for thedelayed blowback Sturmgewehre 57andgas-operated
Sturmgewehre 90were adopted as Swiss military rifles. Their commercial derivatives in theSIG510and550series are regarded as the finest weapons of their type ever made.
As its firearms business expanded, SIG took over Hämmerli in 1973. Between 1973 and 1979,they jointly developed various products. Their flagship model was the service-grade SIG P210, alocked-breech single action semiautomatic pistol that refined the classic Browning pattern in itssuccessive embodiments in the U.S. M1911, Soviet TT-1930, Belgian GP35, and French 1935 pistoldesigns. TheP240, a version the P210 adapted to formal target shooting disciplines, was issued inthree user-interchangeable calibers, .38 S&W wadcutter, .32 S&W Long, and .22 Long Rifle. TheSIG-Hämmerli product line also included a family of rimfire target handguns such as semiautomatic208, 211, 212, 214, and 215 pistolsdeveloped on the basis of the Walter Olympia design, along withsingle shotFree Pistol 150,160, and162.
In the early Seventies, SIG designed and developed a pistol that could be easily and cheaply mass produced with modern technology. In order to save on the production costs, they entered intocollaboration with the German firm of J.P. Sauer & Son. Reestablished in Eckernfoerde in the stateof Schleswig-Holstein near the Danish border, from its original location in Suhl in Thuringia, andspecializing in sporting rifles and shotguns, Sauer made no sidearms since the end of World War IIuntil the first of the SIG-Sauer pistols, the P220. Developed for the armed forces and adopted in1975 by the Swiss army and the Japanese self defense forces, the P220 was made to measure upagainst the SIG P210 at 25 meters. It was not meant to do so at the longer ranges, where the P210excels. The P220 and its Sauer-made successors have been deemed good enough for governmentwork by numerous agencies around the world, while the P210 persisted as a civilian luxury.In 1997, the firearms division of SIG was restructured and renamed SIG Arms Hämmerli AG. Itwas downsized in 2000, upon the expiration of government contracts for the manufacture of theSwiss assault rifle, when SIG transformed its firearm production facilities into a distribution center.On 30 November 2000 the corporate parent SIG divested itself of SIG Arms. Since then, SIG hasrebranded itself as an industrial holding company best known for its beverage packaging products.Two German investors, Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier, purchased the arms section of SIG Neuhausen. This sale did not include the trademark thitherto applied to the SIG firearms. In itswake, Hämmerli reacquired a measure of independence, reverting to their original name, HämmerliAG. In July of 2003 it relocated to Neuhausen and merged with the arms manufacture operated byLüke and Ortmeier, then known asSAN Swiss Arms AG. Both companies now have the sameowners and managing director, but claim to operate autonomously. Hämmerli continues tocollaborate with Sauer, e.g. by supplying its aluminum stock supporting the Sauer barreled action of the 205 System. SIGARMS, Inc.began in 1985 in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, as the U.S importer of SIG andSIG-Sauer handguns, including the SIG P210, the SIG-Sauer P220, and the pocket pistol, theSIG-Sauer P230. Two years later, SIGARMS moved to Herndon, Virginia, and introduced theSIG-Sauer P225 in 9mm, followed by the P226 and P228 in 9mm. By 1990, SIGARMS beganstateside manufacture of handgun components, In 1992 it moved to its present location in Exeter, New Hampshire, and began the production of the P229 in .40 S&W in 1992. As of 2005, none of
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