SIG SAUER's private event before SHOT featured ex-"operators" parachute and helicopter assaults, targets that counterattacked using artificial intelligence -and that was only one "act" of the day-long event. OWDN Photo
SIG SAUER’s presence at SHOT Show 2019 made what one observer described as a “serious statement.”
Before the show officially opened, SIG staged an event that brought in the A-list media, key buyers and government officials for what was better described as an “event” than a “range day.”
Their multi-level, booth inside the Sands Convention Center was, in a word, gigantic. And the size alone wasn’t what made it stand out. Sure the “Never Settle.” message was impactful-especially when you could see it from aisles away, but there was “something” that made the booth stand out-aside from the near cheek-to-jowl crowds inside.
A trade show, by its nature, isn’t a bright, airy space. Expo areas are really nothing more than tall, dark warehouse spaces. So SIG’s designers -accidentally or intentionally- went from the rich wood and dark fixture motif to the opposite end of the scale. Their booth was the opposite of the dark tones of the “operator” world. A company that prides itself on producing “tools for the modern warfighter” looked more like a booth from the Nashville Home & Antique Show I attended this past weekend. It was brightly-lit, featured clean, white, surfaces and only their products and staffers used the dark motif.
In the words of home decorating scion Bunny Williams, SIG went “counter intuitive”-using the opposite of the dark craft of war fighting to sell the very instruments that are gaining traction across the world.
SIG execs intimated there were some “big things” ahead -other than the land-office business they were writing in the consumer segment, but otherwise kept mum about how their products are gaining traction with military and law enforcement units around the world.
Over the weekend, I was tipped off to a report in The India Express news service that talked about SIG’s latest contract. India, the world’s second largest standing army, has placed an order for 73,000 SIG rifles under a “fast track mode” contract.
India Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved procurement of the SIG SAUER rifles for “troops deployed along the nearly 3,600-km border with China” The India Express reports.
According to officials cited in the report, the contract was expected to be finalized “within the week” and delivery of the full contract to happen within the next 12 months. The SIGs will replace the Indian army’s existing Insas rifles.
The procurement search apparently began in 2017 after rifles built by Ishapore, the state-run rifle factory “miserably failed firing tests.” Now, they’re looking to replace “44,000 light machine guns, and nearly 44,600 carbines” - in addition to the existing contract. The total contract to be placed by Indian officials is valued at “something in the neighborhood of $503 million (USD).”
There’s no official word from SIG officials- or the U.S. government - regarding the contract, but military contract experts tell me that it’s “very unusual” that a contract of this size would be completed in a 12-month timeframe due to the fact that a contract over $1 million requires Congressional approval.
However, increased tensions along the India-China-Pakistan border have been a concern for U.S. officials for some time. Cementing the sometimes-tenuous U.S.-India relationship could be one reason for the “fast-track” process referred to in the India Express report.
SIG SAUER officials, as of our editorial deadline, have not commented on the report.