Sig Sauer's SIG556 SWAT
A reliable and accurate carbine.
Target showing SIG556 grouping.
The SIG556 is accurate, as this 100 yard group displays.
FEATURED IN TRAINING
If a good thing can come from the active shooter phenomenon, it’s that many police agencies understand the importance of having a rifle or carbine in the hands of the patrol officer—not just SWAT teams. Although SWAT teams are a vital link in the law enforcement chain, many situations call for a response now. Having an easy-to-use firearm of rifle caliber is essential to stopping active shooter scenarios. The cruiser carbine isn’t a replacement for the cruiser shotgun. Although both are long guns, they deliver their payload in different formats.
The cruiser carbine must have several features to serve the police officer well. It must be reliable, accurate and ergonomically friendly, and capable of accepting needed accessories. I’m not a fan of hanging every after-market gizmo available on a gun, but such accessories as a sling, optic sight and a white light or laser enhance the weapon’s utility.
Recently, I worked with the SWAT version of Sig Sauer’s 556 carbine line. This gas-piston gun struck me as a combination of an AR-15 and an FN-FAL. The SIG556 features the same high-performance, two-position adjustable, gas-piston operating rod system engineered by Sig’s sister company, Swiss Arms, and combines it with a trigger housing that not only reduces the rifle’s weight by a pound but is also designed to accept standard AR-15 magazines.
The SIG556 SWAT is a variation on the classic 556 model. It features an aluminum quad-rail hand guard that’s suited for mounting tactical accessories. The stock is a hinged, folding Swiss-style that collapses for ease of transportation or use in tight quarters, but can also be length-adaptable.
In addition, the stock has a rubber butt pad, which isn’t intended to tame the recoil of the 5.56, but to keep the stock from “walking” while mounted to the shoulder. This adjustable stock snaps and securely locks into a folded position for those times when the shortest weapon possible is needed, but a handgun isn’t the answer. Obtaining a sight picture with iron sights when using the SIG556 SWAT model is accomplished via a rear rotary diopter sight, similar to that on an HK MP-5 submachine gun, utilizing aperture calibrations from close-quarters ranges out to 100, 200 and 300 meters.
For those who prefer the simplicity of a single sight plane, Sig Sauer offers its version of a red dot optic—the compact STS-081 Mini Red Dot Sight, which features a parallax-free 1X red dot with a 4 MOA reticle, coated glass lenses and a high-strength extruded aluminum body with anodized coating, and mounts on M1913/Weaver accessory rails. Eleven daylight settings provide a visible aiming solution through a full range of light conditions. Power is supplied by one 3V CR2032 lithium battery, providing an average of 8,000 hours of operation. With an overall length of less than 2.5 inches and a weight of 3 oz., you won’t even know it’s there until you need it.
I tested the SIG SWAT by firing several ammo styles at 100 yards from a bench rest. Once the sights were zeroed, I found the SIG556 to be exceptionally accurate. Regardless of whether I used Hornady 60-grain TAP or Black Hills 77-grain, Match HP, the SIG shot groups in the 1–1 1/2″ range. I finished the test by shooting another 300 rounds of various 5.56 ammo through the gun while performing a number of practice drills, and the SIG carbine never failed to run.
Although the SIG556 is a bit more expensive than traditional AR-style carbines, you’re getting the advantage of a clean-running gas piston system along with Swiss design. The SIG556 is a top-of-the-line firearm.
SIG556 SWAT Carbine
• Trigger housing reduces rifle’s weight by a pound
• More expensive than traditional AR-style carbines