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American COP Nov/Dec 2010 - Page 35
SIG SAUER’s arlier this year SIG SAUER announced two new 5.56mm carbine families, built specifically for patrol use. The first, designated the SIG556 Patrol, is a shorter, lighter, updated variant of their successful SIG556 series. Many agencies adopted SIG556 variants for SWAT and special unit use, and then asked for a lighter, and if possible, a lower priced model for general issue. SIG delivered. The second is a first for the company — a Stoner-type AR-15/M16 platform, distinctly SIG, but sharing commonality in essential dimensions, controls and their placement, and interchangeability of most parts — the SIG516 Tactical Rifle series. Demand for a SIG-made AR was driven by dozens of agencies and countless officers and consumers using SIG pistols, but who were irrevocably wedded for logistical and training reasons to Gene Stoner’s ubiquitous AR design. For agencies, dealing with one manufacturer for both handguns and long guns makes heavy-money sense. The officers just wanted that familiar platform executed to SIG SAUER’s demanding standards. They got it. And here at American COP, we got `em to try, test, and maybe torture a little. SIG556 Classic Patrol & SIG516 Patrol Photos: robbie barrkMan John Morrison Function, Reliability and Handling tests E Ground Rules: This is not a gunsmith’s guide or a technical monograph, it’s an operator’s (and I mean user) evaluation for street cops. Aficionados can find technical minutiae and theoretical commentary in civilian publications. My own interests — and I believe yours — are limited to their suitability as force multipliers in cop-cruisers. I think you’ll care less about how many centimeters of length and grams of weight were cut from the 556’s proven gas system, instead asking What effect, if any, does this have on function, reliability and handling? And features developed for the 516 Patrol to improve its “over-the-beach test” performance, for example, come WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM down to this: It’s far less likely to blow up in your face under wet conditions. It’s important to know if a weapon has sufficient “inherent accuracy”: Can it deliver precision under controlled conditions using premium ammunition while secured in a benched rifle rest? But it’s critical to know if it will go bang every time, performing reliably and consistently when shot cold, hot, clean and dirty from a wide and weird variety of angles and positions with a broad range of ammo under real-world conditions. Common Factors/Bottom Lines Both the 556 and 516 are chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO to use 5.56mm and .223 Remington rounds interchangeably. Both of our samples have 16" cold hammer forged military grade barrels with one in 7" rifling and effective A2-type “birdcage” flash suppressors. The bore and chamber of the 516 is chrome-lined, while the 556’s is nitride treated, providing comparable or better resistance to wear and corrosion. 35