M49 pistol, Type 1 (SIG Model P210) (c. 1955). Length 229 mm, barrel length 118 mm. Weight 970 g. Royal Arsenal, Leeds
The fox reproached the lioness for giving birth to only one cub. The lioness replied: "One, but a lion!"
Aesop, translated by M. Gasparov
Aesop, translated by M. Gasparov
Weapon and firms. It has long been known that almost all military weapons, including pistols, are nothing more than a compromise, cleverly found by its creator between its quality and ... price. Of course, it should have light weight, ease of use, heat and frost resistance, and accuracy (where without it ?!), but the question of price and quality is always present in any weapon. And just the Swiss pistols of the SIG company - recognized as one of the best among all that there is - the best example of such a compromise. Yes, they are very good. But due to their high price, practically no army for a long time could afford the pleasure of buying them in large enough quantities. Otherwise, it will lead to a serious "hole" in the budget.
True, in 2017, it was the Swiss association Lüke & Ortmeier Gruppe (owned by the German company SIG Sauer) that won the "pistol tender" announced by the Pentagon, in which models from such companies as Glock, FN America and Beretta from the USA participated (in details). The caliber of the pistol was chosen as standard: 9x19 Parabellum, but the pistol itself is made on a modular basis and can be converted to use .357 SIG, .40 S&W or .45 ACP ammunition by replacing the barrel and bolt cover. This pistol: SIG Sauer P320. It is noted that only a few other similar samples can match him in shooting accuracy. By the way, in the previous competition, which was won by the Beretta pistol, the Swiss model R-226 also took part. He easily overcame all the difficulties of the harsh American tests, but at that time he was not accepted into service solely because of its high price. "Beretta" turned out to be cheaper!
SACM pistol model 1935 A with holster. In 1927, the French Ministry of War ordered the use of a new 7,65 mm ammunition called "7,65" to continue the comparative experiments with automatic pistols, begun in 1922. In 1935, a competition was held in which the SACM (Société Alsacienne de Construction Mécanique) presented a pistol using a patent from Charles Gabriel Petter, a former officer of the Foreign Legion, an engineer of Swiss origin, residing in France. He applied for a patent on March 9, 1934, and received it on March 25, 1935 (number 782914). This patent seduced an Experimental Commission, which accepted a pistol presented by SACM, called the Automatic Pistol Model 1935 A (PA35A), into service with the French army. Before the surrender in June 1940, 10 of them were produced. After the war, 700 pistols were produced, and a total of 50 were made before production ceased in the late 400s. Photo by Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
The same pistol chambered for 7,65x19,5 mm "long" made by MAS (d'Armes de ST Etienne). Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
It is interesting that the firm "Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft" (SIG), which appeared in 1853, began its activity with the release of ... steam locomotives. But very soon she switched to the production of weapons, and a rather primitive one: muzzle-loading rifles for her native Swiss army. But as time went on, production improved, the machine tool park expanded, and now ZIG began to produce Vetterli and Schmidt-Rubin rifles, which turned out to be so perfect and so consistent with the Swiss mentality that they were in service with the Swiss army for more than half a century with practically no changes.
Charles Petter pistol diagram
And currently it still produces army rifles, only now it is the 5,56mm SIG-550 assault rifle in several modifications.
As for the pistols, the company paid attention to them after the end of the Second World War. It seemed that every weapon after her was full and there was no point in getting started with new samples. However, the company's management judged differently. First of all, ZIG bought several patents of Charles Petter, a man of very interesting destiny. In the 20s, he fought as part of the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, was wounded and disabled there. But ... in the end he became a gunsmith and designed the MAS-35 pistol. Well, the ZIG company in 1937 bought his patents in France, and started fine-tuning the sample she liked in order to launch it into production in Switzerland. The fact is that the Swiss army decided to get rid of the old 7,65-mm Luger pistol, which it had been armed with since 1900, and ... to use something new and more modern!
But a new pistol appeared only in 1947 - the 9 mm SIG-SP-47/8 (the last figure indicates the number of cartridges in the store). At the same time, a commercial model was released, called the SIG-P-210. It was put into service two years later ...
Anniversary model of the SIG-P-210 / P49 pistol, dedicated to the 50th anniversary (1949-1999) of this pistol being in service with the Swiss army! Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
Although the pistol turned out to be expensive, it became popular due to its accuracy and high reliability. Moreover, it is still being produced. It was adopted into service in Switzerland and Denmark, there, apparently, they also decided not to reckon with the costs and to act according to our Russian proverb: "expensive, yes cute, cheap - yes rotten!" And, of course, they began to buy it for the special services, albeit in small quantities.
Interestingly, there are no special innovations in the pistol. So, the locking system of its bolt is similar to that used in "Browning high power" - that is, for the protrusion on the barrel with a figured groove, which entered the profiled cutout on the frame. During the shot, the barrel and the bolt casing retreated, the barrel lowered, from which the barrel and the bolt casing were disengaged. But on the ZIG pistol, the shutter cover moved inside the frame, due to which its stability during recoil was better. Swiss engineers figured out how to mount the barrel in the bolt casing in a new way. And they managed to make it so that it remained parallel to the casing all the time while the bullet was in the bore. This is what provided such an amazing accuracy of shooting from this pistol.
Swiss army pistol model SIG P-210-2 (early 1970s), marked "P" for sale to private individuals. Next to him is a magazine and a cartridge of 9 mm Para
True, the magazine latch of this pistol was located at the base of the handle. This can be called, perhaps, the only noticeable drawback of the R-210 as a combat pistol. The magazine latch, made under the thumb, allows you to remove the magazine with one hand, and bring a new one with the other. The latest pistols have a latch button at the trigger guard.
But this is also a jubilee sample. And it is dedicated to an equally significant event: the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
Interestingly, since Swiss laws make it very difficult to sell weapons to other countries in order to enter the global arms market, ZIG had to sign an agreement with JP Sauer & amp; Sohn "(" Sauer and Zone ") in the city of Eckernförde in Germany. After that, the pistols created by ZIG engineers began to be produced at the Sauer plant.
Diagram of the P-210 pistol device. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
The result of these joint efforts was the SIG P-220 pistol, which appeared in 1974. This model, like the P-210, was just as effective, but simpler in terms of its production. The figured cutout under the barrel was retained, but the cutouts in the walls of the bolt casing were decided to be removed as technologically complex ones. The ejector window was located on the top of the bolt housing. So now the locking of the barrel began to be carried out using the protrusion of the barrel, which entered the ejector window. It turned out extremely simple and reliable, and it's even surprising that no one thought of this before!
SIG P-220 pistol chambered for 7,65 mm Para cartridges. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
A double-acting trigger was also used on the R-220 pistol. The fuse was placed on the left side of the casing to be conveniently operated with the thumb of the right hand.
The safety system operates as follows: when firing without a preliminary cocking of the hammer, when the trigger is pressed, the latter cocks the hammer with the help of the trigger. In this case, the fuse acts on the hammer blocker, and the sear comes out of engagement with the trigger. The drummer is released, the hammer turns and hits the drummer. A shot occurs.
By pressing the fuse box, the cocked hammer rises, being held by the fuse for the safety cocking protrusion. Thus, a loaded pistol with a cocked trigger can be carried safely. The striker is blocked both before and after setting the safety catch.
Diagram of the SIG P-226 device. Fig. from the book of K. Shant. Weapon. M .: "Omega", 2003. Pp. 135
That is, the pistol can only fire when the trigger is fully pressed. Even with the hammer loaded and cocked, the pistol can be thrown without any consequences. But the first shot can be fired without turning off the external fuses, as when firing from a revolver!
R-226 chambered for .357 in "two-color" version. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
The standard version of the R-220 used a 9-mm Parabellum cartridge and a nine-round magazine. But there were options for the following ammunition: 7,65-mm "Parabellum", .38 "Super Auto" cartridge, and even .45 APC, although the production of the 7,65-mm pistol was stopped due to insufficient demand.
P-229 in .40 caliber (.40 Smith & Wesson, 10 × 22 mm Smith and Wesson). Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
Then, in the mid-70s, ZIG, at the request of the German Federal Police, developed the SIG P-225 pistol, which is smaller than the P-220 in size and has a magazine capacity reduced by one cartridge. Caliber 9 mm, the principle of operation is the same. An internal fuse has also been added, which completely excludes the possibility of an accidental shot when the pistol falls with the trigger cocked. The P-225 was adopted by the Swiss police and a number of police ministries in the German lands. It is also sold abroad, including in the United States.
In 1980, it was decided at ZIG to create a pistol for the American army to replace the M-1911 "Colt". They took the P-225 as a basis and made ... the P-226. Under license, it began to be produced in the USA at the Maremont Corporation factories. But the army abandoned it in favor of the 92-F Beretta. There is not much new in this pistol: 80 percent of the parts and mechanisms of the R-226 are identical to the R-220 and R-225 models. But it has a large magazine capacity, and its latch is located so that it can be used by both the right and left hand. There are two types of stores - for 15 and 20 rounds.
Along with these pistols, ZIG also produces the R-230, developed at the same time as the R-220. This small pistol specifically for the police has a free shutter and can use 9mm Short or 7,65mm ACP cartridges. The trigger mechanism is also double-acting, as is the safety device with a blocking drummer. The design here has a smoother shape compared to other pistols, which look rather angular.
R-232 (further modification of the R-230) .38 caliber. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
R-239 in .40 caliber with traditional wooden grip plates. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
Then the R-228 appeared - again an improved version of the R-225 with a 13-round magazine of its own and the ability to use magazines from the R-226 for 15 and 20 rounds on it. Its design differs from its predecessors, but its internal structure is very similar to them. Many R-228 parts are interchangeable with parts of the R-225 and R-226 pistols.
R-239 of 9 mm caliber in "two-color" version. Note that there are three levers on the left side of the pistol. The first, right above the trigger, is the bolt cover retainer, the second, followed by the fuse "flag". The last lever is shutter delay. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
Sent for trials in the United States, the pistol was later adopted by the British special service SAS.
R-245 chambered for .45 caliber cartridges. Photo Alain Daubresse www.littlegun.be
Well, here's what the Americans got in the end: the M17 and M18 Compact pistols. The contract is worth $ 580 million and is concluded for a period until 2027. In accordance with it, the US army will have to receive a downright fantastic number of pistols - 500 units, calculated, apparently, for all occasions and for everyone who can only hang such a pistol. All models will be of a dark sand color (Flat Dark Earth) - this is a trend now, there is no getting around - "black pistols" have already outlived theirs!
The M17 is the new US Army pistol. Caliber 9 mm Para. Shop - 17 rounds. Weight without cartridges 833 g. Overall length - 203 mm, barrel length 119 mm, aiming line length 168 mm, height 140 mm. Photo SIG Sauer GmbH
M18 Compact Photo SIG Sauer GmbH