In December 2009, SIG SAUER Inc.
announced that the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service selected the P250 Compact pistol in the 357 SIG caliber as the new duty gun for its agents. President and CEO Ron Cohen said the company is proud to have secured this multi-million dollar contract from such a respected and distinguished agency. SIG SAUER is a leading manufacturer of high-quality firearms used by elite military and government agencies, including the U.S. Navy SEALs, the Federal Air Marshal Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard. About SIG SAUER
SIG SAUER’s origins date back to the mid-1800s when three Swiss wagon factory owners won a contract to produce 30,000 muzzle loading rifles. Subsequently, they changed the company’s name to the Swiss Industrial Company (Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft), known as SIG. By the 1970s, the small arms division was expanded to include several other leading firearms manufacturers, J.P. Sauer and Sohn among them.
In 1985, SIGARMS Inc. was established to import and distribute SIG products to the American market, and it continued to expand its role as a leading firearms provider with new contracts in both the public and private sectors. In the U.S., the SIG success story began that year when the newly formed SIG SAUER (in 2007 the company changed its name) began to distribute the P220 semi-automatic.
SIG currently makes more than 15 kinds of handguns, from the subcompact 380 ACP caliber Model P238 to the full-size 45 ACP caliber Model 1911. The company also makes a wide variety of rifles, from the SIG556 patrol rifle to the Blaser Tactical 2 and SSG3000 counter-sniper rifles.
Features of SIG SAUER’s P250
The SIG SAUER P250 is offered as a compact, subcompact or full-size polymer grip module in four different calibers: 9mm, 357 SIG, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. Officers are also given the choice of several grip sizes and trigger lengths, resulting in a fully customized, ergonomically designed pistol that allows the shooter to change caliber and size as needed. Built around a single, serial-numbered metal frame and fire control assembly, the P250 offers performance, accuracy and reliability.
The excellence of the P250 was recently recognized by the National Rifle Association when it named SIG SAUER the recipient of both the Golden Bullseye Award and the American Rifleman Tactical Handgun of the Year award. Both distinctions honor innovation and excellence in the development and introduction of shooting equipment.
In 1961, the U.S. Sky Marshal Service was created in response to an increased number of hijackings, and it was the precursor to the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). The initial result was a marked decrease in hijackings for the remainder of the decade. However, the trend reversed in the 1970s, resulting in the formation of the Task Force on the Deterrence of Air Piracy by the Federal Aviation Administration. After Sept. 11, FAMS underwent a rapid build-up and deployment of air marshals.
The Federal Air Marshal Service previously used another SIG SAUER product, the P229, before upgrading to the P250. While the P229 is the company’s most widely-used pistol by law enforcement professionals nationwide, it is only available in three calibers and does not offer the customization of the P250.
The mission of today’s federal air marshals is to detect, deter and defeat hostile acts targeting U.S. air carriers, airports, passengers and crews. Trained in investigative techniques, criminal terrorist behavior recognition and firearms proficiency, they are skilled at blending in with passengers. During times of heightened alert, they are called upon to serve in other law enforcement agencies and homeland security liaison assignments.
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, FL. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.