Preview – Sig Sauer P556
Photography by Henry Z. De Kuyper
Is SIG SAUER’S P556 the Paperless SBR?
The Veteran-Designed Arm Brace Keeps Things Short. And Legal.
Elsewhere in this issue, Eric Lund discusses selecting the right tool for the job (see page 90.) Let’s say, after careful reflection, you decide that the right tool for your application is a carbine with a barrel shorter than 16 inches. Unfortunately, that choice places you squarely under the jurisdiction of the National Firearms Act, with its peculiar set of arbitrary and capricious rules, the transgression of which might earn you a hefty fine or a stretch in a federal PMITA prison.
RECOIL covered the steps needed to legally acquire a short-barreled rifle (SBR) in Issue 5. Currently, ATF (or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) takes more than nine months to shuffle through the necessary paperwork — and yes, you read that right. Nine months. We don’t really have the space here to get into a rant about governmental ineptitude, the fact that a NICS check largely performs the same function, or how it compares to a root canal performed at the DMV. No, that would be unfair. Suffice to say, “Well played, Executive Branch, well played.”
During the seemingly interminable wait for mommy to give the OK, many applicants build their soon-to-be-SBR AR-15 receiver into a pistol, which gives them something to shoot in the meantime. In other cases, the guns start off as pistols and then the powers-that-be deign to permit the addition of a stock. Both of these routes are perfectly legal under federal law, though some jurisdictions have their own set of equally idiotic, albeit more restrictive, regulations. Assuming that you live in a moderately free state, you may wish to consider the SIG SAUER P556 pistol as a vehicle for an SBR build, or if you utilize its nifty arm brace, skip the paperwork entirely and keep it as a handgun, but with much the same functionality.
The Swiss — a Nation of Riflemen
OK, that’s more than enough acronyms. Development of the SIG SAUER 556 series of firearms began in the late 1970s when the Swiss decided that it was time to replace their aging service rifle with a more modern design. They looked at what was available on the world market and figured that they could do better by combining some of the best features of proven systems along with a few touches of their own. The resulting SG550 family of long-guns utilizes a lot of features borrowed from the AK, but without the AK’s mediocre accuracy, crappy controls, and penchant for removing chunks of the user’s flesh. Once adopted for service in the Alps, SIG SAUER found a ready market for its wares across the Atlantic. Due to U.S. import restrictions, true SG550s cannot be sold without first having a number of U.S.-made parts added to them, so the Exeter, New Hampshire, plant addresses that problem and also developed the U.S.-only aluminum lower receiver, which is designed around typical AR magazines.
For the rest of this article, subscribe digitally here: RECOIL Issue 9
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