Here’s what I know about SIG Sauer. The P210 is a joy to shoot and everybody should have one. The German-made P226 is a phenomenal duty sidearm by any standard. The P320 deserved to be the next US military sidearm, and the Legion version of that gun is outstanding. I dig the MCX a whole lot more than I ever thought I would, and it’s the “AR” I find myself pulling out more than any of the others I own. Beyond that, you’re not going to learn much from me about SIG.
You will, however, learn a whole heck of a lot more from the Vickers Guide to SIG Sauer Volume I.
The Vickers Guide series is named for their primary author, Larry Vickers. If you don’t know who Larry Vickers is, he’s a former US Army 1st Special Forces Division Task Force Delta Operator (meaning he’s passed the SOFD-D Operator’s Training Course). He then went on to become an absolute legend in Delta Force and beyond.
Vickers helped with the design and adoption of the HK416, created the “Vickers Sling” by Blue Force Gear that’s now an issue item, and a whole lot more. Seriously, there should be a Vickers Guide on Larry Vickers. It would be a multi volume set.
I’m sure there are people who have handled more guns, but few have had the opportunity to actually employ them in the environments for which they were intended. His level of direct knowledge of so many small arms systems is likely unparalleled in the modern world.
There are several guides, including the guides to the 1911, AR-15 (2 volume), WWII Germany (2 volume), Kalashnikov (2 volume), and now SIG Sauer. Currently, only Volume I of the SIG Sauer series has been printed, although the jacket lists a Volume 2.
All of these guides are very much coffee table books. Volume I of the SIG Sauer series is no different. There are over 450 pages of mostly larger-than-life-size photos, almost all on pure white backgrounds with perfect clarity and detail.
Priced at five dollars shy of a Benjamin, this book ain’t cheap. For the quality of the work, and the quality of the physical book itself, though, that’s a great price.
All of the guides feature a sewn binding that’s popular on large format books like these. It allows the book to open and lay mostly flat for a full view of each photo without sacrificing the integrity of the binding itself. The standard version, like the one reviewed here, is a light blue linen hardcover with foil-stamped highlights and a ribbon bookmark.
The dust jacket has a full cover XM17 on the front and an assortment of pistols and submachine guns on the back.
The authors credited include Larry Vickers, James Rupley, Ian McCollum, and Leonardo M. Antaris. Additionally, there are several contributors to the book, including names gun folks might know, like Ian Travis Hardy and Jack Carr.
Volume I of the guide deals almost solely with pistols. Those include the three early SIG pistols, the M1894 Blow-Forward, Chylewski Vest Pocket Pistol, and the modèle 1935A. The meat of the book is devoted to the P210, P220, P320, several small compact pistols including the P365, and submachine guns, including the MPX.
What’s particularly great about the Vickers series of books — and this one is no different — is that the authors spend all the pages it takes to fully explore each firearm. For example there are a full 140 pages dedicated to the P220, to include the P75, P226, and P229.
No, there isn’t a lot of text. There’s a little bit of text, schematics and photo after photo of multiple variations on a theme of each model. You’ll find a Danish M49 “Vickers Custom” on page 47, an X-Five Bianchi on page 220, and a 3D printed P365 prototype on page 360.
There may not be much text, but if you read carefully and pay attention to the photos, the text is information dense. Page 428 describes the early prototype of the MPX and notes that the original experiment included many, if not most parts of the design were from the previous SIG 516 rifle.
You’ll also find photos of extremely rare versions of some of SIG’s most popular guns. Page 231 includes photos of the drop-dead-gorgeous P226X-Six Scandic Blue Pearl Mastershop version with it’s DuPont Ilaflon coating, fancy wraparound wood rips, and gold plated controls.
What you won’t find in the book is a detailed history of the company SIG Sauer itself. It mentions the start of the company as the Swiss Wagon Factory in 1853, and then spends but one single page on the changes and expansions of the company over the next 150 plus years.
If there was anything I’d appreciate more of in this book, this would be it. The people behind the company and the reasons decisions were made always fascinate me just as much as the guns themselves. We learn a lot about the “what” by learning about the “who.”
I don’t know enough about SIG Sauer to know if the guide is truly exhaustive, but it is certainly comprehensive. The organization of the work is by model, and then chronologically in development. The careful reader can see how each firearm was developed, bit by bit, over the generations. It’s extremely informative, and even instructive.
The Vickers guides never disappoint. The SIG Sauer guide was the least interesting book of the series for me, and yet, I’ve read it multiple times now. It’s hard not to appreciate these guns when so much attention to them is lavished in these pages, and Vickers’ clear love for some of the models is contagious.