SIG 551 experiences, comparison to AR?


May 24, 2006, 02:56 PM
I'm going to test drive a SIG SP551-2 SP tomorrow. It's a year old, less than 1000 rds fired and comes with 4 30 rd mags, Picatinny rail on receiver and flip-up sights for a seemingly decent price. Any heads ups I'd need to consider? Experiences?

It's my first .223/5.56 purchase I'm considering, upgrading from an AK in 7.62x39. I need accuracy IPSC-wise, up until 400 meters, but also close-up "handiness". The AR offerings are a bit scarce here these days due to U.S. State Dept., we get mostly Bushmaster Modular Carbines readily now. Also some British Sabre Defense offerings are to be had. I'm kind of stuck in the middle but going to see what this Swiss has to offer now.

Any off-the-hand reactions? Dos/Don'ts?

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AJ Dual
May 24, 2006, 03:01 PM
I have absolutely nothing constructive to add.

However, I did get to hold and dry-fire a short-barreld 551 with select-fire (Safe, "1", "3", "30"...) trigger group and Picatinny rail forend, and two magazines clipped together at the SIG pavillion, at the NRA convo last Sunday.


May 24, 2006, 03:50 PM
Sadly, the vast majority of the Americans on this board have not been able to ever actually use a Sig 550/551. There are not that many in the country, and are pretty uncommon. That will change soon with Sig releasing the 556.

May 24, 2006, 04:03 PM
It's a great rifle. Very accurate at 100 meters. I haven't shot at longer distances, yet. Nice trigger and sights. Very good overall handling. AND way too expensive for me:(

But i've shot them quite a few times and really liked everything about that rifle. The best looking 5.56 rifle around IMO. And it's a SIG, what more could you ask for:D

Why are there not many in the country?

May 24, 2006, 04:41 PM
I have had the opportunity to fire the standard SIG 550 on a military range in Switzerland, as well as spending some time stateside with a 551-SWAT and a 552 like you have described. :neener: In short, here is my $.02:

1. Quality is typically Swiss, which is to say, EXCELLENT. The guns are built like bomb-proof tanks. Perfect fit and finish, top quality materials, great attention to detail and ergonomics. Unfortunately, on a side note...I can't say the same about the 556s I've seen at SHOT and recent trade shows...these looked pretty cheesy, and definitely not up to the standards of the original 550 series.
2. Accuracy is superb (having never fired an Stgw.90/SG550 before, I scored 98% on the Swiss qualification course--in the rain.) In my personal experience, these are THE most accurate "out of the box"/military grade 5.56mm weapons, period.
3. Reliability, at least in my experience, has been 100% (can't say the same for M4s).
4. Not much else to say...they're just amazing. If you get the chance to purchase, or better yet--be issued--one, take it.

1. Price and [lack of] availability, unless it's a "company" gun.

1. All variants are kind of heavy for a 5.56mm weapon, especially when compared to an M4-type weapon or an HK G36 variant. That said, I don't particularly mind the little bit of extra weight compared to the awesome performance and quality.

Stay safe...hope this info helps.

May 24, 2006, 04:44 PM
Why are there not many in the country?
The rifle was developed after or just before our US 1989 import semi-auto ban went into effect. No compliant version with partially American parts was built. As stated,this is changing soon with the new SIG 556.

May 24, 2006, 04:56 PM
Thanks for the info Poodleshooter. I knew about the "assault weapon" ban, but I was not aware of a ban for semi-autos.

May 25, 2006, 03:18 AM
Thank you all for your time. I'll post my experiences then...

May 25, 2006, 03:54 PM
So here goes...

I handled the 551-2 SWAT SP extensively today, doing a side by side comparison with my 7,62x39 AK-103.

The overall size of the two is just about identical, so is the weight and its distribution with one 30-rd mag in each. The SIG was as expected plenty more ergonomic, points very naturally. The safety wasn't perfect for my thumb, though, and I found little improvement to the middle finger technique I use with the AK. Also, curiously enough, the low back end of the trigger guard really bit the middle finger's second joint of the strong hand.

Obviously the fit and finish of the Swiss is just about perfect, inside and out. There was absolutely no sign of use to be seen, a year-old rifle was literally as new. The magazines were very impressive: sturdy but light, perfectly fitting. No malfunctions with these!

The SIG had a 2 MOA Aimpoint mounted up front on its receiver rail on a very low mount ring. A very good combination.

So how did it shoot? Very accurately and comfortably indeed. Duh. The trigger spring had been altered to just about 1kg pull and all aftertravel was eliminated. Absolutely lovely.

However, comparing the two proved their behavior under recoil surprisingly similar. The AK has a slide buffer and a usual AKM compensator whereas the SIG has a birdcage-style flash hider, permanent. To accommodate rifle class measurement requirements of Finnish law, the barrel needs to be over 400mm long - with the flash hider this is 411mm. The collapsible stock was also pinned for the same reason, as the overall length of a rifle can't go below 840mm.

It seems that the moving masses in the two rifles are somewhat similar. I managed some impressive double taps with the SIG but that I'd mark as an effect of the superb trigger. Besides that I found remarkably little to differentiate between the two! And for the price of the SIG I could get another four AKs.

So I guess it'll be an AR for me then. I want to go even lighter for manouverability plus I want even less of a recoil impulse, without any of the shake, rattle & roll of the AK action. A caliber change will be in order as the 7,62x39 trajectory gets rather tricky to manage beyond 250 meters.

But if I ever have the extra money, I'll still get me one of these or even a 552. The SIG is just a very impressive piece of equipment. By then I'll have to get registered as a collector to avoid some of the red tape involved in obtaining a SBR. And go substantially up in income :o

The guy selling the rifle was a true gentleman, very polite and straightforward. He wouldn't even let me pay him for the ammo, even when it was clear that I wasn't buying the rifle!

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