Few semi-automatic rifles have captured the imagination of the shooting public like the SG 550 series. For years this legendary Swiss-made rifle has been restricted to law enforcement and military sales, where it has acquired a reputation for reliability, durability and accuracy. Now, SIG Sauer has developed a U.S. made version called the SIG 556 ... .” So stated Shooting Editor Glenn Gilbert in “Like a Swiss Watch” (December 2007, p. 46).
Both 556 SWAT and full-length versions feature the quality shooters have come to expect from SIG, including steel Picatinny rails fixed to the tops of their receivers and military-grade cold-hammer-forged barrels. But these are fully updated designs. Significant changes have been made to the lower receiver and the stock. The cast aluminum lower receiver retains the ambidextrous safety lever of the original 550, but the magazine well has been modified to take commercial and surplus AR-15/M16-style magazines. Further, given the crisp break and limited overtravel of its trigger, the SIG 556’s accuracy was commendable.
“The bottom line, simply stated,” wrote Gilbert, “is that the SIG556 is an exceptionally accurate and reliable semi-automatic rifle whose performance is more than enough to justify its existence.” That shared sentiment among staffers resulted in the SIG Sauer 556 being named the first-ever American Rifleman Tactical Gun of the Year.