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October 11 : 2018  
Visiting With SIG SAUER

Today's feature is a timely one from our publisher, Jim Shepherd.

For many readers, fall means hunting, camping and cooler temperatures. For me, it’s missing out on hunting and camping, but enjoying the cooler temperatures while visiting with companies and checking out their newest offerings for the coming year.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a fair trade. After all, getting a better understanding of how products are conceived and designed, then created and brought to the consumers is my job. It’s also one of the things I enjoy most about business reporting, so it’s all good to me.

This week’s been a highly enjoyable New England swing. Tuesday, we called a bit of a time out and spent the day sightseeing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Combine cool temperatures with the beauty of a New England fall, toss in a healthy dose of American history, some great art galleries and world-class cuisine and it’s a combination that’s hard to beat.

There’s not much more beautiful than a New England fall day. Especially when you've been testing new products for the past two weeks. Everyone needs a break -and Portsmouth, NH is a great spot to recharge. Jim Shepherd/OWDN photo.

Yesterday, however, the break ended when I joined the rest of SIG Chalk 07-18 to begin two days of intensive learning about the company and its newest products. SIG’s come up with the innovative Chalk program to bring in retailers from around the country to learn more about what it is that makes SIG so successful. It’s also a program that’s designed to teach them more about SIG products so they can better help their customers choose the gun, optic or accessory that’s best for them.

After being backgrounder on products, it's off to SIG's manufacturing facilities to see theory transferred into reality. (Top) From there, the members of the SIG Chalk headed to the SIG Academy for some hands-on familiarization (below). Jim Shepherd/OWDN photos.


Today, Chalk attendees will be heading to the ranges for some training in what could be some very sloppy weather. SIG’s attention, however, will be directed to Arlington National Cemetery for a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This morning at 9 a.m., the members of the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (better known as The Old Guard, the honor guard at the Tomb), will march into their changeover carrying their longtime Beretta sidearms. When the shift changes, however, the guards will be carrying SIGs M17s. But these M17 Ceremonial pistols are not standard issue.

These SIG M17s are a set of four made specifically for the Old Guard members. They are all-metal construction, without the normal mil-spec rails. They also bear a special high polish designed to stand up to the fact the Old Guard stands guard over the tomb, no matter the weather, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

The four pistols carry the names Silence, Respect, Dignity and Perseverance- after “The Sentinel’s Creed” - and their custom wood grips are formed from wood from the USS Olympia-the ship that carried the remains of the first Unknown home in 1921.

The cocking serrations feature the Roman numeral XXI- the twenty one signifies the twenty-one steps it takes the sentinels to pass by the Tomb of the Unknowns as well as the military honor of a twenty-one gun salute.

The M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols will be presented to the Old Guard in an official ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery Chapel. The ceremony will begin at 9:00am and include a private presentation ceremony, followed by a Changing of the Guard in which the 3rd Guard soldiers will return to duty with their M17 Tomb of the Unknown Pistols. The presentation ceremony will conclude at 10:15am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by SIG’s CEO Ron Cohen.

We’re on to phase two of our “Chalk” experience, but everyone in attendance this week has kept an eye on the weather, especially for Hurricane Michael. As we’ve watched the destruction this hurricane has brought, we’ve paused to check in on friends and family. If you’re in the path of this massive weather event, we want you to know you’re in our thoughts and prayers.

Stay safe.


-- Jim Shepherd

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