As you’re probably well aware, especially if you read our article on alternative calibers for the AR-15 platform, many calibers now widely available and in circulation for civilians started as cooperation agreements between ammunition manufacturers and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Since the birth of our nation, there has hardly been a time when developing more effective small arms and munitions hasn’t been a priority. The race to secure our security is a constant one, and as foreign nations attempt to catch up, the United States of America has had to race to stay ahead.

While this is also the case with missiles, aircraft, seacraft, and even spacecraft - small arms are what tend to draw the interest of consumers in our industry. Although, it is worth mentioning that the R&D done in other areas has paid off in spades for consumers who care about things like computer processing, battery life, and air travel as well. Not to mention, you may have heard of this little thing called “nuclear power” that originated from an adventure that we know as the Manhattan Project during WW2.

While it is a familiar fact to most veterans, many civilians may not know that rifles, pistols, and shotguns carried by our men and women in uniform are manufactured by civilian manufacturers such as Colt, Mossberg, FN, and more recently: Sig Sauer.

Recent Trials Prove It

Sig Sauer has proven itself as strong competition in recent trials to test new calibers and weapons platforms for the next generation of soldiers.

In 2017, Sig won an 80 million dollar contract from the Army to produce the XM17 Modular Handgun System (You’ll know it as the P320). More recently, Sig won the contract for a whopping 4.5 BILLION dollars (Yes, that’s a 10-digit contract, you read it right!) to provide two new weapons platforms chambered in 6.8mm. As if that wasn’t enough, they also received a 20 million dollar contract to provide small parts and accessories for those weapons.

Vortex Optics is also a noteworthy manufacturer, after having received a 20 million dollar contract to produce its XM157 optics platform for the military (both Sig 6.8mm weapons platforms will host the optic).

How It’s Applicable to You

Both Sig and Vortex displaced major competitors such as FN Herstal, Trijicon, Elcan, Knights Armament, and more. So how does this affect what you see on the shelves? Well, for starters, Sig has already started to release the civilian equivalent of these systems to civilians, in limited quantities and Vortex is working to bring a civilian version of the XM157 to market (hopefully in 2023).

The cool thing is, you can bet that FN, Knights, Trijicon, Nightforce, etc, won’t let this challenge go unanswered and will continue to innovate and bring new improvements to the military (and civilian) market!