The mainstay of the Swiss infantry

Sig550 with 4x optic from 1976. QD mount allows true return to zero. The scopes are slowly getting phased out as the supply of parts runs out.

The thin bipod is surprisingly sturdy and allows good control of automatic fire. It can be removed very quickly without tools. Fire selector is Safe-1-3-30 but the slow rate of fire makes 3 unnecessary. The trigger and the sights are very good. The fire selector lever is too short for most people and the rifle has to be turned to the side for it to be reached easily.

Reliability in the dozen rifles I’ve seen used (including mine) was 100% over a full-day course in all kinds of weather. I literally did not see a single stoppage of any kind over 300+ rounds per person. In my opinion, this rifle is superior in handling and operation to both M16/AR15 and to the US-made Sig556.

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11 Responses to The mainstay of the Swiss infantry

  1. JK says:

    I have never seen any stoppage on my 550 and this over 20 years. The 550 is an AK revised by Rolex. Alain’s 550 has over 80’000 rounds only the barrel has been changed. The pitfail of the 550 ist his weight and the center of gravity wich is to far in the front. But the 553-LB is probably the best money can buy, if you want a rifle usefull from 0-1’000 yeard and as reliable as an AK.

    Concerning the 556, seems not so bad. A friend has one, has some problems at the begining, but now 6500 rounds through without any stoppage and the rifle hits until 900 yeards with GP90.–7dX293sM/s1600/SIG-516-800-Meter_1.jpg

  2. Baeriswyl Alain says:

    I was issued my 550 back in 1990 when my infantry company got the new rifles. I have shot more than 150’000 (sic) rounds through it. Broke the extractor (twice) and the trigger reset spring. Had the barrel changed 8 times… Still going strong 😉

    • Andrew says:

      Where you found the replacement Barrels? I can’t find it anywhere.

      • Baeriswyl Alain says:

        This is my army rifle. I turn the rifle back to the armorer, and usually, I get a new barrel in one day…

      • sashnik says:

        Just google the comment’s author name. This gentleman is the godfather of the modern Swiss army small arms training doctrine.

  3. Caleb says:

    300 rounds really isn’t a lot. I’d expect even the lowest end Bushmaster to last that feeding standard ball ammo out of USGI magazines. For what you’d pay for a genuine 551 you’d could also buy the best AR15 ever made by man, and you’d be able to find spare parts, sights, magazines, and optics a lot easier.

    • Kampfhamster says:

      not everyone lives in the US. Here in Switzerland it’s the other way round.

      And a decent army-surplus 550 can be had for as little as 1200.- bucks.

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  5. While I certainly respect the 550 design, it is heavier than an AR-15, which is a strike against it.

    I would expect a 550 and AR-15 of like quality and with polymer magazines to run about the same level of reliability.

    Not at all to put a damper on your fun time with Swiss rifles!

    • @ShooterOnTheRoc says:

      As an owner of many, many AR-15s and Swiss Arms rifles, I can categorically state that the Swiss Arms is the more reliable platform. Properly maintained, the direct gas impingement system of the AR runs just fine, but if you don’t, you will run into problems. Eventually you will with the Swiss Arms as well, but it will be much, much further down the road.

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