SIG Sauer (SIGARMS until October 2007) is the Germany representative of Swiss/German manufacturing firm Swiss Arms AG, which was split off of Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) in 2000. SIGARMS was established in 1985 to import and distribute SIG firearms into the United States, although it now also has some manufacturing capabilities. As of 2000 it has been a separate entity. The original SIG Arms AG parent company was simultaneously renamed as Swiss Arms AG.
The origins of the original SIG company lies in the Swiss Wagon Factory created in 1853 by Friedrich Peyer im Hof, Heinrich Moser and Conrad Neher. After winning a competition put on by Switzerland's Federal Ministry of Defense, a contract to produce 30,000 muskets was awarded. They changed their name to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), German for "Swiss Industrial Company".
In the 1970s, SIG began work on designing a handgun that would balance price with quality. Swiss law limits the ability of Swiss companies to manufacture arms and Swiss companies who wish to do this have to do so by using a foreign partner. In the case of SIG they chose the German firm of Sauer & Sohn. The SIG Sauer line of handguns began in 1975 with the SIG Sauer SIG P220. Prior to World War II, Sauer had been primarily a maker of shotguns and hunting rifles. During the war, they produced a handgun, the Sauer 38H, but afterwards had retreated from this market. With SIG as their partner, Sauer returned to the business of manufacturing handguns.