Sig Optics, Five Years In

In just a few years, Sig Sauer has come a long way with its electro-optics division — and the future look bright.

Sig Optics, Five Years In

Sig Sauer is working to continually educate dealers about its optics division, which has diverse offerings for consumer and commercial markets. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Sig Sauer launched sales operations of the Electro-Optics division in 2015 and in just five years, Sig has become a big competitor in the optics market. This includes huge wins in the consumer and military markets.

But according to our interview with Andy York, president of Sig Optics, a lot of dealers still are not selling Sig optics. This is a shocking statement, considering Sig has dominated the red dot market over the last year. Over those short five years, Sig optics have become known for delivering huge innovations in the optics and electro-optics market, with outstanding sales presentation, quality, features and designs, and market-leading electro-optics innovations such as its integrated BDX - Ballistic Data Exchange solution.

We have followed Sig optics for a few years and heavily tested the optics and BDX systems in the field. We have been wildly impressed with every optic’s quality and unique features.

Here's our interview with York about the Sig optics division and its future.

TR- So it was a big year for Sig optics?

York - It was amazing. For us as a company, it has been a big year for red dots this year. Sig’s ROMEO red dots are now the No. 1 purchased red dot in the U.S. The entry-level ROMEO5 has become a slam dunk seller for dealers with a name that customers know and trust at a price point that is nearly impossible to beat. The Romeo-MSR delivers the ruggedized needs of the MSR shooter at a price point that is still under $140, and for a higher-tier option, the Romeo4DR adds a circle-dot reticle, longer run time, and motion-activated auto on.

The Romeo1Pro and Romeo Zero are built here in Oregon and deliver the small form factor and durability that handgun shooters want. We did a lot of planning and testing around the line, and it was good to see the pay off with an amazing year for us with red dots. Our big delays with COVID have been around global circuit components shortages, which are made almost exclusively in Asia, however, we are trying to ensure the product keeps moving into distribution.

We also launched the new Romeo8H, which is a ruggedized, waterproof IPX-7 rated red dot with four user-selectable reticle options of Dot, Circle-Dot, Dot with Holds, and Circle-Dot with Holds. It has a 100,000+ hour battery life with a CR123A battery and motion activated auto-on, and LED vs laser reticles that deliver stutter-free reticles when transitioning between targets — for under $650. It should be pretty clear who we are going after with the Romeo8H format. Romeo 8H has done really, really well and performs similar to the EOtech, but uses LED instead of laser. The LED does not give you the flicker when you move, plus we have massive battery life of up to 100K hours with a CR123A and less sensitivity to thermal shifts.

TR- How about scopes and the BDX platform?

York - The optics have expanded, and we now have our BDX 2.0 update available as of January, so if you have our BDX system, you likely already have the update pushed to you. The BDX 2.0 offers an easy mode for those who just want to take a shot and an advanced mode for the deep ballistic users. People who were into ballistics understood the BDX delivered a faster shot solution, but the other 95% really wanted an easy mode, and the BDX 2.0 now has both. For most hunters, our Sierra3 series is more than adequate and can deliver fast 1-MOA accuracy out to 500 yards with auto boding and fast, simple shot solutions in an easy-to-learn system.

We also created an easy setup with pre-set ballistic groups — customers can select a ballistic group and easily map to a pre-set hold in the BDX with 1-MOA accuracy. The ballistic groups deliver an easy way to learn the system right out of the box. We are not just lumping calibers together — for example, a 40-grain .223 and 55-grain .223 are in different ballistic groups because they have different trajectories. We have really thought about how to make setup super easy. Before the seller had to talk about downloading an app, syncing, etc. Now they can just say you are in ballistic group 3, crank the magnification to 3X to set it, and they are ready to go with a custom BDC.

For the higher-precision demands, we launched the Sierra6, with an MSRP of $800-$1,200. The Sierra6 features super zoom ranges such as 2-12 and a digital reticle with about twice the number of hold point for more holdover precision. The Sierra6 increased light transmission to 90%, and we were also able to clean up the power transmission lines visible in the reticle — until you turn on the scope, they are nearly invisible, and then you see all the BDX magic. We also increased the breadth of the range on the scopes and rangefinders.

TR - What else have been hot sellers for dealers?

York - The 3X, 4X and 6X magnifiers in the QD Juliet line have done well for the last two years. A lot of magnifiers just do not offer great clarity, and we worked hard to deliver very high clarity, a great QD mount, and flexibility for a lot of optics and platforms. The Thermal Reflex has done really well, especially in the hog-hunting market. Now we have the Echo3 Thermal reflex sight, which delivers the ability to stand back from the sight like you would with a red dot.

Most thermal optics require you to be locked into the scope, and for faster shooting environments, that just does not work. The Echo3 is offered in 1-6 and 2-12 digital zoom ranges. We also increased field of view up to 10 degrees from 4 degrees, added BDX on board with a recording option, plus much higher resolution and a state-of-the-art thermal sensor — at around $3,900 and $5,200, they are not inexpensive, however, they are really amazing electro-optics for someone who needs this level of capabilities.

TR - There is some exciting news with the SDMR contract and Sig.

York - We can talk about it now that the SDMR contract is actually delivered. One of our rules at Sig is that we really do not want to promote the win until they are actually using it. Once everyone has the Sig optics fielded, we will go to market with those military promoted wins. Many competitors start promoting as soon as they win the contract, which we think is a little misleading.

We are excited to note that the U.S. Army announced its selection of Sig Sauer’s Tango6 1-6×24 riflescope in 2018 for its Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDMR). The optic is the final component to be selected for the complete SDMR system that will be put into service for the U.S. Army’s Designated Marksmen. Actually, we won more contracts than that after delivering 5K-6K Tango6T scopes for the U.S. Army SDMR contract. Because of that win and accolades, the Air Force jumped on them as well, and we won the SVPS - Squad Variable Power Scope business for our special forces. Military and LEO markets have done really well for us with pages and pages of Sig Optics wins. The Tango6T is an excellent clear and versatile all-around optic for any application, and we expect there to be a lot of demand on the consumer side after these contracts wins.

TR - How is COVID impacting production in Oregon and your imported finished goods?

York - All the lasers, Romeo 1Pro and Zero, weapon lights, and the military Tango6T 1-6x 24mm scope line are made in-house here in Oregon. Chinese supply is not impacting us directly, but some circuit boards and some components we get from Malaysia do have components from China. Circuit boards are a big problem for everyone, with a lot of those little components coming from China. Our imported finished goods are doing pretty well from an availability perspective.

COVID has impacted production industry-wide, however, Sig’s optics plants, our facility in New Hampshire, and ammo plants in Arkansas were deemed essential and stayed in production. We increased cleaning and added a lot of social distancing requirements, but we still came to work every day to build products for our customers. For the non-production teams, we worked remotely where possible.

TR - What message would you give dealers?

York - We have only been around for six years and selling products for five years, and we still get from dealers “Sig has optics?” For all we have accomplished, we still have a long road ahead of us with dealer education, a lot of education about our products, training around what we are doing, and what we are doing in the military — we are working hard to gain new dealers.

TR - What deals are you offering dealers?

York - We have some promos and sales boosters, including some BDX kits with some extended dating to help with much deeper stocking. Right now, there is not a lot of need for crazy deals with the surge and strong sales again for firearms, ammo and optics. It was a really strong sales quarter for us.


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