Helvetia SIG 550

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The SIG SG 550 rifle has served its home country of Switzerland for 34 years now. The rifle is quite well known for its reliability, especially in cold conditions. It’s famous for the various pictures of Swiss reservists carrying rifles around Switzerland doing everyday average things. It’s a popular rifle in Switzerland, and SIG Sauer AG, a different company than the SIG Sauer that serves America, has released a special Helvetia variant of the 550 rifle. 

I don’t make it a habit of cruising through European firearm websites, but every so often, something pops up that captures my attention. The Helvetia SIG 550 was one of the few pieces that captured my attention. I stumbled through Google Translate to learn more. First and foremost, I like the 550 design. I understand it’s not the best rifle ever made, but I think it’s neat, especially the carbine models. 

….But the Helvetia Model 

What captured my attention about the Helvetia SIG 550 was the bright red paint job. I’m not sure if it’s dipped, cerakoted, or anodized, but dear lord, is it a gaudy finish for a cool rifle? The metal is all red, and the polymer furniture portions are all black. 

What sets the thing off is the weird smattering of chrome that occupies the rifle’s controls and bipod. The Swiss flag is red and white, so I’m not sure why they introduced black and chrome into the mix. Red, black, and chrome don’t go together, but it’s certainly an eye-catching rifle. 

The rifle bears the dates 1291 and 2021. It was made to celebrate the 730th birthday of Switzerland. The handguard also says Swiss on it. There is a relief of Switzerland on the receiver, but it cuts off Geneva, a major Swiss city. The Rutli Oath is printed on the gun in German as well. 

It comes with an embroidered sling, some very fancy set of iron sights, and obviously a SIG Sauer challenge coin. Plus, it has an axe that bears a somewhat modern resemblance to a Halberd. 

What’s Helvetia? 

As an American, I had never heard of the term. Through some research, I learned a bit about Swiss history. It has a bit of a double meaning. It’s the Latin name for Switzerland, well, kind of. The official Latin name is Confoederatio Helvetica. It’s also been called the Republica Helvetiorum. Other times, it’s just shortened to Helvetia. The root of the term comes from the Helvetti, a Celtic tribe who occupied the Swiss plateau prior to the Roman conquest. 

Helvetia is also a national personification. Much like Uncle Sam represents the United States, Helvetia represents Switzerland. Helvetia is a female personification that’s often adorned in flowing cloth with a spear in one hand and perhaps a Swiss shield in the other. As I learned this, I had the realization that the Helvetia-themed SG 550, or STGW 90, is basically the swiss equivalent to a We The People Glock or 1776 AR-15. 

It’s gaudy, like most limited editions are, and appeals to a particular type of customer. From what I’ve gathered there are only 100 of these rifles otu there and they sell for 8,000 Swiss Francs, which is a hair over 9,000 US dollars. It’s quite pricey as far as rifles go. 

It’s a little comforting to know that even the Swiss have their gaudy guns and their silly, expensive prices. At the end of the day, our gun cultures are different, but there are some very interesting similarities, even if those similarities are terrible-looking guns. 

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