Now that I have my criticisms of the original SIG 556 out of the way, here's the good news about the 556 Patrol Rifle.
The new Rotary Diopter sight system on the 556 Patrol and SWAT rifles is light years ahead of the original poorly executed sights that were first used on the original SIG 556 Rifle.
The Diopter sights have two basic settings. One is an open V-shaped combat sight that gives you a very wide field of view while the large front sight post is clearly visible in the center of the sight picture. The second is a peep sight that also comes on the diopter rear sight. It's easy to use and has a large enough aperture to present more than enough of the target for accurate shot placement.
As someone who had some previous trigger time with the original SIG 556 variant, I was curious how the new SIG 556 Patrol would handle. From the moment I removed this rifle from the box I liked it and looked forward to shooting it with and without optics.
To kick off the testing of the SIG 556 Patrol, I decided to sight it in using 62-grain NATO green tip ammunition. At 50 yards, I fired into a two-inch diameter Shoot N See target. After a few adjustments the rifle was ready to test.
So with the help of my shooting buddy Rick Batory, we co-witnessed the iron sights to an Aimpoint Comp M4. The Aimpoint optic proved to be an excellent match for this rifle and I used it throughout the next 120 days of testing. I also plan to keep it on the SIG 556 Patrol should I buy this test gun, as I expect I will.
The SIG 556 proved to be a fun rifle to shoot. It barely displayed any muzzle climb or recoil and was as reliable and accurate as a service rifle should be.
I especially liked the way the SIG 556 handled under rapid fire drills while using the red-dot Aimpoint optic. But even when the rifle was fired using iron sights, I had no problem confidently placing my rounds on target. The SIG 556 let me make head shots and upper body shots on a TQ19 Police Firearms Qualification Target with ease.
The fact that SIG Sauer has a well-earned reputation for producing incredibly high-quality semi-automatic pistols lets me safely assume that any firearm that SIG manufactures will be of the finest quality. And the SIG 556 Patrol Rifle did not disappoint.
Even though I have always found direct impingement rifles to be incredibly reliable and easy to clean and maintain, I appreciate the enhanced capabilities of the gas piston system that is used in the SIG 556. I also like the fact that the SIG 556 uses M16 magazines.
So if your agency is ready to step out of the box and use a true 21st century tactical or patrol rifle, the SIG 556 models may be ideal. I even see a use for the SIG 556 Patrol Rifle with its side folding stock as the perfect tactical rifle to be used by cover teams that provide backup for undercover agents. Surveillance teams and stakeout units could also take advantage of the more compact design features of the SIG 556 Patrol and the SIG 556 SWAT Patrol.
The bottom line is if you like using a traditional M4 carbine without any accessories attached, then you will probably have no problem using the standard SIG 556 Patrol Rifle. If you need or want to use certain accessories on your patrol or tactical rifle, you will probably prefer to use the 556 SWAT Rifle or the 556 SWAT Patrol Rifle because both of these guns are equipped with a quad rail system.
As far as I am concerned, I have decided that at some point in the immediate future there will be a SIG 556 in my gun safe. What sold me on this gun was its weight and balance, flawless reliability, compact size, and its clean and cool running reduced length gas piston operating system. My only dilemma is which model to buy-the plain Jane SIG 556 Patrol Model or the SIG 556 Patrol SWAT Model.
Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and a former police officer. He was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.
VIDEO: SIG Sauer 556 Rifle
SIG Sauer 556 SWAT Rifle