Well before the Rattler… and before Dr. Spencer Johnson told industry leaders to embrace change by looking for cheese in new places, Friedrich Peyer, Im Hof, Heinrich Moser, and Conrad Neher took their Swiss Wagon Factory, founded in 1853, and morphed it into the Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft, the Swiss Industrial Company for us English speaking readers, and known worldwide as SIG.
Pulling up wagon manufacturing stakes and shifting focus to small arms was based on the Swiss Ministry of Defense’s challenge for SIG to produce a performance rifle for the Swiss Army; of course, the move meant finding cheese in new places just seven years after building their state-of-the-art wagon manufacturing facility and held no guarantee for winning the Swiss Army’s contract. Fortunately, SIG did impress the Swiss Army enough for an initial order of 30,000 Prelaz-Burnand rifles in 1864. With that single order, SIG was forever done with the wagon business and became a full-fledged small arms manufacturer—forget cheese in new places, this was new cheese.
By the end of the 90s, SIG had already acquired Hammerli Target Arms and the iconic J.P. Sauer and Sohn (70s); changed the company name to SIGARMS and broke ground in Virginia (1985); relocated to New Hampshire; put P225, P226, P228, and the popular P229, chambered in .40 S&W, into production, introduced Sauer Rifles and Hammerli Target Pistols; offered a Rizzini designed shotgun; and began distributing Blaser R93 rifles.
By 2008, SIGARMS had opened the SIGARMS Training Academy, tripled its work force, enhanced engineering, developed a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and renamed again to SIG SAUER (2007). One of the many fruits of SIG SAUER’s labors is their new Rattler. Aptly named, the Rattler’s aggressively designed, AR-style folding, semi-auto platform stops gun lovers in their tracks. Even better, the Rattler’s impressive striking distance and manageable bite are just toxic enough to turn you into a compact-shooting SIG fanatic.
Belly of the Beast
Seriously, what’s not to like about SIGs? While my time as a Jarhead gave me a healthy respect and appreciation for 1911s, I also acquired healthy respect, appreciation, and even an affinity for some full-framed handguns—still one of the all-time favorites in my safe is my P220 Combat, complete with the threaded barrel. I also loved my P229 and on the rifle side, one of my more recent favorites has been the short-stroke piston driven SIG SAUER MCX Virtus with the folding stock. While I’ve never been a fan of two-stage triggers, the one SIG employed in the Virtus was exceptional—I had no qualms.
The short-stroke piston driven Rattler PCB seems to follow suit with the Virtus to some extent and certainly holds fast to the MCX’s reliability, capabilities, and greatest attributes; however, at just 29.25 inches long and collapsible to a much more compact length given its pivoting contour brace (thus the PCB), my testing and evaluation Rattler PCB, chambered in .300 (AAC) Blackout is a different, jaw-dropping sort of beast altogether. Further emphasizing the Rattler’s compact design, at 2.8 inches wide, 8 inches tall, and weighing in at just 6.5 pounds, it’s definitely an easy carry for virtually any situation.
The MCX Rattler Canebrake I tested boasted a rich, rugged, matte-FDE finish, free-floating M-LOK handguard, 5.5-inch carbon-steel barrel with 1:5 twist, contrasting black controls and furniture, and SIG SAUER’s own enhanced two-stage trigger.
Love at First Bite
I was fortunate to spend a full day on a stunning range with the Rattler PCB, hundreds of rounds of .300 Blackout ammo, and Hook & Barrel’s own editor-in-chief, John Radzwilla. What began as friendly slow fire testing escalated into “Dude, it’s my turn” mag-dumps and enough long-distance pot-shots at 3-MOA targets out to 300 yards to cause, several “You said one more five rounds ago” moments. SIG’s enhanced trigger was quite comfortable. While I did not have a scale, trigger-pull easily danced around five pounds and if anything on the light side; it was exceptionally crisp—mag dumps were fast and longer slow-fire shots, quite accurate.
During rapid fire events, we weren’t spending as much time and energy on accuracy as we were checking cycling, but the SIGs lineal compensator did well to mitigate muzzle rise, making target engagements, especially between 50–100 yards, more effective than either of us had expected. Even rapid fire at 200 kept impacts pretty-well grouped. Bench shooting for fun led to consistent impacts on 3-MOA gongs out to 200 yards scores of hits even out to 300—exciting stuff given that the Rattler PCB wasn’t designed for precision shooting on any level. The Rattler is designed to strike, bite, and recoil for another go-round. With hundreds of rounds down range and a handful of barrel cool-downs behind us, neither of us experienced a single misfeed—a solid win as it relates to quality manufacturing and components, reliable cycling, and decent ammo.
Don’t Tread on Me: The Addiction
SIG SAUER’s piston-driven, compact-folding MCX Rattler Canebrake is dangerously cool, even a bit addictive in the hands of a gun writer, and designed for rapid, close-quarter striking. Even better, it has serious threat-stopping bite clear out to a couple hundred yards—impressive given the shorter pistol-length barrel. I would say SIG SAUER poured some time and energy into naming this little guy, but given my experience, perhaps it’s the only name that does it justice. Be warned, treading on this Rattler is sure to lead to sudden ownership.