Based on my personal experience putting over 11k+ rounds through Swiss Rifles in the last 2 years.
Modularity- features, add ons, accessories.…
4 Point quad rails are available. After market and OEM AR Mag accepting lowers are also available. There was recently a .22LR caliber conversion kit released as well. Flat tops models are available for those wishing to use low mounted optics. SAN also offers suppression kit’s and there’s a new 4 position gas regulator that can turn the gas completely off for use with a suppressor. Comes standard with a Folding stock, and collapsible folding stock’s are available.
Reliability- Longevity, Barrel Life, Parts Life before replacement, Durability, Ruggedness, Damage Resistance.
These rifles are very reliable, many user’s report 10 000+ rounds without stoppages. For the endurance trial, a total of 15,000 rounds shall be fired from each test weapon. As far as weather goes, During the trial, the weapon is exposed to a water shower equivalent to approx. 10 mm/min. or 600 +- 76 mm/h, there is also a vigorous sand and mud testing that’s harder to put in point form, they then Expose each weapon, together with at least 600 rounds of ammunition in magazines, to a temperature of -300C for 12 hours. Then from the cold storage chamber, held at -30C, fire 12 strings of 50 shots. If that wasn’t enough they Expose the weapon and 40 rounds in 2 magazines to a temperature of – 100C for 6 hours. Support the weapon on its bipod and then spray it lightly with water until a layer of ice at least 3mm thick has formed on the surface. Then using only a bayonet, make the rifle ready to fire. Extended service life, apparently depending on the grade of ammunition used, the barrel has to be changed after approx. 20000 up to 30000 rounds have been fired. 15000 rounds for wearing parts of the bolt assembly are quite feasible: other small components will last for anything up to 30000 rounds. Major components such as trigger housing, bolt, receiver, plastic parts, and the main components of the trigger action may readily be expected to withstand 40000 rounds. There are weapons at the plant which have major components still fully functional after firing 80000 up to 100000 rounds. I can personally attest to the damage resistance of the finish of these guns, the receiver’s are painted with a thick enamel that requires little to no maintenance.SAN won’t release the materials they used to make the hand guard as it sustains higher temps than other plastics and (Apparently) won’t melt. In my opinion there built like tanks, some think this makes them heavy, but in reality they are right in the same weight class as most similar barrel length piston guns.
Here is a comparison of some SAN rifles compared to some other competing piston guns:
H&K 416 with 19.9″ barrel, 8.5 lbs
Swiss Arms with 20.79″ barrel, 8.6 lbs without bi-pod
Swiss Arms with 17.9″ barrel, 7.94lbs
IWI Tavor with 18.1″ barrel, 8.1 lbs
Robinson Arms XCR with 16″ barrel, 7.5 lbs (Now add the extra 2.5″ of barrel to make it non restricted, I can’t find the official weight of our NR models)
Bushmaster ACR with 16.5″ barrel, 8.2lbs
H&K G36 with 18.9″ barrel, 8 lbs
H&K SL8 with 20.08″ barrel, 8.6 lbs
AR-180B with 18.5″ barrel, 6 lbs (With the poly lower this is definitely the lightest weight piston gun I’ve found so far, I don’t know if it’s beatable)
Ergonomics- Barracks use, Parade, Combat application.
The Swiss suffers a bit in Ergos; it’s a Swiss AK with the major differences being a last shot bolt hold open, and a paddle bolt release. This improves Ergos quite a big, but it basically runs like an AK. Non standard use of STANAG mags hurts the Swiss in the ergos. Even though proprietary mags are much more reliable than STANAG mags, they slow you down just a fraction of a second, which counts. The right side charging handle is a detractor to some, but most just run AK drills and when done properly, AK drill can be very fast too, but hey let’s be honest, AK’s are old and ergos have come a long way since they were designed.
Reputation- History by Unit users
Hard to say with this one, not a lot of written history out there, to my knowledge even HK has stated “Of course the SG550 is best, the price killed it”. It was designed for and has been in use by the Swiss Military since the early 90’s. It was one of the only rifles other than the AK to complete the Azerbaijani Sand endurance testing. I couldn’t find data on that sorry.
I have heard that for a service rifle they are very accurate. My experience doesn’t include a lot of bench shooting with them, but it has been very accurate out to 500m for me, that’s as far as I’ve shot with one. A lot of users feel the non free floated barrel hurts the Swiss in this department, and yet the standards that SAN set’s for accuracy are very demanding: Firing a 24-round group, single-shot off the machine in the tunnel with a cold weapon at a range of 300m. The 50% windage and elevation dispersion shall not exceed a max of 14 x14 cm. Checking at random rifles out of production, firing a 24round group with the Swiss ammunition Gw Pat.90 at a range of 300m, off the machine, the 50 % windage and elevation dispersion will be in the average only 7 x 7 cm. Any result from an individual weapon, will not exceed a max dispersion of 11 x 11 cm. That’s pretty demanding no?
In this regard it truly is a Swiss Watch, it doesn’t make it out the door unless SAN has rigorously checked, inspected, and test fired.
Unit’s using the weapons System:
PASKAU – Malaysian Counter-Terrorism Forces
Swiss Armed Forces
Tactical diver group of the Indonesian Navy
Polish Army Special forces
Apparently a lot of PMC Security guys favor them
Hope you enjoyed