SIG by way of Santiago: The FAMAE SG 543 (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
Designed in the 1970s as the 7.62x51mm SIG SG 540 series, this interesting modern combat rifle never really caught on except in Latin America, where it is still in production. Larry Vickers shows off the FAMAE (Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército) SG 543, a select-fire gas operated rotating bolt rifle in 5.56mm NATO, in the above video.
While the Swiss, who developed the gun, never adopted it — instead going on to further develop the SG 550 series from it– the rifle went on to a degree of overseas success. Licensed to the French firm of Manurhin– who briefly made the gun in a semi-auto version in .222 Rem and .243 Win– the gun is primarily just made today by aforementioned Chilean state-owned defense company in both its 7.62mm (542) and 5.56mm variants.
Of note, besides supplying them in their full-auto glory to the Chilean military, FAMAE also sells the guns in semi-auto versions to Canadian importers in both .308 and .223.
Some countries get all the luck.
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