Vetterlis | Schmidt-Rubins/K31s | 1893 Carbine | Stgw.57 | Stg.90 | Ammunition | Bayonets | Accessories | Handguns | Links | Forums

Please Click Here for information regarding Swiss Gun Rights

New Feature: Essays on my recent Swiss Visit

This page is devoted to the Magazine-fed Cartridge Firing Service Rifles of Switzerland.  Switzerland sits on the crossroads of Europe. Yet, their steadfast resolution to remain neutral has kept them out any foreign engagements since the time of Napoleon.  In order to guarantee their neutrality, every eligible Swiss male between the age of 18 and 42 serves in the Swiss Military. On a person/square mile basis, only Israel fields a larger army. Every male is issued a rifle and ammunition which they keep at their home in case of national emergency.  Throughout their history, the rifles issued have shared some common qualities, notably fine craftsmanship and extreme accuracy.


1878 Vetterli

The first of these, the Vetterli, was adopted in 1869.  The Vetterli was the first magazine fed rifle adopted for universal service in Europe. While at the time of it's adoption, the Vetterli was the most advanced service rifle in Europe, but the late 1880's it was the most obsolete.  

1889 Schmidt-Rubin

It's replacement was the Schmidt-Rubin Series of rifles.  There were several models in the Schmidt-Rubin Series, including the 1889, 1896/11, 1911 Rifle and Carbine, and the K31. The Schmidt-Rubin series was issued from 1889 to 1957, and many K31s stayed in service for decades afterwards..  

The Stgw.57

In 1957, the Schmidt-Rubin series was replaced by the Stgw 57.  The Stgw.57 was a marvel of modern craftsmanship, and like it's pistol counterpart, the SIG210 , is widely considered to be the finest battlerifle ever constructed.  Stgw.57's continued to be issued to Swiss Soldiers until 1990, when it was replaced by the Stg.90.  Stgw.57s continue in service today, and are expected to do so for for the next several years.

The Stg.90 began limited service with the Swiss in the late 1980s, and went into full scale production in 1990.  The Stg.90 may well be the most accurate assault rifle in the world, as well as one of the best.

Click here to go to the menu


Essays on my recent visit to Switzerland:



Note: for convenience sake, if available, I have included links to Simply click on the title, and it will take you to the book's page on Amazon.

Ammunition:SmallArms, Grenades, and Projected Munitions by Ian V. Hogg, Stackpole Books,1998 Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Atlas de la baïonnette de collection: volume 2 by Jean Pierre Vial, Editions du Portail, La Tour du Pin, 2000, France

Bayonets from Janzen's Notebook by Jerry Janzen, Cedar Ridge Publishing, 2000, Broken Arrow OK.  Note: Amazon is often back-ordered. is a highly recommended alternative source for this book..

Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Schwiez Armee seit 1817: Handfeuerwaffen Gradzug-System by Kurt Sallaz, and Michael Am Rhyn, Verlag Stocker-Schmidt 1978 Dietikon-Zurich.

Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Schwiez Armee seit 1817: Handfeuerwaffen System Vetterli by Hugo Schneider, Michael Am Rhyn, Oskar Krebs, Christian Reinhart, and Robert Scheiss, Verlag Stocker-Schmidt 1971 Dietikon-Zurich.

Cartridges of the World (10th edition) by Frank C. Barnes, DBI Books, 2003 Northfield, Il.

Collecting Classic Bolt Action Military Rifles by Paul S. Scarlata, A Mowbray Publishing, 2001 Lincoln, RI.

Guns of the World, Hans Tanner - Editor, Bonanza Books, 1977, New York, NY.

Hand- und Faustfeuerwaffen: Schwieizerische Ordonnanz 1817 bis 1975 by ???, 1971(?) Verlag Huber Frauenfeld, Switzerland.

Military Small Arms of the 20th Century (7th Edition) by Ian V.Hogg and John Weeks, DBI Books Inc. 1991 Northfield, Il.

Die Repetiergewehre Der Schwiez by Christian Reinhart, Kurt Sallaz, & Michael am Rhyn, Verlag Stocker-Schmid, 1991 Dietikon-Zürich. (Available from IDSA Books) Note:the book is in German.

Rifles of the World by John Walter, Kraus Publications, 1998 Iola, Wi.

Small Arms of the World by W.H.B. Smith and Joseph E. Smith, Stackpole Books, 1969, Harrisburg PA.

Small Arms Profile 10: The SIG Service Rifle by A.J.R. Cormack, Profile Publications Ltd, 1972, Bershire England. Available from Mark Adkins

The Standard Directory of Proof Marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger (translated by R.A. Steindler,  Blacksmith Publishers Corporation,  China Valley, AZ.

Swiss Magazine Loading Rifles 1869 to 1958 by Joe Poyer, North Cape Publications, Inc. 2003.

Swiss Military Ammunition by Heinrich F. Grieder from The American Rifleman February 1956.

Testing the War Weapons by Timothy J. Mullin , Paladin Press, 1997, Boulder, CO.

For questions or comments - Contact Information

A Special Note from

On September 26, mentally disturbed Swiss citizen, killed 15 people in a Canton Parliament building in Switzerland. It should be noted that:

1) Despite the fact that the man was armed with a Swiss Service rifle, he was never a member of the Swiss armed forces, thus the rifle was never issued to him.

2) Due to a criminal record, according to Swiss law, he should not have been allowed to keep his firearms after his arrest.

In spite of this, Swiss Gun-grabbers are now attempting to disarm the Swiss public. Despite the fact that over 600,000 full automatic rifles are in the hands of Swiss citizens, and yet they still have one of the lowest homicide rates in the world.

Switzerland has been a democracy for over 700 years now, and in recent centuries only Napolean has dared to test them. Yet today, the tradition of the Swiss Citizen-Soldier is being deeply threatened. If any of you would wish to help in some small way, you can join ProTELL, the Swiss equivalent to our NRA. You can do so by clinking on the ProTELL graphic and them clicking on the Anmeldung/Subscribe link and filling out the form. The cost is 40 Swiss Francs or about $25/year.

I understand these are rough times and that this is merely a token gesture. But, the Swiss example is a powerful weapon in the fight against gun-grabbers. And in the end, our freedom as well as Switzerland's may well be at stake

I thank you for your  indulgence.

Big L.E.E.


Acknowledgments - I would like to thank,, Collectible Firearms and Edged Weapons, and Jean Plamondon of Military Surplus Arms for the use of their graphics and resources. I would also like to thank Roy, Pierre, Tom, Rob, and Paul Scarlata for their contributions.  I would also like to thank the members of the C&R Mailing List and the Swiss Rifle Forum, for their help and encouragement. Finally, I like to thanks Denise for her patience and support.

Back to top


Vetterlis | Schmidt-Rubins/K31s | 1893 Carbine | Stgw.57 | Stg.90 | Ammunition | Bayonets | Accessories | Handguns | Links | Forums