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.
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
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
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.
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Essays on my recent visit
Note: for convenience sake, if available, I have included links to
Amazon.com. Simply click on the title, and it will take you to the book's
page on Amazon.
Grenades, and Projected Munitions by Ian V. Hogg, Stackpole Books,1998
de la baïonnette de collection: volume 2 by Jean Pierre Vial, Editions du
Portail, La Tour du Pin, 2000, France
from Janzen's Notebook by Jerry Janzen, Cedar Ridge Publishing, 2000, Broken
Arrow OK. Note: Amazon is often back-ordered. Ebayonets.com
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
of the World (10th edition) by Frank C. Barnes, DBI Books, 2003
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.
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.
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
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.
the War Weapons by Timothy J. Mullin , Paladin Press, 1997, Boulder, CO.
For questions or comments - Contact Information
|A Special Note from SwissRifles.com:
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
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.
Acknowledgments - I would like to thank Gunnery.net, BiggerHammer.net,
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.