World renowned gun expert and author Max Popenker took this photo recently in Switzerland. Apparently the Swiss have some serious machine gun collectors. Max writes …

Small part of a typical Swiss gun collection. And, by the way, I was told that, according to Swiss standards, collection of hundred or so of working automatic weapons is SMALL, because there’s usually only one gun of each type. BIG collections may have, for example, 16 working machine guns of the same type; and similar number of working tanks to ride them out of the WW2 era mountain fortress which houses the collection.

I can already hear Alex C. taking notes.



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  • Michael R. Zupcak

    How the hell is that possible? I didn’t know Swiss law allowed machine gun ownership! That’s a Glock 18 on the wall!

    • Marlon

      Lots of European countries allow relatively easy access to full auto. Belgium, Estonia, Finland…

      • -Finnish_guy-

        Access to fully automatic firearms is NOT easy is in Finland. It may have been years ago, it certainly is not anymore. You need to be a licensed gun collector and that status is not easy to get.

        When it comes to “ordinary” firearms, there is for example TWO YEARS of MANDATORY, documented practice in a gun club, to get first license to any pistol or revolver. All the licenses are only given in need bases.

        Military style semi-auto rifle takes at least 6-12 months in a gun club or more typically in a reservist association. Once again, you have to have a proof that you need for certain type of firearm for certain purpose.

        And finally, when it comes to Switzerland, please educate yourself. Nothing is more annoying than gun-loving Americans toting how wonderful Swiss gun culture is. In reality gun laws have always been strict, for example concealed carry is entirely forbidden and so is any kind of public display of firearm. If you are in any public place, gun stays inside the bag always.

        • spimon fu

          Thanks for sharing. Don’t be an ass next time.

        • swissCollector

          “In reality gun laws have always been strict,”
          no, not always.

          “so is any kind of public display of firearm. If you are in any public place, gun stays inside the bag always.”

          not true at all.

          • -Finnish_guy-

            So, you could not elaborate, what “no, not always” means ?

            Let’s see:

            All the firearms sales that need license are registered.
            All the owners from those sales are registered.
            Full background checks, for both dealer and private sales.
            Only registered owners can buy modern (non black powder) ammunition.
            Feeble over 7,5 joule airguns are considered dangerous weapons.
            Majority of the ammunition for the personal service rifle has been moved away from the holders home to the central government location. One reason stated: too many suicides.

            For sure, in European perspective this is normal, but for your average American gun owners (who think Switzerland is a heaven on earth for guns) it is very strict.

          • swissCollector

            “So, you could not elaborate, what “no, not always” means ?”
            i could, before 1999 in 14 of 26 cantons (states) CC was legal. in some even without a license.

            the ammo bullshit is just that, bullshit. just because the government doesn’t give you free ammo to take home during military service has absolutely nothing to do with how much ammo you can privately buy in stores.

            i also don’t get why registration and background checks are bad. sure, for tinfoil hats that’s a bad thing, for normal people it’s not. also, all semi autos bought before 2006 without any registration do not have to be registered.

            funny how people like you, who got all their knowledge from that outdated and sometimes just plain wrong gunpolicy.org site still think they have real knowledge about gun laws of other countries.

          • tinfoil nutter

            The reason registries & background checks (default registry) are bad & many gun owners are very weary of them, is because they have led to confiscation in many occasions throughout history. A few cases even here in the US in authoritarian states like NY & even CT where they used a tragedy to pass a legislation outlawing property that was previously legal. With the amount of corruption in government, massive overreach & complete disregard for the constitution & jurisprudence, why would anyone believe the government would not eventually confiscate firearms to turn their covert tyranny to overt tyranny?

          • Peter Balzer

            That Finnish Guy knows everything about OUR gun laws, he has access to the Interwebz and does not need us who are living here. – I guess what I’m saying is, you can stop trying to educate him, brother 🙂
            “Guet Schuss”

        • n0truscotsman

          Strict compared to what?

          Swiss gun laws are more lenient than many states in the United States.

          Switzerland’s laws also used to be more lenient before the age of the EU (which tightened many european nations’ gun laws idiotically, to include Frances, which were also relatively lenient before the EU)

          http://www.loc.gov/law/help/firearms-control/switzerland.php

          • BUnga

            Please stop using that “blame EU nonsense”. That is only a rouse used by local politicians to transfer the blame for tightening local gun laws. Why do you think that there are such huge differences between, for example, Czech Republic & Estonia on one side and UK & Poland on the other side?

            The EU rules set only minimum threshold that needs to be met, mainly in order to prevent abuse of less strict rules in one country (e.g. Czech Rep) by buying there and getting guns to other country with stricter rules (e.g. Poland). That is why gun control works in Europe and doesn’t in US. It makes no sense if you can just jump the border and purchase what is forbidden in your home state and bring it back in a couple of hours.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_of_gun_laws_by_nation#European_Union

          • n0truscotsman

            Its not nonsense at all. Do some research sometime about various gun control efforts in different european countries and get back to me. The EU is rightfully to blame for a large part.

            “The EU rules set only minimum threshold that needs to be met”

            And if that minimum threshold results in more strict laws, then guess what happens?

            Gun control doesn’t work in europe. They experienced the same drops in crime after the 90s as the US did and, furthermore, western europe in particular has always had lower crime than the US (especially switzerland). The various gun control efforts in Europe are another example of authoritarian incrementalism that has infected the region like a case of cancer.

            France for example. Was there any reason to tighten their gun control laws in the early 90s? of course not! there were no rampant rises in gun crime. Its all bullshit.

            Poland is just fucking too stupid to learn from their history. Enough said (and I dont care if that offends polish nationals. this is the end result of electing neo-fascists and corporatists).

          • PraetoR

            “ts not nonsense at all. Do some research sometime about various gun
            control efforts in different european countries and get back to me. The
            EU is rightfully to blame for a large part.”

            Your argument makes no sense. You say that there are “various gun control efforts in different European countries” and then you summarize that EU is to blame. If EU was to blame, then the effort would be the same EU-wide, and there would be NO VARIATION IN NATIONAL LEGISLATIONS. There is a couple of EU countries with rules much less restrictive than some US states (when it comes to CCW, magazine capacity restrictions, assault rifles, etc.), and their rules are 100% in line with EU laws.

            The EU rules are in place in order to 1) ensure free trade with guns in EU, which would however 2) not lead to circumvention of tighter rules in some of the countries. It works in that it is relatively easy for a Czech to get a gun in other country and relatively hard for a Pole to get them (because even when you are in other country you have to adhere both to your home country rules as well as to the rules of the country of purchase, i.e. Pole needs a Polish license and Polish permit first to get a gun in the Czech Republic). Unlike in US, where you can simply ignore your home state rules buy going few hours on highway to a nearby state and get what may have been illegal to purchase in the home state.

            Sure, the issue of gun control x crime is something separate, and nobody is arguing that it works in that direction. The EU rules are also not primarily aimed at that (at least until now).

            If someone in Poland, UK or France is unhappy with their gun legislation, they need to blame local politicians, not the EU. If they want freer legislation that would be still in line with EU rules, they can simply copy it from the Czechs or Estonians.

          • n0truscotsman

            “Your argument makes no sense.”

            It makes perfect sense, and i would appreciate it if you would stop telling me what I said when it is posted above and I know fully well what I said.

            The EU is not exclusively to blame, but it is not blameless by any means and that is a understatement.

            “If EU was to blame, then the effort would be the same EU-wide, and there would be NO VARIATION IN NATIONAL LEGISLATIONS.”

            False dichotomy.

            And untrue.

            Why did EU member states, even ones with lenient gun ownership laws before the EU, tighten laws on guns to varying degrees?

            “Unlike in US, where you can simply ignore your home state rules buy going few hours on highway to a nearby state and get what may have been illegal to purchase in the home state.”

            Thats because the EU is more characteristic of a Confederation than a Federal Republic that is the US, but that is another argument for another time.

            and you cannot ignore laws in your home state without consequences or potential consequences. Try buying a AR15 in pennsylvania with a new jersey drivers license.

            “If someone in Poland, UK or France is unhappy with their gun legislation, they need to blame local politicians, not the EU. If they want freer legislation that would be still in line with EU rules, they can simply copy it from the Czechs or Estonians.”

            I agree with that

      • toms

        Slovakia also allowed full auto a few years back. Not sure about now with the EU (Germany) up everybodies orificies to standardize weapons laws. Georgia also allows full auto. Czech republic I think it is possible. or was until recently.

        • pbla4024

          This is not true as far as Czechoslovakia = Czech republic + Slovakia are concerned. Full auto was illegal in Czechoslovakia, it is illegal in Czech republic and it is illegal in Slovakia.

          • BUnga

            Full auto could be obtained in Slovakia until 2010 Bratislava Shooting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Bratislava_shooting), then the rules got much stricter (although the shooter used a semi-auto variant of Vz.58).

            Czech Republic categorizes full autos as “restricted”, meaning that you need to obtain a may-issue permit. In some regions, the police are permissive to may issue permits, in other they are rather restrictive. It is by no means as easy as permit for semi-auto and in case of denial can take some time to battle at a court, but if you really want it, are ready to pay for it (lawyer bills) and have clean record, then you will get it.

            Other option is to get professional firearms license. That is also not an easy way, but one that 100% works in the end. How do you think that all those services aimed at tourists from other European countries that take them to ranges around Prague to shoot full auto work?

            Please, get educated before posting such a nonsense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_Czech_Republic

          • pbla4024

            Can you read Czech an Slovak? Czech law is here:
            http://www.zakonyprolidi.cz/cs/2002-119
            Slovak law is here:
            http://www.e-zbrane.sk/index.php/citat-zakon-o-zbraniach
            Paragraph 3 say that category A are forbidden weapons (= zakázané, wikipedia incorrectly translates that as restricted). Paragraph 4 says full auto weapons belongs to category A. In paragraph 9 there is list of possible exceptions (e.g. collectors, movie makers, security agencies with high risk, manufacturers), but as far as I know it is next to impossible to get one.

          • BUnga

            Yes, they are prohibited (=restricted) unless given exception (=permit) by the police on may issue basis.

            For private physical person, the only justification is collecting.

            For professionals (security, movies, etc.), there are also other justifications, as you wrote.

            Police decision on the full auto permit is on par with any other administrative decision – it may be subject to court review and any denial must be justified and well reasoned – that is your constitutional right. Whether you accept denial or battle it at court is up to you, of course. As I wrote, in some regions cops are more reluctant than in others, at least when it comes to private physical persons, so moving to other region may be also a solution. However, that does not make full autos illegal – there are around more than licensed 1.000 owners of full autos in the Czech Republic according to the latest statistic (for 300.000 total firearm license holders) The only decision which may not be subject to court review is denial of firearms license to individual from outside of EU/NATO country.

            The main reason for me personally why I would never try to get full auto is that then the cops have the right to check its safe storage. Issuing an invitation to cops to come to my home? NO, NO, NO, thank you, I will stick to semi-autos.

    • They aren’t as paranoid about full auto as we are—-

      • iksnilol

        Seriously guys, we gun guys really need to read about gun laws in different countries. You can ust search online for the laws of different countries. Gunpolicy.org is a good resource.

      • uncle adolf

        that’s rich coming from former LE- they’re usually so supportive of non-cops having full auto/sarc.

        • Dan

          Yea because every regular citizen is ok with people owning full autos. LE isn’t as anti gun as you think. But then again you are pretty much anti LE/Gov/Military. Which is fine but your utter contempt for them is kind of silly.

  • Dracon1201

    MPLs!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    • swiggity swooty

      MPK*

      • Dracon1201

        Either way! <3

  • Yojimbo556

    Between the MPL and MP5… What is it?

  • Ahh to have the wealth and freedom of Switzerland.

    • BattleshipGrey

      Do MG’s cost as much in Switzerland as they do in the US though? I read a thread from a collector from Luxembourg that said since MG’s aren’t nearly as restricted there, the cost is about like buying any other gun. Which would be great if that’s the case in Switzerland as well.

      • I don’t think Machineguns anywhere command the kinds of crazy prices you see stateside. But if your kitting out with 100+ variants with many multiples of each: that’s still a lot of guns in my book!

      • Peter Balzer

        full-auto start at CHF 650 for an AK (chinese) or a Port Said (Egyptian Swedish K) and go up from there. But the special permits to collect full-auto or silencers are expensive. Like USD 110.00. 1 permit is good for up to three guns). 🙂

        • dilby

          How hard is it for someone wishing to immigrate from the U.S. and acquire firearms permits in Switzerland? I.e. How long would I have to stay in the country before I got my firearm freedom back? I am pretty sure immigrants in the u.s. can own firearms.

          • gast13

            As far as I know you can start right away. You would need a swiss permit and a written confirmation that you are allowed to own weapons in your home country.

          • Peter Balzer

            Dilby, typically, you need a C-permit (permanent resident, but not a Swiss citizen) for full-auto and/or silencers. C-permits are granted after 5 years on a B-permit (non-permanent resident). Getting a permit to buy pistols, revolvers, rifles or shotguns with a B-permit is encrusted with red tape, but do-able. BTW, the only fly in the ointment is that Switzerland pretty much took our rights to CCW away back in 1999, so you’d have to have a very special reason to get a carry permit

        • Old Armorer

          USD 110 for 3 is a lot cheaper than the USD 200 we have to pay per each NFA firearm (full-auto, silencer, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, etc).

          And does it take 11 months to get a permit in Switzerland?

          Do some cantons prohibit full-auto or silencers?

          Do the local police have the power to deny you a permit because they don’t like your name, or the clothes you wear, or the church you attend, or any other arbitrary reason?

          Are there a finite number of legal full-autos, restricted to only those that were in civilian hands 30 years ago?

          It sounds like you’ve got it pretty good. Don’t let them steal your freedom.

  • **heavy breathing**

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Alex, I think Steve read you very accurately with this one ( as he did most of the rest of us ) ! 🙂

    • Does TX have any mountain fortresses?

      Maybe you can settle for an abandoned mine? Drive one of these to it instead of a tank:

  • avconsumer2
    • ColaBox

      Damn you beat me to it.

  • ChuckyTee

    Whats that under the glock 18? Looks like some folded up badassery.

  • Stompy

    Is that 3 stg 44 s near the bottom? Also 2 broom handles and 2 berreta 93r s?

    • Tom W.

      Yep, looks like the front sights on the StG! Looks like two Schnellfeuer Brooms too.

  • iksnilol

    I so want to meet to Max Popenker someday.

    A good series would probably be Max Popenker, Hickok45, Ian McCollum (Forgotten Weapons) and Larry Vickers together reviewing and testing various guns while explaining how they work and their history.

    • We need a wild card in there to make things interesting: Dugan Ashley.

      • Y-man

        Dugan Ashley – Carnikov?

      • iksnilol

        Good God I would friggin lose it if that show became a reality.

        I can just imagine:

        Larry: the SPAS-12 is a tactical shotgun intended for dynamic situations with versatility and LEO as primary focus.
        Max and Ian: [insert mechanical explanation]
        Hickok45: [insert some history about the gun and cool things about it together with some shooting]
        Dugan: plus it has got this awesome hook stock that works great as a back-scratcher/pickaxe combo. Lets try it out on those mean commie soda bottles.

      • YES

    • Mystick

      Thrown in Ermey for color commentary…

  • Steve Martinovich

    I can’t even buy a flipping AK in Canada…

  • Russ

    Check out the VP70Z with shoulder stock attached. If I remember right, once the stock was attached, it enabled the full auto function. Very cool.

    • The VP70Z is semi automatic only. The stock would enable a VP70 to enter burst mode when attached.

      • Russ

        I would assume that you mean a full auto “burst” right?

        • Three round burst.

          • Russ

            Three round burst of fully automatic fire. Which of course was what made it noteworthy (not to bust your balls) and its status as a machine pistol is why it’s hanging on that guy’s wall.

      • Anonymoose

        iirc, Italian models of the VP70Z (which were chambered in 9×21 IMI) could mount the stock but were stuck with semi-auto, and the other Zs couldn’t mount it at all. The selector switch itself is part of the stock.

      • John

        That’s a VP70m. Not the Italian or Canadian semi only VP70z with stock. How do I know ?? The autosear for burst is clearly visible about the selector switch.

  • Sebastian

    I do live in Germany and had the incredible luck to visit Switzerland to shoot fully automatic firearms. Our shooting club was invited to visit a private museum. According to the owner he is among the biggest collector of Swiss small arms, artillery, AA cannons and tanks.
    The law isn’t as loose as you might think. The owner has a permit to collect fully automatic firearms, but to shoot them we had to get a permit to transport and use some of the fireams at the shooting range. The shooting range also had to get a permit to organize the machinegun shoot.

    • Paul Epstein

      The question then is how difficult it is to get those permits. If they’re routinely granted as long as the necessary precautions have been taken, then I don’t see that as being problematic.

      I think a lot of the reason people consider permits restrictive is that in many places they’re designed to be as arbitrarily difficult to get as possible, to dissuade people from doing the thing for which they need the permit. In some cases, like concealed carry permits in LA, they’re a de facto ban with certain politically motivated exceptions.

    • BUnga

      Then come to the Czech Republic, you can order a normal tourist trip online where you can shoot full auto. The owners have all the permits and there is no need for any special permit for you to shoot it at the range. For example this one: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g274707-d5501776-Reviews-Prague_Tours_Direct_Shooting_Trips-Prague_Bohemia.html

  • bbmg

    Bushmaster Arm Pistol! Stechkin APS! CZ85!

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHH!!!!

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    As usual, Max Popenker is right on the money. Many thanks to Max, Steve and TFB, for presenting this!

  • Sammy

    mmmmmmmmm gun porn.

  • PaulG

    What is that just above the 93-R? Is that a Star Z-84???

  • toms

    Someone likes their uzi’s. Not my favorite subgun though. MP5 is still hard to beat.

  • BrokenForks

    Surprised none of you noticed the prize pig of the collection, the only surviving early model Armaguerra OG-43.

    Armaguerra OG-43

  • Roh Rakpon ArmchairGeneral

    -Mauser M712
    -Steyr MPi-69
    -Uzi
    -Star Z-84
    -Beretta 93
    -Mac-10
    -Scorpion vz.61
    -PM63
    -Bushmaster M17S?
    -Glock 18?
    -Hotchkiss Universal SMG
    -OG42?
    -Mauser M712
    -HK VP70
    -Stechkin APS
    -Walther MP
    -Franchi LF57
    -HK MP5A3
    -CZ75 Machine Pistol Variant

    • iksnilol

      All the stuff is cool but I am drooling the most over the Mauser, CZ75 and Hotchkiss (+ the Skorpion is wicked cool too).

    • DIR911911 .

      say it again , but slower 🙂

  • Grindstone50k

    brb moving to switzerland

  • foobar

    all this discussion over the visible wall .. what about the other 3 walls?

  • USMC03Vet

    The real good stuff is to the right. The belt fed girls.

    I bet Max is a pretty popular guy.

  • Anon. E Maus

    Some of the weapons in that picture are pretty rare.
    God bless the Swiss for preserving these objects.

  • mosinman

    but i thought machine guns instantly transformed you into violent malcontents?! how does Switzerland survive with all those “shoulder things that go up” and 30 caliber clip magazines that can be emptied in .25 of a second??

  • I want to move there now……….

  • Steve_7

    Switzerland banned machine guns (including converted guns) and suppressors in 2000, you have to get a special permit to acquire them, except for transfers by bequest. Over the years though some cantons seem to have become a bit more laid back about issuing them. Germany though won’t grant export licenses for machine guns, and the State Dept stopped granting export licenses for export to private individuals in 1998. There are only a few ranges where you can shoot them on full-auto and it has to be by appointment.

    • swissCollector

      so much false info it hurts my head.

      • thereminator

        Technically, full auto weapons, as well as those converted to semi auto (with the exception of Swiss Army rifles Stgw57 and Stgw90) are banned here (the law calls them “verbotene Waffen” – forbidden weapons). A special permit is required for any kind of acquisition. And from what I heard, the difficulty of getting a full auto permit (or a silencer permit) does depend on the canton. You also need a special permit to take them to the range if they’re still full auto, and the bolt must be stored separately in a safe.

      • Steve_7

        How is that false information, the law was enacted in 1999, came into force in 2000, I was there when it happened.

      • Steve_7

        Well I forgot to mention they were grandfathered, if that’s what you’re on about.

      • Steve_7

        This is the law: http://www.admin.ch/opc/fr/classified-compilation/19983208/

        Section 2 Prohibitions and restrictions of general application

        Art. 5 Prohibitions applicable to weapons, essential components of weapons, specially designed weapons components as well as weapon accessories

        1 Prohibited alienation, acquisition, brokerage for recipients in Switzerland and import into Switzerland:

        a. Automatic firearms, automatic firearms converted into semi-automatic firearms and essential parts or specially designed components for them;
        b. military munition launchers, projectiles or explosive missiles and essential parts of these launchers;
        c. knives and daggers under s. 4 al. 1 letter. c;
        d. articles referred to in art. 4 al. 1 letter. d except batons;
        e. electroshock devices referred to in art. 4 al. 1 letter. e;
        f. arms designed to imitate a common object and essential parts of these weapons;
        g. accessories of these weapons.

        2 No person shall possess:

        a. Automatic firearms, launchers listed in s. 1 letter. b, and the essential parts and specially designed components of such weapons;
        b. Firearms imitating a common object and essential parts of these weapons;
        c. grenade launchers under s. 4 al. 2 letter. c.

        3 It is forbidden to use:

        a. automatic firearms;
        b. launch vehicles specified in s. 1 letter. b, and grenade launchers under s. 4 al. 2 letter. c;
        c. firearms in places accessible to the public outside of firing ranges and shooting events officially authorized: shooting in secure locations inaccessible to the public and shooting when hunting is allowed.

        4 The cantons may allow exceptions.

        5 central office (art. 31c) may allow exceptions to the prohibition on the entry of the objects described in s. 1 in Switzerland.

        6 Swiss Ordnance automatic firearms converted into semi-automatic firearms are not considered weapons specified in s. 1 letter. a.

  • So, I have question: is it, or is it not, easier to get full auto in Switzerland than it is in the States? Cuase some of the comments here are conflicting.

  • Soo jelly right now.

  • valorius

    Love the broomhandle.

  • GREAT JIBBILY GIBLETS

  • DIR911911 .

    gee, i wonder why nobody ever wants to invade Switzerland

  • supergun

    Why do we have an automatic ban? Isn’t that unconstitutional?

  • Boldasar

    What is the choice? to be worth Multi millions, live in Switzerland, & not be able to take hardware anywhere w/o “papers please”, oh $$$$$ gets it done, or…..being able to carry concealed legally on a daily basis for protection day to day?God bless the USA,no matter what the Fascist pigs dictate.