Swiss Civilian Range Day

Here is a video about Swiss civilians and their firearm ownership. I find it interesting that the Swiss Goverment hands out practice ammo for these special range days for all armed citizens to practice with.

There are some details of the range, in the video, interesting.

Particularly the items around the shooter. In the screenshot below, you can see a slanted box, which looks to be a brass catcher. I am not sure what the giant tube is for. Perhaps to contain muzzle blast?

Swiss range 2


However I am not familiar with this electronic device. I think it somehow informs the shooter where his shot hit on the target. Anyone familiar with this device and know what the numbers mean?

Swiss counter


Edit: Thanks to Grant Bayley for enlightening me via email.

The tunnel on the range has padding inside; it’s intended to keep the sound of the rifles firing to a minimum. An enormous suppressor of sorts.

The slanted box is just for brass; the SIG 550 rifles they’re using normally have a range-supplied brass deflector temporarily slipped on while firing; if you move the box up close, you can get your rounds straight into the box. Not strictly necessary.

The electronic box is for the electronic targets. Most of the ranges in Switzerland for rifles are 300m and have automatic target systems. The left hand indication is the number of rounds fired. The middle number is the score of the last shot 3,45 on Service targets and 5-10 on bullseye-like targets. On the bullseye and other targets, the score on the right is out of 100, simply showing the score as though it were out of 100 instead of the scoring zones 5-10 (obviously high scores towards the middle).

Some matches use the regular scores; others use the ‘out of 100’ measure.

The scoring system shown is made by a Swiss company called Sius.  It works with an acoustic sensor at the firing point and also sensors in the target frame to detect the score. Works great for normal rifles, but when I’ve turned up at the range with a suppressor even on a short-barrelled SIG 553, it has trouble detecting the shot (the fact that it’s fired).

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • Joe

    The tube prevents a shot being fired at an angle greater or less than the tube and range layout allows.

    • gusten

      could probably have some sound suppressing to

      • milesfortis

        It’s both. Notice the continual texturing inside the tube. In most of Europe, not doing anything to mitigate loud noise is considered not just bad manners, but unlawful.

    • Edeco

      Hmmm, makes sense… Glad I don’t have to use em at my venue though

    • Ethan

      Looks like that’d be wise for a lot of back-yard ranges. Both the limited trajectory and the (significant) reduction of sound would be desirable in semi-populated areas.
      Looks like it would cost about $300 to set up – compared the $300,000 it would take to build an indoor range.

      • milesfortis

        An excellent suppressor can be set up by connecting 6 to 8 tires side by side, into a tube. Since it’s not ‘portable’, it’s not restricted by the NFA.

  • gusten

    the numbers are probably a point system, and the dots show where you hit in the circle
    probably 5 points as the max. it can even be marking the hits via the sound
    aucustic ranges are pretty common in Sweden for our yearly moose hunting tests, microphones extrapolate where the hit is

  • Laserbait

    That’s neat! We have an outdoor range here that uses large concrete sewer pipes like that too. They are lined with old rugs. The idea (for them at least), is that it helps contain the noise, and, makes sure that the bullet goes in the direction of the berm. 🙂

  • Friend of Tibet

    Now let’s do a 22422 drill through that pipe…….

  • Chris P

    When I lived in Germany my parents belonged to a German shooting club who had a sister club in Switzerland that we went to visit. What the club had was a complex on 1 mountain/hill and the targets was on the other mountain/hill. There was a path between the mountains that the folks walked up to the club. I am guessing that the tube is there to prevent the muzzle from dropping the angle and hitting any of the hikers heading up to the club.

  • Maxpwr

    Nice that the Swiss government hands out the ammunition. Too bad our government doesn’t follow suit. The issue of arms ownership in Switzerland has always been based in the context of national defense and military with no Constitutional provision for private ownership like the Second Amendment. Seems like a nice place to try to do some “gun tourism” with those excellent ranges and range equipment.

    • Dracon1201

      The Swiss don’t keep ammo on a day to day basis. They only shoot when the gov’t lets them.

      • Mark

        The Swiss are allowed to keep a SEALED case of ammo, penalties for unsealing without governmental authorization.

        • thereminator

          Nope, the gov’t doesn’t give out that sealed can of ammo anymore.

          • Mark

            Thank you for the update. Are Swiss currently allowed commercial ammo at home?

          • thereminator

            Yes. However, we do have bans on certain types of ammunition, e.g. hollow-point handgun ammo (except for .22 LR), incendiary, armor-piercing and explosive ammo. But you can still get all of those with an ammo collector permit.

          • Mark

            I recall being told in Zürich at H&R Waffenfabrik that the Swiss could own any machine gun, but only one copy of each model. Has that changed? What are the Swiss rules on heavy weapons?

          • thereminator

            I’ve never heard anything about a one specimen limit for machine guns, and there’s no such law.

            Machine guns can be bought with an “exceptional permit” which can be obtained if you have a reasonable cause for getting one (e.g. expanding a collection, inheriting a gun), getting a machine gun as your first gun would probably raise some alarms though. The bolt has to be stored separately in a safe and the police do yearly checks on proper storage. Also, you need a special permit for each time you want to take it to the range.

      • Maxpwr

        Yeah, I heard they can’t keep their official government issued ammo at home any more. I wouldn’t shoot my own ammo if I am doing it for some official training or qualification time, either. I would expect the government to provide the ammunition in that case. I wonder if they are prohibited from shooting their own private ammo in their official weapon. Kind of like if we were issued M4 carbines as militia in the US…could you shoot Remington UMC 62gr in it for additional target practice on your own time? Probably not, I suppose the Swiss government only wants official government ammunition used in official militia weapons. So, in that case, if you want to rifle shoot in that style of weapon you’d have to buy a separate M4 (or SIG SG550 in Switzerland) to do private shooting with your own ammo.

      • thereminator

        That’s just not true at all, stop spouting bull if you don’t even know anything about it. Keeping ammo at home is perfectly legal unless it’s military issue ammo (and nobody really cares about that law).

        • Dracon1201

          Hey, if you have knowledge, don’t be a complete pr-ck. I would have appreciated the correction, but in this case, screw you.

  • roguetechie

    Compare and contrast with say Scotland where people go spastic because of a visibly armed cop in a grocery store. Personally my favorite Swiss citizens armed in public picture shows a Swiss college student taking notes in a lecture with his rifle casually slung…..
    the thought of the aneurysms, histrionics, and pronouncements of intolerable Republican persecution of good hoplophobes everywhere makes me laugh so hard I can’t breathe.

    • iksnilol

      NOTE: you aren’t really supposed to go with your day to day business armed. That’s at least what I understood from being in Switzerland for a week. Actually I never saw anyone OC’ing there.

      • roguetechie

        on the Swiss arms forum they showed at least a dozen pictures of Swiss citizens going about their business armed, and more importantly the utter nonevent other people consider it there…
        I used to be leery of the open carry just because crowd, until it finally really sunk in how the anti second amendment crowd scores victories.
        1. Divide and Conquer: AkA the way many traditionalist shooter types not only didn’t fight things like Brady, but a shocking number actively supported it.
        bottom line is if you won’t fight for EVERYONE’S rights, no matter how repugnant you find them or what they stand for, you’re actually contributing to the destruction of your own.
        2. Isolate, marginalize, and refuse rational discourse or any other activity which cannot be made entirely one sided….
        In military terms, this is known as contempt of engagement. It’s the IED’s, green on blue, and coordinated ambush style of warfare we’ve been facing since 9/11.
        I mean realistically, how is it that otherwise intelligent people like most gun owners are can actually believe exercising their rights will result in or even JUSTIFY a further curtailing or outright loss of their rights?
        when realistically various municipal ordnances, hostile lobby organizations, and other factors have made the entire world of positive firearm experiences, mutual respect and coexistence with other peer groups, and even just the sight of normal people with firearms invisible to anyone who isn’t specifically seeking it out… hell we’re even conditioning ourselves to carefully avoid any mention of firearms, gun politics, and etc at work, in social settings that aren’t gun oriented, and especially with neighbors etc…..
        So that the only coherent narrative the average person sees on the subject are completely one sided.
        many people actually believe gun ownership is in decline. How would they know any different? Most of us hide our interest in guns and our support for firearms rights… The news Always covers firing ranges that close… Never ones that open.
        they also believe that guns and even medium population density areas are not safe etc. The news shows them what areas with guns and lots of people turn into… Why would they believe differently? They have no idea that several people on their block own guns, and avidly shoot.
        they believe that armed people who aren’t law enforcement etc are prone to irresponsible dangerous behavior and aren’t capable of HELPING deescalate a situation. Why would they… CNN doesn’t devote 3-30 days to constantly remind people that a rampage shooting was peacefully averted by armed citizens without a single stray shot…. Or any shots at all. I know of two attempted school shootings ended with no bloodshed in Utah alone within a short period of time by an armed junior high teacher once, and a group of armed and unarmed students another time.
        So, how are we supposed to show the public at large that firearms and their owners do not present a threat without exercising our rights in a visible way?

        • Grindstone50k


          • Laserbait

            You don’t know if it’s Too Long, or you don’t know if you Didn’t Read it?

        • Cruelty

          Which forums are those? Would like to see the photos.

          • roguetechie

            swissarms.yuku something I believe…. Pretty sure it’s in the sturmgewehr subforum… But I wound up there on a random google images crawl. (you know the ones where you are searching for valmet dimensions, and next thing you know you’ve discovered that the airsofters are bullpupping m249’s…. ADD sucks sometimes LOL)

        • iksnilol

          Well, according to their law, the millitia can’t just go on armed. You can be armed en route to something that requires you to be armed. But just slinging the 550 over your shoulder and going to the coffee shop? That’s kinda illegal.

          • roguetechie

            Every picture I saw could have conceivably been a situation like that honestly. Just as an example the guy in a college class could have maneuvers right after school, and leaving a select fire weapon in your vehicle when other people can easily find the information that X unit will be at Y this day… Etc you got the picture.
            So in reality, there’s no conflict between these pictures and the law you’ve brought up. Kind of the great thing about living in a society where firearms aren’t mythical anthropomorphized psychopathic spree killers with a taste for the blood of the innocent.

  • iksnilol

    The tube is a suppressor. I believe it is called a sound trap. Seen them before somewhere.

    • marathag

      Old school, had this back in the 70s for some indoor ranges.

      An old range I used to goto used the old Civil Defense barrels with fiberglass inside, just like a huge glasspack muffler

      • Nicholas Chen

        So shouldnt those require NFA Tax Stamp? If they are used in the US.

        • sauerquint

          They aren’t attached to a weapon, so no.
          It’s simply range equipment, and meant to be polite.

  • Swiss 751

    In Switzerland most villages have a 300 meter range (320 yards). Everybody shoots with open sights at a Polytronic target which gives you your score and the position of your shot. The Fas 57 and the Fas 90 (Sig 550) were designed for this as is the combination with the army ammunition. Every Swiss national should be able to hit a thorax at 300 meters with one shot. The tunnel is a sound reduction system for ranges near inhabited areas. The government lets you buy military ammunition 5.56 50 rds for CHF 20.- and 7.5 60 rds for CHF 23.-
    Free ammunition is availble to all Swiss national as of 16 for the National shooting test which takes place every year.

  • Lance

    The Swiss fly in the face of liberal Europe so, GO SWISS!!!! Looks fun anyway.

  • USMC03Vet

    Government handing out ammo to citizens?
    Must be heaven.

    • Michael Rice

      Not really, while almost every Swiss citizen is required to keep their rifle in the home, they are not allowed to keep ammo in the home. To the best of my knowledge they can only buy/take ammo at/to the range, and I would assume a hunting ground. It’s more of a military readiness program that goes hand in hand with mandatory military training/discipline.

      • David W.

        What he said ^. The gun laws in Switzerland pretty well suck from what I have read on the internet.

        • Grindstone50k

          And everybody knows that there are no lies on the Internet.

          • Alex Agius

            Well you can actually read the laws themselves so…..

        • Henrik Bergdahl

          Some are better some are worse. Suppressors are kind of hard to get for example. Depends on where you live etc.

      • thereminator

        Wrong, we just can’t have the same ammo the Army uses at home (and even that’s not really enforced). Store-bought 9mm, 5.56mm and really any other caliber is fine to store at home.

        • Michael Rice

          Probably should have put that ‘to the best of my knowledge’ statement a bit earlier, oh well, the more you know.

  • Nooky

    7 = Seventh shot (in the video this is an hidden shot session, meaning you shoot 3 times and the results are shown once you’re finished, that’s why the 9 blink and then it show 7)
    3 = point hit (the target is probably B4, 1m wide with torso target that make 4 points and the rest is 3-2-1 going outward)
    68=That’s where the shot is on a A100 scale, 68 mean 32 centimeter from dead center

    The lights show the direction of the hit.

    But that’s old tech, now polytronic display a scaled down target with exact position of the shots, it even do electronic averaging of 3 shot when you want to adjust the rifle.

    • Nooky

      not 32, 16 cm, the scale is 100 of 50cm, my bad.

  • ClintTorres

    The difference between the Swiss and American societies is that the Swiss citizens are trusted by their Govt. while we are not trusted by ours…sad.

    • If you mean trusted by going tons of registering and having to go through exams before being able to purchase a gun then yes the Swiss gov’t trusts the citizens if the citizens obey the laws.

  • Esh325

    Most American gun nuts would be against Swiss gun laws if they knew what they actually entailed, such as gun registration.

    • gunsandrockets

      I’ll gladly trade gun registration for a full-auto rifle at cost.

    • Henrik Bergdahl

      I visited Zürich this summer and what I was told was that there are only registration for full auto firearms. You have to get a permit to buy a gun or gun part but the government does not know what that is.

      • Full auto firearms are prohibited. Section 2 – Prohibitions and restrictions of general application
        Art. 5 Prohibitions applicable to arms, essential components of arms, specially designed components of arms and accessories of arms
        1 The transfer, acquisition, brokerage for recipients in Switzerland and the introduction into Swiss territory are prohibited for:
        a. automatic firearms, automatic firearms transformed into semi-automatic firearms and essential components or specially designed components of these arms;
        b. military launchers of ammunitions, projectiles or missiles with explosive effect and essential components of these launchers;
        c. knives and daggers as referred to in art. 4, para. 1, let. c;
        d. devices as referred to in art. 4 para. 1, let. d , apart from truncheons;
        e. electroshock devices as referred to in art. 4, para. 1, let. e;
        f. arms imitating an object in common use and essential components of these arms;
        g. accessories of arms.

        2 The possession of the following is prohibited:
        a. automatic firearms, launchers as referred to in para. 1, let. b,, essential components and specially designed components of these arms;
        b. firearms imitating an object in common use and essential components of these arms;
        c. grenade launchers as referred to in art. 4, para. 2, let. c.

        3 The use of the following is prohibited:
        a. automatic firearms;
        b. launchers as referred to in para. 1, let. b and grenade launchers as referred to in art. 4, para. 2, let. c;
        c. firearms, in places accessible to the general public outside officially authorized shooting events and shooting places; shooting in secure places not accessible to the general public and shooting during hunting is reserved are authorized.

        4 The cantons can authorize exceptions.

        5 The Central Office (art. 31c) can authorize exceptions to the prohibition on the introduction into Swiss territory of the objects as referred to in para. 1.

        6 Swiss military automatic firearms transformed into semi-automatic firearms are not considered to be arms as referred to in para. 1 let. a.

        You have to get a license to be able to buy a handgun. Carrying a gun without a license to carry is illegal there.

        They are categorized as restrictive in gun ownership while the US rated permissive.

    • n0truscotsman

      Swiss gun laws are actually more permissive in many ways than US ones.

      They were even more permissive before the EU.

  • Don Ward

    As the other sensible posters have already said, cool your jets on the whole “Ain’t Swiss gun laws wonderful” guys.

    Also, the reason Switzerland hasn’t been invaded isn’t because of the Universal firearm thing. It’s like people don’t even understand European history.

  • TVOrZ6dw

    Excellent video.
    I wish the guy had shown his grandfather’s rifle.

  • lowell houser

    Switzerland, where the government owns all the guns and conservatives here call that freedom. It’s not a right, but a military necessity, like in Israel. And the government can confiscate it all on a whim if it wants to.

    • gunsandrockets

      Well the video directly contradicts what you said about Switzerland.

    • FarmerB

      The govt owns none of mine, but I’m happy to have one or two of theirs if they want to let me keep it!!

    • Graham2

      You’re wrong. Swiss citizens own millions of guns.

    • n0truscotsman

      Thats not remotely true. There are substantial numbers of unregistered, private guns in Switzerland.

    • Those unregistered guns are illegal and will get the owner sent to prison.

      Switzerland ranks at 22 in terms of guns owned by civilians.

  • Bal256

    Just because daily kos, or huffington post, or any other anti-gun blog says that ammo purchases are banned in Switzerland, doesn’t make it true

    • Hollowpoints could be considered banned. Ammo sales are recorded.

      Art. 26. Prohibited ammunitions (art. 6 Law on Arms).

      1 The acquisition, possession, manufacture and introduction into Swiss territory of the following ammunitions are prohibited:
      a. ammunitions with a hard core (steel, tungsten, porcelain, etc.);
      b. ammunitions with a projectile containing an explosive or incendiary charge;
      c. ammunitions with one or more projectiles, releasing substances that harm human health in the long term, in particular the irritant substances listed in appendix 2;
      d. ammunitions, projectiles and missiles for military launchers with an explosive effect.
      e. ammunitions with projectiles transmitting electroshocks;
      f. ammunitions with expansive projectiles for handguns (art. 27)

      2 The OCA can authorize exceptions to this prohibition, in particular for industrial purposes, hunting or collections. The authorization must be limited in time; there may be fees payable.

  • Goody

    I’ve been thinking about getting a milsurp, tossing up between an SMLE and a k31.

    I think I’m leaning towards a K31, partly due to the swiss tradition of not trying to invade every country on earth, and partly because it seems they don’t try to screw their citizens when invading goes out of fashion.

  • Core

    The Swiss have a strong sense of tradition, this is something that our leadership believes they’re above. We are currently in a better position wheras firearms freedoms are concerned, due to the strict Swiss permit process. But many of the leaders in our cities, states, and federal government are uneducated or currupt and would just as soon ban all gun ownership. It perplexes me that places like California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and DC can allow crime to spiral out of control and enact gun control schema that violates Constitutional rights and further perpetuates exploitation of law abiding populations by criminals.

  • Mother Nature’s Son

    how can you be a gun article commentator and not know what a rifle tube is?
    bass pro has them in our local outdoor world. its better than nothing, like a sewer pipe. ours is 25 meters long with tracks and lights. its not for the noise suppression. its for the safety sallies. the kind who write for gun blogs