The Eidgenössisches Feldschiessen – The world’s biggest shooting event!

This guest post was written by Nils Lüthi, a 26 yr old shooting instructor and range safety officer in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland.

As some readers might be aware of Switzerland has quite a large shooting culture. This means that there are many different shooting practices and events happening all over the country. In this article, however, I want to tell you about the biggest yearly shooting event: the “Eidgenössisches Feldschiessen”. In 2006 over 145,000 shooters participated!

As every year, usually at the end of May/early June, Swiss shooters attend the “Eidgenössisches Feldschiessen“ (the Federal Field/Country-Shooting Competition). It is a national 3-day shooting competition that is being held at various shooting ranges across Switzerland. The shooters attend not only to compete and test their skills but also to celebrate the shooting community and bonding. The competition includes pistol and rifle courses, usually depending on the shooting range. The pistol course takes place at 25-metres and the rifle course at the 300-metres ranges.

(I will not go into much details about the pistol course as I did not attend it this year because I was in charge range-safety-duties at our local shooting range.)

For the rifle competition the shooters have to shoot 18 rounds at a “B4”-target, the circle is 1x1meters, at a distance of 300 meters:

The Feldschiessen, by Nils Luethi

This is what they look like at 300 metres:

The Feldschiessen, by Nils Luethi

The shooters usually shoot in groups of various sizes. The course of fire has 4 segments/parts of fire: In the 1st segment the shooter has to fire 6 rounds in 6 minutes at the target and after every shot the score and the point of impact will be shown on a screen, so the shooters can make any last minute adjustments to their sights. The 2nd and the 3rd segments are 3 rounds in 1 minute, without showing all the hits and scores until the 3rd shot was fired. In the last segment the shooters have to fire 6 rounds within 1 minute and,as before, the hits won’t be shown until after the 6th round fired.

Shooters at their work: two have Sig 510s (Stgw.57) and one with a K31, all of them have micro-adjusting sights on their rifles)

Shooters at their work: two have Sig 510s (Stgw.57) and one with a K31, all of them have micro-adjusting sights on their rifles)

The maximum score is 72 points, as the highest possible hit score is 4 (hence the 4 in the “B4”-target). The goal of course is to achieve a highest score possible to get either an “Annerkennungskarte” (appreciation/compliment card) or a “Kranz” medal. The score to achieve those differ according to the age of the shooter, as for seniors (60 years+) and “juniors” ” (age 17-20) a score of 53 is needed for the card and 55 for the medal. Shooters aged 21-59 require a score of 55 for the card and 57 for the medal.

The “Annerkennungskarte” (this card can be used with others to get a special medal):

The Feldschiessen, by Nils Luethi

This years’ “Kranz”/medal:

The Feldschiessen, by Nils Luethi

Besides the shooting usually the hosting shooting clubs/associations will offer drinks and a BBQ to foster the comradeship among the shooters and to either complain or boast about their scores.

At my local shooting range, which is quite small, about 160 shooters attended the competition. The shooters of all kind of ages achieved scores ranging from 22 up to 69.

I hope this was of some interest to you and gave you a short insight to Switzerland’s shooting practices.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Nils: Do you need a particular firearms to participate? I assume you cannot enter with whatever you want. What rifles, and what pistols? Attending this would be pretty cool. I assume Switzerland accepts European firearms passport. If I have a firearms that can legally enter, then this is something I´d love to try out. Been looking for an excuse to go to Switzerland.

    • _NL_

      On our shooting ranges only current and former Swiss Army service rifles(and their semiauto-variants) and some competition rifles in .223 or 7.5mm Swiss are allowed. But I am sure some people would lend their rifles and assist you, if you ask nicely 😉

      • iksnilol

        What about 308? Is that allowed?

        Screw it, I need to get one of those rare .223 conversion kits for the Sauer 200.

        • G0rdon_Fr33man

          DFS-gubbe 😛

          • iksnilol

            Hva kan jeg gjøre? Jeg er god med Saueren 😛 men er nok en stund til før jeg kan kalle meg gubbe.

            What can I do? I am good with the Sauer 😛 but it is probably a while before you can call me old man.

  • Tikirej

    You don’t really need your own gun. The hosting club will probably give you one for the duration of the tournament.

  • Renegade

    I’ve always wanted to visit Switzerland. I think when I go, I will time it to coincide with one of these events.

  • iksnilol

    I think I need to go to one of these. I could actually win that medal. Can I use my own rifle? What are the laws on suppressors in Switzerland?

    GOSH DARNIT (because PG-13, obviously), I WANT THAT MEDAL!

    • _NL_

      Suppressors are not allowed on the public shooting ranges and you can use any of the allowed rifles(Sig510, 550, K31, K11 or some target/competition rifles). However those have to be in 5.56x45mm or 7.5x55mm, because those are the only official rounds for those kind of shooting competitions.

      • iksnilol

        These target/competition rifles, can I find a list of which ones are allowed? Since I think you have a better chance with a target rifle with good sights versus a millitary automatic with coarse sights.

        • _NL_

          Sadly I couldn’t find any official info about which are allowed and which not. We only have a 1 or 2 shooters competing with them and both of them use Sig/Sauer rifles. But I am sure that they have to be in either 5.56mm or 7.5mmSwiss.

        • Nunya Bidniz

          The point is, the allowed rifles are the issue military small arm of Switzerland [or former issue.] And yes, it might be easier with a nice match rifle, but the point is that it be done with the “coarse sights” available on the issue weapon.

          Think of it as the Swiss equivalent to the JCG matches the CMP puts on, only with the emphasis on marksmanship instead of being a fun match.

          Old story: the Kaiser visited neighboring Switzerland in the years prior to the Great War [so, over a century ago.] He did the usual “visiting dignitary” things, and of course, had an honor guard provided by his hosts. The Kaiser, being a man of military mind, asked the sergeant-at-arms in charge of his honor guard detail “What do you think would happen if Germany invaded our friend Switzerland, with an army twice the size of the population of this tiny country?” The sergeant thought for a moment, and then told him: “I suppose then, sir, we would all have to fire our rifles twice.”

          Switzerland is truly a wonderful [albeit expensive (sigh)] place to visit! I heartily recommend it!

          • iksnilol

            I’ve been to Switzerland.

            I also really want a medal, that’s why I ask about target rifles.

  • NjGunGuy

    Camp Perry averages about 6,000 shooters a good year….. We need to get back on our game.

    • _NL_

      This year there were 92’808 people attending the rifle competition and 31’938 for the pistol shooting 😉

    • micmac80

      Sorry but its not happening , altough US has lots of guns ,not so many sporting shooters ,most gun owners never compete.

      • Nunya Bidniz

        The U.S. doesn’t have a marksmanship requirement for its citizens like Switzerland does. Want to keep your passport? Spend more time at the range! 😉

  • Mark

    What are the first steps an American should take to participate?

    • _NL_

      I guess simply going to a shooting range and ask people to try it out

      • Maxpwr

        Sounds like a great event. I assume a lot of Swiss shooters use the P49
        (SIG P210) pistol in the pistol competitions. Do Swiss shooters do
        anything special to deal with the “hammer bite” that is prevalent with
        the P210 design? Where the hammer bites the skin in the web of the hand
        between the thumb and index finger. Bob the hammer spur? Wear
        gloves? It’s such a great firearm other than that little hammer bite I
        get from mine.

        • _NL_

          yes, a lot of them compete with the Sig 210. I can’t really say much about hammer bite, as I have never heard anyone complain about it. Personally, I never had that issue.

  • oldman

    This sounds like fun. It gives me an excuse to visit my cousins there.

  • durabo

    After the competition ends, contestants race down to the local Swiss ghetto to shoot up the citizens, right? At least, that’s what the presstitutes in Obama’s LameStream EneMedia would publish about an event in the USA.