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:
This is what they look like at 300 metres:
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.
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):
This years’ “Kranz”/medal:
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.