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Guns and bullets Switzerland’s shrinking small arms industry

Small arms manufacturing is on the decline in Switzerland. It’s a long way from the boom days. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Every five years the Federal Shooting Competition in Valais opens its doors to around 40,000 enthusiasts from all over Switzerland. The latest edition took place in June and July. The fair never fails to attract visitors. Most of the weapons in use are made in Switzerland.

But, small weapon manufacturing in Switzerland is on the decline. Even though manufacturers haven’t released trade figures, the downward trend is clear. 

Gone are the days of the booming Swiss arms industry. One beneficiary was the Swiss company SIG, the official supplier of automatic assault rifles for the Swiss army. During the 20th century, its facilities in Neuhausen produced more than a million assault rifles. In 2000 SAN Swiss Arms took over the SIG weapons division and in 2014 half of the workers in Neuhausen were made redundant