May 29th, 2010

Swiss Stamp Celebrates Markmanship Competition

Swiss Rifle stampIn some nations which have imposed draconian regulations on firearms, a match rifle is the last thing you’d expect to see on a postal stamp. That’s not the case with the Swiss. Switzerland is a “nation of marksmen”. ¬†When young, all Swiss men receive military training, and then, after active duty, male citizens remain “on call” in a reserve status — retaining their rifles. Not surprisingly, target shooting is a hugely popular activity throughout Switzerland.

Though it has a population of just 7,000,000, Switzerland boasts over 2,000 rifle ranges. Each year, close to 200,000 Swiss participate in the Eidgenössisches Feldschiessen (annual shooting skills exercise). A several hundred-year-old tradition, the Feldschiessen (aka Tiro Federale in Campagna) is the largest shooting event in the world. The Swiss government actually provides free ammunition for Feldschiessen competitors.

To mark the importance (and popularity) of target shooting, Switzerland recently introduced a new stamp. Remarkably, on the right side of each stamp, in the middle of the bullseye, a small hole is actually punched through the paper! That’s Swiss attention to detail. A sheet of these stamps can be purchased from Swiss Post for 20 Swiss Francs (about $17). Shipping worldwide is free.

Swiss Rifle stamp

Photos and original story concept courtesy The Firearm Blog.