Buying a weapon – how do I buy a weapon (Swiss Weapons Act)

Weapon categories

The procedure for acquiring weapons varies depending on the desired weapon category. In Switzerland, the authorisation and registration requirement is roughly divided into three categories:

  • Weapons subject to registration
  • Weapons subject to authorisation
  • Prohibited weapons

General requirements for the purchase of weapons

  • Minimum age 18 years
  • Not under comprehensive guardianship or under the care of a person authorised to take care of the child
  • No danger to themselves or third parties
  • No entry in the criminal record for violent or dangerous acts or for crimes/offences

Weapons subject to registration

What are notifiable weapons according to the Weapons Act (WG)?

  • Rabbit killers
  • Soft air and paintball weapons
  • Alarm and alarm pistols, imitation weapons
  • Replicas of single-shot muzzle-loaders
  • Hand-held repeaters (sporting rifles)
  • Single-shot and multi-barrelled hunting rifles
  • Hand-held repeating rifles for hunting, bolt-action rifles such as carbine 11 + 31, long rifle 11

How do I acquire a weapon subject to registration?

Weapons subject to authorisation

What are weapons subject to authorisation under the Weapons Act (WG)?

  • Personal service weapons that are taken over directly by the army
  • Pistols with a magazine capacity of no more than 20
  • Revolvers
  • Underlever repeaters (lever action)
  • Foreign bolt-action rifles that are not authorised for off-duty shooting
  • Semi-automatic rifles with a magazine capacity of no more than 10
  • Self-loading shotguns with a magazine capacity of no more than 10

How do I acquire a weapon requiring a licence?

Prohibited weapons

What are prohibited weapons (semi-automatic firearms with large magazines) under the Weapons Act (WG)?

  • Semi-automatic handguns with large magazines (more than 20 cartridges)
  • Semi-automatic handguns with large magazines (more than 10 cartridges)

How do I acquire a prohibited weapon (with a large magazine capacity)?

Other prohibited weapons

What are other prohibited weapons according to the Weapons Act (WG)?

  • Serial firearms
  • Serial firearms converted into semi-automatic firearms (exception: Swiss ordnance firearms acquired directly from the army)
  • Semi-automatic handguns with a folding or telescopic stock whose overall length can be shortened to less than 60cm without functional restrictions
  • Military launchers (e.g. Panzerfaust)
  • Machine guns
  • Laser and night sights
  • Silencers
  • Grenade launchers
  • Electro-shock devices that impair a person’s resistance or permanently damage their health
  • Knives that are operated with one hand and can be extended with a mechanism (e.g. folding knives)
  • Butterfly knives
  • Daggers and throwing knives with symmetrical blades
  • Weapons that simulate a utility object (e.g. walking stick with knife or shooting biros)
  • Objects which are intended to injure people (e.g. striking rods, throwing stars, brass knuckles)

How do I acquire a prohibited weapon?

  • Fulfil the general requirements for acquiring a weapon
  • Acquisition with a cantonal special licence
  • Application for an exemption licence:
  • Special licence for collectors
  • Submit the application with the necessary documents to the cantonal weapons office

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What is considered a weapon under the Weapons Act (WG)?


  • Handguns, e.g. pistols and revolvers
  • Handguns (overall length >60cm or usually two-handed or fired from the shoulder), e.g. hand-held repeaters for hunting, self-loading shotguns, assault rifles
  • Compressed air and Co2 weapons with a muzzle energy of at least 7.5 joules or if there is a risk of confusion with a firearm
  • Imitation and alarm weapons and soft air weapons that could be mistaken for a firearm
  • Knives such as butterfly knives, one-handed knives with an automatic mechanism (this also includes so-called spring-loaded folding knives), with an overall length of more than 12cm or a blade length of more than 5cm
  • Daggers and throwing knives with symmetrical blades larger than 5cm and smaller than 30cm
  • Antique weapons such as firearms manufactured before 1870 and slashing, stabbing and other weapons manufactured before 1900
  • Devices for injuring people such as batons, striking rods, throwing stars, brass knuckles, slingshots with arm rests, nachaka, tonfa, etc.
  • Stun guns & some spray products with irritants in accordance with the Weapons Ordinance, with the exception of pepper spray

What is not considered a weapon under the Weapons Act (WG)?

  • Knives
  • Two-handed folding knives
  • One-handed manually operated folding knives (without automatic mechanism)
  • Dagger with asymmetrical blade
  • Samurai sword
  • Pepper spray
  • Crossbow
  • Arrow bow
  • Swiss army pocket knife

  • According to the Weapons Act, dangerous objects are objects that are suitable for threatening and injuring people, e.g. hammers, axes, baseball bats, bicycle chains, scissors, screwdrivers, etc.
  • The carrying and carrying of dangerous objects is prohibited unless it can be demonstrated that the object is being carried for its intended use.
  • Misused items may be confiscated and confiscated by the competent authority.



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