The Swiss History of arms is one of the more enlightened ones worldwide. While they have conformed to some of the EU’s requests regarding acquisition of personal firearms, the tradition of the swiss being an at home ready reserve military and storing their issued weapons at home still maintains.
The Swiss have access to all kinds of weapons under both shall-issue and may-issue legal statutes that are fairly permissive, especially for Europe, and their tradition of arms in the nation for defense, service, and hunting is a strong one.
That all said, one of the coolest rifles that they can get new (and we cannot because imports and costs and such) is the SG 550. The aesthetically pleasing and smooth looking rifle was designed back when we in the States were converting to the M16A2, it isn’t an overly sophisticated weapon, nor is it one that is outclassed by modern designs. The 550 is a good rifle though, and because it is a good rifle but no longer the best (and because we want what is hard to get) we tend to give it some additional gravitas that it would otherwise not enjoy in direct head to head competition.
The rifle is chambered in 5.6mm (which is 5.56×45 NATO but the Swiss’ own non-SS109 projectile) and the government will issue ammunition for competition at state sanctioned events where the 550’s will come out or be provided by the government for use. It’s a rather excellent contender in the space against the M16A2, the G36, and AK74, and holds our nostalgic attention for when we just want simpler firearms than our light, sight, and laser festooned modern rifles.
Those rifles are function.
The 550 and its ilk are now an image unto themselves, an air of simplicity that still gets the job done. A working statement on how you don’t need to complicate a system, despite the benefits of the additions, to get a result.