Growing up in America, I obviously have very different views on firearms in civilian hands that do many of my European counterparts. But, now that I have been living in Madrid for almost 20 years, I have been accustomed to dealing with those who think there is no place for guns in the hands of anyone but the government and local law enforcement. Actually, many European cities’ police don’t even carry firearms.
Madrid is not particularly favorable to guns or gun owners, and the Spanish constitution has nothing comparable to the American Second Amendment. On a recent trip to Switzerland, however, I was able to visit a few friends who are gun enthusiasts and I went to their shooting range for a great afternoon of fun.
Swiss Craftsmanship in Firearms Still Strong
There are a lot of things that Switzerland is known for. There are historically a neutral country in military conflicts, they have been known to be a international hiding place for money, their craftsmanship if second to none, and they also happen to be very favorable to gun owners.
In this sense, Switzerland is a big anomaly to its European brothers and sisters. They have large gun manufacturers of both long gun and handguns. Handguns are especially controversial in Europe, making Switzerland even more unique.
But, what really struck me when I visited my two long-time Swiss friends was the craftsmanship of not just the guns we were shooting but the quality gun safes that they stored all of their guns in. Better yet, they have several different options for people without much money. You can find all kinds of quality cheap gun safes for sale from the Swiss.
These safes were incredibly ornate and beautiful pieces of art in and of themselves, but they were also fireproof, waterproof, etc., etc. I don’t know too much about large capacity Fort Knox gun safe technology, but these were pretty incredible.
Swiss Gun Safes vs. American Gun Safes
One of the most popular gun safe brands in America is the liberty line of gun safes. These safes are basically indestructible. I have even seen videos of the manufacture setting off explosives inside the safe just to show how durable they are.
Now, I’m sure if the Swiss safes can quite hold up to this kind of testing, but the aesthetics of them are quite different and it shows the differences in preferences for the American and Swiss markets.
The American audience wants something that is very durable, very industrial looking. This is what they view as quality and they want the function and durable this look offers.
The Swiss audience is after something a little different. They want more ornate and classic looking gun safes.
You can see this same difference when you compare custom style 1911 handgrips between the two countries.
Americans prefer their grips to more tactical looking, with a grimacing look to them. Perhaps this comes from Hollywood influence in American that isn’t quite as strong across the pond.
Swiss grips are much more detailed, often made of custom materials like ivory, or imported woods. No one grip is better than the other, they are just widely different tastes and aesthetics.
Traveling is always such an experience because it allows you see these types of cultural differences. I always end up coming back to Madrid, though. It’s home.