Comment(s)

I’ve never really been a bayonet collector, though I have a few relatively scarce ones because they go with a military rifle I own. I have a 1917 Enfield bayonet, for example, to go with my Winchester Model 97 Trench Gun. I also own two others because they go with two of my favorite rifles, but also because I think they are good examples of Swiss craftsmanship.

I like fine Swiss watches and firearms—two of those firearms are the semi-auto versions of Switzerland’s assault rifles. The first is a PE57, the semi-auto version of the STG (Sturmgewehr) 57. The STG57 was Switzerland’s first assault rifle, and as its designation indicates, it was adopted in 1957. Swiss reservists take their rifles home with them upon completing initial training and keep them in case they are mobilized. Generally, when a new weapon is adopted those reservists issued a previous weapon continue to use it. Hence, ammunition choice for the STG57 was determined somewhat by the 7.5x55mm GP11 cartridge used in the K31 rifle previously in service. Design of the STG57 was also influenced by the fact that Switzerland places great stress on marksmanship among its infantrymen. The STG57 is a very accurate rifle, but it is also a good-sized one—43.3 inches overall. Its design is very practical and has its own unique style, and the bayonet also reflects 1950s styling and Swiss quality.

STG57

At 14.6 inches overall with a 9.4-inch blade, STG57 bayonet, when affixed to the lengthy STG57, almost harkens back to the days when Swiss pikemen were the most feared soldiers in Europe. The bayonet can serve as a pike—it is an unsharpened double-edged with a spear point. The blade is stainless steel, which for some strange reason was left un-heat treated as a cutting tool. The grip is ribbed and offers a very sure surface when grasped. Makers were Waffenfabrik Neuhausen and Wenger, the latter well known for producing Swiss Army Knives. A leather frog attaches to a polymer sheath via a strap that fits through a loop on the sheath.

In 1990, the STG57 was replaced by the STG90, in my opinion the best 5.56x45mm assault rife in the world, the civilian version is known as the SIG 550. While the STG57 refects 1950s styling, the STG90 is much more modern, with a folding stock that is more comfortable than most fxed stocks, a built-in lightweight bipod, diopter drum rear sight, see-through polymer magazine, and various other features. SIG Sauer’s cur- rent 551A1 ofers many of the features of the original 550/STG90.

STG90

Although the mounting system for the STG90 bayonet is the same as for the STG57 bayonet and, hence, will take the older bayonet, a new knife bayonet was developed for the STG90. Shorter than the STG57 bayonet at 12.2 inches overall, and with a 7-inch blade, the STG90 bayo- net has a single-edged drop point blade. A fat fnish makes the blade non-refec- tive. The green polymer handle, which matches the color of the STG90, is ribbed on the edges for a better grip. Makers for the STG90 bayonet are the same as for military issue Swiss Army Knives—Victo- rinox and Wenger.

The sheath and green frog are of the same type as that used for the STG57 bay- onet. The STG90 bayonet is more suited to serve as an utility/combat knife than the STG57. Bayonet fghting is included in Swiss infantry training as well. I haven’t seen a bayonet training rife for the STG90, but I have seen them for the STG57.

I’m not sure if I would have acquired the two Swiss bayonets I have if I didn’t think so highly of the rifes for which they were designed. On the other hand, my two SIG bayonets are of the extremely fne work- manship for which the Swiss are famous for. The STG57 bayonet has been common on the American surplus market for a number of years. One source I would recommend is Liberty Tree Collectors (207-285-311; libertytreecollectors.com).

Finding an STG90 bayonet will take more efort. A friend picked mine up at one of the Swiss military stores that sell only to mem- bers of the Swiss armed forces. But, I have occasionally seen one for sale. It just may take a bit of searching.

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