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Swiss row over 'paintballing with real guns'

Lyssandra Sears · 22 May 2012, 09:34

Published: 22 May 2012 11:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 May 2012 09:34 GMT+02:00

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Security concerns are growing for a company offering SWAT training to civilians as a twist on the successful practice of paintballing.


The training uses real guns loaded with 'soap bullets', a kind of paintball used by special forces for training purposes. 

“The fact that everyone gets a weapon without risk assessment is not acceptable,” Chantal Galladé, President of the Security Affairs Committee of the National Council and member of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland, told online news site 20 Minuten.

Participants signing up to the SWAT training (www.swattraining.ch) pay 290 francs ($309) for a full day’s training. This includes theory and rental of all equipment such as a gun, helmet, gun holster, radio and SWAT vest.

Bookings are taken for corporate events, and stags, and women are actively encouraged to “show off their female power and bring the bad guys down!” Participants can choose to “neutralize” bank robbers and terrorists, who are played by ex-policemen.

“Our training is more than paintball for adults. After five minutes, you believe you are in a real situation,” SWAT training organizer, Roman Bader, told the website.

The bullets used in the training are harmless, but sting and leave a dye mark.

Politicians are concerned that extremists could take advantage of the training, given by former members of the Special Forces, to gain intelligence on the tactics used.

“This is not adventure game stuff,” Gallade said.

National Councillor Doris Fiala is also concerned.

“I expect the police and the army to review the training to ensure that no secret security tactics are disclosed,” she said.

Bader has promised that participants are only shown what is already known to the public.

“We are not a training camp for right-wing extremists and would-be Taliban,” he said.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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