The soldier was on guard duty in April at the Swiss army’s Richtstrahlschule 62 recruit school in the canton of Zurich when he shot himself while carrying out a security check on his assault rifle.
During investigations, the 23-year-old said he had never even considered the magazine of the army-issue SG 550 might contain live ammunition.
He said he was shocked when a shot was let off, according to Swiss news site 20 Minuten.
The 23-year-old was hospitalized after the incident while a colleague, who was standing just five metres away at the time, was treated for ringing ears.
The soldier has now been ordered to pay a fine of 300 Swiss francs (€260) for endangering his colleague. He will have to pay a further 1,100 francs if he commits any other disciplinary infractions, according to a military court.
“It can be expected of the soldier found guilty in this case that he would be fully alert while on guard duty carried out while holding a loaded weapon,” the court said in its ruling.
The court also said the soldier should have been concentrating fully when he carried out a security check on his weapon.
Was he distracted by a mobile phone?
Earlier reports suggested the soldier who shot himself was playing with a mobile phone when the incident occurred.
Investigations revealed he did have a phone in his trouser pocket when he shot himself, despite the carrying of phone being banned while on guard duty. However, the soldier said he was unaware of the ban and said colleagues also had mobile phones with them while performing this duty.
A military spokesperson said phones could easily distract soldiers and were off limits given that soldiers had to be fully concentrating on the task at hand.