CETME Ameli: A miniaturized version of Mauser MG 42 machine gun

Eric Sof

CETME Ameli machine gun

CETME Ameli is considered a miniaturized version of World War II’s Mauser MG 42 and MG 45 machine guns. It was a standard-issue machine gun in the Spanish Army for the last 30 years.


CETME (Centro de Estudios Tecnicos de Materiales Especiales) is a design and research establishment set up by the Spanish government in the early 1950s. Many of the original staff were refugees from Germany with experience in gun design. As a result, one can trace the original parentage of some of their designs right back to the Mauserwerke of 1943/45, and by the look of this weapon to some other wartime design establishment: the CETME Ameli looks very much like a miniaturized German MG 42.


The CETME Ameli was designed in the early 1980s for the Spanish Army, and it was one of the earliest 5.56mm machine guns to enter service with any army. As with most of the weapons developed by CETME, it uses a delayed blowback system relying upon a roller locking system much the same as that used in the CETME Model L rifle and the Heckler and Koch rifles and machine guns.

A two-part bolt is used, and as it closes, the rear section forces two rollers outwards into grooves in the receiver. On firing, the forward portion of the bolt cannot move back until these rollers have been withdrawn, which is done by the pressure of inclined faces and delays the bolt opening long enough to let the bullet leave the muzzle.

CETME Ameli is design in late 1970s
CETME Ameli is designed in the late 1970s (Photo: XY)

The barrel lies within a perforated barrel jacket which has a long slot on the right side. A quick-release lever unlocks the barrel and forces the breech end out of the slot so that it can be grasped and pulled out of its front bearing. A fresh, cool, barrel can then be inserted, and a trained squad can change the barrel in under five seconds.

Feed is by means of a disintegrating-link belt; as each round is loaded from the belt, the link falls free so that there is no problem of what to do with the empty belt as it comes out of the gun. The rate of fire can be adjusted between 800 and 1200 rounds per minute to suit the particular role; the CETME Ameli can be used as a light squad automatic weapon, when the high rate of fire is generally selected, or as a tripod-mounted company support weapon, where the low rate of fire is more appropriate.


The CETME Ameli is currently in use by the Spanish Army and has been assessed by several others. It is manufactured by Santa Barbara, the state armaments company, since, unusually, CETME does not possess any manufacturing capacity.

CETME Ameli Machine gun was a standard issue in Spanish Army
CETME Ameli Machine gun was a standard issue in Spanish Army (Photo: XY)

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Centro de Estudios Tecnicas de Materiales Especiale (CETME), Madrid 46, Spain
Designed: 1974-1981
Produced: 1982-2013
Type: delayed blowback, automatic fire
Caliber:  5.56x45mm
Barrel: 15.75 in (400 mm)
Weight (empty): 11.5 lbs (5.2 kg)
Cyclic rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 100 or 200-round disintegrating M27 ammunition belt

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