One of the few in stock options I see popping up available, especially under $1500 is the rather odd looking and largely unknown MARCOLMAR CETME-L. Generally found at roughly 1395.00 and sporting H&K(ish) like roller delay ergonomics these are an interesting item that many didn’t know was an option.
Tada! It is. And it happens to be worth considering .
As some may recall the CETME was the progenitor to the H&K G3, the highly successful ‘budget’ battle rifle for nations that didn’t want to purchase the more “refined” (expensive to machine and produce) FAL (or those who were provided NATO weapons). It was bare bones basic and, like many of its peers, kinda temperamental to make in 7.62 NATO, but because Germans did their typical German thing they made it work well anyway. The H&Ks and their to-spec clones, like the U.S. Made PTR’s, enjoy good reputations.
When the US went 5.56 and NATO followed the trend, the CETME got a little brother. H&K did this too with the but the CETME-L and LC stand apart, a little different, and as rather affordably nice options while AR’s continue to evaporate from inventories as fast as they arrive.
Now, if you aren’t sitting on any GI style aluminum magazines you will need to fix that. But luckily Surefeed G2’s are still widely accessible along with most other OG Colt pattern 20 and 30 round magazines.
The rifles do come with a short optics rail from MALCORMAR as an addition, these are welded on. They do have a bolt lock/release but no last round hold open. That was not something seen as necessary for service rifles during the era of the CETME and CETME-L’s. We weren’t that far removed from the era of en bloc clips, now we are spoiled and scoff at anything that isn’t 125% ambidextrous (curse you Radian, A-DAC Lower!). From a basic functionality standpoint we are often overcritical of rifle controls that are otherwise adequate, but not up to 2020’s level of improvement.
So, for those looking for a rifle (or another rifle). The CETME-L is one you can still find a few places or order with a short wait time. It’s still a 5.56, still takes AR magazines (just not molded mags, use metal ones) and it is in the under $1500 bracket that has been difficult to find at times recently.
Add light, add sight, zero, and go.