SIG KE-7 Light Machine Gun (Again!)

Yep, if you do a search through the blog, you’ll find that we’ve talked about the KE-7 twice before. But we have yet more material to add this time! And it’s a great example of a forgotten weapon, too. The KE7 was a light machine gun design developed by Pal Kiraly and a colleague in the 1920s, and it was marketed extensively and unsuccessfully across Europe. It does not seem to have been a bad design, although not an ideal one perhaps. It was recoil operated, with a tilting bolt, and weighed 21.7 pounds unloaded. The caliber would be whatever a country wanted – including .303, 7.65mm, 7.92mm, or 7mm.

SIG KE7 light machine gun disassembled
SIG KE7 light machine gun disassembled
SIG KE7 light machine gun in combat in China
“Reproduction of a view that appeared in “Illustrated London Times” of March 12, 1932. The soldier indicated by an arrow is armed with a KE7 machine gun.”

We have five different original brochures and reports on the KE7, although only one of them is in English (the others are German, Spanish, and French, which goes to show the marketing effort that was put into the gun). You can download all of them free in PDF format from the KE7 page in the Vault, or grab the English one right here:

SIG KE-7 Sales Brochure (English)
SIG KE-7 Sales Brochure (English)


  1. I’ve actually read about the KE-7 quite a bit. I don’t see why it didn’t catch on. It seemed like a very functional and high quality weapon (maybe it had a hefty price tag….). I do know that some went to China chambered in 7.92x57mm.

    Also, I love it when you post manuals and other things in Spanish. I’m currently learning Spanish, and it helps when I have something to read to keep up with my reading skills. And, what better to read about than guns? 😀

  2. I suspect while it appears to be a good solid design, timing was it’s problem. Late 20’s early 30’s with a huge reserve of WWI small arms guns around, combined with a depression no one was spending up large on small arms. Also being from Switzerland didn’t help, empires wanted their own indigenous designs.
    Personally not a fan of magazines on the bottom of LMGs either.

  3. Besides from competition of WWI stockpiles (the Lewis LMG springs to mind), the KE-7 had also the misfortune of being released and marketed when a whole bunch of new, competent LMG designs were also being actively promoted: besides from proven light machine guns the BAR and its Belgian and Polish made versions (I agree with Mike on this, as I don’t like magazine, bottom fed LMGs) and the Madsen with its myriad of possible chambering choices (it sold quite well in Latin America), this was also the time of the Hotchkiss M.1922 (which spurred several Spanish derivatives), marketed and sold in southern Europe and Latin America, the excellent Czechoslovak Holek brothers’ designs (ZB 26 and derivatives), the Vickers-Berthier, the Degtyarev DP, FM 24/29, the Japanese Type 96 and a few other, lesser types, like the Mexican Mendoza…

    Although I do know most exported KE-7 went to China, I have yet to find solid evidence of sales in Latin America (presumably in 7×57). The gun was demonstrated in Spain and Portugal. In the later country, it was tested against the ZB 30, Madsen and RKM wz.28 (Polish-made BAR), the army commission preferring the first one.

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