Based on the same mechanics as used in the experimental Czechoslovak ZK 476, the first Uzi was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel Gal. The prototype was completed in 1950 and saw use in the Israel Defense Forces in 1954. The weapon was placed into more widespread service in 1956. The Uzi has been used as a PDW by rear-echelon troops, officers, artillery troops and tankers, as well as a front line weapon by elite light infantry forces. The weapon was seen being used by the IDF in the 1956 Suez Crisis, the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Today, the IDF does not use the Uzi anymore, as it was replaced the the IMI Tavor and the M4A1 carbine.
The Uzi is a relatively lightweight weapon. The receiver is stamped sheet metal. Despite its weight, even when fired in full auto, it is very controllable and fairly accurate. The weapon features either a collapsible stock or a wooden stock (though weapons with the latter are rare). It is a blowback-operated weapon, with a telescoping bolt (in which the bolt wraps around the breech) and fires from an open bolt. The breech is not mechanically locked; however, the breech block is heavy enough to prevent the breech from opening until gas pressure in the barrel has fallen significantly. The firing pin does not float freely in the bolt.
The SMG-sized Uzi model features a 10.5 inch barrel; other models generally feature shorter barrels, though the Title 1 variation (the variant legal to sell to U.S. citizens without NFA paperwork) features a longer 16-inch barrel, and fires from a closed bolt. The bolt will close on an empty chamber when the magazine is emptied. The magazine release is on the bottom of the pistol grip.
The Uzi is equipped with iron sights. The front sight is adjustable (with a special combo tool to loosen and tighten the front sight screw) for windage and elevation; the rear aperture sight is not. A half turn will render a 4 cm change in point of impact at 50 meters.
Manual of arms
The magazine is inserted straight into the magazine well, and should be inserted until the click of the magazine catch is heard, indicating that the magazine is placed securely in the weapon. The charging handle is then pulled back to lock the bolt in the open position to allow the weapon to fire.
The Uzi has three modes of fire: SAFE, SEMI, and AUTO. It fires from an open bolt; if the bolt is closed on the chamber, the weapon will not fire. Like the M1911, it features a grip safety, which needs to be depressed before the weapon can be fired. The grip safety MUST be completely depressed; failure to do so will cause a malfunction. As noted, the bolt will close on an empty chamber when the magazine is emptied.
Note that, once empty, the magazine will need to be pulled out of the weapon; it does not drop free upon pushing the magazine release.
The Uzi has several variants.
The Mini Uzi comes with a foldable stock. Due to the weapon being scaled down, the receiver is smaller, the bolt is smaller, and the barrel has been shortened to approximately 7.75 inches. This weapon has a cyclic rate of 950 rounds per minute (RPM). Production began in 1980.
The Micro Uzi is scaled down even further than the Mini Uzi; it has a 4.7-inch barrel and fires with a cyclic rate of 1200 rounds per minute. A stock may be used on this weapon as well. Production began in 1983.
This Micro Uzi variant has the charging handle relocated to the left side of the receiver. The grip and handguard are made out of polymer, and the grip has been redesigned to allow for two-handed operation, which would facilitate better shooting technique and enables more positive control of this weapon. The Uzi Pro has two rails on the barrel, and a rail on top for optics. Production began in 2010.
Uzi SMGs built for the U.S. civilian market
These Uzis resemble regular Uzi SMGs. However, they have sixteen-inch barrels and fire from a closed bolt instead of an open bolt. The firing pin is floating in these variants.
In 1995 Sturm, Ruger & Co. released the MP9, a submachine gun which many believed to be an improved version of the Uzi, designed by Uziel Gal himself. This design featured several improvements that Uziel Gal had recognised that his original design needed, but never achieved the recognition of its predecessor.
Norinco Model 320
- Gal did not want the weapon to be named after him; this request was ignored.
- FN Uzi Operations Manual