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Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) / Machine Pistol

Israel | 1950

"The Uzi submachine gun has proven an effective and reliable performer and has seen tremendous success in the world market."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/10/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In 1948 Israel gained its independence and then fought the Arab-Israeli War to a victory. Almost immediately, the nation moved to establish a viable arms industry and, from this initiative, then-Captain Uziel Gal designed a new compact submachine gun that would become his iconic "UZI". Rugged and simple, the UZI bested the competition under consideration by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to become the standard-issue submachine gun of the infant army service. Adopted in 1951, the series grew to encompass a handful of major variations of the base design and has been copied (either legally or illegally) in nations around the globe. From standard infantry to specialist troops, the UZI became a monumental success story for the burgeoning country and can still be found on battlefields of the world today.

Like most submachine guns, the UZI was designed around the ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum German pistol cartridge. This was fired through an open-bolt blowback action with rates reaching 600 rounds-per-minute. The action was contained in a simple rectangular receiver with large sights fitted forward and aft along the top of the assembly. The barrel protruded only a short distance ahead of the receiver. The pistol grip was set along the middle of the receiver with the trigger group directly ahead - this offered good balance of the weapon and became a common quality of several other UZI-like designs of the period. The grip also doubled as the magazine well which was an excellent use of internal space. The UZI contained the usual fire selector and safety mechanisms, all accessible on the frame of the gun.

The UZI was able to keep its short, compact form by recessing the bolt to accept the breech face, relocating the main mass of the weapon ahead of the breech.

Beyond the 9mm cartridge, the weapon was eventually chambered for other cartridge types including .22, .41 (AE) and .45 ACP. The standard 9mm magazine was offered in 20-, 25-, 32-, 40- and 50-round counts but the arrival of these other cartridges introduced other magazines of differing counts.

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The early-form UZI came complete with a wooden stock and these would only later be fitted with the better-recognized heavy-duty folding wire stocks of metal. In service, the type was issued to first- and second-line troops where, in the latter, its compact size was a tremendous quality to have. Vehicle crews could now carry a voluminous fire weapon and fire it from the confines of their vehicle. In 1954, issuance began to Israeli special forces elements who also quickly learned to appreciate the type's compactness. While generally regarded as a highly reliable weapon, the UZI did suffer from exposure to sand and like environments. Another limiting factor was its 200 meter effective range which restricted its use to more intimate encounters with the enemy.

The standard-length UZI sported a 10" barrel assembly with a 7.7lb overall weight. This was followed by the Mini UZI which carried a 7.76" barrel while weighing 6lb and saw introduction in 1980. In 1986 followed the Micro UZI, a more compact form with a 4.6" barrel assembly. Beyond this reduction was a reduction in overall weight to just 3.3lb. The Micro UZI was then improved in the UZI Pro of 2010 but this series only saw trialing by IDF forces. Civilian market forms also emerged in time including a carbine and pistol variant. Various law enforcement and security groups moved to adopt the UZI in equally-varying forms as well particularly during a twenty-year period spanning from 1960 until 1980.

The UZI was a far-reaching weapon in global terms so it was no surprise that several foreign concerns took to local manufacture of the type. This includes AG Strojnica of Croatia, NORINCO of China (unlicensed) and Zastava Arms of Serbia (Yugoslavia). Global operators ranged from Angola, Azerbaijan and Belgium to Turkey, the United States and Zimbabwe (see operators list for full showcase).

The UZI has been officially succeeded in the Israeli Army inventory by the "Micro Tavor" (detailed elsewhere on this site) compact assault weapon.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the IWI UZI. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
470 mm
18.50 in
O/A Length
260 mm
10.24 in
Barrel Length
7.72 lb
3.50 kg
Open-Bolt; Blowback
9x19mm Parabellum; .22 LR; .45 ACP; .41 AE
10-, 16-, 20-, 32-, 40- or 50-round box magazines depending on caliber
Iron Front and Rear.
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the IWI UZI. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
400 ft
121.9 m | 133.3 yds
1,312 ft/sec
400 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the IWI UZI Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) / Machine Pistol family line.
Uzi - Base Machine Pistol
Uzi (Pistol) - Based on the Micro-Uzi; sans shoulder stock; semi-automatic.
Uzi (Carbine) - Lengthened barrel (16"); folding stock.
Mini-Uzi - Appearing in 1980; 14.17" overall length with stock folded; reduced muzzle velocity and range.
Micro-Uzi - Appearing in 1983; roughly 10" in length; reduced muzle velocity and range.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the IWI UZI. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) (fmr Israeli Military Industries - IMI) - Israel / Fabrique National - Belgium; NORINCO - China; Vektor Arms - South Africa (among others)
National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Azerbaijan National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Chad National flag of Chile National flag of China National flag of Colombia National flag of Croatia National flag of Cuba National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Ecuador National flag of Eritrea National flag of Estonia National flag of Ethiopia National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of modern Germany National flag of Greece National flag of Hungary National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iran National flag of Ireland National flag of Israel National flag of Italy National flag of Lithuania National flag of Luxembourg National flag of Myanmar National flag of the Netherlands National flag of Nicaragua National flag of Niger National flag of Nigeria National flag of Peru National flag of the Philippines National flag of Portugal National flag of Romania National flag of Rwanda National flag of Serbia National flag of South Africa National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Syria National flag of Taiwan National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of Uganda National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay National flag of Vietnam National flag of Venezuela National flag of Zimbabwe

[ Algeria; Angola; Australia; Argentina; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bangladesh; Belgium; Bermuda; Bolivia; Brazil; Bulgaria; Cambodia; Central African Republic; Chad; Costa Rica; Croatia; Chile; China; Colombia; Cuba; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; France; Fiji; Gabon; West Germany; Greece; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Kenya; Liberia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Myanmar; Netherlands; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Paraguay; Peru; Portugal; Panama; Philippines; Rhodesia; Romania; Rwanda; Serbia; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Syria; Taiwan; Thailand; Togo; Tonga; Turkey; Uganda; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay; Venezuela; Vietnam; Zimbabwe ]
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Image of the IWI UZI
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
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Image of the IWI UZI
Image from the Public Domain; Gun captured during Operation Urgent Fury.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The IWI UZI Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) / Machine Pistol appears in the following collections:
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