UZI PRO PISTOL: A PDW in Semi-auto as well
ABOVE: The new IWI US UZI Pro Pistol offers a civilian legal pistol version of the UZI Pro submachine gun.
The UZI 9mm submachine gun is one of, if not the most iconic submachine guns ever built. Even people that don’t know guns seem to know what an UZI is. Its profile alone says submachine gun like no other. Probably the only gun more recognized just by looks alone is the Thompson submachine gun. The UZI was designed by Uziel Gal in the late 1940’s and went into production in the early 1950’s. It was shown to the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and they later adopted it in 1957. The UZI was designed as an open bolt gun with the bolt telescoping over the barrel to keep it compact. It is blow back operated with the sheer mass of the bolt used to overcome the bolt’s recoil force. The gun uses a stamped steel receiver with the magazine housed in the guns pistol grip at about the midpoint of the gun. This allowed the gun to easily be carried and fired one handed as well as the “hand finds hand” principle makes it quick to reload. The cyclic rate of the select fire full-sized guns runs in the 600 to 700 rounds per minute range. The gun was a hit with the IDF officers, tankers and Special Forces. It was available with either a fixed wooden stock or a stamped steel folding stock. The gun incorporates a grip safety along with a sliding safety/selector on the pistol grip’s left hand side.
The UZI has been used by IDF for decades and is still used to this day by Israel Defense Forces as well as troops and police in numerous other countries. The gun was made famous being used in the Six-Day War, the Yon Kippur War, the Vietnam war and others too numerous to mention. In the 1970’s and 1980’s there wasn’t an action movie made that didn’t feature the UZI. It was even used by the Secret Service to protect the President, as was shown in the famous photo of an agent pulling one out of a concealable briefcase when President Regan was shot by John Hinkley Jr.
In later years the UZI underwent several design changes and other models were introduced. The first was the Mini UZI submachine gun that was designed to make for a smaller, more concealable version. It was considerably shorter as well as lighter, had a shorter barrel and a side-folding stock. The Mini UZI was produced in both closed-bolt and open-bolt select-fire models. Unfortunately, its smaller size gave the gun’s bolt a shorter travel distance as well as it was lighter, having less mass. These two things combined to give the Mini Uzi a cyclic rate of between 1700 to 1800 rounds per minute. This author owned one of each of these little bullet hoses and I actually have photos of people firing the gun with 32 rounds of empty brass suspended in the air. That’s 32 rounds of brass, out of the gun, before the first one hit the ground! The rate of fire was very impressive but not very practical. Even at that, the Mini UZI was popular with bodyguards and VIP protection groups. This was in the mid 1970’s and that was about the time that a company called Action Arms began importing semi-auto versions of both the full-size UZI as well as the Mini UZI. These guns were extremely popular with civilians as everyone wanted a gun like the ones used in the movies. The guns were semi-auto only carbines and had 16 inch barrels that stuck way out the front making them look rather odd. Action Arms saw this as well and began sending the guns out with a dummy display short barrel making them at least look like the “real thing” while displayed.
A few years later the UZI went through another design change version in the form of a new even smaller, lighter gun dubbed the Micro UZI. This model looked like a pistol version of the UZI but retained an abbreviated side-folding stock similar to the Mini UZI. This author fired one of these years ago and timed the rate of fire with a Pact timer. It fired an unbelievable 2200 rounds per minute. To go along with the select-fire Micro UZI there was a semi-auto only version with no stock introduced as the UZI Pistol. The pistol retained the stamped steel receiver design along with many other features of the original UZI.
The UZI design changes then went pretty much stagnant until in 2010 when IWI (Israel Weapon Industries) introduced the UZI Pro which was an improved version of the Micro UZI. The UZI Pro submachine gun brought several new age design improvements. First and probably most noted is that the guns lower receiver is made from polymer instead of steel. The upper receiver is still made from stamped steel. The magazine release has also been moved to the standard traditional pistol based position on the grip where it can be released easily by the shooters thumb. It can also be changed from the right to the left hand side as per the shooters preference. The new submachine gun has three safeties instead of two as it now incorporates a firing pin blocker. The select-fire UZI Pro has a polymer right hand side folding stock with an adjustable height cheekpiece. Another prominent feature that has been implemented is that now the cocking handle has been moved to the left-hand side of the upper receiver and been replaced on the top cover by a length of Picatinny rail for the mounting of optics. The front of the polymer lower receiver also has a molded-in 5-slot Picatinny rail located just below the barrel for adding lights, lasers or other accessories. The select-fire UZI Pro also has a forward grip with side mounted Picatinny rails.
IWI (Israel Weapon Industries) US has now introduced the newest version of the UZI, the UZI Pro Pistol. The gun offers the size and features of the select-fire UZI Pro only in a semi-auto only pistol version. The new pistol naturally comes without a stock but is milled at the rear to accept the same stock as the select-fire version. This feature follows a theme that a lot of manufacturers are incorporating in their new shorter barreled guns; the ability to add a shoulder stock to make the gun an SBR (short barreled rifle). IWI US will also be offering a second model with a side-folding pistol brace that resembles the original factory made shoulder stock.
The new UZI Pro Pistol is blowback operated and fires from a closed bolt with a floating firing pin. It is fed by what looks like the same magazines that have fed UZI’s from the beginning but is slightly different. The magazines for the Pro series guns have two magazine catch notches stamped into them. One for the original UZI’s magazine release (which is located at the base of the grip on the left hand side) and one that locks into the new Pro series magazine release. These new magazines will work in the old UZI’s but the old magazines won’t lock into the new Pro series guns. The gun is shipped with one 20-round and one 25-round magazine. The new magazines are also available in 32-round capacities. The magazines are still the double stack, double feed type. The pistol also comes with a nice boxed kit that contains the cleaning tools, an oil bottle and sight adjustment tool. There is a very detailed, glossy operators manual that covers the operation as well as the disassembly of the gun.
Even though the pistol has a polymer lower it is fairly heavy, weighing in at slightly over 3.6 pounds. The gun has a 4.5 inch barrel that has a 1 in 10 inch right hand twist and is cold hammer forged. Like its predecessors, the barrel of the new pistol is removable via a barrel nut that unscrews allowing it to be removed out the front of the receiver. Just like the UZI Pro submachine gun the pistol features a side-mounted charging handle and a top cover mounted 5 inch length of Picatinny rail. The pistol’s sights consist of an elevation adjustable front and a windage adjustable rear. The front sight post features a white dot on all four sides of its post and the rear has two white dots making for an easy to see 3-dot configuration.
The new pistol is designed to be one of the safest new firearms made, incorporating four safeties. The pistol has the selector and grip safeties that UZI’s have always had, but it also has a blocking latch which prevents the locking of a round into the chamber so no firing occurs if the breech block does not fully complete its backward movement, as well as a firing pin block that is only released when the trigger is pulled.
The gun can be taken apart quickly and easily without the need for tools. First remove the magazine and check to make sure the gun is unloaded. The rear sight base contains the top cover latch. You push this latch rearward and pivot the top over up and off of the pistol. Retract the bolt slightly and pull it up and out of the upper receiver. If need be you then can unscrew the barrel nut and pull the barrel out. This is basically as far as the gun needs to be disassembled for routine maintenance. If you have ever taken apart any UZI, the disassembly of the UZI Pro Pistol will seem natural as they all come apart the same way. The only difference is that to separate the upper and lower receivers on the new Pro series you need to remove two cross pins instead of one as on the older models. Like the original UZI the UZI Pro Pistol can be taken apart, cleaned and put back together in literally just a couple of minutes.
Shooting the new pistol proved that it is just as durable and reliable as all of its lineage. The test pistol fired all ammunition that was utilized from full metal jacket ball ammo to hollow point defense loads. Even the hottest +P+ 9mm loads ran perfectly through the gun. Accuracy was just what would be expected from a gun such as this. With a 4.5 inch barrel the gun could be as accurate as any other handgun as long as the shooter can master the trigger. The trigger pull is long, mushy and very heavy. With some practice it can shot well but don’t expect to shoot one hole groups with this type of gun. Off hand 10-shot groups fired with the open sights at 50 feet would cluster inside of 3 inches. The addition of a small red dot optic improved the gun’s accuracy dramatically. The UZI’s open sights are basically blocky and coarse, designed for a submachine gun not a competition pistol so being able to install an optic is one of the UZI Pro’s greatest new features. The small lower rail is also an added benefit as the shooter can now also add a laser or a light. With an on-all-the-time red dot such as the new Aimpoint Micro T2 and a light mounted on the pistol it would be a great home or vehicle defense gun. It is compact, ruggedly built and utterly reliable. Not to mention it is a lot of fun to shoot. When you buy one of these guns be sure and stock up on 9mm ammunition as you will go through vast quantities of it. If you take it to the range hide most of your ammunition as everybody that sees it will want to shoot it.
IWI US, Inc.
P.O. Box 126707
Harrisburg, PA 17112