The first Uzi submachine gun was designed by Major Uziel Gal in the late 1940s. The prototype was finished in 1950; first introduced to IDF special forces in 1954, the weapon was placed into general issue two years later. The Uzi has found use as a personal defense weapon by rear-echelon troops, officers, artillery troops and tankers, as well as a frontline weapon by elite light infantry assault forces.
The Uzi has been exported to over 90 countries. Over its service lifetime, it has been manufactured by Israel Military Industries, FN Herstal, and other manufacturers. From the 1960s through the 1980s, Uzi submachine guns were sold to more military and police markets than any other submachine gun ever made.
|Uziel Gal, 1953|
Uziel "Uzi" Gal (Hebrew: עוזיאל "עוזי" גל), born Gotthard Glas (December 15, 1923–September 7, 2002), was a German-born Israeli gun designer, best remembered as the designer and namesake of the Uzi submachine gun.
Gal was born in Weimar, Germany. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 he moved first to England and later, in 1936, to Kibbutz Yagur in the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1943, he was arrested for illegally carrying a gun and sentenced to six years in prison. However, he was pardoned and released in 1946, serving less than half of his sentence.
Gal began designing the Uzi submachine gun in 1948, shortly after the Israel War of Independence. In 1951, it was officially adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces and was called the Uzi after its creator. Gal did not want the weapon to be named after him but his request was ignored. In 1955, he was decorated with Tzalash HaRamatkal and in 1958, Gal was the first person to receive the Israel Security Award, presented to him by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for his work on the Uzi.
In 1975, Gal retired from the IDF, and the next year he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so that his daughter Tamar, who had serious brain damage, could receive special medical attention.
In the early 1980s, Gal assisted in the creation of the Ruger MP9 submachine gun.
Gal continued his work as a firearms designer until his death from cancer in 2002.
The weapon is constructed primarily from stamped sheet metal, making it less expensive per unit to manufacture than an equivalent design machined from forgings. With relatively few moving parts, the Uzi is easy to strip for maintenance or repair. The magazine is housed within the pistol grip, allowing for intuitive and easy reloading in dark or difficult conditions, under the principle of 'hand finds hand'. The pistol grip is fitted with a grip safety, making it difficult to fire accidentally. However, the protruding vertical magazine makes the gun awkward to fire when prone. The Uzi features a bayonet lug.
When the gun is de-cocked, the ejector port closes, preventing entry of dust and dirt. Though the Uzi's stamped-metal receiver is equipped with pressed reinforcement slots to accept accumulated dirt and sand, the weapon can still jam with heavy accumulations of sand in desert combat conditions when not cleaned regularly.
|An Israeli soldier with an Uzi during the Yom Kippur War|
The Uzi was used as a personal defense weapon by rear-echelon troops, officers, artillery troops and tankers, as well as a frontline weapon by elite light infantry assault forces. The Uzi's compact size and firepower proved instrumental in clearing Syrian bunkers and Jordanian defensive positions during the 1967 Six-Day War. Though the weapon was phased out of frontline IDF service in the 1980s, some Uzis and Uzi variants were still used by a few IDF units until December 2003, when the IDF announced that it was retiring the Uzi from all IDF forces.
In general, the Uzi was a reliable weapon in military service. However, even the Uzi fell victim to extreme conditions of sand and dust. During the Sinai campaign of the Yom Kippur War, IDF army units reaching the Suez reported that of all their small arms, only the 7.62 mm FN MAG machine gun was still in operation.
|Secret Service agents cover the evacuation of President Ronald Reagan during the assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. on March 30, 1981. Notice the Secret Service agent holding the Uzi in case of further attack|
The Uzi proved especially useful for mechanized infantry needing a compact weapon, and for infantry units clearing bunkers and other confined spaces. However, its limited range and accuracy in automatic fire (approximately 50 m) could be disconcerting when encountering enemy forces armed with longer-range small arms, and heavier support weapons could not always substitute for a longer-ranged individual weapon. These failings eventually caused the phaseout of the Uzi from IDF forces.
The Uzi has been used in various conflicts outside Israel and the Middle East during the 1960s and 1970s. Quantities of 9 mm Uzi submachine guns were used by Portuguese cavalry, police, and security forces during the Portuguese Colonial Wars in Africa.
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The German Bundeswehr used the Uzi since 1959 under the name MP2 (especially for tank crews) and is now changing to the Heckler & Koch MP7.
The Irish Gardaí ERU are replacing the Uzi with the HK MP7.
In Rhodesia in the late 1970s the Uzi was produced under license, from Israeli-supplied, and later made in Rhodesia, components. It was commonly called the "Rhuzi" (although the title was applied to some indigenous submachine gun designs).
Sri Lanka ordered a few thousand Mini Uzi and Uzi Carbines in 1990s. Currently those are deployed with Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy Elite Forces and Sri Lanka Police Special Task Force as their primary weapon when providing security for VIPs.
The United States Secret Service used the Uzi as their standard submachine gun from the 1960s until the early 1990s, when it was phased out and replaced with the Heckler & Koch MP5 and FN P90. When President Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981 outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel by John Hinckley Jr., Secret Service Special Agent Robert Wanko pulled an Uzi out of a briefcase and covered the rear of the presidential limousine as it sped to safety with the wounded president inside.
|A visit, board, search and seizure team|
attached to the Brazilian Navy frigate
Independencia rappels onto
a ship from a Brazilian
Navy Lynx helicopter during
an exercise in 2007.
The Uzi Submachine Gun is a Standard Uzi with a 10-inch barrel. It has a rate of automatic fire of 600 rounds per minute (rpm) when chambered in 9mm Parabellum; the .45 ACP model's rate of fire is slower at 500 rpm.
The Mini-Uzi is a smaller version of the regular Uzi, first introduced in 1980. The Mini-Uzi is 600 mm (23.62 inches) long or 360 mm (14.17 inches) long with the stock folded. Its barrel length is 197 mm (7.76 inches), its muzzle velocity is 375 m/s (1230 f/s) and its effective range is 100 m. It has a greater automatic rate of fire of 950 rounds per minute due to the shorter bolt.
The Micro-Uzi is an even further scaled down version of the Uzi, introduced in 1986. The Micro-Uzi is 486 mm long, reduced to 282 mm with the stock folded and its barrel length is 117 mm. Its muzzle velocity is 350 m/s (1148 f/s) and its cyclic rate of fire is 1,200 rpm.
The Uzi-Pro is an improved variant of the Micro-Uzi has been launched in the year 2010 by Israel Weapon Industries Ltd. (I.W.I.), formerly the Magen ("Small Arms") division of Israel Military Industries. The Uzi-Pro is a blowback-operated, select-fire, closed-bolt submachine gun with a large lower portion, comprising grip and handguard, entirely made of polymer to reduce weight; the grip section has been redesigned to allow two-handed operation and facilitate control in full-automatic fire with such a small-sized firearm. The Uzi-Pro features three Picatinny rails, two at the sides of the barrel and one on the top for optics, having the cocking handle been moved on the left side.
|Vector Mini Uzi|
The Uzi Carbine had two main variants, the Model A (imported from 1980 to 1983) and the Model B (imported from 1983 until 1989). These two variants were imported and distributed by Action arms.
In the mid 1990s Norinco of China manufactured an unlicensed copy of the Uzi model B with modifications made to avoid the US Assault Weapon Import Ban. The folding stock was replaced with a wooden thumbhole stock, the barrel nut was welded in place, and the bayonet lug was removed. The gun had a gray parkerized finish and was sold as the M320.
The Mini-Uzi Carbine is similar in appearance to the Mini-Uzi submachine gun, the Mini-Uzi carbine is fitted with a 19.8 inch barrel, to meet the minimum rifle overall length requirement for civilian sales in the United States. It fires from a closed-bolt position in semi-automatic mode only.
|Uzi with silencer|
A company known as Vector Arms has built and marketed "pistol versions" of the Uzi Carbine and the Mini-Uzi. These versions lack a shoulder stock and have a shorter barrel.
Most Uzis fire the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, though some fire .22 LR, .41 AE, or .45 ACP. Caliber conversions exist in .40 S&W and 10 mm auto.
Available magazines include 20-, 25-, 32-, 40-, and 50-round magazines (9x19mm Parabellum), 10-round magazines (.41 and .22 LR), and 16-round magazines (.45 ACP). All of the above are manufactured by IMI. Other high-capacity magazines exist (e.g., 50-round magazines and 100-round drums in 9 mm) which were manufactured by companies such as Vector Arms.