By Craig Philip

The Uzi is a compact weapon and makes use of a number of features which have since found their way into other SMG designs. It has a square outline and is made from steel pressings riveted and spot-welded together. It uses a blowback mechanism but has a bolt that actually wraps around the end of the barrel. The bolt face and firing pin are some 95mm (3 3/4 in) back from the front edge of the bolt, the rest of which surrounds the chamber and rear of the barrel. Slots are cut into the bolt to allow empty cases to pass through when being ejected, and by using this wraparound method a sufficiently massive bolt can be made that takes up little space. The return spring sits round a guide rod above the level of the barrel, which extends forward of the chamber.


A large pistol grip extends beneath the centre of the body, with the trigger assembly in front of this. The ammunition feed is actually through the butt, and 25- or 32-round magazines are inserted from below the grip, a system that helps the firer replace magazines quickly, especially in darkness. A plastic shroud below the front of the receiver provides a foregrip. Early models had a fixed wooden stock, although most Uzis have since been fitted with a folding metal item. The grip is positioned roughly at the point of balance, which makes the weapon much easier to control when firing bursts. Safety features include a combined safety/selector lever above the left side of the grip, and a button on the rear of the grip, which must be squeezed before the bolt or trigger are free to move. There is also a catch on the cocking handle slide that prevents the bolt moving forward and firing a round if it is released accidentally before reaching the trigger sear.

The Uzi is reliable and surprisingly accurate; it has been used by the armed forces of over 20 nations and has also been licence-built by FN in Belgium. Israeli troops have fought numerous battles with this tough little gun, and even though it has been replaced in many formations by the Galil assault rifle it will remain in service for years to come. Israel Military Industries has not rested on its laurels however, and a number of variants have been developed. The mini-Uzi is some 95mm (3 3/4 in) shorter than the standard model, has a much simpler wire folding stock, and has compensating slots cut into the top of the muzzle. In virtually all other respects it is identical to the basic model.

An even smaller version is the micro-Uzi, which at 250mm (10 in) in length is almost the same size as a large handgun. It retains a wire folding stock, and the bolt has a heavy tungsten insert to slow the rate of fire to a reasonable level. The micro-Uzi is too small and short-ranged for the battlefield, but it makes for an effective, easily concealed bodyguard and personal defence weapon.

First published in "The World's Great Small Arms" , ISBN 1-56619-205-6