Book Review: V21N9

By Frank Iannamico

The UZI Examined: UZI Enthusiast Gaboury Delivers a Rich History

The UZI submachine gun has recently gained a new level of popularity with NFA enthusiasts. The popularity is reflected in the price of transferable examples of the subgun, which has increased substantially in the last few years. An abundance of inexpensive parts, magazines and .22 caliber conversion kits add to the UZI’s appeal. Most transferable UZIs are conversions of the semi-automatic carbines done prior to the May 19, 1986, cutoff date. In addition to the Israeli-made UZIs, there are the transferable UZI submachine guns made in the USA by Group Industries and later Vector. There are a very small number of transferable original Israeli factory submachine guns in the NFA registry. Original factory UZI submachine guns are also available to FFL/SOT dealers as pre- or post-May dealer samples.

Equally popular are the semi-automatic-only UZI carbines and pistols available to those who live in states that prohibit full-automatic arms, or those that a five-figure submachine gun is not in their budget. To comply with federal law the UZI carbines with buttstocks were fitted with 16-inch barrels; they have become very popular for conversion into short barrel rifles.
With the popularity of the UZI, it was only natural that someone would write a book about them.

UZI enthusiast David Gaboury, who also runs the uzitalk.com website, began such a project in 2004. The book, aptly named The UZI Submachine Gun, Examined is very well researched and covers many topics. Writing a book about a foreign weapon is challenging because of several factors including the location of the research material, and there is often a language barrier.

There are 30 chapters in the book, each is arranged under a specific heading.

UZI Origins

1. The Beginning of Israeli Small Arms
The first chapter covers the early history of Israeli small arms and the events that led up to the design, testing, competition and eventual adoption of the UZI. Included are many detailed photographs of the primary foreign weapon that competed against the UZI, the Czech ZK-476 and data of other weapons that were evaluated.

2. A New Competitor
Chapter 2 covers the life and accomplishments of Uziel Gal, the man who designed the UZI submachine gun, the weapons he studied and his early designs. There are photos and details of the Israeli Kara submachine gun which was evaluated along with the UZI.

3. The New UZI Design
This chapter discusses the early UZI prototype design details and includes photographs of the prototypes from the IDF History Museum collection.

4. Israel Selects a New Submachine Gun
Chapter 4 includes details of the Israeli submachine gun selection process. Some of the topics are the material cost and type, production complications and price. Other subjects include reliability, ammunition sensitivity, sights, parts interchangeability, operation and required tools.

5. Continued Development of the UZI
During its service life, the UZI underwent a number of relatively minor engineering and manufacturing changes. There are many comparison photos in this chapter to show the reader differences in production models. There are detailed photos of various proof and inspection markings and their meanings.

New Models

6. Mini UZI
Interest in a smaller version of the UZI was inspired by the Israeli Special Forces use of the Ingram M10 and M11 submachine guns. During July 1976, the Special Forces raided the Entebbe airport in Uganda to rescue passengers from a hijacked Israeli airliner. The Israeli soldiers were armed with suppressed .380 caliber Ingram M11 submachine guns. To adapt the UZI for different tactical applications the more compact Mini UZI was designed. Discussed in this chapter are details of the design and production of the Mini UZI. Many details of the weapon and the evolution of the design are covered. In addition to the submachine guns, details of the semi-automatic Mini UZI Carbine are also discussed.

7. UZI Carbine
Chapter 7 covers the origins and design of the semi-automatic Model A and Model B UZI carbines. Details of the 9mm, .45 and .41AE caliber models are covered with text and photos.

8. UZI Pistol and Micro UZI
To expand their product line Action Arms asked Israeli Military Industries (IMI) to design a pistol based on the UZI design. This chapter describes in detail the UZI pistol and the Micro UZI submachine gun, again with many detailed comparison photos.

9. Ruger MP9
The MP9 submachine gun was designed in an attempt by Uziel Gal to update his original UZI design. Ruger took over the project in 1987. This section includes many details and photos of that submachine gun.

10. UZI Pro
The UZI Pro was an attempt to modernize the closed-bolt Micro UZI. This chapter includes a very detailed description of the prototypes and production submachine gun and pistol models.


11. The Netherlands
The Netherlands was the first country outside of Israel to adopt the UZI. The submachine gun was issued by their Air Force, Army and Navy. Details of the Netherland contract weapons and the accessories issued with them are covered in depth.

12. Germany
During 1959, the UZI submachine gun was adopted by Germany and designated as the Maschinenpistole MP2. Construction, markings and support equipment specific to the German contract are covered.

13. Belgium and the FN UZI
Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (FN) of Belgium is a well-known and respected arms manufacturer. During 1958, FN obtained the rights to produce the UZI submachine gun under license. Covered are the specific markings and construction details of the Belgian made UZIs and accessories issued with them. FN specific inspection and proof markings are covered in detail. Included is FN sales contract data listing the countries that purchased UZIs from FN.

14. South Africa
South Africa was another country that manufactured the UZI under license as the S1 submachine gun. The South African UZI is covered in depth, including details and markings specific to those weapons and magazines.

15. China
China is included for their non-licensed production of UZI submachine guns and the semi-automatic model B carbine. The semi-automatic Chinese-made UZI carbines were imported and sold in the U.S., as an inexpensive alternative to the Action Arms Israeli-made carbines. Construction details, markings and comparison photos are used to demonstrate the detail differences between the two guns.

16. Other Countries
This chapter covers the 80+ countries that used the UZI submachine gun to some degree. The countries covered in the book include Croatia, Japan and Serbia and any unique markings and features of those weapons. 

The UZI in the United States

17. Early U.S. Imports
There were few UZIs imported into the U.S. until the late 1960s, despite it being legal to do so. Some of the first were brought in by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Some of these UZI submachine guns were used by Special Forces in Vietnam. There is a photo of two ARVN soldiers with a Vietcong prisoner; one armed with an UZI. Also, covered in this section is the UZI’s use by the Secret Service and other federal law enforcement agencies.

18. Action Arms
Action Arms was a company based in Philadelphia, responsible for the importation of the UZI submachine guns and carbines into the U.S. There are many details of the company and the people involved.

19. Group Industries
Group Industries was involved in converting semi-automatic UZI carbines to select-fire and making new U.S. made receivers and parts. Covered are details of the company, their products and the 1995 bankruptcy auction.

20. UZI America
UZI America was a short-lived endeavor formed in 1996 to pick up the sales of the UZI where Action Arms left off. A lot of information is presented regarding their attempts at Secret Service and law enforcement sales.

21. Vector Arms
During the late 1990s Action Arms, Group Industries and UZI America were gone. However, Vector Arms appeared. Ralph Merrill of Vector Arms was the mystery bidder who purchased the UZI receivers at the Group Auction. This chapter covers the production and marketing of the Vector UZI submachine guns and semi-automatic carbines.

22. The Walther UZI
During 2009, the Carl Walther company began planning to produce a dedicated .22 caliber clone of the UZI. Included in this chapter are design and construction details of the Walther UZI including detailed photos of the gun and factory.

23. New UZI Carbines
This chapter covers the popular semi-automatic UZI carbines built by individuals. In addition to the semi-automatic receivers from the Group auction, this chapter covers the receivers available from McKay Enterprises and Global Machine and Tool LLC. Also covered are the Century Arms UZI carbine and parts suppliers and services used to support the growing home-build industry.

24. IWI and the Future
In 2005, Israeli Military Industries sold their small arms division to Samy Katsav Holdings, using the name Israel Weapon Industries (IWI). This chapter focuses on the new company’s products and services.

Parts & Accessories

25. Operation, Disassembly and Specifications
This section covers basic operation and detailed disassembly, with schematics and photos.

26. Parts Identification
The Parts Identification chapter describes many of the proof and acceptance marks found on the UZI and details on engineering drawings. There are many comparison photos that illustrate differences between models—extractors, cocking handles, feed ramps, grip assemblies sears and other parts.

27. Caliber Conversions
Caliber conversions are covered starting with Max Atchisson’s first .22 caliber conversion. Included are the conversion kits offered by IMI, Group Industries, Vector Arms and Subgun Ordnance. Also covered are the M3 grease gun magazine housing conversions for the .45 caliber model UZIs to use the inexpensive 30-round M3 magazines. Conversions for the micro- and mini-UZI are also covered.

28. Magazines
This chapter covers UZI magazines, with detailed photos and text explaining how to identify the manufacturer, or country of origin, of each specific magazine by markings or design details. There are many photos of the different features including springs, followers and floor plates. Also included are many aftermarket drum magazines designed for the UZI and .22 caliber magazines for the conversion kits.

29. Manuals
The instruction manual chapter includes photos of the covers of original Israeli manuals and many of the (English) instruction manuals that accompanied the guns when new.

30. Accessories
There were some original accessories for the military UZI that included slings, bayonets and spotlights. There were many more accessories for the commercial UZI that include: cases, magazine loaders, brass catchers, memorabilia and many aftermarket items. All are covered in this chapter.


I was VERY impressed with the level of detail and many comparison and vintage photos in this publication. I usually don’t like to use the word “definitive” when describing a firearms book, but it can certainly be applied here. If you’re one who likes in-depth detail you will really like this book.

The UZI Submachine Gun, Examined
AUTHOR: David Gaboury
PUBLISHER: Mowbray Publishing, $49.95
ISBN: 9 781931 464765
PAGES: HardCOVER, B&W photos, 304 pages
USD: $49.95

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N9 (November 2017)
and was posted online on September 22, 2017


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