Gun Review: The IWI Uzi Pro

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Pistols based on rifles or submachine guns are nothing new to the shooting world. They occupy a niche market, generally where collectors cross over with those who want something more compact than a rifle but without the paperwork of an SBR. Because these pistols make sacrifices to meet legal requirements, many see them as “neither fish nor fowl”, but equally they have their defenders as well, who argue that they’re more effective than traditional handguns, but smaller than rifles.

However, after having spent some time at the range with it, I don’t think anyone will be rushing to defend the IWI UZI Pro UPP9S pistol.

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The UPP9S is a handgun based on the second-generation Uzi machine pistol, which use a polymer lower receiver to save weight, and are marketed by IWI under the name “UZI Pro”. The UPP9S is a blowback-operated semiautomatic handgun chambered for 9x19mm Luger/Parabellum, featuring a manual safety, automatic grip safety, and switchable, right-or-left-side magazine release. The barrel is a 4.5″ long cold hammer forged removable unit, and the weapon field-strips into six major subassemblies. Sights are very large three-dot sights, flanked by large protective wings. The pistol is provided with a dust-cover-mounted 1913 rail for mounting optics, and a molded-in polymer rail in front of the trigger guard for mounting lights, lasers, and other accessories. Unloaded, the pistol weighs 3.66 lbs, loaded the handgun is approximately 4.2 lbs, depending on the exact ammunition used. MSRP of the UPP9S pistol is a substantial $1,109 USD, according to IWI’s website. The pistol comes in a disposable cardboard box, with a 20-round and a 25-round magazine, chamber flag, cleaning kit, manual, and lock.

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The pistol comes with everything seen here.

 

While I don’t consider myself a handgun expert, I have a good body of experience with handguns of different types. I’ve shot everything from .22 caliber single action revolvers, to fully automatic Mauser “Broomhandle” machine pistols. Some handguns I’ve liked better than others, and there were certainly some that I felt would have a broader appeal than others. Likewise, I’ve also shot a variety of submachine guns, including the bigger, older, more famous brother of the gun on which the UPP9S pistol is based. I make mention of my past experience because, going into this review, I felt that I might be able to find some niche or purpose for the UPP9S pistol.

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The Uzi Pro UPP9S field stripped.

This firearm is massive – much larger than a full-size handgun, and almost two-and-a-half times the weight of an unloaded Glock 17. Pulling the trigger feels like attempting a feat of strength – in fact my standard Lyman electronic trigger pull gauge was maxed out a little more than halfway through the trigger’s long, squishy pull. It’s to the reader’s benefit to know that I am not picky about my triggers – the stock trigger on my Arsenal SLR-104 breaks at about 8lbs, and I am not just OK with it, but very fond of it. Try as I might, though, I can’t find anything positive to say about the Uzi’s trigger. It’s long, it feels like about 20 pounds, it’s mushy, creepy, and resets back to its full pull and weight. Given the triggers extreme weight, one has to wonder why IWI added a manual safety at all.

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This series of images show how incredibly long and heavy the Uzi Pro UPP9S’s trigger pull is. The gauge is maxed out well before the trigger reaches its maximum rearward travel.

 

The grip safety, unlike that of other pistols, has substantial “spring” to it, meaning additional hand strength is needed to actuate it, on top of the horrendous trigger. The grip safety rides in a groove, as well, the walls of which IWI chose to extend over the web of the grip. Inexplicably, these walls are also not deburred, meaning that the weight of the pistol bears down on these rough, semi-sharp ridges. Curiously, I also found that the magazines had a tendency to catch on some part of the inside of the magwell during insertion, which added substantial chance to fumble a magazine change.

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These ridges are rough to the touch and make supporting the Uzi Pro on the web between your thumb and index finger very uncomfortable.

 

Still, I took the UPP9S to the range to evaluate it. In shooting the pistol, I found that the bad features magnified each other: The groove for the grip safety meant the only comfortable way to shoot the pistol was by resting almost all four pounds on the top inside edge of the middle finger, which strained it substantially.

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As a consequence of the ridges on the grip safety slot, and the overall shape of the grip, the Uzi Pro is most comfortably supported on the middle finger, as shown here. This position becomes tiring quickly, however.

 

From that position, with the fingers already under stress from the weight of the handgun, pulling the trigger was downright laborious. Shooting the Uzi well meant balancing the gun on your middle finger while compressing the fairly stiff grip safety, keeping the web of your finger situated low enough to avoid contact with the groove for the grip safety, and then pulling the absurdly heavy and long trigger… The substantial weight and pull of which in turn made keeping a proper grip difficult.

Speaking of the sights: A large, rifle-like front post is nested between a broad rear notch making for a reasonable, if imprecise sight picture. However, I found that the protective “wings” to either side of the front post were too close in shape and size to the post itself, and it was easy to accidentally align either “wing” with the notch, instead of the front post, causing a miss. This happened several times.

Individually, none of these problems would have made shooting the Uzi Pro UPP9S pistol too unpleasant, though any one alone would have been an obstacle to my liking the firearm. Together, however, they made shooting the pistol into a chore. After a two hour range session with the gun, I was tired and frustrated. The pistol clearly had a reasonable degree of mechanical accuracy, but the ergonomic characteristics – or lack thereof – were such that consistently exploiting this accuracy was extremely difficult.

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The Uzi Pro pistol in rapid fire at a target ten yards away. The Uzi shooter has a very hard time in rapid fire, due to the poor ergonomics of the firearm.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • I assume this thing exists to be an SBR host; IWI needs to get on with releasing the stock.

    • Maxpwr

      And they would need to release 922R parts to make it legal. Probably not going to happen.

  • Aaron

    Slightly surprised

    • andrey kireev

      on other hand Tvor also has a 12lb stock trigger

  • John

    Maybe IWI knows who their audience for this particular weapon are, and designed it in mind. Or the gun needs a lot of grease out of the box.

    • iksnilol

      I presumed it is an Israeli safety mechanism. Like, what if somebody grabs your gun and shoots it upside down with their pinky? Not gonna happen with a 20 pound trigger.

  • Tassiebush

    A good review and I liked the use of significant other’s observations too. The comment about the trigger not seeming like a moving part was gold and the point about potential for stress injury was very worthwhile to know!
    It’s a shame this gun was so flawed because the question of whether a gun in this format has a niche was a good one that couldn’t be answered.

    • She’s not exaggerating about the trigger. There were a number of times when I began to pull the trigger, then had to check to make sure I was not on “SAFE”. I don’t think I ever bothered to put it on safe the whole time; why would I with a trigger that heavy?

      • Tassiebush

        It’s crazy to think that it could be so heavy that it felt like the safety was on! It’s disappointing too that they let it leave factory in that condition.

      • andrey kireev

        i wonder if Geiselle gonna make an aftermarket trigger for it lol

  • Vitor Roma

    New strong man challenge: pull the trigger with the pinky.

  • Tim U

    Disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. The only way I would have been interested is if I had an easy way to SBR it.

    Love Israeli made guns, but no sense to be getting this when I have a much more shooter-friendly Uzi carbine (even if has the ridiculous looking 16″ barrel).

    Hopefully the Galil rifle will be worth the wait. Always wanted one but never could swallow the price tag of the original ones.

    • Yallan

      The Galil Ace is already a smash hit in the military market.

      My guess on the super crap trigger and grip safety is some safety nazi got their way. Remember Israelis are very paranoid about safety, spreading their ‘leave chamber empty’ practice throughout the less civilized world.

      • Tim U

        The main reason they do that, from my understanding, is a paranoia of gun retention issues.

        I’ve heard the prototype semi auto Ace rifle has a trigger similar to most AKs on the market. If true, I’m going to get one as soon as I can afford it.

        The Tavor lost my interest when I pulled the trigger on one. I’m hoping the Galil doesn’t suffer from the same double digit trigger pull the Tavor and Uzi pro do.

        • USMC03Vet

          You mean the G2 trigger?

        • Wetcoaster

          One of the unexpected surprises up here was that the Type-97s had nicer triggers than the Tavors (a state of affairs that the aftermarket looks to be trying to correct… expensively)

        • Iggy

          My understanding is that leaving the chamber empty comes from the early days of Israel’s history, when they were taking any guns they could get and thus and a whole bunch of different hand guns available. Therefore it made sense at the time to train with a method that worked safely for all the different designs available and they just haven’t bothered to change this though better more reliable designs are available.

  • Bill

    More compact than a rifle, far less powerful, and a 2 digit trigger press. That niche for this gun is labeled “anything but useful.”
    I’d recommend that anyone trying to wring the most accuracy out of this patter on weapon spend time studying the H&K method of using the sling as a “stock.”

    • nobody

      >I’d recommend that anyone trying to wring the most accuracy out of this
      patter on weapon spend time studying the H&K method of using the
      sling as a “stock.”

      This, with practice your groups will only be about 1″-2″ larger (depending on the distance, less difference the closer you are) than if you were using a stock inside 100 yards.

  • Gabe1971

    From the sounds of it, money is better spent buying and decking out an MPA Defender or it’s friends, if you want a good ‘bullet waster’ in the machine pistol format.

    • Or just buy a Glock 17 and some 33 round sticks for it. It’ll be easier to shoot and more accurate than either.

      • SirOliverHumperdink

        I do that with my 26.

      • nobody

        I take it as you’ve never tried shooting a gun with no stock using the SAS sling method. With practice your groups will only expand 1″-2″ (depending on the distance) compared to when using a gun with a stock inside 100 yards (which realistically is probably going to be the longest distance you would want to use something that small at).

        • Yeah, that’s not what’s wrong with the Micro Uzi, buddy.

          Here’s an article I wrote on point shooting with an AK. 🙂

          I’ve heard it repeated a lot that you can get good at it, but, uh, I guess I’ll believe that when I see it.

          • nobody

            What the hell? That isn’t the SAS sling method. The SAS sling method is where you use a single point sling on the back of the gun and push the gun out against it to stabilize the gun in place of using a stock. You still aim down the sights like you would when shooting any other gun. It has nothing to do with point shooting.

          • Erm, alright, I didn’t understand you properly. How does that help the Uzi Pro having an absolutely atrocious trigger and ergos?

          • nobody

            In your first post you said that a Glock 17 with 33 round magazines would be more accurate than either the Uzi Pro or the MPA Defender. The MPA Defender doesn’t have an extremely heavy trigger (it’s actually quite light) and the ergos aren’t that bad.

          • Maybe, but it’s still way heavier. 😐

    • nobody

      Just don’t forget to replace the hammer with the old style one (and get one of the trigger boots/sleeves/whatever to help deal with the trigger slap), as the disconnectors on the new hammers are considered “consumable” and will break every 600-1200 rounds.

  • capybara

    As the former owner of an Uzi (Vector) carbine and having rented and shot several different variants including the Mini and Micro, in semi and full auto versions, I have come to the conclusions that sub-machines guns converted to semi auto pistols and rifles are terrible.

    My Uzi was reliable, looked cool and had fun accessories like Israel military ammo pouches and a steel contraption for setting the sights. But shooting it was awful. The 9mm round that is so much fun in my Shield was boring as heck to shoot out of rifle that weighed 11lbs (I had the wooden stocked carbine version.

    After shooting it a few times, I ran an ad for it and immediately sold it for $150.00 more than I paid for it. This pistol is the same thing, really fun as a fully automatic post-86 Dealer Sample bullet hose but as a semi auto pistol, a dismal failure. Cool looking, but totally impractical to shoot. I feel all of the other sub machine guns that are available as heavy, clunky semi auto pistols are also a waste of time unless you care more about looks than shooting, which some people do.

    • Well, you can suppress pistol caliber guns pretty well; that doesn’t work so great with rifle calibers, unless you pay out the ass for .300AAC subsonic ammo.

  • Spade

    I feel they would’ve been better served just making a standard retro Mico Uzi instead of this thing.

  • iksnilol

    It’s almost as if this thing was made for gang bangers who use full auto all the time.

    EDIT: shame it sucks, you can get good accuracy out of fixed barrel, closed bolt firearms.

    • It’s worth noting that the barrel on the Uzi Pro isn’t fixed. It actually has some rattle to it.

      • iksnilol

        Uh, I wouldn’t consider that safe. Like, seriously, just throw it into Mount Doom and be done with it.

  • tony

    That is one expensive staple gun

    • Haunted Puppeteer

      What did a VP70 ever do to you? Defamation, I say!

  • Haunted Puppeteer

    I suppose we can all be thankful for your obviously masochistic tendencies. At least, now we know. We know, without a doubt, the UZI Pro is about as bad as it looks. Maybe even.. worse than it looks.

    And nearly a grand? US dollars?! I wouldn’t pay 1000 pesos.

    Sell this turkey and buy an all steel, full-size Jericho 941. That would be a very different review, methinks. If only they hadn’t added that damn rail.. Ruins the lines.

    • Haunted, you’ll be happy to hear this was a T&E unit. I didn’t pay a dime.

      • Haunted Puppeteer

        Few hundred dollars in your direction for mental anguish, and I’d say you’re about even!

        • You’re not kidding. I don’t think I’ve ever had so frustrating a time at the range. If a gun malfunctions or even if you have an out of battery firing or whatever, anything short of a catastrophic explosion that causes injury, that’s not as frustrating to me. Trying to do an index finger strongman competition while making a bullet hit paper is a PITAS.

  • TangledThorns

    Disappointing this came from IWI.

  • Don Ward

    I recommend buying two and wearing plenty of denim.

  • sliversimpson

    I think this little thing is cool looking, but hardly practical. I tend to think that the heavy trigger and grip safety are remnants of the original Israeli models which are probably full auto.

    I still think that the Tavor is currently the biggest bull-pup win on the market, and the ACE is looking pretty good, too. I just hope they give us some reason to purchase it over a $700 AK-47.

  • HH

    Thanks for the honest non biased review of the Uzi pro. As an Uzi owner I was worried this one might be a stinker. I own the various Uzis in FA. I do wonder how a side by side of the old micro (pistol of FA) against thos new Uzi pro would go.