The Uzi Submachine Gun (Full Auto)

The famous Uzi 9mm SMG was introduced to the world in the 1950s, and was a huge hit that made its way into military and police armories around the world. With millions sold, the gun has been engaged in numerous conflicts and famously helped protect the life of President Reagan. The gun’s proliferation is a result of the low cost, ease of manufacture, and merits as a fine submachine gun. In this episode of TFBTV, we take a look at what makes the Uzi deserving of its reputation as a great gun.

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Transcript …

(magazine clicks) (bolt sliding) (Uzi firing) (bolt sliding) (metal clanging) – [Voiceover] What a great way to start the Uzi video, a full-auto mag dump where I knocked over the target.

Anyways, today we’re going to be looking at a full-auto variant of the famous IWI Uzi, a gun that was designed and implemented in service in the 1950s in Israel, and while it didn’t invent the telescoping bolt, it certainly popularized it.

Suddenly, you had SMGs that were almost half the size of the previous generation’s guns, and they were just very well received, fielded in large numbers and adopted by many nations, including the Germans, as the MP2.

The folding stock makes them extremely compact and easy to put in tight spaces.

For example, tanks crews loved them.

A famous saying on Dutch tankers, though, is that if you want to hit anything beyond 25 meters, it’s easier to throw the gun.

They are select-fire with S, meaning safe, R, meaning repetition, and A, meaning auto.

The cocking knob is on the top and it does feature a ratcheting mechanism that makes them very drop-safe.

And this is a brilliant feature from a safety perspective, as well.

If the user doesn’t bring it all the way back, the bolt won’t jump forward and set a round off.

The folding stock is deployed by a simple slap and you collapse it by pinching it, pressing this button, and folding it back under the gun.

The sights are very simple.

There’s one setting for 100 meters and another for 200.

Although, my experience says that the 200 meter setting is pretty optimistic.

So let’s go back to shooting it a little bit.

(magazine clicks) (Uzi firing) (bolt sliding) So the best improvement you can make to an Uzi is by ditching that metal stock.

Not only is it uncomfortable and provides a crummy cheek weld, but if you’re shooting in the summer and the sun heats that sucker up and you go to shoulder it, it really isn’t very fun.

So let’s give it a shot with a solid stock.

(Uzi firing) (bolt sliding) So the Uzi’s fixed stock is not like an M16’s fixed stock.

You’re not married to it once it’s put on there.

Obviously, you can tuck it under your shoulder and fire it one-handed, if you have to.

The folding stock would be better for this, obviously.

But you can just toss it off there, if you really need to, and you can shoot it one-handed just fine.

Although I did go full-tilt 80s action hero here, and just blast away for fun.

I’m allowed to shoot for fun every once in a while.

(bolt sliding) (Uzi firing) So to try and test the Uzi’s accuracy, now obviously the gun’s open-bolt nature makes it very difficult to shoot it for long distance.

Whenever you pull the trigger, the huge clunk of that bolt mass moving forward is a detriment to accuracy.

I step back to about 100 meters and try to land my hits on an IDPA metal silhouette to actually reasonable success.

As you saw earlier, putting the gun on full-auto is a lot easier than putting it on semi.

To put it on full-auto, you just naturally push your thumb all the way forward, but finding that semi-auto setting is kind of awkward.

You have to apply just the right amount of pressure.

That is a bit strange.

Nonetheless, I actually did pretty well here.

I landed 12 out of 25 hits on the silhouette from 100 meters away, which is pretty decent for an open-bolt weapon primarily designed to be fired in full-auto.

(magazine clicks) (Uzi firing) (bolt sliding) So one of the major complaints I hear about the Uzi is its low rate of fire that hovers around 600 to 650 rounds per minute, depending on what type of ammo you use.

To accelerate the rate of fire, just pop the bolt group out of there.

We have done a field trip video on the Uzi, if you’d like to see that, but I basically did it here.

You just pop the top cover off and pull the bolt and recoil spring out of there.

But you get one of these rubber buffers here.

This is a pretty simple solution to a fairly complex problem, I suppose.

Just pop your buffer in there and it does ride at the back of the receiver, so there is a recess so that the recoil spring fits right on top of there, as you can see.

Make sure the spring nestles right in there, kind of put it towards the back of the receiver, and voila, you reduce your bolt travel and increase your rate of fire with a very, very cheap, very easy option.

So let’s go ahead and try that out.

(bolt sliding) (magazine clicks) (Uzi firing) (bolt sliding) So that was the medium-sized buffer.

Let’s go ahead and put the largest buffer in there to see how much speed we can get out of the Uzi.

(Uzi firing) So that brings the rate of fire up pretty good.

But for good measure, I do an engagement drill, starting with the bolt closed.

(bolt sliding) (Uzi firing) So the Uzi really is a fantastic submachine gun, and while it was phased out of military service, beginning in the 1980s, they are still technically in production with the Uzi Pro, so a variant is still going reasonably strong for special ops commandos, things like that.

Big thanks to Ventura Munitions, guys.

I really hope you appreciated this video.

This was a lot of fun to make and I hope you enjoyed watching it.

Until next time.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • ProLiberty82

    Having shot an assortment of various UZI and MP5 in full auto I always find I group better with the UZI and find that it also have less recoil than the MP5, this seems to be against just about everybody’s else’s experience! I’ve seen you shoot both in your videos Alex, can you make a video where you put the two back to back and tell us what you find?

  • DanGoodShot

    “I’m allowed to shoot for fun every once in a while.”
    Right… Because all the other times you shoot is such a chore. Does anyone else wanna smack the crap outta him? Or is it just me? jk Alex. Keep the videos coming… Even if it is a chore. Lol

  • The MP5 is the superior firearm, I think, but I find that the Uzi is more fun to shoot. I’d rather own the Israeli gun, but if I were actually gonna use it for some reason I’ve tape the grip safety down.

    • retfed

      Not a great idea. I’ve heard a lot of stories about taped-down safeties and all of them are bad. Oh, look, here’s one now:
      Once upon a time, a member of a prominent government official (not the Big Cheese)’s protection detail stowed his Uzi, which had the grip safety taped down, in the overhead bin of a plane the official was using. It also had a mag inserted and the bolt back. It fell from the bin to the deck and slam-fired one round. Nobody was hurt, but it was not a good day for the agent involved. (If I remember right, the plane was on the ground. I don’t know if the protectee was aboard or not.)
      At least, that’s the story I heard.

      • That’s a danger with just about any open bolt subgun from that period, though. Yes, it can happen, but that is one of the primary reasons open bolt guns of that era should be stowed with the bolt closed on an empty chamber.

        The grip safety is a good idea, but Uziel’s execution of it is nothing short of frustrating. Unlike the 1911, where you basically don’t even notice it, the Uzi grip safety is this stiff, heavy, protruding thing that makes shooting the gun more of a chore than it has to be.

        There are safer guns than a classic open bolt subgun, for sure, but weapons like the M3, Sterling, etc have been in use for a long time without too many problems, and the same accident is possible with those, too.

        Though, maybe arguing about this is silly. The Uzi isn’t terribly relevant today, and it probably wouldn’t be too much trouble to get a much better grip safety fabricated and mounted to one, even if you were using one for some reason.

        • jay

          I agree with your comments. Besides carrying Israeli (not having a round in the chamber) is standard operating procedure. It also has a safety (you pointed it out in your video). So by passing the uncomfortable grip safety, can be overlooked if you use the other safety features. I like your videos very much by the way. Could you complain a little more about all the firearms you are forced to shoot. Please. ;-}

          • Hi Jay,

            You’ll have to talk to Alex about that, he’s the Maestro of TFBTV, not me. 🙂

          • jay

            For some reason, I thought I was replying to Alex? I’m sure you can pass on my snarc though. Have a good one!

          • Wetcoaster

            Why would an open bolt gun ever have a round in the chamber? The bolt loads the rounds and fires it in the same motion. To make it safe, you take the magazine out.

          • jay

            No to make it safe you close the bolt on an empty chamber, then put on the safety. Then it won’t matter if there are rounds in the magazine or not.

          • Wetcoaster

            It depends on if the safety locks the bolt forward – an issue with the Sten, and possibly the Sterling as well – in some cases the bolt can retract far enough to chamber and fire a bullet, but not far enough to be caught by the sear.

            IIRC, the accident that killed Bombardier Reginald Perridou during the FLQ crisis was of this nature

        • retfed

          I don’t have anything against the Uzi. My experience with them, though extremely limited, was positive. And the open-bolt SMG, whether an Uzi or a Thompson, has the added coolness factor. (I especially like the contrast between cleaning an MP5 and an Uzi. It’s like cleaning a Swiss watch vs. cleaning a hammer.)
          I’m just against disabling safeties on anything, whether it’s a pistol or a lawn mower.
          I also agree that the agent in my story acted unsafely. At the very least, the bolt should have been closed on an empty chamber. I was just throwing out a cautionary tale.

          • Sometimes the safeties are so obnoxious that disabling them is preferable; see when people remove the locks from S&W revolvers.

            And again, removing the grip safety from an Uzi gives it the same safety practices as a standard open-bolt gun.

    • Wolfgar

      Pull off the lower and put a little piece of wood in the right place and it will disable the grip safety.

    • I disagree for some applications. The MP5 might be smoother shooting but it is less reliable as well as more fragile. For general military issue the MP% is a terrible SMG. I have owned many SMGs and the MP is the only one that had more issues with parts breakage specifically extractor spring wear, trigger group issues (2RB group) and wearing out the buffers. It also was less tolerant of sandy grit. For police use and special ops operations, sure the MP5 is better. I am not a huge Uzi fan either but its not bad. I sold off my MP5 after I got a Swedish K and I think the Beretta P12S is also an excellent SMG as well as the Beretta 38A.

  • GUNxSPECTRE

    Dat solid stock. I forgot that the Uzi had a solid stock; everyone just shows the folding one. I wish the M3 Grease Gun had a solid stock.

    When you’re talking about the Uzi, you can’t forget about this BOSS among men:

    • GUNxSPECTRE

      BOSS:

  • noob

    Hi Alex, great video as always! In your field strip video for the Uzi you show the top cover come off, but what is on the underside to make the ratcheting charging handle not fly forward if it is not pulled all the way back?

    is it some kind of latch?

    • M

      Ratchet like you said

      • M

        See the teeth below

    • ostiariusalpha

      As M says, there is a set of ratchet teeth on the top cover. As you can see in the picture below, there is a small pawl (#52) that catches on the ratchet teeth.

  • Hoplopfheil

    Aw yeah, a real Uzi video!

  • thedonn007

    I think I would smile a little bit if I were shooting a full auto firearm. LOL. Good video, keep up the good work.

  • Lance

    MP-5 and M-3 are better SMG. They are more accurate and are better balanced and can pack a bigger caliber punch. But the Uzi is like the AK-47 of SMG everyone made a copy from Czechoslovakia to Argintina. Other SMGs are accurate or pack a bigger ouch, but every one can usually get a UZI.

    • plingr2

      UZI is copy. Original was CZ vz.23 from Czechoslovakia. It think, Jaroslav Holeček who developed vz 23, invent telescopic bolt.

  • Jack Daniels

    Is your watch crammed under there? You’re operator as f*ck with the gloves.

  • Bob

    the MINI UZI is virtually impossible to control the muzzle climb. I would guess this is difficult at best.
    I have fired on full auto the following: (rated in order from EASIEST to hardest to control)
    MP 40 9mm ..easy..right on target….you’d think it was suspended in front of you on a cable
    M16…. very controllable
    Spitfire… a poor mans version of a Thompson in .45 ACP. FULL auto only open bolt
    Thompson 45 select fire… only complaint is the LONG length of pull
    FN FAL a little better then the M-14 below
    M-14…SLING UP TIGHT. at 75 m on full size silhoutte. 1st round crotch shot 2nd head,
    3rd round is going skyward
    MINI UZI…I shouldered it tightly and aimed it into the dirt in front of me, after 5 rounds or so
    it was going skyward.
    I have been lifting weights for 1/3 to 1/2 of my life (still do) so I am not a “weakling”!!
    Don’t forget….the instructor up in Las Vegas got killed when the little 10 year old fired his UZI !
    You can find a spitfire for about 4000 bucks. They are full auto open bolt only and of course require the $200 tax stamp. They use M3 Grease Gun magazines and some of them have Grease Gun bolts in them.
    I got to shoot these at a “full auto club”, so NO, I don’t own them.

  • schizuki

    Certain guns are firmly linked to certain exploits. The Uzi is Entebbe, and for that alone it’s cooler than the other side of the pillow.

  • Rusty S.

    Great video, Alex! I dropped enough quarters into Operation Wolf to pay for an Uzi. I’m glad to own a genuine one now.