The Uzi

This page is still very much under construction and may not make that  sense, keep checking back and you will see it take form. 

UZIs are also very popular on both legal and illegal markets.  Properly converted semi-auto guns are reliable and robust, but in my experience not very user friendly.   The selector is badly located for left handers and the grip safety is about the most irritating on any gun.  Any grip other than a very firm hold on the main pistol grip will stop the gun from working.   This was intended to keep the gun from firing if it is dropped or fumbled, but also prevents the gun from working if you shift your hold on it while firing.  UZIs can take a lot abuse and keep working, but they are not engineered to last forever like the venerable Thompson.    For more info on the UZI, Click here. 

Most full auto UZIs on the US market were converted from Israeli model A carbines that started out as semi-automatic rifles.  Many of these guns have filtered through Central America.  Since the guns were last sold in the mid-1980's most show significant wear and tear but they still work.  Prices range from $1000 to $2000 for an illegal model to $3500 for a class III transferable collectors gun.  One company, Vector arms, has been building decent quality copies in the US and South Africa that are available for around $2000.

There has been a growing presence of Israeli parts kits made from scrapped military Uzis and black market copies made in China.  Completion of a 'parts kit' is a more difficult task than it would seem.   While the component parts ad up to about $600, considerable work needs to be done to complete the gun and make it functional.   The completed guns are usually worth only about $1000 on the black market, thus they are not particularly profitable for clandestine manufacturers, but they can work as an option for a survival group.   To complicate things, most of the parts kits are sold without guarantees of serviceability and commonly have several smaller parts missing.   It can take as many as four parts kits to come up with enough parts in good enough condition to produce a decent gun.   

In building the Uzi from parts kits, the builder has several options; weld broken and cut chunks of several receivers to make a serviceable receiver, obtain a new made semi-automatic receiver and adapt it to fit the parts from the parts kit or Obtain partially manufactured receiver components and use them to construct a new receiver.  All of the methods are difficult and require painstaking work.  The work is equal to that needed to construct a crude Holmes style gun.   For Canadians and residents of the UK, the traditional method is to obtain a deactivated Uzi from a militaria shop and "reactivate" it.   While this usually does not involve much repair work on the receiver, most of the other major parts need to be repaired or replaced, depending on how extensively the gun was damaged in the deactivating process.  Another option, which is costlier but easier, is to obtain a semi-automatic Uzi rifle and adapt the parts kit and gun to work together.  This option works best for gun collectors who want dual purpose weapons that can serve as recreational shooting  toys and as serious survival weapons.  Changes of design for the Semi-Auto Uzi in the early 1980's made it considerably more difficult to convert to full automatic.   This later conversion required extensive modification of several parts.  In spite of this, the Uzi has remained a popular survivalist weapon.   Crude copies of the Uzi have been favored by criminals, most notably the Mac 11 and Mac 10 machine pistols and clandestine variants.  

The picture is a little different on the world market.  The Israelis discontinued the gun in military service and have sold hundreds of thousands of complete guns off as surplus.  In addition they have sold the manufacturing tooling to several countries and even some private companies.  China, South Africa, Belgium, and Croatia have made copies for the international market.  At least two companies have made them in the US.  The Chinese versions are available throughout Southeast Asia at bargain basement prices.   A friend saw them for sale several places in Thailand at $450 with negotiable pricing.  

Add to basketParts and parts kits for the subguns have appeared on the US market.  These usually have receivers that were either cut with saws or torches.    Some were more carefully cut than others and often according to different standards.   While all kits were missing some element of the receivers, some were missing different parts, so that parts from more than one "kit" might provide enough material for a receiver constructed by carefully trimming and welding cut sections.   In some cases, a single kit had enough material to be considered a "firearm" by BATF, but this determination was made months after the main US importer had sold out of the kits in question and it was difficult to track the status of the kits among various customers and resellers since records were not required for demilitarized guns at the time.  Those kits, kown as the "Cole's Kits" often carry a premium when available, but have become a virtual black market item overnight.  

This composite kit has parts from as many as three different guns, but still comes up a little "short" to make a receiver.   Additional metal would have to be substituted in the missing sections by a skilled and patient craftsman.    As it is, possession of such a kit is usually legal since it cannot be readily reconstructed by the average person even with a reasonably well equipped shop.    That said, a survivor could cache a few kits like this and figure they could be made into a functional gun by a skilled person within a few days.  

Blank sections of steel that are made to replace sections that are missing from the parts kit are sometimes available from some small manufacturers and vendors.   Although originally designed for use with replica and dummy guns, the steel is often comparable to the moderate grade steels originally called for in the Uzi design where the stress of the action is almost entirely absorbed by the barrel, bolt,  action spring and bolt buffer - not the receiver body.      This usually involves considerable work, but the cash outlay is usually quite modest.    Much of this will be determined by the deal you find on the parts kit and how complete it is.   

It is also possible for the hobbyist to use parts kits and receiver sections to manufacture a legal postban semi-auto Uzi for personal use.    You will find that if you take on such a project, it can become costly since the US made semi-auto components are available from only one manufacturer and their various vendors.   That being Vector Arms.   A postban semi-auto UZI must have a fixed stock but will otherwise appear about the same as a preban since even prebans did not regularly have threaded barrels or flash hiders.    The bayonet lug is almost never used on an Uzi, so trimming it off is little loss.    The choat stock seen on this gun is a good example of an unmistakably US made component.   Bolts and grips from US makers may not be readily discernable from an IMI import.    The other option is to obtain a Group Industries receiver and weld components into it.   It is hard to say which is easier or cheaper, since both methods are fairly different from each other.   One issue of the Group Industries receivers is that they must initially be purchased through an FFL holder and since they are "on paper" they can be relatively easily resold unlike home workshop receivers where you run into legal issues surrounding licensing.  

 

The Uzi shown here is an IMI "bolt gun" that had been purchased for reasonable money by the owner and integrated into the small but relatively comprehensive survival package you see here.   This gun having started out in life as a semi-automatic and was converted to select fire with the installation of a special subgun bolt that had been registered as the "machinegun".   Such guns can work well, but are often less desirable than Uzis constructed as submachine guns in the first place.  The main reason being that most conversions retain the problematic bushing type feed ramp of the semi-autos.  The big game rifle was upgraded with decent optics and a heavy barrel for general medium to long range use, with the UZI and Browning P35 using interchangeable ammo for effective short to medium range protection.   The Uzi can be quite effective out to 100 yards and can handle more powerful 9mm +p+ ammunition that would normally not be safe in a handgun, or it can use standard 9mm Nato pistol ammuntion.    

A close up of the Uzi in this package shows that although the ammunition is interchangeable, the magazines are not.   The 32 shot magazines will run dry in about six to ten bursts although the gun can be fired on semi-automatic to ration the ammo.   The browning P35 is probably as accurate at shorter ranges.  

Interestingly, a skilled handgun shooter can usually draw the handgun from a good holster and fire an aimed shot faster than a person with an Uzi can go from the weapon slung at their side to the first aimed shot.   Part of what influences this is the slow lock time of the open bolt Uzi.    Thus, for short range self defense against surprise attack, a smart survivor will have the handgun ready in a relatively fast holster.  

A comparison of two types of "blank" material sections available from time to time from a number of small shop and internet vendors without any paperwork as they are less than half of what would be used to construct a receiver.   The upper one retains the exact profile and has both ribs and a detent for mounting the grip assembly.    The lower unit is more crude, but still can be used to come up with short sections or used in other designs that would use the Uzi bolt.   One such alternate design that uses some modified Uzi parts is the Ares folding "radio gun".   

Top, bottom and side views of the better repair section material pieces  on the market.   Note that on the most common kits, even with a repair section, you still lose the front sling swivel mount.