Over 60 years ago, the Uzi submachine gun, brain-child of then-Captain Uziel Gal, was first prototyped. Within a short period of years, the Uzi became recognized as the top-of-the-line submachine gun in the entire world, firing the same cartridge that was the submachine gun round (9x19mm) of two of the principal combatants of the recently concluded World War—the British Sterling and Sten, and the German MP38 and MP40.
But the history of the Uzi shows that it is a weapon born of necessity. In the late 19th century, European Jews began to flee Russia and the organized deadly violence against them, continuing in the 20th century with Polish Jews leaving Europe as well to escape the pogroms.
After the conclusion of World War I, the British government was in a position of power in the Middle East and by 1922, the League of Nations had granted Great Britain a mandate for Palestine. This partitioned the land and left one-quarter for the establishment of a Jewish National Home, as was promised in 1917 in the Balfour Agreement. (The Jewish presence in modern-day Palestine, of course, dates to Biblical times, but the city of Tel Aviv was established in 1909.)
The Jews had learned that, if they were going to avoid systematic slaughter, they needed a homeland and the ability to defend themselves. In the late 1930s, there were anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and in 1939, Great Britain limited Jewish immigration to Palestine.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, he had already begun to seriously foment anti-Semitism. Six million deaths later … you know the end of this chapter.
By 1941 in Palestine, the Palmach division of Haganah had been established as what might be described as a militia. In 1947, it was proposed in the United Nations that both Arab and Jewish states be established in Palestine. By May 1948, the British Mandate had come to an end, and Israel was proclaimed a state on 14 May. On 15 May, Israel was invaded by nearly half a dozen Arab states in a war that would not end until an armistice in July 1949. Territorially smaller and with a vastly smaller population, Israel had to be constantly ready to fight for its very existence.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jews from all over the world—but particularly post-war Europe and Arab-dominated states—migrated en masse to Israel. Defense of the Jewish homeland was vital because Moslem extremists were dedicated to the total annihilation of the Jewish people. It was into this environment that the Uzi came and gained such great notoriety. It was a weapon with a recognizable profile when seen in newsreel footage at theaters or in the infant medium of television.
The Uzi combined commonplace submachine gun features with innovations from previous designs. In the prosaic category, the Uzi fires from an open bolt and is a blowback. The open-bolt design can aid in facilitating cooling during lulls between periods of highvolume shooting. Typically, the Uzi in 9mm has a cyclic rate of 600 rounds per minute, which translates to ten rounds per second.
The bolt is the Uzi’s most remarkable feature, employing the then-radical (but not new) telescoping bolt concept, wherein the bolt
surrounds a portion of the barrel. This enables the magazine to be positioned within the weapon’s pistol grip. There are decided convenience features associated with this positioning, particularly under low-light conditions. With the weight of a loaded magazine concentrated in the shooting hand, there can be a stabilizing effect, and firing the weapon with one hand— as would be done more in movies than real life—would be easier. Conversely, with a 32-round magazine sticking out the bottom of the pistol grip, firing from any sort of support is awkward at best.
The Uzi became extraordinarily popular. According to some sources, the Uzi is the most widely used submachine gun ever designed. Made from stampings, the Uzi was never pricey to produce, which aided in its popularity. Reliability issues were apparently never a great concern. Get an Uzi full of sand and dirt and it won’t function properly—just like virtually any other firearm. Keep the Uzi properly maintained and feed it the right ammunition and, even under harsh conditions, the Uzi has proven reliable.
The Uzi served Israel from 1951 through 2003, and to this day serves with numerous armed forces and law enforcement units around the world.
The Uzi was produced not only as a submachine gun but also a semiautomatic- only carbine. Prior to the ludicrous Assault Weapons Ban, which was allowed to sunset during President Bush 43’s administration, such carbines were readily available. Thanks to Century International Arms, not one but two variants of the Uzi Carbine are currently available to American shooters.
Let’s stop the bandwagon for a moment. There is little or no practical utility for a semi-auto-only 9mm carbine with a 16-inch barrel in any conceivable sort of tactical operation, except under the most bizarre circumstances (e.g., it was the only weapon to be had). I can possibly see a rural law enforcement patrolman keeping an Uzi Carbine in the trunk of the patrol car for longer range shooting, if his sidearm is also a 9x19mm. No tactical unit would want a weapon with such limitations.
WHY AN UZI CARBINE?
That said, why would anyone want an Uzi Carbine? There are a variety of excellent reasons. Let’s start with the most outrageous.
Society collapses totally and you want a highly portable weapon with high capacity (32 rounds in the standard magazine). With a sling, the folding-stock version would be a good walking-around gun. There’s also a new style Uzi Carbine with a wooden buttstock—similar to those the early Uzi subs had in the 1950s.
But there’s no tactical utility for the gun and society hasn’t collapsed just yet. What have you got?
With the Uzi Carbine, you’ve got a lot of possibilities, from frivolous to practical. In the frivolity category, there’s plinking at tin cans, perforating old Osama Bin Laden targets, and the “gee-whiz” factor when you’re at the range and people see the gun you’re shooting.
Since the Centurion UC-9 Carbine— Century International Arms’ designation for the firearm—is a faithful version of the Uzi, just firing from a closed bolt and semi-auto rather than full, it should be noted that, like the original Uzi, this gun will function reliably with hardball but is not designed to function
with hollow points.
From a practical standpoint, you have a weapon with considerable possibilities. Under many circumstances, the Uzi could be a terrific home defense weapon, provided you are careful to work out fields of fire that will not jeopardize persons in neighboring rooms within the house or neighboring apartments or on the street outside. The same can be said for the Uzi used in the context of defense of a motor home or travel trailer.
If talking defense against fourlegged predators, we are still only talking a 9mm full metal case bullet of 120 or so grains. Whereas pointing something that looks like a submachine gun at a human attacker could confer some psychological advantage, pointing the weapon at a bear would render no advantage at all.
CENTURY INTERNATIONAL ARMS
Like every product I’ve ever used that’s sold by Century International Arms, the UC-9 Carbine looks and works just as it should. Using Winchester 124-grain FMJ and Atlanta Arms & Ammo 115-grain FMJ ammo at varying distances at an outdoor shooting area, a good 90% of my shots would have been instantly lethal. Getting head, face, neck and heart/lung shots was quite simple. The Uzi’s rear peep sight is flippable between 100- and 200-yard settings. I used the 100-yard peep.
Spare 32-round magazines are readily available, and the Uzi’s controls are straightforward. It takes some getting used to in order to remember that the grip safety needs to be depressed before you can even work the bolt, but you do get used to it. The only odd thing was my face being all but in contact with a metal stock. The folding stock on the original UC-9, which is identical to that found on Uzi submachine guns, is pleasantly easy to operate when opening or closing.
As much as anything, the UC-9 Carbine from Century is a fun gun to own and shoot, and it is rich in history.
In the Bible, we read the story of young David, armed only with his sling, going up against the towering and physically formidable Goliath. In Israel’s modern wars for its very existence against the “Goliath-sized” military forces of its Islamic neighbors, I seriously doubt if anyone used a sling and a rock, but lots and lots of Uzis were used!