IWI Uzi

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Overview


Used by dozens of countries for over six decades, IWI (formerly IMI) family of Uzi 9mm SMG is one of the world's most renown series of small arms still used today. This is a unique achievement as the Uzi basic design remained largely unchanged over the years.

While a leading weapon in its class at the time, unlike other western units, the Israeli SF were always more in favor of using assault rifles then SMG. While SMG are ideal for short range usage and CQB scenarios, in military applications their inherently limited range and low penetration against body armor are major disadvantages. This preference led to assault rifles dominance and limited usage of the Uzi in the Israeli SF community.

 

Standard Uzi


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The first member of the Uzi family - the Standard (long) Uzi - was introduced in the early 1950's. Its first version of was equipped with a fixed wooden stock, which was later replaced with a steel folding one.

The Standard Uzi was widely spread in the IDF as a primary weapon from the mid 1950 to the late 1960, when it was largely replaced by assault rifles such as the AK47 and the FN FAL. Since then the Standard Uzi saw limited usage primarily by SF units and non-combat rear line units, until it was disbanded entirely from service in 2003.

 

Mini Uzi


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The medium sized member of the Uzi family - the Mini Uzi - was introduced in the early 1980's. The design concept behind it was to include the Standard Uzi best characteristics in a more compact frame to improve ease of usage in tight CQB spaces and make the weapon more concealable. Accordingly, the Mini Uzi retains the positive features of the Standard Uzi as well as adding several new modifications of its own:

  • Lightweight folding stock replacing the Standard Uzi heavy folding stock, which also took a relatively long time to be extended. The Standard Uzi problematic folding stock led to the preference many operators to use the Standard Uzi with the fixed wooden stock, although the folding one was available.

  • Redesigned adjustable front and rear sights.

  • Closed bolt operated.

  • New muzzle break with compensating vents slots, assisting with controlling of the weapon during full auto firing mode. Some Mini Uzi models also featured threaded muzzle break for the mounting of sound suppressors.

Tactical version of the Mini Uzi fitted with a Picatinny rail on top of the receiver.

Mini Uzi with a folded stock, Mini Uzi with an extended stock and a Tactical version of the Mini Uzi with an under barrel rail (hosting a laser pointer) and a sound suppressor.

 

Micro Uzi


The smaller member of the Uzi family - the Micro Uzi - was introduced in the late 1980's. It was intended primarily for security and SF personnel interested in a highly maneuverable and concealable weapon yet with a more potent firepower then a handgun. Another role intended for the Micro Uzi was PDW for airborne and armored crews personnel. In the Israeli SF, however, many operators found the Micro Uzi small frame uncomfortable and preferred the Mini Uzi.

There are several Micro Uzi versions - Standard, Simunitions and SF versions (Tactical, Para and Pro). All models are closed bolt. The SF versions sport several important improvements compared with the standard version:

  • Meprolight self illuminated night sights.

  • Enlarged front and rear sights enabling faster targets acquisition.

  • Left side cocking handle enabling the mounting of various accessories on top of the receiver.

  • Some models are fitted with the Mini Uzi larger stock, which some consider to be more comfortable.

  • Rails above the frame and under the barrel.

Micro Uzi Tactical with rails on the receiver and under the barrel and a left side cocking handle. The weapon is fitted with a sound suppressor and an EoTech.

Micro Uzi Tactical fitted with a Meprolight MOR.

Micro Uzi fitted for firing Simunition.

Recent Micro Uzi version. Note a redesigned stock.

 

Micro Uzi Para - Prototype Only


Designed to meet the needs of Israeli SF CT units, in 2001 IMI introduced a new version of Micro Uzi, known as the Micro Uzi Para. The Micro Uzi Para was a unique concept of a modified weapon and a pre-selected set of weapons accessories.

Despite the interesting design, only handful of Micro Uzi Para prototypes was ever made and the project was disbanded. However, some of the prototypes were delivered to the Israeli SF and saw limited active duty.

Micro Uzi Para set of accessories and unique features:

  • Tasco Optima 2000 miniature red dot sight.

  • IMI GM sound suppressor.

  • Meprolight IR laser pointer with a remote operating switch.

  • Picatinny rails - receiver rail (hosting a Tasco Optima red dot sight) and under barrel extended rail (hosting a Meprolight IR laser pointer).

  • Redesigned pistol grip and magazine well allowing the usage of Glock 17 rounds or 33 rounds magazines instead of the Uzi family standard straight magazines. This allows interchangeability with Glock handguns commonly used in Israeli SF.

 

Micro Uzi Pro - Prototype Only


A further evolution of the Micro Uzi Para, the Micro Uzi Pro was introduced in MILIPOL 2003. Unlike previous versions of the Micro Uzi including the Para, the Pro was made from advanced polymers and titanium alloy making it considerably lighter. In addition, the composite materials are rust resistant and provide excellent insulation against heat created during prolonged fire.

Other features were borrowed from the Micro Uzi Para concept such as a side cocking handle, Picatinny rails and the usage of Glock 17 rounds and 33 rounds magazines. Despite the interesting design, the Micro Uzi Pro project was disbanded and never reached production.

 

Status


The Uzi family is in very limited usage in Israel. The only models used are the Mini Uzi and Micro Uzi (mostly the Micro one). They are used by SF units for CT applications, high ranking officers and some aircrew personnel.

IMI attempted to modernize the Uzi design by introducing features such as rails and side locking handles. The climax of this redesign was the introduction of the Micro Uzi Para in 2001 and the Micro Uzi Pro in 2003. However, shortly after the introduction of the new models IMI entered a spiral of financial difficulties and a lengthy privatization process, causing all new projects to be placed on hold.

Today, while stabilized and under a private management, IWI focus is on the Tavor - and especially on the fulfillment of the IDF Tavor contract. In addition, the Micro Tavor can be considered as a modern SMG, which integrates features that first appeared in the Micro Uzi Para such as Glock magazines usage. The Micro Tavor is also more versatile as it enables a simple switch between a 9mm SMG caliber and a 5.56mm assault rifle caliber, attachment of an integral or a detached sound suppressor and other modular features.

However, in the near future, after the fulfillment of the IDF contract, it is likely that IWI will place more attention to its other product lines including the Uzi, and will perhaps introduce new Uzi variants modeled after the Micro Uzi Para and Micro Uzi Pro.

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