Designed in 1948, Israel’s Uzi submachine gun has been sold to more military and police markets throughout the world than any other manufactured submachine gun.

Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Authentic weapons – including an Israel Uzi –  from around the world dating throughout history can be witnessed throughout this incredible collection.  The oldest piece on display is a very rare bayonet from the Revolutionary War.

Uzi Design

The Uzi was designed by Major Uziel Gal as an open-bolt, blowback operating submachine gun.  The barrels design allows for better cooling when the gun is involved in continuous fire.  This submachine gun has very few moving parts and is produced using stamped sheet metal, which keeps down manufacturing costs.  The pistol grip on the Uzi houses the magazine which allows easy reloading under various challenging conditions, such as darkness.  A grip safety on the Uzi helps prevent accidental firing, but the vertical magazine protrudes which creates a difficult situation when attempting to fire this submachine gun from a prone position.

The controls on Israel’s Uzi are fairly basic and simple. Three different positions on the selector lever permit:

1)       ‘Safe’ mode in which the sear is locked and movement is prevented.

2)      ‘Semi’ is up one notch.  This mode permits firing as a semiautomatic single shot weapon.  For each shot, however, the trigger must be pulled.

3)        ‘Automatic’ mode is all the way forward.  This mode disengages part of the sear mechanism and allows the shooter to use the trigger to control the firing mechanism.  When the trigger is held back, the Uzi will fire until empty.

Another feature, which assists with the safety of the Uzi is its grip safety – located at the back of the grip.  This feature prevents accidental discharge should the weapon be dropped.  The grip safety is also beneficial should the shooter lose his grip while firing the Uzi.

Uzi Specifications

  • Designed in 1948
  • Production Run:  1950 to present day
  • Number Built:  More than 10 million
  • Weight:  7.72 pounds
  • Length:  Extended stock – 25 inches, Collapsed stock – 18.5 inches
  • Barrel:  10.2 inches long
  • Firing Rate:  600 rounds per minute
  • Muzzle velocity:  400
  • Caliber:  Various – most use 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge

 Operational History

The Uzi was first implemented in the Special Forces of the Israeli Defense Forces in 1954.  Two years later, it became part of the general issue.  This weapon was mainly utilized by rear-echelon troops, the officers and even artillery troops and tankers.  Assault forces also used the Uzi.

The Uzi saw combat in the Six Day War (1967), the Vietnam War, the Portuguese Colonial Wars in Africa and the Falklands War as well as several other wars and conflicts.  Throughout its history, over 90 countries have implemented this weapon as part of their armed forces or in their law enforcement.  Civilian variants of Israel’s Uzi Submachine Gun with shorter rifle barrels have also been manufactured to comply with US laws for civilian sales.