One Neat Uzi
And It’s A .22 Long Rifle.
One of the most iconic and most recognizable firearms of all times has just joined the rimfire club, and it’s a beaut! Under license from IWI-Israel, the current manufacturer of the Uzi family of tactical firearms, Carl Walther of Germany has created an exacting rendition of the UZI submachine gun in .22 Long Rifle. With similar weight, length, controls and even disassembly procedures, the Walther rimfire version of the Uzi, imported by UMAREX USA, is a remarkable achievement of arms making.
Reviewed earlier, the Walther-produced, UMAREX USA versions of the Colt 1911, M4 carbine and M16 rifle as well as the HK MP5 and HK416 are superior rimfire examples of those famous models. They are the best-of-the-best rimfire clones of the original models and a delight to own and shoot. The Uzi upholds that same tradition.
Historically, the Uzi is a product of its political times and environment. The times were the 1940s and 1950s when Israel was emerging as a nation. The new country was forged in conflict with its Arab neighbors who were doing everything possible to insure it would not be a successful nation-state. The environment, the sandy, dusty deserts of the Middle East, is about as tough a proving ground as exists for any weapons system.
At that point in time, Israel’s Defense Forces were armed with everything from German and Czech Model ’98 Mausers to homegrown versions of the Sten gun. Faced with a rudimentary economy and the lack of an advanced industrial production base, the Israelis needed a domestic arms industry and a cheap, easily produced submachine gun suited for the ambush, raid, night-fighting style of close-quarter combat in which they found themselves engaged in daily. Uzi Gal gave it to them.
Working at the government owned Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Gal took some of the best features of the Czech vz23 subgun, specifically, its barrel-enveloping bolt and handgrip magazine well and crafted what was to become the most popular submachine gun of the era.
For ease and economy of production, Gal designed the Uzi to use a maximum amount of stampings and heat-resistant plastics. The major components—the receiver, top cover, trigger housing and folding metal stock—are welded-up, sheetmetal stampings. The only precision machining is found on the bolt and the barrel. The Uzi is simple to make, simple to use, reliable in the dirt of combat and cheap. In full combat mode, it can be fitted with a bayonet, anti-tank grenade, suppressor and flashlight.
The Walther-made rimfire version is even better, yes, the suppressor surrounding the 16″ barrel of the rimfire version is a fake, but by removing the screw-attached front handguard, you will find a 10-slot Picatinny rib under the barrel just waiting for a flashlight or laser.
By Holt Bodinson
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