The Uzi was born from Israel’s independence war in 1948. The new nation-state needed a new firearm to replace the hodgepodge of surplus WW2 weaponry available at the time. The inventor was Major Uziel Gal. His friends called him Uzi, but he never wanted his name to be associated with the firearm he designed.
An Israeli popular culture historian, Eli Eshed, researched the UZI history. According to a publication in osimhistoria with Eshed, Gal immigrated to Israel from Germany and settled at Kibbutz Yagur with his father. In 1943, While he was about to move to Kibbutz Ein Harod, the British, then in control of ISRAEL, found out he was responsible for weapons in his kibbutz, the so-called “slicks,” where they hid their weapons.
“They put him, the British, in jail for a few years. So he was in prison during the 1940s and made good use of his time in prison: he read everything he could about weapons and kept thinking – how can we improve [the weapons]?”, Written in one of the newspapers at the time.
In pursuit of better weapons
According to Eshed, Many of the weapons used by the Jewish underground fighters, such as the British Sten, were cheap and straightforward to manufacture, but they were deficient in most other respects. They suffered from numerous restraints while being inaccurate. There were problems also with different weapons, such as the Schmeiser – they were slow. Uzi was looking for something quick, easy, light, very comfortable, and efficient.
“When the State of Israel was established, Gal enlisted in the IDF and took an officers’ course, along with his continued development of the submachine gun. Gal and IMI developed the new submachine gun, and at the time, Israel’s prime minister, David Ben Gurion, chose the Uzi as the standard issue weapon for the IDF”, said Eshed.
The IDF began using the UZI in 1954-1955 by paratroopers and the special forces (Unit 101) against infiltrators in retaliatory actions. “Like most submachine guns, the Uzi’s mechanism of action is quite simple. The shooter holds a small handle at the top of the weapon and pulls it back until the weapon’s internal mechanism is locked in the rear position. The weapon remains in this position until the shooter pulls the trigger”, Eshed explained.
“From a technical standpoint, Gal took a lot of ideas from other submachine guns he encountered over the years, especially the Czech M23 submachine gun. Uzi’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it contained a lot of positive features and positive ideas – and yet remained extremely inexpensive and easy to manufacture.”
The rumor of the miraculous submachine gun has spread abroad. The Dutch ordered and even the Germans. Dozens of countries worldwide bought the UZI, including Greece, Portugal, Australia, Angola, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. Several versions have been developed, including the Mini Uzi and Micro Uzi. The Uzi became world-famous and cemented Israel’s image as a regional power with a small but powerful army.
“Throughout his 27-year service in the IDF, Gal worked on several projects and won many awards, including the Israel Security Award, which he was presented in 1958 by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion”, according to uzitalk. “Gal passed away on September 7, 2002. He is buried in Kibbutz Yagur near Tamar and Ahuva.”
The legacy continues
With over 2 million units sold worldwide, Uzi submachine guns continue to impact this day. With the privatization of IMI’s “Magen” plant in February 2005, Uzi’s development and production passed to our responsibility at IWI.
The new UZI PRO Sub Machine Gun is based on the legendary UZI design of 65 years ago but improved with modern materials and technological advancements. A short and compact version based on a modern ergonomic design allows for better control, increased safety, and maximum accuracy.
UZI PRO is the latest evolution of firearms technology, which transforms the UZI weapon through modern polymers, Picatinny rails, a folding handgrip, and ergonomic shoulder stock to deliver the next generation of submachine guns.
All the new updates have kept the functionality and reliability of the legendary UZI. The SMG, based on decades of battle-tested experience by the Israeli Special Forces, was designed to be light but still concealable.
A recent example of the use of this legendary weapon has been published on the thedrive website. According to the report, the Belgian Federal Police used the UZI tasked with guarding NATO’s main operational headquarters in Brussels. These particular guns are licensed-built in Belgium by the equally famous small arms company Fabrique Nationale, more commonly referred to as FN.
It is without question that Uzi Gal developed one of the most famous light weapons in the world, which is used today in dozens of countries around the world. The weapon used throughout history for the protection of nations, individuals, and facilities.
As IWI, we are proud to carry on the Uzi tradition.