Umarex Uzi .177 caliber Subgun
The Most Authentic Select Fire Air Pistol Ever!
By Dennis Adler
The Uzi pistol is one of those rare firearms that has an unforgettable look, and since it has been around for more than 50 years almost everyone has seen an Uzi, at least in films and television dramas. It has been used by Navy Seals, Federal Agents, the good guys and bad guys alike, both on film and in the real world; but, there are two truly significant images, one fictional, and the other all too real that etched the Uzi pistol into the American consciousness. The first was the original 1986 Delta Force movie starring Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris (unless you’re old enough to remember The Wild Geese starring Richard Burton). The second was the afternoon of March 30, 1981 when John Hinkley, Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC, following a speech to AFL-CIO leaders. In the ensuing mayhem after the first shots were fired by Hinkley, Secret Service agent Robert Wanko was seen on news footage drawing an Uzi from beneath his jacket as agents scrambled to protect the President. That image of Agent Wanko and the 9mm subgun has forever linked the Secret Service with the Uzi, but the gun’s legendary fame goes back to the early 1950s and its use by Israeli soldiers following the establishment of Israel as a state in 1948.
The Uzi is actually named after its inventor, Uziel Gal, a Captain (later Major) with the Israel Defense Force. Gal based his design on the Czechoslovakian Model ZK 476 and Czech Model M23/25 sub machineguns, but designed his version so it could be more efficiently manufactured for quick deployment to the Israeli military. The final version was patented under Uzi Gal in 1952, with production rights assigned to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Two years later the Uzi was adopted by the Israeli military and the rest, as they say, is history.
The original Uzi SMG and its variants, Uzi carbine, Mini Uzi, Micro Uzi and semi-auto Uzi pistol, have remained a staple of military and law enforcement agencies the world over for more than half a century in calibers ranging from the original 9mm to .41 AE, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .22 LR (Uzi .22 caliber rimfire conversion kits were first offered in 1987). The Uzi remained the Israeli military’s primary SMG for almost 50 years, finally being phased out by the IDF in 2003.
From 9mm to .177
The Uzi Subgun is finally available in a never before seen caliber, .177 (4.5mm). The new Pyramyd Air exclusive CO2-powered, select fire model is absolutely true to the Uzi design in virtually every detail and operating feature. It is as real as it gets in airguns.
Although Uzi construction is simple by design, right down to this latest CO2 model, Uziel Gal put a lot of forethought into the gun’s original engineering. Intended to lower manufacturing costs and make them easier to build, the Uzi receiver is stamped out of flat steel and then formed around dies. The series of long ridges stamped into the sides of the receiver are not just for looks but actually serve to strengthen the receiver’s flats against impact and damage. Unlike conventional rifles or sub machineguns the Uzi’s magazine inserts through the pistol grip, just like a semiautomatic handgun, creating a better center of balance for one-handed operation and making the Uzi easier to reload. Gal noted that the idea of placing the magazine into the grip occurred to him after he had seen soldiers in the field fumbling in low light or dark of night to insert a magazine into the receiver of a rifle. He believed that placing it into the pistol grip, which was already in one’s hand, would make it much easier. He was right.
Another distinctive feature is the Uzi’s folding stock, combined with the gun’s central pistol grip and magazine well, the Uzi can be made as compact as possible for carry and ease of use when fired offhand or from the waist, yet, by simply pulling the folded shoulder rest into position the gun can be rapidly converted into a shoulder-fired weapon. Of course this is not legal on civilian Uzi pistols in the U.S. (without a lot of paperwork and a Class III license) thus the 1.77 model is the only U.S. legal Uzi Subgun or pistol available with a folding shoulder stock.
The 9mm Uzi uses a blowback mechanism with a bolt that wraps around (shrouds) the back of the barrel; a design, although not unique to the Uzi, that contributes to reducing the overall length of the weapon. Uzi .22 rimfire pistols and carbines use a closed bolt blowback operated semi-auto action, and employ the same operating controls and pistol grip safety as the 9mm. These same design fundamentals are used in building the all metal air pistol version as well, even the grip safety. In order for the air pistol to discharge the grip safety must be fully compressed, just like the cartridge models. This feature was added by Gal to the original design as a preventative measure against accidental discharge if a weapon was inadvertently dropped in combat.
The Uzi .177 Subgun is as close in measurements and operation as possible to an original c.1980’s version. The correct-style charging handle is mounted on top of the receiver and reciprocates with each shot, and the ejection port on the right side of the receiver opens as if an empty shell case were being extracted. The Mini Uzi air pistol has the same look and feel as the 9x19mm with an all metal receiver, a rear sight with two flip-up apertures, original style plastic pistol grips and forend, even the MINI UZI and IWI imprint on the back of the receiver.
This select fire version perfectly duplicates the 9mm design with a “Safe”, semi-auto “R”, and automatic “A”, fire selector switch. The magazine release (below) at the bottom center of the grip is also a carbon copy of the cartridge-firing version. For even greater authenticity, steel magazines hold both the CO2 capsule and 25 BBs so reloading is authentic right down to the smallest detail.
With a weight (including magazine) of 4.85 lbs., the gun has a 5.6 inch barrel and an overall length (with open shoulder stock) of 23.5 inches (13.4 inches with the stock folded). It’s safe to say you can expect to see a lot of these Uzi air pistols subbing for the real thing in films and television shows…not that you’ll know it! (SFX teams add in sound and muzzle flash during editing for TV and movies.)
Airing out the Mini Uzi
At a combat distance of 7-yards (21feet) the average range for consistent accuracy with blowback action BB pistols, the Uzi put 20 .177 cal. Hornady Black Diamond steel BBs into an area measuring 0.75 inches. The gun has enough weight and balance in the hand that in full auto mode it feels like the real thing with the reciprocating bolt. It takes one CO2 capsule for each load of 25 steel BBs if you want to fire on full auto, about two loads on semi-auto. That CO2 has a big job to do operating the action. With a few magazines loaded and ready the Uzi air pistol is as quick as a 9mm to operate and reload, but a whole lot less expensive! This is the one live action BB gun of all the latest models available, that you just have to own.