Upgrading the IMI/Vector Uzi

uzi ar stock

When I was reading “Weapon Tests and Evaluations: The Best of Soldier of Fortune” (don’t judge me, I was trapped in my hotel room), I noticed that the author, in an article that was written something like 25-30 years ago, was proclaiming the death of submachineguns. Short-barreled rifles in real rifle calibers will rule the world, and why would you ever shoot something that weighs the same in a far less effective caliber? It’s a fair point, and a point that it seems like most of the world’s militaries have taken to heart.

Yet, here we are in 2014 (almost 2015!), and pistol caliber carbines (PCCs) are still pretty hot amongst American firearms enthusiasts. This includes the Uzi, probably the most iconic of PCCs alongside the H&K MP5.  IMI Uzis have been banned from import for quite a long time, but Vector is still manufacturing Uzis and Mini Uzis.

Ignoring the heavy weight of the Uzi for the moment, I think it’s a platform that can be modernized more effectively than some people think…

Handguards:

The Barrelxchange railed handguard has been a very popular choice for Uzi owners. It’s relatively cheap, and adds a bottom rail for a VFG or light. I am a bit skeptical of it for full-auto usage with a VFG; I’ve heard stories of the rail breaking and causing the hand to fly up in front of the muzzle. But for semi-auto usage, it’s a pretty solid choice.

FAB Defense makes a tri-rail that’s distributed by Mako that has pretty good reviews, but doesn’t fit out of the box on Vector guns. I think these are probably a better bet on full-auto guns, but they do add some weight. For the price, they’re hard to recommend – you’d have to be running a lot of gear on your already-heavy Uzi to make it worth it.

Finally, you can still get the original “K-Grip” for the Uzi from RobertRTG. These are cheap and tough, but I found it rather chunky in actual usage on a semi-auto Vector. It also prevents you from shooting from a rest or improvised position, which I like having the option of doing.

Optics Mounts:

The Uzi’s topcover is not particularly stable, but a bit of sheet metal bending can tighten it up enough for a mostly-repeatable zero on optics mounted on it. There are a few variations on this theme that you can find online:

  1. RobertRTG sells topcovers that have co-witnessing RMR and FastFire mounts. These are expensive, but provide your best chance at a zero that can be repeated (since you can co-witness to make sure your red dot is still aligned).
  2. M60Joe, Stormwerkz, and BWE Firearms make a topcover with a real rail on it. I use the Stormwerkz rail, but am not a huge fan of it out of the box – it really needs to have a sight channel milled through it. I’d also strongly recommend using a QD mount on your optic to make sure you can get back your iron sights if your optic goes down, since it doesn’t co-witness.

If you want to see some interesting out-of-production stuff, visit UziTalk’s page on optics mounts. I’m undecided what I think of the clamp-on mounts, but they’re all out of production, so it’s a bit of a moot point.

Charging Handle:

I don’t really hate the Uzi’s charging handle, but there is a clearly a preference these days for side-charging when possible (for example, the rise of “tac-latches” on AR-15s). M60Joe makes a part that basically turns the Uzi into  a side-cocker. This isn’t perfect – it can bind a bit at the end of the pull due to the geometry of the parts – but some people like it.

Stock:

There are not really a lot of good alternative stock options. This is really sort of weird – you’d think FAB Defense would have at least put out an adapter or something. In particular, I’d think a UAS stock would be pretty cool (something similar is used on the new Uzi Pro).

Title II Arms makes a mini-Uzi-esque side folder, but 1) it’s been out of production for like two years and 2) it is very expensive at $330. Rumor has it that another run is in the offing.

D&D Sales has a fixed synthetic stock. I’ve never really heard much about it, but I assume it provides a decent cheekweld.

The Uzi pictured at the top of this post has an ACE stock adapter made by turbothis. I believe this was a one-time run, unfortunately. It works quite well for what it is.

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