The Uzi, A Kosher Alternative

Of all the weapons shown in 80’s actions movies, perhaps none were as ubiquitous as the Uzi.  Before the rise of all manner of personal defense weapons and machine pistols, the Uzi stood out as a unique, fully-automatic weapon that looked strangely distinct from its assault rifle counterparts.  This gun was different.  It looked just like a pistol, it had a magazine loaded into the grip, a tiny barrel, and was small enough to be wielded single-handedly.  Of all the guns we saw as kids, none were as instantly recognizable as the Uzi, and that’s what added to its mystique.  But these days it seems like the Uzi has begun to fade from prominence.  We’ve seen the Uzi’s decline in popularity as other more reliable, more accurate guns have moved to take its place.  But though it may not be used as much these days, it will forever be remembered by thousands of people as one of the most distinguishable guns of our time.

Though there are plenty of variations, they are all Uzis at their core.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, many Jewish people fled the country and settled around the globe.  The Nazis may have thought it was no big loss, but among the ranks of those that fled were some of the most brilliant men of the 20th Century, including Albert Einstein, who would later help develop the atomic bomb, the very bomb that would help end World War II.  But not all of the refugees were atomic physicists, and some were just damn good gunsmiths.  This is where Uziel Gal came in.  He fled Germany and landed in the British Mandate of Palestine, which today is the country of Israel.  After finding a new home, he was promptly arrested for illegally carrying a gun and sentenced to six years in prison.  In a twist of irony, as soon as he was released he set to work on developing a new gun, which he completed in the late 1940’s.  He didn’t want it named after him, but too fucking bad, and the newly formed Israeli government adopted its use for their armed forces and named it the Uzi.

Above you see the namesake of the Uzi living like a badass, or as he called it, Tuesday.

He made a living later in life designing guns for the United States until he died of non-awesome causes in 2002.  The Uzi was a hugely innovative gun, being the first to use a telescoping bolt so that the magazine could be housed in the grip.  There have been tons of variations of the Uzi over the decades, and just as many companies developed their own variations, so there are no standard statistics for it like rate-of-fire, but the underlying design remained relatively unchanged for decades, soon becoming the most widely sold SMG to police forces and militaries around the globe.  And while most variations boasted an impressive 600 rpm rate of fire, it only had an effective range of about 200 meters.   That didn’t entirely matter though, seeing as it found its main use in clearing bunkers during the Six Day War.  Bunker clearing being quite the short-range, personal affair, the Uzi  was far more suited for such endeavors over the more unwieldy AK-47s.

Though they both came with the optional wood finish, which is really a nice touch.

But the Uzi really came to prominence through an iconic photograph from the 80’s, after the failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life.  A secret service agent, Robert Wanko, was standing nearby the president while holding a briefcase.  When the shots rang out, he opened the briefcase to reveal his weapon, and in turn unknowingly posed for one of the most epic photographs of all time:

A nice haircut.  A well tailored suit.  A perfectly groomed mustache.  A pair of nice dress shoes.  And an Uzi.  Mix that with the fact that he was standing pretty calmly among the chaos, just looking for someone to unload on, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for all things manly.  Just look at that again:

That picture alone is enough to show how cool a weapon the Uzi is, and anything else I write is merely superfluous.  Regardless, because of the gun’s prominence in media, we’ve seen it make an appearance in numerous video games and movies over the years, in one form or another.  It is a shame that it is conspicuously absent from both MW3 and BF3 right now, considering those are the only two shooters I still have on my shelf.  But it’s not a complete loss, seeing as it’s spiritual successor, the MP7, has taken its place in both games, and is extremely similar (and extremely deadly, if used correctly).  And of course, for our Goldeneye 64 reference, it showed up as the ZMG 9mm.  But out of all of the appearances in fiction, often real life is stranger, and thus I stumbled across this picture of an all-woman combat regiment in the Israeli army, all equipped with Uzis, which I imagine was taken before they downed shots of the equally dangerous Ouzo:

In the end, the Uzi is one of the most instantly recognizable names in gun lore, and makes an appearance in almost every violent movie and video game out there.  It is, however, an extremely dangerous weapon that has more recoil that one would imagine.  Take the story of an 8-year old boy who was shooting some pumpkins at a gun fair, when he laid on the full-auto and the recoil pulled the gun back, shooting him in the face.  There are apparently videos of it online, but I’ll be damned before I link to something like that.  Any time an automatic weapon makes the news (that isn’t a rifle) it is referred to as an Uzi, and more often than not they are referred to as “Uzi machine guns”, which irritates me to no end, not only because reporters call every automatic gun out there either an AK or an Uzi, but also the use of the incorrect “machine gun” designation for anything automatic.  The public-at-large is woefully uneducated about weapons, which often leads to senseless deaths like the one above.  I’ll leave you with a screen from, which states that an Uzi is a synonym for a gun.  I’m not sure if it is an example of the prominence of the Uzi in our culture, or rather a singular lack of knowledge about weapons (which I won’t tolerate, even on an online thesaurus):

I think what gets me more is that they think people use the term "blaster" interchangeably with "gun". Really?

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2 Comments to “The Uzi, A Kosher Alternative”

  1. Great post. We need to educate every chance we get. The media drives me crazy with how they get things way wrong. Calling everything an AK or a machine gun. One of these days I get an Uzi. The knock off are like 700$ why not right?

  2. Straight to the point and well written! Why can’t everyone else be like this?

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