In order to satisfy the public fascination with the UZI semi-automatic versions of the subgun were produced for sale to civilians without the hassle of the federal tax stamp.
The action was changed to closed bolt and the barrel was lengthened to 19.8 inches to satisfy federal requirements. There was also an UZI Pistol and a Micro-UZI in .380. Unfortunately it seemed that I never had enough cash available to buy one.
Eventually, importation was stopped by administrative stroke of the pen by former President George H.W. Bush, which also temporarily choked off the supply of civilian legal semi-auto AK-47’s, at least for a few years. Well now, I have my chance again, because Century Arms International has introduced its own variant of the UZI semi-auto carbine for sale here, the UC9.
The UC-9 is made from an assortment of genuine UZI parts and assembled here in the U.S. It has the same 19.8 long barrel of the previously imported model, and like it, is semi-automatic only, having been converted to fire from a closed bolt from the original open bolt of the full auto capable original.
At 9 lbs., the UC-9 is no lightweight, but in return you get a mostly steel weapon that makes handling even the hottest 9mm rounds an effortless task-yet the gun is very compact at only 24 inches overall with the stock folded, and a mere 31.5 inches with the stock extended.
The UC-9 provides lot of close range firepower within that package and comes with (according to the online catalogue) with two 32 round all steel magazines. However the hard copy of the catalogue says it comes with 4 magazines-which my sample did.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the manual of arms for the semi-automatic carbine, it is rather straight forward. There is a safety/selector switch which is located above the vertical grip on the left side (the UZI is somewhat unique in that the magazines are loaded through the same vertical grip-and not ahead of it on the receiver).
There is also a grip safety a’ la the 1911 pistol (which must be depressed to cock the gun), and a cocking handle located on top of the receiver in a fashion similar to the 1928 Thompson Sub-machinegun.
The magazine latch/release is located at the base on the bottom left side of the grip, below the plastic grip panel. For ease of carry, there is a single point sling swivel directly above the horizontal foregrip. Sights are an rudimentary affair with rear the rear sight containing two apertures-one marked for 200 meters (a bit of a stretch) and another for a more reasonable 100 meters.
Just ahead of the rear sight assembly is a button for release of the top cover of the receiver and disassembly. There is no bolt hold open latch (since the design was originally open bolt) and, because this is a weapon that was designed in the late 1940’s there is no built in attachment points for vertical foregrips, lights, lasers, optical sights or any of the items we deem as essential for the operation of our 21st Century weapons systems.
But that certainly doesn’t mean the UC-9 is not a useful weapon to the contrary-is represents the ultimate in rugged and durable firepower for close range use. How many other semi-automatic weapons of any kind come with 4 magazines? That fact alone is also a plus.
Are there any drawbacks to the UC-9? Only one that I can see, and that is the trigger. When the open bolt design was converted to closed bolt, well, it didn’t totally convert it.
Yes, the bolt is closed when the gun fires, but the pull is long and feels like it still is an open bolt operation. There are massive parts that move at the moment of fire. Not the standard fare, but certainly it can be gotten used to and compensated for with practice. The UZI never was a match weapon, nor can it be expected to be. It was designed to deliver high volumes of close range firepower and it still does even in its semi-auto only guise.
About the Author: Scott Wagner is a 32-year law enforcement veteran. Currently a police sergeant in Baltimore, Ohio, he spent 20 years with the Union County Ohio Sheriff's Office as a Reserve Deputy where he worked patrol, training and SWAT, and was the assistant SWAT team leader and a team sniper. Wagner has been a state-certified police firearms, fitness and defensive tactics instructor for 26 years, and has been a criminal justice professor and police academy commander for 20 years at a community college in the Midwest.He is the author of the Gun Digest books, "Tactical Shotguns,", "Own the Night—A Guide to Tactical Lights and Laser Sights," and Survival Guns.
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