Walther IWI Uzi
Once again Walther have brought out another rimfire look-a-like, this time in the form of the famous, Israeli Uzi SMG - Pete Moore checks it out
The choice of 22 rimfire military-style rifles seems to be ever expanding. 2012 saw the introduction of two old war horses the US M1 Carbine (Chiappa) and the StG 44 assault rifle (GSG). However, for 2013 we have one of the iconic, post-war sub machine guns (SMGs) the Uzi! Made by Walther I had seen prototypes at IWA 2011, but that was all! But a call from Suffolk Rifle Co (Neal Parnham) informed me that guns would be in the UK for the British Shooting Show and as promised they were and I now have one on test.
When the whole look-a-like thing hit the UK Walther who is owned by Umarex were at the forefront with their Colt Tactical range of M16 derivatives. Good looking, they shot well but suffered from the bolt design, which did not allow easy stripping/cleaning. Later they launched Heckler Koch with the 416 (M4 clone) and the MP5 SMG, different but the same in the bolt department. I was excepting more of the same from the Uzi but was pleased to see things were far more practical!
I’m no stranger to Uzis as I’ve shot real ones (selective fire) in the past, and before the SLR ban owned a semi-auto version then made by IMI (Israeli Military Industries). That one came with a US-legal 16” barrel, which I cut it down to the original 10.5”, as back then you could do that. I rate the design, which as I discovered has been used, sold and made under licence by more countries around the world than any other modern SMG.
Design-wise the Uzi uses a telescopic bolt, in that the bolt body is bored out so that when forward it covers the rear of the barrel. This allows for the weapon to be shorter with no loss of barrel length and the magazine to be placed in the pistol grip. The result is a compact and effective design especially in conjunction with its folding butt. It’s likely that its creator Major Uziel Gal of the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) took the telescopic bolt aspects of the Czech Model 25 SMG (VZ 48b) as his inspiration for the Uzi!
OK Arnie asked for a 9 millimetre Uzi in Terminator, but that is now denied us, not so the .22” (5.5mm) version. This rimfire is a very good copy of the original, with one major and a few minor changes and omissions. Being driven and built primarily for the US market the gun sports a mandatory 16” barrel, to which a dummy moderator is wrapped around. Yes it adds weight and length, but does look marginally better than a skinny tube. This also translates to the UK requirement for a Section 1 large firearm to have a minimum barrel length of 12” and a minimum overall length of 24”.
Getting picky Walther could have lost 2” off the barrel without breaking UK law, but why would they given their primary market? Conversely if the stock was fixed and not folding you could go down to a 12” tube but that still means 4” sticking out in front of the barrel nut. That would be my choice as the folding stock; apart from stowage and cosmetics has no real value!
Like the original the Walther is heavy at 7.7 lbs empty, and a lot of this weight seems to be made up of Zamak - a zinc-based alloy - much like GSG’s StG44. Steel components consist of the butt, skinny barrel and trigger mech. The bolt is a steel/Zamak conglomerate with a plastic cover (buffer) over the top. Unusually the pistol grip is all-polymer and features an Allen-headed adjuster in the base. A long Allan key is supplied and I presume you can adjust the trigger weight to a degree. Though I could detect no real difference when I tried.
Controls and features consist of a sliding/2-way safety catch top left of the grip – forward FIRE and back for SAFE. At the base of the grip, again on the left is the mag catch, which is a push-in lever. Like the original the idea is ‘hands find hands’ and the change is smooth and instinctive. Cocking is by a non-reciprocating handle on the removable top cover, it’s U-shaped much like the early Tommy gun so you can see through it onto the front sight. Further inspiration comes from the Colt 1911A1 pistol as the Uzi features a grip safety. As you make your hold the web of your hand automatically pushes the safety so freeing the trigger.
The butt folds up under the rear of the receiver and even with the long barrel/moddy it measures 26” butt to muzzle. Fully extended its 33.5”! It’s deployed by striking the heel of the butt downwards, which unlatches the whole assembly, then you just pull the linkage rearwards where it automatically locks into place. To stow squeeze the rear sections of the stock together and hinge it upwards, then press in the button by the sling loop (left side) and swing the whole thing down and forwards. With the front section parallel with the underside of the receiver swing up the rear where it will lock.
The first Uzi’s came with a fixed, wooden butt, which was not popular! It is said that Uziel Gal designed the new folding stock in two weeks and went around the IDF in combat changing them. Cool story!
The forend is polymer and quite short and it appears that the dummy moddy and barrel nut are fixed in position and non-removable. Removing the forend reveals a section of Picatinny rail for a torch or similar. Just behind this on the left is a large, QD sling swivel, which can be removed and positioned rear/right of the receiver. This was not possible on the original. Sights consist of a windage-adjustable, L-flip, double aperture at the rear for 25 and 50-yards, up front is an M16-style rotary post for elevation. Both are set in large protectors, the base of the rear one incorporates the catch that allows the top cover to be removed for stripping.
Trigger pull is a mushy but reasonable 4-5 lbs. The main difference here is that the Walther Uzi fires from a closed, blow back bolt with a separate firing pin, which is struck by a hammer as opposed to the open bolt/fixed firing pin of the 9mm military version. It also offers an automatic, last round hold open actuated by the empty magazine.
The Uzi is supplied with 2 x 20-round magazines as standard with external, pull-down lugs for ease of filling. The gun is well presented and comes with a comprehensive manual, though there is no mention of the long Allen key and trigger adjuster system.
LOCK & LOAD
To load slap in a magazine and pull back and release the cocking handle, which will cycle/cock the action and chamber the first round. The handle is automatically drawn forward and out of the way by a spring. Iron sights only, it’s accurate enough and able to produce 1” groups @ 25-yards with care and around 2” @ 50. Length of pull is generous at 16”, however, the position of the pistol grip means long or short arms are easily accommodated. It’s heavy but this translates into a stable rifle in the shoulder.
Reliability is always my concern with these guns and the Uzi did not disappoint as from 22 subs to HV it ate them all. I put about 400-rounds through it with only the usual ammo-related stoppages. Stripping is easy – cock the action and apply the safety.
Slide in the catch at the front of the rear sight and lift the rear of the top cover up and off. Next lift the buffer off the bolt, then pull the bolt all the way to the rear and lift it and the spring/guide rod out of the action. The pistol grip assembly is secured by a single cross pin at the front, push this out right to left and pull it off. As can be imagined cleaning is easy due to the access offered by the simple design.
So what do you do with the Uzi? In truth it’s a fun plinker and little else and much like the StG, and Chiappa M1 it’s not as versatile, nor does it offer the potential of the generic 22 AR15. However, and mandatory long barrel/moddy aside, it’s a superb reproduction of probably the most famous post war SMGs. Would I get one; only if I could get rid of that bloody awful dummy can…
|Name||Walther IWI Uzi|
|Calibre||22 Long Rifle|
|Capacity||20 DM (two supplied)|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates