|Weapon Name||IMI Uzi|
|Country of Origin||Israel|
|Good for:||Primary, milsim, secondary, CQB|
Used for decades by militaries and police forces all over the world, and since its introduction in the 1950s, it has popped up in films, tv and pop culture franchises such as Scarface, Commando, Mad Max, Pay Day 2, Fallout, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and, of course Terminator 2.
In fact, the Uzi is likely the most famous Israeli weapon of all time and one of, if not the most, iconic submachine guns ever made.
If you think you might be interested in picking up an airsoft Uzi for your airsoft collection or for your next game, then read on as we dive a little bit deeper into this compact, Israeli classic and point out what you should be on the lookout for.
A Brief History of the Uzi
The Uzi was designed by Uziel Gal, an Israeli army officer and weapons designer tasked with creating an inexpensive, compact submachine gun for the Israeli army.
With the design of the gun beginning shortly after the 1948 war, the Uzi was introduced in the early 1950s.
It was quickly adopted by Israeli commando units (such as the legendary Unit 101) in 1954 and issued to general service members a couple years later, where the small automatic gun found its niche in clearing trenches, bunkers and other close quarters combat engagements where its 200 meter effective range didn’t really matter.
In the 1980s, with the increasing availability of more powerful and accurate carbines and with changing warfare requirements, the aging Uzi began to be phased out of frontline use and was finally retired in the early 2000s.
Compact, automatic, easy to use, cheap to produce, and with few moving parts to go wrong, in its lifetime the Uzi became a popular SMG option for militaries all around the world and, later taking the civilian market by storm, became possibly one of the most iconic firearms of the 20th century.
Uzi Design Overview and Features
The Uzi is a compact, open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine gun that was originally made of stamped sheet metal.
As a result, despite its compact dimensions (18.5-25 inches with a folding stock), the traditional, full-sized Uzi is relatively solid and heavier than it might otherwise appear, usually weighing around 3.5 kg or about 7.7 lbs.
The magazine of an Uzi is famously located in its relatively chunky and square pistol grip, and the non-reciprocating charging handle is located on the top of the receiver cover.
Beyond that, the Uzi was designed to be as simple to operate as it is to manufacture.
There are three firing modes – safety, semi and automatic, it has basic flip up iron sights, the gun fires 9mm or .45 ACP rounds out of standard 32 round box magazines, and it disassembles from the top.
On automatic, the standard Uzi was capable of firing 600 rounds per minute at 9mm and a little less, 500 rpm, when chambered for .45 rounds.
A gun from the 1950s, created well before the creation and adoption of rail systems, there isn’t much to look at with a classic Uzi beyond its natural good looks.
Traditionally, the Uzi came with two stock variants.
A folding stock, which allowed the Uzi to stay extremely compact and (more) lightweight, and a chunky wooden stock that gave the gun increased stability at a cost of increased weight and less versatile length.
The gun originally came with the wooden stock, but was later fitted with the folding wire one due to tactical considerations and cost-saving measures.
What to look for in an Airsoft Uzi
A classic uzi, the full sized versions used by the IDF, were about 17.5 inches long without a stock, 18.5 inches long with a folding stock collapsed, and 25.6 inches with the stock extended.
The more compact variant, the micro-Uzi, is much more machine-pistol sized, at 19.1 inches extended and just over 11 inches when collapsed.
An old school, stamped steel gun, the Uzi’s compact dimensions belie its weight.
At nearly 8 lbs empty (and over 9 lbs when loaded), it is heavier than more modern SMGs such as the MP7, MP9s, machine pistols and even most MP5 variants.
As a result, we feel an airsoft model should have a little heft to it (although perhaps not 7.7 lbs of it) in order to maintain realism and distinguish it from the many plastic Uzi toys out there.
Traditionally Uzis were all metal, stamped steel to be precise, with the exception of the furniture, such as the hand guards and handles, which were generally plastic.
For maximum authenticity, players should look for an airsoft uzi with as much metal (or aluminum) as possible.
That said, many airsoft Uzis out there will be made of ABS plastics (if not most of them), especially the less expensive and AEG models, which makes them pretty lightweight and easy to carry but can make them feel a little delicate and inauthentic at the same time.
With the Uzi, trademarks are located towards the stock of the gun, next to the folding hinges or stock mounts.
IDF variants will have the IDF logo, under which will be the words תמ”ק for תת-מקלע, or “submachine gun” in Hebrew, some classification markings (מס and סימן – number and type of the weapon) and an identifying number for the weapon.
There might also be an encircled תצ, which indicates it was made as a weapon for the IDF by IWI (at the time IMI).
IWI officially licensed Uzi replicas should, of course, have IWI trademarks of some kind stamped or etched into them, depending on the year and model they are supposed to be replicating.
How easy are Airsoft Uzis to get
As with other vintage-style airsoft guns, Uzis are something of a niche item.
They’re not the most modern looking, they’re not readily upgradable and so they really only appeal to people who want the look and style of the gun or who are interested in its history, like milsimers.
As a result, airsoft Uzi replicas can be a little more hard to find compared to other SMGs and machine pistols, and well made ones even harder than that.
While that means if you do find one it can be immensely satisfying and impressive to other airsofters, but it also means that spares and replacement parts can be harder to find, so you’ll have to be a little more careful if you do find yourself with one with keeping
Popular Uzi Airsoft Upgrades and Accessories
Replicating the look of the originals, there isn’t a whole lot of options when it comes to attaching accessories and upgrades.
In fact, there is a lot going on with the Uzi in terms of structure that doesn’t exactly lend it to readily accepting the more common airsoft accessories one might attach to an SMG.
Most noticeably, the charging handle is on the top of the gun and there are fairly sizable fixed iron sights, which generally precludes the addition of rails for easy optics mounting.
That said, being based on a weapon from the 1950s/60s, if you want to maintain a classic look you’re basically looking at iron sights and an overall minimalist look, anyway.
When it comes to modifications, given how rare proper airsoft uzis can be to find, you might want to err on the side of caution due to the difficulty of finding replacements and replacement parts in case you damage something.
That said there are a few things you can do with an airsoft Uzi to raise its cool factor significantly
Really, the most common accessory you might find with a classic airsoft Uzi (without doing extensive modification) is adding a mock silencer, and that’s assuming your airsoft replica comes with a threaded barrel.
Overall, an airsoft Uzi isn’t exactly a replica that lends itself to a lot of modification or tactical accessories.
Given the relative rarity of the item but popularity among collectors, if you do manage to tacticool up your uzi you may actually offend someone rather than impress them.
If you are looking for an SMG that you can kit out, you’re probably better off with a more modern variant such as an MP7 or even an MP5 whose overall design lends itself better to the addition of rails and other modern accessories.
Using an Uzi in Airsoft
Like other SMGs, an airsoft Uzi is especially well suited to indoor and close quarters games.
Its size makes it quite easy to move around and fire in cramped areas, making clearing rooms with a spray of BBs a whole lot easier.
That said, and perhaps surprisingly so for many first time users, and despite pop culture’s reputation, Uzis aren’t all that small, especially when compared to say modern Mac 10 or Mac 11s.
Depending on the maker and their faithfulness to the original design, a full size airsoft Uzi can come in at around 18 inches or so, while a micro will be around 10-13, so it can be easy to move around with and shift around corners and over obstacles.
With their smaller gearboxes and shorter barrels, airsoft Uzis aren’t exactly known for their high muzzle velocity, and spring and AEGs come in at around 300 FPS or lower, meaning they probably aren’t going to be your go-to primary in open terrain games or in larger fields, or if you want to delivery some firepower.
That said, some gas blowback models (such as the KWC we’ll discuss in a moment) can reach far higher FPS, reaching 400 FPS or higher, which might make them more interesting choices in terms of usability.
So sometimes it pays to shop around a bit.
Our recommendation : KWC CO2 “Hard Kick” GBB Airsoft Uzi
There aren’t too many Uzi replicas out there, at least in North America, and even fewer that you would actually want to buy.
The KWC CO2 GBB Airsoft Uzi, affectionately called the “Hard Kick,” is an airsoft Uzi model that you might actually want to take to your next game.
The gun itself is all metal, and unlike other “all-metal” airsoft guns out there, KWC really means it with this gun.
With the exception of the plastic grips and handguards, everything is pretty much made of alloy metal, making the KWC Uzi very sturdy, durable and very close to a real steel version.
This, of course, makes the KWC quite hefty – it comes in at around 2 Kg or almost 4.5 lbs – something that might otherwise be a knock against the gun, but it is modeled after a classic 1950s Uzi, after all, and so should feel substantial and weighty.
The KWC Uzi is well put together, as well, with very little rattling and noise compared to other metal SMGs we’ve handled, and the folding stock locks nicely into place and remains folded even when the gun is jostled around, which is always nice.
There’s not a lot of accessory possibilities with this gun, however. As you might expect from a vintage airsoft replica, there are no rails and, unfortunately, the barrel is unthreaded so users won’t be able to easily attach a mock suppressor.
In terms of performance, the KWC GBB Uzi certainly earns its nickname.
A CO2 airsoft Uzi, it hits pretty hard, and we saw it reach 400-420 FPS with 0.20g BBs, so it should be a good choice if you really want to put some old-school fear into your opponents.
When set on automatic, the little Uzi is quite quick and we saw around 25-27 RPS, so it can be a good choice for those who love to run and gun.
In terms of feel, the gun delivers far better blowback than many competitor SMGs, largely due to the fact that it is CO2, weighs quite a bit and is made of metal.
While it certainly won’t replicate the feel of a real 9mm, the blowback mechanism does a good job at rocking and vibrating the gun enough to make shooting it quite a lot of fun.
Very helpfully, KWC has included an adjustable hop up on this model, so it can be used to hit targets at range a little bit more accurately.
Hop up adjustment is a little unusual with this airsoft Uzi, however.
The adjuster is located as a ring on the barrel, so users simply turn the ring clockwise/counterclockwise to increase or decrease the hop up.
Gas efficiency on the gun, however, is a bit of a let down and users probably won’t see more than 1-2 mags per fill when using it.
In terms of price, coming in at around $185, the KWC CO2 Uzi isn’t exactly cheap. It does, however, provide excellent performance, is a lot of fun to shoot and is built with a realistic full metal construction and so we’d say it is definitely worth picking up if you have the cash.
The Uzi is a classic gun whose looks and battle-tested functionality has made it an iconic weapon for both military and civilian firearms enthusiasts.
Airsoft Uzis can be a great way to own one of these classic SMGs and, with their compact design and unique looks, a good model (if you are able to find one) will certainly turn some heads on any CQB field.
Will Martin – Will has been into airsoft and paintball for well over 10 years, and has done it all – from upgrading and fixing gearboxes as a tech to building custom airsoft loadouts for his friends to supporting off those friends as a DM.