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Israeli deadly submachine guns – Uzi, Mini Uzi and Micro Uzi

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly approved the decision to divide Palestine into two independent states: Arab and Jewish. On May 14, 1948, the creation of a new independent state of Israel was announced. The young Jewish state was immediately subjected to armed attack from the Arab League countries – Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt. In these conditions, the Israelis had to urgently create their own army and arm it. Among those who took up the development of new, highly effective weapons was Lieutenant (and later retired lieutenant colonel) Uziel Gal.

At the end of 1949, the Israeli infantry received several hundred CZ 23 submachine guns designed by the Czechoslovak engineer Vaclav Holek. According to other sources, these weapons were supplied to the Syrian army, and several units were captured by the Israelis during the fighting. One way or another, Gal got the opportunity to get acquainted with a submachine gun of a fundamentally new and original design. The main distinguishing feature of the Holek system submachine gun was its compactness.

This was achieved by means of the bolt, which moves two-thirds of the barrel, which made it possible to significantly reduce the length of the receiver and the box magazine located in the pistol grip. The center of gravity of a weapon of this design is located above the handle, the movement of mass during firing is insignificant, and the weapon is quite stable even when firing long bursts with one hand.

However, it would be unfair to accuse Gala of plagiarism. In the submachine gun he developed from the Czechoslovak prototype, only an advanced idea was used. The Israeli developed the entire mechanism independently, while significantly improving its design, and made the weapon more technologically advanced. Unlike the round tubular breech box installed on the Czechoslovakian CZ 23, the Israeli submachine gun received a high-tech stamped breech box-rectangular body. The stock made of wood, which was an unaffordable luxury for Israel, was replaced by a lighter and cheaper plastic one.

In the 1960s. the next step was taken – the stationary butt was abandoned altogether, replacing it with a two-link folding, made of light metal. This significantly increased the compactness of the weapon and created additional convenience for the shooter, since in the folded state the butt did not limit mobility, and its shoulder rest could be used as an additional handle. All parts of the mechanism of the submachine gun were made with large tolerances, which increased the manufacturability of the weapon and made it possible to fire even if dirt got inside. In addition, the weapon of the Gala system uses an original system of crimping and holding the barrel, located in front of the bolt carrier. In a battle, when every moment is precious, replacing the barrel consists in several simple operations, performed with proper preparation of the fighter in less than half a minute.

The same device allows you to quickly change the standard 260 mm barrel to an extended 550 mm (sniper). The capacity of standard box magazines used in the Gala submachine gun is 25, 32 and 40 rounds. In the literature, you can find references to elongated magazines for 50 and even 64 rounds, but they are used extremely rarely, since they shift the center of gravity of the weapon, which creates additional inconvenience when shooting, and also makes it less mobile.

Beginning in 1954, at the factories of the Israeli company Israel Military Industries (IMI) in Tel Aviv, the serial production of a new submachine gun began, which received the designation “Uzi” in honor of its creator. Soon, Belgium, Singapore and the USA acquired a license for its production. In Belgium, this weapon was produced from 1960 to 1983 by Fabrique Nationale (FN) under the designation MP 2 (with a stationary wooden butt) and MP 2 A 1 (with a folding shoulder rest). In the USA, the so-called civilian model was produced, characterized by a long barrel and the ability to conduct only single shooting.

In 1956, the Gala submachine guns were used very effectively by the Israelis during the Second Arab-Israeli (Sinai-Suez) War. In the early 60s. XX century. This compact, concealed, virtually non-misfiring submachine gun was already in service with special forces and anti-terrorist groups in more than 20 countries. In addition to Israel, until recently, he was in service with the army and police forces of the FRG, Iran, the Netherlands, Portugal, Thailand and Venezuela, as well as other countries in Africa, Asia and South America. At the same time, the number of terrorist organizations using Uzi cannot be counted at all. Despite almost half a century of history, this submachine gun, like the Soviet Kalashnikov assault rifle, and at the beginning of the XXI century. remains one of the most effective
and popular among their own kind.

In the early 80s. XX century. in Israel, they began to create a more compact automatic weapon based on the Uzi submachine gun, specifically designed for concealed carry and immediate activation.

Such weapons were supposed to equip sabotage and reconnaissance and special units, as well as police forces and security agencies. In 1984, IMI released a model called “Mini Uzi”.

The designers of this weapon managed, practically without changing the mechanism of the standard model, to shorten it by 110 mm (only by shortening the barrel, the gain was more than 60 mm) and to reduce the weight by 1 kg. They decided to keep the stock on the Mini Uzi, but made it single-link. When folding, the shooter could use the shoulder stock as a front handle.

The reduction in the length of the bolt box forced the designers to limit the stroke of the bolt, as a result of which the rate of fire of the new weapon increased 2 times. For users, this resulted in new inconveniences, primarily associated with excessive consumption of cartridges, the inability to “cut off” a short burst, and the increased recoil impulse reduced the already low shooting accuracy. The list of inconveniences for the shooter was supplemented by the fact that small-capacity magazines of 20–32 rounds were adopted as standard for the Mini Uzi. Theoretically, the Mini Uzi can use magazines with a larger capacity, but the centering of the weapon is greatly disturbed.

Thus, for additional minimization, the user of “Mini Uzi” pays for the fact that his weapon is able to instantly release the entire standard magazine only towards the enemy, and not into himself. Probably, having resigned themselves to this, the designers of the Mini Uzi removed the unnecessary diopter from the sighting device and replaced it with a fixed sight, designed for aimed shooting at a distance of 150 m. , did not find official distribution in other countries of the world and was adopted only in Israel.

The relative failure of the Mini Uzi did not stop its designers. The world market for weapons intended for use by special forces soldiers in the second half of the 80s. XX century. continued to remain undersaturated. In order to take its rightful place on it, according to IMI experts, it was necessary to continue work on minimizing the submachine gun.

In 1987, a new modification of the Gala submachine gun was released. When creating it, the designers did not follow the “dead-end” path, providing for further minimization of the “Mini Uzi”, but returned to the base model, “squeezing” it as much as possible. The result is a reliable submachine gun (rather, a rapid-fire pistol) – almost two times shorter and lighter than the Uzi, in which the basic design was supplemented with fresh technical solutions. So, for example, at one time in the Mini Uzi submachine gun, an original compensation system was used – two transverse grooves cut out near the muzzle of the barrel, reduced its withdrawal upward when firing bursts. The designers used the same system in the development of a new “supermini” model. Despite the fact that its rate of fire was very high, and the capacity of a standard magazine was limited to only 20 rounds, the new weapon, designated “Micro Uzi”, surprisingly quickly found fans among bodyguards, employees of anti-terrorist units, as well as their “opponents”.

According to some reports, there is a model “Micro Uzi”, designed for the American cartridge .45 ACP (11.43 mm) and developed specifically for export to the United States, which found fans among the presidential guards. Like the base model Uziel Gal, “Mini Uzi” and “Micro Uzi” have two fuses, one of which is located on the left above the handle and is combined with the type of fire switch, the second is automatic, which releases the lock from the mechanism only after the handle is squeezed shooter in his hand. Subsequently, the additional automatic fuse in the Uzi was abandoned, but in the Mini and Micro models it was retained.

At the end of the twentieth century. IMI ceased production of Uzi submachine guns, but retained production of its Mini and Micro variants.

Experts believe that the Uzi models were (or are) in service in more than 90 countries around the world, and their total production exceeds several million units.

An excellent example of the use of these models is the operation “Sword of Gideon” in 1988 to eliminate the head of the military department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (faction “Al-Fatah”) Abu Jihad – the organizer of several bloody terrorist attacks of 1974-1978. in Nahariya and Tel Aviv, which claimed a total of up to 100 lives with several hundred injured.

The terrorist attack in early 1988 to hijack a bus (three killed) overflowed the patience of the Israeli leadership, who organized the elimination of Khalil Mahmoud el-Wazir (that was the real name of Abu Jihad), who at that time lived with his family in one of the suburbs of Tunisia – the capital of the state of the same name, located between Algeria and Libya. The action, despite its complete secrecy, was prepared on a grand scale. It was attended by agents of the Mossad and the soldiers of Sayret Mitkal.

For several months, the Israeli special services carried out covert surveillance of the terrorist’s house. Major General Ehud Barak, the then deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army, was in charge of the operation. The operation involved ships (several corvettes delivered special forces fighters by sea), helicopters (shock, capable of covering a group of fighters in a foreign country, and military transport to evacuate the wounded and an assault group) and aircraft (one of them housed the coordinating headquarters, the other provided, if necessary, support with electronic warfare equipment). Aircraft in the air were constantly accompanied by two tankers and cover fighters. However, all these forces were brought in just in case, the main role was assigned to a handful of armed fighters.

In April 1988, Israel launched a naval exercise near Tunisia’s territorial waters. At midnight on April 16, four corvettes imperceptibly separated from the general Israeli flotilla and brought ashore 30 Saeret Mitkal fighters, divided into 4 groups. Two groups armed with melee weapons – Mini Uzi submachine guns and Beretta M 71 pistols with PBS devices were to break into the building, two others armed with more powerful army weapons – Galil assault rifles and machine guns FN MAG, provided cover. At about one in the morning, cars with fighters drove into the suburbs of Tunisia and took up positions at the desired house. At 1.30 am, the chauffeur-bodyguard brought El Wazir home from an important meeting. At about three o’clock in the morning, finally, the lights in the villa went out, and the order was given to storm.

The entire assault operation, which had been preparing for several months, took less time than the reader would spend describing it – only 13 seconds. Instantly opening the doors, both assault teams silently rushed into the house, disarming the two guards inside on the move. To prevent the falling of lifeless bodies from waking up target number 1, both had to be “stuffed” with lead almost simultaneously and kept from falling.

After that, except for the special forces, only Abu Jihad and his wife Um remained in the building, their 14-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son slept in a separate room. When the bedroom door quietly opened and several shadows rushed into the room, el-Wazir only managed to open his eyes from sleep. Um, who woke up next to her, watched in horror as the body of her husband was almost silently shredded by automatic rounds (it was later established that 68 9 mm bullets had been stuck into him). Another moment, and the shadows disappeared, without touching the newly-made widow. For a long time she was not destined to wake up from the shock and raise the alarm. At this time, the fighters and organizers of the action were already far away.

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