Book Review: The Uzi Submachine Gun Examined, by David Gaboury
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“The UZI Submachine Gun: Examined” is a newly published book this year by David Gaboury – long time owner and operator of the uzitalk.com forum. Until now there has not really been any substantive written reference material on the Uzi, but Gaboury has certainly changed that!
The Uzi has not really seen many major variations in its design beyond the Uzi/Mini Uzi/Micro Uzi scaling (and the semiauto and full auto variations of each), but it has lived two rather distinct lives. One is the Uzi as a global military arm, and the other is the Uzi as an American commercial product – and this book covers both is excellent detail.
On the military side, the book begins with a substantial chapter on the initial development of the Uzi and Israeli submachine gun trials. A remarkably wide variety of guns were considered by the Israeli armed forces, and the trial ultimately came down to two domestic designs. The influence of the Czech ZK-476 and SA vz 23/4/5/6 designs are well explained, and much of the mythology about where the design came from is dispelled. Gaboury makes good use of both original documentary sources and firsthand conversation with those who were involved at the time the tell this story.
With the gun accepted, in production, and becoming very popular with Israeli troops, international sales become a possibility. Gaboury covers the adoption of the gun by the Dutch armed forces, followed by the German and South African militaries – as well as the licensed production by FN. He also examines other copies and adaptations, including Croatian, Japanese, and Chinese.
The second half of the Uzi story is that of its sale in the United States (including the use by US security organizations including the Secret Service). This is a story every bit as complex and detailed as the international military use of the gun, as US legal changes in 1968, 1986, 1989, 1994, and 2004 all play a major role in dictating changes that must be made to the guns for import and sale. In particular, Gaboury has detailed chapters on the major sellers of Uzis in the US – Action Arms, Group Industries, and Vector Arms (as well as many other smaller players).
While there may not be many major variations of the Uzi, there are a multitude of smaller changes to individual parts in both design and production technique, and Gaboury covers these in remarkable detail. If there is a flaw to the book, it is not in lack of detail, but perhaps in a bit of dryness to the writing. The information is clearly presented, but not particularly engaging to the reader who is only mildly interested in the subject. This is a minor criticism, however, and the book is an outstanding reference for anyone who has, well, really any questions at all about the Uzi.
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