The Mini UZI was introduced in 1980. Like often happens with Israeli made hardware, the weapon was first sold only to the Israeli Special Forces (SF). A few years later after gaining a considerable combat proven reputation, it was offered globally.
The primary concept behind the Mini UZI was to shift the best characteristics of the standard UZI to a more compact frame, thus enhancing ease of use in tight Close Quarters Combat (CQB) situations as well as enable more concealment options. Accordingly, the Mini UZI retains all the positive features of its bigger brother as well several new modifications of its own:
· The most important change is the weapon's smaller size. With the stock extended the Mini UZI is only 60 cm in length compared to the 65 cm of the standard UZI. However, in the folded stock position the difference is even more noticeable - only 36 cm (14.4”) for the Mini UZI compared to the 47 cm (17.9”) of the standard UZI, making the concealment of the Mini UZI a much easier task.
Those who have an UZI carbine say will tell you that the 600 RPM cyclic rate is a dream and does not require manipulation of the selector switch to get single shots. The Mini UZI is quite a different story. The advertised cycle rate is 900 RPM but that’s clearly a conservative number. Actual measurements will typically yield something closer to 1200 RPM. Simple trigger manipulation just won't suffice with a cyclic rate this high and the operator must make appropriate use of the selector switch.
The trunnion on an UZI is a block of steel welded to the inside of the receiver and is meant to hold the barrel firmly in place. The barrel is not threaded, welded or press fit into the trunion. Instead, one or two raised bands on the barrel match the inside diameter of the trunion hole, keeping the barrel in place.
The trunnion on the Mini UZI is essentially the same as the trunnion on the full size UZI with two exceptions. First, the Mini UZI trunnion is "skeletonized" to reduce weight. Second, the Mini UZI trunion has two notches milled out to allow the bolt feet be inserted beyond the face of the trunnion. Bolt feet are only used on the open bolt configuration. When in the cocked position, the feet allow the smaller Mini UZI bolt to be held fully to the rear of the magazine. Without the feet, the Mini UZI bolt actually rests against the first round in the magazine, causing feeding problems. Milling out the notches in the trunnion is considered to be manufacturing a machine gun. It could be done before 1986 when creating a registered receiver conversion. Since 1986, it can only be done by class II manufactures on dealer sample guns. If a registered receiver gun has notches milled in the trunnion, it can use a standard Mini UZI full auto open bolt. If the trunnion is not milled out (such as using a semi auto receiver to host a registered bolt), the bolt feet will strike the trunnion and the bolt will not close all the way. In that case the feet need to be ground down so they aren't as wide. There's enough room on the side of the trunnion for the narrow feet to slide by. The other alternative would be to cut off the feet, however this leads to feeding problems and is strongly discouraged. In either case, modifying the bolt feet can only be done to a registered bolt.
|Note how the Mini UZI trunnion is skeletonized to reduce the weight. This IMI semi auto trunnion does not need to be milled out because it's made to run with a closed bolt.||The trunnion on a full auto IMI Mini UZI has a notch milled out on each side of the trunnion. That allows the feet on an open bolt to rest along side the trunnion. Without these notches, the bolt would not close all the way.||The Vector Mini UZI is actually a cut down full size UZI and it has a trunnion from a full sized UZI, which is not skeletonized. The Vector trunnion has two notches milled out just like the full auto IMI.|
The first Mini UZIs that IMI manufactured were made from full sized UZI SMG receivers that were cut down to Mini UZI size. The photo above comes from a late 1981 IMI brochure, showing one of the early Mini UZIs as they were originally issued to the IDF. There are several differences in this early version:
- The rear of the foregrip is held on by
a spring clip instead of a second machine screw.
- Dual ribs on the side of the receiver that extend all the way to the rear.
- The front and rear sight ears have holes in them.
- It still uses the original SMG sights. (Model A sights.)
- No front sling stud.
- The swivel end and butt end of the stock were different.
- The wire stock ran parallel to the receiver instead of having drop to it.
In 1983, Action Arms release a Law Enforcement brochure showing the new IMI Mini UZI. The Mini used on the cover of the brochure showed most of the same features as the original IDF guns, except that the sight ears no longer had holes in them and the front slig stud was in place. It was still built off of a cut down receiver and had the early style stock.
Inside the same brochure however, the gun pictured was more
like the final Mini UZI. It had a real Mini UZI receiver with the shorter
receiver ribs and dual screws in the foregrip. The swivel and butt ends of the
stock were now like the final stock, however the stock was still parallel to the
gun. Solid sight ears were used and the front slig stud was in place, but SMG
sights were still used.
The April, 1984 issue of Combat Handguns had an article on the new IMI Mini Uzi. The gun on the cover was probably a stock photo that IMI provided to the magazine and it shows most of the early features - the cut down receiver with long ribs and single screw in the foregrip, all early features on the stock, and SMG sights. This was not the gun that was actually used for the tests in the article.
The gun that was actually tested for the article had all
the later features of the final IMI Mini UZI: shorter side ribs, dual foregrip
screws, "Model B" sights, front sling stud, and a wire stock that had a
significant drop to it instead of running parallel to the gun. The gun tested in
the article was provided by Class III dealer Neal Smith of Ohio. Neal had just
received the new Mini UZI and assuming that the article was photographed some
time before the April, 1984 magazine date, it would seem that the Mini UZI first
became available in the United States in late 1983. It looks like all IMI Mini
UZI's shipped to the US had all of the final features from the very start.
By 1985, Action Arms offered three versions of the Mini Uzi: the standard open bolt version, a closed bolt version and a heavy bolt version. Looking for sales in the US civilian market, they began offering a semi automatic version of the Mini UZI in 1987. It fired from a closed bolt and came with a 19.34" barrel to meet federal regulations on the overall length of a rifle. Importation of the semi automatic Mini UZI was discontinued in 1989 due to federal regulations.
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