UZI-style carbines have been a hit in the U.S. since the 1980s and we happen to have several in the Vault to illustrate the progression over the years. 

Designed by Israeli Army officer Uziel Gal to help equip the country's military with a modern 9mm sub gun, over 2 million UZIs were constructed in that country since 1963 and they were exported extensively, serving on nearly every continent. 

Besides service with the Israeli Defense Force, the UZI was exported to dozens of countries as diverse as Honduras, left, and Holland, right. (Photos: National Archives) 

A giant in gun culture-- the UZI was used on-screen by everyone from Charlie Bronson to Wesley Snipes-- the compact Israeli arm is a solid classic and is instantly recognizable worldwide. However, it shot to prominence in the U.S. when a member of President Ronald Reagan's Secret Service team produced one from under a suit coat like magic during the Gipper's 1981 assassination attempt. 

Two scenes, seconds apart, from Outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC, March 30, 1981. (Photos: White House Photographic Collection/NARA)

While select-fire FN-made UZI variants were imported into the U.S. in the 1970s, the growing popularity of the gun sparked a ready-made consumer market for semi-auto sporting carbine versions which transferred with much less red tape.

Action Arms, based out of Philadelphia, started bringing in IMI-made Model A and later Model B UZI carbines, with 16.1-inch barrels and 25-round magazines in the early 1980s, later diversifying these models with offerings chambered in .41 AE and .45 ACP in 1987. 

About the same time as Action Arms was importing their guns, Mike Brown's Group Industries in Louisville started producing UZI clones from all-U.S.-made parts, with varying degrees of success, later marketing the guns as the model HR4332, after the bill number of the Hughes Amendment. 

With the Reagan-signed Hughes Amendment cracking down on the sale of select-fire guns to consumers, Group folded but their tools and inventory-- to include over 3,000 receivers-- was purchased by Ralf Merrill who founded Vector Arms in Utah. Vector reportedly did a better job of QC/QA with their guns, which they kept into production into the 2000s.

Finally, Century Arms International started the distribution of a UZI clone they billed as the UC-9 Centurion in 2012. These reportedly used surplus German military parts.

The UC-9, a more wallet-friendly UZI-style carbine. 

In the end, while original maker IWI still stocks parts for Model A and B UZI carbines, they have moved to just sell the famous pistol-caliber firearm in a pistol, the updated UZI Pro, which hit the market in 2015. 

Nonetheless, there was a lot of competition in the UZI carbine field for several decades, setting the stage for someone else to step in and pick up the torch.

revolver barrel loading graphic