The Century International Arms UC-9 Uzi.

So what is the UC-9 good for? Well it is great fun shooting a historic piece for one thing. Especially for me, since I have always wanted to fire one. But it is STILL a viable defensive piece.

The stock folds to a compact 24 inches, and quickly expands to full shoulder length in a split second. Its parkerized finish allows it to be stowed in a vehicle trunk (where legal) with 128 rounds at the ready, or in the back of a pickup truck or jeep/atv on a farm or ranch.

It would also be great for an RV, boat, or even as a survival weapon in private aircraft for rough country use. And it certainly can be kept ready to go for home defense. And while the UC-9 could be fired like a pistol with the stock folded, remember it’s gonna weigh at least another pound with a loaded magazine in place, take a moment and shoot it with the stock extended-it is a carbine after all!

So, all of this is an academic exercise until I actually got a chance to fire the UC-9, an experience I captured on the accompanying video. I didn’t know what to expect exactly other than a very low level of recoil and the reliable functioning of the UZI design when made with UZI parts. I was not disappointed.

I tested the carbine during a rare break in the miserable Ohio weather we were having at a distance of about 30 feet taking the carbine literally straight from the box.

I firmly believe in testing weapons this way. For me, if I have to clean lube and reassemble a gun in order to make sure it goes bang reliability before I can shoot it-well, I don’t want it. Although this is standard practice for a lot of writers and certainly for a lot of meticulous shooters, I think the average shooter is going to do just what I do, and have always done-open the box, take the gun out, make sure that there is nothing plugging the bore, read the directions (or maybe not) load it and shoot it.

For some folks they may purchase a defensive weapon like a pistol and just load it and leave it without test firing it and expect it to work if they need it in an emergency. Yeah, I know, we definitely aren’t supposed to do that, but the majority of new shooters aren’t blessed with a backyard range to testfire any gun that comes along, so that’s what happens in real life more than we might expect. And that is how I ran the testfire for the video.

I had previously handled the gun to get a little familiar with it and its operational system, and as you can see by watching the video, I wasn’t quite familiar enough. Not being used to a grip safety that needs to be depressed to operate the bolt (a’la the Springfield Armory XD Pistols) caused me a couple of issues in clearing and checking the chamber, until I remembered the safety.

I loaded one of the magazines with Winchester white box 115 gr. Ball ammo and made ready. In my preparatory work with the UC-9’s heavy trigger (which after all is a conversion from an open bolt firing system to a closed bolt system), I didn’t know how much I would like this gun, or how it would fulfill what I see as its proper role and mission.

I can tell you that shooting the UC-9 had to be the most pleasant firearm surprise in my life. I rolled back the trigger until the gun went “bang.”

When I did fire the gun, I was immediately surprised to find that the trigger somehow seemed smoother. This was probably because, and this is just a guess as I am definitely not an engineer, that the firing pin had something to strike rather than just open air to punch into like it did while dry firing.

Anyway, this and the anticipated lack of recoil caused me to immediately break into a big grin accompanied by the thought “oh this is so cool”. I was firing from a standing position. After firing the first 3 shots into the center of a standard OPOTC qualification silhouette, I re-adjusted my point of aim.

I ran off the rest of the magazine into the head area, which struck just slightly low for a 5 inch or so group. Now DON’T take this as any sort of indication of the UC-9’s accuracy potential as I was grinning, looking at the target with each of the shots, and thinking about how much fun the UC-9 is!!! I wasn’t exactly in the precision sniper mode. In fact, I hadn’t been this excited by a gun test in a long time.

There was not a bobble or hitch with the UC-9 during the testfire. After I finished the first mag, I asked my sister in law Mandy if she had ever shot a gun before, and she hadn’t. I asked if she wanted to try a few rounds, assuring her it was a lot of fun and that there was no recoil. She said “yes” with just a little bit of hesitation.

I loaded up for her again, instructed her in the basics of shooting and let her have it-instructing her to aim for the center of the silhouette, where I had placed my first few rounds. Her first few shots were in the chin area. Soon she got the hang of the sights, and dumped the rest of the round into the center of the silhouette, all with the same big grin that I had!

Boys and girls, you have got to get one of these! Not only are you shooting a piece of history, but you are shooting weapon of reasonable close range power which, because of its zero recoil and 9mm pistol cartridge, is just plain fun-without all the blast of 5.56mm and larger cartridges.

This is especially important if you are limited to firing your guns at indoor ranges-it saves a lot of wear and tear on you. Finally, this piece of history is still battle capable.

Time to expand your horizons folks! 20 years ago the UZI carbine was THE gun to have. It disappeared due to some ill-advised and unconstitutional presidential executive orders which banned its import-but its back, and its built here in the U.S. My hat is off to the folks at Century Arms!

Thanks for bringing back a classic that I have always wanted to shoot, but never had a chance to-until now. And at a price in the $800 range, the UC-9 is impossible to beat. Now, I’m going to get some more ammo, and keep shooting.

This article appeared in the July 18, 2011 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. Click here to learn more.

Century Arms

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  1. one of the funnest guns to shoot with no recoil due to substantial weight~my vector was the same or less in price than Century’s: I’d consider a .45 version, maybe .40…spare barrels, mags and parts availability is a factor.

  2. I would gladly trade this enviable 32 round 9mm version for a more robust 20+ or so round in.45ACP. At 9lbs, it still should be a pretty tame urban piece and defense carbine. It would be a nice addition to the Beretta cx4 Storm .45 which is several pounds lighter, but only comes with 8 rd. mags.

    Hey Centry Arms – Is it doable?