by J.B. Wood
Century International Arms has given it a different name, but as you can see, the UZI is back! Semi-auto only, of course, and it has the government- required long barrel. It is the same, essentially, as the original semi auto version imported by Action Arms in the early 1990s.
It still looks and feels like an UZI, including that marvelous fold-up butt stock. Remember the riveting video footage from the Reagan shooting incident in DC in 1981? The Secret Service guy whipped his UZI from under his coat, flipped the stock open, and scanned the surrounding roof edges for any additional assassins.
Yes, the shoulder-stock will deploy that quickly and easily. Folding it back up is not quite as simple, but the well written manual from Century shows you how, with pictures. The UC-9 comes with a standard 32-round UZI magazine—or, less, if you live in some area of Government Oppression.
Before we look at the mechanical aspects of this new version, a little history, for those who came in late.
Back in 1950, the army of the new state of Israel had a confusing lot of odd sub machineguns—some STEN guns, a few German MP-40s, and others. They needed a standard SMG.
So, Major Uziel Gal sat down with the engineers of the newly-founded Israel Military Industries (IMI), and proceeded to solve the problem. The excellent UZI, named in his honor, was based on the Czech VK476 and its later versions, the Vz23 and Vz25. The UZI is not just a copy of these. He made some important modifications.
As produced by IMI in Israel, the gun was adopted for military service in 1952. Later, there were sales to the Netherlands and West Germany. Still later, under license, the UZI was made by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium, and sold to several countries in South America. End of history lesson! For those who like to have the numbers, the original UZI SMG was 25 inches long with the stock open, and 17 inches with it folded. Original barrel was 10.25 inches, and weight was 8.9 pounds with an empty magazine in place. The figures for the Century UC-9 would be the same were it not for the silly barrel length requirement. The UC-9: Over-all, stock open, 31.5 inches.
Stock folded, 24.5 inches. Barrel length, 16.25 inches.
All of the operational features of the UC-9 are the same as the ones on an original UZI, except, of course, the safety has only two positions—rearward, on-safe, forward, fire. The button is in the right place, at the top of the handgrip on the left side. The push-plate magazine release is also on the left side, at the bottom of the hand-grip.
The top-mounted bolt-retraction knob is good, because nothing protrudes on the side. It has its own return spring, and it does not move during the firing cycle. There is a grip-type safety, and it locks not only the sear, but also the bolt. Thus, it must be depressed to cycle the action. On my original UZI from Action Arms, I soon cross-pinned it out of operation. However, it’s a good safety, and would prevent accidental firing if you drop the gun.
One of the great UZI features is easy takedown for cleaning. Depress the little latch at the front, unscrew the knurled nut, and the barrel can be pulled out. Note: sometimes, the nut latch and its coil spring will also be freed, so take care that these parts are not lost. The top cover and knob are released by a catch at the rear, in front of the rear sight. The bolt and striker assembly, and their springs, can then be retracted slightly, and lifted out.
When this is done, you have only seven components. When re-installing the top cover, the good instruction manual advises that you “close it smartly,” to ensure that the latch engages properly. Be sure the front tab of the cover is fully inserted at the front, then give the rear part a good whack with your hand.
The front and rear sights are well protected by sturdy “ears.” The rear aperture is a flip-over type, marked for 100 and 200 meters. The post front sight has a screw-base, and can be adjusted to the right or left. This requires a special tool, and unfortunately, Century does not have it.
However, there is a source.
The UC-9 has a “Type A” front sight, requiring a more complicated tool than a “Type B”. You use the tool to loosen the retaining nut, turn the sight slightly to the right or left, and re-secure the nut. Be very careful, and use no extreme force, because the sight base threads are very fine.
The “Type A” tool is available from SARCO, Inc. for $9.95 plus shipping.
They also have the “Type B” tool for $7.95. The contact information: SARCO, Inc., 50 Hilton Street, Easton, PA 18042; phone: 610-250- 3960; online: sarcoinc.com. Both of these tools are of excellent quality, and the prices are moderate.
Fortunately, on my Centurion UC-9, no adjustment was necessary. Horizontally, it was dead center. Elevation, though, required holding a bit low at 25 yards. As with all guns of this type, full-jacket loads work best.
The ones I had on hand were from GECO of Germany. Functioning was flawless. I also tried it with some hollow-points by Cor-Bon, Hornady, and Winchester, and there were occasional mis-feeds. Well, it wasn’t designed for that stuff.
The target results were surprising.
At 25 yards, standing, no rest, I held way low with the 100-yard rear sight.
The five-shot group was just below center, looked like four shots, and measured two inches. Next, I went to the camp-stool and the MTM Shooting Stick, a “casual rest,” and the groups then shrank to a uniform 1.25 inches! I think we can acknowledge that the Centurion UC-9 is extremely accurate.
The UC-9 has a suggested retail price of $995.95. This is moderate; when you consider that the original Action Arms version is now valued at $1500-plus. The contact information: Century International Arms, 430 S.
Congress Avenue, Suite 1, Delray Beach, FL 33445; phone: 561-265- 4500; online: centuryarms.com.