The Uzi (Hebrew: עוזי, officially cased as UZI) is a related family of open bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns. Smaller variants are considered to be machine pistols. Developed in Israel, the Uzi was one of the first weapons to use a telescoping bolt design which allows for the magazine to be housed in the pistol grip for a shorter weapon, a design not seen since the Japanese Type II machine pistol.
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed by (and named for) Major Uziel Gal in the late 1940s. The prototype was finished in 1950; first introduced to IDF special forces in 1954, the weapon was placed into general issue two years later. The Uzi has found use as a personal defense weapon by rear-echelon troops, officers, artillery troops and tankers, as well as a frontline weapon by elite light infantry assault forces.
The Uzi has been exported to over 90 countries. Over its service lifetime, it has been manufactured by Israel Military Industries, FN Herstal, and other manufacturers. From the 1960s through the 1980s, Uzi submachine guns were sold to more military and police markets than any other submachine gun ever made.
Uzi in The Guns of the South
Time-traveling Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging members brought a number of other weapons besides the AK-47s they supplied Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. One of these was a number of Uzi submachine guns. When Lee refused to abide by Andries Rhoodie's demands related to the continuation of slavery, Rhoodie sent six assassins to kill Lee on his inauguration day on March 4, 1868. The attempt failed and led to the Confederate States declaring martial law and the eventual defeat of the "Rivington Men".
In Harry Turtledove's "Acknowledgments" at the end of the novel, he indicates the inspiration for the novel came from a comment Judith Tarr made in a letter to him complaining that the cover art in an upcoming book was "as anachronistic as Robert E. Lee holding an Uzi". This led him to wonder how and why Lee might get his hands on such a weapon, which in turn led to the novel The Guns of the South. However, as he prepared to write the novel, he elected to have his time-travelers supply AK-47s.
- The Guns of the South, chapter 16.
- Ibid., chapters 17-18
- Ibid., p. 451.