U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- As a gun collector, at some point, your interest gets piqued by more niche firearms like the IWI Uzi Pro pistol. Yes, there are more modern designs that in many ways outperform the Uzi Pro, but few of them capture the 80’s nostalgia of the Micro Uzi, while still offering a thoroughly modernized take that keeps the gun relevant in the era of decked-out AR-15s like the Pro can. That said, the Uzi’s core design is more than a half-century old, and there’s only so much modernizing you can do to a design that dated. So is the Uzi Pro worth a second glance in 2021? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
IWI Uzi Pro 9mm
Based extensively on the super-compact (for its design) Micro Uzi, the Uzi Pro is a direct blowback, semi-automatic handgun chambered in 9x19mm. It feeds from (slightly) modified Uzi magazines and includes two 25-round examples in the box. I say slightly because surplus Uzi magazines can be modified by adding a magazine catch cut to the right side to make them compatible. Though most shooters won’t need to resort to this, given that new magazines for the Uzi Pro run between $18 and $25. However, at the time of this article, these magazines are neigh impossible to locate online. Hopefully, once the panic-buying subsides, these mags will come back in stock again – but I digress.
Like the Micro Uzi that the Pro evolved from, it features a stamped steel receiver that consists of an upper and lower (with the upper being the serialized component) held together with two large roll pins. Also, like the Micro, the Uzi Pro utilizes a large, somewhat heavy bolt held in battery by a pair of parallel recoil springs. Unlike the original Micro Uzi, the Pro shifts its charging handle to the left side of the gun, instead of the top. The top-mounted charger was a hold-over from the original Uzi design, which while both functional and ambidextrous, precludes any easy way of mounting optics to the firearm.
With the charger relocated to the side, the engineers at IWI installed a short Picatinny optics rail between the front and read sights, allowing shooters to attach whatever red dot, or magnified optic they choose – provided it fits between the sights. Speaking of which, where the original Micro Uzi simply had parkerized post and notch sights, the Uzi Pro features white paint on the front sight to make obtaining a proper sight picture easier under mixed lighting conditions. Also, the sights are fully adjustable for windage and elevation – though separately. Meaning, the rear sight is on a threaded bolt and adjusts horizontally, while the front sight post looks like an M16A2-style one that threads up or down for elevation and is secured with a spring-loaded plunger.
Forward of this, the Uzi Pro features a stubby 4.5in barrel with a thread protector over its 1/2×28 standard threaded muzzle. This makes it compatible with nearly all 9mm muzzle devices including both my SilencerCo Osprey 45 and Innovative Arms 9mm suppressors provided by SilencerShop.com. Beneath the barrel, the Pro includes an extended Picatinny accessory rail for mounting lights, lasers, or angled grips (or vertical grips if a shooter SBR’s their gun.).
Brace Yourself for the Uzi Pro
On the other end of the Uzi, the engineers at IWI attached a folding brace made by SBTactical which uses a modified Galil-style hinge which initially is very difficult to fold. But unlike the Galil’s folding mechanism, the Uzi’s is cammed on both sides. So shooters don’t have to pull down on the brace to unlock it, but simply apply enough force horizontally and it will cam out of lock and fold – but there is one issue with this setup. Since the gun ejects to the left, the brace folds along the right side of the receiver. This isn’t normally an issue, but because of the brace’s size, it blocks the pistol grip itself. Making the gun nearly impossible to fire from the folded position – at least for right-handed shooters. This isn’t a problem on the original Micro Uzi, since the folding stock on that gun is very narrow and actually functions as a make-shift vertical grip. But obviously, given ATF regulations, attaching a stock to a pistol is a big no-no without a proper stamp because…. reasons?
Get a Grip!
ATF stupidity aside, the improved polymer grip of the Uzi Pro is the most distinguishing feature of the new design. Consisting of a steel magazine well encompassed by a polymer shell, the Uzi Pro utilizes a traditional push-button magazine release that can be easily actuated without the shooter having to shift their firing grip. Why is this important?
Two reasons. First, the original Uzi designs utilizes a locking tab at the base of the grip, that while very secure and positive, requires the shooter to utilize their support hand to use. Secondly, because of the new magazine release’s location, standard Uzi mags won’t readily function in the Uzi Pro. This is because the new design requires a different magazine catch cut on the mag bodies. Thankfully, as I said before, the new magazines aren’t expensive, and shooters with a stockpile of surplus Uzi magazines can utilize a Dremel or hand file to cut a new magazine catch that doesn’t affect the magazine’s compatibility with standard Uzi-pattern firearms.
Personally, as someone with a good amount of muscle memory from shooting standard-configuration Uzis, I actually like the original magazine release better. But it’s really a matter of preference, and truth be told, the new pattern is objectively faster.
Uzi Pro Testing
My time with the Uzi Pro was fairly limited, it arrived at my FFL only a week and a half ago. But given that 9mm is one of the few calibers I have in substantial numbers, and how excited I was to get some trigger time behind the gun, I had to jump on it. Testing brevity aside, I still managed to shoot some 350 rounds of various 9mm ammunition through the gun. And in that time, the only malfunctions that ever occurred were user-induced. And by that, I mean the shooter simply didn’t pull the bolt all the way to the rear to chamber a round from a fresh magazine. Other than that, the gun ran flawlessly – both with and without a sound suppressor attached.
Accuracy was both great and awful. The Uzi Pro only has a 4.5-inch barrel, so it’s not going to squeeze every last inch of velocity out of the 9mm parabellum cartridge. That said, the gun was always capable of hitting an 8-inch steel gong at 75 yards when using optics. That was true both for the EoTech XPS3 and the Holosun 507c ACSS I tested on it. As far as mechanical accuracy, when fired with the magazine rested on a shooting bench, I was able to force the gun to group around three minutes of angle. Sometimes it would do a sub-two-MOA group, but most groups hovered right around the 3 to 3.5in mark at 100 yards. Not phenomenal for a rifle, but for a large format pistol chambered in 9mm, not bad at all.
So how was it awful? For some reason, when paired with an Innovative Arms 9mm suppressor, the gun would occasionally throw a round several inches off-target in a random direction. I initially thought it was a baffle strike, but the can showed no damage. Stranger still, I had a gunsmith check the barrel’s threads, and they were perfect. Though that makes sense because when paired with my Osprey45 or my buddy’s Surefire Ryder 9 suppressor, the gun showed no change in accuracy whatsoever. Basically, I think the Innovative Arm’s threads are out of spec, but I wanted to mention it here for the sake of full transparency.
With respectable accuracy, flawless reliability, and with the ability to use affordable, plentiful magazines and ammo, the IWI Uzi Pro is a solid little gun. It might be a little hefty and be based on an antiquated design, but it is by no means obsolete. And sure, the MSRP of $1309 might seem a little steep, but keep an eye out, the gun is often closer to the $1200 mark. Plus, even at full price, the Pro is based on a time-tested design that has seen conflict on nearly every continent and is one you can absolutely trust your life to.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.