At Warriortalk we have been discussing the modern applications of the Submachinegun. Some might scoff at such a thing, citing the wholesale move away from the SMG by the world's armies in favor of the short assault rifle. But in reality, what the SMG was capable of in the 1990s, it is still capable of, and in proper form, it has some serious advantages over the SAR (short assault rifle). Our favorite, based on availability as well as simplicity and ruggedness, is the time honored UZI.
In the realm of the pistol, the SMG is king, and the UZI a strong contender for the crown. The UZI SMG beats the shotgun for anything except a very narrow spectrum. Don't believe me? Shoot a shotgun qual with the UZI and then report back. But before you do, try to shoot an SMG qual with the shotgun.
Compared to the pistol used in the proactive application, the UZI wins again. Go find the most difficult pistol qual you can find, and then shoot it with the UZI. Begin finger off trigger but in a contact ready to begin. It will be very simple to meet the times and accuracy standards. It is easier to hit, and hit fast and repeatedly with a weapon like the UZI with multiple points of contact and a cheekweld. That someone can use a pistol well is not the issue. That same person would do better with an UZI. You can prove it to yourself at will if you are honest. One important advantage is that while the UZI SMG is not run like the M4 or exactly like the AK, it is run exactly like a handgun.
The UZI has both a grip safety and a sliding thumb safety under the firing hand thumb. We have found that in administrative mode (carrying slung, or in a bag) he use of the safety is warranted. But once the weapon is in hand, that safety is disengaged and the grip safety is the only safety. Think of it as an XD, and run it like a Glock, allowing your trigger finger to be the real safety.
The magazine release is very similar to the various European Pistols with a heel release. The "speed load" advocates will jump on this as a failing of the system. It is not. The "speed load" concept was a foolish doctrine devised on the playing field to promote the use of the 1911 over the revolver back in the early days of IPSC. Don't fall for it. Very few SMGs or infantry rifles are set up for "speed loading" in the playing field context, yet can be reloaded very quickly.
With the UZI, the L-Shaped magazine clamp has been very popular. One IDF vet reports that every single UZI he ever ran was equipped with these. It allows a very smooth and drama-free "proactive reload" in the same manner as what is taught for a handgun. In short, grab the bottom of the on-board magazine and press the magazine release button. Extract it, turn the wrist slightly, and insert the new magazine. The run the bolt to chamber a new round. This maneuver, like on the Kalashnikov Rifle, serves as both a reload and a malfunction clearance maneuver.
Like the AK-47, FAL and other martial weapons, all of these maneuvers should finish by running the bolt. With the UZI, operation of the bolt is very reminiscent of running the slide on your Glock.
The UZI magazine has many similarities to the Glock magazine (and other similar 9mm handguns). It fits easily in any pouch designed to carry a pistol magazine. In clandestine environments where a low profile is required, one can keep the UZI nearby with an L-Shaped Magazine configuration in place and an extra 25 round magazine on-person. The reload is amazingly similar to the typical handgun reload.
The operator removes the on-board magazine and stows it in the front pocket (or down the shirt, or in a dump pouch, or...). Then he reaches back and accesses a fresh magazine. The UZI magazine should always be carried as the last magazine so the operator knows its location and so it does not interfere with the reload of the hand gun. In this case, we have positioned the 25 round UZI magazine in a Blade-Tech mag pouch for a Glock 17.
The other area that is particular to the SMG is transitions to secondary weapons. While it can and has been done with handgun to handgun, we see more of this with shoulder gun to handgun.
With the UZI, we like to add a VFG. In this case we are using an old Israeli VFG we had in our "used pile" while we wait for the Crimson Trace Light/Laser VFG. The Handguard rail is one of the excellent units we sell from Barrelxchange. The VFG can be used to guide and control the UZI out of position if you have not had time to deploy a sling, or prefer to work without one.
Move the UZI offline as you grab the pistol, and then carry on as usual.
For the private citizen seeking a PDW that can truly go everywhere he or she goes, that can be wielded by strong man, stay at home moms, or kids, and that does not have the muzzle blast or penetration/reach characteristics of the short assault rifle, the SMG in UZI form may be the best answer. It served urban SWAT units for many years and it may be seeing a rebirth as the best answer for a private citizen's PDW.