Suarez International/TSD Combat Systems Instructor
Memorial Day weekend found me hosting and participating in Roger Phillip’s Long Gun Point Shooting Progressions class in Liberty Hill, TX. I cannot say enough about how this training should be a mandatory part of your development as a rifle gun fighter. When you find yourself deep in the “OH S@#T” of an unexpected engagement, the Point Shooting skill set allows you hit targets faster, and more importantly, not get shot while doing so!
While all the other participants used the normal mix of rifles (AKs and ARs) I used this as an opportunity to find out more about a weapon system that SI has been studying extensively for the last couple of years, the Uzi. I have owned an Uzi for close to twenty years and have been SI certified to instruct the weapon since 2009, but this was the first opportunity I have had to run it through the Point Shooting matrix and what I learned was very enlightening. There are many advantages to the Uzi in a reactive and aggressive scenario and VERY few disadvantages. We already know that the Uzi is simple and reliable, but I also believe that I learned some things that others have not discussed, nor experienced.
The first advantage is quite simple: it is a compact weapon, even if it is heavier than one would expect. The weight/center of gravity is near the hands and close to the body. This close to the body center of gravity allows extremely quick directional changes of the weapon with minimal movement of the hands. When working the “golf swing” and “over the top” engagements I was able to get the muzzle on the target and engage with accurate fire faster than those using conventional long guns.
Another advantage that we get from the close center of gravity is that the weapon excels in dynamic movement situations. The more aggressively we move with a conventional long gun the more we have to be concerned with overshooting the target with the muzzle or losing control of the muzzle while running. With the Uzi, you move your hands to the point your eyes are focused on and the muzzle sticks to that point. Watch a figure skater or diver and you will see that the closer the hands are to the body, the faster the body can turn. This simple fact of physics is evident when dynamically driving the Uzi in movement.
The weapon’s stock and grip geometry also leads to exceptional accuracy in unsighted or instinctive fire. Quite simply the stock angle is MADE for underarm assault and hip firing! With a rifle with a straight stock like the AR or an AK with a modern stock, when you pull the weapon into your armpit and engage, it is very common for the rounds to impact high on the target. Part of the learning curve is to learn the sweet spot of that weapon when training with your “point shooters follow through” that allows you to have the weapon parallel to the ground when firing. With the Uzi you simply lift the weapon until the butt is tucked under your arm and the angle of the stock and the angle of the pistol grip combine to place the weapon perfectly parallel to the ground and you can put very accurate fire on the target. Roger and I took the Uzi past 20 yards and were placing accurate bursts of fire into the center of the target at ranges that many would believe is impossible!
This also carried over to transitions and shoulder transfers. The standard\ SI over the shoulder transitions or the LGPSP Bayonet Thrust transfers/transitions were quicker than anyone expected. A comparatively small movement of the hands and the weapon had moved and the target was engaged. This was especially evident with the Bayonet Thrust methods!
Prior to this class, if you had asked me about the usefulness of the grip safety, I most likely would have discussed disabling it and simply using the thumb safety. Not any longer! The grip safety is a major advantage when using this weapon with the PSP methodologies! When maneuvering the weapon in the “Baton Twirling” drills, it is driven into everyone’s head that you do not make these manipulations near the trigger. With a conventional long gun, this is very easy since you have the forearm, trigger, and pistol grip separated by the magazine well. Your hands are separated by at least twelve inches in most cases. However, due to the overhung bolt design of the Uzi, the magazine well is the pistol grip and by necessity, your hands are only separated by the width of the trigger guard. The grip safety is VERY comforting when making transitions, transfers and aggressive directional changes of the weapon. In fact I now use the Uzi in a similar manner to a Glock or XD. When it is in my hands and I am expecting contact may occur, I take the thumb safety off and leave it off. I simply loosen my grip so the grip safety is engaged and when firing, I naturally grip the weapon tighter and that will disengage the grip safety. It is very intuitive!
The Uzi is not a rifle. Even with the legally mandated long barrel it is still very compact and this size and balance advantage allows for some things that cannot be done with an AR or AK. Especially in dynamic movements off of the X to the 7:00 and 5:00 positions on the clock. When moving reactively off of the X to the 7:00 position it was totally natural to assume the “Hebrew Homey” position (see pic) and I was able to put very accurate center hits on the target. I would then execute a dynamic directional change and mount the Uzi into my shoulder pocket and engage the target with accurate bursts to the head. It was a very natural movement matrix. When moving to the 5:00, Roger taught us pull the weapon up and over our firing side triceps (see pic). With the Uzi, you can pull the weapon into a superb retention shooting position. Add in a dynamic directional change and you can have half a magazine into the target before they have realized you have moved.
The Uzi is also effectively recoilless, let’s face it, it is a nine pound 9mm! But as the Hebrew Homey shows, it allows some short cuts. One of the coolest “aha” moments that I had was that I was able to “zipper through the mount” in a similar fashion to “shooting through the draw stroke” with the pistol. I would engage the target from the hip and while I was moving the stock to my shoulder, I could place rounds on target while moving the weapon. It was the logical progression of “not being a slave to your mount.” And it was VERY fast, talk about shooting them to the ground!
So what are the disadvantages to the Uzi? Well the first is pretty obvious: terminal ballistics when compared to a rifle. But, used in the proper circumstances, it is not a real handicap. Is a burst of three 9mm hollow points to the face any less effective than a single 5.56 round? No, especially since it is so much faster to engage targets in a dynamic setting with the compact weapon system. The other disadvantage was a total surprise to me. The placement of the forward sling swivel flat sucks when performing transfers. It seems to always put the sling in the way of the left side firing hand and trigger finger. If we can develop a good method of attaching the sling forward, say around the front sight housing, it would be an advantageous modification.
To conclude, we discovered and confirmed that the Uzi is incredibly capable in the reactive CQB environment and it possesses advantages that other weapon systems do not. More to the point, I have determined that it will be an excellent study to explore the use of this weapon system in ways and in environments that continue to push the envelope on capability and expectations.
Stay tuned, this is just the beginning!
Comments from others who attended:
From Roger Phillips: For a person who is and will always be a very aggressive learner, watching you run that Uzi in the LGPSP was a thing of beauty. Who would have thunk guys like us, with all of our experience and knowledge, to learn as much as we learned in those two short days. It's another exciting chapter of the fascinating study inside of the PSP family of courses.
The Uzi just made the big time inside Suarez International and John Chambers just became "the man" when it comes to the Uzi.
I know we say it on very special instances and in this case it is very accurate......... "nothing will ever be the same!"
From WT member "Golucky:" Thanks again John for letting me trying the Uzi at the LGPSP course. I am building the funds to acquire this bad boy! I was very much surprised about the weight distribution compared to my AK. Folks, it is indeed very fast! It was pointed out in class, how you can hear the rounds from the UZI was accurately on target first, then the barrage from the rest of the tribe with AK's & AR's.