In the July issue of FIREPOWER, we made the statement that the UZI carbine was the most logical semi-automatic weapon to convert to select fire. To reiterate why, we refer you to that issue. In this article we want to take an overview into practical ways to accomplish the conversion. Also, we're assuming the reader is already familiar with the carbine mechanism.
Conversion methods have, because of BATF rulings, changed from what was done in the beginning. Early attention was focused on the bolt. Before commercially made, open firing bolts were available, only the skilled machinist would attempt to alter the existing bolt. Soon, bolts were marketed that were designed to replace the original. They were the same size and used the original recoil spring and large rubber buffer block. This, naturally, resulted in a faster than normal cyclic rate. These bolts had a groove machined into the side to clear the blocking bar. IMI had welded this bar inside the receiver to prevent the use of their standard SMG bolt By altering the select lever, or simply removing it, full auto fire could be achieved with the new style bolts.
Before too long the BATF ruled
that such a bolt constituted a machine gun by an interpretation of the statute
that says: ". . . any part or group of parts that can readily convert . ..".
This means that possession of this bolt - now a legally defined machine gun –
must be accompanied by a $200 tax stamp. The “machine gun” can then legally be
installed into your carbine. However, don’t add a short barrel to your “carbine”
as this transforms it into a “sort barreled rifle”! A bit confusing to say the
Today, such bolts have all but disappeared. The only thing that comes close is some that are still available where the slot has been plugged and welded. The user must remove the plug and has the responsibility of obtaining a BATF Form 1 approval before doing so. To complete this type of conversion, a new buffer/spring assembly must be added. These bolts are full (SMG) size and utilize a longer stroke. This necessitates elongating the rear of the cocking knob slot by 5/8 inch.
The trigger housing can be permanently altered into near “factory original” configuration or you can install one of the replacement levers such as the “Kicker” by Arm-Tec, Inc., and the “Two-Step” by Best Tool & Equip. Co. These selectors are cleverly made in such a manner as to allow select fire. Still providing a “safe” position, they require no matching of a lower housing. While not necessary, a better appearance can be had by affixing a plate, either permanent or removable, that indicates the three selector positions.
Another method of conversion
is to utilize an open firing bolt that is devoid of any clearance groove. These
bolts are readily available and at this time are legal to purchase and possess.
When you alter the receiver to accept one, then you need prior BATF approval.
This complete conversion method is clearly described in Firepower Publications
title FP-4, Select Fire UZI. When carefully done, it produces a nearly
“factory original” submachine gun.
A small amount of machine work is required and can be accomplished with the most basic of tools. Probably the most difficult job is "neatly" using number and letter stamps to correctly indicate the select lever positions and to place your identification on the receiver.
From an economic standpoint, you will have a good investment. A weapon will have been created that is worth more than was spent on the entire package. As we stated in the last issue of FIREPOWER, it makes little sense to make a select fire weapon when the cost exceeds what you would pay for a factory made one. However, in the case of the UZI, the only select fire models which are legal for civilians to possess are those which have been converted from semi-auto after being imported into this country.
Besides the bolt, you will
need a new buffer/spring assembly. Machine gun type extractors are also
available and are a wise investment. The carbine comes with an extractor that
has had a corner machined off. The replacement features a wider lip and is
considered more reliable. Another item which you might want, although the
difference is purely cosmetic, is the small cover plate that covers the cocking
knob slot. The original has some writing stamped on it while the replacement is
One last replacement item that we feel is worthy of mention is the select lever knob. The original is molded from plastic and is rather small for quick, reliable operation. Best Tool & Equip., Hico, TX 76457, makes an ideal replacement knob. It is larger and is made of aluminum. It is available not only in black, but also in red or blue anodized finish.
With all the short barrels available, one shouldn’t even consider cutting the original carbine barrel down. Keep it as it is. Replacement barrels, in 10 inch length, can be purchased plain or threaded 1/2-28 with a removable adapter to fit the 9mm (MAC 10) Sionics suppressor. On the long side, a 22 inch “sniper” barrel is available from Scherer, Gilberts, IL, 60136. We have one installed and shown in this article. Equipped with a Feather Enterprises barrel shroud and flash hider, an UZI wooden stock, Aimpoint sight and Ramline bipod, our "squad auto UZI" is a real crowd pleaser, especially with the younger shooters (see page 60).
Originally published in the September, 1984 issue of Firepower Magazine.
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