The Israeli Uzi Pro & a Great American Upgrade
by Col Mike Howard US Marines (Ret)
In my 32 year experience of serving in the military, particularly two combat tours in Iraq, I have often worked with Israelis. My first long visit to Israel was in 1974-1975 as a college student, while also being a member of the US Marine Reserve, I had ample time to look at and discuss military equipment, tactics, events and history with Israeli vets I greatly respected. I was frequently impressed with how the Israel Defence Force would take a US weapons system and actually improve it … like with the Sherman and Patton tank, the F-4 Phantom (the IAF renamed it “Kurnass” or Sledgehammer in Hebrew) and particularly the US D-9 Caterpillar dozer. The latter came off the assembly line in Peoria, Illinois, were shipped to Tel Aviv, Israel, where a yellow construction D-9R was transformer with additional tons of armor, improved suspension, weapon’s mounts, and other ‘ruggedizing’ into an IDF combat gray-green D-9 “Dubbi” or Teddy Bear. The IDF Infantry were blunt and direct in calling the D-9 Armored Dozer the “Zionist Monster”.
But here is a case where an American has taken a long-proven IDF weapon and improved it in a unique American way. I am speaking of Michael Bonamico of Custom Smith Manufacturing in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Israeli Uzi was designed in the late 1940s just as Israel became a true nation. It was a brilliant design and was almost immediately accepted into the IDF. For 70 years, it has faithfully served as a 9mm sub-machine gun that stood in the breach between a pistol sidearm and a military rifle or machine gun. It has gone through a number of minor changes attempting to improve on an almost perfect design. The latest is the Uzi Pro, a semi-automatic pistol that is now popular across the US. As stated, it is a modernized Micro Uzi semi-automatic pistol based on its world famous Uzi sub-machine gun. Variations on the latter have sold in excess of 2 million units worldwide.
The new blow-back operated 9mm Uzi Pro incorporates advanced polymers in the lower section of the receiver resulting in lighter weight and relocation of the magazine release to a more practical and traditional pistol based location familiar to Americans. And unlike earlier Uzi models, the charging handle has been moved from the top of the pistol to the left side of the receiver. Also appealing to Americans, this allows the addition of a full length Picatinny rail system to the top of the weapon, allowing the use of any optical device that utilizes the Picatinni rail clamp mount. There is also an additional, shorter, Picatinni rail incorporated into the polymer lower forward section just under the barrel that allows the use of lights, lasers, or a forward grip. The Israeli Uzi Pro, made by Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) comes with a polymer folding stock that greatly adds to the pistol’s handling. To me it is like handling a small carbine, enabling the shooter to greatly increase accuracy and range with the 9mm. Mike Bonamico at Custom Smith Manufacturing has taken this to an even higher level of design quality and improved operations. He has built a beautiful folding stock that greatly enhances the Uzi Pro in both appearance, comfort and operations. He has also done the same with an ergonomic forward grip that also proves to be much safer in keeping the shooters forward hand away from the barrel and possible muzzle blast. I highly recommend this American improvement in enhancing a solid Israeli design.
The IWI Uzi Pro is of typical Israeli manufacture: rugged, physically impressive and reliable. It is accurate and robust and with Mike Bonamico’s additional customized stock and grip custom additions, even more awesome in appearance, particularly with a beautiful Trijicon site and mount. It comes supplied with two magazines, one 20 round and one 25 round. A 32 round magazine is also available where permitted by local law. It has fully adjustable front and rear sights that are standard.
The IWI Uzi Pro incorporates three safety mechanisms:
· Manual thumb safety
· Grip safety that must be fully depressed before cocking or firing
· Firing pin block
For those of you wanting to know a bit more about Michael Bonamico and his outstanding company: Custom Smith Manufacturing, I’d like to share highlights from my recent interview with him.
“I had always been a fan of firearms, however not until I moved to Arizona did I ever own one. In New Jersey, where I had lived most of my life, they made it next to impossible to obtain one and there was literately no place to use or practice with it. I have been shooting now for 10 years and was always interested in firearms, I had a YouTube channel called TheScarZone which was shut down by liberals. Later I had another called RangeTime Network (still active) plus my other CustomSmithMFG which I use for my sales and other informative topics. I worked in the IT industry all my life and was getting laid off again (thanks Obama) when I fell into making 3D printed adapters for the Kriss Vector. I had a silly printer that was not very good (hobby kind of printer), however, I felt that I could really do something with this. So I spoke with my wife and she agreed to let me get a $8K printer that was more industry standard. This started me off. My company was called Tech Smith MFG until some Chicago Liberal emailed me letting me know I was using a copywrited name. So I changed it to Custom Smith MFG and that has been me ever since. I ended up growing so well that I was running 3 of those printers non-stop. And then last Feb/March 2019, I stared looking into even higher end machines. I found the one I am now using which really changed everything for me. Having the ability to make pretty much anything now I am full steam ahead and not looking back.”
“The Uzi Pro work I have done is a labor of love. I have been contacted by the Israelis at IWI about directly using my designs and this is tremendously satisfying. I made the barrel shroud for the Uzi pro after a friend commented to me that he thought it could use one. Funny thing was he did not even own one. He just suggested it to me. So I went and acquired one and now here I am. Soon I will be SBRing it and will be off to make a stock for it. As they do not seem to sell them. And now SBR’ing a pistol takes about 1 month. This is going to be a fun and a good option for people. I love what I do.”
Please click this link to see lots of pictures ... https://www.instagram.com/customsmithmfg/
Thank you to the good folks at Israeli Weapons Industry for making the Uzi Pro such a fine weapon.
I also want to thank Michael Bonamico for his custom expertise and outstanding design and engineering work.
Model Number(s) UPP9S
Caliber 9mm Parabellum
Operating System Blow Back
Magazine Type IWI, Steel
Magazine Capacity 20 Round, 25 Round
Barrel Material Cold hammer forged, CrMoV
Barrel Length 4.5″
Overall Length 9.5″
Weight 3.66 lbs.
Rifling 1:10 inch twist, Right hand
Sights Adjustable Target Sights
The Uzi Pro: Great additional Reviews