VECTOR ARMS / IMI SEMI-AUTOMATIC 9MM MINI UZI SBR

 

SEMI AUTO MINI UZI HISTORY:

In 1955, the Uzi submachine gun entered service and was produced by a company called Israel Military Industries, or IMI. The full size UZI SMG was a great success and eventually the need for a smaller, more compact and concealable weapon was needed. The Mini Uzi was designed in 1978, and in 1980 it made its full debut with the Israel special forces. After a few years of use by Israels troops, this model went worldwide. In North America, a company called Action Arms Ltd. had already been importing recievers and creating semi-automatic versions of the full size SMGs. They started getting the full auto Mini Uzis in late 1983 or early 1984, and in 1987, they came out with the semi-auto Mini Uzi carbine. This version had a closed bolt and was equipped with a 19 inch barrel to comply with US firearm laws.

The very first IMI Mini's produced in Israel (known as the model A), had the old style front and rear sights like the full size Model A Uzi. Few were made for testing only and none of them were imported into the US. IMI made a few changes to the sights and some other internal parts and called the models created with these changes the "model B". These changes were also done to the Mini and this is the version that would be imported into the US through Action Arms. Production went fine for a couple years until 1989, when a ban on the importation of assault weapons caused production of the Mini carbine to come to a halt.

On August 24th, 1995, a U.S. Uzi manufacturer named Group Industries went out of business and held an auction for their left over recievers, parts and other miscellaneous junk. A company out of Utah called Vector Arms bought the remaining recievers (all model A full size uzis) and held on to them for a few years. They went into the business of producing full size Uzis in 1999, only after finding another company to reproduce some of the parts that would be needed to complete the guns. That company was Lyttleton Engineering in South Africa, who would produce 77 of the internal parts needed for the Uzi like the trigger housing, sear and disconnector. Vector would handle the rest such as the barrel, grips and the trigger.

Eventually, Vector began producing the Mini Uzi full auto submachine gun as well, using cut down Group Industries model A recievers. The receivers did not have the two horizantal "ribs" on the rear sides of the gun due to the need for space for importation markings and other manufacturer information. At first Vector tried to replicate the rear "ribs" on the Minis but you could tell that they were rewelded in that area and the ribs on the right side had to stop short of the group industries serial number. There were only a VERY small handful of these guns made. Vector ceased making cut down GI receiver SMG Minis in November of 2003.

In the early 2000s, a California company called New Hevectia Trading Co (NHM), imported about 2000-3000 full size IMI Uzi receivers and a handfull of IMI Mini carbine semi auto recievers. Vector Arms bought about 300 of the Mini model B receivers from them. The NHM receivers were original IMI factory receivers that were surplus after Action Arms could no longer import the semi-auto in 1989. Importation markings are stamped on guns once the gun is actually in the country, but since these guns never made it to the United States or Action Arms, the receivers were blank until they were stamped by NHM. These receivers are stamped with "N.H.M. CO. SAC. CA." on the bottom of the rear section. As Vector has stated many times, the IMI/NMH Mini Uzis that Vector sold were not cut down guns. They also feature the same skeletonized trunion as the Action Arms IMI guns.

Somehow along the way, Vector ended up with some post-ban IMI Mini Uzi carbine recievers from Action Arms that were never completely assembled into guns but had all of the Action Arms Ltd import stampings on the rear of the gun. It is possible that these recievers were from the same NHM import as mentioned above and that the import contained a mixture of the unmarked receivers and some that had been pre-marked for Action Arms, as IMI had pre-marked guns before. Being that these receivers were imported after the assault weapons ban of 1994, they had the folding stock and the bayonet lugs completely milled off. They had the traditional black IMI gun finish on them but were bare metal where the stock and bayonet lug once were. There was also a small hole for the fixed stock version of the Mini, on the bottom of the reciever. In late September of 2004 it was decided that 200 of these recievers would be used to create a Mini Uzi "pistol" variant that would be just like the regular Mini Uzi, complete with a short "dual compensator" cut barrel, but minus any form of stock or ability to mount one.

The first Mini Uzi pistol was built in November of 2004 on an Action Arms marked IMI model B semi Mini carbine receiver. They came with one 25 round magazine and an owners manual. The gun came standard with a grey parkerized finish, but for an extra $50, Vector could apply a black finish, very similar to the original IMI finish. Vector used Hebrew marked lowers for these guns as well as they had previously run out of the standard "ARS" stamped versions. In January of 2005, Vector also began adding a sling loop to the flat back of the reciever. Eventually, the NHM marked semi auto Mini receivers would start being used for the Mini Uzi pistols as well.

Between July of 2006 and October of 2006, Vector confirmed that there were no more of the IMI or NHM Mini Uzi recievers left. Future Mini Uzi pistols and carbines would be made from Group Industries model A cut downs, taking about 6 shop hours to make one receiver. In 2008, Vector temporarily closed its doors due to some legal issues, but in early 2009 they slowly re-opened. As of the re-opening, Vector has started using DES (German) marked lowers on the majority of its guns due to a surge in available German Uzi parts kits. The Mini pistol and Mini carbine are still produced on cut down Group Industries receivers to this day.

MY GUN:

I ordered my mini Uzi pistol in early November of 2004, and recieved it on November 23rd, 2004. It was the first Mini Uzi pistol they made. I had Vector exchange the 25 round mag for a 32 rounder ($18). I also ordered a sight tool ($8) and a magazine loader ($8). Vector told me that they were out of the standard ARS lowers so I would be getting an IMI Hebrew marked lower. They filled in the selection for full auto leaving only two Hebrew markings and they also added the English letters above the Hebrew letters. The first group (safe position) contains two letters - "NT". It stands for the word Natzur (Safe). The second group (semi position) contains one letter - "B". It stands for the word Bodedet (Single).


My gun was completed on Friday, November 19th, 2004. Vector had called me earlier that week to let me know that it would be completed then and they let me know my shipping options. I sent out another $11 to add to the shipping total for second day air UPS ground delivery. I Picked it up on November 23rd and brought it home. It came in a plain white cardboard box wrapped up in bubble wrap. It came with everything I asked for and a warranty paper. The serial number on the original IMI Mini Uzi carbines had the prefix MC (Mini Carbine), which was left intact on my gun before the serial number. The old carbines were stamped "MINI UZI CARBINE" above the serial and caliber stampings, but on the Vector Mini pistols, this was redone very nicely to read "MINI UZI PISTOL". 

On the bottom are the markings for Action Arms and IMI.

Vector also added their name a little further forward on the gun on the left side of the receiver as they do with all of their guns.

The right side of the gun has the two ribs running the full length to the back, an easy identifier for IMI receivers.

The area where the bayonet lug no longer exists looks good and clean, and to the non-educated, no one would ever know there was supposed to be one on there.

The area where the stock used to be is the same way.

The gun uses standard model B front and rear sights.

The top cover has the slide plate with the aleration warning marking, found on all semi auto variants.

Upon taking the top cover off, you see that the gun has the skeletonized trunion of an IMI gun, a modified feedramp as well as the semi auto barrel restrictor band.

It has a standard semi-auto Mini Uzi bolt and striker/firing pin assembly.

The barrel lacks a trunion restriction band as seen on the full auto Mini Uzi barrels allthough there is a very tiny step up near the back. The rear end is turned down to fit inside the barrel restriction band above the feed ramp. 

I found out that on some barrels, the (P) stamping stands for Pretoria. Lyttelton is a South African Uzi parts maker that Vector uses for parts, and some of their parts were subcontracted through Pretoria Metal Pressing (PMP) which is also a division of Denel, the parent company of Lyttleton (which is now called Vektor). In other cases (original IMI guns) this "P" marking is simply a inspection proof stamp.


SHORT BARREL RIFLE CONVERSION:

In order for a gun to be considered a rifle/carbine, it has to have a minimum barrel length of 16 inches or retain an overall length of over 25 inches. This is why the original IMI Mini Uzi carbines with the side folding stock shipped with a looong barrel sticking out the front of the gun. The previous minimum barrel length use to be 19". In order for a gun to be considered a pistol, it cannot have a stock of any sort, so, in order to have the original looking 8" barrel AND the original side folding stock on the same Mini Uzi, the gun has to be registered with the ATF as a "short barrel rifle" or "SBR". This involves a lengthy process of submitting forms and fingerprint cards and some other stuff I wont go into detail about here.

I filed my SBR paperwork in October of 2009 and got my approval and stamp back in January of 2010. I waited until around April to send my gun into Vector to have them do the conversion. I sent it in a waited about three weeks before calling them and asking how things were going. They said that they had just taken on a major contract and would no longer be doing work on personal guns. They shipped my gun back to me and it was then that I looked into Richard of BWE Firearms in Florida. After a few emails back and forth, I decided to send my gun in to him. I should have sent it a lot sooner because evidently everyone who was going to be getting something done with Vector, decided that Richard would be their best bet as well.

I got my gun back on November 12th, 2010 after a few months of waiting. I knew going into it that it would take a long time and Richard is a VERY busy man. 



I had Richard refinish it with Norells Moly Resin Semi-Gloss Black. This stuff has a very slight shine to it, but I personally think it looks like the best possible finish to match the old IMI SMGs. 

The receiver markings used to say "UZI MINI PISTOL" but I had it changed to match how the stampings appear on the SMG version. It now reads simply "MINI UZI" and is in the proper place to match the real full auto SMGs.

My gun came originally with the bayonet lug milled off so I had one added.

I also provided Richard with the stock mounting plate and a new stock to put on. You cant even tell that there was ever not one there.

My gun also originally came with a Hebrew trigger group from vector with the English letters above the Hebrew. I provided Richard with an ARS group to install instead, once again to replicate the full auto Mini SMG. I had him fill the letters with paint so he filled the "A" and the "R" with red and the "S" with white. I changed this so that they were all white, the way the SMGs came.

I had the top cover slot plate replaced with one without the semi auto warning message on it.

Finally, I had the barrel engraved with my information as required on the SBR forms.




BEFORE AND AFTER:



Playing "dress up":