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Build a 9mm Uzi semiautomatic carbine part 1: if you like a challenge but some of Matthews' epic projects have scared you off, here's one that may be right down your alley. It's more than just assembly, but requires minimal welding and no machine tools.

Over the last several years, I have written here in SGN on most of the common military firearms available to the hobbyist gun builder. All my projects were firearms that give gun banners nightmares. AK-47, AR-15, FN-FAL, Sten, 1919A4, Bren, Galil, and PPSh-41 are just a few of my politically incorrect projects.



There is however one project missing that along with the AK-47 gives the gun-banning crowd fits and spasms, the Uzi. The Uzi submachine gun is famous to military arms collectors but infamous to gun haters. With ever-tightening federal firearms regulations strangling the home gun build hobby, I figured I better do an Uzi project for SGN readers while I still could.

Imported Uzi carbines are no longer importable. Original mil-spec quality IMI (Israeli Military Industries) Uzi guns and the inexpensive Chi-Com knock offs are no longer available due to the assault weapons ban of the 1990s.

There have been a few high quality U.S.-made replicas and a few low quality U.S. versions made over the last 15 years or so, but the quality versions tend to be quite pricey.

One high quality version made for years by Vector Arms is no longer available on the new firearms market. Used Vector Uzis I have seen for sale recently have run from $800-$1000. Original IMI guns are even higher at $1200-$ 1800, way too rich for working-class stiffs like me.

A few years ago, I stumbled on a Vector Uzi carbine at a gun show for $575 and snatched it up. I haven't seen any that cheap for years. Today there is still a way to get an Uzi carbine at a reasonable price, build one yourself. There arc several suppliers catering to the Uzi home build market. Many of these suppliers advertise right here in SGN.

You may have been scared off home building by some of the complex projects we've run in SGN, but if you buy the right parts, this project can be very easy Anyone with basic mechanical and gunsmithing skills can build this project. I chose parts that make the building easy, but there are other ways of building this project at lower cost but at the cost of increased difficulty.

To build a legal U.S.-made semiautomatic Uzi carbine, you need an imported military surplus Uzi submachine gun parts set, a U.S.-made semi-auto receiver, a U.S.-made semi-auto bolt, some U.S.-made semi-auto fire control parts, a U.S.-made 16-inch 9mm carbine barrel, plus a few other parts.

Several parts must be used to make it legal, not so much to make it shoot. The semi-auto Uzi carbine is based on the Uzi submachine gun design. It must be built to semi-auto specifications in accordance to BATFE regulations to be legal.

You cannot build an Uzi carbine however you want and still be legal. You could make an Uzi carbine that functioned semi-automatically yet still create an illegal machine gun under BATFE's definition. BATFE regulations on building legal Uzi carbines are quite specific and must be observed to be legal. My opinions or yours on what makes a gun legal are of no importance; BATFE has full and absolute authority on this issue and one has to build the project to their guidelines.



Failure to follow BATFE design guidelines could result in building an illegal machine gun under their definition. Making or possessing illegal machine guns (there are legal machine guns but this article isn't about them) is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Don't think law enforcement takes these laws lightly.

A fellow who lived just a few miles from me spent three years in the federal penitentiary system because he thought building an unregistered full-auto AK-47 wasn't that big a deal. He wasn't some hard-core criminal, he was just a local yokel who liked guns that run afoul of the regulations. Build your projects legally or don't do them at all.

Parts Acquisition

The first step in this project was to search the pages of SHOTGUN NEWS for the parts needed. APEX Gun Parts of Palmer Lake, Colo. had Uzi parts sets ( minus barrel, receiver and trunnion) in very good condition listed for$170. I ordered a set and the parts I received looked like new with one exception.



The metal parts looked to be unused, with perfect finish. The handguards and grip panels were not in unused shape. They were very well used. Obviously the grips and handguards were not from the same gun as the metal parts. Fortunately, new U.S.-made grips and handguards are available at reasonable cost.

I then decided to look for a U.S.-made semiautomatic receiver. SGN advertiser Nodak Spud of Edina, Minn, (makers of high quality AK receivers) has recently formed a partnership with McKay Enterprises to offer U.S.-made semiautomatic Uzi receivers.

Nodak Spud/McKay offers two version of this receiver. One is simply the formed shell without any of the frame sub-components welded in place. The version that interested me for this article was their completely welded version. This version would offer the novice builder the easiest route to building this project. All frame subcomponents are precisely aligned and then welded in place.




This option also added the benefit of counting as two U.S.-made parts in the BAFTE required U.S. parts count. While the completely welded version is more than twice the price of the stripped shell version ($100 +$15 shipping stripped vs. $220+$20 shipping for the welded version) it is ready to go and requires no work on the part of the builder.

When I received the receiver and examined it, I was quite pleased. It was precisely bent and replicated an original Uzi receiver very well. It had all the BATFE mandated semi-auto modifications. The front trunnion was configured so that it could not accept a short machine gun barrel since regulations state a semi-auto receiver trunnion has to be configured in such a way so that only semi-auto format barrels can be installed.

The receiver also had the correct feed ramp/restrictor ring that also prevented machine gun barrels from being installed. The ejector was nicely welded into the bottom of the receiver. The trigger housing lug and bayonet lug (who in the world needs a bayonet on a semi-auto Uzi is beyond me!) were located and properly welded.


To prevent a full-auto bolt from being installed, the BATFE-mandated blocking bar was welded in place on the left side of the receiver. The front and rear sight housings were complete and ready to have sight components installed.


The receiver I got was in the white (bare steel), but they are going to be offering a finished version in the future. When you order a Nodak Spud/McKay receiver, you also get one very important item in the deal, a basic build instruction booklet. This booklet takes you through the basics of building the project plus it also offers legal information on how to keep your project legal. All in all, this offering from Nodak Spud is quite a bargain.

Next, I needed a U.S.-made, semi-auto fire control group. In this case, that meant a semi bolt, striker assembly and sear. While looking over the Nodak website 1 saw that they were offering a bolt and striker package made by their partner McKay Enterprises. It was priced at $219.

This bolt was the type "B" bolt that featured a firing pin interlock on the rear of the bolt to limit the chance of an out of battery cartridge firing. Some Uzi builders feel this feature is unnecessary and opt for the type "A" bolt that does not have this feature. The "B" bolt is only slightly more expensive than the "A" bolt so I decided to obtain one so I could show readers the difference.



The builder will have to decide the merit of the safety interlock. It should be noted that IMI, the original maker of semi-auto Uzi carbines, did use this interlock on some models. The bolt and striker came with a large plastic recoil buffer.

This buffer is much larger than the stock subgun buffer. This buffer is not an optional item on this build project. In order to set the correct length of bolt travel on the semi-automatic Uzi design, it must be used. Your project will not operate correctly if you try to delete this item.

D&D Sales of Benson, Ariz., markets a full line of Uzi related products. They carry just about every product a semi Uzi builder could ever need for a project.

Since I wanted to show my readers the difference between the A&B bolts I ordered their "A" bolt, which was just as well made and finished as the McKay "B" bolt that I got from Nodak. The only difference was the lack of the firing pin interlock.

I also ordered their striker assembly since I wasn't sure if the A&B bolts needed different strikers. It turned out that this was not necessary as I found that both strikers were the same. The "A" bolt was $190 and the striker was $65.

The next thing I needed was a 16-inch semi-auto barrel. BATFE regulations mean a short machine gun barrel cannot be used on this project. In fact, a machine gun barrel that has been lengthened to an overall length of 16 inches cannot be used either. To be legal the 16-inch barrel must feature a design feature that allows it to fit only the special semi-auto barrel trunnion in the receiver. D&D offers 16-inch semi-auto spec. 9mm barrels for the reasonable price of $88.


While I was looking over the D&D website I saw a couple other things I needed for the project. They had U.S.-made semi-auto sears for $30 and a U.S. grip panel/ handguard package for $40. Since my grips and handguards were shot, I ordered the new ones. I also ordered the semi sear but you don't absolutely have to buy a new semi sear. The original full-auto sear can be modified to semi-auto configuration by some careful grinding to precise dimensions. I do not have those dimensions but they probably can be found online at some of the Uzi building websites.


This pretty much finished my needs for parts. It was now time to begin the build. I will give a basic overview of the build process so that readers can decide if they can handle the project before they invest in parts. The process pretty much follows the Nodak instructions, but I have added some of my personal observations and information.

Remember that I am not a professional gunsmith. This article simply documents how I built this project. You won't find every last piece of information required to build it here. You'll need to supplement the information contained here with your own gunsmithing skills and knowledge. It is your responsibility to determine that the project is being safely and legally built. Neither the author nor SHOTGUN NEWS accepts any responsibility for the safe and legal construction of your project.


If you do not understand how firearms operate, don't try to build them. This project is pretty easy, but firearms are inherently dangerous and building them even more so. If you don't know what you are doing, educate yourself before starting hobby gunsmithing. If this hasn't scared you off, then it's time to go on to the build!

Salvaging Parts

You will be using many parts from the Uzi parts kit but not all of them. Remove any parts that are still attached to any destroyed receiver sections that you may have gotten in your parts kits. These parts are typically sight components, barrel nut lock and sling swivel. The sight components simply screw out and the barrel nut lock just slides forward and out of the trunnion once the tab on the rear is depressed.

The sling swivel is riveted in place and will have to be cut out of the receiver section. One thing in your parts kit that you will definitely not need is the original full-auto bolt. It is illegal (as in a federal felony!) to use a full-auto bolt in a semi-auto Uzi. Even if you make the firearm function only semi-automatically, it is still an illegal machine gun if it contains a full-auto bolt.

If you are buying parts from D&D, they have a full-auto bolt trade-in program that can reduce your build cost. You can't use it, so you might as well get some bucks for it.

Trigger Housing Modifications

One of the BATF-mandated build procedures is to convert the full-auto fire control group in the trigger housing into a semi-auto fire control group. It is not hard at all, yet this is probably the hardest part of the project. You will need to disassemble the trigger housing to do a small modification and replace one part.


Before doing any disassembly, carefully note the positions of all parts so you can put them back together correctly. The crosspins that hold in the fire control group cannot be removed until you remove the grip safety. Simply remove the grips and then slide the grip safety out the back once it is turned a little to allow removal.

Then, push out the crosspins and remove the trigger assembly and sear. Operate the safety/selector lever. It has three positions. All the way rearward is "safe", all the way forward is "full-auto", and the middle position is "semi-auto".


The lever has an arm that is bent at a 90[degrees] angle that slides in the middle of the housing. A thin stop plate must be welded (not screwed or riveted, it must be welded to be legal) in front of the arm so that the safety lever cannot be pushed beyond the middle or "semi" position.

To be legal, the selector lever cannot be able to push forward to the full-auto setting. This plate is about 1/16" (.062") thick. It can be made or bought from D&D. Once the block is welded in place, you will have a two position semi-auto housing.

To eliminate any confusion about whether this is a full-auto or semi-auto housing I recommend removing the old markings. I milled away the original 3 markings and replaced them with "S" for safe and "F" for fire. While you as the builder know that this will be a semi-auto gun others won't know what it is.

To many, including any law enforcement personnel you my encounter, if it looks like an illegal machine gun and it has a full-auto position and markings on it then it must be an illegal machine gun. A simple marking job may eliminate any future confusion about its configuration.

The trigger housing can now be reassembled in reverse order. During reassembly, the full-auto sear must be replaced with a semi-auto sear or the auto sear must be machined into semi-auto configuration. I used the semi sear that was offered by D&D. Note that it is illegal (there's that pesky federal offense thing again) to use an unmodified full-auto sear in an Uzi-style firearm.

Holding the trigger and disconnector together while under spring tension and then inserting it into place in the housing can be frustrating. A short temporary slave pin that holds the disconnector, springs and trigger together can ease a difficult job. The use of a couple long skinny punches as guides may help also.

Once your housing is converted to semi-auto configuration, the hardest part of the project is done. If you got this far without major problems the rest will be easy. In Part II of this project (12/20 issue) we will finish the build process and apply a final finish to the project.
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Author:Matthews, Steven
Publication:Shotgun News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 20, 2011
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