Let's not forget how he easily dispatched the much bigger guard, or how he casually blasted away at the control panel with a delighted look on his face.
This one deserves a CMOA on a meta level as well, since George Takei was opposed to the scene where Sulu is called 'Tiny'. It wasn't until he saw the finished print that he finally admitted that the scene was one of Sulu's finest moments.
Uhura's part in the plan - she takes a posting at an out of the way transporter station, paired with an obnoxious young officer, then, when Kirk and company enter, she pulls a phaser on him and makes him get in the closet.
Like the above instance with George Takei, Nichelle Nichols was initially upset at how little she had in the script until she actually read the part and loved what she got to do with that little.
Given the time and circumstances in which the original TV show existed, Uhura was intrinsically awesome just by being an indispensable crew member on the bridge who happened to be a black woman. Whoopi Goldberg cites seeing Uhura on TV as a life-changing moment for her - and that was undoubtedly echoed in the minds of millions of other young people at the time. Giving her a bad-ass action moment here may have been long overdue, but it comes as no surprise that she's more than capable of handling herself.