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Ceska Zbrojovka a.s. Uhersky Brod (CZUB) of the Czech Republic has been in the firearms business since 1936, making just about every kind of gun imaginable. They began importing guns through normal channels in the US in 1991. In 1997, CZ established a US subsidiary that is currently based in Kansas City, Kansas. Through this subsidiary, CZ-USA, they import, manufacture, distribute and service their entire line of firearms, which includes the iconic American Dan Wesson revolvers and 1911 handguns.
CZ recently began shaking the market up with several introductions; first came the Scorpion EVO pistol and the Bren pistol. They have now added the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine. The Scorpion Carbine is a 9mm. blowback semi-auto polymer fun machine. The Scorpion takes its name from the Škorpion vz. 61 personal defense weapon developed in the late 1950s.
A little history is required in order to understand the origins of this pistol-caliber carbine. The Škorpion was developed in the late 1950s by Miroslav Rybář. His design was finalized and accepted by the Czechoslovakian security forces, and later by the Army, in 1961. The intended users of this .32 ACP gun were security forces that needed to maintain a low profile. The Škorpion was designed as a select-fire, blowback-operated machine pistol that can be fired from a closed bolt. To keep the gun compact, it was fitted with a telescopic bolt assembly that actually wraps around the barrel. The rate of fire of a typical blowback machine gun is typically controlled by increasing the mass of the bolt, slowing down the cycle rate. With the design of this bolt, it was not feasible to simply add more mass to the bolt. This resulted in a rate of fire north of 1,000 rounds per minute. This proved to make the gun fairly uncontrollable on full-auto fire, even with the over-folding wire buttstock extended. In an attempt to counteract this, a recoil-reducing device was installed in the wooden pistol grip, which reduced the rate of fire to a relatively controllable 850 rounds per minute.
- Chambering: 9mm
- Barrel: 16.2 inches
- OA Length: 34.75 inches
- Weight: 6.1 pounds
- Stock: Folding, collapsing
- Sights: Adjustable rear, post front
- Action: Straight blowback
- Finish: Matte black
- Capacity: 20+1
- MSRP: $1,049
The new Scorpion Carbine is available in two variants: Both are 9mm and feature a 16.2-inch barrel. One model has a compensating muzzle brake. The model I received has a faux suppressor built by SilencerCo. Both models come equipped with a folding adjustable stock and a forearm that is large enough to accept an actual suppressor without modification, should you choose to add one. The top of the gun has a full-length Picatinny rail fitted from the factory, with a fully adjustable set of aluminum sights. The rear sight features a ghost ring with four different apertures, and the front post can be adjusted by screwing the sight up or down. I was able to easily mount a red dot optic within the abundant available space between the sights. The gun comes equipped with ambidextrous fire controls (10 bonus points!) and a magazine release. The magazine release is located on the rear of the magazine well. The charging handle is almost an exact copy of the HK MP5’s. It does not reciprocate and has a locking position that is engaged by pulling the handle all the way to the rear and rotating it upward into a notch in the forearm. Unlike the MP5, the Scorpion’s bolt locks open on the last round and is released by a downward-activated control on the left side of the receiver. If you’ve chosen to lock the bolt handle in the upper position, the bolt release will not send the bolt forward. I did not find this to be a problem, but some users may find it redundant.
The gun was shipped with two 20-round magazines that were a translucent smoke color, enabling you to see the rounds loaded into them. They were of a double-stack, double-feed design. A quick search of the internet shows that 30-round magazines are readily available from multiple sources.
The gun weighed in unloaded at 6.1 pounds, and fully extended it was 34¾ inches in length. The length of pull is adjustable for user preference. The stock has a single button on the left side that allows it to fold to the right, and is retained by a magnet embedded in the right rear of the stock. This I found to be quite ingenious and effective, in both retaining the stock folded and allowing quick deployment of the stock. There are four sling attachment points: two forward of the mag well on either side of the rifle, and two at the rear of the receiver just forward of the folding collapsible stock.
The gun is field-stripped by first locking the charging handle in the rear upward notch. The captive pin is pushed out of the lower front of the lower receiver, allowing the trigger pack to be completely removed from the gun. The gun is then positioned upside-down. The bolt can be slid out of the gun as an assembly by pushing the bolt slightly to the rear with your finger and then, as you begin to let it go forward, simply applying some upward pressure. This elegantly simple and straightforward process takes less than a minute to complete, and the gun is completely field-stripped and ready to be cleaned. Reassembly was not awkward; reinserting the bolt and the trigger pack was as simple as removing them had been.
On the Range
Once I arrived at the range, I loaded the two magazines full up… and then realized that I had inserted 21 rounds into each magazine. I removed the extra round from each, and figured that this space in the magazine was designed to ensure that a full magazine could be inserted on a closed bolt. With full magazines in hand, I squared up to the target and fired a few shots from about 10 yards determine how the sights were going to perform. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the gun and sights aligned nicely.
The Scorpion proved accurate and reliable no matter what kind of ammunition I fed it, and feed it I did! True to its ancestor, this gun begs to be shot hard and fast! I found myself frequently surprised by how quickly the magazines seemed to empty themselves. I passed this gun around to half a dozen shooters, and each person was able to quickly master the controls and adjustment with zero instructions. The magazines fed reliably and were easy to load. The left-handed shooter in the bunch remarked about how nice it was to have ambidextrous controls at their disposal.
I was interested to see how the non-reciprocating charging handle would work to clear malfunctions, so I loaded up a magazine was several snap caps in the mix and handed it to a shooter, asking them to fire as quickly as possible. The malfunctions that I had induced were easily cleared, and the shooter was back on target in no time. Some of the carbines on the market today have a rear-charging handle that require you to completely come off the gun to clear a malfunction; this was a nice departure from that.
I measured the accuracy of this gun not by how accurately it fired a tight group from the bench, but rather by how quick a shooter could fire a tight group from the standing position. This served to judge the Scorpion within its intended parameters—all tools are designed for a particular task. The learning curve was short and fast for every shooter I handed this gun to.
After everyone had had their turns and the ammunition was gone, we circled up for a quick debrief. Every last participant was enthusiastic about this gun and wanted to know what the price was. A common complaint was the 20-round maximum capacity for the magazines.
The Bottom Line
Of the new crop of semiautomatic 9mm carbines on the market today, this one has got to be my current favorite. The gun is intuitive to shoot, aesthetically pleasing, light, and fast. The current MSRP is $1,049.00, and the CZ Scorpion compares well to other guns on the market in this price range.
I actually own an MP5, which probably has lowered my willingness to spend money on another 9mm carbine. This gun is much closer to the MP5 than the gun it’s named after. I personally think this is the gun that HK should have built when they came out with the UMP to replace the MP5. If I were to compare the Scorpion to other modern guns, I would have to call it an updated iteration of the MP5. My only wish for the Scorpion is that I could fit my full-auto trigger pack and retain my three-lug suppressor. Oh well, we can’t always get what we want, can we?
If you’re in the market for a pistol-caliber carbine, this one will serve you well at home, in your vehicle or wherever you travel.