In the introduction of our review on the CZ-USA Bren 2 Ms, we highlighted the innovation propagated through the Czech firearms industry. Recently, a newer Czech subgun is gaining popularity in military, law enforcement and (when in semi-automatic form) civilian circles. Known as the "Scorpion," like the Bren, CZ-USA offers semi-automatic versions in pistol and rifle form.
The vz. 61 Škorpion submachine gun, production of which started in 1961, was an attempt at using a “machine pistol” as a personal defense weapon (PDW). It fired the .32 ACP (7.65 mm) cartridge, which was popular for police and military handguns in Europe at the time, from a closed bolt. Weighing in at 3 lbs., 8 ozs., the Škorpion, with stock folded and 10-round magazine installed, was small enough to be carried on the hip in a special holster for those such as officers ad crewmen needing a compact, yet potent, arm.
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 submachine gun has been adopted by military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world. The submachine gun's design is the basis for the semi-automatic Scorpion pistols and rifles offered by CZ in the U.S. (Image courtesy of CZ-USA, Inc.)
In 2010, CZ repurposed the Škorpion name, "internationalizing" it by substituting a "c" for the "k," and applying it to the Slovakian Laugo submachine gun design, which CZ purchased the rights to and continued to develop.
Designated "EVO 3" to signify that it is the third generation of Scorpion submachine gun, starting with the vz. 61, the design uses a receiver that is a two-part shell made entirely of polymer with no metal inserts or internal guide rails for the steel bolt (the bolt is guided by the rod contained within the action spring). Not a new concept, a fully polymer upper "receiver" has been used in other submachine guns, like the Steyr TMP and its successor, the B&T MP9.
The Scorpion was designed to be ergonomic. The pistol grip position is adjustable fore and aft by a few millimeters to change the reach to the trigger. A safety selector lever is positioned on both sides above the pistol grip. The charging handle is mounted forward in an MP5-esque position and can be swapped to either side.
It can be locked rearward for an MP5-style reload, though the Scorpion bolt is held open on an empty magazine and can be released by a left side-only lever. The magazine release is a paddle-style lever accessible by either the right or left hand. It can be pushed with the index finger to allow the magazines to drop free or can be actuated with the thumb while grasping the magazine to remove and retain it.
The bolt release on the CZ Scorpion can be found on the left side of the gun.
The magazine release on the CZ Scorpion is an ambidextrous paddle-type arrangement that can be actuated by the thumb of the support had when grasping the magazine for retention.
The magazine release can also be actuated by the index finger of the shooting hand. Scorpion magazines drop free when the release is actuated.
In 2015, a semi-automatic pistol version of the Scorpion was offered in the United States. Currently there are three configurations of Scorpion pistols offered. The standard S1 pistol mimics the Scorpion submachine gun, with its low-mount aperture sights and polymer handguard with molded in Picatinny rail sections, but in semi-automatic form and without a stock. It is available in four colors.
The charging handle on the CZ Scorpion can be installed on either the right or left side. A charging handle can even be installed on both sides at the same time.
A second version of the Scorpion pistol features an extended "flash can" muzzle device, Magpul sights and the extended handguard of the Scorpion rifle, which allows for the attachment of a suppressor to the pistol so that it fits within the handguard. This configuration is also available with a folding SB Tactical arm brace.
The modern CZ product that best matches the spirit of the original Škorpion submachine gun is the Scorpion S2 Micro. Developed by CZ-USA for an undercover law enforcement unit, the civilian version features a shortened 4.12" barrel (the standard Scorpion submachine gun or pistol uses a 7.75" barrel) and a telescoping arm brace that collapses for an overall length of just 16.50", just 6” longer than the original vz. 61.
The reach to the trigger on CZ Scorpion rifles and pistols is adjustable by loosening a bolt and moving the grip fore and aft.
The version of the Micro I tested in 2019 was equipped with an HB Industries short handguard with a hand stop, factory aperture sights, an SB Tactical PDW arm brace and a SilencerCo NoOsprey faux suppressor that covers the barrel. The 2020 version of the Scorpion Micro pistol is offered with a side-folding brace, a shorter "flash can"-type muzzle device and Magpul folding sights.
A 2019 model of the CZ Scorpion Micro S2 pistol. The right side is shown with arm brace extended.
The Scorpion Micro pistol made five-shot groups of just under 2" at 25 yds. using the supplied aperture sights. Its notoriously heavy SMG-type trigger breaks at just under 10 lbs., yet is manageable. Reliability was perfect with every type of ammunition I tried, from 115-gr. target FMJ to self-defense hollow points, to 147-gr. subsonic ammo.
To disassemble the Scorpion line of firearms, starting with the bolt locked into the rearward position with the charging handle, the front takedown pin is pushed out. That allows the lower housing and fire-control unit to be removed. The bolt and mainspring assembly can then be pulled down and out of the receiver. The stock/end cap and pistol grip stay in place.
In addition to its pistol lineup, CZ-USA offers the Scorpion in semi-automatic “carbine” form. Like the Bren 2 rifle, the Scorpion in rifle format must use U.S.-made parts and differs from the standard S1 pistol with its extended handguard with M-LOK slots and Magpul sights, and has a folding and telescoping buttstock.
The CZ Scorpion Micro S2 pistol field-stripped for cleaning.
One of the most recent versions of the Scorpion rifle released is the Magpul Edition. This model takes the standard Scorpion rifle and adds a 35-round PMAG, a MOE-EVO grip, a Zhukov-S folding and telescoping stock, a MOE-EVO enhanced magazine release and MBUS sights.
The 16.20" Scorpion rifle barrels are threaded 1/2x28 TPI and come with either a muzzle compensator or a barrel-covering faux suppressor. Scorpion rifles are available in black or flat dark earth (FDE) finishes. The controls and other features of the Scorpion rifles match those of the Scorpion pistol, described above.
With its Scorpion rifles and pistols, CZ-USA offers civilian firearms based on well-engineered and extensively tested products used by military and law enforcement around the world. The results are affordable and reliable firearms that continue to showcase the global influence of Czech firearm manufacturers.