CZ's new Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine is a slick, user-friendly firearm that's well suited as a serious home defender or as a fun plinker at the range.
Many readers have heard of the Skorpion vz.61. A small, easily carried machine pistol with a wire buttstock and chambered in 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP), the gun has a mystique about it that fascinates many. After development was completed in 1961, the gun was first adopted by the Czechoslovak State Police and then the Czech Army.
The original blowback-action Skorpion was fed from a detachable box magazine that was located in front of the trigger, and the gun fired from a closed bolt, permitting more accurate single-round fire. After the fall of the iron curtain, production of the Skorpion continued off and on by Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ) until the last unit was produced in 1994.
Early on in the life of the Skorpion, it was recognized that a major flaw was the low-powered .32 ACP chambering, so development began on new chamberings like 9mm Makarov, .380 ACP and 9mm Luger. Various commercial versions were offered, but all failed in the marketplace.
The Same, Only Different
The name and basic concept of the Skorpion lived on at CZ, and in 2005, the company produced a prototype submachine gun called the XCZ 868. While there were a few subtle similarities to the original vz.61 Skorpion, the new prototype design had little in common with it. Nevertheless, the new prototype led to the 2009 introduction of the Scorpion EVO 3 A1, a select-fire submachine gun chambered in 9mm Luger.
The new gun caught on, perhaps partially because of its namesake, but more probably because of its features and usefulness. While it is a blowback-operated, magazine-fed submachine gun, it is chambered in the much more reasonably powered 9mm Luger instead of the .32 ACP. It also has a collapsible buttstock that can be folded to the side and a handguard to which a vertical foregrip can be attached.
With the success of the Scorpion EVO 3 A1, CZ decided to make a semi-automatic commercial version, and designated it the Scorpion EVO 3 S1. Originally introduced in the US as a pistol with no buttstock, CZ now has made available a carbine version that is the subject of this review.
Chambered in 9mm Luger, the Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine is supplied with two 20-round polymer magazines. Thirty-round magazines are also available. The magazine well is beveled to encourage fast reloads, and the ambidextrous magazine latch is a lever located on the front of the trigger guard that can be activated by pushing it forward with the trigger finger or with the thumb of the offhand while removing the magazine. Magazines did not always drop free on the test gun.
The trigger guard is generously sized to accommodate a gloved finger, and the single-stage trigger on the sample broke at about 9 pounds after some creep. The pistol grip can be moved fore or aft to adjust the distance the trigger finger must reach.
The handguard and upper and lower receivers are polymer. And running from the rear of the upper receiver to the front of the handguard is a polymer Picatinny-style rail to which can be attached an optic. The gun comes with an elevation-adjustable post front sight and a windage-adjustable aperture rear sight. CZ even supplies a tool for sight adjustments. There are actually four apertures, each of a different size so the shooter can choose between fast target acquisition and a more precise sight picture. Just rotating the aperture toward the front or rear brings the next aperture into alignment.
The handguard features Magpul M-LOK attachment points along the bottom and on both sides for the addition of accessories such as lights, lasers or vertical foregrips. And since the handguard is polymer, it did a good job of insulating the hand from barrel heat. The barrel measures 16.2 inches in length, has a black finish and 1/2×28 threads at the business end. A brake is installed at the muzzle and was effective in reducing muzzle rise.
A collapsible polymer buttstock can be folded to the right for transport and storage. Grasping the butt from the rear and squeezing a large lever just forward of the buttpad releases the lock to allow a change in length. By pushing a large button on the left side of the gun at the junction of the receiver and buttstock, the buttstock can be folded to the right. In an emergency, the gun can be fired with the buttstock folded.
There are two eyelets for the attachment of a sling, one at the front and one at the rear, on both sides of the upper receiver. Also, at the rear of the upper receiver on the left side is a slot through which a sling can be threaded.
Disassembly for cleaning is straightforward. After double checking to make sure the gun is not loaded, the charging handle is retracted and pushed up to lock it to the rear. Then disengage the pin that secures the lower receiver to the upper. Pull the lower receiver to the rear and down to separate it from the upper. Next, with the thumb, grasp the bolt from the bottom and pull it to the rear and away from the upper. The recoil spring assembly is captured by the bolt. No further disassembly is recommended. Assembly, as they say, is in reverse order.
Running the gun is simple. The charging handle located on the left side of the gun forward of the receiver, can be switched to the right side if desired. It is non-reciprocating, but can be locked to the rear by retracting it and pushing upward, catching it in a slot. Releasing it to go forward requires merely slapping it down.
After the last round is fired, the bolt is held to the rear. Once a fresh magazine is inserted, the charging handle can be pulled all the way to the rear and released, or the bolt release, located on the left side of the receiver just above and forward of the trigger, can be pressed down. Either allows the bolt to go forward into battery, feeding a round into the chamber.
The ambidextrous safety selector has two positions, safe and fire, denoted by a red and white icon. The safety on the sample gun was stiff, but not unusable, and may become easier to manipulate over time. However, it was difficult for some shooters to reach with the thumb of the firing hand when holding the pistol grip.
Additionally, the first knuckle of the trigger finger of some shooters was bumped by the lever during recoil. Fortunately, Apex Tactical makes an aftermarket safety selector that solves the problem. It is easy to install and requires no modifications to the gun.
The Scorpion carbine was pleasant to shoot, and no malfunctions whatsoever were experienced with the sample gun. At 50 yards, a reasonable range for a pistol-caliber carbine accuracy test, the gun consistently printed groups just over an inch. That’s respectable.
CZ may have a winner with the Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine. For more information, contact CZ-USA, 800- 955-4486, CZ-USA.com.
CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
Type: Semi-auto, blowback
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Barrel Length: 16.2 in.
Overall Length: 36 in.
Weight: 6.06 lbs.
Stock: Synthetic collapsible and folding
Sights: Windage- and elevation-adjustable rear aperture and front post
Capacity: 20 or 30 rounds
Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from the July 2016 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.