Not only is the CZ Scorpion Evo 3 a blast to shoot, it is also a highly functional weapon — particularly with a buttstock.
- As a pistol, the CZ Scorpion is a bit unwieldy, but slap on a buttstock and it becomes a highly useful firearm.
- Opting for such a configuration, however, takes forethought, given it transforms the Scorpion Evo into a NFA-regulated short-barreled rifle.
- The size and firepower a stocked Evo brings to the table makes it more powerful than a pistol and more convenient than a carbine.
- There are a number of sling-mounting options for the Scorpion Evo, allowing users to adjust their carry method to the application.
- The controls of the Evo are brilliantly executed and designed for easy manipulation, even with gloves on.
- An important design point concerning controls is the non-reciprocating cocking handle, which opens real estate to grip this small gun.
- The Scorpion Evo is outfitted with heavy-duty removable sights, complete with adjustable rear aperture.
- The one complaint on the controls is the ambidextrous safety lever, which has the tendency to rub the trigger finger.
- Disassembly/re-assembly of the Scorpion Evo 3 is a breeze and only takes a matter of minutes.
I’m a very utilitarian person — I don’t own a lot of frivolous stuff that doesn’t have a purpose. I don’t own a lot of fancy stuff, either. That is, with the exception of three things: I like a nice watch, I like fine leather, and of course…guns. But guns are the only thing I own that I’ll keep around just for the sake of keeping them around, even if one has no utility. Even my watch and leather items need to have a use.
Previously, when I’ve fired the semi-automatic versions of submachine guns (SMG), I felt that they fit into this category — fun gun that doesn’t really have utility. And honestly, they weren’t even that fun to shoot. In fact, of the two that I had fired, both were quite painful to shoot. They both had terrible trigger slap, and after a few magazines, my trigger finger throbbed.
When I first laid eyes on the Scorpion Evo 3 S1, I erroneously thought that it would fit into this category — fun gun, no utility. I was correct about it being fun — it is by far the most fun gun that I’ve fired that isn’t belt-fed and/or full auto. It’s worth the price just for the amount of pure shooting enjoyment it provides. But, as far as a utilitarian firearm, in pistol form it’s pretty limited. It would make a good truck gun, or even a good home defense gun. Being in pistol form, though, it’s awkward to aim. It’s a little big to fire accurately one-handed, so the support arm has to be fully extended with the elbow straight, which leaves the primary arm bent. Not that’s there’s much recoil, but the minimal amount that it does have must be absorbed by the support arm. The whole thing is just awkward, and it’s not how it was intended to be used when it was designed. Mounting a laser on it does help, as does a nice, tight sling. A lot of users got some improvement by mounting an arm brace onto it, but even that isn’t a perfect solution.
A stock, though, turns it into a far more useful firearm. Not only that, as fun as the Scorpion pistol is, it doubles the fun of shooting it. Unfortunately, you can’t just put a stock on it, because that turns it into an SBR, subject to NFA regulation. But if you’re willing to go through the NFA process, a stock allows you to make well-aimed shots, and it also gives you complete control of the weapon for rapid follow-up shots. Suddenly you have a great gun for carrying in your ATV or truck as you’re driving about, and it also makes for a great home defense gun.
You get the best of both worlds: It’s compact for ease of transport, but open up the stock and you can get carbine-like accuracy. True, it’s not as compact as a handgun, yet if you can swing the extra size, it has increased muzzle velocity and is easier to aim and control. And yes, it can be fired with the stock folded.
There are other companies out there making handgun-caliber carbines, but they just don’t suit my needs as well as this one does. Many of them don’t have folding stocks, so they’re not any more compact than a rifle carbine. If you’re going to carry a firearm the size of a rifle carbine, might as well carry a rifle carbine — with the vast improvement in terminal ballistics, range and accuracy.
SMGs and their semi-automatic versions fall into two basic designs: those that are fed by magazine through the grip, similar to a handgun, like an Uzi; and those that are fed by magazine through a magazine well located in front of the trigger guard, similar to a semi-automatic rifle, like the Scorpion and the Heckler & Koch MP5 before it.
The Scorpion Evo 3 gives you a couple of sling-mounting options. On the left hand side to the rear of the receiver is a slot through which a 1-inch sling can be fed, which makes for a single-point option. Any number of third-party sling mounts that fit onto the accessory rail can also be mounted as a second point when using that configuration. There’s rail at the twelve, three, six and nine o’clock positions to do this. Another option is the four sling swivels located on the right and left sides for ambidextrous use. The rear swivels are polymer molded with the receiver located just under the accessory rail, and the front ones are metal, just in front of the magazine well, halfway up the receiver. I’ve seen metal key rings used in these swivels for clipping a sling, but my preferred method is the “Uber Loop” Quick Wire Loop from Blue Force Gear. It makes for an even more versatile attachment point, and the nylon-coated stainless steel wires and nylon body are quieter than metal key rings.
There’s a lot I really like about the Scorpion Evo 3, and the first thing is that I’m approaching 1,000 rounds and it hasn’t come close to a malfunction. It has cycled perfectly each time, regardless of suppressed or unsuppressed, ammo make, bullet weight, bullet type, bullet construction, +P, standard, or subsonic.
Second, I love the controls — other than the ambidextrous safety lever, which I’ll get to under dislikes. Everything else is brilliantly executed. It’s designed for use with gloves, so the controls are large, but they aren’t obtrusive. Not to sound all new-agey, but the weapon and controls meld nicely together and have a nice flow. An oversized paddle-style ambidextrous magazine release straddles the trigger guard to the front. It’s large, but completely out of the way unless you need it. The texture is not aggressive, but very effective — the graduated lines are reminiscent of the seating found at the Roman Coliseum. The bolt stop is located just above and in front of the trigger. It’s also oversized, yet it stays out of your way unless you need it. It has the same contoured steps as the mag release.
The pistol grip is smooth with no texturing on the sides, only the front and back straps have the same graduated step texture as the controls. It’s designed to be shouldered, not fired like a pistol, so texturing wasn’t as necessary in its original form. Fired like a pistol the lack of texture isn’t that big of a deal, with or without gloves. The bottom of the grip is a little bulbous. It looks like the blown-out magazine wells found on race handguns, except here it serves to keep your hand in position, not to insert magazines.
As for controls, I also like that the cocking handle is non-reciprocating. That’s important for a gun this small, since there’s not a lot of real estate to put the hand anyway. Having to worry about a reciprocating charging handle slamming into the digits would be a distraction, and probably lead to a lot of user-induced malfunctions. I dislike reciprocating charging handles. Before top rails were widely adopted (and mostly mandatory for today’s firearms) to mount optics, it wasn’t uncommon for SMGs to have a top-mounted reciprocating charging handle. Back then, it didn’t matter.
Today, those designs pretty much exclude the mounting of any type of optic, unless you buy a special mount. But, if you mount it on the side, you run the risk of the thumb-busting I just mentioned. Usually, it doesn’t occur while operating the firearm in its intended SOP; the thumb busting occurs during moments of use outside that box — such as when using a benchrest to sight it in.
The removable sights are of metal construction and are heavy duty. As far as I can tell, the only thing made of polymer on the sights is the adjustable rear aperture sight peep, which is actually four peeps on a rotary that allow you to choose the size aperture that you want. The front sight is a post-style sight that is adjustable for windage. These are the same sights that come standard on the 805 Bren S1 Pistol.
There’s only one thing I don’t like about the Scorpion Evo 3, and CZ fixed it right away. The ambidextrous safety’s right-side lever rubs really bad on the first joint of the shooting finger. It doesn’t take long for it to be painful to shoot. Fortunately, they offer a safety delete that gets rid of the left-hand (right side) safety lever. According to CZ-USA, there are three reasons for the safety lever issue. First, since the Scorpion Evo was developed and designed primarily for military/law enforcement agencies, it was made to shoot on full automatic. On full auto, the safety lever is pointing forward, so it wouldn’t rub on the trigger finger. It’s only an issue when it’s on semi-automatic, so it’s mostly an issue for us civilians, and wasn’t really discovered until it hit the U.S. market. Second, it was designed to be an SBR, with a stock, and when firing with a stock most of the pressure is on the shoulder, not on the hand (as is the case with the pistol version), so the finger doesn’t rub on the selector switch. Third, it was designed for tactical users who almost always have on gloves, particularly in the cool/cold Czech Republic.
Disassembly is a real chore, and I say that facetiously. It’s one of the easiest firearms to disassemble that I’ve come across, even more so than firearms famous for being easy to disassemble.
First, remove the magazine, clear it, then physically and visually inspect the chamber to make sure that it is clear. Pull the cocking handle to the rear, and lock the bolt open, pushing the cocking handle up. This is different from most firearms, where you keep the bolt in the closed position to disassemble. Push the disassembly pin all the way through; don’t worry, it’s captured so you won’t lose it.
Grasp the trigger case assembly and pull down, then forward to remove. Carefully place your thumb (you don’t want the heavy bolt to slam closed on you) on the front of the bolt, and push slightly rearward, then ease it forward slowly until you can pull it down and then out of the receiver. The bolt and recoil spring will come out as one unit.
That is as far as it needs to be disassembled for maintenance. Three part assemblies, none of them small, none of them easily lost in the field.
To reassemble, insert the bolt/recoil spring assembly buffer into position at the rear of the receiver, and using your thumb, push rearward and down until it is in position, then ease it slowly forward until the cocking handle engages with it. If the bolt assembly isn’t fully seated, the cocking handle won’t engage with it — you need to push the bolt farther to the rear and push downward.
Once engaged, remove your thumb and pull the cocking handle to the rear and lock the bolt open. Insert the rear of the trigger case assembly (the back of the trigger guard) into its slot, rotate the front of the trigger case assembly into position, and press the disassembly pin into place. Do a function check and it’s assembled.
Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from the Gun Digest Book of CZ Firearms.
The first book of its kind written in English, Gun Digest Book of CZ Firearms takes you into every nook and cranny of CZ (Ceska zbrojovka). You'll learn the unique and unlikely history of how the one-time state-owned company became one of the most trusted names in modern gun making. You'll explore the company's catalog of firearms, discovering the origins and background of such legendary models as the Skorpion, CZ 75 and Vz 24 Rifle. And much, much more. Get Your Copy Now