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Preview – CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Pistol

Photos by Shinnosuke Tanaka
Former Delta Operator Mike Pannone Shakes Out the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Pistol

The iconic and tiny Škorpion vz. 61 submachine gun is probably as well known in the United States from its use in films, TV, and video games as anything else. CZ’s new EVO is the evolution of the  Scorpion line of submachine guns (SMG) that began officially in 1961, hence the name CZ Scorpion EVO.

The original Škorpion vz. 61 was an ultra-compact SMG designed for special operations, vehicle crews, junior level officers, and security forces. Though well engineered, it was originally fielded in 7.65x17mm (.32 ACP) — an anemic caliber in general and, in my appreciation, almost worthless in a sub-gun. It was later made in 9x18mm Makarov as the Vz 65, 9x19mm NATO as the Vz 68, and 9x17mm (.380 ACP) as the Vz 83, with a few other variants in between.

Just the Facts

The new select-fire variant of the EVO is the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1. We only had the chance to evaluate the S1 civilian semi-auto version, currently available only in pistol configuration — but look forward to the select-fire version. The EVO is a simple blowback design, firing from a closed bolt in both civilian S1 guise as well as the select-fire A1 model. It’s chambered in 9x19mm with a cold-hammer-forged barrel that’s just under 8 inches long.

It’s a polymer design, with metal only being used for those parts that are really required to be metal. As a result the CZ Scorpion is very lightweight, considering that this pistol variant of a sub-gun makes for a pretty hefty pistol. It boasts a simple and completely tool-less disassembly procedure, befitting of a design intended for military and law enforcement applications. The lower and upper are both fiber-reinforced polymer, making the overall unloaded weight about 5 pounds, before adding accessories. Though constructed of polymer, it still feels quite robust.

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The operating system is a blowback design, using the combination of bolt mass and spring tension to keep the chamber closed until pressure recedes sufficiently for safe and positive extraction and ejection. That also adds to the simplicity and robust nature of the design and greatly contributes to the low price of the Scorpion.

Anything that fits a Picatinny rail will readily find a home on the CZ Scorpion EVO 3. It has rail sections on the bottom, left, and right, as well as a continuous rail on the entirety of the top of the receiver.

Ergonomics

The ergonomics of the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 are very good, and it’s very intuitive to run. The location of the ambidextrous magazine release allows for removal of the magazine with either hand — merely close your hand around the inserted mag with the thumb pointed up and then press down with the thumb. The bolt locks to the rear on the last shot, and the bolt release is best released by a right-handed shooter with the non-firing thumb like a 1911 and with the index finger for the left-handers. Locking the bolt to the rear either right handed and left handed is equally as easy and intuitive.

Ergonomics and CZ are two terms commonly used together — and I say that as one who made Master Class in three different USPSA divisions using CZ guns. The architecture is very well thought out and shows once again that CZ kept ergonomics, economy of motion, and most of all the shooter in mind when designing the EVO.

Shooting the CZ Scorpion

Having run about 1,500 rounds through the EVO, I can say it’s it’s fun to shoot and extremely accurate. My personal gun has a Streamlight TLR with green laser, a J-Point mini-red dot sight, and a neck sling. A cross body sling similar to an MP5K setup would give a little more stability, but getting it into operation is slower. The neck sling can be rubber banded to the pistol grip and deployed very quickly.

Without a shoulder stock, the EVO shines for experienced pistol shooters after about 20 yards — and at 50 it really comes into its own. Out of the box, the iron sights (rear aperture and front post) were dead on at 25 yards. Adding a J-Point red-dot optic was even better. I worked in, out, and around my Nissan Frontier truck — and it proved to be a really handy package. Using retaining bands on the sling, it nestles nicely between the passenger bucket seat and the transmission hump. I found it very easy to deploy and shoot using the car as cover as well as an additional rest. With the light and laser, it’s even better — it’s a great option for those less familiar or skilled with a traditional handgun for home defense.

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Not Just a Range Toy

After shooting the Scorpion and working around vehicles with it, I think it would be an excellent car gun because of its compact nature and the fact that the 7.7-inch barrel gives it a muzzle velocity of nearly 1,400 fps with modern high- performance 9mm in 115- to 135-grain weights. This gives a real performance boost to the 9mm cartridge, making it more like a .357 Magnum blasting forth from a 4-inch barrel…but with three to four times the magazine capacity.

I’m more than convinced that the Scorpion is particularly well suited for personal protection in the home for the basic shooter. It’s easy to control with very mild and manageable recoil impulse, has good capacity with 20+1 in the chamber (soon to go from good to great when 30-round magazines are available!), and will accept anything that mounts on a Picatinny rail. With a light-laser combo and a neck sling, when things go bump in the night a homeowner can throw that neck sling over his head, grab a phone, and dial 911 as he checks on the family with little effort and maximum speed. In the worst-case scenario in which they face a deadly threat, the inherent ergo- nomics of the design and the ballistic effciency of the nearly 8-inch barrel and modern expanding ammunition (along with a light/laser and red-dot sight) make it a great tool to safeguard your family’s “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”

This is one of those guns that begs for an ATF Form 1 to be made into a short-barreled rife (SBR). With the introduction of a stock and 922(r) compliance kit, this would be one of the nicest little pistol-caliber carbines available, and the $849 MSRP makes a fully registered SBR with light/laser and red-dot attainable for well under $2,000. It’s a really affordable foray into the pistol variant of a sub-gun and an incredible value for the price. Mine is now a valued family member and looking to be enhanced soon into an SBR.


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