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The CZ Scorpion – Proving that SMGs can shine

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I often run across curious weapons from around the world, and I often feature them in my service rifles from around the world series. However, today we are not looking at a rifle but at a submachine gun. Submachine guns have become niche weapons in the face of carbines, but modern models still pop up here and there in modern military forces. Today’s interesting SMG comes from the Czechs and is the CZ Scorpion.

The origins of the Scorpion – Not a hair metal band

Scorpion seems like a helluva name from a bad 80’s action movie. In reality, it’s a reference to a famed Czech submachine gun that dates back to 1961. The Skorpion, as it was called, was either an SMG or machine pistol, depending on who you ask. It was quite small and chambered the .32 ACP. Submachine guns in .32 ACP are fairly rare, and this little fella was quite effective.

The original Skorpion achieved some success outside the Iron Curtain. To build on that success, the Czechs began beefing the weapon up into something more modern. They started by embracing larger, more powerful calibers, including .380 ACP, 9mm Makarov, and 9mm Luger. CZ, the biggest Czech arms firm, then began trying to modify the weapon to make it friendlier to modern accessories.

The original Skorpion
The original Skorpion

The firm found odd ways to add optics, lights, and suppressors, but ultimately the gun’s design wasn’t friendly to these changes, and it was awkward all around. So CZ looked elsewhere and found a prototype from a rather creative Slovak company called Laugo. CZ purchased the rights to the prototype and began designing the modern gun that became the Scorpion EVO 3.

(The number 3 designates the third generation of Scorpion SMGs. Although, the new Scorpion is quite a bit different than the first two generations of the Skorpion.)

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From muzzle device to stock

CZ Scorpion

The CZ Scorpion is a 9mm Luger submachine gun that uses a standard direct-blowback action. It’s an unlocked breach that is very simple but has proven to be effective. The downside is an increase in weight and some increased recoil due to the direct-blowback design. The Scorpion is a moderate-sized SMG with a barrel length of 7.71 inches and an overall length of 26.37 inches.

The CZ Scorpion comes with a folding stock that can be unfolded or collapsed for an adjustable length of pull. This can be quite handy for shooters with or without armor and improves ergonomics with the platform.

Speaking of ergonomics, CZ ensured almost every control was ambidextrous or reversible to fit left-handed shooters. The magazine release and fire selector are ambidextrous and easily accessible. The charging handle can be swapped from side to side with ease. The only control that’s not reversible or ambidextrous is the bolt release.

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The gun uses a proprietary magazine that’s primarily made from polymer. There are a few different versions of this magazine. One is a completely translucent polymer, and another is merely widowed. It seems like the windowed variants are the issued optioned and the ones currently manufactured.

CZ ensured that the Scorpion has plenty of M1913 Picatinny rails that provide a common mounting base for lights, lasers, optics, and oh so much more. This includes three rails on the handguard and one massive rail across the top. Each gun comes with a set of dynamic iron sights that include a front post and four varying-sized apertures for increased accuracy.

Going full auto

CZ Scorpion

The CZ Scorpion comes with four different firing modes. The first is just safe, the second is a single shot semi-automatic mode, the third is a three-round burst, and the fourth is a full-auto option. The safety is a simple lever that is very easy to manipulate between different positions without breaking your firing grip.

The rate of fire is a mighty 1,150 rounds per minute. This is a mighty fast cycling rate of fire, and it takes a skilled user to control such a weapon. Luckily, the gun’s ergonomics help with executing modern shooting tactics that provide additional control over the gun. Factory magazines come in 10-, 20-, and 30-round variants.

Magpul produces 35-round magazines as well as a 50-round drum for the gun. Your options for magazines are wide and tend to be robust. CZ produces additional accessories, including a magazine clamp to pin two magazines together for quicker reloads — you might need that with a rate of fire of 1,150 RPM.

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Police forces train with the CZ Scorpion.
Police forces train with the CZ Scorpion. (CZ)

SMGs are an odd class of firearms these days. They tend to fall into very niche roles and are used for scenarios where you’d need a very compact firearm. The Czech military adopted the SMG in small numbers for what’s likely specialized roles. Numerous other eastern European forces followed suit, including Hungary, Ukraine, and Georgia.

CZ Scorpion has seen success across the world, including in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, and many other places. The Scorpion also entered in the Army’s SMG contest but lost to the APC9K.

CZ has produced a semi-auto-only version that is available to police forces and civilians. It has also produced a micro variant with a shorter barrel for a drug interdiction team who needed the smallest gun possible. This gun is also available as a semi-auto-only option.

The CZ Scorpion series has proven to be a robust, easy-to-use, and reliable platform. In a day and age where SMGs are rarely employed, it’s interesting to see the platform see so much success. That certainly speaks to that famed quality of Czech arms.

Feature Image: Czech police forces training with the CZ Scorpion. (CZ)

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.