Some many months back, I viewed a video on YouTube about the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 handgun. (That’s quite a mouthful, so we’ll just call it the CZ Scorpion.) I was really impressed with the video testing the CZ Scorpion. I’ve had some other semi-auto only versions of full-auto sub guns in the past, and most didn’t impress me. They were just too bulky, or they flat out weren’t reliable. However, there was just “something” about the CZ Scorpion that caught my attention when I watched that video. So, I kept a watchful eye out for one at my local gun shop, and recently they finally got one in stock that I snapped up.
The CZ Scorpion is imported by CZ USA , along with many other fine firearms, too many to even begin to count on their website. The CZ Scorpion is made in the Czech Republic– what was formerly part of the old Iron Curtain under the control of the Soviet Union. To be sure, some outstanding firearms have been manufactured in the Czech Republic over the years. One I always wanted was the CZ 75 9mm handgun, but the few that were in the U.S. some many years ago were commanding big money. So, I was content to purchase “clones” of the famed CZ 75 over the years. Some were better than others. However, you can now have the real deal, thanks to CZ USA. However, the gun under review today is the CZ Scorpion.
Make no mistake, this is a handgun, even though it may appear to be a submachine gun by its looks. The Scorpion is chambered in 9mm and comes with two 20-rd magazines, however, 30-rd mags are available, if you can find them. They are hard to come by, though, if you shop around you can find them at the actual retail price of a mere $19.95. There are some companies that are charging as much as $75 a piece for the 30-rd mags. Steer clear of them! Shop around the Internet, and you’ll find some of these 30-rd polymer mags for your Scorpion. www.gregcotellc.com often has the 30-rd mags for $19.95. If he is out of stock, get on the waiting list; he gets them in all the time. The polymer mags are fiber reinforced and translucent; you can see the rounds in the mag, even though the polymer is smoked colored. They are double feed and easy to load, too. Just press the rounds down, as you would on a mag like the AR-15 takes, really fast. It’s easy to load 30-rds in a minute or less.
The frame/receiver on the Scorpion is black, fiber reinforced polymer, reducing the weight of the gun to 5.0 lbs. The barrel and bolt carrier group is, needless to say, made out of steel. The barrel is 7.72 inches and cold hammer forged, so it will stand up to all the shooting you want to do without fear of wearing the barrel out. Overall length of the Scoprion is 16.0 inches with a height of 9.4 inches with the 20-rd mag inserted. There are Picatinny-style rails on the top of the receiver as well as the bottom/front and on either side of the receiver forward of the ejection port, so you can mount all manner of accessories, like lights and lasers. The lower Picatinny rail has a “stop” attached, for proper hand placement. You don’t want your off hand to push forward and get a finger blown off if it protrudes in front of the barrel. On my sample, the “stop” was attached fully forward. I moved it rearward a bit, and it makes the gun fit my off hand all that much better. The barrel also has a flash suppressor attached to it, which is nice!
The charging handle comes mounted on the left side of the upper receiver. However, in a minute or so, you can mount it on the right side of the gun, if you are a southpaw. The ejection port is large, and empty brass easily clears it. The grip is large and long, too long in my humble opinion, but I guess longer is better than having a grip that is too short. Additionally, you can move the grip rearward by simply loosening a screw and sliding the grip back. I found the position where it was, which was fully forward, to work best for me, and I experimented with moving in rearward. The trigger is also polymer and grooved. I would prefer a smooth trigger face, however, you can easily smooth the trigger fast with a bit of sandpaper or a Dremel Tool. Just go slow! The magazine release is just forward of the trigger, on the trigger guard, and is easily pushed with your trigger finger to remove a magazine. Again, that’s really nice!
The front and rear sights are extremely nice, especially the rear sight, that has four different sized apertures so you can use the biggest opening for up close and personal work or the smallest one for longer distance shooting. With a flip of the apertures, you can change sizes. That’s excellent. The front sight is a squared aperture post that you can adjust for elevation. The rear sight can be adjusted for windage. The front sight also has grooves on the rear of it to help stop sunlight from reflecting on it. Just forward of the ejection port, we have a nice steel attaching device, for attaching a single point sling, one on either side of the gun. The rear of the receiver also has a method for attaching a single point sling. I added a piece of Velcro to it and a round key ring, so I can attach a single point sling there, if I don’t want to attach one on the sides of the gun.
Lastly, we have an ambidextrous safety that operates smoothly. This is my only real complaint, and one CZ needs to address: the ambi safety is just long enough that when you take a proper firing grip on the gun, and pull the trigger, the safety digs into the knuckle of the trigger finger. Ouch! I’m hoping that CZ will come out with a single side safety. In lieu of that, I will take the old Dremel Tool to the bottom of the safety on the right side and grind it down a little bit. It won’t take much. I don’t know how CZ engineers missed this problem. If CZ doesn’t come out with a single-side safety, I’m sure some after-market enterprise will.
The trigger pull is a bit stiff, and on my sample was about seven pounds, however, it felt lighter than that for some reason. I also covered most of the Picatinny rails with rubber covers, for a better hold without the sharp edges of the rails cutting into my off hand when firing. A minute or two with some extra-fine emory cloth will do the same, but it was easier to just snap the rubber rail protectors onto the rails. We also have a bolt release on the left side of the Scorpion. If you gun the gun dry and insert another loaded mag into it, you can either pull the charging handle back and release it to send the bolt forward, chambering another round, or simply pull down on the large bolt carrier release. I found pulling down on the bolt carrier release lever worked better for me, instead of pulling back on the charging handle.
I will say that, at least for me, it was best to attach a single-point sling to the side of the Scorpion, the left side, while the bungee part of the sling was across my shoulder and neck. Then, by extending the gun forward, causing some slight tension with the sling, I found I had a very steady platform from which to shoot. Simply grab the pistol grip, as you would with any other semi-auto handgun, and then place your off hand forward of the magazine well, allowing it to push against the “stop”, and you have about as solid of a platform as you can get. I did fire over a rolled up sleeping bag, but honestly the sling method is the way to go. “Yes,” you can fire the gun one-handed, but that’s not the way to go if you want any sort of accuracy.
I had a huge variety of various 9mm loads from Black Hills Ammunition and Buffalo Bore Ammunition for testing, plus some reloads of unknown origin given to me, from JHP to lead to FMJ loads. From Black Hills, I had their 115-gr JHP +P, 124-JHP +P, 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr EXP HP, 124-gr JHP and their 115-gr Barnes TAC-XP +P all-copper hollow point. From Buffalo Bore, I had their 147-gr FMJ FN Heavy load, 147-gr +P Outdoorsman load, Hard Cast Flat Nose, 115-gr TAC-XP +P+ all-copper hollow point, 124-gr FMJ FN +P+ and their 115-gr JHP +P+. Wow!! Just about any type and flavor of 9mm ammo you can think of were run through the CZ Scorpion.
I’ll tell you what. I had zero malfunctions of any sort with any of the ammo, and to be sure, as a test, every single magazine I loaded had a mix of various types, weights, and manufactures of ammo in it. This is always a great test, to mix different types of ammo in a magazine to see how a gun will feed. Many owner’s manuals will tell you to not mix different brands or types of ammo in the mags, and many guns will simply choke if you do this. That was not so with the Scorpion. It fired everything, without hesitation, everything! And, needless to say, a 5-lb handgun in 9mm has no recoil to speak of, either.
Accuracy testing was rather boring. It didn’t seem to matter much which ammo I ran through the Scorpion; it loved ’em all. That’s something that doesn’t usually happen. Then again, we have a fixed barrel, straight blow-back recoil system, so the barrel isn’t moving up and down or back and forth. If I had to pick a winner in the accuracy department, it would be the Black Hills 124-gr JHP load at 25-yards. No load exceeded 3-inchs, and I think the gun can do much better than that. My accuracy testing was limited. We were in the middle of one of three heat waves in Oregon, and I don’t tolerate that kind of heat, so I was a bit rushed to get through my shooting. In all, I put more than 500-rds down range with the Scorpion. I could pick out some large rocks, downrange 50-75 yards, and easily nail them. I changed the rear aperture a few times, and needless to say, the smaller apertures gave me a better sigh picture for longer shots.
I’m thinking about putting some kind of red dot sight on the upper Picatinny rail, for faster sight acquisition. It’s be something small; nothing overly large is called for. So, now it begs to question, what good is a semi-auto “submachine gun” for a survival situation? Well, first of all, the Scorpion isn’t just designed for survival. It would make a dandy house gun with a 30-rd mag full of some JHP fodder; you can sure hold your own against any intruder. As a survival gun, well, it’s not my first choice, but I wouldn’t feel under-gunned if this is the only handgun I had with me out in the boonies. Stoke it with some of the Buffalo Bore 147-gr +P Outdoorsman Hard Cast loads, and you can take many kinds of game. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of the Scorpion if I were 150-yards out or close. We are talking about laying down some serious fire power, accurate fire too, in a short amount of time.
As I mentioned above, the best way to deploy the Scorpion is with a single point sling attached, either to one of the ambi attaching points on either side of the receiver in front of the ejection port, or place a piece of Velcro on the rear of the receiver (see pic) and use a round key ring to attach the single point sling there. Plus, at only 5.0 lbs, the Scorpion can hang across your chest all day long with a single point sling and a 30-rd mag; you’ll hardly know it’s there. Toss in a triple 9mm tactical thigh pouch from href=”http://www.blackhawk.com”>Blackhawk Products and one more mag in the gun, and that gives you a fast 120-rds on hand. Toss a couple more triple 9mm subgun mag pouches on a tactical vest, and you are ready for WW3.
I test a lot of guns for articles, as well as testing guns in some of my handgun classes, that are far and few between. Many guns I test are just a new and improved version of an older design. However, the CZ Scoprion EVO 3 S1 (there’s that long name) was a lot of fun to shoot… a LOT of fun! I oftentimes ask a friend or two to go out shooting with me, and they are always more than happy to shoot at my expense. However, this time around I hoarded the Scorpion all to myself. I didn’t even let the wife shoot it. It could be very addicting, and a person could easily blow through a case or two of 9mm ammo in short order, if they weren’t paying attention. Yes! It is that much fun to shoot! Full retail is $849. I talked my local gun shop down to $750; they had it marked for $799. It’s quite a bargain, if you ask me, for so much gun, so much fun gun! Check one out at your local gun shop, if they have one. They are still in short supply.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio