Gun Review: CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine in 9mm Luger

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CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine in 9mm Luger with stock folded. MSRP ranges from $999 to $1,040 depending on options. (Photo: Ian Jacobs)

As CZ puts it, their Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine is a “whole new animal.”  With an enormous variety of semi-automatic AR-15 style firearms in rifle and pistol calibers on the market, the Scorpion surely stands out.  I decided to get a better idea of what its sting felt like.

History

CZ, or Ceska zbrojovka Uhersky Brod, originated in Czechoslovakia in 1936.  The newer CZ-USA arm of the company was formed in 1997, acquiring the renowned Dan Wesson firearms in early 2005.  The CZ-USA headquarters are currently located in Kansas City, KS, while the parent company remains in what is now the Czech Republic.

A primitive variation of the scorpion was the vz. 61 Skorpion, which was designed and manufactured in the early 1960s.  This machine pistol was chambered in .32 ACP, among other small cartridges.  A semi-automatic civilian model was later created, but discontinued in 2010.

CZ introduced the first in a newer line of Scorpion models as a submachine gun in 2009.  Following its success and adoption by security and military forces worldwide, CZ released a semi-automatic pistol version in 2015, built off of the same platform.  The pistol is now in its second iteration, with the latest offer including a longer forend with room for most suppressors. Subsequent to the pistol, CZ released the semi-automatic carbine version of the Scorpion in mid-2016.  It is available with either a compensating muzzle brake or faux suppressor specially built by SilencerCo.

Features

Like many submachine gun and pistol variations, the Scorpion Carbine is blowback-operated and chambered in 9mm Luger.  The carbine has a sufficient number of US-made parts to make it 922(r) compliant.

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Detail of controls on CZ Scorpion carbine. (Photo: Ian Jacobs)

At the rear, the Scorpion has a folding, adjustable stock.  It also has a 16.2 inch hammer-forged barrel topped by a ½ x 28 threaded muzzle (plus muzzle brake or faux suppressor).  The forend has several M-LOK attachment points and there are two sling attachment points on each side, plus a ¾ inch sling slot on the left.  At the top resides a generous Picatinny rail, along with low-profile aluminum adjustable sights, with the rear sight having four different apertures.

The Scorpion offers ambidextrous controls, including the swappable, non-reciprocating side-charging handle.  Even the trigger reach can be adjusted.  Research indicates that the trigger pull is around nine pounds, but one of many after-market accessories can reduce this to somewhere in the range of six pounds.

The Scorpion I purchased came with a single 10-round double stack magazine, but additional magazines are available that hold 20 or even 30 rounds, where permitted by law.  Replacement magazines are incredibly affordable, with each being $20 or less on CZ’s webstore.

The frame and magazines are both made of polymer, the former being certainly noticeable when handling the carbine.  The faux suppressor model weighs in at seven pounds, while the muzzle brake version comes in at 6.38 pounds.

Range testing and initial thoughts

The MSRP for the Scorpion ranges from $999 to $1,040 for the muzzle brake and the faux suppressor models, respectively.

Since purchasing the Scorpion with the muzzle brake, I have fired over 200 rounds with a variety of target ammunition and have not experienced a single malfunction.  This ammunition included Federal, Winchester White Box, Winchester Forged (steel cased) and also at least 50 reloaded cartridges.

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This Scorpion’s tail folds out from 26 to 36 inches. (Photo: Ian Jacobs)

Overall, the Scorpion was easy to shoot with very little recoil, and it was also very comfortable to handle, not to mention fun.  The controls are certainly different than the AR platform, but they are very easy to adapt to.

The side-charging handle was a big draw, and it has not disappointed.  This can be slapped MP5-style to close the bolt, or there is a separate bolt release.  The handle itself is a bit on the small side, likely to keep the profile slim. If desired, there are aftermarket replacements available which allow for a size increase.

The ambidextrous safety switch has occasionally pinched my right hand when shooting.  However, I mostly view the switch as advantageous, as it is sometimes easier to reach with my index finger than the one on the left side is with my thumb.  Fortunately, CZ has an inexpensive part referred to as a “safety delete”, which will replace the switch with a flat circular piece of plastic.

With the aluminum sights, I was able to shoot some tight groups at 25 and 50 yards, and even made a few shots out to 100 yards.  The four rear aperture options were much appreciated when changing distances.

Disassembly of the Scorpion is quite simple.  All one has to do is remove a single pin and pull out the trigger pack.  The bolt/slide assembly comes out fairly easily from there.

The only other slightly unfavorable experience I have had with the Scorpion has been upon insertion and removal of the magazines, but this problem has not been persistent.  Occasionally, when inserting the magazine, it would not fully catch.  It would either have to be inserted again, or the release pulled outward slightly for it to seat properly.  Upon attempted release, the magazine sometimes did not drop freely and I would need to remove it manually.

A call was placed to CZ-USA to inquire about a potential easy fix or to perhaps identify if there was an oversight in manipulation.  The Customer Service department proved superior, as the call was answered within moments.  The initial representative was unable to resolve the inquiry, but the call was immediately transferred to a warranty gunsmith, who indicated it was a novel complaint.  The gunsmith suggested mailing the item back for further investigation, but as the glitch isn’t too bothersome, I opted not to.

Conclusion

I currently own both an AR platform carbine as well as the Scorpion.  After purchase of the latter, I assumed I would eventually decide to sell one.  Thus far, however, this has not been the case.  Each has a unique feel and it is enjoyable to have the ability to practice with 9mm ammunition, switching to .223 or 5.56 for some extra punch and distance.  I currently plan to continue use of the Scorpion primarily at the range, but can easily see this reliable firearm being used for home defense.  It doesn’t hurt that it is incredibly fun for plinking as well.