In the late 1950s, the Czech border guards needed a compact sub gun. Besides these guards, the Army needed a personal defense weapon that could be issued to support troops who didn’t need a full-size rifle. The Skorpion was designed to fit this need.
CZ engineer Miroslav Rybar designed a short-barreled select-fire pistol that could still be worn in a side holster. A 4.5-inch long barrel would provide decent accuracy at close quarters (under 50-yards) without adding too much length to the overall weapon. Use of a telescoping bolt similar to the Israeli UZI that fired in a blowback action from a closed bolt position further abbreviated the design.
A beefy pistol grip augmented by a folding wire buttstock provided control surfaces. This stock, with its curved butt, folded neatly over the top of the gun in a motion similar to that of a scorpion’s tail, hence the gun’s popular name. When finished, the design came in at 10.6-inches long with the stock folded. While this was about two inches longer than a Colt 1911, it had a good balance in support-hand-forward grip since the magazine well was mounted near the center of the frame, forward of the trigger guard.
It was chambered for .32 ACP (known in Europe as 7.65×17mm Browning SR). This caliber was the then-standard pistol round of the Czech police and quantities were on hand.
Adopted in 1961, it is officially designated the Vz.61, with Vz being short for the check ‘Vzor’ (model). Later models, the Vz. 68 (chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum) the Vz. 65 9×18mm Makarov) and the Vz.64 (chambered in .380 ACP ) used the same design as the standard Skorpion with the exception that barrels and actions are chambered for the larger cartridges.
Today, it is still in production by Czech Small Arms to one degree or another and is widely availible in its semi-auto variant, although as you can tell from the above, the select-fire model is a lot more fun.