While you’ll normally find me at the range, pistol in hand, for this review I decided to spice things up a bit with a look at a new take on a crowd favorite – the CZ Scorpion EVO outfitted with the Manticore Arms Bullpup Kit.
What’s the Big Deal?
Manticore Arms is known for its stellar lineup of bullpup accessories so it’s no surprise that CZ partnered with the company to bring consumers a bullpup kit for the Scorpion. The Scorpion is pretty compact all on its own, but the Manticore Bullpup Kit brings the Scorpion down even further – making it the smallest configuration you can get without handing the ATF $200.
Chambered in 9mm, the Scorpion Bullpup Kit measures 26.1-inches in total length with a 16-inch barrel. For comparison, a stand-alone Scorpion without the Manticore kit measures 36-inches in total length. The transformed Manticore-Scorpion carbine weighs in at 7.6-pounds.
The bullpup kit ships as a separate package alongside the Scorpion and includes the lower receiver, buttplate, and cheek rest assemblies.
In theory, it's a quick swap of the Scorpion's guts out of the old receiver into the new one. In practice, it proved a little more complex. As a disclaimer, I'm almost solely a pistol shooter. Though I have a few ARs and have swapped a few parts around in the past, gutting a carbine to this degree was new and foreign to me. If you love to work with your hands, the opportunity to tweak this carbine is perfection but if you're like me and a little less handy, it can be frustrating.
Looking back, I probably should have dropped some coin on a gunsmith, but I decided to save the cash and install the kit myself. Ultimately, my limited experience with carbine and rifle builds made this process much longer. Not to mention, CZ's owner’s manual leaves a lot to be desired. The illustrations are few and far between and instructions are hard to follow — especially for someone who doesn't come with a wealth of carbine knowledge. CZ does offer a YouTube tutorial, but it's shot from a distance so small parts are extremely hard to see. I ended up settling on an NRA Pubs tutorial that was much easier to follow.
Despite the tutorial, I still found myself reaching out to some buddies of mine with questions -- mainly on tools and techniques. All was going well until I hit a roadblock tapping in a roll pin for the mag release. That problem required me to reach out to my buddy Sven, the owner of Manticore Arms and the brains behind the bullpup, for help. Despite the small setback, Sven got me up and running in no time and I was underway once more.
Thankfully, the rest of the build was problem-free and fairly easy. I will say, despite the blood, sweat, and tears, I was extremely happy with the result. With everything together, I function-tested the Scorpion and then it was time to take this baby to the range for live fire.
Live Fire or Big Bang?
I nervously headed to the firing line, images of massive firearm explosions running through my head. Luckily, the Scorpion ended the day just as it arrived -- in one piece. Everything worked smoothly and exactly as intended, with no malfunctions. In fact, the only real issue I encountered was my own difficulty with the safety. The bullpup kit swaps out CZ's flip safety for a switch that you push in with your thumb. The button was slightly difficult for me to use, though it got a bit easier over time. I think this is more of a weakness on my part and less with the button itself. I let a few other shooters try it out and they seemed to operate it just fine, which confirmed my suspicions.
The Manticore enhancements elevated the Scorpion design, in my opinion. The buttstock nestled pretty well into my shoulder and allowed me to keep the carbine nice and tight while the cheek rest gave me a nice spot to rest. The lower receiver functioned well and, again, that smaller build really helped my petite frame. The bulllpup was quite maneuverable. I didn't have any optics on hand to pair with the build, so I used the Magpul MBUS flip-up sights that came with the Scorpion. Long-term, I think I'd like to throw a red dot on it.
After several hundred rounds and a variety of 9mm, the gun was still running. I wasn't rolling through mud or leaping through the brush, but for a range day, it performed well. All in all, the Scorpion and Manticore pairing delivered a great platform for me to try something I don't do often. The lightweight build made it easier to work with throughout my testing and it was more comfortable for my small frame to shoot. Plus, it was fun! Which is the key to getting shooters back out on the range.
Application-wise, I see this as a good entry for those looking to jump into PCC or as a home defense tool. The bullpup's size makes it a serious contender for any home defense plan. The small frame is fantastic for maneuvering and works well around tight corners of a home.
Word of warning, though, the Scorpion Manticore Bullpup Kit doesn't come cheap. Sporting an MSRP of $1,116 for the Scorpion and $399 for the Bullpup kit, prepare to drop just over $1,500 to get this up and running — and that's if you build it yourself and have a red dot already on hand. That's some serious pocket change to throw down on a platform like this; but, if you happen to have a little extra in the bank, the Scorpion Manticore duo is worth the price. It's a sweet setup and one that easily translates from the range to a home defense plan.
I liked the CZ Scorpion with the Manticore Arms Bullpup Kit so much that I am seriously mulling over the idea of keeping it – and that says a lot coming from a pistol shooter.