CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 in 9 mm Luger in test – The civilian semi-automatic version

The lineage of our current test gun goes back to the late 1950s, when Czech engineer Miroslav Rybář (March 12,1924 – December 6, 1970) conceived of a compact, straight-blowback operated submachine gun in 7.65 mm Browning, which was manufactured as the "Samopal Vzor 61" (SA VZ.61) – and nicknamed "Scorpion" – by CZ in the period from 1961 to about 1979. The SMG with 4.52”/115 mm barrel length and magazine capacity of up to 30 rounds was also very interesting from the technical point of view for its inertial rate reducer device. The theoretical rate of firing is 750 rounds per minute. Caliber variants in 9mm short, 9mm Makarov and 9mm Luger followed. Based on this SMG classic with the characteristic folding wire shoulder stock and upward case ejection, CZ developed a modern "Scorpion" successor model in 9mm Luger, which was purchased by the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic for the armed forces in 2010. This was followed by other military and law enforcement units in some 30 countries adopting the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1 as a service weapon.

the old SA VZ.61 submachine gun in 7.65 mm Browning
Scorpions yesterday and today: the old SA VZ.61 submachine gun in 7.65 mm Browning and...
the current CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1 in 9mm Luger
...the current CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1 in 9mm Luger. The A1 can be easily distinguished from the S1 by the selector lever on the grip.

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1 - the law enforcement and military version

This CZ Scorpion EVO 3 A1 has hardly anything in common with the early SMG, which is already clear from the manufacturing processes and materials used. The nostalgic-looking SA VZ.61 had a machined steel lower receiver and a sheet steel upper receiver, while the current, sleekly designed "Scorpion" is made primarily of polymer. The theoretical rate of fire of the modern straight-blowback submachine gun with 7.81”/196 mm barrel and a magazine capacity of up to 30 rounds is 1150 rounds per minute.

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1: the civilian version in detail

The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 is also available in this this so-called "Faux Suppressor" version version with dummy silencer.

Based on this EVO 3 A1, there is also a semi-automatic S1 civilian version designed primarily for the US market, which is the protagonist of this article with 16.2"/412 mm barrel length. In addition to the version with flash hider shown here, there is also a version with a dummy suppressor that is about 100 euro more expensive (1889 euro). Thanks to the increased use of fiberglass-reinforced polymers in the construction, the pistol caliber carbine weighs just about 102 oz/2.9 kg, and this low weight predestines it for dynamic disciplines.

The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 pistol carbine
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 pistol carbine is quickly disassembled into its main components.

However, the robustness in continuous use is not neglected, because the synthetic material is resistant to mechanical stress and external environmental influences. Quick, uncomplicated disassembly, a foldable and length-adjustable stock, as well as practically arranged, easily accessible controls are further features of the Czech carbine. When disassembling the system for maintenance and cleaning purposes, simply push out a captive receiver pin to then be able to remove the trigger guard-magazine well assembly downward. Following this, the bolt assembly including the recoil spring can also be easily removed so that the bolt and the receiver interior can be easily cleaned. The receiver with internal bolt guide rails consists of two halves screwed together, which is evidence of the rational manufacturing methods used in large-scale production that make a favorable purchase price possible in the first place. After intensive shooting, we noticed that very little powder residue and debris had accumulated in the gun, which is a clear sign that the blowback system is doing its job cleanly. Looking inside the trigger housing, you can see the spring-loaded ejector. This design feature means that the bolt does not have to be fully milled along the ejector path, again saving manufacturing time.

Lightweight mass, hard trigger: is how the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 works

 blowback bolt assembly
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1's 600-g blowback bolt assembly.

With a weight of 21.16 oz/600 g, the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1's blowback bolt is comparatively light and the recoil spring is not really hard either. So the question arises as to how the manufacturer nevertheless brought the powerful 9x19 cartridge under control, because it could t work with the weight of the bolt and the recoil spring force alone. The answer can be found immediately when the gun is dry fired and the bolt is pulled to the rear. Here you can see how difficult it is to open the gun, because you still have to cock the hammer at the same time. So not only did the designers use the bolt mass to oppose the 9mm Luger, but they also worked with the force of the trigger's hammer spring. When the action opens and closes, the force to be applied is not identical because the hammer eventually is intercepted by its sear. The hammer therefore massively slows down the bolt during recoil, but the bolt is then only pushed forward again by its own mass and the force of the recoil spring. As a result of the lower bolt mass, the movement of the gun is much smoother when shooting. Despite the low total weight, the carbine can thus be controlled very well during firing. The disadvantage is that the trigger weight is higher because the hammer has to perform an additional function beyond its original work. The measured trigger pull weight was a whopping 153 oz/4340 g. However, it feels subjectively lower, not least because of the long travel and wide trigger blade, and you'll be able to live with the trigger quite well, especially in dynamic shooting sports.

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 specs and price

CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1
9 mm Luger
Barrel:16.22”/412 mm, cold hammered with 1-10" twist and flash hider

Detachable, folding, length-adjustable; free-standing pistol grip, polymer M-LOK handguard with inserted steel sling swivels

Magazine:10-round polymer box magazine
Trigger:Single stage; measured trigger pull weight: 153 oz/4340 grams
Safety:Two-position safety on both sides of the grip, acting on the trigger
Length:26.18”/665 mm with folded stock, 34” to 36” (865 mm-915 mm) with unfolded stock
Weight:102.3 oz/2900 g
Price:1799 euro

The features of the 9mm carbine from CZ

In terms of handling characteristics, the Czech carbine knows how to convince. The folding polymer stock can be adjusted in two stages by a total of about 1.9”/50 mm in length, so you should find a suitable length setting depending on the aiming style and optics. The charging handle, located on the left side of the gun, can be snapped into its forward position in a corresponding recess, HK MP5-style. The bolt catch lever on the left side allows quick reloading without manually operating the charging handle. The safety on both sides of the grip can be conveniently and quickly deactivated with the thumb of the firing hand on the left side, thus making the gun ready to fire, and secured again with the index finger of the firing hand on the right side. The magazine release, which is a paddle-type control on the trigger guard front and can also be operated on both sides, is equally convincing from an ergonomic point of view. This mechanism, in combination with the magwell and the magazines with a large floorplate, allows quick magazine changes. The long MILSTD-1913 Picatinny mounting rail on the receiver's top makes it easy to attach red dot sights with or without magnifiers or scopes. The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 comes from the factory with iron sights, which are quite impressive, with a rear sight featuring three different sized apertures and a post front sight as well as protective ears for the rear and front sights. Of course, if not needed, the iron sights can be completely unscrewed from the rail. M-LOK cutouts on the handguard allow easy attachment of additional equipment such as a bipod. The steel sling swivels inserted into the polymer chassis allow the use of a sling.

 CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 stock 
The folding mechanism of the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1's stock and the...
M-LOK system on the handguard
...M-LOK system on the handguard for attaching additional equipment.

With the Scorpion EVO 3 S1 on the shooting range.

A shooter with the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 in 9mm Luger
A shooter in action with the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 in 9mm Luger.

As seen on the cover photo, we fitted the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 with a Holosun combo consisting of the HS510C holographic red dot sight and the HM3X 3x magnifier. Dynamic drills were also shot with this setup, but the actual accuracy checking was done with the Geissele 1-6x26 scope. For this purpose, we also attached an UTG bipod to the M-LOK handguard which, in conjunction with a rear sandbag rest, provided a stable aiming position. Ten factory ammunition types with a bullet weight range of 95 to 158 grains were used. Despite the high trigger pull weight, we achieved respectable results, as documented by the 0.7”/18 mm group with the GECO 115-grain DTX factory ammunition. With this, you should be able to hold your own in training, but also in competition. Not a single malfunction occurred during the entire test.

Scorpion EVO 3 S1: wrap-up

The lightweight, easy-to-handle carbine shoots smoothly despite the blowback action, always functions reliably and also impresses with its accuracy. Thus, the price of 1799 euros for the version introduced here is completely reasonable.

Text: Stefan Perey and Michael Fischer 

For more information about the Scorpion EVO 3 S1 please visit the Česká zbrojovka (CZ) website.

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