Compact, lightweight, low recoil, high capacity, relatively quiet, and shoulder fired…doesn’t that sound like the perfect home defense rifle?
What fits these traits?
Final answer is…the CZ Scorpion carbine. Or to be more specific…the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 ($990).
Today we are taking a look at CZ’s modern take on the Skorpion submachine gun.
The original Skorpion (aka the Klobb for Goldeneye fans) was a .32 ACP machine pistol.
CZ may have named their gun the Scorpion, but it’s got a whole different kind of sting which you’ll find out as we cover the different models, fit and feel, reliability, accuracy, and more.
CZ Scorpion Models
The CZ Scorpion comes in two variants…a pistol ($850) and rifle.
Today we are specifically talking about the rifle, or carbine variant with 16.2″ barrel.
The CZ Scorpion rifle comes in two particular variants, one with a fake suppressor and one with a normal barrel and muzzle brake.
The differences between the two are purely aesthetic. We’ve got the one with a normal barrel and muzzle brake today.
Some quick stats before we get into the nitty gritty review:
- Blowback operated
- Magazine fed (10, 20, and 30 rounders available)
- Features a Folding and collapsing stock
- M-Lok handguard
Pistol Caliber Carbines
I’m not sure if it was luck, or careful planning, but the CZ Scorpion pistol was released just as the pistol caliber carbine fad was coming into play. It was also released right around the same time as the SIG MPX. The SIG MPX has an MSRP of $1,799.
The Scorpion got a lot of attention because it was half the price of the SIG MPX and CZ was already planning to release 922r kits with factory stocks for conversion to a short barreled rifle.
The Scorpion is made in the Czech republic, and can be imported as a pistol.
But to convert it to a rifle you need to replace certain parts with American made variants. 922r is what this law is commonly called and a 922r kit contains the necessary US made parts to convert the Scorpion to a rifle.
About a year later CZ released the carbine variant, which I sold my Scorpion pistol to purchase.
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
How the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Shoots
I love pistol caliber carbines.
The ammo is affordable, easy to find, you can shoot them at ranges that only allow pistol rounds, and they are often lightweight and just fun to shoot.
The CZ Scorpion is not just a fun rifle, but an excellent platform for a home defense rifle.
Sure it doesn’t have the oomph of a true rifle caliber (which you probably don’t want anyways), but it’s certainly a capable and effective weapon at home defense ranges especially with hollow points.
The CZ is easy to handle, very lightweight, and recoil is almost non-existent.
You also won’t get blinded as much since the longer barrel allows gun powder to burn off and reduces muzzle flash.
The little 9mm round is a lot quieter than any rifle round. It’s especially quiet when fired from a rifle. It’s not hearing safe, but 147 grain subsonic loads are going to do a lot less damage to your ears than any 5.56 or 12 gauge round.
As of this writing, I have been training my wife on the rifle. She’s a shooter, but is still relatively new. She prefers this rifle to any other I have, and is planning to keep it by the bedside at night when I travel.
The Real World Down & Dirty
Fit and Feel
The weapon is quite ergonomic.
The majority of the weapon is polymer, with metal in all the important areas. Polymer reduces the cost and weight of a rifle. The controls are well placed and easy to activate. Everything click, pops, and pulls without issue.
The forend uses a modern attachment system known as M-LOK which was designed by Magpul and lets the user mount accessories or even rail sections directly to the handguard. It’s our go-to mounting system for AR-15 upgrades.
This reduces weight and reduces the cheese grater effect of covering everything with Picatinny rails. However, the top has a full length rail that is long enough to mount a scope, a magnifier, and even a night vision device.
The handguard scales downward near the end so you can use a C clamp style grip without your thumb getting in the way of your iron sights. Whether this was purposeful or not it’s a nice feature.
This is one of my favorite personal weapons, and the one I use a lot when training new shooters.
Once someone masters a .22 LR rifle we move to the Scorpion carbine.
It’s been fired a good amount.
In the first month I chewed through 350 rounds of steel-cased Tula and the next month I used 200 rounds of Federal Aluminum ammo. Not a single malfunction even with the super cheap Tula ammo.
As of now, after a year of use and well over a thousand rounds I have only experienced failures with some reloaded ammo I was given.
I’m pretty sure it was underloaded for low recoil. Since the CZ is a blowback weapon…underloaded ammo isn’t going to function well. And I also had issues with this ammo in my handguns as well. I ended up feeding the rest to to my Ruger LCR 9mm revolver.
In terms of self-defense ammunition only recently had I ever thought to shoot defensive ammo through it. I bought a couple of boxes of 147 grain Federal HST loads which all shot 100%. The subsonics are quite quiet as well.
A sixteen inch, cold hammer forged barrel, a long sight radius, and awesome sights make this bad boy an accurate beast.
The sights have four different apertures that range from wide open to very small and precise. The sights are absolutely wonderful, made of metal, and are easily the best iron sights I’ve seen on a rifle less $1k.
Shooting it is very easy and when you use the right ammo you can produce some respectable groups.
Anything past a hundred yards is a pipe dream and even most shots at a 100 yards are difficult.
At 50 yards, in the prone position I can hit clay pigeons most of the time. There is only about 2 inches of drop at 50 yards.
Moving up to 25 yards and on a traditional silhouette target I can basically pull the trigger as fast as possible and land all the rounds in the chest portion.
Recoil? What’s that? Seriously though recoil is hardly even a thing with this rifle.
There is a muzzle break and it’s very effective, or the little 9mm doesn’t have much oomph to it in the first place.
The rifle is lightweight at 6.38 pounds unloaded and is very maneuverable.
It’s thin and streamlined.
Combined with a folding stock which gives you a super compact rifle that be be fired with the stock collapsed.
The rifle point naturally and is a natural for close quarters maneuvering. The Scorpion is a perfect competitor for the new PCC (pistol caliber carbine) class in USPSA.
The Scorpion is a popular weapon, and because of that there is quite a few resources online. There are more resources for the older Scorpion pistol, but most of these resources translate well over to the Scorpion rifle.
It’s easy enough and you can also check out the detailed strip guide too.
These are taken directly from CZ’s page on the Scorpion rifle:
- Barrel Length – 16.2 inches
- Weight – 6.38 lbs
- Length – 36 inches (26″ with stock folded)
- Caliber – 9mm only
- Safety – Ambi thumb safety
By the Numbers
Reliability: 4 out of 5
The rifle itself has proven to be reliable with standard factory ammunition.
The design is durable and I haven’t had issues with the rifle.
However, some early batches of the magazines had feed lips breaking when left loaded. CZ has fixed the issued and will replace the magazines. This never happened with my magazines, but it happened enough to be a well known issue.
Accuracy: 5 out of 5
Within an appropriate range the Scorpion dominates in the accuracy department. The weapon has a nice, long, sight radius, with excellent stock iron sights. This makes shooting accurately easy.
Ergonomics: 3.5 out of 5
The weapon has some excellent ergos. The controls are well placed, and almost entirely ambidextrous. They are all easy to activate and work well.
The problems arise from the ambi safety digging into your trigger finger when when firing.
You can install a Safety delete for 12 bucks, but it’s still an issue. A safety delete, removes one side of the safety. It converts the safety from an ambidextrous safety to a one sided safety for comfort’s sake.
The trigger is also pretty stiff, it’s short, but stiff. Other than that a lot of gun companies should take note of how to do ergos from the CZ Scorpion.
Looks: 5 out of 5
Man this thing looks cool. If you were a Redditor on R/guns this would be a ‘space’ gun. It looks futuristic, aggressive, and great. It looks like a mix of the failed HK XM8 and the traditional Scorpion SMG.
Customization: 4 out 5
Bang For Your Buck: 4 out of 5
The Scorpion is one of the affordable yet name brand pistol caliber carbines. You can build an AR 15 in 9mm, or find a Kel Tec Sub 2000 or Hi Point cheaper. However, compared to B&T and SIG the Scorpion ($950) is a lot cheaper with similar quality.
Overall: 4 out of 5
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 ($950) is an awesome rifle. It’s well made, easy to control, and has looks to die for.
CZ is excellent at listening to their customers and they produce firearms the cult of CZ wants.
The Scorpion is a great gun, with only a few minor flaws. Overall if you are looking for a high quality pistol caliber carbine I’d gladly point to the CZ Scorpion.
Looking for the newest pistol-braced version? Check out our review of the Scorpion EVO 2 S3 Pistol Micro.