Have you ever experienced love at first sight with a firearm? The Scorpion carbine has always stood out to me in the rapidly growing world of pistol caliber carbines for having a fairly radical design. These days so many carbines are all following very similar formulas, utilizing as many parts from the AR-15 platform as possible and, more often than not, feeding from Glock magazines. For many this might seem like a dead-ringer to success by combining two very popular elements into one design.
That’s fine, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I happen to like things which are different. I enjoy being pushed outside of this comfort zone into bold new territory. Some manufacturers have already made such an attempt, the Beretta Cx4 Storm being notable with its unmistakable armhole loop stock. Though where the Storm made use of smooth, graceful lines throughout its design the Scorpion has gone in the opposite direction. This carbine is covered with straight lines, angles, and sharp edges. It might seem counter-intuitive with the mass streamlining of the future but the CZ somehow comes out ahead as looking like a prop from a science fiction movie. Not everyone will agree with its physical presentation, but I was immediately drawn toward it from that first glance. This is a gun with obvious character.
There are a few variations of this firearm currently available. There are a couple of pistol options available, which many people simply love to turn into short-barreled rifles due to CZ having made the process quite simple. There are also two full length carbines, one with a fake suppressor and one with a threaded barrel and compensator. I went with the threaded barrel as I couldn’t justify adding a little extra weight and losing the threads for something which only looks like a suppressor. Besides, that little compensator up front is cute. Even here you’ll find more of those sharp angled cuts with a bit of a muzzle end slant, mimicking the angled cut at the front of the fore end.
Another area where the Scorpion differs from so many other carbines of late, while the charging handle can easily be configured for left or right hand use, it doesn’t come at the cost of having a large gap in the left side of the receiver. Being right-handed I have never had gas pushed back into my face when shooting a Scorpion, and I have heard that they are excellent hosts for suppressors because of this.
There are some downsides to the Scorpion, as from the factory this is one of those ‘diamond in the rough’ guns. The original Scorpion (not to be confused with the much earlier vz.61 Skorpion also made by CZ) was a short barreled select-fire affair. Straight out of the box these semi-auto versions do not live to their full potential. The trigger is heavy, the charging handle is small, the magazine release is tricky, and the ambidextrous safety likes to dig into the hand. For some the angle of the factory grip is a bit steep, as well.
Doesn’t sound so good thus far, does it? Here’s the thing, the Scorpion has caught the attention and creative minds of a number of people within the gun community. Despite not having any similarities to an AR-15 or a Glock there’s an ever-growing selection of aftermarket parts available, and for the novice gunsmith this is a very easy gun to work on. Within minutes it’s possible to completely change the look and feel of these firearms. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Scorpion goes the way of the Ruger 10/22 when it comes to having a wide variety of modification options.
Spend a little time poking around online to find just what you’re looking for (I do have to give a shout out to HB Industries here) and you end up with a carbine which is still lightweight and still futuristic but is also one heck of a fun shooter. For those of you who know about the ‘HK Slap’ then you’ll understand when I say how endlessly entertaining it is to drive a new mag in and smack the charging handle downward, and for a price which is way south of any MP5 clone. There’s also a bolt release on the left of the receiver which will drop an open bolt with no questions asked, making brisk reloads that much quicker. With an extended magazine release it’s an absolute breeze to pop the empty stick out and guide a new one home. Without much practice I was doing rapid mag changes and having an absolute ball with it.
Speaking of the magazines, CZ offers Scorpion mags in ten, twenty, and thirty round capacities. They’re all made out of transparent polymer and they’re incredibly affordable. If you’re looking for a little something more you can also find transparent 32 round mags with metal feed lips made by Manticore Arms.
How about accuracy? Good enough that with the factory sights, a bipod, and a lighter trigger spring, I’m able to group as many shots at 75 feet (the factory zeroed distance) as I feel like. It is not uncommon to bring the target back in and find one ragged golfball-sized hole at the bullseye. A red dot sight would be right at home on this gun.
Field-stripping a Scorpion involves pushing a single captive pin out then rocking the trigger group free from the bottom of the receiver. With the bolt locked open simply reach inside and push back a little on the bolt face then lift up and relax the spring tension. There’s only three separate pieces to the Scorpion and all of them are nicely accessible for cleaning. Reassembly is reversed and just as simple.
The carbine model handguards are covered in M-Lok mounts while a full length Picatinny rail runs along the top for any manner of sight options. The factory iron sights are fully adjustable and attach to the same rail, they can easily be removed if you so desire. One nice feature with the rear sight is that it has four different apertures which are all calibrated for the same distance. Simply switch to whichever works best for your eyes and you’re good to go. The stock easily folds to the side with a magnetic hold while closed and has three different lengths of pull. If it isn’t quite up to your speed there are plenty of aftermarket stock adapters, including ones which allow the mounting of some Magpul AK stocks such as the immensely popular Zhukov.
I’ve put off buying a Scorpion of my own for some time. Now that I have one I cannot for the life of me understand why I had waited so long. This is a carbine which has been both an absolute joy to shoot and to personalize. Judging by the smiles of everyone who gets a chance to shoot it I know that I’m not alone.