Submachineguns and pistol caliber carbines are once again finding themselves popular among a lot of shooters, both civilian and LE/Military. And not without good reason. With modern ammo development pistol calibers have experienced a renewed vigor for those seeking low recoiling, compact, close-quarters oriented weapons. In that regard there’s several that have hit the market for civilians trickling down from the military and government contracts. Easily one of the best of the new breed is CZ’s next generation Scorpion Evo.
Being chambered in the most common caliber in the world, 9x19mm, the Scorpion is an answer to several of the other 9mm chambered weapons coming from Sig Sauer, HK and Slovakian maker Grand Power, each aimed at military and police markets for units specializing in hostage rescue and other situations calling for close quarters performance where over penetration of rifle rounds might be an issue. In addition, having a lightweight shortbarreled weapon is well suited to working in and out of vehicles which first responders find themselves. And on top of that, they’re just plain fun to shoot. There’s an undeniable cool factor to shooting a submachinegun of any kind. But does it find itself a home in the arsenal of a prepper or prepared citizen for any other justifiable reason?
I think so. 9mm Luger, or 9×19, is the most common round in the world. And while the argument still rages in the gun community on the lethality of the round, its been killing just fine while blowhards have been sitting on their rear talking about how it doesn’t. Simply by its commonplace and inexpense, the 9mm is easy to stock up on and a heck of a lot of fun to train with, while performing quite well when the need arises. Anyone can shoot it, even those who might be recoil sensitive. And its controlability out of a submachine gun keeps all of your rounds on target with minimal training. There’s two principle reasons I own mine. The first one is that I wanted it; having a 9mm subgun is just badass. The second is that its lightweight and low recoiling, so every member of my family can use it.
I was shopping around back when several started hitting the market I had a handful of options. There were lots of 9mm ARs, which while nice, just never have had that ‘it’ factor for me. Sig looked really good, but the price tag was a bit too high for what was primarily a fun to own weapon at the time. CZ had just brought the Scorpion Evo to the civilian market with a very competitive price point- around $820. And the magazines were both cheap and plentiful. And its a CZ. Sounds like a winner.
The Scorpion has a longer sight radius than any handgun I own and the controls mimic the AR close enough to have training similarities. In fact the controls are some of the most intuitive I’ve found on any weapon, with the safety and charging handle exactly where they need to be. The magazine release is equally as simple; a lever on the back of the mag well sort of like an AK. I have no problems activating it with my trigger finger as well as my thumb on the support hand during mag change drills. There’s almost no learning curve- everyone who’s shot it ranging from novice shooters to veteran trigger pullers have all taken right to it. There’s a bolt hold open in the familiar place for any AR shooter as well as the charging handle in the familiar HK MP5 location, allowing that cool guy HK slap. It’s easily reversible, so the shooter can place it on either side they feel comfortable. All of the controls, aside from the bolt hold open lever, are fully ambidextrous.
Optics mounting is every bit as simple as it is on any modern weapon platform. A standard pictinny top rail runs the full length of the weapon and the stock iron sights are actually well thought out. I found them effective on their own and they cowitness perfectly with a red dot. The Scorpion Evo features two more side rails and a rail underneath the barrel. Due to the short barrel and the placement of the charging handle mounting accessories can be interesting, but if you’re using a magwell grip (as anyone who’s trained on the MP5 will remember) its not a big issue. The retail space is tight. Just keep in mind this is not an AR- its a submachine gun.
Accuracy is great for what is intended to be a close quarters battle weapon. With a 7.7in barrel your realistic engagement range is inside 50m, which is perfect for its intended purpose. If you’ve ever shot any older generation subguns, such as the Uzi, Mac-10, or even (gasp) a Tec-9, you’ll know that precision accuracy is not their strong suit. But the Scorpion really shines here and I think its every bit the equal of the MP5 in its intended role, albeit in a lighter and more optics friendly package.
The MP5 has typically been viewed as superior to its predecessors due to the roller locking delayed blowback action, edging out the much lesser known but excellent Walther MPL. The Scorpion is a direct blowback weapon similar to the MPL, utilizing the sheer mass of the bolt and oversized recoil spring to delay the operation of the bolt. The bolt is one of the largest I’ve ever seen on a weapon of this type, reminding me of the Thompson. Due to its mostly polymer composite body, most of the weapon’s 6lbs loaded comes from the bolt. And that’s a good thing. Due to that oversized bolt mass and spring while coupled with an incredibly simple operation, the weapon is on par with Glocks and the Kalashnikov in terms of reliability. I have no malfunctions to report of any kind, from steel case, brass case, hollow point, or even subsonic handloaded ammo. The gun works, period, no matter what environmental conditions present themselves.
I do have a couple of minor gripes. The big one is the safety. While placing a premium on being ambidextrous, right handed shooters will immediately get annoyed with the safety running their trigger finger. There’s aftermarket solutions, but really CZ should offer two safeties with the weapon like they do on the P07 & 09 pistols. The other minor gripe is that the weapon, like all “pistols” of this type, is nearly useless without an aftermarket armbrace or SBR registration. If you’re in the market for one go on and shell out the cash for a SB Tactical arm brace. You’ll be happy you did.
So where does the Scorpion Evo fit in a prepared citizen’s arsenal? Is it practical or is it simply a fun range toy? Personally I think its very relevant for a number of reasons- it’s light and compact, concealable, low recoiling and simple to shoot. For those factors alone its a good option for many who might not need a full powered rifle around a retreat, such as mechanics, base radio station guys or those who still need to be armed but might be dealing with injuries or age. As a weapon for a light reconnaissance team it works very well. Its easily superior to simply having a handgun and is still concealable in winter months, and with its relative low cost but incredibly well thought out design it represents the best of its class. I really enjoy shooting it and I think its a very practical weapon for the day things go sideways. And until that time, its a heck of a lot of fun.