Ahhh yeah. I do love me some pistol-caliber carbines, and a civvie version of a legit SMG is always good for some smiles. On Friday I picked up a CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1 pistol. It won’t be a pistol for long, though, as I’ve already e-filed my Form 1 to turn it into an SBR. Field stripping video plus lots of photos and notes — that bolt is really something! — follow. . .
With an MSRP of $849, I’m guessing this thing is going to be popular. Therefore, if there are questions, concerns, or specific topics/details you definitely want covered in the review but I might not think about, please put ’em in the comments!
Things that stood out right away:
- The barrel is threaded 18×1 mm RH. There is, like, nothing in the U.S. threaded for that so mounting a suppressor becomes a trick. A couple companies are already planning on releasing 18×1 to 1/2×28 thread adapters, but I don’t think they’re available yet. Thankfully, Liberty Suppressors rocks harder than a convertible on prom night, and I received an 18×1 mm RH fixed mount for my Mystic two days before receiving the Scorpion.
- The pistol grip does something I don’t believe I have ever seen before — it’s on a rail and slides forwards and rearwards. A bolt clamps it in place on that rail. This allows you to adjust the length of reach to the trigger. When I first held the gun, I thought the trigger was a bit close to my hand, and upon reading the manual I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was adjustable. Sweet.
- It’s a combat gun, and it has a trigger to match. Not horrific or anything, but with a pull weight of 10.5 lbs and a fair bit of travel before the break, you aren’t going to see it praised in reviews. That said, the fire control group is a drop-in unit, so I’d bet dollars to donuts that we’ll see aftermarket options like the ones I reviewed for the Tavor. There are further notes I’d add about the FCG and the safety, but those will come in the full review.
- The bolt is one gigantic piece of milled steel. By gigantic, I mean it literally accounts for 32.8% of the assembled pistol’s total weight. A heavy bolt (or slide) is the norm in a straight blowback action…but…wow. Still, the entire pistol only weighs 4.33 lbs. I just put close to 100 rounds through it, and it’s quieter when suppressed than the 9mm ARs I’ve shot. I think the mass of the bolt really helps (the bullet may be long gone before the case clears the chamber).
- The extractor is ginormous. Covers about 90 degrees of the breech face and it’s one thick, massive, machined billet piece of work.
- The “iron” sights are just awesome. I really hope CZ sells these separately. If they do, they’re going to sell extremely well. I’d like a set on my go-to AR for sure. They’re steel, quality is top notch, the rear sight has four apertures that spin one to the next, and the front appears to accept a standard AR front sight post. The front is adjustable for elevation and the rear for windage. They mount on a standard picatinny rail. On the downside, they’re low and somewhat sleek, meaning they won’t co-witness at a normal AR height. I think a small red dot (e.g. the Bushnell TRS-25 I tend to swap between firearms for testing) without a riser may work, though.
- Controls are good. The ambi safety is in a familiar place, and the throw is super short. I do have a couple big gripes regarding the safety, though (it’s fully functional, don’t worry). The ambi mag release is excellent. It can be hit with your strong hand index finger for a “speed reload” or grabbed with your weak hand thumb while stripping out the mag for a “tactical reload.” The magwell itself is awesome — size, angle, location…all great. Can’t miss the thing. Bolt release, for when it has locked back on empty, is right there for your weak hand thumb when you insert that fresh mag. If you’ve locked the bolt back with the non-reciprocating charging handle — which can be switched from one side of the Scorpion to the other — then an HK MP5-style pop to the handle sends it home.
- Field stripping is easily accomplished without tools (video also shows the great magwell function & mag release lever):
- The handguard, pistol grip, and some other pieces all remove with the help of a hex wrench. Along with the trigger, I expect the aftermarket will respond here as well. The included receiver rear plate adapter, by the way, has various slots for mounting a strap sling. CZ-USA will also be providing at least one other rear plate, which allows for the mounting of an AR-15 buffer tube. Obviously with the Evo S1 pistol, this would be used for an SB15 pistol stabilizing brace. Or, of course, a buttstock once your Form 1 is approved. I do hope a folding AR-15 buffer tube adapter plate will become available at some point as well, whether CZ-provided or aftermarket. Removal of that receiver rear plate didn’t seem completely intuitive, so I did a quick how-to for that also:
- Nearly everything you can see when the gun is assembled is polymer. The only exceptions are the flash hider, the sights, the bolt release lever, the sling loops, the bolt itself if you’re looking at the right side of the gun, and the rear plate. Oh and some bolt heads here and there. I think every single other thing visible from the outside is polymer, including the receivers, the grip, the handguard, all of the rails you see, the safety lever, the trigger (at least on the outside, it may have a metal insert or something), the hand stop, the magazine release lever, the knob on the charging handle, etc. I’d say it has a sufficient amount of steel on the inside though and seems fairly stout and well thought out. But we’ll see what it looks like in there after 500 rounds…
That about covers it. Leghorn has had his Scorpion for a few weeks already, and his review should be out early this coming week. He’s been shooting it in factory pistol configuration and will review it as such. I’ve obviously jumped right into slapping stuff onto mine, so I’ll try to expand on what Nick has already covered and we’ll get straight to fisticuffs over any conflicting opinions.