Scorpion_RightAhhh 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.

5

  • 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.

grip positions
Extreme forwards vs. extreme rearwards positions

grip rail

  • 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.

fcg bolt fcg inside fcg left fcg trigger shoe

  • 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).

bolt rear bolt right

  • The extractor is ginormous. Covers about 90 degrees of the breech face and it’s one thick, massive, machined billet piece of work.

bolt face

  • 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.

2

  • 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.

Scorpion_Left

  • 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.

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84 Responses to Just Arrived: CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1… Plus a Glimpse Inside

        • It needs to put on its big girl panties and not be so sensitive. 🙂

          I’m on record in favor of pistol caliber carbines for HD. Especially amongst the older set that may have trouble with full size shotguns and rifles.

      • I have heard the reasoning is to get a thumb above bore without having it get in the way of the sights. A little bit of a stretch, but the video review on YouTube of this gun seems to indicate that it works well for this purpose.

        • I don’t usually shoot an AR “c-clamp” style, but I that’s exactly where and how my thumb wanted to live when shooting the Scorpion. Left hand up against the hand stop w/ thumb wrapped over the top. Felt decent.

    • Going to disagree with you there. I think it’s a very good looking gun. It looks the part of a rugged SMG. That said, when I get mine, and SBR it, I’ll stick with a straight fixed stock. That SB-15 adapter looks like it fits an AR buffer tube, so the sky’s the limit on choices for a stock.

      • It’s an AR buffer adapter, so you should be able to put a carbine tube and stock on there, rather than the included pistol tube.

    • I don’t know what you’re looking at, but the scorpion evo looks fantastic, definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing guns on the market!

  1. Did you have to special order the adapter for the Mystic X? I just checked their site, and they don’t list it as an option.

    • Yes, it was a special request. You’d have to call them up or e-mail. FYI my Mystic is the original version, not the X, but Liberty could make a fixed mount for either of them obviously (if they’re even different).

      • It goes to show how clued in Liberty is with the market. I’m hoping they will make the fixed adapter a “standard” offering instead of a custom offering which costs an extra $50. I’d definitely be in for a group buy at standard pricing (or better yet a special reduced cost “early adopter” offer).

  2. Mrgunsngear on youtube noted that the grip angle on the Evo 3 is a bit strange. The trend has been for more vertical grips on shorter guns but the Evo has a really shallow angle.

    A note to CZ, you should totally offer different grip sizes and angles for sale. Looks like it can be removed and replaced easily.

      • Yeah the K version that’s more vertical. Ergo also makes a decent more-vertical grip for the AR, as does Umbrella Corp and I’m sure a few more folks.

        The angle of the factory Evo grip is much better if it’s a real SBR with a shoulder stock, although I’d still probably like it a touch more vertical. This thing was never designed to be a pistol. I really don’t “get” pistols like this. Never understood the appeal and such. And there are shortcomings here when using it as a pistol. I’m excited for the tax stamp so it can be run like it’s supposed to.

  3. Jeremy, what’s the likelihood of being able to slip an AR15 grip adapter onto that without having to dremel the EVO? Have you measured the width? The only *potential* gripe I have is that grip angle. Would love to be able to throw a grip of my choice on there. Like you I fully expect aftermarket triggers, so that alone would not deter me from buying one right now at all.

    Given Sig’s rep lately for public beta testing their carbines, I am seeing this more and more as an MPX killer.

    • It’s more likely that we’ll just see lots of aftermarket grips coming out. I don’t see a good way to put an AR grip on it without drilling and tapping the frame of the Scorpion to accept the grip bolt. An adapter would have to space it too far away from the trigger either vertically or horizontally. Anyway, if the Scorpion is a market success, there will be no shortage of options. I’m sure Magpul will jump on it and then hopefully Ergo and ATI and Hogue and lots more.

      • Thanks for your reply – I hope you’re right. If you’re listening Magpul, an MOE-K+ please. Rubberized K would be just about perfect.

        Has TTAG asked CZ about developing tweaks that would make this more American consumer friendly? Muzzle thread, AR15 grip. I realize how unreasonable an expectation that is this early in the game, but CZ seems to adapt quickly to this market’s desires. I’m wondering how likely it is that an Americanized S2 could be forthcoming.

        This thing’s destined for a 3-lug adapter, so I’m not too concerned about the threads, but hey. Looking forward to your review.

  4. Never cared for big heavy pistols…still don’t. I have one in my trunk for use, but between that, the M4 or the SBS, I just see no reason to ever reach for it.

    • CA approved list, 2018.

      1) Brown Bess musket. No bayonet stud.

      There’s some discussion in CA about the effect discharging a flintlock musket has on air quality and global warming. Look for the Brown Bess to be banned for environmental reasons.

  5. Is CZ going to be making the normal folding stock available for those that want to SBR it. That would be the difference between getting one or not for me. I don’t want an AR buffer tube adapter as you mentioned. I want the real stock.

    • Rifles have 922r compliance concerns. A certain amount of things will have to be made in the U.S. Stock, mags, grips, etc to meet the requirements. I don’t think you could use the Czech stock. I’m already not sure I’ll be able to turn mine into an SBR and be 922r compliant until there are U.S.-made magazines and such… I have to research it more, though.

      • Here’s how I see the list breakdown:
        Required:
        * Frame
        * Barrel
        * Bolt
        * Forearm
        * Operating rod

        * Magazine
        * Follower
        * Floorplate

        Not in the gun:
        * Barrel extension
        * Bolt carrier
        * Gas piston
        * Butt stock

        Removable (swap for a US-made suppressor mount):
        * Muzzle attachment

        Replaceable (Timney, save us!):
        * Trigger housing
        * Trigger
        * Hammer
        * Sear
        * Disconnector
        * Pistol grip

        Not sure:
        * Mounting block

        If my guess, based on what I’ve seen in videos (my Scorpion is in transit), is correct, a replacement trigger housing would provide 922r compliance. And Timney triggers are 100% US made (and awesome to shoot), so they would be my first choice.

      • I forgot about 922r. That sucks. If this thing can’t be SBR’d, and the sig brace is illegal to shoulder, then I think it is DOA. I was looking forward to this or an MPX. If MPX is made in the US, then I guess that is what we will get.

        • They WANT YOU TO BELIEVE the brace is illegal to shoulder. Why take it to court and undoubtedly lose when you can just use fear tactics to scare people away from it?

          That letter is the most inadmissible, un-enforceable, most likely-to-sink-in-court-like-a-lead-anchor-wrapped-in-bricks stunt from the ATF to date.

      • Please keep me posted. I have preordered one and am hoping to make it into an SBR. Any info you gather, please post. Thanks for doing a great job.

  6. So that rear sight with different apertures – is it just the size that’s different, or do they change POI for different ranges, too?

  7. If this thing doesn’t fall apart in the reviews and is able to hit a pie plate at 100 yards it’s going to be a huge seller.

    The first victim will be Baretta’s price point.
    The second will be torpedoed sales of 9mm AR’s.
    The third will expose the relative clunkiness of of the Keltec S2K.
    All 3 of the above will be praying that Sig doesn’t win their brace trial against the ATF (especially for states that don’t allow SBRs)

    • It has been successful as a full-auto SMG running overpressure ammo in other countries for a few years now. I suspect it will hold up to my range time fun. I haven’t yet had a chance to shoot it at “long range” like 100 yards, but at 25 yards at the indoor range I ran 5 brands of ammo through it and had 4, 5-shot groups where all of the holes connected with each other and the worst group was still awesome. Then I put the silencer on and shot a 5-round group with American Eagle 147 grain FMJ that looked like a single, albeit slightly lopsided, .45 ACP hole. This was 25 yards on a sandbag and I put a 4x scope on top. I haven’t measured that last group yet but it has to be in the realm of 0.4″…

      • …shot a 5-round group with American Eagle 147 grain FMJ that looked like a single, albeit slightly lopsided, .45 ACP hole

        Wowza. Sounds like the thing is a lot better than me and that’s all I need.

  8. Jeremy, is the rear plate and buffer tube in the base MSRP package or did you get a special deal?

    If it is included in the base package that seems mighty generous for a “pistol” package.

    Is the rear plate that accepts the buffer tube metal or poly?

  9. I just put close to 100 rounds through it, and it’s quieter when suppressed than the 9mm ARs I’ve shot.

    I’m assuming that you’re saying that the suppressed EVO was quieter than a suppressed 9m AR….correct?

    • Yes. The Evo is quieter. Granted, it has a 7.7x” barrel and the 9mm ARs I’ve shot in the recent past with a suppressor were from 3.5″ to 5.5″ barrels, so some of it could certainly be due to that. But a lot of the volume on the ARs is very obviously coming out of the breech and I didn’t notice that here. BUT, I was at an indoor range with ear plugs in so it’s hard to say and in all honesty I probably should have held my tongue until I got a chance to shoot it outside. I have shot a couple 9mm AR setups in the same range though so I think I’m right but I’m not totally confident. I’ll know soon enough though 😉

  10. Hey Jeremy. What came with the gun? How many magazines and what size? Any kind of case (soft or hard)? Thanks for any more info you can provide.

    • If you check out the video, that cardboard box came with the gun. I thought it was silly to include a carbine-length box when there’s only a pistol inside, but it just so happens that the gun now fits in there just right with the pistol stabilizing brace and suppressor on it. So that’s cool. It comes with two, 20-round magazines, a bore snake, cable lock, owner’s manual and other paperwork, CZ 25 meter accuracy test target. I think that’s it. Sights are on it of course and the sling adapter plate is on it. The buffer tube adapter and tube will be sold separately and I added them on.

  11. Jeremy, from your experience with the Scorpion, do you think a Silencerco Osprey would be able to clear the front slope of the handguard? At this point, it’s really the only thing stopping me from getting one as soon as it comes out.

    • No, not if the Osprey fixed barrel adapter goes straight down from the back of the Osprey. If it goes 90* downwards from the barrel nut, it’s going to just barely run into the front of the bottom rail on the hand guard. Barely. And the rail sort of juts out a tad anyway. You’d need to take maybe 1/4 inch off of it and move the hand stop one pic rail slot back. If I were in your situation and wanted the Scorpion, I wouldn’t even hesitate for a second. It’s just plastic and it would be super, super easy to remove just the right amount for the Osprey to fit perfectly up against it. And since the handguard is pretty quickly and easily swappable on the Scorpion, you could always get a new one later if needed. But I think you’d hardly notice!

      In this first pic, the blue line goes right along the gap between the suppressor mount and the barrel nut. So keep extending that down and you see where the Osprey would likely hit just the very front of the handguard. Seriously like 1/4″ or so off the front and you’d be good. https://app.box.com/s/74ojyw6o5f83keswsy2t702v5tto9aq3

      …and another https://app.box.com/s/suobh8tlmsz4hgfqax0kh0x4llxkvbpv

      • KInd of a silly mistake that CZ let the front of that handguard project like that. From the moment that people started talking about the S1 release announcement there was all kind of discussion as to if the front handguard would conflict with various suppressors. It’s like CZ has 1 or 2 suppressors in their test lab and since it cleared those suppressors they thought everything was OK versus just making the worst case assumption that the handguard shouldn’t project beyond the start of the threads or even earlier. Oh well, it’s a fairly easy remedy for the users.

        • Yeah no offense to SilencerCo, but this gun was designed in Europe and the Osprey — which is a U.S. market pistol can designed for a semi-auto pistol with a reciprocating slide and tilting barrel and only works on fixed barrels thanks to a special adapter — very well may be the singular silencer that doesn’t fit on the Evo. Any normal, cylindrical silencer is almost guaranteed to fit on there just fine. And that little extension serves a purpose as getting your hand as far forwards does make a difference here.

          …and back to the design, it was done in like 2008 or 2009 and has been an SMG in much of the rest of the world since then with this exact same handguard design. Nothing was created specifically for the U.S. market or changed specifically for the U.S. market that I know about, other than the two things totally necessary to sell to U.S. civilians at this time, which were semi-auto-only and making it a pistol to avoid 922r importation issues until CZ gets that stuff sorted out with U.S. parts, etc…

      • Wow, one hell of a detailed reply there! Thanks! I’ll probably end up getting one if I can find it regardless, I was kind of curious though. The Osprey is a good can, but I’ve been regretting getting a square one for a long time now just because of the shape.

        Anyway, Thanks again!

  12. Jeremy S.,
    Can you please measure and report the center of the arpeture to the top of the rail on the CZ irons?

      • Thanks so much Jeremy! These sights will be on my 556xi as soon as CZ releases them as an individual part #. I called CZ about these sights right after Colion Noir and TTAG posted the product announcement and they said they are definitely bringing them in as a separate part # for sale, but they don’t expect to have them available until mid summer or early fall.

        Just to note, an Aimpoint T1 and similarly sized red dots have a center aperture height over rail at .70″ withthe lowest mount, and Burris Fast Fire, Trijicon RMR have a sight height of about .85″

        Looks like you’d have a pretty nice lower 1/3 with the RMR/ Fastfie and a slightly low from absolute sight picture with the T1. (To Scale picture linked here http://i.imgur.com/OJN9WSE.png)

    • Yeah, pretty darn sure. Except above RE the Osprey. You can see in the photos above (and here: https://app.box.com/s/74ojyw6o5f83keswsy2t702v5tto9aq3) that include the muzzle how far the suppressor mount actually is in front of the handguard. There’s a barrel nut behind the flash hider and, at first, I assumed that nut came off but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I think the nut will stay on and the suppressor will just go on the muzzle in front of it, which is how I have it mounted in the pics. I could see somebody making a mount that includes the barrel nut as part of it, but that might necessitate installing to a specific torque spec and otherwise complicate things unnecessarily.

    • The letter says you’re in violation if you buy the brace with the intent of shouldering it. As long as you don’t intend to shoulder it then if in the heat of practice the brace happens to slip up to your shoulder you are OK. I am NOT a lawyer 🙂

      • The last letter on the subject clearly says that merely shouldering it constitutes a “redesign” into an SBR, intent or no intent. Sure, some people online have tried to argue otherwise, but if I were you I would follow the plain meaning of the letter, instead of trying to glean something from reading between the lines. It’s one thing to prove your non-obvious interpretation to some guy online, and quite another to have to do the same to a judge in a courtroom, when failing means that you get a hefty prison term …

        • AND the letter also clearly states that the violation is contingent on someone who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock.

          The entire intent of the latest ATF letter is to freeze the Sig brace market without making a declaration that will get them sued immediately by Sig and others. They would be more than happy to just lay out this piece of FUD to kill the market and give people the impression that intent doesn’t matter even though a bunch of their other rulings clearly show that intent matters (Oh you have a threaded gun in your safe and you have pieces of pipe laying around your garage…oh you must be intending to make a suppressor). They don’t want to charge anybody with a violation because they don’t want to argue that intent matters and that intent doesn’t matter.

          You can be sure if they ever do arrest somebody for a brace violation it will be a clear cut case where some schmuck threw out a bunch of youtubes mocking the ATF that it was circumventing the SBR rules. Then they will do a plead deal that avoids going to court. With that, they will have successfully scared the public into not buying or using their brace. In reality, people who have properly bought the brace with the proper intent to use as an arm brace are still able for it to touch their shoulder during the heat of use.

      • Yes, doesky2, I believe you may be one ATF letter behind the curve. There was another one that followed pretty quickly after the “intent” letter, and this one was from the acting chief of the technical division affirming the ATF’s belief that the act of shouldering the SB brace redesigns/remanufactures the pistol into a rifle and is, therefore, a violation of NFA law since you’ve just turned your pistol into an SBR. Shouldering SB pistol stabilizing braces is pretty much on a hiatus right now. I did brace one against my forehead and sternum, though, since the law says a rifle goes on your shoulder and a sternum is not a shoulder 😉

        • I know about the latest letter.
          Let’s look at it again in the pertinent paragraphs.

          The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock,
          and therefore use as a shoulder stock constitutes a “redesign” of the device because a possessor
          has changed the very function of the item…..

          AND

          Any person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol… must first file an ATF Form 1

          I take the obvious and clear reading that you are not permitted to use the brace as a shoulder stock if you bought it with the intent to use it as a shoulder stock AND then use it as a shoulder stock.

          On the other hand, if you bought the brace to be used as a forearm brace and it accidentally slips up to your shoulder during heated practice because you were too forgetful or lazy to attach the strap around your arm than that is NOT a violation.

          Are you intending to use it as a shoulder stock?……I’m not.

        • Would you be willing to bet your freedom on the validity of your interpretation?

          No….but that doesn’t make my interpretation any more wrong or right.

          The latest letter is full of inconsistencies and conflicting positions….I have no doubt that Sig’s lawyers are formulating the lawsuit as we speak.

        • d, I don’t see the inconsistencies or conflicts that you do. I think it’s very clear but am not really interested in going back and forth trying to explain my interpretation vs. your interpretation when both are somewhat subjective (although my lawyer — happens to be my wife — came to the same conclusions I did, Leghorn did when he posted his article about it, and SB Tactical and Sig Sauer have in their statements on it). Regardless, like you, I’m not willing to be the test case. If the ATF is asserting that it believes shouldering the brace is illegal then I take that to mean they intend to enforce that interpretation of the NFA and therefore I will not be shouldering the brace except in my dreams when I’m dreaming of being alone in the woods with nobody watching.

  13. I’m not in the market for a new pistol or rifle this year so I hope they update the thread to 1/2×28 when I am. Kinda ridiculous they have such a non-standard thread.

    • Pretty sure there are a bunch or Euro suppressors that use 18×1.

      Now it turns into a discussion on parts and inventory stock management.

      One common barrel is clearly an advantage to reduce production costs. I could clearly see a bunch of people sitting around a table trying to estimate the cost of lost sales due to keeping the same 18×1 thread versus the continued increased production costs of fabricating and managing a new barrel. Somebody was undoubtedly arguing that “price is key” and that a new barrel would probably impact the price by $50 or more. I bet there was proponents on each side and I’d wager that the consensus opinion was …..let’s look at the sales number after the first year and see if it warrants making an additional barrel.

      • My impression of the situation is that they just imported the Euro version without making any changes, and if it’s successful in the market I’m sure those sorts of things will come. Furthering that idea, I kinda thought I would have a low serial number because I got a fairly early one in the U.S., but it was like 80,000 something haha

        Honestly though, it isn’t even a different barrel, it’s just a different machine step at the end of the production process. A simple matter of cutting different size threads on the end of it. CZ already has the tooling to cut 1/2×28 threads, as their threaded .22 LR and 5.56 and whatever other firearms they have been making for many years have always been threaded 1/2×28 when they’re threaded. But obviously it adds logistics to split the production line and send some barrels to be cut one way instead of the “normal” way and then keep guns with those barrels separate from the others and shipped to the US, etc… But logistics can suck so…

  14. It really pisses me off that they are selling it back here in the Czech Republic for twice the US price (as SBR).

    • That indeed sounds like a bitter pill. On the other hand, this thing wouldn’t be able to support a $1700 price tag no way.

      Do you have access to all the competition it has here? (Keltec/Bareta/9mm AR’s/JRC/etc)

  15. I watched your video on removing the end cap to add the buffer plate so you can add a sig arm brace. Can you please let me know where I can find that piece so I can add the brace? I have looked everywhere and can’t find it. I might be typing in the wrong thing, but tired of looking. Thank you for your help, be well. Steve

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