Previous Post
Next Post

Reader Jason Bayne writes:

I tend to gravitate toward firearms that exhibit excellent recoil-control and promote quick and accurate follow-up shots. After many years of shooting, buying and selling semi-auto pistols, a few years ago I settled the pistol caliber debate for myself.

I decided with developments in modern bonded hollow-point ammo, that 9mm offers the best balance of terminal performance and recoil moderation. Any decent 9mm bonded hollow-point will give you virtually the same performance as a similar 45 ACP hollow-point, with considerably less recoil.

The milder recoil of the 9mm round enables the shooter to not only put more shots on target quicker, but also deliver those shots more accurately. After all, what’s the purpose of a defensive handgun? It’s a tool you use to stop a threat/attacker. As I understand it, the best way to stop a threat/attacker is to put as many well-placed shots on target as quickly as you can. For me, 9mm is the caliber I choose to achieve that end if need be.

Not only is 9mm an excellent choice for a typical carry pistol, but if you want to move up to large format pistol with a brace rather than a stock* for home defense, or a pistol caliber carbine, you get more than a trivial increase in velocity, and the extra weight of the larger platform further dampens recoil. Boosts in performance aside, LFPs with a brace or stock and PCCs are just a lot of fun to shoot.

My favorite large format pistol is the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 with a folding brace or stock. I’ve added a folding stock and is an SBR.

If the fun factor doesn’t entice you, LFPs with a brace/stock and PCCs are also easy to shoot well. At home defense distances, whether you’re taking slow aimed shots, or pulling the trigger as fast as you can, it’s easy to put all the shots in one place (see the pictures below). Certainly easier than when using a standard pistol, especially under rapid-fire conditions.

There are those of you who will say “If you are going to use a rifle for home defense, why not use an AR-15 in 5.56?” An AR-15 is considerably longer than a Scorpion with a brace/stock; which makes maneuvering in small spaces difficult. Plus, if you choose to, you can cut the length of the Scorpion basically in half by folding the brace/stock.

Length aside, those who have had the misfortune of shooting an AR-15 indoors without hearing protection can tell you the noise, flash and concussion produced by .223/5.56 rounds indoors is deafening, blinding and disorienting. A 9mm fired indoors, especially from a longer barrel (the Scorpion’s is 7.72 inches) is much quieter and far less disorienting.

I have experienced firing both 9mm and .223 indoors without hearing protection. I will take a 9mm over a .223/5.56 every time. Especially if I know I may have to fire multiple shots.

Home defense and real-world scenarios aside, after shooting 10 rounds as fast as I could and seeing all the shots in a little group downrange, all I could do was chuckle. The two hours I spent putting over 200 rounds through the Scorpion SBR, was some of the most fun I have had at the range in a while.

I ran four different 9mm loads and didn’t experience a single hiccup. Despite the somewhat heavy and long trigger pull of the Scorpion, I was having so much fun, I didn’t even notice the trigger’s shortcomings.

A couple of years ago I built a 9mm SBR on the AR-15 platform. I bring it up because I installed a 3.5 pound match trigger in it. While the trigger on the AR-9 I built is so superior to the Scorpion’s trigger, I would choose the Scorpion over the AR-9 every time.

Why? While I enjoy my AR-9 and it’s been 100% reliable both suppressed and unsuppressed in over 2500 rounds, it is simply not as smooth or refined as the Scorpion. Nor is it as fun to shoot.

The straight blowback operation of the AR-9 is surprisingly punishing on the operator. It exhibits considerably more recoil than an AR-15 in 5.56 (DI gas-operated recoil system with a locking lug bolt). I’m not referring to muzzle flip here, I’m talking about the way the bolt of the AR-9 blows directly back at your shoulder when firing. The Scorpion doesn’t exhibit this type of recoil and is much milder and smoother shooting.

If you haven’t had a chance to play around with a Scorpion, you’re really missing out. Not only is it a blast to shoot, it’s also a solid choice for a home defense weapon.


*The addition of a stock turns your pistol into a short barreled rifle, an NFA item that requires a tax stamp.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I’ll concur ‘it’s cool’, but I don’t see where it’s a quantum leap above a sub 2k. Probably costs better part of $1k, too.

    “Arggggh!!11! Keltec! Blah, blah, blah plastic trash11!”

    • Kel Tec is definitely not trash, but i owned a PF 9 that the felt recoil made it less painful for the perp than the shooter… i haf a Springer XDs .45 and it’s felt recoil isn’t bad. The Keltec went bang everytime with any ammo, but damn I hated shooting that gun

      • Heh. Everyone who has shot my PF9 has given me a WTF look afterwards. No other mini-9 has that kind of snap. Even the micro XDS45 is much more pleasant to shoot than the PF9.

    • I have a S2K and an EVO.
      The S2K charging handle for wife and daughter is a real problem.
      The EVO has becone the primary HD weapon.

    • Almost 10″ shorter in the barrel and shorter with folding/telescoping stock/brace, which also doesn’t have to be unfolded to fire making it a superior backpack gun (which seems to be the Sub 2k’s main draw), easier to attach red dots and aftermarket sights to and better stock sights to begin with, all at sub $1k. Just about the only things the sub 2k has on the scorpion is the price and mag compatibility (which is reduced in importance based on the low cost of scorpion mags). I don’t have enough experience with the Sub 2k to speak towards reliability but Keltec isn’t exactly known for quality. So, while not a quantum leap (which in the firearms industry, there haven’t been many over the past few hundred years; metallic cartridges, smokeless powder and autoloading firearms come to mind), certainly better…

      • It’s kind of an unfair comparison, since the S2K has a 16″ barrel. I was actually thinking the other day about the idea of a slightly modified S2K pistol version that could accept a brace or be SBR’d. Switch the charging handle to be reversible and side-mounted (something that would arguably benefit them anyway) and you could have an interesting new contender in the market. Even better – take the SU-16, cut the barrel to 10.5″ and re-work the folding stock assembly to accommodate a pistol grip and underfolding brace instead. Compare either of those to the Scorpion and the gap narrows somewhat.

        As for reliability, I have a gen 2 S2K that has survived some pretty unusual abuse (seller accidentally dropped it off the back of his bike on the interstate coming to meet me, I got a pretty good discount) and hasn’t ever missed a beat. It’s a pretty simple design that they’ve had a lot of time to tinker with, so these days I wouldn’t hesitate to call them reliable.

  2. The Sub2K is incredibly hard and awkward to cock (and clear jams). That’s the big deal breaker with that platform…that and the plastic cheapness. Is there a Sig MPX that takes MP5 mags?

  3. “you get more than a trivial increase in velocity”

    the difference in velocity between a 5 inch barrel and a 7 inch barrel for most 9mm loads is 50 feet per second or less

    its less than 5 percent

    it wont shoot any flatter

    and it wont make any load devasting or a manstopper that wasnt already that way to begin with

    the only real world advantage to this platform as far as lethality goes is greater accuracy due to greater stability on account of shouldering it

  4. I really want a Scorpion EVO 3 S2 Micro, but their summer ship date slipped to fall…or winter.

    The Sig MPX pistol with brace is quite awesome too.

  5. I started an AR-9 project before the 2016 election, and I honestly wish in retrospect that I had gotten a CZ Scorpion instead. My logic at the time was that HC would probably win, so I was worried that she would pass a ban immediately and kill the Scorpion aftermarket. I wanted an AR-9 because the AR-15 platform is so common that there will always be aftermarket/postban support (and I already owned a small stockpile of Glock mags). On the other hand, I’m glad I waited because the “flash can” version of the pistol is awesome. The extended polymer handguard is shockingly lightweight, which makes for a very fast, nimble front end.

  6. It’s not a better pistol than an actual pistol, unless you don’t use it in a pistol configuration. Sure, with a brace it’s better, but as a pistol, it’s an ergonomic disaster, like any other short barrel rifle that’s a not pistol.

    • Scorpion owner here. This is true. Once I SBRed it and got my permission slip to install a stock, it became a great gun. But the one or two times I shot it as a pistol, I thought, “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done with a gun.” It was just absurd.

  7. I own a Scorpion and love it. If I had to do it all over again, I would buy a Hi-Point carbine in 10mm and then add the Hightower Armory bull pup conversion to it. All in, it would cost about $550. I paid $850ish for my Scorpion, then $200 to SBR it, then $250ish for the 922-R kit with folding stock, etc.

    • I understand your attraction to the High-point 10mm carbine, but to then bull pup it with that HORRIBLE trigger, well that limits you to nothing more than spray and pray. Just my opinion. It would still be fun. One question: does that set up limit you to only Hi-Point mags? If it does that should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Once again, just my opinion.

  8. Is the difference in the color of the scorpion in the pictures with the targets vs the other two pictures just white balance in the author’s camera or are they two different scorpions? If they are two different scorpions, please tell me the lighter version was the short lived and now discontinued Pooh model?

    The factory trigger is truly bad on the ones I have had a chance to handle in store. Does the trigger HB solve that in a meaningful way?

    • The HB Industries reduced weight trigger spring kit is a huge improvement over the terrible factory trigger. Best $8.95 you’ll ever spend on a firearm.

  9. I went with an SBR’d PS90. The biggest drawback is subsonic ammo is HIDEOUSLY expensive. When I plunk, it’s cheaper supersonic ammo.

  10. “Any decent 9mm bonded hollow-point will give you virtually the same performance as a similar 45 ACP hollow-point, with considerably less recoil.”

    I can’t believe nobody’s picked a fight over this yet. Just stirring the pot.

  11. cZ Scorpion ideal for home defense. Uhhhhhh Okay, if you say so.

  12. I love my CZ Scorpion!
    I sbr’d mine and put a vertical foregrip on it
    Most people just put the tail hook folding brace and an angled foregrip so they don’t have to file the ATF form, pay $200 and wait months.
    Zero the red dot at 25 yards and hits will be 1.5 inches above or below point of aim from muzzle out to 100 yards.
    So you can use it at indoor and outdoor ranges without adjusting the sights.
    9 mm ammo is the cheapest centerfire ammo available. The Scorpion will eat anything including steel case.
    The standard trigger is fine, a lot like a Glock trigger.
    There are plenty of better aftermarket triggers available.
    Now there is a binary trigger for it so you can blast away at simulated full auto rates!

  13. Goals right here… I have a suppressor in the works and after I get that back sometime next year or when I think I am getting close, I am gonna buy the 7″ Scorpion and have some fun…

  14. my 10.5″ 5.56 pistol build:

    less than $800 all in including cnc billet cerakoted lower backup sights vortex red dot and 320 lumen streamlight

    no permission slip required

    uses the same mags as all my other rifles

    less than 3 moa groups at 300 yards with factory ammo

    no worries

    no regrets

    • Go ahead, shoot that 10.5 in a house or indoor range without hearing pro. If you can even *see* and focus after 2-3 rounds im going to be impressed. I have a 10.5 noveske switchblock SBR with a suppressor. Its not anywhere near as light or easy to maneuver as a scorpion and without that can its devastatingly loud even outside. The CZ *is* a better HD gun no doubt. Easier for a unskilled and weak user (like older people, disabled people, or most wives who are uninterested in shooting sports).

      I love my 10.5 and will never sell it. But a 9mm subgun really is a better HD weapon in almost every aspect.

  15. I am a CZ fan and really liked the original Scorpion. I am sure knowing CZ that this new generation Scorpion will live up to the reputation. Not only a fun gun, but a viable personal defense weapon where concealment is not a concern such as home, a business, or vehicle. With a good reflex sight, stored out of sight yet readily available will give the end user an extra layer of advantage over aggressors whether single or multiple. In an age where home invasions are becoming more a daily threat especially in the border states this is worth consideration.

  16. “Modern bonded hollowpoint ammo”

    Hey, the only reason I would buy one of these pigs or any 9mm pistol-subgun is to shoot Liberty +P 50 grain copper slugs at 2,000 to 2,500 fps muzzle velocity for home defense. The Scorpion’s 7.72 inch barrel will get you over 2,000fps provide you with one-shot rifle-level terminal performance in soft tissue. Even with a 4 inch pistol barrel, Liberty blows through half of the body armor on the market at typical self defense ranges.

    Has anyone shot much Liberty through their Scorpion? I get dead nuts accuracy and 2,500fps in my Sub2000.

  17. I’ve had a Scorpion for several years now, and it remains the most fun gun I own, particularly when suppressed. I don’t use it for HD as I prefer my suppressed 300Blk pistol in that role…if I opt for a pistol round for HD I’ll just shoot it out of a conventional pistol.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here