I love pistol caliber carbines. I think they’re a ton of fun and I own way too many of them to justify beyond, “This is America.” One of the many I own is the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine.The CZ Scorpion helped usher in the PCC world alongside the SIG MPX and a few others.
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine has a 16.2 inch barrel length. There are two models of the Scorpion carbine; one sports a compensating muzzle brake and the other has a faux suppressor. Mine has the muzzle brake.
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine comes with two twenty-round magazines and even a nice little bore snake. The gun itself is equipped with the CZ Scorpion folding stock, a robust set of CZ iron sights, and an extended M-LOK handguard replaces the original Scorpion’s railed forend.
The Scorpion features an ambidextrous thumb safety and magazine release. The non-reciprocating charging handle is swappable for either left- to right-handed use. The bolt release and hold open are positioned for right-handed shooters only.
Scorpion EVO’s pistol grip is unique in that you can move it rearward to increase the reach to the trigger if you have larger hands. While that’s not a feature I’ve ever used, it’s there should you need it. The adjustable stock can move between three different positions, adjusting the length of pull from 12.5 to 13.5 to 14.5 inches.
The EVO 3 S1’s magazines are proprietary and made from a semi-transparent polymer that allows you to see how many rounds are in the gun at a glance. These magazines originally had some issues with their feed lips breaking when left loaded, but CZ has apparently fixed that.
CZ also produces an alternative magazine that’s black with witness holes. The original transparent magazines are incredibly affordable and retail for less than $20 at most retailers.
The Scorpion has proved popular enough that aftermarket magazines are becoming available and popular. Manticore Arms and Prepper Gun Shop make and sell a polymer mag with metal feed lips, Magpul is producing a magazine, and there are even drums available for the platform.
From a vanity perspective, the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 is a fine looking rifle. It has a dose of futuristic appeal to it and CZ has done an amazing job creating a good-looking gun.
Overall the CZ Scorpion design is very ergonomically pleasing. The controls are placed in positions that allows for easy access and nothing is difficult to reach or use. The pistol grip is rounded off and comfortable. The Scorpion has become popular enough that even Magpul is making accessories for it if you don’t like a particular part.
One exception: like many, I’m not a fan of the ambidextrous safety. It pokes and prods the firing hand with every shot and is annoying and slightly painful when you start getting into high round-count days. Besides that the gun’s ergonomics are outstanding. The safety’s discomfort aside, it’s tactile and audibly clicks into place.
CZ placed the charging handle forward of the receiver, which is my favorite place for a charging handle. It’s quick and easy to grab and rack, and it’s easy to use when clearing the weapon, locking the bolt to the rear, or fixing a malfunction.
The Scorpion semi-automatic carbine has an AK style magazine release, only bigger and better. You can press it with either your trigger finger or use your thumb when gripping the magazine to remove it.
The bolt lock and release lever is great. It’s huge overall and you can pull the bolt to the rear and use your firing hand to press the lock-up very easily. It’s textured and easy to press down with the thumb of your non-firing hand.
The stock is comfortable and easily adjustable. It provides an excellent cheek weld and is aligned perfectly for a good sight picture. The stock also conveniently folds (the carbine will fire with the stock folded) and locks in place via a magnet.
The forend is rounded and the M-LOK system makes it smooth and comfortable to grip. The handguard is quite long and provides an excellent amount of grip.
Shooting the Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
The low profile aluminum iron sights of the CZ Scorpion are outstanding. There’s a front sight with an AR-15 style front post, but it’s not interchangeable with AR front sight posts. Cross compatibility would’ve been awesome.
The rear adjustable sight features four different adjustable apertures for different range engagements. This makes it easy to use the carbine at a multitude of ranges and be quite precise. Best of all the sights are made of metal.
The Scorpion carbine has a much longer sight radius than the pistol variants. CZ’s Scorpion line are actually quite precise little guns. I own three models to include the standard pistol and the Micro Scorpion.
One of the biggest faults, though, is the 9mm Luger cartridge itself and its inherent limitations. It’s perfect inside of 100 yards and the CZ Scorpion carbine will definitely get you there.
The carbine’s trigger isn’t particularly impressive; it’s somewhat spongy and long. The reset is long as well. There are much better triggers out there — the MPX for example — but there are much worse triggers, too. It’s adequate and not something that will significantly detract from shooting accurately.
The Scorpion carbine can actually be quite the little tack driver, even with just iron sights though there’s lots of top Picatinny rail space for a red dot. The cold hammer-forged barrel is certainly an aid to consistent shooting.
The gun has the recoil impulse of a blowback gun. The problem with blowback weapons is that large bolt running back and forth. The recoil itself isn’t the problem as much as that big heavy bolt shooting rearward and then forward. You can see it your sights as the gun comes up and off target and then falls back below the target before finally resting back on the target.
It’s all very quick and, to me, it doesn’t detract from accuracy much, but the carbine’s light but odd recoil impulse is worth mentioning.
As for reliability, the gun eats everything you put through it. I’ve owned this gun for years now and I’ve never found a round it doesn’t like. It eats and eats and eats without issue. My Scorpion Carbine has seen a wide variety of ammo, including some less-than-stellar steel case stuff. This gun runs it all.
For fun, I did a number of drills while writing this review and one included seven 3-inch circles at 25 yards. My goal was to land one shot in every one in 10 seconds at 25 yards. I set the par time on my Pocket Pro 2 and promptly failed my own drill.
It took 14 seconds, but I did land every shot and an extra because I got into the rhythm of shooting and forgot which target I started with.
What’s the Point?
In the age of the braced pistol, you may be asking what’s the point of a full-sized 9mm carbine (overall length is 36 inches)? It’s hard to argue it’s the better choice for home defense when some very good braced pistol variants exist.
The Scorpion can be used in the new PCC classes of USPSA that prohibits braced pistols. Additionally, this gun, with some minor modification, is California legal while the pistols are not. Plus, it’s all kinds of fun.
Lastly, if you want a CZ SBR (preferably with a pistol caliber suppressor), this is the cheaper route than buying the stock and 922R kit. The 7.2-inch barrels can be purchased for $150 from CZ. On top of that, you get the longer handguard with room for a can. It’s a specific niche design, but one I know Scorpion fans wanted.
Overall, this is a great gun, maybe a little pointless, but many of my guns can be called that. It doesn’t mean I’m not glad I own it.
It is a fun, soft-shooting gun I like to hand off to new shooters, especially younger men who are hardly entertained by a .22.
Specifications: CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
Caliber – 9mm Luger
Capacity – 10, 20, and 30 round magazines available
Action – Blow Back Semi-Auto
Barrel Length – 16.2 inches
Overall Length – 36 inches / 26 inches with stock folded.
Weight – 6.38 pounds
MSRP – $999
Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
Fit, Finish, And Style * * * * *
CZ seamlessly transitioned a submachine gun to a carbine without making it look ridiculous and dumb. The gun looks great and has a futuristic vibe to it. CZ’s polymer work is excellent as well and the M-LOK handguard is an awesome addition.
Accuracy * * * *
It’s an accurate gun that’s easy to get on target and stay there. The odd recoil impulse aside, it’s a very comfortable gun to shoot with low recoil that makes rapid fire accurate as well. It’s not a precision rifle but you won’t miss your target.
Ergonomics * * * *
This gun features an excellent overall layout. Lots of consideration was given to making things simple and accessible. The controls are easy to reach and easy to get into action. The only downside is that damn ambidextrous safety poking at me.
Reliability * * * * *
Never had an issue related to the gun firing, functioning, or holding itself together.
Customization * * *
You can change a lot of little things with this gun like the charging handle, magazine release, the safety, and the trigger springs. Companies like Magpul are taking up the platform and the market is opening. It’s not at GLOCK or AR-15 levels, but it’s growing. The M-LOK forend means Picatinny rail accessories are easy adds.
Overall * * * *
The Scorpion EVO 3 S1 semi-automatic carbine is a fun, easy-handling, and reliable gun at an affordable MSRP. it’s cheap to shoot and has proven itself to be one of the more modular platforms in the PCC market. It’s a relatively big gun with some minor issues, but I still enjoy shooting it even after years and two other braced pistol variants of it.