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Ceska Zbrojovka vz. 61 (Skorpion)

Machine Pistol / Submachine Gun (SMG)

At its core, the Skorpion is a cross between a pistol and a submachine gun.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 5/22/2018
National Flag Graphic


Year: 1961
Manufacturer(s): Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod -Czechoslovakia / Czech Republic; Zastava Arms - Serbia
Roles: Close Quarters Battle (CQB)/Personal Security; Sidearm;
Action: Blowback; Closed-Bolt
Caliber(s): 7.65x17 Browning SR; 9x19mm Parabellum; 9x18mm Makarov; 9x17mm Short
Sights: Flip-Up Rear; Adjustable Front Post
Overall Length: 270 mm (10.63 in)
Barrel Length: 115 mm (4.53 in)
Weight (Unloaded): 2.87 lb (1.30 kg)
Muzzle Velocity: 1,050 feet-per-second (320 meters-per-second)
Rate-of-Fire: 850 rounds-per-minute
Effective Range: 82 ft (25 m; 27 yd)
Operators: Afghanistan; Angola; Czech Republic; Egypt; Indonesia; Iraq; Libya; Mozambique; North Korea; Serbia; Slovakia; Uganda; Yugoslavia
The Skorpion submachine gun is originally of Czechoslovakian origin and was designed in the late 1950s and formally introduced in 1961. The design is attributed to Miroslav Rybar and production was headed up by Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod Zastava Arms. Despite her Cold War origins, the Skorpion still enjoys relatively widespread use and approximately 210,000 of her kind had been produced.

Outwardly, the Skorpion enjoys a unique appearance thanks to her design. The pistol grip is relatively straight yet ergonomic to fit in a dominant firing hand. The trigger is held within a wire ring with the magazine feed directly forward of it. The receiver contains all of the working components with the cocking handle featured along both forward sides. Iron sights are fitted across the top of the receiver at the front and rear of the design. The barrel protrudes a short distance ahead of the forend. The weapon can be stabilized against the shoulder by way of a folding wire stock assembly. When not in use, it simply folds over the top of the receiver.

In addition to its submachine classification, the Skorpion is sometimes regarded as a "machine pistol" due to her compact size. The size is made possible by an internal telescoping bolt component around the barrel assembly. The cartridge specific to the Skorpion also provides lower recoil than her contemporaries and makes "machine pistol" operation possible. As such, she is often treated as a pistol and can be carried in a holster.

Depending on the specific variant of Skorpion, the weapon can be chambered to fire the .32 ACP (standard Czech cartridge), the 9x19mm Parabellum, the 9x18mm Makarov or the .380 ACP cartridge from a 10- or 20-round detachable curved box magazine. The 9mm forms feature a straight box magazine. The firing action utilizes the blowback principle with a close bolt. Sighting is accomplished via a front post and flip-up rear sight. Effective range is out to 25 meters but this varies depending on cartridge type. Muzzle velocity is rated at 1,050 feet per second. Rate of fire is between 850 and 900 rounds per minute depending on cartridge type.

The Skorpion is a select-fire system that employs three modes of operation - safe, semi-automatic and full automatic. For special operations, the Skorpion can be fitted with a sound suppressor. Additional optional accessories include a forward vertical grip, solid stock and flashlight. In fact, utilizing the full plate of available accessories can make the Skorpion appear more akin to an assault rifle than a submachine gun. Three different caliber Skorpions were offered in the 1960s though never pressed into production. However, the 1990s brought about the vz. 61E, the vz. 82 and the vz. 83, these featuring the .32 ACP, 9x18mm Makarov and .380 ACP calibers respectively.

Variants / Models

• vz. 61 - Base Production Model
• vz. 61E - Chambered for the .32 ACP cartridge; plastic pistol grip.
• vz. 64 - Proposed vz. 61 variant; chambered for 9x18mm Makarov pistol cartridge; never produced.
• vz. 65 - Proposed vz. 61 variant; chambered for 9x17mm Short cartridge (.380 ACP); never produced.
• vz. 68 - Proposed vz. 61 variant; chambered for 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge; never produced.
• vz. 82 - Chambered for 9x18mm Makarov pistol cartridge; 113mm barrel; straight-box magazine.
• vz. 83 - Chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge; straight-box magazine.
• CZ 91S - Civilian Market Variant; straight-box magazine.
• CZ 868 - Modified carbine form based on the original Skorpion machine pistol; integrated stock and foregrip; optics mounting; optional silencer; straight-box magazine; underbarrel accessories mount.
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