ARSENAL BLOG 011:
VZ61 SKORPION

SILENCERCO’S ARSENAL SERIES showcases guns we love for various reasons that reside in our in-house arsenal. We are best-known for making guns quiet–in order to do this, we must interact with a great variety of amazing platforms. In these posts we will tell you about each platform we like, why it’s different and relevant, and why we think it belongs in our pantheon of greatness.

VZ61 SKORPION

Miroslav Rybar, ’61 Skorpion’s inventor, was determined to invent a holster-able short-barreled rifle. During creation stages in the late 1950’s, it held the name “Model 59.” The product was finished in 1961 and deemed Samopal VZ61, Slovak for Machine Gun VZ 61. With a finished length of just 10.6” (stock folded in), the VZ 61 was only two inches longer than a Colt 1911. It came with 15-round and 30-round magazines.

The wire stock (perhaps the gun’s strangest feature) folds over the top of the gun, which led to the nickname Škorpión, Slovak for — you guessed it — scorpion. The label was so widespread that CZ adopted the name for commercial marketing.

Chambered in .32 ACP (Europe’s 7.65 X 17mm Browning SR), the VZ61 Skorpion was highly desirable for its concealability and greater firepower than a pistol. The round was Czech’s standard at the time and could be obtained easily — and in large quantities. Česká zbrojovka (English: Czech Arms Factory) produced the Skorpion on the eastern border of the Czech Republic for almost two decades.

vz61 skorpion

Rybar intended the firearm for law enforcement, but it gained ground and quickly became a common army gun. The VZ61 Skorpion still exists as an issue item in the Czech army because of its incredible compactness, though the current model is slightly modified with a synthetic pistol grip.

The Skorpion is a blowback-operated firearm, firing from a closed bolt and a no-delay mechanism. When fired, gas pressure drives the case back in the chamber, and ejects the case straight upwards. The system is surprisingly comfortable to shoot despite its odd appearance and recoil on the Skorpion is minimal. Accuracy can be slightly difficult because of the folding stock and crude iron sights.

The telescopic bolt assembly and compact gas system both conserve space. An internal gas tube works to slow the rate of fire from 1,000 rounds to 850 rounds per minute.

vz61 skorpion

The telescopic bolt assembly and compact gas system both conserve space. An internal gas tube works to slow the rate of fire from 1,000 rounds to 850 rounds per minute.

A civilian, semi-automatic version is now available known as the M84A and chambered in .380 ACP (9x17mm short).

CzechPoint recommended 7.65mm Browning FMJ ammunition to ensure reliability when cycling. Their Skorpions use the original CIP-spec 7.65mm Browning barrels. Other American manufactured (SAAMI-spec) ammunition may cause malfunctions and is not recommended.

vz61 skorpion

THINGS WE LIKE

– Extremely compact and concealable for a machine-pistol/sub-gun

– Easy to extend the stock quickly for support when firing

– Low recoil, even on full auto

THINGS WE DON’T LIKE

– .32 ACP isn’t a common defense cartridge and is considered underpowered as far as terminal ballistics go

– Ejection port causes the casings to be thrown on top of the shooter’s head

– Hitting anything beyond 10 feet with the crude sights is a challenge – this is a close quarters platform for sure

– Minimal real estate for second hand to support during firing

– Burns through magazines on full auto very quickly – less than 3-4 seconds for 30-round

BOTTOM LINE

Overall, a supremely fun little package, especially when suppressed on full auto. We tend to use the Omega 9K for best results.

NEXT UP: Arsenal Blog 012: This iconic German sub-gun first received international exposure during a daring SAS raid on the Iranian embassy in 1980 and has appeared in everything from Die Hard to Lethal Weapon – the Heckler and Koch MP5. We will explore its many variants to include our favorite – the SD integrally suppressed 9mm version.