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PDW on Steroids: the vz68 and the Skorpion 9×19

The original Scorpion was adopted in .32 ACP caliber as the vz.61 by the Czechoslovakian military – but development of the Scorpion did not end there. Prototypes were also developed in .380, 9×18 Makarov, and 9x19mm. In particular, the 9x19mm version, designated vz.68, got as far as field trials with the Army. Unfortunately, its designer died, and impetus for the development program ended with him.

In the 1990s, however, the new Czech Republic was looking for a new military submachine gun, specifically in 9x19mm. The CZ company (now a private concern) looked around for what it might already have available, and found the vz.68. A further series of prototypes were made, now designated “Scorpion 9×19”. They were tested but rejected by the Czech military, and failed to get any foreign export sales. This is most likely because the 9mm Scorpion was a quite complex gun (as was the vz.61), and much more costly to produce that typical military submachine guns of the period – without providing much practical benefit over those cheaper designs. In total, only about 85 examples of 9x19mm Skorpions were made between the 1960s and 1990s. Instead, CZ would develop the Evo 3 for Czech military use.

Mechanically, the 9×19 versions of the Skorpion are basically unchanged from the original vz.61. The receiver has been stretched just slightly (about one inch) and the bolt mass approximately doubled. The same rate reducer is used, and the 9x19mm guns are still closed-bolt and hammer-fired with a simple blowback operating mechanism. Thanks to CZ for giving me access to these really neat prototypes from their factory reference collection!

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