The Samopal vzor 61 (lit. "Pattern 1961 submachine gun"), more commonly known as the Škorpion, is a Czechoslovak machine pistol designed by Miroslav Rybář in 1959 and produced by Česká Zbrojovka Uherský Brod from 1961 to 1979. One of the world's most iconic machine pistols, the Škorpion was designed as a personal defense weapon to arm various security forces.

History[edit | edit source]

The Škorpion was developed in 1959 by Miroslav Rybář, initially as the Model 59. By 1961, he had completed it and named it the vz. 61, after which it was adopted by various security forces and the Czechoslovak Army, the latter of which used the weapon as a personal defense weapon to arm low-ranking personnel. The name "Škorpion" was originally a brand name for the weapon, which was ultimately used when the weapon was marketed for export.[1]

The weapon was used by various armies and even by various armed groups, and was also noted as being the weapon of choice of many terrorists; one was most notably used in the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. The weapon was also noted as being the weapon of choice of the French terrorist cell Gang de Roubaix.[1]

After original production of the Škorpion ended in 1979, Zastava Arms of Yugoslavia produced a licensed version of the weapon known as the M84; a semi-automatic version known as the M84A was also produced, being marketed to civilians.[2]

The "Škorpion" name was eventually carried onto the CZ Scorpion EVO 3, although both firearms are unrelated.

Design Details[edit | edit source]

The Škorpion is a hammer-fired select-fire machine pistol using blowback and firing from a closed bolt. The cartridge used by the Škorpion, the .32 ACP cartridge, produces a very low recoil impulse and this enables a simple unlocked blowback operation to be employed; there is no delay mechanism and the cartridge is supported only by the inertia of the bolt and the strength of the return springs.

On firing, gas pressure drives the case back in the chamber against the resistance provided by the weight of the bolt and its two recoil springs. The bolt travels back, extracting the empty case which is then ejected straight upwards through a port in the top cover of the receiver housing. The Škorpion uses a telescoping bolt wrapped around a significant portion of the barrel, similar to an Uzi, which makes the weapon very compact.

Installed in the bolt head of the Škorpion is a spring-loaded casing extractor and a fixed, double ejector, which is a protrusion in the weapon’s frame. Because the bolt is relatively light, there is an inertial rate reducer installed in the pistol grip; this helps reduce the rate of fire of the weapon from 1000 RPM to 850 RPM. The rate reducer operates when the bolt reaches the end of its rearward stroke it strikes and is caught by a spring-powered hook mounted on the back plate.

At the same time, the reducer drives a lightweight, spring-loaded plunger down into the pistol grip, which is easily accelerated and passes through a heavy weight which is left behind because of its inertia. The plunger, having compressed its spring, is driven up again and meets the descending inertia buffer, slowing down the rising plunger which, when it reaches the top of its travel, rotates the hook and releases the bolt which is driven forward by the compressed recoil springs.

Variants[edit | edit source]

vz. 61/64/65

Variants with curved box magazines chambered in various calibers.

vz. 68/82/83

Variants with stick magazines chambered in various calibers.

vz. 61 E

Variant of the vz. 61 with a plastic pistol grip.

References[edit | edit source]

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