SMG Wannabes Vs Pistols – 9mm Faceoff


The new trend with gun manufacturers seems to be aiming at making guns that are designed to be big pistols, but small guns. They are often 9mm, semi-automatic, braced equipped pistols that look and handle like SMGs minus the full-auto factor. The newest SMG wannabes are sporting very short barrels, often times a short as compact pistols, or even sub-compact pistols. The Micro Scorpion, for example, has a 4.12-inch barrel and the Copperhead has a 3.5-inch barrel. 

This leads many people asking what exactly is the point? The short barrels of these guns offer no ballistic advantage compared to handguns. I’m not exaggerating if you browse through the comments on gun websites there are lots of doubters. Most of the comments are along the lines of, “What does this do that  Glock 19 and a 33 round mag doesn’t do,”

Or some variation of that anyway.

What’s the difference?

These are good questions and I wanted to find out the answer myself. What does something like the CZ Micro Scorpion do that the Glock 17 doesn’t? We know a Glock 17 is more concealable, is lighter, and can offer a similar capacity in an identical caliber. In fact, the Glock 17 offers slightly more barrel than the Micro Scorpion and a full inch more than the SIG Copperhead. 

Let’s find out what, or if anything, these SMG Wannabes offer over a standard pistol. We are going to compare two guns today, the Glock 17 with extended magazines, and a CZ Micro Scorpion. 

Running a CZ of any kind?


Effective Range and Accuracy

The effective range of a weapon is one of its first limitations we have to acknowledge when using a weapon for a serious role. The vast majority of SMG wannabes are in 9mm, which is the current en-vogue handgun cartridge for most roles. That immediately limits our effective range to the power of a 9mm round. 

With that in mind beyond that, it’s all about practical accuracy and how the platform delivers that accuracy. Measuring groups is one thing, but I think from a practical standpoint this isn’t the best way to gauge accuracy. One flyer can ruin everything. 

Instead, I started at 50 yards, fired 5 rounds and sprinted to the 25-yard line and fired 5 more shots. This added stressors to me as the shooter and replicate most ‘close with the enemy’ situations. For targets, I used the Vital Zone Targets from Sage Dynamics that represent the vital sections of a torso. These are free printable targets and are 8.5 x 11 inches. 

CZ Scorpion 25 to 50 yards

Here the Micro Scorpion has an obvious advantage. I landed all ten rounds onto the vital zone target. With the Glock 17, I managed to land only six out of ten. That shows me I need way more practice with the Glock and that the Scorpion is easier to shoot at this range. 

Glock target 25 to 50 yards.

Outside of distance, I wanted to see how each gun handled with a close-quarters practical accuracy test. The test was easy, fire 5 rounds in under 5 seconds at 15 yards and see how the weapon grouped inside the vital zone of a target. I used the Sage Dynamics headshot target for this test. Both guns were more than capable of acceptable accuracy.

Glock headshot target.

I landed five headshots with the Glock in 3.63 seconds and five with the Scorpion in 3.06 seconds. 

Micro Scorpion headshot target.

Running a Glock 19 during your drills?




NOW: Running Drills 

I wanted to run a few basic drills with both weapons to see how they handle in a more practical manner. The goal of these drills is to provide time and data to see if there is a significant difference between regular handguns and SMG wannabes. 

For these drills I will be using the Sage Dynamics Headshot targets, all drills will be fired at a range of 15 yards, and will be timed with a Pocket Pal 2. 

It’s flippin’ hot here!

Snap Shots

Snapshots are a simple drill and one of my favorites. It’s easy. You start in the low ready, and on the timer, you aim and fire. Your goal is to be as accurate and as fast as possible. Snapshots are simple, but an effective way to judge that first round on target speed. The first round fired is often the most important round. All drills fired into the head at 15 yards. 

Glock 17 Times

CZ Scorpion Times

Target Transitions with Timer. 

Target transitions are your ability to move your gun from one target to another and engage. To run this drill I set-up two targets a yard apart and engaged Target A with one shot, and transitioned to engage Target B with a second shot. All drills fired into the head at 15 yards. 

Glock 17 Times

CZ Scorpion Times


Reloading With Timer

Do the ergonomics play a role in your ability to reload your weapon? Most of these SMG Wannabes offer a magazine forward of the trigger, which is entirely different than the position of a handgun’s magazine placement. Does it make a difference?

I started with each gun loaded with an empty magazine and the bolt or slide locked to the rear. My goal is to conduct a reload from a belt-mounted magazine pouch. The drill ends when a shot is fired and starts on the timer. All drills fired into the head at 15 yards. 

Glock 17 Times

CZ Micro Scorpion Times


Fixing a Malfunction with Timer 

Lastly, when it comes to fixing malfunctions I wanted to again see if ergonomics played a difference in how the guns handled. I set up two different malfunctions. The first is simple, I loaded a mag, but left the chamber empty. This way I can conduct a Tap, Rack Bang drill. 

For the second drill, I placed a piece of brass in the breech to prevent the weapon from going fully into battery. Both drills end when the first shot is fired. All drills fired into the head at 15 yards. 

Tap Rack Bang 

Glock 17 Times

CZ Scorpion Times

Complicated Malfunction 


Glock 17 Times

CZ Scorpion Times

Overall I think it’s easy to see that the small difference between the Micro Scorpion and the Glock, or better yet SMG Wannabes and Pistols in general. The Micro Scorpion tended to be easier to shoot and faster to manipulate. Going into the contest there was a bias towards the Glock 17 since I’ve owned the weapon for several years now and have trained extensively with it. This was obvious in my reload times, which have actually taken a steep decline. I need more handgun time for sure. However, the Scorpion prevailed as the faster to shoot and easier to handle weapon in most of the head to head times. It was also easier to shoot accurately at all ranges.

Of course, there are practical considerations to consider. The Micro Scorpion costs twice as much as a Glock. Second, a Glock can be concealed in the waistband whereas the Micro Scorpion requires a laptop bag. For the average Joe, the Micro Scorpion is likely less useful in an everyday role than a Glock 17. However, the Micro Scorpion is an excellent, well made, and reliable weapon that does give you a slight performance advantage. If you’re like me and own guns for the fun factor the Scorpion can be quite fun.


Need to feed a Scorpion or EVO?


Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is the world’s Okayest firearm’s instructor.

  • Rick D

    I had issues with the fake can on mine rattling off. Also they need to do something about that safety

    • 1*

      got a dremel? grind the safety off to a comfy level. or just buy a safety remove button on ebay or…

      • Rick D

        Thats one way to look at it , the other is if Im spending that kind of money I expect to not have to modify it. Might be a reason I sent it back to CZ after the demo period was up

  • 1*

    I like the CZ Scorpio MicroK after major modifications and trigger work & added optic it’s now perfect as a *Truck Gun. I use my Glock *19 G4 exclusively in a Roni or Scout also as a *Truck Gun never concealed anyway. Fun to sure accuracy has improved 10-fold with my tweaks

  • doubletee2

    What about those Micro Roni things?

    • 1*

      I love those & Scout Fab Defense

    • disqus_P75F1IQr1N

      They bring the Glock even with the “SMGs” in accuracy and every other advantage the others had, while being 4-6″ shorter, half the weight, and still kicking less (locked breech).

  • mike connor

    Not a micro, but my CZ scorp. is fun to shoot.

  • doubletee2

    Oh, I realize the article compare doesn’t address the Roni’s, but perhaps that would be a future subject. They seem to be in between the wannabe subs and a pistol. Not trying to hijack the discussion theme.

  • Doctor Howard

    I have an extar ep9. Nice cqb weapon inside a house. It’s fun to shoot. Who cares if it can’t be a conceal carry firearm. Fire off some rounds with any 5.56 in an enclosed area with no hearing protection, and it will rattle your teeth.

  • Mike

    99 point pretty much all of shooting is range time. Pistol caliber carbines/pistols are easier to shoot, faster to acquire targets and more accurate by a wide margin than most pistols. Throw even the worst optics on one and you can dance cans at 50 yards all day. Pretty much no one cares about the SMG connection any more. Its just that since the SBR line got blurred with pistol braces short barrel “pistols” on AR and other platforms have sold like hotcakes because they are simply better in every way except concealability than traditional handguns.

  • George

    I am having doubts that you shot that small of a group at 50 yards. If that shot group was shot by you at the 50, that’s pretty amazing and great job shooting.

    Firing with a stock or brace always improves my shot group and also feels more stable with more support. I would be interested in seeing your conduct this test on video.

    • imachinegunstuff

      It was 25 yards to 50 yards

      • George

        5 shots at 50 yards with a pistol usually creates a larger group than the one displayed.

        • imachinegunstuff

          You’re talking about the Glock target?

          5 rounds at 25 yards and 5 rounds at 50 yards on the same target

          There is is only 6 shots on the target meaning 4 misses on the Glock target.

          • George

            6/10 on a piece of 8×11 paper is very very good. Yes, I meant to say Glock 17.

          • imachinegunstuff

            Even when 5 are done at 25 yards?

  • DSchlageter

    Not a micro but my new PSA AKV is the most fun to shoot of everything I have pistol, pistol, carbine or rifle. Only one malfunction in over 1,000 rounds and that was when it bump fired.

  • Quixote Six Actual

    Is there a possibility of a longer barrel and a real ballistic improvement? And if so, how much? Would it be worth it?

  • Mangino1173

    An SMG wannabe like the Micro Scorpion might make some sense in a home or business defense role and maybe other specific non everyday carry situations. But given I can buy 2 Glock 19’s for the price of the Micro it doesn’t offer enough incentive or advantage to make it viable for consideration.

  • John B Moore Jr

    My AR9 with 5″ barrel and adjustable brace is for in house use. It’s use is for folks that are not excellent shots with a pistol. Shotgun is no longer the best home defense with the ability to go through walls and if the bad guy has a hostage you are probably going to get them both.

  • greaburns

    The Scorpion is easier to shoot but harder to carry.