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. 

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.

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.

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.

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