The Southern Tactical Vz. 61 Skorpion

In the world of iconic firearms, there are guns like the AK-47, Uzi, and Desert Eagle—guns everyone knows and appreciates and, most importantly, can likely name. Other guns are like character actors in movies. You recognize them, but you might not know exactly what they are. The Vz. 61 Skorpion is one of those weapons. Many might know it as the Klob from Goldeneye, and its distinctive style makes it easy to spot.

The small size, top folding stock, curved magazine, and submachine gun-like design in a compact package make it distinctive. It’s never the weapon the hero would carry, but it’s the perfect gun for a bad guy or henchman or to be used and lost when it runs dry. The Vz. 61 is recognizable but not well-known.

The Vz. 61 Skorpion You Can Own

While it’s not well-known by most people, most gun nerds can righteously appreciate a .32 ACP submachine gun. Acquiring an actual Vz. 61 is tough, but parts kits flow into the country. Meanwhile, companies like Southern Tactical take these kits and rebuild them with American-made receivers and barrels into semi-auto handguns. It retains most of the Skorpion look but lacks a stock. Although it’s an easy fix with a tax stamp, a stock would make it an SBR.

Southern Tactical provided me with a sample of their Vz. 61 Skorpion. Overall, I received a nice care package with the gun. Southern Tactical includes a holster for the gun, which looks like an Eastern European original. It also comes with a 10-round magazine that fits in the gun while in the holster. The gun also comes with two 20-round magazines and a leather mag pouch. If that’s not enough, we get it topped off with a cleaning kit.

The gun comes with one 10-round mag and two 20-round magazines.

It’s an impressive package. The gun looks slick and clean, with a most impressive finish. It’s an Eastern European parts kit on a new receiver, but it all looks brand new. The weapon looks fantastic overall. My first impression was high. Upon further examination, I found the threaded slots that make it easy to attach the classic stock or even a brace and optics adapter.

The Vz. 61 Skorpion in Hand

The VZ. 61 Skorpion might have come from Eastern Europe, but it comes from the best part when it comes to guns: the former Czechoslovakia. Those guys make great and smart guns. The Vz. 61 is a straight blowback operated design, which typically means increased recoil. However, with .32 ACP, it barely moves.

skorpion magazine release
The mag release is super easy to hit and release the magazine.

The Skorpion’s original design was intended for troops riding in armor as well as special operations, paratroopers, and even some intelligence operatives who needed a capable low-profile weapon. The Skorpion offered an easily concealable, stocked SMG with controllable full auto firepower regardless of the gun’s small size and skinny stock.

skorpion nubs
The Skorpion has ambidextrous nubs to cock the weapon.

These days, a lot of people would never consider the .32 ACP cartridge. It’s a small but fairly potent option that can reach deep enough into a threat to hit something vital. The Skorpion’s 4.5-inch barrel allows for a good deal of velocity and makes the round hit nice and hard, at least hard for a .32 ACP.

Ergonomically, the gun feels ahead of its time when you consider it was built in 1961. The safety is a switch positioned right by the firing hand’s thumb. The magazine release allows you to grip the magazine in the gun and instantly hit the button release. You could argue the charging handles are ambidextrous, but you honestly need to use both to charge the weapon.

ejection port
The gun ejects from the top, so watch for casings to smack you in the head.

The weapon ejects from the top, and the bolt locks to the rear when the last round is fired. The pistol grip is an authentic Vz. 61 design with its wood-like appearance and lack of an angle. Of course, don’t forget the lanyard loop.

To the Range

The Southern Tactical Vz. 61 looks good, but how does it handle? I went to the range with some PMC brass case .32 ACP and started blasting! I love these little guns and find them quite fun to shoot. Across the top, we have a set of open sights, much like a standard handgun. It’s all black with little contrast. When I first started shooting, I was a bit apprehensive. I kept hitting way too high.

rear sight
The Skorpion sights are set for 75 and 150 yards.

I was a bit of a dummy, and even though the sights were right in front of my face, I didn’t realize I had the 150-meter sight in place. With a flip and spin of the sight, I saw the 75-meter sight delivered much better results on target. I could drop a magazine’s worth of .32 ACP into the head of a target at 25 yards. A stock would make it much easier to shoot, but even without the stock, the weapon is super easy to handle.

The trigger is brilliant. It’s quite light with a bit of pretravel. Still, it’s super refined and surprisingly nice. This makes it easy to shoot accurately and quickly.

man shooting skorpion
The gun has super low recoil and was fun to shoot.

The recoil is near nil, with a slight burp for muzzle rise. There isn’t a lot of space on the gun for your spare hand, so with a traditional handgun grip, the gun works brilliantly. I fired a Bill Drill from the low ready, and while the gun worked well, the sights slowed me down the most. The all-black sights aren’t quick or easy to acquire. On the runs where I found the sights just right, a sub-two-second Bill Drill was possible (from the low ready, of course).

For the Fun of It

The Southern Tactical Vz. 61 spilled lead like a pro. It cycled magazine after magazine without a flaw. I did only run FMJs. The history of .32 ACP hollow points and rim lock keeps me away from the hollow point options. I tried Fiocchi, PMC, and Aguila without a single issue from the gun.

The Southern Tactical Skorpion is an addictively fun gun to shoot. It can get away from you until you have a crushing realization that .32 ACP is expensive, and you just blasted through a ton of it! The low recoil, good accuracy, and high reliability make it a fun gun. In addition, the Skorpion’s unusual nature makes it a bit more novel than your standard handgun.

You might ask, what’s the point? For me, it’s because I love the Skorpion design. From a practical standpoint, the gun is just begging for a brace and red dot. In that configuration, you could have a very compact and low-recoiling PDW. If you SBR the gun and add the top folding stock, it gets even better, and the potential rises. The .32 ACP from the 4.5-inch barrel is coming in hot and has the capability to stop a threat.

Shooting pistol
The Skorpion is expensive to shoot but also fun.

The Southern Tactical Skoprion is a faithful representation of the classic machine pistol. These guns aren’t for everyone, but if the Skorpion captures you the way it captures me, then Southern Tactical has you covered with a fantastic re-creation of the gun. It certainly has some sting to it.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's 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 probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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