The Škorpion vz. 61 is a Czechoslovak machine pistol developed in 1959 by Miroslav Rybář (1924–1970) and produced under the official designation Samopal vzor 61 ("submachine gun model 1961") by the Česká zbrojovka arms factory in Uherský Brod from 1961 to 1979.
|Škorpion vz. 61|
The early vz. 61 with stock extended.
|Place of origin||Czechoslovakia|
|Used by||See Users|
Lebanese Civil War
Internal conflict in Peru
Liberian Civil War
|Manufacturer||Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod, Zastava Arms|
|No. built||Approx. 200,000|
|Mass||1.30 kg (2.87 lb) (vz. 61)|
1.28 kg (2.8 lb) (vz. 61 E)
1.44 kg (3.2 lb) (vz. 82, vz. 83)
|Length||517 mm (20.4 in) stock extended / 270 mm (10.6 in) stock folded|
|Barrel length||115 mm (4.5 in) (vz. 61, vz. 61 E)|
113 mm (4.4 in) (vz. 82, vz. 83)
|Width||43 mm (1.7 in) (vz. 61, vz. 61 E)|
49 mm (1.9 in) (vz. 82, vz. 83)
|Cartridge||.32 ACP (7.65×17mm Browning SR) (vz. 61, vz. 61 E)|
9×19mm Parabellum (vz. 68)
9×18mm Makarov (vz. 65, vz. 82)
.380 ACP (9×17mm Short) (vz. 64, vz. 83)
|Action||Blowback, closed bolt|
|Rate of fire||850 rounds/min (vz. 61, vz. 61 E)|
900 rounds/min (vz. 82, vz. 83)
|Muzzle velocity||320 m/s (1,050 ft/s) (vz. 61, vz. 61 E, vz. 82)|
292 m/s (958.0 ft/s) (vz. 83)
|Effective firing range||50–150 m (vz. 61, .32 ACP)|
|Feed system||10 or 20-round curved magazine, aftermarket 30-round magazine, straight box magazine in 9 mm variants|
|Sights||Adjustable front post, flip-up rear sight|
148 mm (5.8 in) sight radius
Although it was developed for use with security forces and special forces, the weapon was also accepted into service with the Czechoslovak Army, as a personal sidearm for lower-ranking army staff, vehicle drivers, armoured vehicle personnel and special forces. Currently the weapon is in use with the armed forces of several countries as a sidearm. The Škorpion was also licence-built in Yugoslavia, designated M84. It features a synthetic pistol grip in place of the wooden original. A civilian, semi-automatic version was also produced, known as the M84A, also available in .380 ACP (9×17mm Short).
The Škorpion was developed in the late 1950s by Miroslav Rybář with the working name "model 59". The design was completed in 1961 and named "Samopal Vz. 61". It was subsequently adopted by the Czechoslovak Army and security forces, and later exported to various countries. Yugoslavia produced a version under licence. It was also used by armed groups, including the Irish Republican Army, Irish National Liberation Army and the Italian Red Brigades. The latter used the Škorpion during the 1978 kidnapping of Aldo Moro, also using this weapon to kill Moro. In the 1990s the Gang de Roubaix used the Škorpion in a series of attacks in France. In 2017 police in Sweden estimated that about 50 formerly deactivated weapons from Slovakia were in circulation among criminals in Sweden.
The Škorpion is a select-fire, straight blowback-operated weapon that fires from the closed bolt position. The cartridge used produces a very low recoil impulse and this enables 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. When fired, 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 receiver housing top cover.
The Škorpion’s compact dimensions were achieved by using a telescopic bolt assembly that wraps around a considerable portion of the barrel. The weapon features a spring-loaded casing extractor, installed inside the bolt head and a fixed, double ejector, which is a protrusion in the weapon’s frame.
As the bolt is relatively light, an inertial rate reducer device housed inside the wooden pistol grip lowers the weapon's rate of fire from 1,000 rounds/min to a more manageable 850 rounds/min. The rate reducer operates as follows: 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 it drives a lightweight, spring-loaded plunger down into the pistol grip. The plunger 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 then meets the descending inertia buffer. This slows down the rising plunger which, when it reaches the top of its travel, rotates the hook, releasing the bolt which is driven forward by the compressed recoil springs.
The weapon is hammer-fired and has a trigger mechanism with a fire mode selector, whose lever (installed on the left side of the receiver, above the pistol grip) has three settings: "0", weapon is safe; "1", semi-automatic mode and "20", fully automatic fire. The "safe" setting disables the trigger and the bolt in the forward position (by sliding the bolt catch lever upwards).
The Škorpion uses the 7.65×17mmSR Browning Short (.32 ACP) pistol cartridge, which was the standard service cartridge of the Czechoslovak security forces. It uses two types of double-column curved box magazines: a short 10-round magazine (loaded weight, 0.15 kg) or a 20-round capacity magazine (loaded weight, 0.25 kg). The bolt remains locked open after the last cartridge from the magazine has been fired and can be snapped back forward by pulling the cocking handle knob slightly to the rear.
The Škorpion is equipped with open-type iron sights (mechanically adjustable forward post and flip rear sight with 75 and 150 m range notches) and a folding metal wire shoulder stock, which folds up and over the receiver and is locked on the front sight’s protection capture.
In the 1960s, three other variants of the vz. 61 were developed in Czechoslovakia: the vz. 64 (chambered for the .380 ACP (9×17mm Short) pistol cartridge), the vz. 65—designed for use with the 9×18mm Makarov cartridge, and the vz. 68 (in 9×19mm Parabellum); however, production of these variants was never undertaken. In the 1990s Česká zbrojovka offered the following submachine guns: the vz. 61 E (.32 ACP version with a plastic pistol grip), the vz. 82 (chambered in 9×18mm Makarov and featuring a 113 mm barrel) and the vz. 83 (for the .380 ACP cartridge). A semi-automatic only variant known as the CZ-91S was developed for the civilian market, available in the aforementioned calibers. The vz. 82, vz. 83 and CZ-91S pistols chambered in 9 mm use straight box magazines.
Afghanistan Algeria Angola Czech Republic Egypt Georgia Mostly used by Police forces. Indonesia: Komando Pasukan Katak (Kopaska) tactical diver group and Komando Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus) special forces group. Jordan Iraq Lebanon Liberia: received Serbian M84s in 2002 Libya Mongolia Mozambique North Korea: Used by spies and special force units Pakistan Used by Dolphin police force Serbia Slovakia Uganda
Czechoslovakia East Germany Used by the East German Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) Soviet Union Used by Spetsnaz units North Vietnam Used by the North Vietnamese and the Việt Cộng in the Vietnam War. Yugoslavia
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