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Czech vz61 Skorpion: History and Mechanics

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The Czech vz.61 Skorpion is a rather unusual sort of firearm; a machine pistol designed from scratch instead of being converted from an existing handgun design, and chambered for the seemingly out of place .32ACP (7.65mm Browning) cartridge. It is a weapon which seems awkwardly small as a shoulder-fired submachine gun, and yet equally awkwardly large as a handgun. So what is it?

Well, it is a pretty classic example of a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW). It was originally designed for vehicle and artillery crews, for troops who needed more than a simple handgun, but could not practically tote around a full size rifle. The vz.61 is small enough to be worn in a belt holster, keeping it readily at hand but as unobtrusive as possible. With the stock extended, it is capable of much better accuracy than a handgun, and the combination of fully automatic fire with the light .32 caliber cartridge makes for a high volume of quite controllable fire.

The Skorpion is also a remarkably sophisticated mechanical design, with a very compact hammer fired mechanism and a rate reduced to keep the 20 round magazines from being expended too quickly.

Thanks to Marstar for letting me examine and shoot their Skorpion! Visit them at: http://marstar.ca