In my defense, I want to point out that the only reason I wanted to get one of these pistols was to see how much it actually resembled the Czech vz.61 Skorpion, wich is a very nice piece of machinery. And the answer is, the Armitage “Scarab” version is like the real Skorpion in basic profile only. Well, that and the use of a simple blowback action.
The 9x19mm Skorpion Scarab was made in South Carolina by Armitage International in 1989 and 1990, with a total of just 600 being produced. They were chasing the same market as the MAC-10, TEC-9, and similar big scary-looking pistols. In fact, the Scarab uses modified M10 magazines (an extra cut added in the top side to match with its mag catch) and is threaded for MAC barrel extensions or suppressors. The rate reducing mechanism from the vz.61 is absent (no surprise, as the Scarab is semi-auto only), and the FCG is a copy of a basic AK FCG. The upper assembly is stamped and folded like a MAC, and the bolt is designed to be extremely simple to manufacture. The gun has none of the finesse of the Czech Skorpion. In fact, it’s one of the worst pistols I’ve ever used:
Yep, I remember those ugly large pistols in the early-mid nineties. Most were garbage like the Scarab.
Jeez, just saw the video. Absolutely hilarious, be careful you don’t find yourself on a hit list for poking fun at certain individuals mannerisms and gat of choice!
Once upon a time I saw a Czech language Agrozet, n.p. sales brochure for a vz.68 Skorpion in 9x19mm. It illustrated an actual pistol with four or five views, but I think the vz.68 was just a prototype which never enjoyed serial production.
I lost it when you
insertedcrammed the mag in. Did you ever get off more than three consecutive rounds?
I wonder if Armitage was a shell company run by Intratec as a marketing gimmick to make the TEC-9 look good.
By the end of our shooting session, it had improved a fair bit. It might have been able to go 8 or 10 rounds without a malf at that point.
That’s good piece of gun humour; congratulation!
Ian, if you were interested, I have number of good quality pictures of vz.61 in addition of catalogue they gave ne during my visit in 1996. There is also .380 version shown in that catalogue.
You made an interesting comment there. The current U.S. importer of semi-automatic vz.61 Skorpions, Czechpoint-USA, lists the Skorpion in both the original 7.65mm Browning ( .32 ACP ) and the .380 ACP calibers. These are manufactured using unissued ( and therefore unused ) parts kits by CSA ( formerly D-Technik ) in the Czech Republic. You can go to http://www.czechpoint-usa.com for for more information and pictures. There is also a pretty good presentation video showing the accuracy and controllability of the CSA vz.61 in the rapid-fire mode, even without the benefit of a buttstock.
The same web site also features various semi-automatic versions of the vz.58 assault rifle ( including PDW adaptations )— all built by CSA / D-Technik — Alfa-Proj revolvers, vz.52 pistols, accessories and other items of interest. Both my vz.58’s are CSA / D-Technik guns, and are definitely my all-time favorite semi-automatic rifles in the assault rifle class.
It is interesting Earl, and in a way peculiar how many small private companies caught on the opportunity to make living out of “communist” era small arms. Apparently the “c-” origin is not a problem to them. Anyway, in framework of this ‘new era’ we have CZ-USA which is independent of CZUB, the original maker and, as I understand has its own workshop in States in order to comply with standing law. As a result you have duplicity (or multiplicity) of source, which gradually parted with old roots. If the quality is still satisfactory – good; however, I’d cross my fingers. Too many fingers in the pie.
Oh yes, I sent some catalog pages to Ian and in one of them they sat (that was in 1996) that they were offering Shkorp (as Czech call it) in 3 calibers – .320, .380 a 9mm Makarov.
How true, Denny, and well said. In my own experience, the CSA / D-Technik guns are first-rate in terms of quality, reliability, functionality and accuracy. Nearly everyone else who owns one seems to be in general agreement. However, I can also understand, and do agree with, your concerns about too many fingers in the pie. There may be other similar manufacturers who would not possibly maintain the high standards of quality one generally expects of firearms of Czech origin. CZ-USA certainly isn’t one of the latter, though. Their rifles and pistols are very, very well made and of excellent quality.
I hope Ian posts those catalogues you sent him ; I’m thinking they would make for terrific reading and form a salient point for further discussion.
And now, look at this: http://www.gunexpert.cz/en/
They can literally custom build a “58” as you wish. Its going kind of nuts….
Obviously there’s a market for customized 58s or they wouldn’t be selling them. Not for long, anyway. But personally, I don’t see why people want to turn everything into M4 clones.
I wouldn’t be so sure of quality with only one supplier in the field. There was afterall only one maker of the SA80.
If someone makes poor guns, that brand will soon disappear when word gets around.
on the otherhand, if it is tax money that is paying for a gun, it can be as bad as the SA80, and still be in service.
I like your jeep!!!!!
During reassembly it also helps if you put the bolt back in the same way it came out, thus insuring that it will fire again. LOL Didn’t think anyone would catch that, huh?
Actually, that was me not catching the mistake. I fiddled with it for a minute before realizing the bolt was upside down and reassembling it correctly. I cut the correction out of the video because it wasn’t interesting to watch – I didn’t think about how it looked where I cut the footage. There is no way the gun can be reassembled with the bolt upside down, because the fixed ejectors block the bolt and there isn’t enough room for the recoil spring and backplate.
“They are rare, with only 600 made — now you can see why”. That was a good video and critique, and I enjoyed it very much — thanks, Ian! This weapon would still be an interesting collector’s item, given it’s rarity and the very fact that it was so unreliable — a little like a truly hideous Picasso painting that is all the more appealing precisely because of its hideousness ( no offence intended to Picasso afficionadoes, but beauty, meaning or depth of expression are still in the eye and mind of the beholder, Picasso having expended his vast talent on both sides of the line ). Incidentally, one of the YouTube commentators pointed out quite correctly that the scarab is a dung beetle — how appropriate!
On a more mundane note, I noticed that the safety lever on the left side of the receiver appeared to be a close, if not exact, facsimile of an M-16 / AR-15 safety lever, right down to the same functional positioning — forward for “safe”, and up for “fire”, which is, of course somewhat counter-intuitive as one would normally expect the opposite from an ergonomic standpoint. On the other hand, there are innumerable of M-16 and AR users ( I’m one of them ) who have had no problem getting used to this, so perhaps it is a moot point.
It’s all good Ian, but I appreciate the follow-up you posted regarding it. And Earl, I also noted the M-16 style safety lever and was curious why this didn’t get pointed out during the video. Perhaps because it was so obvious?
You’re probably right. Sometimes, it’s not hard to miss the wood for the trees — it happens all the time, even to the best among us.
@ Denny, Magus & Keith :
Your diversity of observations and opinions were informative and interesting, and ones that I definitely have much respect for. It’s good to hear about a subject from different viewpoints. Thanks!
Armitage International ltd. was a Seneca, S.C. company owned by Glenn T. Davis. Glenn was a fixture at southern gunshows in the 80’s, and sold gun parts, and this pistol. As your test indicates, they a rare for a reason.
Just now noticed that the front takedown pin appears to be similar to if not the same as the old Cobray two-piece pin, as used on the MAC series of weapons. Interesting how many “donor” parts were used to create this thing.