AmmoLand News’ gun expert, Jim Grant, reviews the CzechPoint Vz.61 Semi-Automatic Pistol.
U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- If I had to sum up the semi-automatic version of the CzechPoint Vz.61 semi-automatic machine pistol in three words, they would be heavy, archaic, and anemic.
Despite this, there’s still something uniquely intriguing about the gun; between its iconic appearance, and classic Cold War heritage, the Vz.61 still has a ton of fans!?
But are these intangible aspects enough to keep the little gun relevant? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
CzechPoint Vz.61 Skorpion Features
The original Vz.61 was developed at the end of the 1950s by Miroslav Rybář in an effort to arm rear-echelon and support troops of the Czechoslovak Army. In many ways, the ultra-compact (especially for its time) select-fire Skorpion was a precursor to modern PDWs. Small enough with the stock folded to be easily portable without preventing troops from doing their jobs, but potent enough on full-auto to reasonably repel an unexpected attack – or at least delay it until reinforcement arrived.
Under the hood, the little Czech gun is extremely simplistic in design, yet incorporates some fairly modern features. For example, the stamped steel upper receiver incorporates both an ambidextrous charging handle and a vertical ejection port that made it easy to shoot for both right, and left-handed shooters. Plus, the original fully-automatic Vz.61 uses a simple-yet-effective top-folding wire stock that while not exactly great for precision shooting, does make the gun very controllable in full auto.
Archaic Aspects of the Vz.61 Semi-Automatic Pistol
But not everything about the little CzechPoint Vz.61 is so modern or effective. For example, despite the fact that the engineers chose a somewhat modern (for the time) stamped upper receiver, the lower receiver is milled. On an AK, or a FAL this extra heft can be seen as a positive as it reduces felt recoil. On an ultra-compact machine pistol, it turns an otherwise lightweight handy weapon into a brick.
Sure, the gun’s 2.87lb (1.3kg) overall weight isn’t exactly back-breaking, but the gun only measures 10.6 inches with the stock folded. Plus, the extra weight definitely isn’t needed to curtail the recoil impulse of the gun extremely anemic .32 ACP cartridge. You read that right, the compact sub-gun is chambered in 7.65 Browning AKA .32 ACP.
In the gun’s defense, there are other versions of the gun in more potent calibers – including 9×18 Makarov, .380 ACP, and 9mm parabellum. But the original version was limited to .32 ACP.
And while that round is basically never chosen by modern shooters, at the turn of the last century .32 ACP was a very common military caliber. Still, not great for shooters in 2022 for a myriad of reasons. First and foremost is the caliber’s limited terminal ballistics. While one can argue shot placement vs “stopping power” the round’s numbers don’t lie. From a 5-inch barrel, Cor-Bon defensive 32 ACP sends a 60gr projectile at 1,200 fps producing a mere 200 ft/lbs of energy.
If that doesn’t sound too bad, compare it to 380 ACP and 9mm para which produce 360 ft/lbs and 480 ft/lbs respectively. And don’t forget, no military or law enforcement agency on Earth believes that even 9mm is an instant fight-stopper. So would you really want to run around that is less than half as effective as a 9mm for self-defense?
And let’s not forget the other downside of .32 ACP – cost. The cheapest FMJ .32 ACP rounds available as of the writing of this article will run a shooter 50 cents a pop. Compare that price to 9mm, which is available now for around 28 cents each. And that’s only for full metal jacket.
But before I get totally ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the semi-automatic version imported by CzechPoint USA. Because not every shooter is looking to shoot something dangerous with every gun – plenty of folks just enjoy casual range plinking or collecting interesting historic firearms.
CzechPoint Vz.61 Semi-Automatic Pistol
So how does the CzechPoint Vz.61 semi-automatic version of the machine pistol differ from the original? The biggest, most obvious change, is the lack of a folding wire stock. The second big change is the inclusion of a 1/2×28 threaded barrel. The latter feature is my favorite, because what the 32 ACP round lacks in terminal efficacy, it makes up for in quiet performance when paired with a suppressor like my SilencerCo Osprey45.
Additionally, the trigger on the little gun is very decent. True, the trigger pull is a little mushy, the break is clean and light – breaking at three and a half pounds! This undoubtedly aided the little gun’s impressive accuracy – but the sight did not.
The gun ships with a set of post and notch iron sights with the rear notch capable of flipping between a 75 and 150-meter option. When fired from a rest, I achieved 10-round, two-inch groups at 50 yards. I would have shot the gun at a longer range, but the lack of a stock made stabilizing the little gun pretty challenging.
As far as reliability, I tested two brands of ammo in four different surplus 20-round magazines with the CzechPoint Vz.61, and only had issues when using one of the magazines. Apparently sometime in its field use, the magazine became a little dented, and that would cause the follower to bind. Aside from that, the gun didn’t encounter a single malfunction in the 400 rounds I fired through it.
So after I just ranted about how outdated, underpowered, and overweight the gun was for 80 percent of the article, surely I didn’t like it, right?
No, I actually think the gun is a very fun, very interesting design. Just not one that I would recommend for any sort of defensive use – unless you’re being attacked by small game en masse.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.