Southern Tactical’s Vz. 61…A Faithful Recreation

I’m a big fan of weird guns and the .32 ACP cartridge. Ever since I was a kid, I have been captured by the appearance of the Vz. 61 Skorpion. I remember it as the Klob in Goldeneye and have seen it in numerous films and TV shows.

When I got into guns, I remember reading about the Skorpion and growing even more fascinated by the design. It’s one of the few controllable machine pistols, it was used by various Soviet spec ops teams and was  the gun of choice for numerous infiltrators it’s illustrious life. While the Vz. 61 might have been designed for police and units in armored vehicles, but it found popularity with various communist intelligence agencies, terrorist organizations, and more.

And why not? It’s small enough to be concealed, fires a cartridge that’s commonly available the world over, and offers full auto fire.

Numerous North Korean copies have been found in the hands of spies. Various Eastern European intelligence operatives were issued the dead. They even made an operation briefcase for the gun that allowed it to be fired from inside the briefcase. The Irish Republican Army picked them up, as did the Italian Red Brigades. A cell of Al Qaeda terrorists used the guns in France.

Southern Tactical and the Vz 61 We Have At Home

The gun has a fascinating lineage and I’ve always wanted one. Now I have one, thanks to Southern Tactical out of Virginia. In the past, we’ve seen imports, and 80 percent lowers, and more. Well, I have the closest thing I can get to one, which is a standard pistol variant devoid of the stock and select fire capability. The NFA really sucks.

Included with my Vz 61 was one ten-round magazine, two 20-round magazines, a leather holster circa the 1960s Soviet Union, a dual mag pouch of a similar design, and a cleaning kit.

The gun looks absolutely wonderful. The finish is great, the parts are pristine, and even the somewhat awkward wooden grip looks and feels fantastic. These guns commonly come from parts kits, but you can’t tell.

This Skorpion has been recreated seemingly perfectly. I’ve never handled a true full auto Vz. 61, but from all the photos and videos I’ve seen, it seems like Southern Tactical version has knocked it out of the park. If you want to restore the Vz. 61 to its former glory, or at least as close as you can, the Vz 61 Skorpion comes threaded with two screw slots to add the stock and stock attachment.

These threaded points can also serve as a way to attach optics mounts and even stabilizing braces. If you can’t SBR your gun but want that Skorpion top folded stock look, there’s even a fixed folded option to do so. From the outside, the Southern Tactical Vz. 61 looks and feels fantastic.

Going Over the Vz. 61

Southern Tactical recreates the Vz. 61, so they aren’t responsible for its design, but it’s worth going over. Southern Tactical’s job was to recreate the original’s design and by that metric, they did a fantastic job.

The Vz. 61 is a .32 ACP, straight blowback pistol that feeds from a box magazine. The gun features ambidextrous charging nubs, that are, more or less, required to charge the gun. Neither nub offers enough of a grip by itself to chamber a round.

The gun ejects from the top, which is always interesting and even more so depending on your environment. If you’ve ever wanted to be popped in the head by brass, buy yourself a Vz. 61.

The gun is set up for right-handed shooters with the safety and magazine release on the left side. The safety has two positions with rear being fire and forward being safe.

The sights are designed like the original, with a rear sight that flips up from 75 to 150 meters and a fixed front notch. The bakelite grip angle is straight down. It looks awkward, but surprisingly, the gun doesn’t feel awkward.

The gun fits into the holster with the ten-round magazine inserted. This was how the gun was originally meant to be carried, with the stock folded, ten-round magazine inserted, and holstered. It’s a big, awkward holster, but it works. The ten-rounder certainly gives the gun an odd look, and the twenty-rounder looks a bit more natural.

Spitting Lead

The only thing I dislike about this gun is how much I enjoy shooting it. I enjoy pulling the trigger, but I don’t enjoy the price of .32 ACP. It’s pricey, but admittedly, Ammo To Go provided me with a good bit of .32 ACP to relieve my pocketbook of the pain. The combination of two twenty-round magazines and one ten-rounder made it easy to load up an entire box of ammo.

The recoil was a joke. The pistol barely moves between shots. The big, heavy Vz. 61 eats up the minimal recoil of .32 ACP with absolute ease. It’s a joy to shoot and super fun to shoot quickly.

I didn’t use the holster, but I conducted several Bill Drills from the low ready and greatly enjoyed the amount of control the gun offers. It was super easy to put six .32 ACP rounds into almost one ragged hole in the A-zone of a target.

The simple iron sights are functional, but the small size makes them tough to acquire quickly. I’m willing to bet the presence of a stock would make them much easier to use. Even so, with a good sight picture, I could hit my steel IPSC target pretty easily at 50 yards. Accuracy certainly isn’t an issue, and I think a red dot would really make this thing super easy to shoot.

Getting a Grip

The Vz. 61 doesn’t offer you much room for your off hand. You can grip the magazine if you want, but honestly, holding the Skorpion with a traditional two-handed pistol grip works best. It’s easy to control and may look awkward, but it’s plenty easy to handle.

The magazine release is placed in such a way that you wrap your left hand around the magazine and use your left thumb to press the magazine release. It’s intuitive and easy. Again, the charging handles are nubs, but are still easy to grab and charge the weapon from its last-round hold open position. Your thumb can easily press the safety into the on position, but your left hand will need to push the safety into the fire position.

Ergonomically, it’s surprisingly well put together for a weapon produced in 1961 and recreated in 2024. In terms of reliability, I used a mix of different weight FMJs, and the gun ran problem-free. It soaked up everything I put through it and functioned, no matter how I held it. I could even grab the magazine and use it as a forward grip without a problem.

A Faithful Recreation

Southern Tactical has knocked the Vz. 61 replicas out of the park. It’s a sweet recreation of a classic gun that’s long been scarce in these United States. It’s reliable, fun to shoot, and surprisingly accurate. Southern Tactical sells them through Atlantic Firearms where they’re selling for $699.

I think it might need a brace and an optic. What do you think?

3 Responses

  1. Travis,

    Nice review! One slight beef – while I know that this is not an “accuracy pistol”, it would have been nice to hear to what extent, within its inherent limitations, it was able to put lead on target.

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