The Czech Republic has one primary firearms manufacturer, Ceska zbrojovka Uhersky Brod, or Czech Firearms Factory (CZ). CZ dates back to 1936 and is maker of the ever-popular CZ-75 handgun.
CZ’s U.S. subsidiary, CZ-USA has been growing steadily in the U.S. market for years. A well respected manufacturer of handguns and bolt-action rifles, CZ also makes weapons for tactical purposes. The Scorpion EVO 3 submachine gun and 805 Bren battle rifle are both popular among elite military and law enforcement entities in Europe and aboard. CZ-USA imports components of these models to make 922(r) compliant/semi-automatic firearms available to the or U.S. market (civilians and law enforcement). Until 2016, CZ-USA only offered pistol variants of the Scorpion EVO and 805 Bren S1. Now we welcome another respected European firearms manufacturer into the ‘black rifle’ market. The forward-leaning nature of European manufacturers to introduce proven and outstanding semi-automatic variants of battle rifles being used worldwide is appreciated, moreover they are introducing revolutionary designs, processes, and quality.
CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
The CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine (EVO Carbine) is a pistol caliber carbine chambered in 9x19mm NATO and based completely on the popular submachine gun. The carbine variant follows the previously released pistol variant, this is already welcomed by those who desire quality pistol caliber carbines. Some wanted to add a stock to the pistol variant, thus the requirement for the ATF stamp, but before potential buyers alienated themselves from CZ they filled a critical void in the market for quality 9x19mm NATO pistol caliber carbines. Critical? Yes, because until 2016 it was only the boring Beretta (Cx4 Storm), even more boring Taurus (CT9), unsafe Hi-Point (995TS), and the oddly stupid Kel-Tec (SUB-2000) as the only remaining true pistol caliber carbine makers on the market (apart from blandly unattractive AR platforms or unreliable Uzi clones). This year CZ raised the level of competitiveness in the market along with a couple other manufacturers, SIG with the slightly AR-inspired MPX Carbine and the awkward but unique KRISS Vector Rifle, both in 9x19mm NATO and worthy competitors. It is an outstanding pistol caliber carbine, especially for those who may have particular appreciation for the Heckler & Koch UMP.
As a delayed blowback operated carbine, the EVO Carbine maintains reliability and keeps gas away from the shooters face when suppressed. Construction of the upper and lower receivers is fiber-reinforced polymer, thus allowing it to weigh in at nominal 6lbs. The handguard is Magpul’s M-Lok ready to allow for maximized customization without the (what some consider) abusive uncovered 1913 rails. Additionally, the forward end of the handguard is open enough to allow nearly all suppressors on the market for those who want to alter with shorter barrel. The adjustable folding stock is of solid construction and fix to the receiver and features a 45-degree cheek weld making it a natural fit. The barrel is a slim profile at 16.2” cold hammer forged and features the popular 1/2x28 right hand thread pitch. Lastly it features a compensating muzzle brake or a faux suppressor unit made by SilencerCo.
In terms of absolute ambidexterity, the EVO Carbine is nearly complete. The magazine release is a modified paddle design and sits just behind the magazine with easy access within the trigger well. While the safety selector is ambidextrous, shooters may notice an issue with the safety switch digging into their trigger finger during operation. The charging handle is swappable and non-reciprocating. The bolt release is well positioned on the left side of the receiver. The single stage trigger is nothing special, meaning it lacks match-grade crispness, it’s actually on the heavier side, but it does the job.
Shooting the EVO Carbine is easy, comfortable, and as one would expect lacking felt recoil from the 9x19mm. While the build is quite robust, the weapon system actually controls quite well given the 16” barrel, as with most polymer-framed rifles and carbines looks are deceiving once you hit the range. The rail mounted low-profile aluminum sights are fully adjustable with four aperture sizes and mounting optics is a non-issue. When field stripped for routine maintenance, it breaks down into four components, the upper and lower receiver, magazine, and bold carrier group - which is 1.4lbs of steel alone.
Name: CZ EVO 3 S1 Carbine
Operation: Delayed blowback
Construction: Fiber reinforced polymer, bar stock steel
Caliber: 9x19mm NATO (Parabellum/Luger)
Overall Length: 34.75”-36.00”
Overall Height: 9.4”
Overall Weight: 6.06-6.10lbs
Magazines: Double-stack 10, 20, or 30rd polymer (proprietary)
Barrel Type: Cold Hammer Forged (CHF)
Barrel Length: 16.20”
Barrel Thread Pitch: 1/2x28 RH
Trigger Pull: 9lb
Sights: Low-profile, fully adjustable, aluminum, four apertures on rear sight
MSRP: $999.00 - $1,049.00
For those who want to upgrade a couple aspects of the EVO Carbine, you need to look no further than HB Industries who offer a modified safety selector and a drop-in spring kit that reduces the factory trigger pull of 9lbs to 6lbs.
Ultimately the EVO Carbine is a direct competitor to both the SIG MPX Carbine and KRISS Vector Rifle, certainly the most affordable option. Each are very different from one another which offers some distinction in the market. Finally, there are choices for a 9x19mm NATO pistol caliber carbine.
CZ 805 Bren S1 Carbine
Probably one of the most underrated and most unappreciated weapon systems in recent years is the 805 Bren. Why? It’s because of the AR preference that many have after military service or domestic popularity, or maybe it’s because the 805 Bren originates from the Czech Republic, a place most Americans can’t find on map. Dating back to 2006, it’s the official battle rifle of the Czech military, one that beat out the Fabrique National Herstal (FNH) Special Operations Force Combat Assault Rifle - Light (SCAR-L or 16S) in a competitive selection process in 2010, that’s impressive. The 805 Bren S1 is also used by the Egyptian and Mexican militaries, and has seen action both in the Afghanistan War and against drug cartels.
Not long ago, CZ-USA released the 805 Bren S1 Pistol. But the market is hot for carbines and rifles and CZ-USA answered accordingly. The CZ 805 Bren S1 Carbine (Bren Carbine) is a 5.56x45mm NATO chambered rifle. CZ-USA added the required 922(r) components to the weapon system for import and answered the call by many CZ followers who were intent on making the pistol variant a SBR just to gain the feature of a stock.
The Bren Carbine is unlike the AR-15 or the AK-47, however it does share many similarities with FNH SCAR 16S and perhaps to some degree the Heckler & Koch G36. The operating system is an ever-reliable gas piston, which has two positions on the gas block - one for normal use, the other for times where the rifle may be without cleaning or lubrications due to use.
The Upper receiver is a well designed, expertly machined, and solidly constructed aluminum piece that fits to the polymer lower with precision. The bolt carrier group is similar to that of the SCAR-16S, but with a shorter reach for the anvil. The bolt itself is factory sealed/locked into the bolt carrier and CZ-USA does not recommend removal even for routine field stripping and cleaning. The furniture is polymer with the pistol grip integrated into the lower receiver and the folding stock fitted to the stock block. A monolithic 1913 rail runs the extent of the upper part of the rifle from sight to sight. Speaking of sights, the Bren Carbine features front and rear flip sights that make adding optics easy without obstruction.
The Bren Carbine features an outstanding set of ambidextrous controls. The safety selector, magazine release and the reciprocating charging handle can be swapped to either side based on preference, and the bolt hold open is located on the left side of the weapon system, however it does not function as a bolt release, the shooter must charge the weapon using the charging handle. The folding stock is actuated by a stock latch button which is conveniently located on the back of the stock block.
The use of STANAG magazines (NATO standardized fit for 5.56x45mm battle rifles) is a popular aspect of the Bren Carbine as the use of proprietary magazines in these rifles becomes an expense and burdensome tax on potential buyers.
The Bren Carbine operates very well on the range. The balance between weight distribution, balance, and recoil reduction is a result of the gas piston operating system, muzzle brake, and the respectable use of polymers and metals working in conjunction to provide durable performance. The two-stage trigger is crisp and light (3.5-4lb pull). The Bren's steel trigger shoe is minimal in terms of profile and width. In terms of accuracy the Bren Carbine is capable of sub-1 MOA with NATO military ammunition (M855 62gr) and 1/2 MOA with heavier performance ammunition. Recoil is minimal and allows the shooter to maintain target or quick transition during target acquisition. With the integrated adjustable folding stock, the Bren Carbine is an overall impressive platform.
Sights: Front and rear flip, fully adjustable, four apertures on rear sight
The Bren Carbine should be respected by those in the market for a quality 5.56x45mm NATO weapon system, and should certainly not be dismissed as a cheap alternative to the SCAR-16S. It is a direct competitor with the SCAR-16S as history shows it always has been.