The basic requirements I had for a Pistol Caliber (PC) Carbine were pretty simple:
1) Chambered in 9mm to match the primary caliber I use in my semi-automatic pistols.
2) Reasonably lightweight
3) Able to take Glock magazines
4) Able to mount an optic.
That is it. Pretty simple and straightforward. Oh, except one other thing:
5) It needs to be reliable enough that I would be comfortable betting my life and (more importantly) the lives of my loved ones on it.
There are a lot of options out there. Many AR manufacturers have a PCC version of their wares out there. SIG has a whole line up of different models to choose from. High Point, KelTec, the list goes on an one.
I initially decided just to go with the Ruger PC carbine as it met all my requirements and I had a high trust level in Ruger LCR revolvers. For a variety of reasons I added the CZ Scorpion to my inventory and so decided to test them out head to head.
Ruger PC Carbine
My first impression of the Ruger PC Carbine was that, like me, it needed to go on a diet. It feels chunky in the hand and feels heavier than I would have expected (it is 6.8 lbs). The adjustable peep sights work very well for me at self defense ranges (out to 25 yards). The fact that this little carbine is a take down model that can easily slip into a back pack nice bonus.
At the range, that heft translated into an incredibly soft shooting carbine. Seriously shooting this thing is like shooting a 10/22 with an oversized stock on it. With an optic the range is extended and the speed to engage and hit targets out to 25 yards is amazing. I absolutely love shooting this rifle, except for one thing…
…it seems to jam about every thirty rounds. Very disappointing, to say the least.
My buddy bought one at the same time and he hasn’t had a single issue with his and seemed convinced that it was because he had changed out the magwell adapater and was running Glock magazines. So I did the same…
It does this with several different types of ammunition from different manufacturers. I cleaned the rifle before I started the test and cleaned it again when changing out the magwell. No help.
The problem seems to be with ejection. Rounds don’t eject fully before the action closed. I even had one instance with two spent casings still in the receiver. This was very disappointing although I had heard a few rumors about this being the case from various sources.
I am very disappointed, not only because this is the only one of the two to meet all four of my core criteria but also because this is such a nice and easy gun to shoot and shoot well. I haven’t sent it back to Ruger yet but plan to soon.
The CZ feels like a lightweight compared to the Ruger even though it is only a few ounces lighter (6.38 lbs). I think a lot of this has to do with the slimness of the carbine. It feels good in the hands (very subjective I know). The stock is adjustable for length of pull without the use of spaces like the PC carbine uses. While the CZ is not a take down the stock does fold making it easier to stow away although not as easily as the Ruger.
I was shocked how easy it is to disassemble this rifle. Push one (captured) pin and the trigger group drops out. Then the bolt assembly can be dropped out. 1, 2, 3 bing bang boom all done!
As good as the sights are on the Ruger, the included iron sights on the CZ are even better. You have multiple apertures for varying levels of precision. They are also serrated on the back side to cut down on glare. At home defense distances (25 yards) they were very accurate and I was able to hit man sized targets at 50 yards with ease. With a red dot optic mounted it was even easier and faster to hit targets. I was even able to make shots out to100 yards and get reliable hits on man sized targets. Not too shabby for a 9mm.
From a reliability perspective, the CZ is amazing and had zero issues through over 500 rounds. I did not clean the rifle at all during the testing but I did clean the two included magazines at about the halfway point. They were running reliably but they were getting harder to load and I wanted to see if they would feed as reliably after being disassembled. They were. An additional 20 round magazine and a 30 rounder also proved reliable in the testing. Magazines are pretty cheap with factory magazines running right around $20 each.
Recoil is not a problem but it does recoil noticeably more than the Ruger PC Carbine. To be honest there is little difference between the recoil of the CZ Scorpion and an AR15 firing 5.56 ammunition. I think that’s where the extra bulk of the Ruger comes into play making it an incredibly light and easy shooter.
The ergonomics of the CZ took a little getting used to and there are areas for improvement. As many have noted the safety lever is in a very bad location on the gun and tends to dig into the hand if you keep a high grip. I will definitely be changing that out. Fortunately there are plenty of options available on the market. There are also plenty of options for upgrading the charging handle, trigger and magazine release. I might change out the magazine release at some point as well but don’t see a reason to change anything else.
Honestly, I really like both of these carbines…a lot.
The Ruger is an incredibly light shooter and easy to handle. It meets all my criteria except for the reliability issue. If it wasn’t for that this would be a 100% recommendation. We will be sending it back to Ruger and see if they can correct the issue. Until then this is just an incredibly fun plinker.
The CZ (in my mind) looks really cool although I wish I had spent the extra few bucks for the one in FDE because after having seen one it looks even better. The Scoropion handles and shoots very well. I could plink away with it all day. With the reliability it showed I would not have an issue betting my life on it either. It doesn’t meet one of my criteria (Glock mags) but it nails every other one into the dirt. I like this little carbine so much I find myself wanting to purchase the pistol version and add a brace or SBR it.
Still To Come…
One test I haven’t had a chance to do on the CZ Scorpion is to feed it self-defense ammo and see how she runs. Until then she is still a plinker and range toy.
I have a decent red dot optic mounted (Vortex Venom) but would like a little larger one with longer battery life. I will probably buy a Primary Arms SLxZ Advanced Red Dot. I have had incredibly good luck with PA red dots and the SLxZ offers 50,000 hours of battery life. With battery lifer like that I will leave it on all the time and just replace the better once a year or so.
As I mentioned I will be sending the Ruger in to see if they can correct the issues. I’ll post an update here when I do.
I hope you found this informative. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.
Take care and God bless.