Zastava M84: A Yugoslav derivative of the SAMOPAL Vz.61 Skorpion

Zastava M84 Scorpion Submachine Gun manufactured in Yugoslavia
Zastava M84 Skorpion Submachine Gun manufactured in Yugoslavia differentiates from the original Skorpion Vz.61 by plastic grips (Photo: XY)

The Zastava M84 Skorpion is a Yugoslav variant of the Czech SAMOPAL Vz. 61 Skorpion machine pistol/submachine gun. It was licensed and produced by Crvena Zastava since 1984, first in Yugoslavia then Serbia (now Zastava Arms). So far, the machine pistol saw service with the Serbian, Croatian, and Macedonian armed forces.

In ex-Yugoslavia, it is very popular among criminal groups due to its availability, the possibility of an easily applicable sound suppressor, and high-rate of fire. The Vz.61 Skorpion was used by the Italian Red Brigades in 1978 during the kidnapping and later murder of Aldo Moro.

Zastava M84 Automatic pistol was widely used by Yugoslavian and later Serbian law enforcement and military units
Zastava M84 Automatic pistol was widely used by Yugoslavian and later Serbian law enforcement and military units (Photo: XY)

Design

The Zastava M84 Skorpion is classified as a machine pistol, the same as its weapon of origin, the Vz.61 Skorpion. The only difference between those two weapons is in the pistol grip. The Zastava M84 Skorpion has a plastic grip while the SAMOPAL Vz.61 Skorpion has a wooden grip.

Schematic diagram of the Zastava M84 Automatic Pistol
Schematic diagram of the Zastava M84 Automatic Pistol (Photo: XY)

The weapon is hammer-fired and has a trigger mechanism with a fire mode selector, whose lever (installed on the left side of the receiver, above the pistol grip) has three settings: “0”, the weapon is safe; “1”, semi-automatic mode and “20”, fully automatic fire. The “safe” setting disables the trigger and the bolt in the forward position (by sliding the bolt catch lever upwards).

The difference between a submachine gun and a machine pistol is that a submachine gun is a machine gun that shoots a pistol cartridge (Thompson, Sten, etc.) while a machine pistol is an automatic pistol. A pistol is designed to be held with one hand.

Variants

There were few variants of the Zastava M84 Skorpion. Besides the ‘regular’ military version, it was also produced a civilian, semi-automatic version, known as the Zastava M84A. The Zastava M84A was chambered in .380 ACP (9x17mm Short) caliber.

Zastava M84 was produced in several variants (Zastava M84B-M85B in this photo)
Zastava M84 was produced in several variants (Zastava M84B-M85B in this photo) (Photo: XY)

Technical specifications: Zastava M84 Skorpion

Manufacturer:Crvena Zastava, Yugoslavia (now Zastava Arms, Serbia)
Type:blowback, selective fire
Caliber:.32 ACP (7.65 mm)
Barrel:4.4 in (112 mm)
Weight (empty):3.5 lbs (1.59 kg)
Magazine capacity:10 to 20 rounds
Cyclic rate of fire:840 rounds per minute
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